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Undergraduate Courses 2017

Digital Arts - BA (Hons)



Digital technology has had a tremendous impact on all forms of communication in the 21st century. Using computers, visual artists can manipulate all forms of artefacts, whether video, photographic images, sound clips or text, to create exciting new experiences for audiences.

Our course in Digital Arts offers you the opportunity to develop in-depth knowledge in areas such as interaction design, web design, digital film-making, computer animation and special effects.

Teaching in the School has been rated as excellent. The course is taught by a team of experts in communication, animation, film-making, photography and website design.

We have a team of senior industrialists who meet regularly with staff to review our courses, and there is an option to spend a year working in industry.

Student profiles

We are sure you will find your time at Kent enjoyable and rewarding.

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Independent rankings

Electronic and Electrical Engineering at Kent was ranked 1st for course satisfaction in The Guardian University Guide 2017 and 2nd for student satisfaction in The Complete University Guide 2017. In the National Student Survey 2016, 90% of students in Electronic and Electrical Engineering were satisfied with the overall quality of their course.

For graduate prospects, Electronic and Electrical Engineering at Kent was ranked 6th in The Guardian University Guide 2017.

Course structure

The following modules are indicative of those offered on this programme. This listing 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 ‘wild’ modules from other programmes offered by the University in order that you may customise your programme and explore other subject areas of interest to you or that may further enhance your employability.

Stage 1

Possible modules may include:

EL313 - Introduction to Programming (15 credits)


An introduction to the use computers and the process of programming them.

Variable declaration. Executable statements.

Data Types, Expressions.

Operators, precedence and associativity.

Logical Expressions and the if statement.

Decision steps in algorithms.

Nested-if statements.

Switch statements.


Repetition and loops in Programs. Conditional loops. Nested control structures.

Top-down design with functions.

Modular programming.

Arrays. Multi-dimensional arrays. Strings.

Using indexed for loops to process arrays.


Programming in the large. Program life-cycle.

Pseudo code.

File input and output.


Binary files.

Case studies

Credits: 15 credits (7.5 ECTS credits).

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EL331 - Website Design (15 credits)


Introduction: History of the Internet. Web browsers.

Introduction to HTML: HTML tags, tables, forms.

Cascading Style Sheets (CSS).

Graphics for the Web: jpeg, gif, png. File size, image compression, colour palettes, screen resolution, colour matching, transparency

Website Design: Menu organisation. Web work flow: wire frames, mock-up creation, HTML markup. Page layout: page length, use of colour, common page elements, fonts, font size.


Javascript: Objects: document, window, form. Events and Event handlers. Object properties. Operators. Uses of Javascript form validation.

Credits: 15 credits (7.5 ECTS credits).

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EL338 - Visual Culture (15 credits)

Origins of visual culture

Renaissance art and iconography

Formal analysis

Modern art movements

Critical approaches to image analysis

Spectatorship and representation

Advertising and propaganda

Iconic images

Digital art

Credits: 15 credits (7.5 ECTS credits).

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EL339 - Digital Photography (15 credits)

Lecture Syllabus


Basic optics; the camera; types of camera; lenses; lighting; colour theory; files and processing.


Use of cameras and lenses, lighting techniques, composition, themes: e.g. People, landscapes, still life, architecture, nature, sport.


Drop-in help/feedback sessions on photographic techniques to support the Photographic Portfolio assignment.


Use of cameras, lenses and multi-light set-ups


Basic Photoshop skills; photomontage; file formats.


Image cropping and rotation; colour correction; lens correction; red-eye reduction; resolution; printing. Communication through images; image correction and restoration; image manipulation; layers and layer masks.

Credits: 15 credits (7.5 ECTS credits).

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EL340 - Digital Effects (15 credits)

This module introduces the student to developing 3D models using Autodesk 3ds Max, and how these models are lit and rendered. Susequently student composite their models into video footage using Adobe After Effects.

Credits: 15 credits (7.5 ECTS credits).

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EL341 - Graphic Design (15 credits)

Lecture Syllabus


Typography: an introduction to typefaces

Layout: text, image, and gridColour: colour theory and branding

Motion graphics: the title sequence




Pecha Kucha

Motion and spatial relations


Digital typography

2-D layout and poster design

Design across media

Motion graphics and 3-D space


Weekly workshops in the computer studio accompany the lectures and allow students to develop practical digital design skill using Adobe illustrator and After Effects.

Credits: 15 credits (7.5 ECTS credits).

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EL342 - Moving Image (15 credits)


Moving Image Theory (Introduction to MI, Film Form, Meaning in Film, Narrative, The

Image, Editing, Filming for the web); Introduction to Editing and Authoring.


Discussion of practical aspects of film (Research and Treatments; Storyboarding;

Cameras, Safety & Administration; Shooting, Framing and Sequences.)


Held during the project

Credits: 15 credits (7.5 ECTS credits).

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EL542 - Creativity in Interactive and Tangible Media (15 credits)

Why interactive and tangible media

Processing motion

Tangible user interfaces

Creativity with curves

Mixed reality

Web and wireless communication


Sensing environment

Advanced topics

Credits: 15 credits (7.5 ECTS credits).

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Stage 2

Possible modules may include:

EL642 - Project Design (15 credits)

Lecture Syllabus

There are three formal lectures concerning project research, planning and proposal presentation.



Students will undertake work in Summer term. The project will reflect students' interests in the area of 2D/3D animation, film-making, software development or special effects and will be supervised by a member of staff, who also sets the initial parameters of the project.


Every student will be individually assessed on their approach to the work as well as their achievement.

Assessment of the project will take the following form:

(a) Proposal presentation - 40%

(b) Research Document – 60%

Credits: 15 credits (7.5 ECTS credits).

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EL532 - Professional 3D and Compositing (30 credits)

Lecture Syllabus

Reintroduction to professional 3D Package (2 workshops, 3 hours per week, Autumn term)

3D MODELLING AND ANIMATION (tutorial lectures, 6 hours per week, Spring term)

Advanced hard-edge modelling- high poly, patch modelling, lathe and free form deformation modifiers

High & low poly asset modeling

Advanced Mental Ray- Caustics, Final gather & Global Illumination

Shader creation

Scene optimisation- Render to texture/texture baking for games

Normal Mapping & Displacement Mapping

Render optimisation for Animation

Physical Sun and Sky for Mental Ray

Volumetrics & Atmospherics

Soft-edge organic Polygon Modelling

Part 1- Organic assets

Part 2- Organic Creature Design

Environmental Render Settings- Exposure control, Lens effects, Brightness & Contrast, Hair & Fur, Film grain,

Fire, fog, volume fog & volume light effects

Animation techniques & Advanced rigging

Curve editor & Dope sheet

Advanced articulated animation – focus on show-reel production

Blend shapes


Automated rigging systems

Skinning techniques

Dynamics – Fluid, Cloth, Particles

Plugin manager


Compositing Layers


Batch Renderer



Development of a three dimensional model and its animation around a subject set by the lecturer. Supported by two workshops in Summer term.

Credits: 30 credits (15 ECTS credits).

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EL533 - Digital Film-Making (30 credits)

Lecture Syllabus

The module will be divided into four sections (weeks 1-6, 8-11, 13-16, 18-23), each of which will focus on a distinct form of digital film-making (for example, actuality film-making, live-action drama, hybrid media production, video art, mashup).

Sample syllabus for a four-week section:

Week 1: pre-production

Lecture: introduction to the section, and project brief

Workshop: hands-on practical/technical skills

Week 2: production

Supervision: individual team progress meetings (discussion of teams' concepts and/or production plans)

Workshop: hands-on practical/technical skills

Week 3: editing

Supervision: individual team progress meetings (discussion of teams' assemblies and/or rough cuts)

Lecture: elements of moving image

Week 4: post-production

Film/media screening and seminar: discussion of thematically relevant professional moving image works

Critique: student groups present their own work for class-based discussion and feedback

Six-week sections may include additional practical workshops and supervisions.


Four video exercises taking the form of short films, produced by groups of students working together.

Assessment elements:

1. 4 x video exercises (indicative length: 2-3 minutes each)

2. Production diary (no more than 500 words per exercise)

Credits: 30 credits (15 ECTS credits).

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EL537 - Digital Portfolio (30 credits)

Lecture Syllabus



Responsive design; progressive enhancement

JavaScript and jQuery revision JavaScript Frameworks Handling Media with HTML5

HTML5 Sockets and Workers jQuery UI

Typography with CSS HTML5 Canvas and SVG CSS Frameworks

CSS Animations and Transitions

HTML5 Storage and Geolocation


Photoshop workflow. Canvas sizing and screen resolution. Masks by pointing to blend layers. Advanced tracing. Using adjustment layers with masks.

Stylistic effects with Photoshop: blend modes through re-creating the vintage polaroid look, blend work with grunge layers and brushes.

Vector shapes in Photoshop: working with shape layers, using in-line with Illustrator, llve tracing with pen tool, intro to stylistic vector tool.

Photoshop for the web, image optimisation, layer effects, background tiling, shadows and gradiants. Text for the web. Using guides and slices. Creating a Photoshop mock-up.



Production of an online portfolio.

Credits: 30 credits (15 ECTS credits).

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EL539 - Professional Practice (15 credits)

Lecture Syllabus

Current and future trends in the creative industries

Pitching, time management, costing

Intellectual property rights

Data protection & privacy

Professional identity

Online presence

Self-employment in the creative industries

Credits: 15 credits (7.5 ECTS credits).

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Stage 3

Possible modules may include:

EL641 - Digital Visual Effects and Post Production (30 credits)

This module is a very practical module where short video clips integrating live video footage, 3D animations and special effects are developed. Each technical workshop session includes hands-on training in visual effects and compositing software. Theoretical lectures include camerawork, real-world and digital lighting techniques, primary and secondary colour grading, digital cinema and visual effects production pipelines.

Theoretical Lectures

Camerawork: framing, composition, and movement through space in real-world and digital environments.

Lighting: real-world and digital lighting techniques

Colour: primary and secondary grading

Industry structure: digital cinema and visual effects production pipelines.

Technical Lectures

Pre-production: Design, Layout and Storyboard Animatics

Design of an 8 second sequence using a static photographic plate, design two 3d elements- vehicle (with motion) & a building structure. Design approval (Photoshop PSD) will lead directly into the pipeline to model and texture the elements.

Production of an 8 second Animatic using after effects. Animatic should clearly demonstrate accurate positioning of 3d elements in the Photographic plate.

Model building. Texture building. Creation of render layers for building such as beauty pass, shadows & ambient occlusion.

Model vehicle & rig using attributes and motion curves. Utilise graph editor where appropriate. Texture painting assets with Mudbox and Photoshop. Produce bump maps/normals where appropriate.

Fluid and dynamic simulation cross-platform to establish feasible VFX pipeline.

Shooting live action plates of crowd scenes, individuals and cloud tank to create smoke atmospherics- Element shoot.

Match-moving cameras and digital objects to seamlessly integrate cgi assets into a live-action environment.

Render out layers and passes with mental ray including Z-depth pass for depth of field.

Composite layers in after effects adding motion graphics and appropriate Visual effect breakdowns of shot. Motion graphics to include manipulation of Vector files and use of Ray-trace 3D rendering. Compositing to include mask layers and Rotoscoping.

Final composite production in H264 mpeg4 resolution.

Credits: 30 credits (15 ECTS credits).

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EL636 - Final Year Project (60 credits)

Lecture Syllabus

There are three formal lectures concerning project research, group work and prototype presentation.



Students will undertake a single piece of work over Autumn and Spring terms, presenting a prototype of their application mid-way through the project. The work constitutes 60 credits and thus should occupy about 2 days per week. The project will be supervised by a member of staff, who also sets the initial parameters of the project.


Every student will be individually assessed on their approach to the work as well as their achievement.

Assessment of the project will take the following form:

(a) Prototype demonstration - 20%

(b) Project - 80% (Documentation - 20%, Application - 60%)

After project submission students will attend individual assessment interviews, where they will be asked to demonstrate and discuss their projects with two examiners.


Credits: 60 credits (30 ECTS credits).

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EL638 - 3D Computer Animation Pipeline (15 credits)

Lecture Syllabus

This module takes students through every stage of 3D production, using a single fully featured "client" brief, starting with storyboards, design, progressing through modelling, texturing, file referencing, rigging, animation, simulation, effects, lighting, rendering, in a close simulation of a professional animation pipeline, resulting in a practical understanding of the entire process.

Workshop Syllabus

Production design Storyboarding Outline rendering Animatics

Organic modelling

Nurbs modelling

Polygonal and Nurbs UV mapping Texture and image maps with PSD files Character rigging

Lattices and deformers

Pre-viz - Preview animation

Cloth simulation

Fur and hair

Rigid body Dynamics Particle Dynamics Expressions - Max script

Character performance animation

Light rigs

Fog and volume lights Scanline rendering Mental Ray rendering Compositing shots Final movie formats



A digital collection of rendered 3D stills and movie files covering a wide range of practical 3D solutions to 3D computer animation problems.

Credits: 15 credits (7.5 ECTS credits).

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EL639 - Videogames Design (15 credits)

Lecture Syllabus

3D worlds

Scripting Objects

Player behaviours and interactions

Game rules and mechanics

Game physics

User interfaces


Level Design

Advanced topics


Workshop exercises (30%)

Workshop exercises will be assessed in the lab.

Video game design and development (60%)

Design and development of a video game based on student's selected topic and theme. Team-based.

Video presentation (10%)

Creation of a video showcasing the video games and reflection of the design and development process. Team-based

Credits: 15 credits (7.5 ECTS credits).

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CB302 - Managers and Organisations (15 credits)

The main strand of the lecture material will establish the foundations of organisational behaviour in the context of the historical development of ideas and theory. The theories will be related to practical examples and thence students will be introduced to modern experience, practice and scholarship. Once the information of the foundation of organisational behaviour is established, at the next level, contemporary topics of management will be touched upon briefly. This will provide students with basic knowledge related to modern management practices. The content of the module will, therefore, be based on the following topics:

• Scientific Management

• Human Relations School

• Bureaucracy

• Post Bureaucratic Organizations

• Contingency Approach

• Group and teams

• Motivation

• Power and authority

• Managing diversity

Credits: 15 credits (7.5 ECTS credits).

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Teaching & Assessment

Most modules consist of a mix of lectures, seminars, studio work, computer sessions and private study. The workstations in our computer suites are equipped with current industry-standard software.

All modules contain design and project work, and are continuously assessed. The specialist project at Stage 3 is assessed by a written report, a critique and, of course, the outcome of the project itself. Both Stage 2 and 3 marks count towards your degree result.

The industrial placement year is assessed by a written report and an interview that together count as 10% of your overall degree result.

Our students have 24-hour access to our extensive air-conditioned computer suites and are able to take advantage of dedicated photographic and production studios, with green-screen, motion-capture and 3D scanning facilities.

Programme aims

The programme aims to:

  • provide a multidisciplinary education for students who seek professional careers in the field of digital arts
  • produce graduates who have an informed, critical and creative approach to understanding communication through digital media design in contemporary society
  • prepare students to meet the challenges of a broad and rapidly changing field while providing them with a wide choice of careers
  • provide proper academic guidance and welfare support for all students
  • create an atmosphere of co-operation and partnership between staff and students, and offer the students an environment where they can develop their potential.

Learning outcomes

Knowledge and understanding

You gain knowledge and understanding of:

  • the audio, visual and verbal conventions through which sounds, images and words take meaning
  • fundamental concepts of IT and software engineering
  • the creative processes involved in visual design
  • the contextual, historical and conceptual dimensions of the discipline
  • audio, video and film technology, including digital television and DVD
  • the multimedia authoring process
  • fundamentals of 3D modelling and animation
  • key production processes and professional practices relevant to the multimedia industry
  • the legal, ethical and regulatory frameworks which affect the development of multimedia applications
  • the role of technology in terms of multimedia production, access and use.

Intellectual skills

You develop the following intellectual skills:

  • ability to examine multimedia applications critically with appropriate reference to their social and cultural contexts and diversity of contemporary society
  • awareness that technologies are rapidly changing and that you should expect to update your knowledge throughout your working life
  • awareness of the objectives, constraints and conditions of a commercial environment, including financial and time constraints
  • ability to design and develop software based on an analysis of system requirements
  • ability to carry out research and integrate information and data from a variety of sources for essays, projects and multimedia applications
  • ability to analyse a problem and develop a solution based on technical, aesthetic and economic factors
  • consider and evaluate your own work in a reflexive manner with reference to academic and professional issues
  • analyse, interpret and exercise critical judgement in the understanding and evaluation of multimedia applications.

Subject-specific skills

You develop the following subject-specific skills:

  • ability to use scripting and programming languages in the implementation of interactive applications
  • ability to demonstrate creative and technical skills in drawing and design
  • ability to develop specific proficiencies in utilising a range of multimedia design tools including 3D modelling, animation, video editing, image manipulating and multimedia authoring
  • ability to integrate text, graphics and time-based elements to produce effective websites
  • ability to initiate, develop and realise distinctive and creative applications which demonstrate the effective manipulation of multimedia assets
  • ability to utilise a range of research skills, for example, research into potential audiences and markets, as a production tool
  • ability to prepare technical reports and presentations
  • ability to prepare storyboards as part of the multimedia project development cycle
  • ability to apply management techniques to the planning, resource allocations and execution of a design project.

Transferable skills

You gain the following transferable skills:

  • ability to generate, analyse, present and interpret data
  • use of information and communications technology
  • personal and interpersonal skills, team-working
  • effective communication (in writing, verbally and in a variety of media)
  • learn effectively for the purpose of continuing professional development 
  • ability for working in flexible, creative and independent ways and for critical thinking, reasoning and reflection 
  • ability to organise and manage time and resources within an individual project and a group project.


Studying on this new programme will not only equip you with an in-depth understanding of some of the most exciting technologies of the 21st century. It will also enable you to develop skills such as planning and organisation, leadership, and effective communication. If you are interested in setting up your own business, the Kent Enterprise Hub is there to offer help and advice.

Graduates will find careers in areas such as: web design, film, games design, animation and internet publishing. Some may wish to go onto postgraduate study, such as our MSc programmes in Computer Animation or Digital Visual Effects or an MA in Architectural Visualisation.

Entry requirements

Home/EU students

The University will consider applications from students offering a wide range of qualifications, typical requirements are listed below, students offering alternative qualifications should contact the Admissions Office for further advice. It is not possible to offer places to all students who meet this typical offer/minimum requirement.

Qualification Typical offer/minimum requirement
A level


Access to HE Diploma

The University of Kent will not necessarily make conditional offers to all access candidates but will continue to assess them on an individual basis. If an offer is made candidates will be required to obtain/pass the overall Access to Higher Education Diploma and may also be required to obtain a proportion of the total level 3 credits and/or credits in particular subjects at merit grade or above.

BTEC Level 3 Extended Diploma (formerly BTEC National Diploma)

Distinction, Distinction, Merit

International Baccalaureate

34 points overall or 15 at HL

International students

The University receives applications from over 140 different nationalities and consequently will consider applications from prospective students offering a wide range of international qualifications. Our International Development Office will be happy to advise prospective students on entry requirements. See our International Student website for further information about our country-specific requirements.

Please note that if you need to increase your level of qualification ready for undergraduate study, we offer a number of International Foundation Programmes through Kent International Pathways.

Qualification Typical offer/minimum requirement
English Language Requirements

Please see our English language entry requirements web page.

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.

General entry requirements

Please also see our general entry requirements.


University funding

Kent offers generous financial support schemes to assist eligible undergraduate students during their studies. Our funding opportunities for 2017 entry have not been finalised but will be updated on our funding page in due course.

Government funding

You may be eligible for government finance to help pay for the costs of studying. See the Government's student finance website.

The Government has confirmed that EU students applying for university places in the 2017 to 2018 academic year will still have access to student funding support for the duration of their course.


General scholarships

Scholarships are available for excellence in academic performance, sport and music and are awarded on merit. For further information on the range of awards available and to make an application see our scholarships website.

The Kent Scholarship for Academic Excellence

At Kent we recognise, encourage and reward excellence. We have created the Kent Scholarship for Academic Excellence. The scholarship will be awarded to any applicant who achieves a minimum of AAA over three A levels, or the equivalent qualifications as specified on our scholarships pages.

The scholarship is also extended to those who achieve AAB at A level (or specified equivalents) where one of the subjects is either Mathematics or a Modern Foreign Language. Please review the eligibility criteria.

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The 2017/18 tuition fees for this programme are:

UK/EU Overseas
Full-time £9250 £16480

The Government has announced changes to allow undergraduate tuition fees to rise in line with inflation from 2017/18.

The University of Kent intends to increase its regulated full-time tuition fees for all Home and EU undergraduates starting in September 2017 from £9,000 to £9,250. This is subject to us satisfying the Government's Teaching Excellence Framework and the access regulator's requirements. The equivalent part-time fees for these courses will also rise by 2.8%.

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 information@kent.ac.uk

Key Information Sets

The Key Information Set (KIS) data is compiled by UNISTATS and draws from a variety of sources which includes the National Student Survey and the Higher Education Statistical Agency. The data for assessment and contact hours is compiled from the most populous modules (to the total of 120 credits for an academic session) for this particular degree programme. Depending on module selection, there may be some variation between the KIS data and an individual's experience. For further information on how the KIS data is compiled please see the UNISTATS website.

If you have any queries about a particular programme, please contact information@kent.ac.uk.

The University of Kent makes every effort to ensure that the information contained in its publicity materials is fair and accurate and to provide educational services as described. However, the courses, services and other matters may be subject to change. Full details of our terms and conditions can be found at: www.kent.ac.uk/termsandconditions.

*Where fees are regulated (such as by the Department of Business Innovation and Skills or Research Council UK) they will be increased up to the allowable level.

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The University of Kent, Canterbury, Kent, CT2 7NZ, T: +44 (0)1227 764000