Storytelling and skills building through animation production.
Northern Ireland’s vibrant animation industry and community make it a highly desirable destination for study, networking and career advancement. This programme focuses on the three core components of animated production: Narrative, Character and Performance. Students will develop their skills in narrative construction, character development, animation and advanced production techniques, allowing them to explore the unique opportunities and challenges computer animation bring to storytelling.
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About this course
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Building on the success of the BDes Hons Animation programme, which is already impacting local and global industry with graduates being honoured at the Prime Time Emmy Awards for their “Contribution to the Emmy Award winning achievement—Outstanding Special Visual Effects” on the HBO series “Game of Thrones”, the MSc Animation programme aims to further establish Ulster University’s Belfast School of Art as the regional, national and international centre of excellence in CGI (Computer Generated Imagery), Animation for education, research and industry.
Timing for Animation
Students develop their core skills in animation, developing a deeper understanding of timing and animation principles in action.
Students explore both contemporary and contextual issues around design, with a focus on challenge and disruptive design behaviour.
Character & Performance
Narrative builds characters whose performances drive the story. Students will develop a deeper understanding of acting, empathising with their character and building a relationship with their character’s audience.
Students will develop a broader understanding of computer animation pipelines and their implementation in a commercial production environment. From concept through animation, compositing and editing, students will develop the skills needed to see their projects through to completion.
Students will develop a body of work specific to their chosen area of animation production.
Attendance is available in part-time and full-time modes. Please contact us for more information.
- September 2019
Here is a guide to the subjects studied on this course.
Courses are continually reviewed to take advantage of new teaching approaches and developments in research, industry and the professions. Please be aware that modules may change for your year of entry. The exact modules available and their order may vary depending on course updates, staff availability, timetabling and student demand. Please contact the course team for the most up to date module list.
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Timing for Animation
Since the MA Animation course will be accepting students both with and without prior animation experience, this first module will be flexible enough either to provide an initial framework from which an understanding of animation timing will be developed, or to provide the space to revise, build and develop specialisms. It is acknowledged that where technical skills acquisition is concerned, flexibility is the key to a successful postgraduate program. The content is therefore designed to contain a basic introduction to the essential elements of animated movement and studio production practices, which can be attempted either at a basic, intermediate or advanced level.
Assessment is based on two assessed outcomes, a group project, which will facilitate openness, creativity and peer to peer learning, and a set of animation exercises which can be approached at any level.
Acting for Animation
The aim of the module is to provide students with a specific set of technical and creative skills highly pertinent to the contemporary animation industry. The content therefore has a specific focus - the students must concentrate on the creation of convincing gestural human movement, both mechanical and expressive. To this end, the students will be asked to complete a set of exercises, rather than a project, so that they can break down the complexity of each task before applying it to their own work. This module will help academic progression by enabling the student more theory and skills development towards animation production. The student will be graded on their ability to complete each of the tasks put forward in each exercise.
This module will enable the students to consolidate the skills base that they have acquired elsewhere in the programme and apply them in a semi-professional context. The presence of one or more external agent is important in order to set up a situation where the students act as creative content providers for a client's brief. This is an invaluable part of the learning process, which results in a different, more dynamic working practice. The students will also experience and develop the ability to work in a team towards a common goal, within an agreed production framework. Finally, the students will study storyboarding and complete an individual project which will demonstrate their understanding of film language and key concepts such as staging and scene construction. This module enables academic progression to the major project module, giving new insight to the needs of the animation industry.
The purpose of this final animation module is to enable the student consolidate and demonstrate the knowledge and skills that have been acquired through the masters programme. It is therefore an open brief which will allow each student to prepare for the world of work. The number of lectures and formal lessons will therefore be reduced, compared to the previous modules. There will, however, be regular points of contact across the semester. In particular, since one of the main transferable skills to be acquired in the execution of a major project is time and project management, students will be asked to present their work in progress at two points, before the third and final presentation of the finished work to a jury of professionals at the end of the programme.
The completion of a final project will boost confidence, and consolidate animation skills. In this way, with the addition of classes on self-promotion (around the creation of a promotional pack, plus coaching activities) students will be fully prepared for their entry into the creative industries as a professional animator.
This module enables students to develop an understanding of the user needs and challenging the existing through independent, innovative and disruptive thinking. Students will observe and develop empathy with the target user. This module will enable students in the process of questioning: questioning the problem, questioning the assumptions, and questioning the implications, allowing deeper investigation and critical evaluation of knowledge and understanding of the wider theoretical development of design as a discipline. The module provides students with a forum for the critical evaluation of the nature of contemporary design thinking and its manifestation in diverse practices. Students are expected to challenge their personal and collective assumptions about the nature of design thinking, to develop knowledge and understanding of current developments in design research and to formulate new alternative paradigms of design practice in the context of a multidisciplinary environment.
We recognise a range of qualifications for admission to our courses. In addition to the specific entry conditions for this course you must also meet the University’s General Entrance Requirements.
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Applicants must hold a degree (with at least 2:2 Honours standard) or equivalent or demonstrate their ability to undertake the course through the accreditation of prior learning.
The specific requirements for admission are detailed below:
i) Applicants should normally hold a good honours degree in any Animation, Computer Science, Engineering, Design practice, Visual Arts or cognate subject from a University of the United Kingdom or the Republic of Ireland, from the Council of National Academic Awards, the Higher Education and Training Awards Council or from an institution of another country which is recognised as being of an equivalent standard.
ii) Applicants may be interviewed along with the presentation of a body of work that can take the form of, but is not limited to, a portfolio and/or showreel and proposal. Applicants must be able to satisfy the panel at interview that their work is of a standard that will allow them to deal with the intellectual and practical rigours of the programme.
iii) Applications are welcomed from diverse backgrounds however where there is a discipline shift the applicant must represent a coherent rationale for this shift and evidence prerequisite knowledge, skills and experience.
The programme is devised specifically to support continuing lifelong learning for professions in a rapidly changing field. Therefore APL (Accreditation for Prior Learning) will be considered as evidence of exceptional ability appropriate to recruitment to the programme. Applications from professionals with extensive professional, industrial and/or commercial experience but lacking recent or higher level academic qualifications will be encouraged. APL (Advanced Prior Learning) will be considered as evidence of exceptional ability appropriate to the course.
English Language Requirements
English language requirements for international applicants
The minimum requirement for this course is Academic IELTS 6.0 with no band score less than 5.5. Trinity ISE: Pass at level III also meets this requirement for Tier 4 visa purposes.
Ulster recognises a number of other English language tests and comparable IELTS equivalent scores.
Careers & opportunities
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This programme is designed to prepare students for a career in a range of animation related fields such as TV & Feature film animation and games animation.
Fees and funding
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Fees (total cost)
Important notice - fees information
Fees illustrated are based on 19/20 entry and are subject to an annual increase. Correct at the time of publishing. Terms and conditions apply. Additional mandatory costs are highlighted where they are known in advance. There are other costs associated with university study.
Visit our Fees pages for full details of fees
- Northern Ireland & EU:
- £14,060.00 Scholarships available
Additional mandatory costs
Students should be aware that as the work is self-directed costs may and are likely to be incurred due to the specific material or research needs of that student’s development.
Field trips may incur additional costs.
Tuition fees and costs associated with accommodation, travel (including car parking charges), and normal living are a part of university life.
Where a course has additional mandatory expenses we make every effort to highlight them. These may include residential visits, field trips, materials (e.g. art, design, engineering) inoculations, security checks, computer equipment, uniforms, professional memberships etc.
We aim to provide students with the learning materials needed to support their studies. Our libraries are a valuable resource with an extensive collection of books and journals as well as first-class facilities and IT equipment. Computer suites and free wifi is also available on each of the campuses.
There will be some additional costs to being a student which cannot be itemised and these will be different for each student. You may choose to purchase your own textbooks and course materials or prefer your own computer and software. Printing and binding may also be required. There are additional fees for graduation ceremonies, examination resits and library fines. Additional costs vary from course to course.
Students choosing a period of paid work placement or study abroad as part of their course should be aware that there may be additional travel and living costs as well as tuition fees.
Please contact the course team for more information.
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