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BA (HONS) VISUAL EFFECTS AND ANIMATION DEGREE

Learn the visual fundamentals that bring to life the creative industries with a 2-year BA (Hons) VFX & Animation degree.

Start in January or September
BA/BSc (Hons) Visual Effects & Animation Degree
Available at
London, Liverpool, Leamington Spa, Glasgow
Fees
BA (HONS) VISUAL EFFECTS AND ANIMATION DEGREE
Domestic Fees
London

£11,100 per year

The annual tuition fee is fully funded via Student Finance England for eligible home-fee students.

For UK/Irish students commencing their studies from January 2024.

Glasgow

£9,000 per year

Partial funding is available for eligible home fee applicants who are residents of Scotland via the Students Awards Agency for Scotland (SAAS).

For UK/Irish students commencing their studies from January 2024.

Liverpool

£11,100 per year

The annual tuition fee is fully funded via Student Finance England for eligible home-fee students.

For UK/Irish students commencing their studies from January 2024.

Leamington Spa

£11,100 per year

The annual tuition fee is fully funded via Student Finance England for eligible home-fee students.

For UK/Irish students commencing their studies from January 2024.

BA (HONS) VISUAL EFFECTS AND ANIMATION DEGREE
International Fees
London

For international students (non-EU/EEA/Swiss)*, £15,000 per year



For EU/EEA/Swiss students*
: £11,100 per year

*Student visa required

For more information regarding SAE’s EU/EEA/Swiss students bursary policy, please read the SAE UK EU/EEA/Swiss students bursary policy.

Glasgow

For international students (non-EU/EEA/Swiss)*, £13,000 per year



For EU/EEA/Swiss students*
: £9,000 per year

*Student visa required

For more information regarding SAE’s EU/EEA/Swiss students bursary policy, please read the SAE UK EU/EEA/Swiss students bursary policy.

Liverpool

For international students (non-EU/EEA/Swiss)*, £15,000 per year



For EU/EEA/Swiss students*
: £11,100 per year

*Student visa required

For more information regarding SAE’s EU/EEA/Swiss students bursary policy, please read the SAE UK EU/EEA/Swiss students bursary policy.

Leamington Spa

For international students (non-EU/EEA/Swiss)*, £15,000 per year



For EU/EEA/Swiss students*
: £11,100 per year

*Student visa required

For more information regarding SAE’s EU/EEA/Swiss students bursary policy, please read the SAE UK EU/EEA/Swiss students bursary policy.

Duration(s)
2 years full-time
BA (HONS) VISUAL EFFECTS AND ANIMATION DEGREE
Course Durations
2 years full-time
Start Date(s)
September
BA (HONS) VISUAL EFFECTS AND ANIMATION DEGREE
Start Dates
London
  • September

Liverpool
  • September

Leamington Spa
  • September

Glasgow
  • September

Entry Requirements
BA (HONS) VISUAL EFFECTS AND ANIMATION DEGREE
Domestic Entry Requirements
Domestic students must meet one of the following criteria:
Degree entry Offers will be made to applicants who are expected to meet, or exceed the entry requirements below, in addition to supplying a personal statement:
72 UCAS points
GCSE level A* - C in English 9 - 4 (or equivalent). For students studying in Scotland this is equivalent to National 5, C grade
Personal statement
Non-standard entry routes SAE Institute will accept non-standard entry applications, which do not meet the 72 UCAS points or equivalent, and/or maths/English at level 2 or equivalent as required:
Portfolio of related work - This could include recordings, films, sketch books, a blog or any suitable medium that gives you the best opportunity to show us your creative potential.
Successful pass mark achieved via the SAE UK Maths test
Academic Essay
Further Domestic Entry Information
For more information, please look at our Domestic Entry page
Domestic Entry Requirements
BA (HONS) VISUAL EFFECTS AND ANIMATION DEGREE
International Entry Requirements
Non-UK Applicants
English language requirements Students whose first language is not English will need a qualification that demonstrates competence in English, equivalent to UK GCSE (Level 2) grade 4 (c) or above. Equivalent qualifications can be accepted, where these qualifications have been verified by ENIC and are adopted widely within the UK Higher Education sector, including:
IELTS (UKVI or Academic) (minimum 5.5 in all components and an overall score of 6.0)
Pearson Test of English (minimum 59 in all subscores)
Cambridge English: Proficiency (CPE) (minimum grade C)
Cambridge English: Advanced (CAE) (minimum grade B)
Cambridge English: Level 1 Certificate in ESOL International (B2 First) – minimum grade C
TOEFL (IBT or IBT Home Edition online) 72 overall with the following component scores: Listening – 17 Writing – 17 Speaking – 20 Reading – 18
LanguageCert ESOL examinations:
  • International ESOL C1 Expert – pass in all four components
  • International ESOL SELT B2 (Listening, Reading, Writing, Speaking) – minimum 33 in all components
  • ESOL Integrated Skills in English II – pass in all components
• IELTS Indicator* (online) – minimum 5.5 in all components and an overall score of 6.0
*Accepted on exceptional basis for the applicants whose local test centres are affected by closures due to Covid-19
Further International Entry Information
For more information, please look at our International Entry page
International Entry Requirements

What you can expect from your ANimation degree

Make your mark on the world of visual effects and animation with SAE’s innovative degree in animation. Unlike other animation degree courses, our accelerated programme ensures you’re ready to embark on your exciting new career path in only 2 years rather than the 3 of a traditional university.

Immerse yourself in our unique blend of vocational and academic education as you learn motion design, 2D and 3D animation and advanced compositing. Master shot development, rendering pipelines and sophisticated simulation workflows, blending theoretical knowledge and real-world application from day one.

Have your fingers firmly on the pulse of industry trends while studying this forward-thinking motion graphics degree and bring your creative visions to life. You’ll develop advanced skills using a diverse toolkit of industry-standard software packages like Autodesk Maya, Substance Painter, Unreal Engine , SideFX Houdini, Foundry NukeX, Pixologic ZBrush, DaVinci Resolve, RayFire and Adobe Creative Cloud. 

VFX like a pro

The interdisciplinary nature of our animation and visual effects course encourages collaboration across film, gaming and audio projects, offering a rich and multidimensional learning experience. SAE’s signature collaborative approach is designed to enrich your understanding of the industry and help you cultivate the skills needed to work across different creative mediums.

As you work towards your streamlined degree in animation and visual effects, you’ll gain skills and experience relevant to a range of career opportunities. Whether you’re looking to become a character animator, concept artist, illustrator, motion designer or anything in between, your career will have the best start at SAE.

As an SAE student you’ll have access to our team of Experts who will offer support during your accelerated animation degree and guide you towards a fulfilling career in the industry. Our practical approach to learning will see you graduate with a brilliant portfolio, highly relevant work experience and an invaluable network of fellow creatives.

A close-up of a student drawing an animation.

What you'll learn

At the end of your 2-year VFX & Animation degree you will:
  • Explore theoretical and practical concepts relevant to the VFX industry.
  • Develop technical skills across 2D and 3D animation and visual effects, then conceptualise your own projects and bring them to life.
  • Gain advanced skills in industry-standard software such as Autodesk Maya, Autodesk 3ds Max, Substance Painter, Unreal Engine 4, Unity, SideFX Houdini, Foundry NukeX, Pixologic ZBrush, DaVinci Resolve, RayFire and Adobe Creative Cloud.
  • Understand and navigate professional workflows for environment creation and real-time animation.
  • Collaborate on projects with fellow SAE students from other disciplines, such as film, gaming and audio.
  • Improve your problem-solving and teamwork skills.
  • Develop a significant portfolio of work to present to industry.
  • Establish a network of peer and professional connections across a range of creative industries.
  • Graduate career-ready with a visual effects and animation degree from a recognised creative institute.
  • Animation and visual effects courses begin in January and September.

YOUR CAREER IN VFX BEGINS NOW

COURSE STRUCTURE

The BA/BSc (Hons) Visual Effects and Animation degree is a fast-tracked course taught across 6 trimesters. Its structure follows 3 distinct stages – each designed to help you develop specific skills. Dividing it this way ensures you graduate as a well-rounded VFX and animation professional with a universal understanding of the entire production process.

• Stage 1 (T1 and T2) provides a foundation of core technical knowledge.
• Stage 2 (T3 and T4) broadens your skills, exploring new areas of video effects and animation.
• Stage 3 (T5 and T6) is all-encompassing, covering every aspect of VFX and animation from conception to completion, including managerial aspects like project management, finance and promotion.
Trimester 1
To begin your degree, you’ll develop essential technical skills across visual effects and animation, plus the knowledge required to collaborate with other creative media students and professionals.
In this module, you’ll learn introductory theoretical and practical concepts, such as production techniques and pipelines, film and cinematography, basic image manipulation techniques and core transferable skills in communication and project management. You’ll also develop research and analysis skills and learn to understand and follow briefs to an industry standard.

Topics include:

  • VFX industry/pipeline overview
  • Working with references and concepts
  • Understanding file formats (pixel / vector / lossless etc.)
  • Aesthetics in cinema
  • Film analysis
  • Live shot visual properties
  • Digital image editing
  • Layer-based compositing
  • Time management
Across this module, you’ll explore the essential theoretical and practical principles of creating and using 3D content in visual effects. You’ll also delve into basic workflows and pipelines, with a focus on modelling and texturing, and learn presentation techniques, including how to pitch ideas and present outcomes.

Topics include:

  • Principles of 3D
  • Low-poly modelling
  • High-poly modelling
  • Topology
  • UV mapping
  • Texturing basics and shading
  • Render to texture
  • Presentation techniques
Trimester 2
This trimester, you’ll work on complex multidisciplinary projects using industry-standard practices.
Building on your understanding of 3D fundamentals, you’ll learn how to finish and implement 3D content. As well as developing key project management skills, you’ll explore camera and lighting theory, workflows for rendering and compositing and intellectual property and copyright issues.

Topics include:

  • Lighting setups for live action
  • 3D lighting basics
  • 3D camera techniques
  • Advanced texturing and shading
  • Linear workflow
  • Rendering
  • Compositing for 3D (node-based)
  • Project management
  • Copyright
In this module, you’ll explore and implement a range of 2D and 3D animation techniques and theories depending on the context. You’ll also design and rig animations and analyse a series of moving images and animations.

Topics include:

  • Vector graphics
  • Principles of animation
  • Storyboarding/animatic
  • 2D animation (thumbnailing)
  • Rigging
  • 3D animation
  • Layer-based compositing (packaging)
  • Academic writing (using a standard referencing system)
  • Research
Trimester 3
In Trimester 3, you’ll be introduced to the professional working environment through a series of real-world project briefs. Our practical Creative Studio approach allows you to engage in authentic assessment activities that reflect current industry practices.
This trimester, you’ll develop your understanding of professional workflows for fluid simulation, cloth simulation and particle animation, while learning industry-relevant techniques for animating and using dynamic simulation tools. You’ll also get hands-on using a range of industry tools to create realistic digital effects.

Topics may include:

  • Animation
  • Simulation and physics
  • Fluid animation
  • Look development
  • Shading and rendering for FX
  • Compositing for FX
Trimester 4
Your focus this trimester will be on developing an understanding of professional workflows for environment creation and real-time animation.
During your second Creative Studio module, you’ll research and analyse the works of a particular group or individual within the VFX industry. Operating industry-relevant software, you’ll gain a sound understanding of the technical processes involved across a production environment and will plan the production of a scene using the professional techniques you’ve learned for advanced rendering and compositing. Collaborating with other students both within and outside of your field, you’ll explore the industry’s operational dynamics while learning how to plan and market visual effects projects.

Topics may include:

  • Modelling for VFX
  • Lighting
  • Shading
  • Rendering
  • Compositing
  • Colour Correction and grading
  • Matchmoving
Trimester 5
As you approach the end of your visual effects and animation degree, you’ll start to specialise within your preferred area of the motion design industry, advancing your skills by selecting from one of 3 optional modules.
Creative Studio 3 allows you to refine a core industry skill of your choice by working on an ‘Advanced Specialist Project’ or further your knowledge of composition and advanced techniques in VFX. Depending on your project, you’ll enhance your software skills across programmes such as Maya, After Effects, Nuke and Houdini.

Topics may include:

  • Critical evaluation
  • Problem solving
  • Autonomous learning
  • Industry-ready production techniques
  • Modelling
  • Prop Art
  • Technical art
  • FX art
  • Animation
  • Rendering
  • Compositing
During this module, you’ll create work of a professional standard in your field of specialism. You can choose to pursue simulated briefs, develop your own project or engage in live projects through work placements or collaborations with peers from other disciplines. In preparation for your final Major Project, you’ll refine your skills, develop connections with industry professionals and create a portfolio that showcases your expertise.

Topics may include:


  • Modelling

  • Prop art

  • Technical art

  • FX art

  • Animation

  • Rendering

  • Compositing

In this module, you’ll prepare for your final Major Project. You’ll receive guided support from our Experts to craft your project proposal, further developing your academic and professional skills as you prepare to embark on your career or progress to postgraduate studies.
Trimester 6
The final module of this animation degree lets you demonstrate the practical and academic skills you’ve developed across your 2 years at SAE via a large-scale advanced-level project.
You’ll spend your final trimester completing your Major Project, which will have been designed, scoped and approved during Trimester 5. This immersive module lets you perfect your skills in your field of choice and create something truly unique. Use your Major Project to bolster your resume, build your own business or make invaluable industry connections.
UCAS Course Codes
BA (Hons) Visual Effects and Animation 615W
University of Hertfordshire
Level 6 This program was developed and is delivered and assessed by SAE Institute, awarded by and quality assured by University of Hertfordshire.

Tools & Software

WHY STUDY VISUAL EFFECTS AND ANIMATION AT SAE?

Visual Effects and Animation Degree
Accelerated learning
Finish your visual effects and animation degree in just 2 years, so you can dive into your career sooner and incur lower course and living costs.
A close-up of a student using visual effects software on a computer.
World-class facilities
Experience our cutting-edge computer labs, where you’ll find first-class hardware and software from brands including Autodesk, Adobe, Pixologic, Foundry and RayFire.
Explore more
A close-up of a tutor teaching creative media to a student in a computer lab.
Expert support
Benefit from the guidance of SAE’s Experts throughout your animation and visual effects course for a strong start to your career.
Meet your mentors
Audio Students in Audio Lab
Creative collaboration
Join forces with your fellow SAE animation degree students, along with those from other disciplines, to realise your creative potential.
Animation Jobs and Careers

Career Outcomes

What Jobs will this course lead to?

  • Character Artist
  • Environment Artist
  • Technical Artist
  • Production Coordinator
  • Quality Assurance
  • Motion Designer
  • Lighting Artist
  • Lighting Technical Director
  • Animator
  • Character Animator
  • Illustrator
  • Layout Artist
  • 3D Generalist
  • Concept Artist
  • Graphic Designer
  • 2D Artist
  • Rigging Technical Director
  • Compositor
  • Freelance Artist
  • FX Artist
  • Roto Artist
  • Previs Artist
  • Matchmove Artist
  • Texture Artist
  • Look Development Artist
  • Pipeline Technical Director
  • 3D Modeller
  • Visualisation Artist
  • Matte Painter
  • VFX Supervisor
  • Art Director
A picture from the back of a student who is working on visual effects and animation on a computer.

START YOUR VISUAL EFFECTS AND ANIMATION CAREER TODAY

Apply to study the BA/BSc (Hons) Visual Effects and Animation degree and embark on your creative career sooner.
Enquire now

Course FAQs

We are looking to see an applicants’ best and most refined artwork in whatever medium they choose, and should evidence their creativity and technical skill. You are welcome to contact our admissions team for advice on what you should include.

You can provide a PDF document or a personal URL with your artwork. Traditional artwork should be scanned and submitted in a digital image format like JPEG, or as part of a PDF.

While we would recommend that anyone who is studying VFX & Animation should invest in their own hardware, our labs are kitted out with high end PCs that you will have access to for your classes. Students can also book access to PCs when they aren’t in use.

FAQs
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