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Digital Animation with a Foundation Year - BA (Hons)

Currently viewing course to start in 2023/24 Entry.

This Foundation Year has been specifically designed to allow you to undertake an additional year of study to build stronger creative footings that ensure successful progression through your chosen degree....

  • Level Foundation
  • Study mode Full Time
  • Location City Centre
  • School School of Games, Film and Animation
  • Faculty Faculty of Arts, Design and Media

Overview

The Foundation Year

This Foundation Year has been specifically designed to allow you to undertake an additional year of study to build stronger creative footings that ensure successful progression through your chosen degree.

Working in a friendly, lively and energetic environment, you will be given the freedom to expand your knowledge of practical skills, creative exploration and conceptual thinking, underpinned by broad critical understanding, academic writing and emerging theoretical principles.

Dedicated Foundation tutors will support you throughout the year and BA teaching staff from across all the schools within the Birmingham Institute of Creative Arts (BICA) will work closely with you to prepare you for progression.

There will be a range of opportunities to work on collaborative and individual projects, aimed to build your social skills and identify your role as a developing practitioner.

Throughout the year you will be challenged with projects that question your current creative experiences and explore a breadth of experimentation to broaden your technical and critical understanding.

You will be encouraged to analyse methods and materials appropriate for creative development and to question your position in relation to historical, contemporary, and future world scenarios. Both practical and written research tasks will be supported by one-to-one tutorials and small discussion groups to help you constructively build academic and social confidence.

The two first semester modules will form the building blocks for future work and will explore core principles of creative practice focussing on the development of technical confidence, study skills and productivity.

The two final semester modules will encourage a positive integration between research and practice, challenging decision making and technical competency. This semester is designed to empower you with independent learning skills appropriate for your future BA studies.

On successful completion of the Foundation Year, you will have the flexibility to change direction and switch courses onto a related undergraduate degree programme within Birmingham School of Art, School of Visual Communication or the School of Games, Film and Animation.

In order to progress onto your BA Programme, you must successfully pass all four core modules (totalling 120 credits).

BA (Hons) Digital Animation

This cutting-edge BA programme will develop your skills across the Digital Animation practice conventions. You will be taught by established practitioners, who will provide their knowledge on 2D and 3D animation disciplines.

The course is part of Birmingham City University’s Film suite, designed to develop graduates with knowledge of the theory, practice and industry trends that will enable them to succeed in a rapidly changing industry environment.

This course is open to International students.

What's covered in this course?

The course will help you establish the core art fundamentals, such as anatomy, gesture, pose, weight distribution, perspective, composition and an understanding of how they underpin digital animation practice. You will also learn about the 12 principles of animation required to create engaging animation performance, whether you choose a Film/Television or Games/Interactive pathway. The course will introduce you to industry standard project management and pipelines methodologies that mirror industry production procedures.

Depending upon the route you choose to take on the course (Film/TV or Game/Interactive) you will produce a range of assessed material including but not exclusive to:

  • Storyboards & story-reels
  • Animation foundation exercises
  • Performance animations
  • Specialist portfolios and showreels
  • Short films, made collaboratively, demonstrating animation principles and pipelines
  • Game animation sets, demonstrated within the Unity and Unreal game engines

A key focus of this course is developing performance within character animation. You will develop acting techniques that will promote the development on your inner actor to project performance through your characters. You will also develop an understating of and demonstrate visual storytelling, with ‘show don’t tell’ philosophies.

While theoretical and practice-based considerations of animation techniques and principles remain a central focus to the award, the course also provides shared modules within the School’s film and games courses, offering wider collaborative opportunities which help provide core skills relevant to industry.

This course is designed in response to the growing demand within the UK and International animation industries that require job ready graduates who can demonstrate within their showreels, animation foundation principles and skilled use of industry standard tools

Shaun Magher - Course Director, BA Film Making

Why Choose Us?

  • The School of Games, Film and Animation (formerly known as the New Technology Institute) opened in 2005 and is housed within the University’s Faculty of Arts, Design and Media. In this vibrant context, you’ll enjoy the benefits of outstanding resources, at the heart of a thriving creative community in our City Centre campus.
  • You will be taught by tutors with over 30 years of experience within the UK and International Animation industries.
  • The BA Digital Animation course is an employment-led programme, so your knowledge and skills will be up to date and relevant, making you industry ready upon graduation.
  • Our teaching philosophy is practice-led and theory applied in the pursuit of excellence.
  • We have a partnership with the BFI, which offers students free access to the BFI player.
  • Top 5 for Animation and Game Design (Guardian League Tables 2023).

Studying with us during the Covid-19 pandemic

The University has put in place measures in response to Covid-19 to allow us to safely deliver our courses. Should the impact of the pandemic continue in future years, any additional or alternative arrangements put in place by the University will be in accordance with the latest government public health advice, health and safety legislation, and the terms and conditions of the student contract.

Open Days

Join us for an on-campus Open Day where you'll be able to explore our campus and facilities in person. Booking for the next event isn’t open yet. Register your interest below and we’ll email you as soon as booking goes live.

Next Open Day: March 2023

Register your interest

Entry Requirements

These entry requirements apply for entry in 2023/24.

All required qualifications/grades must have been achieved and evidenced at the earliest opportunity after accepting an offer to help confirm admission and allow for on-time enrolment. This can also include other requirements, like a fee status form and relevant documents. Applicants can track their application and outstanding information requests through their BCU mySRS account.

We accept a range of qualifications, the most popular of which are detailed below.

UK students
Essential

80 UCAS tariff points.

Level 2 qualifications
GCSE GCSE English Language or English Literature and GCSE Maths at grade C/4 or above. If you do not have these or are not undertaking them, we accept other Level 2 equivalents, or we may ask you to pass BCU's GCSE equivalency tests.
Irish Leaving Certificate (Ordinary Level) See level 3 entry requirements under Irish Leaving Certificate for full details
Scottish National 5 English Language or English Literature and Maths at grade C or above. If you do not have these or are not undertaking them, we accept other Level 2 equivalents, or we may ask you to pass BCU's GCSE equivalency tests.
Plus one of the following Level 3 (and above) qualifications
A Level and Advanced VCE
  • CDD / 80 UCAS points
  • A maximum of 4 subjects are considered. These can be other A/S Levels (as long in a different subject) A-Levels or Level 3 equivalents.

AS and AS VCE

Considered with a maximum of 3 other Level 3 qualifications (AS Levels must be in different subject to A-Levels) to obtain 80 pts

Access to HE Diploma

  • Pass with 60 credits overall. At least 45 credits at Level 3.
  • Arts, Media and Publishing subjects preferred but other subjects also considered
  • Pearson BTEC National Extended Diploma (2016 – present)
  • Pearson BTEC Extended Diploma (QCF) (2010 - 2016)
  • BTEC Level 3 National Diploma (2002 – 2010)
MMP

Foundation Studies (Art and Design, and Art, Design & Media)

  • Pass
  • Considered with a maximum of 3 other Level 3 qualifications to obtain 80 pts

IBO Certificate in Higher Level

  • Students who do not complete the IB Diploma will be considered on the basis of their IB Certificates if they obtain a total of 11 points or above from two Higher Level Subjects
  • Considered with a maximum of 3 other Level 3 qualifications to obtain 80 pts

International Baccalaureate Diploma

Obtain a minimum of 24 points overall

Irish Leaving Certificate (Highers)

Pass the Irish Leaving Certificate with a minimum of 80 tariff points, achieved in five Higher level subjects.

OCR Cambridge Technical Extended Diploma

MMP

Scottish Higher/Advanced Higher

  • Achieve a minimum of 80 tariff points achieved in either three Advanced Highers or from a combination of two Advanced Highers plus two Highers.
  • Where three Advanced Highers have been taken achieve a minimum of grades DDD
  • Where a combination of Highers and Advanced Highers have been taken you must achieve (grades of DD in two Advanced Highers plus grades of DD in two Highers).

T-Levels

Pass overall (C or above on the core)

UAL Extended Diploma in Art & Design

Merit overall

UAL Extended Diploma in Creative Media Production & Technology

Merit overall

UAL Extended Diploma in Performing and Production Arts

Merit overall
Other qualifications
If you have a qualification that is not listed in the table please refer to our full entry requirements on UCAS.

Further guidance on tariff points can be found on the UCAS website.
Additional information for EU/International students
Essential

Please see your country page for further details on the equivalent qualifications we accept.

In addition to the academic entry requirements listed above, international and EU students will also require the qualifications detailed in this table.

EU/Non-EU (International) Qualifications Requirements
IELTS

6.0 overall with no less than 5.5 in each band.

If you do not meet the required IELTS score, you may be eligible for one of our pre-sessional English courses. Please note that you must have a Secure English Language Test (SELT) to study on the pre-sessional English course. More information.

Fees & How to Apply

Please select your student status to view fees and apply
  • UK Student
  • International Student

UK students

Annual and modular tuition fees shown are applicable to the first year of study. The University reserves the right to increase fees for subsequent years of study in line with increases in inflation (capped at 5%) or to reflect changes in Government funding policies or changes agreed by Parliament. View fees for continuing students.

Award: BA (Hons)

Starting: Sep 2023

  • Mode
  • Duration
  • Fees

International students

Annual and modular tuition fees shown are applicable to the first year of study. The University reserves the right to increase fees for subsequent years of study in line with increases in inflation (capped at 5%) or to reflect changes in Government funding policies or changes agreed by Parliament. View fees for continuing students.

Award: BA (Hons)

Starting: Sep 2023

  • Mode
  • Duration
  • Fees
  • Full Time
  • 4 years
  • £13,980 in 2023/24

If you're unable to use the online form for any reason, you can complete our PDF application form and equal opportunities PDF form instead.

Access to computer equipment

You will require use of a laptop, and most students do prefer to have their own. However, you can borrow a laptop from the university or use one of our shared computer rooms.

Printing

You will receive £5 print credit in each year of your course, available after enrolment.

Field trips

All essential field trips and associated travel costs will be included in your course fees.

Access to Microsoft Office 365

Every student at the University can download a free copy of Microsoft Office 365 to use whilst at university and for 18 months after graduation.

Key software

You will be able to download SPSS and Nvivo to your home computer to support with your studies and research.

Key subscriptions

Subscriptions to key journals and websites are available through our library.

Excess printing (optional)

Once you have spent your £5 credit, additional printing on campus costs from 5p per sheet.

Accommodation and living costs

The cost of accommodation and other living costs are not included within your course fees. More information on the cost of accommodation can be found in our accommodation pages.

Guidance for UK students

UCAS

UK students applying for most undergraduate degree courses in the UK will need to apply through UCAS.

The Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS) is a UK organisation responsible for managing applications to university and college.

Applying through UCAS
 Register with UCAS
 Login to UCAS
 Complete your details
 Select your course
 Write a personal statement
 Get a reference
 Pay your application fee
 Send UCAS your application

You are not required to submit a portfolio for this course.

Course in Depth

Foundation year

In order to complete this course you must successfully complete the following core modules (totalling 120 credits)

Year one

In order to complete this course you must successfully complete all the following CORE modules (totalling 120 credits):

Year two

In order to complete this course you must successfully complete all the following CORE modules (totalling 100 credits):

In order to complete this course you must successfully complete at least 20 credits from the following list of OPTIONAL modules.

Core modules are guaranteed to run. Optional modules will vary from year to year and the published list is indicative only.

Year three

In order to complete this course you must successfully complete all the following CORE modules (totalling 120 credits):

Download course specification

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You will learn through a series of lectures, seminars and practice-based workshops, as well as gaining valuable collaborative skills within Animation production.

Year One

In the first year of study, you will develop your skills within core Art and Animation principles.

You will receive intensive training in industry standard 2D and 3D digital Art and Animation tools.

You will experience working collaboratively to make short films and establish practical and theoretical skills within Digital Animation production.

Year Two

In the second year of study, you will develop your practical skills and knowledge within Character development. From Concept, through to animation ready character creation.

You will begin to explore your chosen specialisms, in 2D or 3D Animation production, either within a Film/TV or Games pathway.

You will have the option to collaborate with wider GFA and BICA courses, to make short films or to participate in Game jams.

You will develop your skills within acting for animation, where you will learn to capture and project performance within your animation.

Year Three

Our Professional Practice modules will help you develop and consolidate your theory and practice within Animation, enabling you to create a body of work that demonstrates the quality of work required to enter the Animation industry and start your future career.

Employability

You will learn of range of skills which will be key to enhancing your future employability.

Specifically, you will learn to:

  • Develop your own practice within a professional context that would enable future employment options in the Animation industry.
  • Identify the relationship of theory to practice and effectively demonstrating it through your work.
  • Produce animation shorts, effective animation pipeline to a professional standard.
  • Work independently and collaboratively.
  • Be a self-motivated, organised and independent effective learner.
  • Be confident in showcasing your work for critique and highly reflective of your processes.

You will also learn skills in a range of workshop practices in relation to individual development, including but not limiting to the use of camera and photography, 3D printing, motion capture, sculpting and life drawing.

Professional practice guidance will teach you a range of skills such as CV writing; portfolio development, editing showreels , use of social media and other platforms for self-promotion, presenting yourself and your work in a professional framework.

Placements

You will have the option of an international exchange, and the opportunity to get involved in a range of live projects. Placements are not part of the curriculum but are encouraged and supported by staff should an opportunity arise.

In such an example, our students have worked closely with Flatpack Festival in programming some of the events, organised and ran animation workshops and volunteering throughout the festival.

Graduates and students were also involved in the production of a Rube Goldberg animation for Second Home Studios which subsequently won the RTS Best Production Craft Skills award.

Students have also participated in Animation Festival submissions such as Annecy, Encounters, New Designers, and the prestigious Royal Television Society Awards amongst others.

Students have been wining RTS Awards dating back to 1997 with more than a dozen winners and nominees.

The Jury Distinction was also awarded to one of our graduates for his outstanding Animation at Annecy Animation Festival which was of the highest accolade.

International

Birmingham City University is a vibrant and multicultural university in the heart of a modern and diverse city. We welcome many international students every year – there are currently students from more than 80 countries among our student community.

The University is conveniently placed, with Birmingham International Airport nearby and first-rate transport connections to London and the rest of the UK.

Our international pages contain a wealth of information for international students who are considering applying to study here, including:

Within the Birmingham Institute of Creative Arts, the School of Games Film & Animation has historical links and strong working relationship with our International partners and institutions in China, Hong Kong, Bangkok, India, Singapore and Malaysia for over 20 years. The Animation discipline in the courses remained popular and have grown over the years.

We had collaboration and exchanges between home students and international partners, resulting in a rich cross-cultural experience. Students have participated in final degree shows, projects, festivals and screenings in different countries, thus furthering their global reach to diverse audiences whilst understanding different cultural appeal. These exchanges encourage students to expand their knowledge not only as an Animator but also as a creative practitioner.

Many of our successful home and international alumni are now working in various animation studios, gaming industry and education.

Facilities & Staff

You will have access to first class studio facilities such as the Green Screen Studio, Motion Control Camera (MILO), Motion Capture Suit and VR systems. The studios are set up in a conducive working environment with support from technicians and operators.

To support your learning, PCs and Macs are available across the campuses. Wacom tablets and Cintiqs are supplied to facilitate digital drawing and sculpting. Computers are equipped with the latest Adobe Suite and Autodesk software. Specialist animation software(s) are usually installed in dedicated computers for Digital Animators.

Professional digital cameras, lighting and recording equipment are also available in the Hires and Loans store.