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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 2023

You can also study this course:

Using the latest techniques in 3D computer graphics you’ll learn how to create stunning objects and character, and how to put these into real life footage to make believable scenes that will wow audiences around the world.
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.

 

 

Award of 11th place overall University of the Year - Whatuni Student Choice Awards 2022
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95% of our graduates in work or study after 15 months after graduation, HESA 2022
"My favourite part of the course was that I could tailor it to my interests and goals. It gave me the opportunity to see the pipeline on creating 3D models. The support and vision that I got from all tutors was incredible. Now I feel confident about my new roles in the industry as an artist."
Tiago Laureano
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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. In this industry 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

 

Why study at Buckinghamshire New University?

At Buckinghamshire New University we focus on preparing you for work in the industry, helping you to stand out to employers when you graduate. With the right teaching and learning opportunities, it’s possible to turn your passion for visual effects into a rewarding and successful career.

Led by our enthusiastic and dedicated team of industry-savvy practitioners and experienced visual effects, you will have the freedom to explore all areas of visual effects. During your time with us you may also get direct access to guest lectures and can benefit from live project briefs, master classes, and plenty of networking opportunities.

I really loved the supportive staff and the ability to be so creative with our work. We were able to make things that interest us and make things our own.
Madelaine Kendall-Murray
A head and shoulders shot of a smiling Visual Effects student Madelaine Kendall-Murray

On this dynamic course you’ll have access to all the industry-standard equipment you need to bring your ideas to life, such as a VR lab, motion capture studio and state or the art face capture kit and Xsens suits.

You could also find yourself working at our BNU teaching base at Pinewood Studios. Here 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 Small group sizes enable staff and students to work together as a friendly and collaborative community of learners. It also means you’ll benefit from more one to one support with your lecturer.

With London only a short journey away, you can take the opportunity to visit some of the world’s best exhibitions, galleries, museums and conventions for inspiration.

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
  • 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.

In your final year you will also have exclusive access to our new ASUS ProArt lab at our High Wycombe campus which allows you to use our best facilities to really hone your project work and showreel to help you get the job of your choice.

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.

This video was our first experiment with our new Xsens motion capture suits. With the help of dancers from BNU’s BA Dance and Performance course, we motion captured a routine on the concourse running though the university and replaced one of the dancers with a version of the Lonely Robot and comped this back into the footage. We also have state of the art Faceware kits for face motion capture.

What will I study?                           

We’ve structured the course to build up your skills during your time with us and you’ll learn everything you need to know to be career-ready upon graduation. Starting with the fundamentals, you’ll learn the basics of CGI skills and the basics of animation.

If you have no experience of Visual Effects, don’t worry. You’ll get to grips with tools and techniques early on. We start with the fundamentals, where you’ll learn the basics of CGI and animation skills. Covering everything you’ll need to create realistic scenes and believable, engaging characters.

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.

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How will I be taught and assessed?

Our BNU teaching team are industry-professionals, with years of experience working in the sector and training future generations of talented digital artists. Through their support and the course, you’ll gain the skills and knowledge you need within the industry.

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. 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.

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.

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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.

Modules

This provides a guide 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

What are the tuition fees

Home

Home, Academic Year 2023 - 2024

£9,250 per year

International

Overseas/International, Academic Year 2023 - 2024

£15,000 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@bnu.ac.uk

What are my career prospects?

Throughout your time with us we’ll support you on your journey 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.

Our BA (Hons) Visual Effects course will help prepare you for a range of career possibilities in any sector which requires a VFX artist. Our recent alumni have gone onto work for:

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

Graduates can also choose to study for a postgraduate course.

In 2022 we held our first end of year show at the John Barry Theatre at Pinewood Studios. Professionals from the industry were invited to see students' work from their final year on the BA (Hons) Visual Effects course, providing exciting networking opportunities. These industry experts were very impressed with the quality of students' work.

 

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Rob Penhaligon
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Elle Bromfield
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Miles Skarin
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Steve Cassar
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