MA Character Animation aims to develop both creative and technical skills. Learning to animate is about much more than software. At the core of engaging and effective animation is an understanding of motion, characterisation and the portrayal of performance. Our hands-on, practical approach focuses on creating innovative animated characters that can move convincingly and perform with emotional and psychological nuance. The curriculum covers motion analysis and performance based animation, from the simplest bouncing ball techniques to movement in animals, acting in humans and the representation of speech.
Lectures and critiques deliver a programme of rigorous enquiry into key areas of the theory and context of character animation. Established links with the other courses in our School of Performance mean this postgraduate course offers an unparalleled application of performance methodologies to the practice of animation. Because animation is the representation of performance, the MA Character Animation course team strongly believes that all animators benefit from a study of movement and acting. As a result, MA Character Animation emphasises the analysis of characterisation through acting and the study of motion through drawing. Drawing is an important part of the course - animation classes are supported by life drawing workshops and drawing field trips. You'll also have workshops in relevant software techniques.
Throughout the postgraduate course you'll be expected to extend your present knowledge and understanding and apply them to new areas of professional practice. You'll keep a blog from the start of the course in which you document your work and reflect on your progress. Working as an animator demands professional skills - you'll be encouraged to develop your experience in problem solving, project management, planning, and communication while working both collaboratively and independently.
We encourage a networking environment through collaborative team projects, simulated work placements and group critiques. You'll also benefit from regular visits from practitioners in all aspects of production and live projects with external agencies. Our goal is to help you become a reflective, innovative practitioner able to locate yourself within the animation industry.
Unit One: Character and Movement Analysis
Unit One is an intensively taught period of 20 weeks that is designed to advance your core understanding of character animation principles. Animation techniques will be comprehensively covered and applied to traditional pencil-drawn, 2D and 3D digital techniques in a series of short creative exercises. The critical analysis of motion, including the articulation of movement, anatomy, timing, weight and effort will be supported by contextual studies in life drawing, acting, animation history and theory.
Unit Two: Characterisation studies (60 credits)
Unit Two is designed to enable you to build a narrative based effective real character performance and for you to become a self-sufficient, critical practitioner, confident to pursue your own goals. The unit focuses on two longer narrative driven character performance pieces which are designed to bring together the formation of strong character performance through narrative action and sound.
Unit Three: Final Project (60 credits)
Unit Three is designed to enable you to self-direct a longer narrative character project film. You will devise your own narrative and develop a proposal for a self-directed micro short film that you can complete as an individual or in a team, by negotiation with staff.
Teaching staff and resources
Our MA Character Animation staff team consists of experienced professionals who continue to work as consultants and freelancers in the animation, multimedia and software industries. MA Character Animation also encourages a networking community by maintaining links with ex-students, many of whom are now in high-profile employment.
MA Character Animation benefits hugely from being in the heart of London, a thriving international centre for innovative design, the production of commercials, and post-production special effects. Advertising agencies and film companies come from all over the world to have creative work done here.