Computer Animation MA

Why choose this course?

The Computer Animation postgraduate degree equips you with the creative skills and technical knowledge needed for jobs in the CGI, games, and VFX industries.

With an emphasis on industry-relevant workflows, our project-based curriculum is designed to teach you specialist skillsets in the 3D production pipeline. Underpinned by core concepts and visual narrative, these specialisms include:

  • 3D character animation
  • Organic and hard-surface modelling
  • Digital sculpting
  • Shading and texturing
  • Lighting and rendering
  • Compositing
  • Character rigging

Throughout the course you will build a showreel for your professional portfolio. It is one of a suite of digital media courses that immerses students in a studio environment to work as part of an interdisciplinary team from across the full programme.

Equally importantly, our assessments and tutor feedback will help you develop the following employability skills:

  • Analysis, observation, and self-critique
  • Communication of concepts and techniques
  • Project-planning and time-management
  • Research and problem-solving
  • Interpretation and implementation of feedback
  • Teamwork and collaboration.
Mode Duration Start date
Full time 1 year September 2021
January 2022
Full time 2 years including professional placement September 2021
January 2022
Part time 2 years September 2021
January 2022
Location Penrhyn Road and Kingston School of Art at Knights Park

2021/22 entry

If you are planning to join this course in the academic year 2021/22 (i.e. between August 2021 and July 2022), please view the information about changes to courses for 2021/22 due to Covid-19.

 

Continuing students

Students who are continuing their studies with Kingston University in 2021/22 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 2021/22. Course Handbooks are located within the Canvas Course page.

Reasons to choose Kingston University

  • This course has been developed in consultation with our industry panel, which includes representatives from Sony Computer Entertainment Europe, DreamWorks and Samsung Design Europe. We are also an active member of TIGA, the games industry's representative body, and the British Interactive Media Association (BIMA).
  • The fast-paced, practical course teaches students the gamut of CGI production pipeline skills on the industry's most-used software and state-of-the-art kit, such as Maya, ZBrush, Substance 3D, Nuke, Rokoko Wireless Mocap technology and 24inch Wacom Cintiqs.
  • A comprehensive catalogue of video tutorials and workshops, produced by our team and industry guests, is exclusively available to KU students.
  • KU Labs and MyDesktop Anywhere provide students with remote access to on-campus, games-spec desktops and apps in order to utilise both our hardware and software resources from home.
  • The industry-focused learning experience enables you to hone your specialist skills in a professional context. Work placements, internships and an industry mentoring scheme will also prepare you for the fast-growing and highly competitive digital media arena.

Student work

View some of our student's work from Computer Animation MA at Kingston University.

What you will study

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 skillsets 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.

Please note: 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.

Modules

Core modules

Digital Studio Practice

30 credits

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.

  • Coursework: report, prototype, and presentation (group and individual)
  • Schedule: allow one weekday per week in the first semester
  • Staff: course staff
Character Animation for Film and Games

30 credits

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.

Digital Media Final Project

60 credits

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:

  • Critically apply theoretical knowledge of design and evaluate contemporary discourse on the subject.
  • Demonstrate the application of design research methods in formulating concepts and ideas.
  • Originate design propositions through the application of appropriate design ideologies, research principles, methods, materials and technology, forms, means, actions or interventions.
  • Engage in the critical reflection of own work and in peer review related to the development and production of the major project, employing skills of evaluation, contextualisation and communication.
  • Disseminate the research process and outcomes of the final project with appropriate currency and consideration of audience.
3D Creation Pipeline for Film and Games

30 credits

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.

Perfecting the Look

30 credits

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:

  • Make assessments of the technical requirements of a shot, to achieve particular look.
  • Successfully composite 3D assets into a live action scene, and composite together elements of a 3D rendered scene.
  • Evaluate the correct techniques required to evoke a particular mood or emotion in a still or moving image.
Professional Placement

120 credits

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.

Work placement scheme

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.

Entry requirements

Typical offer

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.

International

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.

Teaching and assessment

Guided independent study

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. 

Support for postgraduate students

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

Your workload

Type of teaching and learning

Year 1

Year 1
  • Scheduled teaching: 280 hours
  • Guided independent study: 1520 hours

16% of your time is spent in timetabled teaching and learning activity. Contact hours may vary depending on your modules.

How you will be assessed

Type of assessment

Year 1

Year 1
  • Coursework: 100%

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.

Feedback summary

We aim to provide feedback on assessments within 20 working days.

Class sizes

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.

Who teaches this course?

Digital Media Kingston

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.

Our modern teaching environment

The technical resources that are available to students on this suite of courses include:

Games development suite

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.

Rokoko Wireless Motion Capture Technology

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.

Wacom Cintiq Pro Pen Tablets

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!

Gyroscopic inertial motion system

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.

Media technology labs

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.

Digital media workshops

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.

Digital photography labs

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.

Premier filming space

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.

Post-production suite

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.

Animation suite

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.

User studies equipment

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).

Sound recording studio

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.

Fees for this course

2022/23 fees for this course

Home 2022/23

  • MA full time £9,620
  • MA part time £5,291

International 2022/23

  • MA full time £15,400
  • MA part time £8,470

2021/22 fees for this course

Home and European Union 2021/22

  • MA full time £9,430
  • MA part time £5,187

Overseas (not EU) 2021/22

  • MA full time £14,900
  • MA part time £8,195

Fees for the optional placement year

If you choose to take a placement as part of this course, you will be invoiced for the placement fee in Year 2. Find out more about the postgraduate work placement scheme and the costs for the placement year.

Additional costs

Depending on the programme of study, there may be extra costs which 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, 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.

Textbooks

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, or be required to, buy your own copy of key textbooks.

Computer equipment

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.

Printing

In the majority of cases coursework can be submitted online. There may be instances when you will be required to submit work in a printed format. Printing and photocopying costs are not included in your tuition fees.

Travel

Travel costs are not included but we do have a free intersite bus service which links the campuses and halls of residence.

Funding and bursaries

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:

BAFTA UK Scholarship Programme

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.

What this course offers you

Computer Animation MA is part of the Digital Media Kingston suite of courses, providing you with a unique mixture of creative and technical skills.

  • Input from industry practitioners and experts will add a valuable dimension to your studies.
  • Industry guest speakers will share experience, knowledge, and insights.
  • You will have access to state-of-the-art equipment resources and equipment, such as Rokoko motion capture suits (with gloves and head gear), four 24inch Wacom Cintiq Pro display tablets, various cameras, lenses, tripods, and lighting equipment. Sound-recording equipment. 360 cameras for creating HDR image-based lighting, Wacom Intuos graphics tablets available to all students.
  • You will have access to first-class technical facilities, such as our Digital Media Studio (with blue and green screen), Motion-Capture Suite, high-spec workstations, and our Centre for Augmented and Virtual Environments (CAVE), where students can create VR apps with a number of Sony PlayStation developer kits. Students will be able to develop for this platform under an academic development agreement with Sony.
  • The Final Project module enables you to pursue an area of specialisation, or particular interest, and produce a substantial and personal piece for your growing portfolio, under the supervision of our knowledgeable team.

Software includes:

  • Maya, MotionBuilder, 3ds Max, and Mudbox
  • Zbrush
  • Arnold Renderer
  • Substance Painter, Designer, and Alchemist
  • Marmoset Toolbag
  • Nuke, Mari, and Modo
  • Adobe Creative Suite
  • Unreal Engine
  • Unity
  • Apple Final Cut Pro
  • Blender

Staff will be drawn from across the University including:

  • Kingston School of Art (KSA);
  • Faculty of Art and Social Sciences (FASS); and
  • Faculty of Science, Engineering and Computing (SEC).

Where this course will take you

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.

What our students say

Read about why our students chose Kingston, what they gained from studying here, and how it has helped them in their careers.

Marco Savastio, games animator, studied Computer Animation MA (full time), 2017–18

Why Kingston?

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.

What inspires you?

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.

What next?

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.

Sefki Ibrahim, senior Look-Dev TD

Why Kingston?

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.

Alex Clarke, 3D character animator

Why Kingston?

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.

Christine Androulakaki, 3D character animator

Why Kingston?

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!

Jamie Bhalla, compositor

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.

How we work with industry partners

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.

Changes to courses for 2021/22 due to Covid-19

Course information (changes for 2021/22 entry)

Composition of the course

The experience of delivering courses in 2020/21 under the various Covid-19 restrictions has enabled us to better prepare and plan the delivery of our courses in 2021/22. We are confident the course can be delivered as planned and, therefore, we do not anticipate having to make any further changes to the course, i.e. number of modules or credits in a year, in response to issues arising from the pandemic. However, if this becomes necessary, the changes will be highlighted to students via email before enrolment.

Unless government advice instructs otherwise, Study Abroad programmes will take place in 2021/22. The safety of all our students is paramount, therefore, as per normal practice, all Study Abroad activities must also be approved by the University's insurers to ensure that students are adequately protected during their period abroad. We will provide updates as the pandemic situation stabilises and/or further government advice is released.

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 in response to feedback from students and other key stakeholders. Any such changes made to the composition of the course will be highlighted to students by email before enrolment.

Modules

The experience of delivering courses in 2020/21 under the various Covid-19 restrictions has enabled us to better prepare and plan the delivery of our courses in 2021/22. We are confident the course can be delivered as planned and, therefore, we do not anticipate having to make any further changes to module titles and summaries or to the availability of modules in response to issues arising from 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, module summaries and/or availability of modules will be highlighted to students by email before enrolment.

Length of course

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 in 2021/22, e.g. moving those modules which can be delivered more effectively to the first teaching block and moving back those – such as practical modules and placements – which may be more difficult to deliver due to some ongoing restrictions.

In some cases, it may be necessary to delay placement modules which may then impact the length of the course. In these circumstances the University will guide students through the appropriate options available to ensure students are able to make informed choices.

Entry requirements (changes for 2021/22 entry)

We have not changed entry requirements as a direct result of the pandemic.

Entry requirements for international students

We have not changed entry requirements for international students as a direct result of the pandemic.

Teaching (changes for 2021/22 entry)

Changes to the way the course will be delivered

As we transition from the pandemic restrictions, we expect to steadily increase the proportion of on-campus teaching. We will continue to provide a proportion of online learning, as experience has shown that this enriches and supports the student learning experience.

If the pandemic affects teaching and learning activities in 2021/22 more than we currently anticipate, the proportion of online learning will increase. However, unless a lockdown is enforced, we will ensure that all courses provide a reasonable percentage of their teaching and learning activities on campus.

Should your circumstances prevent your attendance at on-campus sessions, you should still be able to engage with your course remotely in a way that allows you to progress. Where this is not possible, for example on courses with high practical content, your course team will be able to advise you on the options available to you.

Changes to teaching in the event of a further lockdown or adjustments in government advice

The University will continue to closely monitor government announcements and advice in relation to the 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 in 2021/22 the University will aim to deliver the course fully online once more. 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, 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. Students will be supported in these situations to ensure they are able to make the right choices for their particular circumstances.

Changes to the overall breakdown of scheduled teaching hours, placements and guided independent study hours for Year 1

Changes to the overall breakdown of scheduled learning and teaching hours, placements and guided independent study hours were not and will not be made as a direct result of the pandemic.

‘Scheduled learning and teaching' includes teaching delivered online, either live or recorded/on demand.

Timetable

Your individualised timetable for teaching block 1 (i.e. up to December 2021) should be available by the end of August. Timetables for teaching block 2 (i.e. from January 2022) will not be available until the autumn. We make every effort to ensure timetables are as student-friendly as possible.

In 2020/21 it was agreed that scheduled learning and teaching could take place on any day of the week between 9am and 9pm, to maximise the time available for teaching in order to accommodate smaller group sizes and social distancing. This meant we sometimes had to use Wednesday afternoons and enrichment week for additional teaching slots. If we need to accommodate smaller group sizes and social distancing in 2021/22 we expect to adopt a similar approach. Timetables for part-time students will depend on the modules selected.

Assessment (changes for 2021/22 entry)

The experience of delivering courses in 2020/21 under the various Covid-19 restrictions has enabled us to better prepare and plan the delivery of our courses in 2021/22. We are confident the course can be delivered as planned and, therefore, do not anticipate having to make any further changes to the course, i.e. to the overall methods of assessments, in response to issues arising from the pandemic. However, if this becomes necessary, the changes will be highlighted to students via email before enrolment.

Changes are made to modules, including how they are assessed, as part of normal enhancement processes to keep our modules up to date with current developments in that subject area and in response to feedback received from students and other key stakeholders. Any changes to the overall methods of assessment for Year 1 of the course will be highlighted to students by email before enrolment.

If social distancing or lockdown restrictions are in place in 2021/22, online alternative options to formal on-campus examinations, including practical examinations, will be made available to students where possible.

Staff (changes for 2021/22 entry)

No changes are expected to the general level of experience or status of staff involved in delivering the course.

Staff are engaged in Continuous Professional Development activities to develop their teaching expertise, as part of the normal enhancement processes, to ensure that course teams have the required breadth of expertise.

Fees, funding and additional costs (changes for 2021/22 entry)

Tuition fees

There will be no changes to published tuition fees for 2021/22.

Additional costs (e.g. field trips, materials, equipment, etc.)

As we transition from the pandemic restrictions, we expect to be able to increase student access to on-campus facilities. Students will therefore have access to University computers and library facilities.

If, due to an increase in social distancing requirements or the enforcing of a lockdown, it becomes necessary to significantly increase the proportion of teaching delivered 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 might be restricted if social distancing requirements are enforced.

The University is committed to supporting students who are unable to access suitable technology to ensure equity of access in a blended delivery mode.

Funding

There will be no changes to any existing University funding arrangements for 2021/22. Currently there are no indications from the UK government that there will be any changes to government funding arrangements.

Fees and funding for international students

There will be no changes to published tuition fees or funding arrangements specifically relating to international students for 2021/22.

Work placements and field trips (changes for 2021/22 entry)

We are anticipating that placements (including work and clinical placements) and field trips included as part of the course will go ahead in 2021/22. However, to ensure students gain maximum value from placement activities, it may be necessary to reschedule them to later in the year, when any impacts from the pandemic restrictions are minimised.

Any proposed changes to placements or field trips would go through the University's agreed processes where the impact of the change will be carefully considered.

In the interests of the health and wellbeing of our students, all placement arrangements must be approved by the University's insurers and the appropriate risk assessments 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.

Award, qualification and accreditation (changes for 2021/22 entry)

Qualification

No changes will be made to the qualification awarded, e.g. BSc (Hons), MSc, etc., as a direct 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 by email before enrolment.

Accreditation

The experience of delivering courses in 2020/21 under the various Covid-19 restrictions has enabled us to better prepare and plan the delivery of our courses in 2021/22. We are confident the course can be delivered as planned and in accordance with any professional body requirements. We do not anticipate making any further changes to courses in response to any issues arising from the pandemic and which would put at risk any professional body accreditation status.

Additional (changes for 2021/22 entry)

International students should maintain awareness of the UK government's and their home country's government's 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.