BA (Honours)/MArt The Art of Visual Effects (Integrated Masters)
Join one of the fastest growing industries in the UK and around the world.
Do you dream of working in the Visual Effects (VFX) industry on the latest commercial or next blockbuster? Our course is perfect for those looking to gain knowledge of 3D VFX and 2D Compositing, providing you with the professional skills that the industry is looking for or even to start your own studio.
Become a digital artist - studying in industry-style studios using the latest tools and techniques, and working as part of a team on high-quality creative projects. You’ll have hands-on tutorials run by industry-trained tutors and will receive feedback on your work from practising professionals.
You'll graduate studio ready, with a professional portfolio of work to show employers, and a degree awarded by the University of Kent.
- UCAS code: I702 (BA) - I703 (MArt)
- Institution code: P34
- Location: London campus
- Start date: September
- Fees: (See Fees and Funding section)
£9,250 per year for 2022/2023 entry
- Mode of study: Full time
- Programme duration: BA 3 years, MArt 4 years
- Entry requirements: Entry by portfolio and Creative Workshop, plus being predicted a minimum two passes at A Level or equivalent
Why choose this course
- All-round creative skills - you'll study common modules in your first year to gain an understanding of visual effects, animation and game art and how those discipline work together.
- Team work - you'll work on projects as a team, just as you would in the studio, providing you with a good understanding of the VFX pipeline by sharing skills across disciplines.
- Industry-standard studios - you'll work in a studio environment that mirrors current industry practice from day one, using professional software such as Maya and ZBrush, to give you a true taste of life in a studio.
- Soft skills - you'll learn soft skills such as team work, organisation, giving and receiving feedback to prepare you to the real world of work.
- Expert tutors - you'll have intensive, hands-on tutorials with industry-trained tutors such as our Head of 3D VFX, Mark Spevick, who has over 20 years of experience in the industry working on the likes of Casino Royale. All our tutors can help turn your passion for visual effects into a practical studio-ready skillset.
- Industry briefs - in the studio, you'll work on industry-standard briefs, similar to those you'll get in a professional studio. You'll experience real-life scenarios, such as dealing with briefs with varying requirements, deadlines and resources.
- Developed with industry professionals - this programme has been developed in collaboration with experienced industry leaders such as DNEG (Avengers: Endgame and Captain Marvel), and MPC (The Lion King and 1917 (winner of seven BAFTA awards and the Oscar for VFX)).
- Specialisms - 2D vs. 3D: in second year, you will be introduced to both 2D Compositing for VFX and 3D for VFX. Your first term will provide the opportunity to try each specialism, so you can decide which you enjoy most and which best lends itself to your skillset. You will receive full support from our tutors and feedback from industry professionals to guide your decision on which specialism you will take forward in to the remainder of your degree.
All our Escape Studios undergraduate students study common modules in their first year. This will, help to give you the all-round skills you’ll need to begin your journey to becoming a professional.
First year (level 4)
Creative Foundations - Project (30 credits)
This module presents students with a studio-relevant challenge in their first year of studying at Escape Studios, providing a real understanding of team collaboration throughout the creative process. The module requires students to respond to creative project briefs as part of a small team - imitating the professional set-up found in industry.
The success of the team is dependent on realising a shared vision whilst making the most of the individual strengths of each member. Each team will work towards a controlled approach in their planning and resourcing, to ensure that they effectively deliver the project, whilst still being on time and on budget. Teams will be required to pitch their concepts before moving to the development stage - which eventually leads to the team's final product that is ready to be showcased to the client. This module demonstrates how each individual student can make a genuine contribution to a professional team in a creative environment.
Creative Foundations - Craft (30 credits)
This module is the chance for students to develop a hands-on understanding of different industry-relevant styles of visual representation. There is a learning focus within three key areas: communicating ideas and concepts in visual forms, the meaning behind an image in context and the way light behaves and interacts with surfaces.
By the end of the module, successful students will benefit from an essential knowledge of key concepts of working in the creative sector, including the study of visual conventions and narratives, the development of traditional creative skills, such as drawing and photography, and the analysis of visual material of aesthetic value and communication content.
Video Game Art - Core (15 credits)
This module allows students to get to grips with the fundamentals of developing assets for use in video games - boosting students from zero experience to a core foundation where artistic talents can be used to create video game content. Students will be given intensive projects which will test, teach and improve their ability to use the latest 3D software and techniques, including: modelling, texturing and lighting basic assets for a modern game engine.
The two main outcomes that students can expect from this studying module is a developed understanding of producing game assets for the mobile platform and a grounding in the basics of game art, for students to make informed decisions in directing their career journeys.
Computer Animation - Core (15 credits)
This module reveals a modern understanding behind the Twelve Principles of Animation - providing students with an overview of theory and practice relating to the creation of animation in a wide range of digital media. Students get hands-on with the latest software and techniques surrounding animation principles, movement and cinematography.
The main purpose of this module is to provide an excellent range of transferable skills for use in a professional animation environment. A range of industry-standard 3D and 2D animation techniques will be covered, alongside animation mechanics that include locomotion, flexibility and weight. Students who start with a limited understanding of animation will finish with the ability to engage with the challenges of contemporary animation.
Compositing for VFX - Core (15 credits)
This module introduces the theory and role of Compositing in VFX production and where it sits within the overall creative industries. The content of the module provides students with the opportunity to realise the fundamentals of layering multiple image elements in an efficient workflow. The industry-aligned projects give the students a chance to learn compositing, colour correction and keying with the latest software and techniques.Successful students will begin to understand Compositing in the same light as studio professionals. Moving forward, students will be able to place the role of Compositing alongside their wider understanding of visual effects.
3D for VFX - Core (15 credits)
This module provides students with a core understanding of the role of 3D in VFX production. Students will evaluate 3D tools, techniques and approaches used by the modern day production of a final rendered image.Successful students will have the ability to place the appropriate 3D tools and techniques to a specific creative objective. Innovative projects within this module provide students with a challenge, as well as an opportunity to showcase their newly developed techniques in modelling, texturing, lighting and rendering. Explore contemporary 3D theory and concepts with a truly unique studio learning experience.
For more details about modules, see the full module specifications.
Second year (level 5)
From your second year you’ll start to specialise in VFX and work in teams on industry-style projects.
You will be introduced to both 2D Compositing for VFX and 3D for VFX. Your first term will provide the opportunity to try each specialism, so you can decide which you enjoy most and which best lends itself to your skillset. You will receive full support from our tutors and feedback from industry professionals to guide your decision. In professional VFX Studios, collaboration between 2D Compositors and 3D Artists is essential. This is exactly how we run our projects. So whichever specialism you choose, you will work closely with those who’ve chosen a different pathway – a real taste of life in industry.
3D for Visual Effects - Pro (30 credits)
This module develops students to have a competent and systematic knowledge of theory and concepts surrounding the creation of photorealistic simulated 3D graphic elements for use in a complex visual effects shot. Develop the ability to critically evaluate and select modern tools and techniques to create your own photo-realistic simulated CG elements for use in a VFX production pipeline. This is your chance to use industry standard software to produce 3D assets to a professional standard, including in live action production shots.
Successful students will finish this module with an ability to own a variety of professional skills from simulating hair, fur and fluids to having an advanced control of lighting and rendering situations. Other skills demanded by industry taught on this module include: procedural modelling and animation techniques, particle based system, scripting, expressions and advanced visual effects elements.
Compositing for Visual Effects - Pro (30 credits)
This module has a range of specific learning outcomes that put students ahead of the game with an industry-focused understanding of compositing. Successful students will be able to demonstrate an impressive understanding of the concepts and theory surrounding both 2D and 3D compositing in the context of professional VFX productions. Plus, students will also learn how to implement 3D rendered assets and transfer them into a visual effects environment. Other learning outcomes students can expect to benefit from include the creation of 2D/ 2D.5 assets for compositing into complex live action plates, as well as the ability to use professional level integration techniques to a high standard. This module provides students with a chance to take their compositing ability and understanding from novice to professional.
Specialism (15 credits)
This module complements the Industry Studio Project and gives the students a chance to delve into the craft that they have developed over the duration of their course, relating to the contemporary context of the theory and techniques surrounding their specialism. Tutors will aid students to propose what their specialism will be and industry professionals will support students with critical feedback. Through this module, students will be in a stronger position to realise their own personal development and what they can offer to their allocated team in the Industry Studio Project.
Industry Studio Project (45 credits)
This module prepares and challenges students to complete a studio project collaboratively, to the same standard as found in a practising studio environment. This is a chance for students to work together to showcase the pinnacle of their talents and techniques. Students are expected to direct their project with good project management and task allocation to create, acquire and select top material content. Students are required to demonstrate their ability to evaluate the outcome with a 20-minute presentation to a panel of industry professionals.
For more details about modules, see the full module specifications.
Third year (level 6)
By your third year, you’ll be working in a team just like a fully-functioning independent studio, alongside developing an in-depth knowledge of your chosen specialisation.
Advanced Specialism (30 credits)
This module offers the opportunity for students to engage with the advanced theories, principles and tools at the forefront of visual effects. On successful completion of the module, students will have developed an impressive mix of transferable skills, including: the ability to communicate in-depth the technical and creative issues within their community of practice and a matured awareness to self reflect on their own professional development.
Students will be refined in their professionalism by the support of both tutors and industry professionals. This module will benefit students in their ability to employ a high level of expertise in their personal and studio practice. The final project will be assessed by an incorporation of both tutors and industry professionals.
Professional Practice (30 credits)
This module allows students to showcase what they do best and is largely focused on creating an individual work on a personal development portfolio. Students have the chance to showcase their specialist area within their field, as well as providing and receiving support from fellow students to move forward in their development, from the lessons they have learned at Escape Studios over the last two years.
Students will be challenged to create personal audits and plans, including a series of mock interviews mid-way through. Tutors and industry professionals will provide valuable and formative feedback to direct students' progress. Successful students will finish this module to efficiently work in a team and fluently communicate their skills and ability in a professional setting, including interviews and assessment meetings.
Professional Studio Project (60 credits)
This module combines the three-year efforts of the student, bringing together preparation, training and experimentation of the previous two stages. The course is the pinnacle of the students' learning experience which ensures that graduates are ready to advance to either a career within industry or the demands of the final MArt year.
There are two core assignments within this module: individual retrospective, where the student is required to create an enquiry into their own work, and the team project, where students are required to work to the standard of a professional studio team and give a presentation providing a concise retrospective of their project. Successful completion of this module is dependent on the student's ability to thrive in a studio environment, in order to advance their knowledge, skills and understanding through practice-based learning, experimentation and reflection.
For more details about modules, see the full module specifications.
Fourth year (level 7 - integrated masters students only)
If you’re doing the four-year MArt programme, in this final year you’ll develop entrepreneurship and the skills needed to manage your fledgling studio as a real business, taking it to the next level of professionalism. Students will be asked to organise themselves to work as a digital studio, working on projects that will be viable and to a commercial standard. The four modules of this final year will cover the crucial aspects that will define your studio's success.
Art and Design (30 credits)
The primary focus of this module is to create products and services that have exceptional aesthetic and a strong brand identity. It investigates the visual language used within the contemporary world and looks into the wasy that society interacts with products, services and with each other through digital interfaces that have been crafted by experts with industry-standard tools. There is an expectation within this course that a student's output must retain an audience with a seamless usability and engage them with their work's beauty. Students will also learn that functionality is no longer enough in today’s world.
At the end of the module, successful students will be able to present aesthetically pleasing, intuitively designed, well branded products and services that meet their business goals.
Craft (30 credits)
The outline of this module’s syllabus covers industry-standard software and hardware, SaaS development, technical innovation for the creative industries and distribution platform innovation. The overall objective of this module is for students to strive for technical excellence in all that they do, including creating products, services and everyday user experiences.
The challenge of this module is to work within realistic technical constraints to create something that is feasible and viable within visual effects creation. This module will challenge students to expand their technical skills beyond what they currently know and is accepted practice and to learn new skills and collaborate with fellow students. Through a series of lectures, seminars and the failures and success of their work, students will learn how to create technically and visionary excellent visual effects.
Process (30 credits)
This module challenges students to engage, understand and begin to redefine the development process at an advanced level. This course looks at the evolution of digital products, services and experiences that are created on the course. Furthermore, you will look into how to adapt the working process to accommodate this evolution, as well as how it shapes the business that you run.
The module has wide-reaching lessons that can benefit most professionals within the creative industries, focusing on essential qualities of agile production and understanding this within a global context. Students will be expected to present their working methodology surrounding the creation of visual effects with their final outcome, including a demonstrated reflection on the benefits and drawbacks of the process they have created. Students will learn independently and within their teams how to structure and implement an innovative production process within the visual effects industry and the wider creative industries.
Business (30 credits)
This module covers business modelling, start-up basics, a financial and legal outlook, how to create a purpose-driven business and the art of pitching to investors. Through inspiring lectures, seminars and weeks of experimentation in the studios, students will get to grips with how to establish a business that supports their visions and innovations.
This module is all about empowering students with the ability to make their company sustainable and profitable. Successful students engage with the world-dominating digital technologies, and business models that are constantly adapting to the creative industries. The lessons learned on this course give students the education to use business expertise to push their talents in the creative industries.
For more details about modules, see the full module specifications.
How will your work be assessed?
The majority of modules contain at least one piece of practice or ‘formative’ assessment for which you receive feedback. Formative assessments are developmental and do not count towards your overall module mark.
Summative assessment breakdown
Level 4 and 5
For Level 4 and 5 modules, your assessment will be split into two parts:
- 75% Product - You will be required to create a product (short computer animation, rendered image of a 3D object composited shot, etc.) to a specified brief, then present it in front of a panel and demonstrate how you have met the learning outcomes in your work.
- 25% Retrospective - You will be required to write a reflective analysis and present this for moderation and assessment.
One module will be assessed just like level 4 and 5 modules; for two other modules (Advanced Specialism, Professional Practice), 100% of the mark will be based on a self-evaluative portfolio.
If you’re doing the four-year MArt programme, you will be required to complete Level 7 modules. The assessment of these modules will be split into four parts corresponding to four stages of the project - Explore, Ideate, Accelerate, and Incubate. Each stage will be equal to 25% of the final mark.
In order to progress to the next stage (from first to second year, and from second to third year), you will have to achieve 120 credits at the end of the academic year.
For further information, please see the Student Handbook.
Your overall workload will be divided between teaching sessions and independent learning.
During your course, you’ll be able to develop your knowledge and skills in a number of ways. Some of this will be closely directed/supervised by your tutors, at other times you’ll be free to organise your own study with guidance. All your scheduled studio time, except for some information sessions and presentations, will be in groups of around 30.
For many of your projects, you’ll be working in smaller teams, collaborating to meet a shared brief. This should give you ample opportunity to get the support and assistance that you need. The craft modules will usually have a higher contact time, as this is where you will be learning the knowledge and skills associated with your particular subject, directed and informed by your tutors’ expertise and experience. These will normally involve a large part of each day in the studio with your tutor and studio assistant, following demonstrations and working on set exercises to help you develop your craft.
The project modules will have a lower contact time, with your tutors taking on the roles of supervisors or studio leads. You’ll still meet with them regularly (usually every working day) to get feedback and help you stay on the right path, but these modules are much more about you managing the learning experience to meet your objectives. The majority of the projects will be team-based, and you’ll have the opportunity to take on different roles in a number of teams during your studies. Again, you’ll be expected to work in the studios for a significant part of each day, and attendance will be recorded, but outside those times you’ll be free to organise your work as a team to best suit your project requirements.
Each module has its own area on the Online Learning Environment (OLE) where you will find all the information about the module and the resources that are provided to support your learning. Some of this information will be dedicated to the module, other elements may be shared across different modules and some may be external assets that can help with your further study. There may be links to videos, online journals and e-books, and you should take advantage of these to enhance your development and take it beyond the studio experience. Tutors may highlight some of these during their sessions, so make sure you listen out and follow up on their advice!
The academic year consists of three terms: Autumn, Spring and Summer. Students on a typical 3 year degree attend classes during the Autumn and Spring term, for a total of 30 weeks, and will normally not attend during the Summer term, unless they have to re-attempt assessments.
Per week, your overall workload will be approximately 40 hours. Each week, you will spend 15 hours in Workshops and Practicals and 20-25 hours on self-study learning and working on your projects. More information can be found in our Learning and Teaching Strategy.
For more details about modules, credits and workload, see the full course specifications.
You'd usually have GCSE English and Maths at grade C/4 or equivalent and have/be predicted to pass 2 A Levels or equivalent. If you are still studying, then we base conditions of offer around your predicted grades. If you don't have traditional qualifications, please contact the Admissions Team by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or calling +44 (0) 207 190 4013 and we'll be happy to discuss your options with you.
Creative portfolio and workshop
Once we've received your UCAS application you’ll be invited to:
- share your portfolio of creative work to be reviewed by our expert tutors. We take students who have the talent to succeed and we know that the best way to judge this is by looking at your portfolio, not just a set of academic grades. Check out some guidance for putting your portfolio together.
- attend a Creative Workshop. Offers onto Escape Studios undergraduate courses are made following completion of a Creative Workshop. You’ll take part in an interactive group task, and your portfolio of creative work will be reviewed by our expert tutors. Your performance at the creative workshop will determine whether we can offer you a place.
At Escape Studios, we’re committed to admitting the best students regardless of their background. Because of this, we offer travel bursaries for students who meet our eligibility criteria.
We are currently unable to accept international students onto undergraduate courses who require a student visa to study in the UK.
English Language requirements
If your first language is not English you may need to complete an English language test, such as a Pearson English language test (PTE Academic) or International English Language Testing System (IELTS) test, to demonstrate you have the language skills needed to complete your degree. All our courses are taught in English.
6.5 IELTS (with a minimum of 6.0 in Reading and Writing and 5.5 in Speaking and Listening)
62 including 60 in each subtest
Cambridge English: Advanced & Proficiency
176 (with a minimum of 169 in Reading and Writing and 162 in Speaking and Listening)
90 Overall including at least 22 in Reading,
21 in Writing, 17 in Listening and 20 in Speaking
You should submit your application via UCAS. Our institution code is P34. As we are part of Pearson College London, our UCAS listing is named 'Pearson College London (including Escape Studios)'.
If we make you an offer for a place on the programme, it will be subject to our Terms and Conditions.
Take a look at our application and admission process.
You’ll graduate with a degree and a professional portfolio of work put together with advice from tutors and industry professionals, and ready to present to employers in the creative industries.
Our students go to work as both specialist and generalist artists in creative studios, across TV shows, films and commercials. See some of our Escape Studios VFX success stories here.
Some of the junior opportunities you will be able to consider on completion of your degree include:
- Junior Artist
- Pre-vis Artist
- Roto/Prep Artist
If you've studied our integrated masters course, you'll learn more entrepreneurial skills to start your own studio.
As you develop more experience and your skills develop further, the pool of roles you will be suitable for will grow. For more information about career opportunities, download our Careers Guide.
Visit our finance pages for more information on fees, funding and scholarships.
In addition to your tuition fee, you will need to budget for your living costs and some other costs associated with your studies.
An additional re-attendance fee of £750 per 15 credit module is charged if you need to repeat a module.
Computers are available at our London campus for you to use to work on your projects and coursework during the College opening hours. It is not, therefore, essential for you to purchase your own computer and software. However, many students prefer to have a computer at home as well, so we have prepared some guidance on the specifications to choose.
At our London campus, you will have the benefit of access to free printing and photocopying facilities. However, you will have to purchase notebooks and other ordinary stationery items. You may wish to purchase your own copies of the recommended textbooks, but please note that all textbooks are available to students in electronic editions.
If you will not be living at home, you will need to pay for accommodation. For more information about accommodation options, go to our Accommodation page. You will incur transport costs travelling to your classes and to events, such as industry workshops, which may take place elsewhere in central London. Details of public transport costs are available from the Transport for London website. There may occasionally be an optional opportunity for you to attend an event outside central London, for which you would need to pay the transport costs, should you choose to attend.
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