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 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%

of graduates in work or further study 15 months after this course

(HESA Graduate Outcomes Survey 2018/19)

TIGA graphic of a tiger with thick black sans-serif text below it
side-fx-houdini

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.

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.

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 – 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.

Try out 3D

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.

Be observational

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.

Explore composition

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

Centre for Creative and Immersive Extended Reality (CCIXR)

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

Discover the Centre

Motion Capture Suite

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

Explore Suite

Virtual Reality Lab

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

Explore the VR Lab

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

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 southeast 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 worked 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.

    A woman with blue hair standing in front of artwork

    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.

    Learn more about the Creative Careers team

    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

    Core modules

    What you'll do

     

      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).

      Additional content
       

       

      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 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).

      What you'll learn
      • Apply a range of modelling techniques to current and future animation projects
      • Appraise working methods in relation to industry practitioners
      • Appraise a range of industry projects to identify techniques and approaches
      • Research and evaluate the advantages and disadvantages of different methods of producing assets for animation & VFX

      Explore this module

      What you'll learn
      The learning outcomes of this module are:
      • Develop students' understanding of 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

      Explore this module

      What you'll learn
      The learning outcomes of this module are:
      • 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 effectively.
      • Select programming constructs appropriately to enable effective implementation of simple examples of computer animation algorithms and relate to potential computer animation pipelines.
      • Identify a range of syntactic and semantic errors in high-level computer programs.

      Explore this module

      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)
      What you'll learn
      The learning outcomes of this module are:
      • Apply the fundamentals of staging and cinematography for successfully conveying the visual requirements that support both the story and technical requirements of a film
      • Rapidly create a myriad of varied assets that meet professional standards and solve creative issues efficiently in industry standard software
      • Appraise the theoretical and practical aspects of Virtual Production technology to further results in the production process
      • Apply the various professional tools and techniques involved within a Virtual Production to their own projects

      Explore this module

      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
      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
      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
      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 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 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 learn
      The learning outcomes of this module are:
      • Reflect on their learning and experience to date and use this as a basis to plan and organise suitable work experience(s) that will enable the development of their professional profile.
      • Propose a programme of learning that enables the development and demonstration of specified professional skills.
      • Critically evaluate their learning and experience and relate this to their future career goals.
      • Communicate the outcomes of their experience, through the effective use of reflective practice.

      Explore this module

      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).

      Additional content
       

       

      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).

      What you'll learn

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

      • Research, design and develop a character and environment for use in real-time based on an industry-standard specification
      • Demonstrate the ability to develop character and environment model reference sheets and mood boards
      • Produce a 3D computer animation, presenting the character and environment using commercially appropriate real-time techniques based on an industry-appropriate specification
      Teaching activities

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

      Independent study time

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

      Assessment

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

      Additional content
       

       

        Core modules

        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)
        Additional content
         

         

          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).

          Additional content
           

           

          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)
          Additional content
           

           

            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).

            Additional content
             

             

            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).

            Additional content
             

             

            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).

            What you'll do

            You'll choose a VR application area to investigate in more depth, and apply the knowledge and skills you learn to develop a small VR project.

            What you'll learn

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

            • Compare and contrast VR applications and discuss their potential uses and current limitations
            • Critically review an area of VR application or research, exploring the main ideas and technologies and evaluating current approaches and theories
            • Evaluate approaches to design and planning, and demonstrate the ability to follow an appropriate methodology for designing a VR application
            • Demonstrate the ability to implement a VR project using appropriate hardware and software, including user documentation
            • Critically evaluate approaches to application testing, and perform structured testing as part of an iterative development cycle
            Teaching activities

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

            Independent study time

            We recommend you spend at least 140 hours studying independently. This is around 8.5 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
            • Demonstrate practical solutions to real problems using appropriate visual effect techniques
            • Apply a range of different kinds of physics simulations, and procedural dynamic effects
            • Analyse and reflect upon a library of reference works and observations, articulating how their research has informed and progressed the development

            Explore this module

            Changes to course content

            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. 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

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

            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 (2023 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 – £17,900 per year (subject to annual increase)

            Additional course costs

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

            Costs breakdown

            Our accommodation section show your accommodation options and highlight 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 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.