Animation

Steve Anderson

 

What courses? A myriad of titles including: animation; computer arts; creative digital media; animation production; animation technology; computer visualization; computer games arts. Plus a host of joint honours combinations.

What do you come out with? BA, or a BSc for some computer animation courses. At Dundee, you’ll get a BDes.

Why do it? "Recent years have seen unprecedented growth in computer-generated films and games. Animation and digital effects are among the most demanding and fastest growing areas of creative and technical endeavour. Each new release pushes the boundaries of computing technology by applying artistic skills with mathematics, physics and software engineering. Successful technophile artists have a mastery of the sophisticated technology involved and the talent to use it in the creation of works of art. A good degree in this field should equip you with understanding, knowledge and skills in the creative and technical aspects of animation." - Peter Comninos, director of the National Centre for Computer Animation at Bournemouth University

What's it about? Producing multiple images that create the illusion of movement when strung together. Your work can be commissioned for films, television advertisements, cartoons and video games. Students choose to specialise in 2D animation, 3D model-making animation or digital animation that uses computer-generated imagery (CGI) – the software made famous in the early 1990s by hit dinosaur movie Jurassic Park. During the course you can expect to study drawing, character animation, graphics and video production, and you will learn about the whole animation production process from start to finish, with the opportunity to create everything from storyboards to scripts. For computer animation courses, students will gain an understanding of both the creative and the technical processes involved – so a talent for life drawing will be just as valuable as maths and programming skills. Some choose to study animation with another subject, illustration being one of the most popular choices. There are courses to cater for everyone’s tastes and talents, with programmes focusing on computer games design becoming increasingly popular in recent years.

Study options: You’re looking at three years full-time for most courses, although a small number, including Derby, Huddersfield, Leeds Met and Teesside, offer the opportunity to take a sandwich year in which to work in the industry. In Scotland, courses are four years long, and at Sheffield Hallam you can also take an extra year and come out with a MArt.

What will I need to do it? A flair for art, and, in many cases, a good grasp of IT. The usual route is via a pre-degree art and design course such as a foundation art and design, although most courses accept A-levels too. Teesside asks for 300 UCAS points, equivalent to BBB at A-level, Portsmouth asks for 240 (CCC), Falmouth 220 points (CCD), while Leeds Met will accept promising applicants with as little as 160 points, or CC at A-level. Nearly all courses interview applicants and ask to see a portfolio providing evidence of your creative ability. Not only does Bournemouth require 340 UCAS points (AAB) for its BA in computer animation arts, but you’ll also be tested in maths, logic and life drawing before you make it onto the course.

What are my job prospects? Good, if you can get the work. It’s a very competitive industry and most jobs are given on a freelance basis, but it can pay well once you've made a name for yourself, especially in the ever-growing computer games industry. Starting salaries are very low, beginning at around £12,000, with games animators starting at around £18,000 ( www.prospects.ac.uk). However, wages rise quickly with experience. Unlike some art courses, there’s a real commercial angle, meaning you can actually get a job that utilises your creativity.

Where’s best to do it? Bournemouth was the highest ranking university for art & design that offers animation courses in the Complete University Guide 2012. It is home to the internationally-renowned National Centre for Computer Animation, and over 50 of its graduates worked on James Cameron’s 3D blockbuster Avatar. Dundee, Robert Gordon and Falmouth all come out well too. Award-winning animator Sabrina Schmid is a senior lecturer at Teesside, which is one of a small number of Skillset Media Academies in the UK.

Related degrees: Art; design; graphic design; computer science.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Sport
Ashley Barnes of Burnley scores their second goal
footballMan City vs Burnley match report
News
news
News
Sir James Dyson: 'Students must be inspired to take up the challenge of engineering'
i100
Life and Style
Apple showed no sign of losing its talent for product launches with the new, slightly larger iPhone 6 making headlines
techSecurity breaches and overhyped start-ups dominated a year in which very little changed (save the size of your phone)
Arts and Entertainment
Catherine (Sarah Lancashire) in Happy Valley ((C) Red Productions/Ben Blackall)
TV

Day In a Page

A timely reminder of the bloody anniversary we all forgot

A timely reminder of the bloody anniversary we all forgot

Who remembers that this week we enter the 150th anniversary year of the end of the American Civil War, asks Robert Fisk
Homeless Veterans appeal: Former soldiers pay their respects to a friend who also served

Homeless Veterans appeal

Former soldiers pay their respects to a friend who also served
Downfall of Dustin 'Screech' Diamond, the 'Saved By The Bell' star charged with bar stabbing

Scarred by the bell

The downfall of the TV star charged with bar stabbing
Why 2014 was a year of technological let-downs

Why 2014 was a year of technological let-downs

Security breaches and overhyped start-ups dominated a year in which very little changed (save the size of your phone)
Cuba's golf revolution: But will the revolutionary nation take 'bourgeois' game to its heart?

Will revolutionary Cuba take 'bourgeois' golf to its heart?

Fidel Castro ridiculed the game – but now investment in leisure resort projects is welcome
The Locked Room Mysteries: As a new collection of the genre’s best is published, its editor Otto Penzler explains the rules of engagement

The Locked Room Mysteries

As a new collection of the genre’s best is published, its editor explains the rules of engagement
Amy Adams on playing painter Margaret Keane in Tim Burton's Big Eyes

How I made myself Keane

Amy Adams hadn’t wanted to take the role of artist Margaret Keane, because she’d had enough of playing victims. But then she had a daughter, and saw the painter in a new light
Ed Richards: Parting view of Ofcom chief. . . we hate jokes on the disabled

Parting view of Ofcom chief... we hate jokes on the disabled

Bad language once got TV viewers irate, inciting calls to broadcasting switchboards. But now there is a worse offender, says retiring head of the media watchdog, Ed Richards
A look back at fashion in 2014: Wear in review

Wear in review

A look back at fashion in 2014
Ian Herbert: My 10 hopes for sport in 2015. Might just one of them happen?

Ian Herbert: My 10 hopes for sport in 2015

Might just one of them happen?
War with Isis: The West needs more than a White Knight

The West needs more than a White Knight

Despite billions spent on weapons, the US has not been able to counter Isis's gruesome tactics, says Patrick Cockburn
Return to Helmand: Private Davey Graham recalls the day he was shot by the Taliban

'The day I was shot by the Taliban'

Private Davey Graham was shot five times during an ambush in 2007 - it was the first, controversial photograph to show the dangers our soldiers faced in Helmand province
Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

Many flyers are failing to claim compensation to which they are entitled, a new survey has found
The stories that defined 2014: From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions

The stories that defined 2014

From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions
Stoke-on-Trent becomes first British city to be classified as 'disaster resilient' by the United Nations

Disaster looming? Now you know where to head...

Which British city has become the first to be awarded special 'resilience' status by the UN?