BA/ Bsc (Hons) Visual Effects & Animation

From 3D animation to motion capture, you’ll learn the critical hands-on elements and processes needed to tell a story and release your ideas from the page.
Available at
London, Liverpool, Glasgow
BA/ Bsc (Hons) Visual Effects & Animation
Domestic Fees
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Entire Course Fee
Entire Course Fee
Entire Course Fee
BA/ Bsc (Hons) Visual Effects & Animation
International Fees
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Entire Course Fee
Entire Course Fee
Entire Course Fee
2 years full-time
BA/ Bsc (Hons) Visual Effects & Animation
Course Durations
2 years full-time
Start Date(s)
September 2022
BA/ Bsc (Hons) Visual Effects & Animation
Start Dates
  • September 2022

  • September 2022

  • September 2022

Entry Requirements
BA/ Bsc (Hons) Visual Effects & Animation
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/ Bsc (Hons) Visual Effects & Animation
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:
Academic IELTS (minimum 5.5 in all components and an overall score of 6.0)
Pearson Test of English (minimum 51 in all subscores)
Cambridge English: Proficiency (CPE) (minimum grade C)
Cambridge English: Advanced (CAE) (minimum grade B)
TOEFL (IBT) 72 overall with the following component scores: Listening – 17 Writing – 17 Speaking – 20 Reading – 18
Further International Entry Information
For more information, please look at our International Entry page
International Entry Requirements
Develop advanced skills in industry-standard software packages Autodesk Maya, Autodesk 3ds Max, Substance Painter, Unreal Engine 4, Unity, SideFX Houdini, Foundry NukeX, Pixologic ZBrush and Adobe Creative Suite.
Practical, immersive training Practical skills are vital. Our learning approach is a blend of vocational and academic from day one.
Cross discipline collaboration Work across film, gaming and audio projects at SAE.
Expand your career Graduate with a portfolio, work experience, employability and entrepreneurial skills and a network of fellow creatives.

Tools & Software

VFX skills

Character animation (2D/3D) Visual storytelling 3D modelling & computer graphics Visual effects & motion graphics

Course Structure

BA/BS Visual Effects and Animation is broken up into three distinct stages, each designed to develop different skills.
Trimester 1
Develop the essential technical visual effects and animation skills and the knowledge required to collaborate with other creative media students and professionals.
‘VFX Fundamentals’ provides student with a platform in their first trimester to learn the introductory theoretical and practical concepts needed for the VFX industry. The module covers fundamental VFX production techniques and pipelines; film and cinematography as related to VFX; basic image manipulation techniques; and some core transferable skills in communication and project management.

Students will also develop skills to research, analyse and communicate information, follow and understand briefs to an industry standard.
‘3D Fundamentals’ introduces students to the essential principles, both theoretical and practical, of creating and using 3D content in visual effects. The basic workflows and pipelines of 3D work are discussed, centred on modelling and texturing. Students also learn presentation techniques and start developing their ability to pitch ideas and present outcomes.
Trimester 2
Broaden your scope to work on complex multidisciplinary projects in accordance with industry-standard practices.
‘3D Rendering & Compositing’ build from the 3D Fundamentals module to focus on the finishing and implementation of 3D content. Students will learn camera and lighting theory, workflows for rendering and compositing, and also continue to develop their project management skills. Intellectual property and copyright issues will be introduced.
‘Animation’ is the culmination of Level 4 studies for VFX students, in which 2D and 3D animation techniques and theories suitable for specific needs or contexts are explored and implemented. The students will design and rig animations, while also practicing academic writing skills by undertaking written analysis of moving images and animations.
Trimester 3
Introduction to VFX, students will be introduced to the VFX production pipeline and cinematography basics. Understanding the importance of research and shot analysis and also be taught dynamics for VFX.
The focus of this term will be to introduce students to the world of VFX, the vast pipelines and the importance of planning and research into setting up a successful VFX sequence. Analysis of the industry, developing core skills in compositing and the development of dynamic simulations for film and/or games.
You will learn the basics of dynamics systems and how VFX shots come together by combining multiple plates and systems. Analysis of VFX shots to understand the various skills and techniques utilised within the industry.
Techniques such as preparing shots, Advanced 3D modelling, texturing and lighting for film, production rendering and dynamics will be taught. Softwares such as Maya, Arnold render engine,, After effects, BiFrost and DMM, (or Houdini based off of licence availability)
A shot analysis of an existing production, a composition of a 3D asset into a live action backplate and a group dynamics simulation combining 3D assets and a selection of simulations.
Trimester 4
Animation fundamentals will be the focus of this term. Students will be taken through the 12 principles of animation and work on creating their own animation.
This term will focus on the principles of 3D animation for film or games utilising the established ‘12 principles of animation’. Tasked with creating a compelling and interactive animation short to demonstrate the knowledge gained through the term. Elements such as lip sync, interacting with an object (weapon, prop, character) and the importance of timing and shot sequencing.
12 Principles of animation, lipsync, interacting with an object, constraints and storytelling.
Animating in Maya by learning the tools, graph editor, constraints and importance of timing.
A short animation that will demonstrate understanding of the 12 principles of animation, interaction with an object and another character and lipsync.
Trimester 5
ASP- Advanced Specialist Project or Students will focus on the importance of composition. Looking at the techniques required for combining multiple plates such as CG into Live action
This term will provide the opportunity to further self-develop within a core industry skill by working on an ‘Advanced Specialist Project’ or furthering knowledge in composition and advanced techniques in VFX such as tracking and combining live action into CG or vice versa.
Students will develop a focus from what they have learned prior on the course and propose a project that will further their knowledge and understanding of a specific pipeline/skill. Or learning concepts such as tracking, composition fundamentals, lighting, cameras, colour grading, greenscreen.
Depending on the choice of project, students will further develop their skill and understanding of the various softwares taught, Or DSLr basics, lighting, greenscreen, tracking and final composition. Using Maya, After effects, Nuke, Houdini.
ASP project or a short self produced VFX shot that will demonstrate their understanding of production rendering, CG into live action, dynamics, greenscreen and composition. Producing and combining multiple plates for a final composition.
Trimester 6
This final module enables students pursuing the Visual Effects and Animation award to demonstrate their skills in a large scale, advanced level project.
The Major Project is the culmination of the undergraduate programme; it gives the student the opportunity to demonstrate their skills in a large scale, advanced level project. There are two options for the Major Project, detailed in (11b) below.

There is an expectation that the final deliverable for this programme will be of a calibre such that it demonstrates the student’s capacity to progress into professional practice or postgraduate studies.
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.

Bachelor or Animation Career Outcomes

What jobs will this course lead to?

Character Artist
Environment Artist
Technical Artist
Production Coordinator
Quality Assurance (QA)
Motion Designer
Lighting Artist
Lighting Artist/Lighting TD
Character Animator
Layout Artist
3D Generalist
Concept Artist
Graphic Designer
2D Artist
Rigging Technical Director (TD)
Freelance Artist
Animation/Art Intern
FX Artist
Roto Artist
Previs Artist
Matchmove Artist
Texture Artist
Look Development Artist
Pipeline TD
3D modeller
Visualisation Artist
Matte Painter
VFX Supervisor
Art Director

Student Spotlight

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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.



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