In response to the Climate Emergency, UAL has embedded responsible practices within the curriculum. We shaped our courses around principles of social and racial justice, and environmental sustainability that ensure learning outcomes reflect the urgent need to equip you with the understanding, skills, and values for ethical practice and empower you to work towards an equitable future.
You will respond to briefs that are set to test the learning in the units described below. Each course is divided into units, which are credit-rated. The minimum unit size is 20 credits. The MA course structure involves five units, totalling 180 credits.
Autumn, Term 1
VFX Fundamentals (40 credits)
The course starts by teaching the past, present and future of VFX to give a thorough grounding in the sector, before moving on to equip you with the main skills, knowledge and processes required to create convincing VFX.
This unit introduces you to the advanced technologies that make VFX possible and the processes behind digital image creation.
You’ll explore technologies and processes by producing short-form animation across the VFX spectrum, to set briefs.
Studio lighting and camera workshops will provide a tangible foundation for the principles of virtual digital 3D VFX.
Spring and Summer, Terms 2 and 3
Exploratory Practice (40 credits)
This unit advances skills in rendering and composition tools, procedural effects such as fire and tornadoes, and how to build digital creatures and characters.
CGI elements will be generated using one or more techniques covered in the unit (e.g. particle effects, procedural elements, fluids, etc.), before being integrated into the shot.
You’ll develop a breadth of knowledge across different tools and media, whilst identifying a particular specialism that you wish to pursue in Term Three.
Collaborative Unit (20 credits)
You will work with others in a team to complete all the requirements of the brief. The aim is to integrate complex CGI elements into the supplied footage seamlessly so it is difficult to distinguish these elements from the live action.
The key is to demonstrate skills that will be recognised as those used in professional VFX production. This project will demonstrate your ability to select the correct the techniques from the range that you’ve studied.
You’ll show how you can manage your time and resources to deliver a professional project to a given deadline.
Critical Practice (20 credits)
This unit will introduce you to a range of key contextual and theoretical ideas that underpin moving image practice, enabling you to develop a methodological approach to the fundamental principles and the narrative structures at play in screen and immersive media.
This unit will also help prepare you for the thesis by investigating the different perspectives with which to examine a subject including themes of sustainability, ethics, equality and diversity, and introducing advanced methodologies for conducting research.
Autumn, Term 4
Final Project: Theory and Practice (60 credits)
You’ll take the knowledge, skills and experience from the first two phases of the course and bring this together in the production of a collaborative interdisciplinary or self-directed longer form project and associated theoretical piece of writing.
Element 1 - Practice: You’ll produce an ambitious VFX project that will demonstrate your in-depth critical awareness of the subject area, as well as your practical skills in production management.
Element 2 - Theory: this is an opportunity for you to demonstrate the depth of critical understanding of your field and to show that you can objectively analyse your own work or a complex theme relating to visual effects practice.
Your theory element can be either a:
- critical report that demonstrates the design and production process, discussing the decisions that have been made and placed in the context of current industry practice and research in the area, and reflecting on the process and final video to identify strengths and areas for improvement.
- thesis that explores a research question and explores your understanding of visual effects in a broader visual culture.