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Animation (VFX) BA (Hons)

Animation (VFX) BA (Hons) is designed to develop the technical knowledge and creative skills of students wishing to enter the visual effects (VFX) industry. 


Reasons to study Animation (VFX) at De Montfort University:

  • Join one of the top 10 most popular universities in the UK for home and EU students, as rated by UCAS
    Find out why our students say #IchoseDMU
  • DMU has 96% graduate employability
    96% of our graduates in work or further study within six months*
  • Incredible graduate success
    our graduates work as VFX producers, VFX TDs, lead technical runners, colourists, compositors, modellers and effects designers working on TV series, commercials and films
  • Careers in Blockbuster films
    our graduates have worked on major films including Ex Machina, Star Trek Beyond, Wonder Woman, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, Pete’s Dragon, Inferno, Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, Interstellar, Thor: The Dark World and The Hunger Games: Mockingjay-Part 2
  • Real work experience
    opportunities to gain industry experience and understand professional practice by undertaking placements, networking, studio visits and live project briefs
  • Academic expertise
    practical sessions are conducted by an Auto-desk certified Maya professional, and you will benefit from regular industry guest lectures
  • Industry-standard facilities
    including animation, recording and sound studios, a dedicated suite of Cintiq graphics tablets, editing suites and green/blue screen studios 
  • Enjoy an international experience with #DMUglobal
    we offer all students the opportunity to take part in a #DMUglobal experience, which can enrich your studies and expand your cultural horizons.

You will be exploring this exciting area in depth utilising tools and techniques relevant to the industry at a Certified Nuke Training Centre. Sessions are taught by a Certified Maya Professional and Certified Nuke Trainer.  Both Maya and Nuke are industry standard tools utilised by many of the major production and post-production houses around the world to deliver stunning effects and award-winning results. 

Employability and core skills are embedded within the curriculum, including Compositing, Rotoscoping, 3D Creature and Prop development, 2.5d Digital Matte Painting, Matchmoving, tracking, visual effects design, analysis and process. You will undertake activities linked to the area through industry briefs, studio visits and workshops in video/footage acquisition, green-screen, location shooting and survey, Set Extension methodologies, perspective drawing and concept visualisation.

The course content has been designed with input from the Visual Effects (VFX) industry and delivers the core visual effects skillset and project experience that prepares you for entry-level careers in visual effects as a junior artist, matchmover, rotoscope artist, modeller and VFX runners. 

*The latest Destinations of Leavers from Higher Education survey, 2015/16

Find out what makes a great portfolio

Animation portfolio advice


Graduate success and news

DMU animation graduate plays part in sci-fi hit's Oscar win

Studio visits get DMU students animated

Aye aye, Captain! DMU grad redesigns classic TV ad character



More courses like this:

Animation BA (Hons)

Audio and Recording Technology BSc (Hons)

Film Studies BA (Hons)

Media and Communication BA (Hons)

Media Production BSc (Hons)

Visual Effects BSc (Hons)

  • UK/EU
  • International

Key facts for UK/EU students

Institution code: D26

UCAS course code: W61A

Duration: Three years full-time, four years with placement

Fees and funding: For 2018/19 tuition fees will be £9,250

Find out more about tuition fees and available funding.

Apply for the Vice-Chancellor's Sports Scholarship, worth up to £6,000.

Find out about additional costs and optional extras.

Contact us: For more information complete our online enquiry form or call us on +44 (0)116 2 50 60 70.

Key facts for international students

Institution code: D26

UCAS course code: W61A

Duration: Three years full-time, four years with placement

Fees and funding: £13,250

Find out more about course fees and available funding.

Find out about additional costs and optional extras.

How to apply: International students can apply to study at DMU directly using our online portal or direct application form

Contact us: For more information complete our online enquiry form or call us on +44 (0)116 2 50 60 70.

International students can apply to study at DMU directly using our online applications portal.

Entry criteria

  • Five GCSEs at grade C or above, including English or equivalent, plus one of the following:
  • Normally 104 UCAS points from at least two A-levels or equivalent, with Art and Design at grade C or above or
  • Art and Design BTEC National Diploma/ Extended Diploma at DMM or
  • Pass in the QAA accredited Access to HE Art and Design course with at least 15 credits in Art and Design at merit. English GCSE required as a separate qualification as equivalency is not accepted within the Access qualification. We will normally require students to have had a break from full-time education before undertaking the Access course or
  • International Baccalaureate: 24+ points including Art and Design at higher level grade 5 or
  • Art and Design Foundation Diploma: Pass

Portfolio Required : You will also need a good portfolio according to the course guidelines as part of your application

Interview Required: No

We welcome applications from mature students with non-standard qualifications and recognise all other equivalent and international qualifications

English language – If English is not your first language we require an English language level of IELTS 6.0 with 5.5 in each component or equivalent

English Language tuition, delivered by our British Council accredited Centre for English Language Learning , is available both before and throughout the course if you need it.

UCAS Tariff changes

Students applying for courses starting in September 2018 will be made offers based on the latest UCAS Tariff. Find out more.


Structure and assessment


Course modules

Teaching and assessments




First year modules

The first year of study will enable you to build strong fundamental skills and proficiency in VFX industry‐standard tools and techniques, alongside the core elements of 3D modelling and animation processes.

  • Visual effects 1
    This module introduces the subject of visual effects and compositing. With a focus on the historical context of VFX to help you to understand the fundamentals under-pinning this exciting area. This module also introduces you to software such as Nuke with a Certified Nuke Trainer, and the core skills of VFX
  • Animation Production 1
    This module examines the basics of 3D workflow, 3D modelling, 3D animation, Texturing, Rendering and introduces you to industry software such as Maya
  • Visual Communication 1
    During this module you will undertake sessions in drawing, perspective and production design. This module also introduces you to the fundamentals of video acquisition for VFX looking at areas such as lens distortion, sensor, film backs and other areas important to the acquisition of footage foe VFX
  • Critical Studies 1
    This module introduces a series of lectures concerned with historical and theoretical studies, such as film language, cinematography and the history of animation. 

Second year modules

In the second year you gain more knowledge and skill in visualising, designing and realising the production of visual effects, modelling and compositing. There is also the chance to learn high end modelling and texturing skills for both creatures and props for integration in the visual effects module. Teamwork on projects also gives you the opportunity to identify your strengths and enhance working effectively in a team.

  • Visual Effects 2
    During this module, you will expand your knowledge of using still and moving images for the purposes of set extensions, including green-screen, matchmoving, set extensions, 2.5D digital matte projections and DMP creation
  • Modelling for Visual Effects
    Continuing from the introduction in first year, this module extends the modelling skills in to advanced creature and prop modelling, advanced rigging, image based modelling and photogrammetry . You will be introduced to Zbrush, Topogun and Image based modelling
  • Visual Communication 2
    This module continues and extends the concepts from first year and also includes physical sculpting, character and creature creation, observational and environmental drawing
  • Critical Studies 2
    The second critical studies module explores further critical dimensions of film language, animation and VFX. You will attend a series of lectures and workshops to develop and underpin your knowledge of these areas.


Third year

By the third year, you will have consolidated your skills and knowledge. Your final year enables you to further develop your skills to a higher level and to develop a professional showreel. The collaborative project work is an opportunity for you to work as part of a production team and in your specialised role. The final year also incorporates industry procedures and practices.

  • Professional Brief
    You will focus on applying creative solutions to an industry brief, project management and professional practice. Industry involvement provides you with opportunities to apply visual effects and modelling skills in real and practical situations. In some cases there are opportunities to work on live project briefs. Recent briefs have been supplied by Producers/Directors and professionals from VFX companies
  • Major Project
    The self‐initiated Major Project is an opportunity for you or a team to produce work of the highest standard, which will become your showreel piece on an area of visual effects specialism of your choice or areas of particular interest to you.

Our vibrant studio culture encourages you to achieve your full potential. You will normally attend 12–16 hours of timetabled taught sessions each week, and can expect to undertake at least 24 further hours of direct independent study and assignments as required. You will develop a broad range of practical and technical skills and real-world experiences that can lead to exciting job opportunities in the VFX industries as modellers, lighting artists, compositors, matchmovers, producers, technical directors (TDs), to name but a few. 
A variety of engaging teaching methods is used. Our students benefit from visits by industry professionals who give talks, presentations and review showreels, as well as provide job opportunities and industry insight. Practical workshops and classes provide hands‐on experience of creating 3D assets and manipulating VFX tools such as Nuke and Maya. Extensive use is made of web‐based tools such as Facebook and Blackboard to support an enthusiastic course community. Tutorials are used to provide feedback and a framework for ensuring you see improvements in your work. Additional learning materials are also offered online.

Assessment for most of the modules is through practical projects and includes regular presentations of projects and reports for peer, tutor and industry critique. You will produce your own showreel of professional‐standard work, guided by industry professionals and the teaching team. 

You will normally attend 13-17 hours of timetabled sessions each week, and are expected to undertake at least 20-25 further hours per week of directed independent study and assignments as required.


Facilities and features


We have dedicated VFX and animation studios with excellent specialist facilities, including industry‐standard modelling, compositing, recording and sound studios, editing suites and dedicated studios and computer suites for lectures, practical workshops and film studios. You will also benefit from our dedicated suite of high-end Cintiq workstations for digital sculpting sessions in Zbrush and Mudbox and for texturing in Mari.

Our three digital studios comprise over 80 High End workstations and Cintiq stations, using the very latest industry-standard software such as Maya, Nuke, Hiero, After Effects, Mari, 3DEqualiser, Arnold and the Adobe CC Suite. Industry-standard video and audio production suites can be booked for audio production, foley tracks and dialogue. The film studios provide students blue screen and green screen studios facilities enabling you to create footage that can be used in your compositing projects and for filming model and miniatures space allowing.  

The graduate who put the cape on the caped crusader

Gareth Harbuz 
Animation BA (Hons)

After graduation, Gareth immediately landed a job at top animation company ‘Double Negative’, working on movies such as Hercules (2014), the First Avenger (2011) and was the lead cloth effect technical director on Batman: The Dark Knight Rises (2012). He said: “I can safely say that I wouldn’t have had the career I’ve had today without attending this course at DMU.”

Find out more...


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Opportunities and careers


Graduate Careers

Graduates from the VFX stream our Animation BA (Hons) have gone on to work as VFX producers, VFX TDs, lead technical runners, colourists, compositors, modellers and effects designers working on TV series, commercials and films. They are working with international companies like Double Negative, Cinesite, Framestore, MPC, The Mill, ILM (Industrial Light & Magic) and have worked on major films including Ex Machina, Star Trek Beyond, Wonder Woman, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, Pete’s Dragon, Inferno, Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, Interstellar, Thor: The Dark World and The Hunger Games: Mockingjay-Part 2.



This is our innovative international experience programme which aims to enrich your studies and expand your cultural horizons – helping you to become a global graduate, equipped to meet the needs of employers across the world.

Through #DMUglobal, we offer a wide range of opportunities including on-campus and UK activities, overseas study, internships, faculty-led field trips and volunteering, as well as Erasmus+ and international exchanges.

Our #DMUglobal High Flyers Award offers students a discount of up to £1,000 towards a #DMUglobal opportunity (terms and conditions apply).



Work-based placements are one of the best ways to boost your skills and experience, and can often lead to your first graduate role.

They are the perfect means of discovering how your studies relate to the real world, and provide an opportunity to improve your confidence and make contacts to help you get ahead in the job market.

DMU’s dedicated Placements Teams can help you by providing access to hundreds of opportunities, giving one-to-one CV advice and interview preparation, and offering training sessions and support from a dedicated tutor.

DMU Open days

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How to apply

We welcome applications from UK and international students with a wide range of qualifications and experience.

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We offer a range of high-standard accommodation for our students, with nine halls of residence – and around 2,300 rooms – all of which are within easy walking distance of the campus. There is a choice of mixed or same-gender flats, shared kitchen and laundry facilities, furnished bedrooms (some with en suite facilities) and internet access. Find out more.


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Run by students for students, DSU now offers more than 120 societies as well as 40 sports clubs. You can also get involved in the award-winning Demon Media group, volunteer to help in the community, become a course or faculty rep, and take part in the union’s annual elections. Find out more.


A city like no other

Studying here gives easy access to the vibrant hub of entertainment, shopping and culture that is Leicester. There are clubs, bars and pubs, as well as festivals, live music, theatres and cinemas. Leicester City Football Club play in the Premier League while Leicester Tigers are one of Europe’s biggest rugby clubs. Find out more.

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