Student illustrating on a Wacom tablet screen
UCAS Code
W615
Mode of Study
Full-time, Full-time sandwich with work placement
Duration
3 years full-time, 4 years sandwich with work placement
Start Date
September 2019, September 2020
Accredited
Yes

Overview

In a world where visual communication is the norm, animators are in high demand in TV, movies, gaming, corporate films, education and mainstream news media.

This BA (Hons) Animation degree course gives you the technical skills, insight and platform to apply your creative talent to a successful career in 2D or 3D animation in the film, computer games, visualisation, motion capture and advertising industries.

Accredited by:

This Animation degree course is accredited by JAMES (Joint Audio Media Education Services), a group of industry professionals and employers.

The JAMES accreditation lets potential employers know that this course gives you the relevant skills and abilities you need to work in the animation industry when you graduate. This gives you an edge over students who didn’t do an accredited course when you’re applying for jobs.

JAMES reviews our accreditation every 3 years to make sure the Animation course content remains up-to-date with industry trends and developments. So you’ll always be learning skills relevant skills to your career.

95% Graduates in work or further study (DLHE, 2017)

96% Overall student satisfaction (NSS, 2018)

What you'll experience

On this Animation degree course you’ll:

  • Develop creative and technical abilities in character animation, visual storytelling, compositing and editing
  • Learn from staff who co-directed animations for Disney, Warner Brothers and Cartoon Network, works for the BBC, and produced animation and special effects for high-profile feature films including the Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter and Chronicles of Narnia franchises
  • Develop your practical skills in our animation drawing room, visual effects (VFX) facility, motion capture studio and Wacom Cintiq suite
  • Practice techniques such as the performance capture process that animators used in the film, Avatar
  • Use the latest software (Maya, 3D Studio Max, Photoshop, Toonboom, Flash, TV paint), production methods and CG (computer graphic) equipment

You can also:

  • Meet prospective employers and other industry contacts when you showcase your work at our student screening in London
Watch our 2018 student showreel
BA (Hons) Animation Graduate Show 2018 showreel

A compilation of student work from the BA (Hons) Animation degree course, featuring different animation styles and production methods.

Careers and opportunities

When you finish this Animation degree course, our careers and employability service can help you find a job that puts your skills to work in the industry.

What jobs can you do with an Animation degree?

Previous students have gone on to work as animators, concept artists, directors, compositors, creative directors, art directors, modellers, user interface (UI) designers and post-production technical directors at well-known companies such as:

They’ve worked on high-profile feature films and cartoons including:

  • Avatar
  • Life of Pi
  • Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland
  • The Amazing World of Gumball

Other graduates have continued their studies at postgraduate level or set up successful businesses with help and support from the University.

After you graduate, you can get help, advice and support for up to 5 years from our Careers and Employability service as you advance in your career.

The main reason I chose the course is the outstanding facilities available. The faculty has a motion capture studio, enabling students to get a taste of the actual industry. I definitely believe the University of Portsmouth was the right choice for me.

Mihaela Pavel, BA (Hons) Animation

What you'll study on this BA (Hons) Animation degree

Each module on this course is worth a certain number of credits.

In each year, you need to study modules worth a total of 120 credits. For example, 4 modules worth 20 credits and 1 module worth 40 credits.

Modules currently being studied

Core modules in this year include:

  • Animation Production Process
  • Introduction to 2D Animation
  • Introduction to 3D Animation
  • Introduction to Visual Research for Animation
  • Narrative
  • Signs and Meaning in Animation

There are no optional modules in this year.

Core modules in this year include:

  • Animation Group Project: Introduction
  • Animation Group Project: Production
  • Experimental Animation
  • History and Theory of Animation 

Options to choose from in this year currently include:

  • Creative Technologies Study Exchange
  • Engaged Citizenship Through Interdisciplinary Practice
  • Intermediate 2D Animation
  • Intermediate 3D Animation
  • Introduction to Visual Effects
  • Previsualisation and Motion Capture
  • Professional Experience
  • Sound and Visualisation

On this course, you can do an optional work placement year between your 2nd and 3rd years to get valuable experience working in industry.

We’ll help you secure a work placement that fits your situation and ambitions. You’ll get mentoring and support throughout the year.

Core modules in this year include:

  • Employment Preparation
  • Major Project
  • Written Project

Options to choose from in this year currently include:

  • Advanced 2D Animation
  • Advanced 3D Animation
  • Advanced Pre-Production Methods
  • Advanced Visual Effects and Environments
  • Motion Capture Applications

Year 1 core modules

You'll examine each aspect of the production pipeline, analyse the work of notable animators and studios, and develop a project from concept, through to a final piece of animation.

What you'll learn

When you complete this module successfully, you'll be able to:

  • Research and evaluate the advantages and disadvantages of different methods of animation production
  • Apply each aspect of the production process to current and future animation projects
  • Appraise working methods in relation to industry practitioners
  • Appraise industry animations to identify techniques and approaches
Teaching activities
  • 24 x 2-hour practical classes and workshops
Independent study time

We recommend you spend at least 152 hours studying independently. This is around 4.5 hours a week over the duration of the module.

Assessment

On this module, you'll be assessed through:

  • coursework (100% of final mark) – 2 x portfolios

 

You'll learn techniques such as squash and stretch, anticipation, staging, straight ahead and pose to pose animation, follow through and overlapping action, slow out and slow in, arcs, secondary action, timing, exaggeration and solid drawing.

What you'll learn

When you complete this module successfully, you'll be able to demonstrate:

  • An understanding of key animation principles, 2D key framing and dope sheets
  • The ability to prepare drawings for 2D animation that demonstrate weight, volume, movement and gesture, balance, and timing
  • An understanding of animation studio production methods including planning, key framing, inbetweening, line testing, clean-up and art-working
Teaching activities
  • 24 x 2-hour practical classes and workshops
Independent study time

We recommend you spend at least 152 hours studying independently. This is around 4.5 hours a week over the duration of the module.

Assessment

On this module, you'll be assessed through:

  • coursework (100% of final mark) – 2 x portfolios

You'll explore interface familiarisation and 3D orientation, 3D database structure and file management, polygon modelling, materials and textures, lighting and rendering, animation tools, basic rigging, and skinning. You'll also research, develop and produce a 3D animation.

What you'll learn

When you complete this module successfully, you'll be able to:

  • Identify the processes and methods involved in the production of a 3D animation project
  • Use design processes and methods to produce a research and development portfolio
  • Select and apply the appropriate software skills to produce a 3D animation
Teaching activities
  • 24 x 2-hour practical classes and workshops
Independent study time

We recommend you spend at least 152 hours studying independently. This is around 4.5 hours a week over the duration of the module.

Assessment

On this module, you'll be assessed through:

  • coursework (100% of final mark) – 2 x portfolios

 

What you'll learn

When you complete this module successfully, you'll be able to:

  • Execute drawing to record the shape, structure, proportion, weight, balance and movement of the human form
  • Critically reflect on your drawing
  • Use drawing to record the colour and texture of objects and environments with attention to composition
  • Use colour, texture and mark-making as a means of expression
  • Explore image manipulation and movement using relevant 2D software
Teaching activities
  • 23 x 2-hour practical classes
Independent study time

We recommend you spend at least 154 hours studying independently. This is around 4.5 hours a week over the duration of the module.

Assessment

On this module, you'll be assessed through:

  • coursework (100% of final mark) – 2 x portfolios

 

You'll also develop technical skills in sound and editing, and learn how to visualise and develop ideas and narrative through storyboard techniques.

What you'll learn

When you complete this module successfully, you'll be able to:

  • Execute a storyboard considering traditional narrative structures, continuity, composition, camera angles, editing, mise-en-scene and sound
  • Employ ideas and organise material in a comprehensive manner, utilising appropriate technologies to communicate clearly
  • Apply knowledge of structure, continuity, composition, sound, editing, timing and character posture to an animatic production
Teaching activities
  • 16 x 2-hour seminars
  • 16 x 1-hour tutorials
Independent study time

We recommend you spend at least 152 hours studying independently. This is around 4.5 hours a week over the duration of the module.

Assessment

On this module, you'll be assessed through:

  • coursework (100% of final mark) – 2 x portfolios

 

You'll develop critical thinking and analysis skills and learn about key concepts such as semiotics, stereotypes, discourse, identity, viewing positions and cultural difference.

What you'll learn

When you complete this module successfully, you'll be able to:

  • Identify and describe key theories about meaning production, representation and spectatorship
  • Discuss contemporary debates about representation and spectatorship
  • Articulate critical understanding and basic analysis of animation and film
  • Recognise the relevance of theories and debates to your creative work
  • Recognise a variety of animation and film work styles and contexts
Teaching activities
  • 23 x 1-hour lectures
  • 2 x 1-hour seminars
Independent study time

We recommend you spend at least 152 hours studying independently. This is around 4.5 hours a week over the duration of the module.

Assessment

On this module, you'll be assessed through:

  • 1 x examination (50% of final mark)
  • 1 x 1,500-word essay

 

We use the best and most current research and professional practice alongside feedback from our students to make sure course content is relevant to your future career or further studies.

Therefore, some course content may change over time to reflect changes in the discipline or industry and some optional modules may not run every year. If a module doesn’t run, we’ll let you know as soon as possible and help you choose an alternative module.

How you're assessed

You’ll be assessed through:

  • animation design projects
  • a showreel and portfolio
  • written coursework (one module per year)
  • a dissertation

You’ll be able to test your skills and knowledge informally before you do assessments that count towards your final mark.

You can get feedback on all practice and formal assessments so you can improve in the future.

The way you’re assessed may depend on the modules you select. As a guide, students on this course last year were typically assessed as follows:

  • Year 1 students: 100% by coursework
  • Year 2 students: 17% by practical exams and 83% by coursework
  • Year 3 students: 17% by practical exams and 83% by coursework

Placement year

After your second year, you can do an optional work placement year to get valuable longer-term work experience in the animation industry.

Students have completed work placements at Oscar and BAFTA winning companies such as Mosaic Films and Framestore. In your placement year, you can also set up a business on your own or in a group.

We’ll help you secure a work placement that fits your aspirations. You’ll get mentoring and support throughout the year.

Work experience and career planning

To give you the best chance of securing a great job when you graduate, our Careers and Employability service can help you find relevant work experience during your Animation degree course. You'll also get career planning help and support from your personal tutor.

We can help you identify placements, internships, voluntary roles and freelancing opportunities that will complement your studies and build your portfolio.

Teaching

Teaching methods on this course includes:

  • lectures
  • workshops
  • seminars
  • one-on-one tutorials

There’s an emphasis on production processes such as computer animation, modelling, rigging and rendering.

Teaching staff include experienced experts who have worked for companies such as the BBC, Channel 4, Framestore, Sony Computer Entertainment, Disney, Warner Brothers, Weta and Double Negative.

You can access all teaching resources on Moodle, our virtual learning environment, from anywhere with a Web connection.

Teaching staff profiles

These are some of the expert staff who’ll teach you on this degree course. 

Eva Palacios, Course Leader

Eva is a compositing specialist. She’s worked for the BBC and on international award-winning animations for Channel 4.

As the creative director of Toifund Ltd she’s worked with big-name clients including Aardman, Penguin/Warner and Arcadia.

Paul Charisse, Senior Lecturer

Paul has 14 years' experience in the the feature film and game industries and is a facial animation specialist.

He’s worked as a 3D animator on titles including Prince Caspian and Hellboy. He also animated the character Gollum as part of the Oscar-winning team for Lord of the Rings.

Colin West, Lecturer

Colin specialises in 3D and visuals effects. He’s worked in advertising and film for multiple award-winning visual effects studios.

Colin has worked on motion pictures including The Guardians of The Galaxy, Exodus: Gods and Kings, and Jupiter Ascending. In advertising, he’s worked on projects for brands such as Pepsi, Audi, Galaxy, British Airways and Sony.

Mat Garey, Senior Lecturer

Mat has 12 years’ experience as an animator and artist, including 7 years at Sony Computer Entertainment.

He’s worked on titles including Looney Tunes, The Getaway 2: Black Monday and Resident Evil, and was part of the BAFTA award-winning team for Wipeout 3.

Dr Jackie West, Senior Lecturer

Jackie is a Fine Art practitioner who has exhibited nationally and internationally.

She’s artist in residence at Portsmouth Football Club. She's also Art Director for the University’s feature-length film, Stina and the Wolf, which you can get involved with when you study with us.

Vincent Woodcock, Lecturer

Vincent is an animator, cartoonist and illustrator. He worked at Richard William’s Studio in London.

Among other titles, he co-directed the Disney film Duck Tales: The Movie, and was the character animator and designer at Warner Brothers on Space Jam. He also directed, animated and designed for more than six years at Cartoon Network.

How you'll spend your time

One of the main differences between school or college and university is how much control you have over your learning.

At university, as well as spending time in timetabled teaching activities such as lectures, seminars and tutorials, you’ll do lots of independent study with support from our staff when you need it.

A typical week

We recommend you spend at least 35 hours a week studying for your Animation degree. In your first year, you’ll be in timetabled teaching activities such as lectures, seminars, tutorials, practical classes and workshops for about 12 hours a week. The rest of the time you’ll do independent study such as research, reading, coursework and project work, alone or in a group with others from your course. You'll probably do more independent study and have less scheduled teaching in years 2 and 3, but this depends on which modules you choose.

Most timetabled teaching takes place during the day, Monday to Friday. You may occasionally need to go to University and course events in the evenings and at weekends. There’s usually no teaching on Wednesday afternoons.

Term times

The academic year runs from September to early June with breaks at Christmas and Easter. It's divided into 2 teaching blocks and 2 assessment periods:

  • September to December – teaching block 1
  • January – assessment period 1
  • January to May – teaching block 2 (includes Easter break)
  • May to June – assessment period 2

Extra learning support

The amount of timetabled teaching you'll get on your degree might be less than what you're used to at school or college, but you'll also get face-to-face support from teaching and support staff when you need it. These include the following people and services:

Personal tutor

Your personal tutor helps you make the transition to independent study and gives you academic and personal support throughout your time at university.

You’ll have regular contact with your personal tutor in learning activities or scheduled meetings. You can also make an appointment with them if you need extra support.

Student support advisor

In addition to the support you get from your personal tutor, you’ll also have access to a Faculty student support advisor. They can give you confidential, impartial advice on anything to do with your studies and personal wellbeing and refer you to specialist support services.

Academic skills tutors

You'll have help from a team of faculty academic skills tutors. They can help you improve and develop your academic skills and support you in any area of your study.

They can help with:

  • improving your academic writing (for example, essays, reports, dissertations)
  • delivering presentations (including observing and filming presentations)
  • understanding and using assignment feedback
  • managing your time and workload
  • revision and exam techniques

Creative skills tutors

If you need support with software and equipment or you want to learn additional skills (including skills not covered on your course), our creative skills tutors provide free workshops, activities and one-on-one tutorials. Skills you can learn include life drawing, film camera operation and video production.

IT and computing support

Computing support staff are always available to give technical support in the Faculty's computer suites during normal working hours. There's also some support available from 5pm to midnight at busy times of the year.

Academic skills support

As well as support from faculty staff and your personal tutor, you can use the University’s Academic Skills Unit (ASK).

ASK provides one-to-one support in areas such as:

  • academic writing
  • note taking
  • time management
  • critical thinking
  • presentation skills
  • referencing
  • working in groups
  • revision, memory and exam techniques

If you have a disability or need extra support, the Additional Support and Disability Centre (ASDAC) will give you help, support and advice.

Library support

Library staff are available in person or by email, phone or online chat to help you make the most of the University’s library resources. You can also request one-to-one appointments and get support from a librarian who specialises in your subject area.

The library is open 24 hours a day, every day, in term time.

Support with English

If English isn't your first language, you can do one of our English language courses to improve your written and spoken English language skills before starting your degree. Once you're here, you can take part in our free English for Academic Purposes programme to improve your English further.

Entry requirements​

BA (Hons) Animation degree entry requirements

Qualifications or experience
  • 112 points to include a minimum of 2 A levels, or equivalent.

See the other qualifications we accept

English language requirements
  • English language proficiency at a minimum of IELTS band 6.0 with no component score below 5.5.

See alternative English language qualifications

Selection process
  • Applicants without art and design qualifications or experience may be asked to submit a digital portfolio in advance of an invitation to interview.

Qualifications or experience
  • 112 points to include a minimum of 2 A levels, or equivalent.

See the other qualifications we accept

English language requirements
  • English language proficiency at a minimum of IELTS band 6.0 with no component score below 5.5.

See alternative English language qualifications

Selection process
  • Applicants without art and design qualifications or experience may be asked to submit a digital portfolio in advance of an invitation to interview.

​Course costs

Tuition fees (2019 start)

  • UK/EU/Channel Islands and Isle of Man students – £9,250 per year per year (may be subject to annual increase)
  • International students – £14,700 per year (subject to annual increase)

Additional course costs

These course-related costs aren’t included in the tuition fees. So you’ll need to budget for them when you plan your spending.

Additional costs

Our accommodation section shows your accommodation options and highlights how much it costs to live in Portsmouth.

You’ll study up to 6 units a year. You may have to read several recommended books or textbooks for each unit.

You can borrow most of these from the Library. If you buy these, they may cost up to £60 each.

We recommend that you budget £75 a year for photocopying, memory sticks, DVDs and CDs, printing charges, binding and specialist printing.

If your final year includes a major project, there could be cost for transport or accommodation related to your research activities. The amount will depend on the project you choose.

You may need to spend £20 - £75 per annum on drawing and modelling materials, printing, memory sticks or CDs, and DVDs. (Depending upon option modules selected).

If you take the Student Enterprise Module, you’ll need to pay an additional cost of approximately £20.

You may need to contribute up to £20 towards occasional coach trips.

Apply

How to apply

To start in 2019 you need to apply through UCAS. You’ll need:

  • the UCAS course code – T700
  • our institution code – P80

You can start your application now and submit it later if you want.

Not quite ready to apply?

Come to an Open Day to explore our course facilities, tour the campus and have a look around our halls of residence.

If you’re new to the application process, read our guide on applying for an undergraduate course.

To start in 2020 you need to apply through UCAS. You can start your application now and submit it from 4 September 2019.

In the meantime, sign up to an Open Day to explore our course facilities, tour the campus and have a look around our halls of residence.

If you’re new to the application process, read our guide on applying for an undergraduate course.

When you apply, you'll need:

  • the UCAS course code – W615
  • our institution code – P80

How to apply from outside the UK

If you're from outside of the UK, you can apply for this course through UCAS (see the 'How to apply' section above for details). You can also apply directly to us or you can get an agent to help with your application. Check your country page for details of agents in your region.

To find out what to include in your application, head to the how to apply page of our international students section. 

Admissions terms and conditions

When you accept an offer to study at the University of Portsmouth, you also agree to our terms and conditions as well as the University’s policies, rules and regulations. You should read and consider these before you apply.

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