Digital Arts

Digital Arts with a Year in Industry - BA (Hons)

UCAS code W282

CLEARING 2017

Planning to start this September? We may still have full-time vacancies available for this course. View 2017 course details.
2018

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.

Overview

Our course in Digital Arts offers you the opportunity to develop in-depth knowledge in areas such as interaction design, web design, digital filmmaking, 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, filmmaking, photography and website design.

We have a team of senior industrialists who meet regularly with staff to review our courses to ensure they keep up-to-date with industry.

You can choose to study this programme as a three-year degree, without a year in industry. For details, see Digital Arts.

There are other programmes on offer, see related courses below.

Student profiles

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

See what our students have to say.

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.  

On most programmes, you study a combination of compulsory and optional modules. You may also be able to take ‘wild’ modules from other programmes so you can customise your programme and explore other subjects that interest you.

Stage 1

Modules may include Credits

INTRODUCTION TO PROGRAMMING IN C

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.

CORE C

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.

SOFTWARE ENGINEERING WITH C

Programming in the large. Program life-cycle.

Pseudo code.

File input and output.

Recursion.

Binary files.

Case studies

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WEB PUBLISHING

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.

INTRODUCTION TO WEB PROGRAMMING

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

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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

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Lecture Syllabus

PRINCIPLES OF PHOTOGRAPHY

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

PRACTICAL PHOTOGRAPHY TUTORIAL LECTURES

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

PRACTICAL PHOTOGRAPHY CRITIQUE

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

WORKSHOPS

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

INTRODUCTION TO PHOTOSHOP

Basic Photoshop skills; photomontage; file formats.

IMAGE EDITING WITH PHOTOSHOP

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.

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INTRODUCTION TO 3D MODELLING & ANIMATION SOFTWARE

Modelling tools & interface navigation

Reference images

Modelling techniques (i.e. polygons / NURBS)

Material creation and editing basics - application & texture preparation

UV co-ordinate mapping

Procedural textures

Introduction to Ray-tracing basics

Introduction to cameras, lights & rendering

Shadow manipulation & colouring

Introduction to animation

Rendering - optimising a scene

Photo manipulation and texture creation in Adobe Photoshop

INTRODUCTION TO COMPOSITING SOFTWARE

Using the interface; alpha channels

Filters, masks, multiple layers, colour correction tools

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LECTURES

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

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

SEMINARS

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

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

TUTORIALS

Held during the project

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Why interactive and tangible media

Processing motion

Tangible user interfaces

Creativity with curves

Mixed reality

Web and wireless communication

Gestures

Sensing environment

Advanced topics

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Stage 2

Modules may include Credits

The module is divided into two sections, which are aligned with the Autumn and Spring terms:

Autumn term

Introduction to audio (recording & editing).

Combining audio and visuals (fixed media & interaction).

Controlling audio-visual environments (digital/physical interfaces).

Spring term

Analysis of media installations and digital artworks;

Reading, discussion and reflection of seminal texts and practices (e.g. media architecture, glitch, projection mapping, sonic environments, surveillance, panorama, digital fabrication).

Design of media environments.

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Lecture Syllabus

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

Coursework

ORGANISATION AND CONTENT

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.

ASSESSMENT

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%

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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

Manipulators

Automated rigging systems

Skinning techniques

Dynamics – Fluid, Cloth, Particles

Plugin manager

Mel

Compositing Layers

Playblast

Batch Renderer

Coursework

PROJECT

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

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Lecture Syllabus

INTRODUCTION TO THE MODULE

ADVANCED HTML5

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

DIGITAL IMAGE MANIPULATION STUDIO CLASSES

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.

Coursework

MINI-PROJECT

Production of an online portfolio.

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Year in industry

You spend a year working in industry between Stages 2 and 3, gaining valuable experience and improving your employment prospects. Employers are always keen to employ graduates with knowledge of the work environment and some students receive job offers from their placement company.

We have a dedicated Employability Officer who will help you apply for placements; but please note that it is your responsibility to secure a placement, which cannot always be guaranteed. The School has excellent industrial links, providing students with many placement opportunities.

Please note that progression thresholds apply. In particular, in order to be considered for an industrial placement, students are required to achieve an overall mark at Stage 1 of at least 60%.

Modules may include Credits

Lecture Syllabus

Not applicable.

Coursework

Students spend a year (minimum 30 weeks) working in an industrial or commercial setting, applying and enhancing the skills and techniques they have developed and studied in the earlier stages of their degree programme. The work they do is entirely under the direction of their industrial supervisor, but support is provided via a dedicated Placement Support Officer within the department. This support includes ensuring that the work they are being expected to do is such that they can meet the learning outcomes of the module.

Note that participation in this module is dependent on students obtaining an appropriate placement, for which guidance is provided through the department in the year leading up to the placement. Students who do not obtain a placement will be required to transfer to the appropriate programme without a Year in Industry.

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Stage 3

Modules may include 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.

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Lecture Syllabus

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

Coursework

ORGANISATION AND CONTENT

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.

ASSESSMENT

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.

.

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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

Coursework

PORTFOLIO

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

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Lecture Syllabus

3D worlds

Scripting Objects

Player behaviours and interactions

Game rules and mechanics

Game physics

User interfaces

AI

Level Design

Advanced topics

Coursework

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

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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

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Teaching and 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
  • give an opportunity to gain experience as a digital media practitioner working in a professional environment
  • develop employment-related skills, including an understanding of how you relate to the structure and function in an organisation, via a year in industry.

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
  • aspects of the core subject areas from the perspective of a commercial or industrial organisation.

Intellectual skills

You develop the following intellectutal skills:

  • examining 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
  • designing and developing software-based on an analysis of system requirements
  • researching and integrating information and data from a variety of sources for essays, projects and multimedia applications
  • analysis of a problem and development of a solution based on technical, aesthetic and economic factors
  • consideration and evaluatation of your own work in a reflexive manner with reference to academic and professional issues
  • analysis, interpretation and exercising critical judgement in the understanding and evaluation of multimedia applications
  • applying some of the intellectual skills specified for the programme from the perspective of a commercial or industrial organisation.

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
  • apply some of the subject-specific skills specified for the programme from the perspective of a commercial or industrial organisation.

Transferable skills

You develop the following transferable skills:

  • ability to generate, analyse, present and interpret data
  • use of information and communications technology
  • personal and interpersonal skills, teamworking
  • effective communication (in writing, verbally and in a variety of media)
  • effective learning 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.

Careers

This programme prepares you for careers in areas such as: 

  • web design
  • film
  • games design
  • animation
  • internet publishing.

Some graduates choose to go on to postgraduate study, for example our MSc programmes in Computer Animation or Digital Visual Effects or an MA in Architectural Visualisation.

Studying on this programme not only equips you with an in-depth understanding of some of the most exciting technologies of the 21st century, it also helps you to develop useful workplace skills such as:

  • planning and organisation
  • leadership
  • effective communication. 

If you are interested in setting up your own business, Kent's Hub for Innovation and Enterprise is there to offer help and advice.

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 us for further advice. 

It is not possible to offer places to all students who meet this typical offer/minimum requirement.

New GCSE grades

If you’ve taken exams under the new GCSE grading system, please see our conversion table to convert your GCSE grades.

Qualification Typical offer/minimum requirement
A level

BBB

Access to HE Diploma

The University will not necessarily make conditional offers to all Access candidates but will continue to assess them on an individual basis. 

If we make you an offer, you will need 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 points at HL

International students

The University welcomes applications from international students. Our international recruitment team can guide you on entry requirements. See our International Student website for further information about entry requirements for your country.

If you need to increase your level of qualification ready for undergraduate study, we offer a number of International Foundation Programmes.

Meet our staff in your country

For more advice about applying to Kent, you can meet our staff at a range of international events.

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. You attend these courses before starting your degree programme. 

General entry requirements

Please also see our general entry requirements.

Fees

The 2018/19 regulated UK/EU tuition fees have not yet been set. The University intends to set fees at the maximum permitted level for new and returning UK/EU students. Please see further information below.

As a guide only the 2017/18 full-time UK/EU tuition fees for this programme are £9,250 unless otherwise stated: 

UK/EU Overseas
Full-time TBC £18400

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.* 

Your fee status

The University will assess your fee status as part of the application process. If you are uncertain about your fee status you may wish to seek advice from UKCISA before applying.

Fees for Year in Industry

For 2017/18 entrants, the standard year in industry fee for home, EU and international students is £1,350. Fees for 2018/19 entry have not yet been set.

Fees for Year Abroad

UK, EU and international students on an approved year abroad for the full 2017/18 academic year pay £1,350 for that year. Fees for 2018/19 entry have not yet been set.

Students studying abroad for less than one academic year will pay full fees according to their fee status. 

General additional costs

Find out more about accommodation and living costs, plus general additional costs that you may pay when studying at Kent.

Funding

University funding

Kent offers generous financial support schemes to assist eligible undergraduate students during their studies. See our funding page for more details. 

Government funding

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

Scholarships

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. 

For 2018/19 entry, the scholarship will be awarded to any applicant who achieves a minimum of AAA over three A levels, or the equivalent qualifications (including BTEC and IB) 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.

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.

Teaching Excellence Framework

Based on the evidence available, the TEF Panel judged that the University of Kent delivers consistently outstanding teaching, learning and outcomes for its students. It is of the highest quality found in the UK.

Please see the University of Kent's Statement of Findings for more information.