The Digital Visual Effects MSc equips you with advanced skills, knowledge and understanding of high definition digital effects to help you become a highly skilled technical director (TD) in the visual effects industry.
A 2.2 or higher honours degree in animation, digital effects, fine art, architecture, multimedia, illustration, digital arts, computing and film making.
Applicants are required to submit a portfolio to include the following:
All applicants are considered on an individual basis and additional qualifications, professional qualifications and relevant experience may also be taken into account when considering applications.
Please see our International website for entry requirements by country and other relevant information. Due to visa restrictions, international fee-paying students cannot study part-time unless undertaking a distance or blended-learning programme with no on-campus provision.
The University requires all non-native speakers of English to reach a minimum standard of proficiency in written and spoken English before beginning a postgraduate degree. Certain subjects require a higher level.
For detailed information see our English language requirements web pages.
Please note that if you are required to meet an English language condition, we offer a number of pre-sessional courses in English for Academic Purposes through Kent International Pathways.
Duration: 1 year full-time
The course is designed to train digital effects artists to work in industry. Our successful former students are working in London and for international companies in areas ranging from television graphics to architectural visualisation. Although the thrust of the course is towards high end film special effects and animation, the standards and techniques you learn allow you to work in numerous other areas of digital effects.
The primary industry jobs the course is oriented towards include: technical directors in assistant, creature development, lighting effects, look development roles, compositors in compositing, digital paint and roto roles, modellers and trackers/matchmovers. For a smaller project or company roles would include that of a 3D generalist, 3D artist, effects artist or compositor. These are not easy to achieve, as global competition is fierce and success depends on much better than average concentration and constant practise to grasp the essence and modern techniques of digital visual effects.
The following modules are indicative of those offered on this programme. This list is based on the current curriculum and may change year to year in response to new curriculum developments and innovation. Most programmes will require you to study a combination of compulsory and optional modules. You may also have the option to take modules from other programmes so that you may customise your programme and explore other subject areas that interest you.
Introduction to Modelling,Animation,Lighting, Rendering, Compositing.
Integrated project inclusive of outcomes
Step by step instruction on tackling the problems.
This module is a group project which allows the student to work on a model of an actual animation job provided by our industrial partner. Each group produces an animation from established plates and models to a 4 week deadline. The student works with a model of a production pipeline, becoming familiar with the production process, chains of approval and departmental divisions.
Particle tool and particle emitters, cycle emission, volume emitters, force fields, lifespan, constraints, adding springs, soft-body dynamics, active and passive rigid bodies, setting static and dynamic friction, damping, mass, bounciness, caching, rendering in software hardware and Mentalray.
2d and 3d fluid containers, emitting fluids from objects and curves, colliding
fluids with objects, explosions, creating atmospheric systems, realistic fire, explosion and smoke effects, interacting fluids with particles, combustible fluids.
nParticle, nConstraint, nSolver, cloth collision, collision layer, wind and gravity, nCache.
Students are required to assemble a portfolio contains various dynamic instances created, simulated and rendered using Maya tools.
1. Production of a character design portfolio illustrating adaptation to various professional briefs, backed up by life drawing sessions.
2. Intensive research into surface anatomy and detail for the modelling project.
3. Production of a clean, animateable, basic 3D model with an even structure of vertices, quadratic face surfaces and form reflecting edge loops.
4. Production of image displacement, bump and normal maps in a sculpting programme using paint and sculpt tools and upon the previous model.
5. Application, rendering and final compositing of all maps upon the model resulting in a professional turntable render to create a final high resolution film.
The module will start with a week or more of intensive exposure to the animation and post-production industry in the form of a field trip to visit a number of London studios and interview/lecture sessions with a large number of industry professionals. Students work on a substantial essay concerning the animation/post production industry using information obtained from these sessions and from further seminars. Simultaneously, students develop a showreel compilation which industry professionals comment on. From this experience, students develop a direction and then a treatment and storyboard for their final project proposal which they will present to the cohort. After comments, tutorials and revisions, this will be developed into a pre-visualisation movie, a schedule and asset plan which will also be presented to the cohort.
There are three assessments:
Assessment 1 - A portfolio of pre-visualization and animatic movies.
Assessment 2 - Essay on the student's understanding of the animation/post-production industry.
Assessment 3 - Submission of planning documents for a major piece.
Texturing & Lighting:
The physics of lighting,
Computer lighting models,
Surface shading fundamentals,
Photo realistic texture painting.
Advanced lighting techniques: light shaders, shadow generation, global illumination.
Software, hardware and mental ray rendering,
Rendering with Render Man.
difference keys, luma keys, chroma keys, garbage mattes.
2D and 3D Tracking:
techniques to track elements from a live action background plate
blending modes, motion attributes, rotoscoping, using alpha channels.
Workshops around tasks pertinent to producing high quality film pieces.
Each student uses all the experience gained on the course to produce a video short in high definition which showcases his or her professional visual effects skills and forms a suitable entree to a professional career.
The subject, script, models and soundtrack of the piece are agreed with the academic staff, or is a project from an Industrial collaborator.
Each module is assessed by practical assignments. The project work is assessed
on the outcome of the project itself.
This programme aims to:
You gain knowledge and understanding of:
contemporary business practice in the visual effects industry
You develop intellectual skills in:
You gain subject-specific skills in:
You gain the following transferable skills:
The 2020/21 annual tuition fees for this programme are:
For details of when and how to pay fees and charges, please see our Student Finance Guide.
For students continuing on this programme fees will increase year on year by no more than RPI + 3% in each academic year of study except where regulated.* If you are uncertain about your fee status please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Find out more about general additional costs that you may pay when studying at Kent.
Search our scholarships finder for possible funding opportunities. You may find it helpful to look at both:
A one off payment for UK, EU and International applicants who meet the criteria set by the School of Engineering and Digital Arts. The scholarship is available across all postgraduate taught programmes in the School.
For further information and to make an application, see the scholarship for international students.
This programme attracts many applications from Chevening scholars. Chevening is the UK Government’s international awards scheme aimed at developing global leaders, and Kent is a Chevening partner.
For details of the funding available, see our Chevening Scholarships page.
In The Complete University Guide 2020, the University of Kent was ranked in the top 10 for research intensity. This is a measure of the proportion of staff involved in high-quality research in the university.
Please see the University League Tables 2020 for more information.
In the Research Excellence Framework (REF) 2014, research by the School of Engineering and Digital Arts was ranked 21st in the UK for research intensity.
An impressive 98% of our research was judged to be of international quality and the School’s environment was judged to be conducive to supporting the development of research of international excellence.
The Intelligent Interactions group has interests in all aspects of information engineering and human-machine interactions. It was formed in 2014 by the merger of the Image and Information Research Group and the Digital Media Research Group.
The group has an international reputation for its work in a number of key application areas. These include: image processing and vision, pattern recognition, interaction design, social, ubiquitous and mobile computing with a range of applications in security and biometrics, healthcare, e-learning, computer games, digital film and animation.
Full details of staff research interests can be found on the School's website.
Human computer interaction; usability and playability design; computer game studies and interactive narrative; social computing and sociability design; virtual worlds; online communities and computer-mediated communication.View Profile
Animation; digital visual effects; directing.View Profile
Ubiquitous computing, mobile computing, social computing, Internet of Things, wireless sensor networks.View Profile
The use of media in the production of creative outputs with focus on contemporary media art, portability, interactive and mediated environments, participation in public space, perception and media projections.View Profile
We have developed the programme with a number of industrial organisations, which means that successful students will be in a strong position to build long-term careers in this important discipline.
The School of Engineering and Digital Arts has an excellent record of student employability. We are committed to enhancing the employability of all our students, to equip you with the skills and knowledge to succeed in a competitive, fast-moving, knowledge-based economy.
Graduates who can show that they have developed transferable skills and valuable experience are better prepared to start their careers and are more attractive to potential employers. Within the School of Engineering and Digital Arts, you can develop the skills and capabilities that employers seek. These include problem solving, independent thought, report-writing, time management, leadership skills, team-working and good communication.
Building on Kent’s success as the region’s leading institution for student employability, we offer many opportunities for you to gain worthwhile experience and develop the specific skills and aptitudes that employers value.
Students on the programmes in Computer Animation and Digital Visual Effects work in a dedicated, state-of-the-art suite, equipped with leading-edge PC workstations running Alias™ Maya and Foundry Nuke. There is also a photographic studio and a production studio with green screen and motion capture facilities.
The School of Engineering and Digital Arts is undergoing a £3 million redevelopment and modernisation of its engineering and design facilities due for completion in July 2020. This includes an engineering workshop and fabrication facilities, a dedicated makerspace for innovation, collaboration and the development of practical skills, a virtual reality suite, production studio (including photography, video and green screen facilities) and a large teaching and design studio. These changes will deliver modern and advanced teaching and research facilities supporting all Engineering, Design and Digital Arts subjects.
As a postgraduate student, you are part of a thriving research community and receive support through a wide-ranging programme of individual supervision, specialised research seminars, general skills training programmes, and general departmental colloquia, usually with external speakers. We encourage you to attend and present your work at major conferences, as well as taking part in our internal conference and seminar programmes.
Staff publish regularly and widely in journals, conference proceedings and books. Recent contributions include: IEEE Transactions; IET Journals; Electronics Letters; Applied Physics; Computers in Human Behaviour.
All students registered for a taught Master's programme are eligible to apply for a place on our Global Skills Award Programme. The programme is designed to broaden your understanding of global issues and current affairs as well as to develop personal skills which will enhance your employability.
Applicants are required to submit a portfolio to include the following:
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