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BA (Hons) Visual Effects

UCAS CODE: VEF1
TARIFF: 88 - 112
  • Study Mode: Full time
  • Location: High Wycombe / BNU based at Pinewood Studios
  • Duration: Three Years
  • Start Date: September 2022

You can also study this course:

Do you want to bring stories to life through visual effects? Do you want to work in a fast paced industry? Do you want to see your work on the big screen? Then this course could be for you. Using the latest techniques in 3D computer graphics you’ll create stunning objects and characters. We will teach you how to put these into real life footage to make believable scenes that will wow audiences.
Split between our High Wycombe campus and BNU teaching base at Pinewood Studios, you’ll have the opportunity to learn the skills and knowledge you need for your future, all whilst studying right in the heart of the famous creative hub.
Our creative briefs and projects will help you become an expert storyteller in the form of visual effects and upon graduation make your portfolio shine.
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Open Days

We understand that when it comes to deciding where you’d like to study, there are a lot of things to consider. Come along to our Open Day and discover why BNU could be the place for you. You can find out more about your course, meet the course team, and get all your questions answered.

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Application Guide

For everything you need to know about applying, check out our Application Guide. You can find useful information for each stage of your application journey – from before you even apply to what to do if you receive an offer, and everything in between.   

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Students' Union

At BNU, we believe in putting our students first. That’s why we’re the only university in the UK to offer free access to such a diverse and exciting range of activities through our SU – all to enrich your university experience.

Why study this subject?

Whether it is 3D, FX techniques or digital sculpting, a skilled Visual Effects artist can create the illusion of real life and all roles call for high levels of creativity and passion for storytelling.

Your skills will be valuable in any Visual Effects role, including but not limited too;

  • Commercials
  • Films
  • Games
  • Architectural Visualisation
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Why study at Buckinghamshire New University?

There are plenty of reasons for you study Visual Effects at Buckinghamshire New University and here are just a few of them:

  • You'll get the best of both words – University and the industry. Our course gives you the opportunity to explore our High Wycombe campus, as well as our BNU base at Pinewood Studios
  • You’ll have access to our industry standard equipment, including a VR lab, renderfarm, motion capture studio, and state or the art face capture kit and Xsens suits.
  • At BNU we offer small classes across the board, meaning you gain a close-knit community and plenty of one-on-one contact and support with your tutor.
  • You'll be studying a completely practical course – we focus on what you need to know for a career in Visual Effects; you’ll keep a reflective journal, and learn to give presentations like the professionals. From groom and clothing, to bringing a character to life you’ll be hands-on in gaining the skills you need.

We’ve structured the course to build up your skills during your three years here. If you have no experience of Visual Effects, you’ll get to grips with tools and techniques in your first year, learning to develop great models for yourself. We cover everything you’ll need to create realistic scenes and believable, engaging characters.

What facilities can I use?

We’ve made sure you have access to industry-standard equipment. Our labs give you access to Maya, Nuke, Adobe Creative Cloud, Substance, Renderman and ZBrush. Most of our 3D animation is currently done in Maya. To combine live TV with computer graphics you will use VizRT. For modelling you’ll use ZBrush, Marvellous Designer and a range of other pieces of software commonly used in industry. We review the list every year.

We have the latest equipment used in many films, TV shows and commercials. A motion capture studio, renderfarm, and even VR facilities for this increasingly important area in delivery and development. You’ll have access to a stop motion studio and up-to-date camera equipment.

What will I study?                           

This course covers everything you need to know to be career-ready upon graduation. Starting with the fundamentals, in your first year you’ll learn the basics of CGI skills and the fundamentals of animation.

You’ll use 3D modelling to create objects and characters and learn about the pipeline of a professional project. Throughout your degree, you’ll learn how to integrate your objects and characters into existing footage to create stunning scenes, which could even include destruction simulation You’ll also learn how to build an organic character using industry standard sculpting and character FX techniques.

By your final year, you’ll have found the specialism you want to focus on in the industry. Your projects will give you the opportunity to hone your skills, work in realistic industry scenarios and have opportunities to collaborate with students on other creative courses at the University.

Your main base will be at our High Wycombe campus, and from there you’ll spend a number of days visiting our BNU teaching base at Pinewood Studios. These will both inspire you and help you to understand what the industry of today is really up to.

Whilst studying with us you will also use our AppsAnywhere web service, which provides access to many of the software applications you use for learning and studying. AppsAnywhere can be used from your own device or from a University owned PC or laptop, from any location.

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How will I be taught and assessed?

Our lecturers, tutors and mentors offer an industry-experienced approach to the course and modules you will complete. Many of our staff have worked on major productions and have great track records at training talented new digital artists.

You’ll also have the opportunity to work with guest lecturers, take part in a range of workshops and work on a load of live briefs. With the busy nature of the studios, and London being so close, there will be a constant flow of talented animators for you to learn from.

Because exams are not very useful in assessing the artistic capability of a Visual Effects Artist, we focus on portfolio-based coursework instead. To be well prepared for the demanding professional world, you will need to work really hard on your skills throughout the course.

You'll be assessed through individual and group projects which put what you’ve learnt into practice. We work with the Visual Effects industry to ensure what you learn during your time on this course is all relevant and up-to-date with what employers are looking for.

Placements Plus

BNU is a Placements Plus university. So, whatever degree you do, you can be sure there’ll be plenty of industry-relevant opportunities on offer, to help you get into your chosen field.

We’ll also prepare you for work beforehand, with special skills for work training, further boosting your CV, and building skills employers will value. In recognition of the value we place on these skills we have incorporated this experience into your study time.

Placements Plus is all about helping you get some valuable experience under your belt while you’re a student, to increase your choices later, and help you get the graduate-level job you want.

Useful documents

BA (Hons) Visual Effects Programme Specification

What are the course entry requirements?

A typical offer will require a UCAS tariff score of: 88 - 112

A minimum of two full A-levels (or equivalent) is required. Every application is considered on an individual basis.

For further details of our international English entry requirements, please visit our international pages.

Applicants who do not meet the minimum requirements for the three-year undergraduate programme, or those who do not feel fully prepared for a degree course, can apply for a four-year programme including a Foundation Year; find out more.

This module map provides a list of the modules that make up your course. You can find more information about how your course is structured on our Academic Advice section.

Year 1 Modules

3D Modelling and Pipeline

Texturing and Look Development

Lighting and Rendering

Animation Principles and The Moving Figure

Visual Narrative

Rigging

Year 2 Modules

Compositing 1

Compositing 2

Modelling and Look Development

Digital Sculpting and Organic Modelling

Destruction Simulation

Character FX

Year 3 Modules

Industry Production Project

Portfolio Piece

Creative Production Project

Showreel

How much does it cost

Home and EU

Home and EU, Academic Year 2021-2022

£9,250 per year

International

International, Academic Year 2021-2022

£13,750 per year

Most courses will involve some additional costs that are not covered by your fees.

You could benefit from financial support through a bursary or scholarship during your time as a student. For more details visit our financial support, bursaries and scholarships section.

Questions about fees?

Contact our Enquiries Team:

0330 123 2023

advice@bucks.ac.uk

What are my career prospects?

Throughout your time with us we’ll support you on the route to your chosen career. We’ll help you to develop crucial skills, encouraging you to become enterprising, employable and good leaders. We also help you find employment after graduation. Have a look at our Careers and Employability pages to find out more.

The course is geared towards the film industry, but VFX is also a major part of TV and commercials too. You’ll also be learning skills that could get you work in other industries too, for example games and architectural visualisation; it depends on how you choose to specialise your skills in year 3.

Recent animation, visual effects and game art graduates from Buckinghamshire New University have gone on to some great roles at companies like:

  • DNeg
  • Framestore
  • TT Games. (Warner Bros)
  • Mediatonic Games
  • FST
  • Ubisoft
  • Cinesite
  • Airship Studios.

Graduates can also choose to study for a postgraduate course.

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Rob Penhaligon
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Elle Bromfield
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Miles Skarin
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