This course will provide you with a strong theoretical and technical underpinning for the principal areas of study, thanks to lecture series on filmmaking techniques, green screen, MOCAP, computer graphic principles, the fusion of art and technology, personal research, and applied digital effects theory and practice.
We accept students from a broad range of art-based subject areas including fine art, photography, architecture, filmmaking, fashion design, and graphic design. We will also consider applications from non-art based subjects such as computer sciences or engineering, as long as good art skills can be demonstrated. This is a truly international course, attracting students from all over the world with a diverse range of cultures and identities.
Knowledge of digital effects and computer graphics are not a prerequisite for entry, as everything is rapidly taught from basics. A strong set of traditional art and photography skills are however highly beneficial.
MA Digital Effects and the National Centre for Computer Animation is the UK’s only officially recognised Houdini Certified School. This incredible software is now at the forefront of the VFX Industry, and knowledge of it is a must for anyone wanting to progress their careers in this field.
A Bachelors Honours degree with 2:2 in any subject.
Professional Qualifications or Diplomas deemed equivalent to a 2:2 or above Honours Degree.
Industrial Experience deemed equivalent to a 2:2 or above Honours Degree.
A clear precise personal statement
International entry requirements
If English is not your first language, you will need to provide evidence that you understand English to a satisfactory level. English language requirements for this course are normally:
IELTS (Academic) 6.5 with minimum 6.0 in each component, or equivalent.
We are looking for successful well-rounded artists from a wide variety of backgrounds and disciplines, all keen to transfer their existing knowledge and experience into the subject area of Digital Effects.
Digital Effects Nucleus
This unit provides the opportunity for students to experience a complete Digital Effects project based upon a set brief. The project encompasses 3D Digital Effects work, 2D Compositing Effects work, and practical Video Acquisition Effects work. It draws upon the teaching provided by the Digital Effects Tools unit and gives a technical and creative foundation for the MA Digital Effects Programme. The current set theme of the DE Nucleus is ‘Underwater Aquascape’.
Examples of student work produced for the DE Nucleus Unit can be found online
Digital Effects Tools
This unit provides the direct technical and theoretical teaching for the Digital Effects Nucleus unit. Students will be taught the craft of Digital Effects work and the tools utilised in this process. Its assessment offers an opportunity for students to mediate their Digital Effects work so far, as well as how to record Digital Effects Production. The taught components ofthis Unit encompass 2D, 3D and Video Acquisition work alongside Digital Effects Theory and Design.
Teaching included in this Unit: (Theory) Image Analysis, Effects Design, Colour, Effects Universes (3D) Modelling, Animation, Texturing, Lighting, Pass Rendering, Digital FX; (2D) Keying, Colour Correction, FX Integration, Pass based compositing; (Acquisition) Video &Camera Ops, Practical FX, Lighting, Props; (Common) Maths.
Digital Effects Techniques
This unit provides the technical and theoretical teaching for the remaining project based units required for the PG Diploma. It also allows the students to produce a short individual piece of Digital Effects work demonstrating their technical abilities to date. Its aim is provide a consolidation of learnt skills, as well as providing an opportunity for the student to chart a specific technical direction that will prepare them for the Masters Project. The taught components of this unit encompass 2D, 3D and Video Acquisition work alongside Digital Effects Theory and Design.
Teaching included in this Unit: (Theory) Camera Matching, Light Matching, Motion Matching; (3D) Expressions, Particles, Attributes, Dynamics, Scripting, Character Tools, Shader Writing; (2D) Tracking, Green Screen, Advanced Integration, 3D Compositing; (Acquisition) Green Screen, Track & Jib, Location Survey, Portable Blue Screen.
Master Classes: This unit also contains Master Classes for 3D, 2D and Matte Painting delivered by visiting professionals.
Examples of student work produced for DE Techniques Unit can be found online
Moving Image Theory
This unit contains the Image Theory elements of the programme, and is shared across the taught Masters programmes. It incorporates lectures on digital cinematography, supporting screenings of films and animations, lectures on art, science and technology and a series of presentations by visiting speakers from the digital effects, computer animation and computer games industries. This Unit is assessed both by a written report as well as a short written essay examining Digital Effects Tool production usage in both digital and analogue movies.
This is a student-originated project. Students form groups across the NCCA’s taught Masters Programmes. Digital Effects Students can work with 3D Animators, or MSc CAVE or both. Projects can range from fully 3d character animated pieces, to photorealistic sequences seamlessly combining digital content with live action images. This unit offers the student a deeper understanding of the various Digital Effects disciplines, and provides the opportunity to contribute towards a significant piece of group work in terms of scope, design and aesthetic.
Examples of student work produced for the Group Project Unit can be found online
This unit is a tutorial supported research unit, shared with the other taught Masters programmes. This provides students with an opportunity to pursue research into areas that interest them, but may be outside of the normal parameters of the programme teaching. This unit is assessed at a Research Symposium at the end of the PG Diploma section of the Programme, when the students present the results of their research to their fellow students and staff.
Units required in the MA stage of the Programme:
The Masters Project unit has no teaching and all the time is dedicated to the final project. The project is student originated and is expected to be an ambitious piece of work, with a high level of finish. By this stage the student is expected to demonstrate a bold and confident approach to production management, design and execution of Digital Effects. Typically this is an individual project, but students are increasingly realising the benefits of working in a group to achieve an impressive final result.
Examples of student work for the Masters Project can be found online
The Programme is completed with a Degree Show held in London, for those who successfully pass their Masters Project. This Degree Show gives the students from all of the NCCA´s postgraduate courses the opportunity to showcase their Masters Projects to industry professionals and potential employers, alongside friends, family, and past graduates.
MA Digital Effects Programme Specific Resources
MADE Studio: We have a 40 seat classroom based studio with a 1:1 student computer ratio. Students also have access to graphics tablets, and multimedia computers. The studio is open 24/7 throughout the year apart from Christmas.
Digital Effects graduates are highly sought after in the industry. This is partly due to our level of teaching in this subject area, and partly from students´ desire to listen, learn and progress.
Graduates have gone on to work for a variety of International VFX Companies including Double Negative (Inception), Digital Domain (Transformers, X-Men) and Sony Picture Image Works (Smurfs).
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