Skip to main content
The course is project-based; each module aiming to equip students with a robust portfolio with which to enter the creative industries.
You will learn clean modelling techniques, principles of animation, lighting, shading, texturing, rigging, rendering and compositing.
You will collaborate in a studio environment as part of a team with students from other digital media courses.
Industry-standard production techniques and tools will simulate a professional environment. Work placements, internships and mentoring will prepare you for your future career.
|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|
3D animation: you will learn the principles of animation, body mechanics, and character performance, scene setup, and performance. You will study the fundamental ideas of creating believable and appealing animation. You will participate in motion capture sessions with our new Rokoko Mocap kit and progress with formative animation exercises to connect concept and practical application via Autodesk Maya software.
Digital sculpting and 3D modelling: You will explore a range of concepts, techniques, and tools for creating organic, hard-surface models and sculpts. These disciplines will be informed by underlying design concepts, as well as by reference collection, and an appreciation of anatomy and visual narrative.
UV mapping, shading and texturing: You will learn the inner workings of producing complex shading networks and creating photo-real surfaces with multi-layered, PBR practices.
Character rigging: You will bring your character model to life with the technical skill sets and tools of 3D rigging.
Lighting and rendering: You will capture your 3D creations in the best light by applying cinematic lighting approaches to your CGI scenes to help to convey story and mood. You will learn the tricks of the trade to balancing render speed and quality for producing eye-catching renders.
Compositing: You will be able to seamlessly integrate your CGI assets into live action footage, and maximise post-production flexibility, by learning 2D and 3D match-moving, colour grading, advanced rendering techniques and other post-production methods.
You will also work as part of a team, comprising students from different media disciplines, undertaking simulated project briefs that have previously included augmented reality children's books, driverless car interfaces, virtual fashion shows, and interactive transparent displays for museum exhibitions. You will learn how to present yourself to potential employers through your professional presence and portfolio.
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 module is core to the MA Computer Animation programme. Students will have prior competency in animation concepts, or have relevant experience, and so this module will allow them to develop their 3D animation skills further in creating dynamic and appealing animation for application in both film/TV and games production. Fundamentals and theory, such as the 12 Principles of Animation and study of reference, will underpin the development of a portfolio featuring body mechanics and character performance animation. Students will also learn basic techniques in rigging, such as parenting, constraints, IK solvers, utility nodes, set-driven keys, etc. in order to animate models.
On completion of the module students will have the ability to animate assets for different applications (film, television, computer games).
This is a practical module where the majority of a students' time is spent working with 3D software. Similarly, the assessment is practically based.
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 is core to the MA Computer Animation programme. Students will have prior competency in 3D modelling and texturing practices, or have relevant experience, and so this module will allow them to develop their 3D skills further in creating production pipeline friendly assets, e.g. hard-surface vs. organic modelling, UV mapping, digital sculpting, and producing both stylized and photo-realistic materials and textures. Students will also learn lighting tools and methods, as well as advanced rendering techniques, to showcase their assets to industry expectations.
On completion of the module students will have the ability to model and texture assets for different applications (film, television, computer games).
This is a practical module where the majority of a students' time is spent working with 3D software. Similarly, the assessment is practically based.
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.
Optional modules only run if there is enough demand. If we have an insufficient number of students interested in an optional module, that module will not be offered for this course.
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. You may find securing a professional placement difficult as they are highly competitive and challenging, but they are also incredibly rewarding. It is very important to prepare and apply yourself if this is the route you wish to take. Employers look for great written and oral communication skills and an excellent CV/portfolio. As the work placement is an assessed part of the course, it is covered by a student's Student Route visa.
Find out more about the postgraduate work placement scheme.
Please note: each application is assessed on an individual basis and may be subject to additional requirements, such as undertaking short course(s), work experience and/or English language qualification(s). Meeting particular minimum entry requirements does not automatically guarantee a place.
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.
You will find more information on country specific entry requirements in the International section of our website.
Find your country:
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 learning and teaching activity. Contact hours may vary depending on your modules.
Development of a portfolio of computer animation work samples (including fully-textured and rendered 3D models, VFX compositions, and character animations), presentations, essays, production blogs.
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 some 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.
If you have any questions regarding the course, please contact the Course Leader, Mr Richard Cunningham, at email@example.com.
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.
We recently purchased three sets of Rokoko's Smartsuit Pro units with Smartgloves, and facial capture bundles. The hardware is accompanied by their proprietary 3D software, Rokoko Studio Plus, as well as real-time integration plugins for Maya, Unreal, Blender, and Unity.
The Rokoko motion capture suit, Smartsuit Pro, has a wireless range of up to 100 meters and requires no external parts. The suit can even create its own hotspot that you can log your device onto if you are on location. Operating the suit and software requires minimal prior training and is intuitive to those without technical expertise.
The suits have 19 x 9-DoF IMU motion trackers embedded in the design. 3D orientation accuracy ± 1 deg.
The gloves have 7 x 6-DoF motion trackers embedded in the design, for hand and finger tracking, and run 400 Hz. The motion trackers do not include magnetometers, so they are immune to magnetic distortion.
We recently purchased four of these 24inch state-of-the-art machines. They feature 4K resolution, virtually no parallax, 14 ms response rate, 1000:1 contrast ratio, 1.07 billion colours, multi-touch controls and ergonomic controls. Sculpt and texture your projects in comfort and style!
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 technical 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 terabytes 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.
If you start your second year straight after Year 1, you will pay the same fee for both years.
If you take a break before starting your second year, or if you repeat modules from Year 1 in Year 2, the fee for your second year may increase.
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:
Depending on the programme of study, there may be extra costs that are not covered by tuition fees which students will need to consider when planning their studies. Tuition fees cover the cost of your teaching, assessment and operating University facilities such as the library, access to shared IT equipment and other support services. Accommodation and living costs are not included in our fees.
Where a course has additional expenses, we make every effort to highlight them. These may include optional field trips, materials (e.g. art, design, engineering), security checks such as DBS, uniforms, specialist clothing or professional memberships.
Our libraries are a valuable resource with an extensive collection of books and journals as well as first-class facilities and IT equipment. You may prefer to buy your own copy of key textbooks, this can cost between £50 and £250 per year.
There are open-access networked computers available across the University, plus laptops available to loan. You may find it useful to have your own PC, laptop or tablet which you can use around campus and in halls of residences. Free WiFi is available on each of the campuses. You may wish to purchase your own computer, which can cost between £100 and £3,000 depending on your course requirements.
In the majority of cases written coursework can be submitted online. There may be instances when you will be required to submit work in a printed format. Printing, binding and photocopying costs are not included in your tuition fees, this may cost up to £100 per year.
All field trips that are compulsory to attend to complete your course are paid for by the University. There may be small fees incurred for optional field trips such as travel costs and refreshments.
Travel costs are not included in your tuition fees but we do have a free intersite bus service which links the campuses, Surbiton train station, Kingston upon Thames train station, Norbiton train station and halls of residence.
If the placement year option is chosen, during this year travel costs will vary according to the location of the placement, and could be from £0 to £2,000.
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 you with a unique mixture of creative and technical skills.
Staff will be drawn from across the University, including from Kingston School of Art and the School of Computer Science and Mathematics.
The technical and creative skills provided by this Computer Animation course are applicable in areas related mainly to the movie and games industry. Furthermore, advertisement, 3D printing, architectural design and web-based modelling are areas that require skills and knowledge on modelling, texturing, rigging, animation, and compositing. Graduates have go on to work at Industrial Light and Magic, Kuato Studios, AccuCities.
Read about why our students chose Kingston, what they gained from studying here, and how it has helped them in their careers.
Having already decided that computer animation would be the discipline I desired to pursue in my career, I wanted to find a master's course that would support and develop my ability to industry standards. It was difficult finding a university that catered to my expectations from the course whilst being close enough for me to travel from my home in London. When I visited KU's open day it became apparent that I found a course that I could learn a lot from. The campus is very impressive, the facilities are brilliant, and the staff are always friendly and professional. The tremendous teaching and support I received during my time at Kingston was exceptional. My skills in animation flourished at Kingston, preparing me for my professional endeavours in my career.
I have always been fascinated by animation. Growing up playing video games, watching films, TV shows and animations. These media platforms had a massive influence on my childhood and naturally, I was a very imaginative child. My creative talent in art assured me that I always wanted to find a career in the creative industry. Whilst my love of films and television grasped my interest in pursuing a career in media. Since I've started animating my passion for it has exceeded my expectations, I believe this to be because animation is the perfect mixture of art and media. Achieving a paid job that I would happily work on as a hobby was always my main focal point of motivation. The staff at Kingston University were amazing at keeping my passion for the subject thriving with engaging one to one mentoring, interesting discussions and helpful tips that would regularly keep me wanting to learn more about the trade.
The masters course at Kingston University did a fantastic job of preparing me for a career as a professional animator. I had wanted to improve my animations skills on a visual stance but also develop my technical capabilities. Each module on the course refined my ability to animate appealing visuals and technical ability. I was very proud of the journey I made as an animator during my time at Kingston and wanted to display my progression to future employers. After a discussion with my tutor, I decided to base my final project on animating a portfolio from scratch displaying my ability at that current time. All the animations in my showreel were animated during the peak of my ability at Kingston University and I believe it contributed to me finding a job in the industry so quickly after finishing the course. I am very grateful to the encouragement and guidance that I received at Kingston because it helped ignite the start of my career in animation.
The Computer Animation course at Kingston Uni helped me develop my skills and expand my knowledge in the 3D space. The modules had focus, whether that was an onus on modelling, look-development or compositing. Yet were broad enough to conduct your research and delve into the particular matter of your interest. My goal was to explore 3D character art, so this was a deciding aspect for me when I enrolled on the course – and I was able to do just that.
The course is continually generating a vast library of learning materials such as video workshops, tutorials, and recorded critique sessions. Self-study is paramount in an industry like this; these resources ease that transition and help you navigate the somewhat convoluted 3D pipeline. Richard aspires to further the scope of the course and has procured some snazzy new motion-capture tech to expose students to mocap data acquisition and animation clean-up. He's also willing to bring other professionals in to deliver workshops and talks (I was one of them!), bridging that link between academia and industry, which is invaluable for prospective 3D artists.
The portfolio I present to potential employers still contains three character projects I worked on while studying on the course. These artworks helped ignite my career in the industry. I am very grateful that I not only graduated with a masters degree but left with a portfolio that I was proud of, along with the readiness and confidence to transition into professional work.
Studying animation at Kingston gave me a broad understanding of the subject as well as insight into the industry and the different roles that are available after graduation. The course taught me strong foundations in compositing, modelling, texturing and animation; all of which I call upon constantly while working professionally. For a self-motivated student the MA offers an abundance of tutor support as well as exclusive online resources and tutorials to take advantage of. I'm very grateful to Richard and Kingston for giving me the confidence to begin a career in animation.
Regarding the computer animation course, I would like to say how grateful I am for the opportunity to learn among the best professionals and gain a variety of computer skills and academic knowledge.
The coursework is well organised, with interesting presentations, technical equipment and covers a variety of industry software that strengthen candidate's potential.
Students can easily develop their skills with project-based assessments, constructive feedback, and individual support.
The lecturers are inspiring, they really care for their students, and cover at full extent the academic material. They encourage students to develop professionally and help gain all the technical and personal skills needed for a career progression.
I highly recommend Richard both as a lecturer as well as a professional. He is truly interested at providing his students with all the necessary skills needed for a career progression and his delivery methods are outstanding. He is gifted with the ability to communicate and bond with his students, offering individual support and constructive feedback.
He devotes himself to rise to his students' expectations and continuously grows professionally at his free time. I always admired his will to further grow as a professional and practice his skills outside university even though he is already an expert at his field.
He is familiar with a variety of computer software and can equip students both with animation skills as well as modelling and compositing skills.
He helped me to develop fast as a student and achieve my goals as a professional, and he is still helping me improve my skills as a full-grown employee at one of the top-rated movie production studios in Greece.
The computer animation course personally helped me develop skills quickly and evolve from a moderate student to a strong one, leading me to achieve my goals and obtain a position as a 3D character animator at one of the top-rated movie production studios back home.
To anyone who is thinking whether it's worth it, I advise it definitely is!
I studied MA Computer Animation. When I started the course, I was unsure which route I wanted to take professionally but the MA allowed me to explore the numerous routes the postgrad could lead to in terms of employment. This was done through a combination of lectures and project-based assignments which allowed me to flex my creative muscles in different areas of Computer Animation.
During the course I discovered which area I wanted to grow my skills and seek employment and was given the opportunity to work with a tutor that had the knowledge to help me pursue this. They helped guide me in learning the various industry-standard software and skills needed to help me achieve a job down that route. Now focusing on developing skills both creatively and technically in one particular area of Computer Animation.
During my time studying I found it very helpful to use the online material available prepared by the tutor, the video tutorials particularly came in handy! Along with support both in class and outside via email and other online resources. Getting feedback in and out of class was extremely important in helping me understand the software and theory behind that I was learning. The project-based assignments gave me plenty of opportunity to show my project to the tutor before the hand-in and get that valuable feedback, especially since there is time for one-on-one support. We had the chance to work on various personal and group projects, which I have found extremely useful in preparing me for the world of work where I am often in a team of other creatives.
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.
Up until 31 July 2022, this course was taught in the Faculty of Science Engineering and Computing. For students enrolling from September 2022, the course will be delivered by the Faculty of Engineering, Computing, and the Environment. There will be no impact on the teaching or the award of the degree.
The information on this page reflects the currently intended course structure and module details. To improve your student experience and the quality of your degree, we may review and change the material information of this course. Course changes explained.
Programme Specifications for the course are published ahead of each academic year.
Regulations governing this course can be found on our website.