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This course enables students with some experience of 3D computer graphics to develop and enhance their abilities in the skills required by the computer animation and visual effects industries. It is one of a suite of digital media courses that enables you to study professional digital media practice in a studio environment and work as part of an interdisciplinary team with students from across the full programme.
Through a student-centred project-based curriculum, you will work to develop specialist skills such as character animation, character rigging, effects animation, modelling, texturing and lighting. Industry-focused learning will enable you to hone your specialist skills in a professional context. Work placements, real projects, internships and an industry mentoring scheme will also prepare you for entry into the fast-growing and highly competitive digital media arena.
|Full time||1 year||
|Full time||2 years including professional placement||
|Part time||2 years||
|Location||Penrhyn Road and Kingston School of Art at Knights Park|
If you are planning to join this course in the academic year 2020/21 (i.e. between August 2020 and July 2021), please view the information about changes to courses for 2020/21 due to Covid-19.
Students who are continuing their studies with Kingston University in 2020/21 should refer to their Course Handbook for information about specific changes that have been, or may be, made to their course or modules being delivered in 2020/21. Course Handbooks are located within the Canvas Course page.
You will learn clean modelling techniques, principles of animation, lighting, shading, texturing, rendering and compositing. You will create computer animation assets, both alone and in teams, using industry-standard production techniques that stimulate a professional environment of collaboration to deliver a product on time. You will also work as part of a team comprising students from different media disciplines, undertaking projects that have previously included use of brain-computer interface systems, computer vision and optical stereoscopic 3D, and you will learn how to present yourself to potential employers through your professional presence and portfolio.
Please note that this is an indicative list of modules and is not intended as a definitive list. Those listed here may also be a mixture of core and optional modules.
For a student to go on placement they are required to pass every module first time with no reassessments. It is the responsibility of individual students to find a suitable paid placement. Students will be supported by our dedicated placement team in securing this opportunity.
You will work with a multidisciplinary group of students as appropriate for your course (User Experience Design MSc, Game Development (Design) MA, Game Development (Programming) MSc and Computer Animation MA); involved with the digital media production process in response to a project brief developed in consultation with the industry panel and/or research staff. Projects concern contemporary platforms, such as iPhone, Android, Windows, Playstation, Xbox and Next Generation controllers and innovative input devices. You also develop a professional profile (online CV/portfolio) fitting for your role and intended destination which you maintain throughout the course.
This flexible module gives each you the chance to develop your unique interpretation of professional practice that captures your specific interests or niche within your course field.
The Digital Media Final Project, as a capstone project, consolidates the knowledge gained in earlier modules and is informed and supported by prior learning.
You will interpret the coursework into a practical solution and demonstrate skills in defining, analysing and developing a substantial solution to an individually defined design related problem. You will utilise an advanced understanding of contemporary digital media practice. The research and documentation of the project is an integral part of the submission; reflecting on the process, as well as the critical analysis and methodology of the research itself. The research will be conceptually integrated within the practical work. Individual project topics are expected to be wide ranging and provide the opportunity to fully investigate a practical situation, underpinned by a critical report on the work produced. Topics must allow the opportunity to position work with respect to business, social and cultural goals and identify and apply appropriate technology as a means of delivery.
On successful completion of the module, you will be able to:
This module builds on prior competency in using 3D modelling and animation software to allow further development of 3D skills and to develop specialisms in areas such as animation, rigging, lighting and modelling. Observational drawing classes will provide an underpinning to the 3D modelling and animation techniques.
On successful completion, you will be able to:
This module builds on prior competency in using 3D modelling and animation software. It develops your 3D skills further and enables you, by guided self-study, to develop specialisms in areas that affect the look of a scene. That could be a photo realistic look, or a stylised look that aims to promote an emotional response from the viewer. Content will include rendering techniques, illumination techniques and the combination of individual elements by means of compositing.
On successful completion of the module, you will be able to:
The Professional Placement module is a core module for those students following a masters programme that incorporates an extended professional placement. It provides students with the opportunity to apply their knowledge and skills in an appropriate working environment, and develops and enhances key employability and subject specific skills in their chosen discipline. Students may wish to use the placement experience as a platform for the major project or future career.
It is the responsibility of individual students to find and secure a suitable placement opportunity; this should not normally involve more than two placements which must be completed over a minimum period of 10 months and within a maximum of 12 months. The placement must be approved by the Course Leader, prior to commencement to ensure its suitability. Students seeking placements will have access to the standard placement preparation activities offered by Student Engagement and Enhancement (SEE) group.
Read more about the postgraduate work placement scheme.
The information above reflects the currently intended course structure and module details. Updates may be made on an annual basis and revised details will be published through Programme Specifications ahead of each academic year. The regulations governing this course are available on our website. If we have insufficient numbers of students interested in an optional module, this may not be offered.
Many postgraduate courses at Kingston University allow students to take the option of a 12-month work placement as part of their course. The responsibility for finding the work placement is with the student; we cannot guarantee the placement, just the opportunity to undertake it. As the work placement is an assessed part of the course, it is covered by a student's Tier 4 visa.
Find out more about the postgraduate work placement scheme.
A good BA(Hons) or BSc(Hons) degree or equivalent qualification in animation or a related subject which includes significant 3D computer graphic content, such as moving image, illustration, 3D design, computer-related design or architecture.
All applicants must be able to demonstrate, either through qualifications, work experience or portfolio of works, a solid understanding of digital media.
Applicants will normally be expected to have a show reel/portfolio of work which demonstrates the necessary aptitude, potential and skills required for entry to this course.
Exceptionally applicants may have no first degree but more than five years working in the field. In this case, there must be strong evidence that the applicant has the motivation to complete the course and the ability to work at this level. Experience in digital media, post production and animation is particularly valuable.
In order to complete your programme successfully, it is important to have a good command of English and be able to apply this in an academic environment. Therefore, if you are a non-UK applicant* you will usually be required to provide certificated proof of English language competence before commencing your studies.
For this course you must pass IELTS academic test in English with an overall score of 6.5, with no element below 6.0, or meet the scores listed on the alternative online tests. Please note that we do not accept Standard XII as proof of Academic English.
Applicants who do not meet the English language requirements may be eligible to join our pre-sessional English language course.
Please make sure you read our full guidance about English language requirements, which includes details of other qualifications we'll consider.
* Applicants from one of the recognised majority English speaking countries (MESCs) do not need to meet these requirements.
When not attending timetabled sessions you will be expected to continue learning independently through self-study. This typically will involve reading journal articles and books, working on individual and group projects, undertaking preparing coursework assignments and presentations, and preparing for exams. Your independent learning is supported by a range of excellent facilities including online resources, the library and CANVAS, the online virtual learning platform.
As a student at Kingston University, we will make sure you have access to appropriate advice regarding your academic development. You will also be able to use the University's support services.
16% of your time is spent in timetabled teaching and learning activity. Contact hours may vary depending on your modules.
Assessment typically comprises exams (eg test or exam), practical (eg presentations, performance) and coursework (eg essays, reports, self-assessment, portfolios, dissertation). The approximate percentage for how you will be assessed on this course is as follows, though depends to some extent on the optional modules you choose.
We aim to provide feedback on assessments within 20 working days.
You will be part of an intimate cohort of students which provides dedicated academic guidance and advice as well as the opportunity to build a life-long network of colleagues. Some modules are common across other postgraduate programmes therefore you may be taught alongside students who are on these courses within the School.
This course is delivered by Digital Media Kingston.
Digital Media Kingston (DMK) is an interdisciplinary, collaborative project between the School of Computer Science and Mathematics, and School of Design at Kingston University. Its mission is to bring together creative expression, theoretical analysis, scientific rigour and technological innovation to underpin innovation and excellence in the computational arts.
The teaching element of the DMK project delivers a suite of four related courses: Computer Animation MA, Games Development (Design) MA, User Experience Design MSc, and Games Development (Programming) MSc. You will share the majority of your taught modules with students taking these digital media courses.
Postgraduate students may run or assist in lab sessions and may also contribute to the teaching of seminars under the supervision of the module leader.
The technical resources that are available to students on this suite of courses include:
The games development suite contains a number of Sony PlayStation Portable developer kits (PSP). Students will be able to develop for this platform under an academic development agreement with Sony. In addition students have access to Xboxes and Microsoft XNA Game Studio developer software. A number of other consoles are also available including Wiis and Sony Playstation 3. The lab is equipped with 3D graphics software such as Maya. You also have access to a body modelling suit.
The IGS-190-M mobile capture suit is one of the most mature gyroscopic inertial motion systems and features nineteen matchbox-sized gyros attached to individual straps on a flexible lycra suit. The gyros are the fastest in the market (at 1,200 deg/sec). Eight suits can be used simultaneously with a wireless range of over 100 metres radius and sensor resolution is 0.1 degree. Set-up time is approximately 15 minutes; the suite requires a small amount of calibration and time for the gyros to settle. The suite was purchased from Animazoo, a specialist in the area of motion capture with an IGS-190-M being used to animate the cartoon character 'The Crazy Frog' amongst many other cartoons and computer games.
A multimedia and graphics studio that houses 39 Pentium 4 PCs all with DVD writers and our full graphics software which includes Maya Suite, ZBrush, Mari, Nuke, Adobe Production Studio, Premiere Pro, Photoshop, Illustrator, After Effects, Encore, Audition, Flash, Dreamweaver, Fireworks and Combustion.
The digital media workshops provide a wide range of software and specialist technical support in the key areas of CAD, 2D and 3D design, digital imaging and processing, high-quality photographic printing, audio and video production, mono and colour printing (up to A3+), and large format plotting (up to B0+). All 132 computers in the digital media workshop are set up as dual boot workstations. This means that both the Windows XP and Macintosh OS X platforms are available on each machine. You are therefore able to choose the platform (PC or Mac) that you want to work with at any given time.
The professional photography suite includes two digital imaging areas providing 26 Mac Pro computers running Photoshop software for digital image development and high-quality digital scanning. Professional quality digital printing, from A4 to A2 is also available. The photography suite is supported by a team of techical and academic staff.
This area comprises a studio of 100 square metres and has all you need to record broadcast quality programming. The space has a 14-metre infinity cove painted white, heavy black curtains and an eight-metre professional film blue screen. The studio space has been built with flexibility in mind and any combination of setups can be accommodated within the area with regard to filming. The studio is equipped with three Panasonic HVX200 high definition cameras in a studio specification with matte boxes, dolly tripods and P2 16GB cards.
The lighting array consists of a Kino Flow system combining Image, Zip and Para Beam light fixtures with Dedo modelling spots. The whole array is controlled by a 64-channel DMX desk.
The post-production suite comprises 10 top-of-the-range Macintosh computers, the majority of which are running the Intel CPU. They are all based on the Black Magic uncompressed broadcast system and are controlled by a central video server running the Apple XSan network. There is a massive 20 Terrabytes of storage and can stream up to 10 full HD streams across the network in real-time. At SD we can stream approximately 40 streams of video at once.
This suite consists of networked G5 Macintosh Power PCs with Dual 2.3 GHz processors, 2 Gigabytes RAM and a GeForce 6600 Graphics Card or a Radeon 9600XT graphics card running the industry-standard version of Maya. The Apple Xsan Server and Intel MAc Pro FailOver server have an Infortrend 15 TB disk array, QLogic 15 port Fibre switch, Fibre Optic Channel duplex AV data transfer with Netgear 24 port ethernet switch, Ethernet Meta data transfer and 48 port patch bay with 16 port fibre distribution interface.
We have Morae usability testing software, a Tobii eye tracker and can accommodate one-on-one usability tests, focus groups and observational studies of collaborative work in a variety of settings. A range of computing devices are also available – mobile phones, touch screens, very large monitors etc.
Research vehicle website: we also operate a website for studying live web traffic (real online behaviour in context).
This area comprises a control room and an audio booth with talkback and video monitoring facilities. There is an extensive sound FX library and high-quality transducers suitable for high-quality voice and/or sound track recording. The studio is able to cater for both post- and pre-production sound to image work and runs with Final Cut Pro/Soundtrack Pro as its central engine.
Kingston University offers a range of postgraduate scholarships, including:
If you are an international student, find out more about scholarships and bursaries.
We also offer the following discounts for Kingston University alumni:
Applicants to Computer Animation MA can apply for the BAFTA UK Scholarship Programme, which is open to British citizens in need of financial assistance. Each successful BAFTA Scholar receives up to £12,000 towards their annual course fees, as well as mentoring support from a BAFTA member, and free access to BAFTA events around the UK.
In addition, three successful applicants will be awarded a Prince William Scholarship in Film, Games and Television, supported by BAFTA and Warner Bros., including a funded work placement within the Warner Bros.group of companies and other benefits.
Computer Animation MA is part of the Digital Media Kingston suite of courses, providing students with a unique mixture of creative and technical skills.
Students will have access to first-class technical facilities such as state of the art editing suites, moving image studios, 3D workshops and other specialist resources including a number of Sony PlayStation developer kits. Students will be able to develop for this platform under an academic development agreement with Sony. In addition several other platforms and technologies are available, including access to a body modelling suit.
This industry-facing course aims to hone your workplace skills including:
Staff will be drawn from across the University including:
Input from industry practitioners and experts will add a valuable dimension to your studies.
The provided technical and creative skills provided by this Computer Animation course are applicable in areas related mainly to movie and game industry. Furthermore, advertisement, 3D printing, architectural design and web based modelling are areas that require skills and knowledge on modelling, texturing, rigging, animation, dynamics and compositing.
There were very few courses that met my requirements, such as being part-time, at masters level, near London and in a very specialised field. I still wasn't sure if it was for me until I visited the campus for an open day and was impressed by the facilities and teaching staff who were passionate about the subject and had a vast range of professional experience.
Convincing my employer, The Royal Opera House, that this was the right course for my job, was easy given the reputation of Kingston University and the excellent information provided to us explaining what I would be learning.
Since starting the course I have developed my technical skills and creative process by absorbing everything I can in the time I am here, the results of which are evident in my every day work in my day job.
James Simpson, Computer Generated Imagery (3D) MA (part time)
Digital Media Kingston courses have been developed in consultation with an industry advisory board, which so far includes members of Sony Computer Entertainment Europe, DreamWorks, the BFi, Alloy, The Other Media, Sunrise Software, Abelton Live, Tonic, Active Ingredient.
Some work placements, live projects and other opportunities will be available at the discretion of the industry panel for students on this course.
We do not anticipate making any changes to the composition of the course, i.e. the number of modules or credits in a year for part-time postgraduate courses, as a result of the pandemic.
In order to safeguard our students' health and safety and to minimise the risk of disruption to their studies, the University has postponed all Study Abroad programmes for outgoing students in the first teaching block of 2020/21 (from September 2020 to December 2020). The University will review this decision before the second teaching block and will take into account relevant government advice at that time.
Changes can be made to courses as part of normal enhancement processes in order to keep our courses up to date with current developments in that subject area and to provide a high quality student experience. Any such changes made to the composition of the course will be highlighted to students during the induction period.
We do not anticipate making any changes to module titles and summaries or to the availability of modules as a result of the pandemic.
Changes can be made to modules as part of normal enhancement processes in order to keep our courses up to date with current developments in that subject area and to provide a high quality student experience. Any such changes made to module titles and/or availability of modules will be highlighted to students during the induction period.
We expect to deliver the course within the planned timescales to enable successful students to progress through and graduate from the course without delay.
In exceptional circumstances the sequence of learning and teaching activities may be changed, e.g. re-sequencing those modules that can be delivered more effectively under the current restrictions with those which would be more difficult to deliver, such as practical modules and placements.
We have not changed entry requirements as a result of the pandemic. However, the range of accepted alternatives have increased as has the way in which we select students, which now includes virtual interviews and online portfolios.
We have not changed entry requirements for international students as a result of the pandemic. However, in response to the pandemic, we now accept a much broader list of English language exams for entry to the course; the level of these exams remain the same.
Due to the current pandemic the course's teaching and learning activities will be delivered through both online and on-campus methods (blended learning) in 2020/21. In order to provide all students with a comparable on-campus experience, the University has committed to ensuring that all courses provide at least 30% of their teaching and learning activities on-campus.
While physical distancing measures remain in place, you will receive your learning and teaching via a blend of on-campus and on-line activities. Should your circumstances prevent your attendance at on-campus sessions, you will still be able to engage with your course in a way that allows you to progress. Where this is not possible, support will be available to consider what options are open to you.
Computer lab workshops and tutorials will be delivered through both on-campus teaching and as virtual online activities to meet the same learning outcomes in a socially-distanced manner, with no change in the total hours of delivery.
The University will continue to closely monitor government announcements and advice in relation to the current pandemic and, where required, will take any necessary action in order to comply with such advice.
In the event that a further lockdown is enforced the University will aim to deliver the course fully online. This may require some additional changes being made to planned teaching and learning activities, including assessments. The majority of our courses are prepared to be delivered fully online if the situation requires it. Where the quality of the student experience may be compromised significantly, or the course is unable to be delivered fully online, the University may need to suspend the delivery of that course until a time that it can be delivered appropriately. Students will be supported in these situations to ensure they are able to make the right choices for their particular circumstances.
In the event that the current social distancing restrictions are fully lifted and the University is able to resume normal delivery of teaching and learning activities, courses will assess whether it is in the students' interest to resume normal delivery. In some cases it may be better to continue and complete modules under the planned blended delivery mode.
Changes to the overall breakdown of scheduled teaching hours, placements and guided independent study hours will not be made as a result of the pandemic. However, it is possible that some adjustments might be made at module level, e.g. a few more scheduled activities, in order to help ensure student engagement with blended learning.
Any changes made to the overall breakdown of scheduled teaching hours, placements and guided independent study hours for the course will be highlighted to students during the induction period.
'Scheduled teaching' includes teaching that is online either live or recorded / on demand.
Your individualised timetable for teaching block 1 (i.e. from September 2020 to December 2020) should be available by the end of August 2020. Timetables for teaching block 2 (i.e. from January 2021) will not be available until the autumn. Whilst we make every effort to ensure timetables are as student-friendly as possible, scheduled teaching can take place on any day of the week between 9am and 9pm. To accommodate smaller group sizes and social distancing, we will need to maximise the time available for teaching. This means, we may have to use Wednesday afternoons and enrichment week for additional teaching slots. Timetables for part-time students will depend on the modules selected.
On-campus teaching may involve smaller class sizes in line with social distance requirements.
Changes can be made to modules, including how they are assessed, as part of normal enhancement processes in order to keep our modules up to date with current developments in that subject area. Due to the current restrictions in place, i.e. social distancing, it is anticipated that many formal on-campus examinations, including practical examinations, will be replaced with alternative assessments which can be completed online. These changes will be considered and approved through the University's processes to ensure that student assessments will be able to demonstrate they have achieved the expected learning outcomes. The approval process will also assess whether the change impacts the status of any professional body accreditation the course benefits from.
Any changes to the overall methods of assessment for the course will be highlighted to students during the induction period.
No changes are expected to the general level of experience or status of staff involved in delivering the course.
As a result of the social distancing restrictions in place, on-campus teaching activities may need to be split into smaller groups which may require the support of teaching assistants and student mentors, who will be managed by experienced staff.
There will be no changes to published tuition fees for 2020/21.
As a result of the blended delivery of courses in 2020/21, where a significant proportion of the teaching will be done online, students will need a personal laptop or computer and access to the internet to participate in online teaching and learning activities. Students who are able to travel will have access to computers on campus, however, it should be noted that access to on-campus facilities will be restricted due to social distancing requirements.
The University is considering how best to provide support to students who do not have access to suitable hardware and software requirements and access to the internet. Identifying students who require this type of support is an important milestone for the University in our journey to ensure equity of access while we continue to deliver our blended approach. Information about the support that will be available will be provided to students during the induction period.
There will be no changes to any existing University funding arrangements for 2020/21. Currently there are no indications from the UK government that there will be any changes to government funding arrangements.
There will be no changes to published tuition fees or funding arrangements specifically relating to international students for 2020/21.
Placements (including work and clinical placements) and field trips included as part of the course will go ahead as planned. However, to ensure students are able to gain maximum value from these activities, it may be necessary to reschedule them to later in the year when current restrictions have been lifted. We acknowledge that this year it may be more difficult for students to secure appropriate placements. In those situations, students will be guided and supported through the various options that will be available to them, including switching courses or interrupting their studies until a time when they can complete their placement.
Any proposed changes to placements or field trips would go through University's agreed processes where the impact of the change will be carefully considered. Students will be advised of any changes that may become necessary and appropriate support will be available to students to guide them through the various options that may be available to them.
In the interest of the health and wellbeing of our students, the University will ensure that appropriate risk assessments are made before students are sent on a placement.
Courses which require placements or field trips to be completed in order to pass relevant modules will have contingency plans in place in the event that a placement or field trip cannot be completed due to another lockdown or more stringent social distancing measures.
Voluntary placements or field trips may be rescheduled, or, as a last resort, cancelled if it becomes difficult to deliver them and doing so is in the interest of the health and safety of our staff and students.
No changes will be made to the qualification awarded, e.g. MSc, as a result of the pandemic.
Changes can be made to courses, including the qualification awarded (although very rare), as part of normal enhancement processes in order to keep our courses up to date with current developments in that subject area. Any changes made to the qualification awarded for the course will be highlighted to students during the induction period.
International students should maintain awareness of the UK government's and their home country's government advice on possible travel restrictions. The University will closely monitor advice and guidance published by the UK government and assess its impact on our international students. Appropriate advice and guidance will be provided as and when required.
The University will ensure students who are unable to attend on-campus learning and teaching activities are able to effectively engage with their studies remotely. For certain courses an inability to attend on-campus learning and teaching activities may not be in the students best interest, as it may impede their chances of succeeding in the course or lead to them receiving a poor learning experience. In such cases students will be advised and guided through the various options available to them, such as deferring their studies until they can engage fully with the course.