Computer Animation and Visual Effects BSc (Hons)

CGI render of lighthouse in forest
UCAS Code
II15
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 2022, September 2023
Accredited
Yes

Overview

The UK's animation and visual effects (VFX) industry leads the world in producing blockbuster visuals for entertainment media, reinventing their technical and creative capabilities. With indie talent also thriving in the South Coast, there’s no better place to start your visual effects career than at Portsmouth.

Our Computer Animation and Visual Effects degree course will help you build skills in key areas such as concept drawing, 3D animation, physics-based simulation, and compositing, with guidance from a team of industry experts from across the entertainment and advertising sectors. Using our spectacular facilities, software and equipment, you'll enhance your artistic and technical expertise and improve your research skills in the technology you'll work with, which is vital to your development as an all-round artist.

You can also specialise and develop your professional portfolio through placement opportunities, client projects and the modules you’ll choose from second year.

Transform yourself into an exceptional VFX artist, producer, animator, and stagecrafter at Portsmouth – ready to take the creative and communication industries by storm.

Course highlights

  • Maximise your creativity and learning by using world-class facilities like our Motion Capture Studio and Centre for Creative and Immersive Extended Reality – housing the most advanced cinematic-standard equipment and virtual production suites of any university
  • Familiarise yourself with professional software used in the industry, including NUKEX, Maya, 3DS Max, ZBrush, Houdini, Katana and Mari
  • Learn from a team of experts who are industry leaders across various entertainment and communication sectors, including film, animation, advertising and computer games
  • Collaborate with other students on other courses by getting involved in our annual University GameJam
  • Gain valuable industry experience by taking an optional placement
  • Take advantage of our strong industry links to build professional contacts, such as attending guest speaker lectures and the chance to win sponsored prizes for your final year project
  • Improve your language skills by studying a foreign language as part of the Institute-Wide Language Programme (IWLP)

90% Graduates in work or further study (HESA Graduate Outcomes Survey conducted in 2019)

TEF Gold Teaching Excellence Framework
TIGA graphic of a tiger with thick black sans-serif text below it

Accreditation

This course is professionally accredited by JAMES (Joint Audio Media Education Support) and SideFX as a Houdini Certified School.

We also work with visual effects studios, game developers and professional bodies such as TIGA (The Independent Games Association) to make sure the course stays up-to-date with industry trends.


In 2021, the University of Portsmouth was awarded Best Educational Institution at the TIGA Games Industry Awards.

Joint Audio Media Education Services

JAMES (Joint Audio Media Education Support)

JAMES is 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 industry when you graduate. JAMES reviews our accreditation every 3 years to ensure the course content is current and reflects industry developments, so you’ll always be learning the most relevant skills.

Graphic of black spiral on orange square with white Houdini Certified School underneath

Houdini Certified School (SideFX)

The Houdini Certified School accreditation recognises a course's high calibre of instructor knowledge, exemplary student work, and commitment to connecting students to industry. In return, students can access promotional and sponsorship opportunities from commercial studios, as well as support from SideFX to enhance their learning and employability, such as webinars, class presentations and portfolio reviews.

Watch our BSc (Hons) Computer Animation and Visual Effects 2021 showreel

See highlights of the best work from our Computer Animation and Visual Effects 2021 graduates.

Entry requirements​

BSc (Hons) Computer Animation and Visual Effects

Typical offers
  • A levels – BBB–BBC
  • UCAS points – 112–120 points (calculate your UCAS points)
  • T levels – Merit
  • BTECs (Extended Diplomas) – DDM–DMM
  • International Baccalaureate – 25

You may need to have studied specific subjects – see full entry requirements and other qualifications we accept

Selection process

You may be asked for a portfolio of work to support your application.

For more information on how to put together a portfolio, read our BSc (Hons) Computer Animation with Visual Effects portfolio guide.

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

We also accept other standard English tests and qualifications, as long as they meet the minimum requirements of your course.

If you don't meet the English language requirements yet, you can achieve the level you need by successfully completing a pre-sessional English programme before you start your course.

Typical offers
  • A levels – ABB–BBC
  • UCAS points – 112–128 points (calculate your UCAS points)
  • T levels – Merit
  • BTECs (Extended Diplomas) – DDM–DMM
  • International Baccalaureate – 25

You may need to have studied specific subjects – see full entry requirements and other qualifications we accept

Selection process

You may be asked for a portfolio of work to support your application.

For more information on how to put together a portfolio, read our BSc (Hons) Computer Animation with Visual Effects portfolio guide.

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

We also accept other standard English tests and qualifications, as long as they meet the minimum requirements of your course.

If you don't meet the English language requirements yet, you can achieve the level you need by successfully completing a pre-sessional English programme before you start your course.

How to prepare for this Computer Animation and Visual Effects degree

Our course lets you explore the technical and artistic aspects of computer animation and visual effects, so you can prepare for the diverse work you’ll be creating in a variety of ways. Here are a few key ones.

A 3D rendering of a camera

Try out 3D

Play around with 3D production to familiarise yourself with the interfaces and workflows you'll encounter during the course, since you'll be working with 3D rendering software and equipment a lot. Free software like Blender will get you started working with 3D.

Life drawing of a platter of pumpkins

Be observational

Being able to observe shape, form and texture is a boost to your creativity. Drawing abilities are optional but desirable, especially if you want to become an animator. Take up drawing opportunities, like life drawing, to study the human form and other objects.

A bronze statue of a Disney character

Explore composition

Having an eye for composition is also an asset, particularly if you plan to work in film.  You can develop this ability by experimenting with photography, videomaking, or other activities requiring you to set the scene or compose optimal imagery through a lens.

 

Facilities and specialist kit

Television broadcasting hub

CCIXR

Create stunning works for film, TV, music, gaming and immersive reality in the UK's first integrated facility of its kind.

Explore CCIXR

Two men fighting with mocap suit and VR headset

Motion Capture Studio

Our studio is decked with all you need for visual effects, gaming and other virtual productions.

Explore Studio 

VR headset, controller, and keyboard

Virtual Reality (VR) Lab

Our VR lab boasts the latest immersive and interactive technologies used by the ever-evolving VR industry.

Explore VR Lab

Student using a Wacom tablet

Wacom Studio

Design eye-catching illustrations, animations, and layouts in our 20-seat PC studio with industry-leading Wacom Cintiq widescreen graphics tablets.

Explore Studio

A hand holding a camera with viewfinder on

Equipment loan stores

Whatever your work, you can borrow computers and professional-standard film, photography, lighting, and performance equipment from our loan stores in the Faculty of Creative and Cultural Industries. 

Careers and opportunities

The computer animation and VFX industry continues to grow as volume demand increases and increasingly complex effects require innovations in technologies and workflows. The sector’s unique fusion of art (in its traditional and modern forms and techniques) and science (via the advanced hardware and software used) offers fascinating career, research, and education enhancement opportunities for graduates.

London is home to six of the world's largest award-winning visual effects companies, many of whom we have strong industry connections with, and independent effects studios are emerging in the south east of England. Our Master's degrees in Creative Technologies and Computer Animation are natural progressions for graduates who wish to research more into the science behind their skills.

Graduate roles

Many of our graduates have worked in roles such as:

  • Serial riggers
  • Animators
  • Motion capture technicians
  • Stagecrafter
  • Freelance artists

Graduate destinations

Many of our graduates have gone on to work at either the University of Portsmouth or multi-award-winning special effects companies behind some of the biggest film and television franchises in the world. These include:

  • Industrial Light & Magic (The Mandalorian, The Irishman, Black Panther)
  • Moving Picture Company (1917, The Lion King) 
  • Double Negative (DNEG) (Tenet, Chernobyl, Blade Runner 2049, Black Mirror, Ex Machina)
  • Milk VFX (Ex Machina, Doctor Who, Sherlock)
  • Framestore (Blade Runner 2049, The Midnight Sky, Guardians of the Galaxy 2: Marvel)
Alumni profile: Emily Bisset, Freelance 3D Artist
Find out about Emily's life and success after university

Emily Bisset graduated in 2020 with a Computer Animation and Visual Effects degree from the University of Portsmouth. She's now a Freelance 3D Artist. Find out what Emily's role entails and how she’s applying the skills she learnt during her time at Portsmouth.

Placement year (optional)

Between your second and third year, you can complete an optional work placement to gain professional experience and enhance your skills. It's also a great incentive for employers once you graduate.

You can work for a company, organisation or agency, or you can go self-employed and start your own business with fellow students or by yourself.

Whatever you decide – or even if you just want some employability advice – our exclusive Creative Careers team can support you every step of the way.

Creative Careers

Our in-faculty Creative Careers team has extensive recruitment experience and knows the creative sector well, making it easier for students to find placements within the creative industries.

They can guide you through every step of the application process, including:

  • Searching for the ideal job through their database of vacancies
  • Giving tips on how to write an interesting CV that will catch employers' attention, no matter the role
  • Organising mock interviews, so you can hone your technique and familiarise yourself with the recruitment environment
  • Writing your startup business proposal – if you're going down the self-employment route

The team will continue to give you support throughout your placement year.

Placement experiences

Our previous placement students have worked in a wide range of technical roles, including compositing, rigging, texturing, and modeling.

Many of them have gained their industry experience in our leading facilities at the University, including CCIXR. Others have completed their placements at a number of renowned companies, including:

  • Industrial Light & Magic
  • Framestore
  • Moving Picture Company (MPC)
  • Procter & Gamble

Featured placement

Krit Singhania – Procter & Gamble

Krit, working as a Research and Development intern, reveals the highlights of his placement experience – including some of the fascinating programming and VR projects he's working on.

Read about Krit's placement

What you'll study

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, four modules worth 20 credits and one module worth 40 credits.

Modules

Year 1
Year 2
Year 3

Core modules

What you'll learn

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

  • Recognise, identify, and select the contents of an effective online portfolio, whilst utilising appropriate technology.
  • Build personal and interpersonal skills that help access to future careers.
  • Develop an understanding of the academic skills vital to a degree level student, and identify available support services.
Teaching activities

On this module you'll attend lectures.

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 a portfolio (100% of final mark).

What you'll do

You'll go to theory-based lectures and do practical experimentation during supervised workshops.

What you'll learn

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

  • Apply appropriate modelling and animation methods to specific cases
  • Evaluate the underlying principles of traditional 3D modelling
Teaching activities

On this module you'll attend lectures and workshops.

Independent study time

We recommend you spend at least 164 hours studying independently. This is around 10 hours a week over the duration of the module.

Assessment

On this module, you'll be assessed through:

  • a 90-minute exam (30% of final mark)
  • a coursework assessment (70% of final mark)

 

What you'll do

You'll study the principles of compositing, which involves seamlessly integrating digital assets into still and live-action footage, to bring together the final shot in an animation/film/game.  You'll also explore the creation of visual effects (VFX).

What you'll learn

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

  • Understand the use and role of compositing in Visual Effects (VFX)
  • Create and manipulate various still and moving images using a range of VFX compositing techniques
  • Select and apply an appropriate range of compositing skills to projects
Teaching activities

On this module you'll attend lectures and practical classes.

Independent study time

We recommend you spend at least 164 hours studying independently. This is around 10 hours a week over the duration of the module.

Assessment

On this module, you'll be assessed through two pieces of coursework (each 50% of final mark).

What you'll do

You'll focus on areas specific to computer animation, such as weight and timing, and central concepts such as emotion.

What you'll learn

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

  • Use basic animation skills
  • Demonstrate the basic principles of animation and use a selection of animation and software skills
  • Co-ordinate files used in different applications
  • Demonstrate media and file management processes
  • Apply your understanding of the principles of animation in an original animation
Teaching activities
  • 24 x 2-hour practical classes
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:

  • 2 x coursework (each worth 50% of final mark)

What you'll learn

You'll learn underpinning mathematical concepts and explore advanced programming techniques for production of computer animations.

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

  • Demonstrate understanding of technical programming terminology in appropriate high-level programming environments
  • Use an integrated software development environment to implement simple examples of computer animation assets
  • Select programming constructs appropriately, to enable effective implementation of simple examples of computer animation algorithms and relate to potential computer animation pipelines
  • Identify syntactic and semantic errors in high-level computer programs
Teaching activities

On this module you'll attend lectures and practical classes.

Independent study time

We recommend you spend at least 130 hours studying independently. This is around 4 hours a week over the duration of the module.

Assessment

On this module, you'll be assessed through:

  • a 90-minute practical exercise (40% of final mark)
  • a portfolio (60% of final mark)

What you’ll do

In practical workshops, you'll investigate observational drawing, ideas generation, basic modelling, texturing and animation in 3D animation software, and narrative development.

What you’ll learn

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

  • Demonstrate observational skills using traditional drawing media
  • Demonstrate basic technical principles of visual communication
  • Research, design and develop a concept for a computer animation
  • Demonstrate the software skills to produce a basic computer animation
Teaching activities

On this module you'll attend practical classes.

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 2 x portfolios (each worth 50% of final mark).

Core modules

What you'll do

On this module, you'll explore the CGI Lighting and Look Development skills related to the role of the Lighting Technical Director.

What you'll learn

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

  • Create efficient visual effect pipelines between various commercial CGI applications
  • Develop artistic and cinematic aesthetics in your work, using appropriate technological solutions
  • Articulate, analyse and reflect upon your work using the languages of art/cinema and maths/science
Teaching activities

On this module you'll attend practical classes and supervised workshops.

Independent study time

We recommend you spend at least 152 hours studying independently. This is around 9 hours a week over the duration of the module.

Assessment

On this module, you'll be assessed through:

  • a coursework portfolio (100% of final mark)

What you'll do

You'll build an understanding of research methods, ethics and practices, and develop skills in project definition and scoping.

What you'll learn

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

  • Demonstrate an understanding of the nature, uses and limitations of various research methods appropriate to your studies
  • Identify and evaluate appropriate research methods for a specified piece of independent study
  • Prepare a project initiation/proposal document on a specified topic that covers deliverables, scope, feasibility, risk analysis, resource requirements, planning schedule and any foreseeable legal/ethical/health and safety issues
  • Write a preliminary review of literature on a specified topic in accordance with the principles of good scholarship
  • Investigate and identify the qualifications, skillset, entry points and career opportunities in relation to a specific career
  • Identify your strengths, weaknesses and preferences in relation to a specific career 
Teaching activities

On this module you'll attend lectures and tutorials.

Independent study time

We recommend you spend at least 162 hours studying independently. This is around 10 hours a week over the duration of the module.

Assessment

On this module, you'll be assessed through:

  • a 1-hour exam (25% of final mark)
  • a 3,000-word portfolio (75% of final mark)

Optional modules

What you'll do

You'll take this optional module as part of the second year of your course.

What you'll learn

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

  • Manage and complete tasks in an overseas study environment relevant to your course, with an appropriate level of skill, independence and performance
  • Reflect on your personal development and how your employability prospects have been enhanced by the exchange
Teaching activities

N/A

Independent study time

N/A

Assessment

On this module, you'll be assessed through a 2,000-word report (100% of final mark).

What you’ll learn

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

  • Work independently with less need for supervision and direction
  • Communicate a detailed knowledge of the contexts of business and industry-specific practices relevant to your chosen field
  • Demonstrate awareness of ideas, contexts and frameworks within self-employment, freelancing or business start-ups
  • Develop professional working relationships within industry/business disciplines
  • Proactively evaluate your strengths and weaknesses, and develop your own criteria and judgement relating to your business practice, future learning and future employability goals
Teaching activities

N/A

Independent study time

N/A

Assessment

On this module, you'll be assessed through a portfolio (100% of final mark).

What you’ll learn

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

  • Work independently with less need for supervision and direction
  • Communicate a detailed knowledge of the contexts of business and industry-specific practices relevant to your chosen field
  • Demonstrate awareness of ideas, contexts and frameworks within your chosen area of employment
  • Develop professional working relationships within industry/business disciplines
  • Proactively evaluate your strengths and weaknesses, and develop your own criteria and judgement relating to your business practice, future learning and future employability goals
Teaching activities

N/A

Independent study time

N/A

Assessment

On this module, you'll be assessed through a portfolio (100% of final mark).

What you'll learn

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

  • Implement common animation concepts
  • Use script modelling and animation within a proprietary computer animation software package.
  • Structure programs to meet the specific demands of animation programming
  • Use modelling and animation plugins/libraries to generate standalone applications for tool building or research and development
  • Demonstrate Python programming skills
Teaching activities
  • 12 x 2-hour practical classes and workshops
  • 12 x 1-hour tutorials
Independent study time

We recommend you spend at least 164 hours studying independently. This is around 10 hours a week over the duration of the module.

Assessment

On this module, you'll be assessed through:

  • project-based coursework (80% of final mark)
  • a 2,000-word report (20% of final mark)

What you'll learn

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

  • Apply drawing to record structure, texture, shape, proportion of animal forms
  • Understand the relationship between visual research methodologies and the design process
  • Implement industry-relevant work at a threshold-industry level
  • Operate successfully in an industry production environment
Teaching activities

On this module you'll attend practical classes.

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:

  • a coursework portfolio (100% of final mark)

What you'll do

You'll use technical, performance, illustrative and narrative techniques to underpin the development of a 3D animation artefact.

What you'll learn

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

  • Apply and assess ideas relevant to a design brief
  • Articulate an idea or narrative visually
  • Apply computer-based visualisation to develop skills in composition, organisation, observation and interpretation
  • Apply the software skills necessary to produce a computer animation
Teaching activities

On this module you'll attend practical classes.

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:

  • a portfolio (100% of final mark)

What you'll do

You'll do this by engaging in interdisciplinary work, developing an appreciation of other creative disciplines and understanding how professionals collaborate.

What you'll learn

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

  • Demonstrate independent, analytical and creative attributes
  • Demonstrate the ability to be an effective team player, able to provide leadership and to support the success of others
  • Communicate clearly and effectively using various methods and to different audiences
Teaching activities

On this module you'll work independently and in groups with regular tutorial support, and also attend some briefings and lectures.

Independent study time

We recommend you spend at least 176 hours studying independently. This is around 10.5 hours a week over the duration of the module.

Assessment

On this module, you'll be assessed through:

  • a group presentation (40% of final mark)
  • an individual portfolio (40% of final mark)
  • a 1,000-word report (20% of final mark)

What you'll learn

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

  • Demonstrate entry-level skills in rotoscoping, paint, wire/rig removal and restoration for visual effects
  • Judge which techniques to use to get a satisfactory high-quality result using the least amount of time and resources, and know when to use 2D or 2.5 techniques in situations that merit it
  • Articulate, analyse and reflect upon your work using technical terms used in the VFX industry
Teaching activities

On this module you'll attend practical classes and workshops.

Independent study time

We recommend you spend at least 160 hours studying independently. This is around 10 hours a week over the duration of the module.

Assessment

On this module, you'll be assessed through:

  • a portfolio (100% of final mark)

What you'll do

You'll gain an appreciation of working practice and learn how to analyse appropriate use of simulations and effects.

What you'll learn

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

  • Demonstrate practical solutions to real problems using appropriate visual effect techniques
  • Apply different kinds of physics simulations and procedural-based effects
  • Analyse and reflect upon a library of reference works and observations, articulating how their research has informed and progressed the development of flexible pipelines and software interoperability
Teaching activities

On this module you'll attend practical classes.

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 a portfolio (100% of final mark).

What you'll learn

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

  • Extract motion data professionally across various film/digital image sequences
  • Generate successful renders of test geometry that conform to motion within a shot
  • Articulate, analyse and reflect on your work using technical terms used in the VFX industry
  • Design, plan and execute a VFX shoot that successfully captures all the required data to reconstruct a live action image sequence in a 3D virtual environment
  • Demonstrate proficiency using industry-standard 3D tracking software
Teaching activities

On this module you'll attend lectures, practical classes and workshops, and supervised time in the studio/workshop.

Independent study time

We recommend you spend at least 162 hours studying independently. This is around 5 hours a week over the duration of the module.

Assessment

On this module, you'll be assessed on:

  • a coursework portfolio (100% of final mark)

What you'll do

You'll enter at the appropriate level for your existing language knowledge. If you combine this module with language study in your first or third year, you can turn this module into a certificated course that is aligned with the Common European Framework for Languages (CEFRL).

What you'll learn

When you complete this module:

  • You'll have improved your linguistic skills in Arabic, British Sign Language, Italian, Japanese, Mandarin, French, German or Spanish
  • You'll be prepared for Erasmus study abroad
Teaching activities
  • 12 x 2-hour seminars
Independent study time

We recommend you spend at least 176 hours studying independently. This is around 10 hours a week over the duration of the module.

Assessment

On this module, you'll be assessed through: 

  • coursework (100% of final mark) 

What you'll do

You'll cover planning, producing and delivering concise materials, addressing the specific creative needs of a studio client using the CCI Motion Capture Suite, and industry-standard software.

What you'll learn

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

  • Apply the fundamentals of staging and cinematography to successfully convey the visual requirements that support story in film
  • Quickly create assets that meet professional pre-visualisation standards and solve creative issues efficiently in industry-standard software
  • Appraise the theoretical and practical aspects of virtual production technology to improve the previs production process
  • Demonstrate understanding of the technical aspects of breaking down a script into a practical and functional previs
  • Apply the professional tools and techniques involved in a virtual production
Teaching activities
  • 12 x 1-hour practical classes and workshops
  • 12 x 1-hour supervised learning sessions
Independent study time

We recommend you spend at least 176 hours studying independently. This is around 10.5 hours a week over the duration of the module.

Assessment

On this module, you'll be assessed through:

  • a portfolio (100% of final mark)

What you'll learn

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

  • Identify future career goals and reflect on these to develop a personal development plan (programme of learning), which includes suitable work experience and skills/knowledge development opportunities
  • Arrange suitable work experience, engage with personal development opportunities and analyse relevant literature relating to enhancing your employment opportunities
  • Critically evaluate and articulate your learning (knowledge, skills and attributes) in relation to your future career goals
Teaching activities

On this module you'll take part in work-based learning and attend lectures.

Independent study time

We recommend you spend at least 188 hours doing work-based learning or studying independently. This is around 11 hours a week over the duration of the module.

Assessment

On this module, you'll be assessed through:

  • a 1,000-word report (20% of final mark)
  • a 3,000-word report (80% of final mark)

What you'll do

You'll also have an opportunity to develop an understanding of how to run a computer animation project.

What you'll learn

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

  • Demonstrate a fundamental understanding of character modelling, with an emphasis on topology in relation to the animation requirements
  • Model complex organic characters with attention to shape and form using industry-standard 3D sculpting packages
  • Create varied character rigs that meet the artistic and technical requirements of a project
  • Explain the steps and procedures involved in building models and rigs within the context of professional studio pipeline
  • Develop custom techniques and procedures to meet the creative needs of a client whilst maintaining technical integrity
Teaching activities

On this module you'll attend a lecture, practical classes and supervised study sessions.

Independent study time

We recommend you spend at least 165 hours studying independently. This is around 5 hours a week over the duration of the module.

Assessment

On this module, you'll be assessed by a portfolio (100% of final mark).

What you'll do

You'll form a small group (typically with 4 other students) and work through areas such as designing, manufacturing and pitching ideas. The knowledge and skill you will get through this module will help you to run your own business, but are also transferable skills you can use in many other careers.

What you'll learn

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

  • Analyse the complexities of launching a start up business
  • Critically reflect upon the factors which contribute towards successful market research, marketing, manufacturing and selling
  • Recognise suitability for specific roles in business and collaborative working
Teaching activities

On this module you'll attend lectures.

Independent study time

We recommend you spend at least 176 hours studying independently (including group work). This is around 10.5 hours a week over the duration of the module.

Assessment

On this module, you'll be assessed through a portfolio (100% of final mark).

Core modules

What you'll do

You'll use your skills to prepare an animation piece.

What you'll learn

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

  • Critically analyse and evaluate developments in creative media and their application
  • Critically reflect on the utility and compatibility of different new media applications to support individual specialist understanding
Teaching activities

On this module you'll attend lectures, tutorials and demonstrations.

Independent study time

We recommend you spend at least 166 hours studying independently. This is around 10 hours a week over the duration of the module.

Assessment

On this module, you'll be assessed through:

  • a 1,500-word report (20% of final mark)
  • a presentation (30% of final mark)
  • coursework (50% of final mark)

What you'll learn

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

  • Develop personal strategies for identifying and critically analysing opportunities for ongoing professional development
  • Identify and critically evaluate your chosen industry's relationship with technology and social cultural 'change' and understand the impact of this on your career
  • Evidence contemporary and innovative professional practice relating to current and emerging industry requirements through your portfolio
Teaching activities

On this module you'll attend practical lab sessions and seminars.

Independent study time

We recommend you spend at least 164 hours studying independently. This is around 10 hours a week over the duration of the module.

Assessment

On this module, you'll be assessed through:

  • 1 x 1,000-word coursework assignment (30% of final mark)
  • 1 x 1,500-word coursework portfolio (70% of final mark)

What you'll do

You'll prepare and implement a major project requiring a high level of self-management. You'll develop and demonstrate the professional, academic and technical skills required when defining and managing preparatory aspects of your project.

You'll have the choice to develop your practice by creating a practical piece of media or conducting a research study.

What you’ll learn

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

  • Initiate and manage an individual practice and/or creative and/or research project
  • Conduct a critical scholarly review of existing work in the selected domain with an account of your own work
  • Demonstrate and justify the choices made and approaches taken to the solution of the project problem
  • Communicate the outcomes of your project activities in a professional and scholarly way
Teaching activities
  • 12 hours of tutorials with a supervisor who'll support you through the module
  • 12 hours of lectures
Independent study time

We recommend you spend at least 376 hours studying independently. This is around 11 hours a week over the duration of the module.

Assessment

On this module, you'll be assessed through:

  • a 15-minute oral assessment and presentation (15% of final mark)
  • a 7,000-word dissertation (85% of final mark)

Optional modules

What you'll learn

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

  • Layer and combine composited elements into a cohesive whole
  • Create seemingly photo-realistic or seamless images using a variety of VFX industry methodologies
  • Articulate, analyse and reflect on your work using VFX industry technical terms
Teaching activities

On this module you'll attend tutorials and practical classes.

Independent study time

We recommend you spend at least 164 hours studying independently. This is around 13.5 hours a week over the duration of the module.

Assessment

On this module, you'll be assessed through a portfolio (100% of final mark).

What you'll learn

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

  • Construct a series of varied rigs including characters, vehicle, cloth and prop set-ups that meet professional standards and solve creative issues efficiently
  • Confidently and successfully collaborate as a team member with other disciplines such as modelling and animation
  • Design various procedures using industry-standard software to replicate effects such as muscles, skin and rigid bodies
  • Explain the fundamentals of functional anatomy (joints, bones, skeletons) through an analytical exploration of the inner mechanics of articulated forms
  • Critically evaluate rigging systems and processes, and articulate, analyse and reflect upon your work using technical terms from the VFX industry
Teaching activities

On this module you'll attend a lecture and practical classes.

Independent study time

We recommend you spend at least 166 hours studying independently. This is around 10 hours a week over the duration of the module.

Assessment

On this module, you'll be assessed through:

  • a coursework portfolio (100% of final mark)

What you'll do

The tasks you'll cover relate to the role of an effects animator or effects technical director in the VFX industry.

What you'll learn

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

  • Demonstrate practical solutions to real problems using appropriate visual effect techniques
  • Apply different types of physics simulations, and procedural dynamic effects
  • Analyse and reflect on a library of reference works and observations, articulating how their research has informed and progressed the development of flexible pipelines and software interoperability
Teaching activities

On this module you'll attend tutorials and workshops.

Independent study time

We recommend you spend at least 167 hours studying independently. This is around 10 hours a week over the duration of the module.

Assessment

On this module, you'll be assessed through a portfolio (100% of final mark).

What you’ll do

You'll use your new skills to prepare an animation piece.

What you’ll learn

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

  • Critically interpret, analyse and explain data and information relating to specific areas of computer animation and modelling
  • Critically evaluate the effects of different computer animation related techniques – for example, modelling, animation, lighting techniques and rigging
  • Select and use a range of appropriate animation related techniques
  • Understand proportion and apply as it relates to relationships between animation modelling and rigging
Teaching activities

24 x 2-hour lectures.

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 2 x coursework assessments (50% of final mark, each).

What you'll do

You'll explore this through the use of the CCI Motion Capture Suite and industry-standard software.

What you'll learn

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

  • Appraise theoretical and practical aspects of performance capture technology to understand the character animation production process
  • Demonstrate an understanding of the technical aspects of 3D character animation and performance capture technology
  • Demonstrate the ability to apply the appropriate judgement and techniques needed to ensure that the fidelity of an actor's performance is preserved, from capture to data delivery as effectively as possible
Teaching activities

On this module you'll attend a combination of workshops and practical classes.

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).

What you'll learn

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

  • Critically assess the trade offs made to optimise the performance of your product, and the specialised techniques and software you use to achieve them
  • Design, develop and critically assess a real-time interactive digital media project
  • Design, develop, analyse and evaluate a user interface or the application of sound (and/or music) in the context of a real-time interactive digital media project
  • Analyse, develop, evaluate and critically reflect upon your personal development throughout the project
  • Develop and analyse an awareness and understanding of team dynamics, including the practical application of project management and production methods
Teaching activities

On this module you'll attend lectures and project supervision.

Independent study time

We recommend you spend at least 380 hours studying independently (by yourself or in your group). This is around 11.5 hours a week over the duration of the module.

Assessment

On this module, you'll be assessed through:

  • an oral presentation (20% of final mark)
  • an oral presentation (80% of final mark)

What you'll learn

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

  • Critically assess the trade offs made to optimise the performance of your product, and the specialised techniques and software you use to achieve them
  • Design, develop and critically assess a real-time interactive digital media project
  • Design, develop, analyse and evaluate a user interface or the application of sound (and/or music) in the context of a real-time interactive digital media project
  • Analyse, develop, evaluate and critically reflect upon your personal development throughout the project
  • Develop and analyse an awareness and understanding of team dynamics, including the practical application of project management and production methods
Teaching activities

On this module you'll attend lectures and project supervision.

Independent study time

We recommend you spend at least 380 hours studying independently (by yourself or in your group). This is around 11.5 hours a week over the duration of the module.

Assessment

On this module, you'll be assessed through a report (100% of final mark).

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:

  • practical projects
  • work portfolios
  • academic and evaluative essays
  • multiple choice tests
  • oral presentations
  • examinations
  • case studies

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.

Teaching

Teaching methods on this course include:

  • lectures
  • digital lab sessions
  • e-learning
  • projects
  • seminars
  • one-on-one tutorials

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

For more about the teaching activities for specific modules, see the module list above.

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.

We're planning for most of your learning to be supported by timetabled face-to-face teaching with some elements of online provision. Please be aware, the balance between face-to-face teaching and online provision may change depending on Government restrictions. You'll also do lots of independent study with support from staff and our virtual learning environment, Moodle. Find out more about how our teaching has transformed to best support your learning.

A typical week

We recommend you spend at least 35 hours a week studying for your Computer Animation and Visual Effects degree. In your first year, you’ll be in timetabled teaching activities such as lectures, seminars, practical classes, workshops and supervised studio sessions 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 dates

The academic year runs from September to June. There are breaks at Christmas and Easter.

See term dates

Supporting your learning

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 support via video, phone and face-to-face from teaching and support staff to enhance your learning experience and help you succeed. You can build your personalised network of support from the following people and services:

Types of support

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.

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.

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

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.

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 5.00pm to midnight at busy times of the year.

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

Our online Learning Well mini-course will help you plan for managing the challenges of learning and student life, so you can fulfil your potential and have a great student experience.

You can get personal, emotional and mental health support from our Student Wellbeing Service, in person and online. This includes 1-2-1 support as well as courses and workshops that help you better manage stress, anxiety or depression.

If you require extra support because of a disability or additional learning need our specialist team can help you.

They'll help you to:

  • discuss and agree on reasonable adjustments
  • liaise with other University services and facilities, such as the library
  • access specialist study skills and strategies tutors, and assistive technology tutors, on a 1-to-1 basis or in groups
  • liaise with external services

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.

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 In-Sessional English (ISE) programme to improve your English further.

​Course costs and funding

Tuition fees (2022 start)

  • UK/Channel Islands and Isle of Man students – £9,250 per year (may be subject to annual increase)
  • EU students – £9,250 a year (including Transition Scholarship – may be subject to annual increase)
  • International students – £17,000 per year (subject to annual increase)

Funding your studies

Find out how to fund your studies, including the scholarships and bursaries you could get. You can also find more about tuition fees and living costs, including what your tuition fees cover.

Applying from outside the UK? Find out about funding options for international students.

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.

Costs breakdown

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

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

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.

If you take a placement year or study abroad year, tuition fees for that year are as follows:

  • UK/Channel Islands and Isle of Man students – £925 a year (may be subject to annual increase)
  • EU students – £925 a year, including Transition Scholarship (may be subject to annual increase)
  • International students – £1,800 a year (subject to annual increase)

Apply

How to apply

To start this course in 2022, apply through UCAS. You'll need:

  • the UCAS course code – II15
  • our institution code – P80

If you'd prefer to apply directly, use our online application form.

You can also sign up to an Open Day to:

  • Tour our campus, facilities and halls of residence
  • Speak with lecturers and chat with our students 
  • Get information about where to live, how to fund your studies and which clubs and societies to join

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

To start this course in 2023, apply through UCAS. You'll need:

  • the UCAS course code – II15
  • our institution code – P80

If you'd prefer to apply directly, use our online application form.

You can also sign up to an Open Day to:

  • Tour our campus, facilities and halls of residence
  • Speak with lecturers and chat with our students 
  • Get information about where to live, how to fund your studies and which clubs and societies to join

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

How to apply from outside the UK

See the 'How to apply' section above for details of how to apply. You can also 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. 

If you don't meet the English language requirements for this course yet, you can achieve the level you need by successfully completing a pre-sessional English programme before you start your course.

Admissions terms and conditions

When you accept an offer to study at the University of Portsmouth, you also agree to abide by our Student Contract (which includes the University's relevant policies, rules and regulations). You should read and consider these before you apply.