Cardiff School of Art & Design>Courses>Animation - BA (Hons) Degree

Animation - BA (Hons) Degree

Entry Year

Animators breathe life into stories, making even the simplest line drawing magically come alive, and engaging everyone in a language understood by all.

On our BA Animation degree, you become familiar with the techniques, principles and skills that open up the world of animation. You will learn to create the illusion of motion using time, sound and form to bring images, ideas and stories to life. You will take complex information and use traditional media as well as new and emerging media and technology to assemble meaningful narratives.

Our Animation degree course allows you to build on your critical and analytical skills. You will develop your individual voice as well as your expertise and learn how to apply your skillset across the creative industries.

You will engage with cutting edge studio practice, collaborate with other disciplines, explore methods and theory, work on live briefs and competitions and undertake self-directed projects.

Emerge as an animator with the skills, confidence and critical thinking to dive into the growing world of professional animation.


Course information on this page relates to 2023 entry


​Course Content​

You’ll start the course by gaining a broad understanding of the animation process, while creating your first projects using digital and analogue techniques. You’ll take your personal practice further – expanding your knowledge and exploring the historical, theoretical and social context of your subject.

You’ll spend your time in specialist studios, using industry standard equipment to hone your technical skills in a broad range of disciplines, including:

  • Fundamentals of animation. Understanding the language of movement through diverse animation production techniques.
  • Storyboarding and film language for animation
  • Life drawing
  • Storytelling and direction
  • Camera, lighting and composition
  • Art direction; creating and designing characters and worlds
  • Characterization and acting for animation
  • Mixed media and experimental animation
  • Exploring new platforms, gaming, VR and installation
  • Traditional and digital production techniques and process; from idea development to delivery
  • Professional practice and business skills

You’ll have many other valuable experiences too – such as script writing exercises and opportunities to direct voice actors and puppeteers.

Through lectures, tutorials, seminars and workshops you’ll gain a deep understanding of the principles and techniques that underpin animation, learning from a team of active animators, directors and producers.

Year One

Subject: Movement Transformation & Life - 40 credits
In your first term, the emphasis is on creative enquiry and knowledge acquisition, where you’ll explore the extent and diversity of contemporary animation practice, experimenting with techniques, practicing animation principles and developing digital skills. You’ll discover key concepts in film language, narrative and non-narrative structures, design, motion theory and team working.

Subject: Storytelling - 20 credits
The Storytelling module concentrates specifically on the ideation, narrative development and production of a short piece of character animation. Characters and worlds developed in previous modules will now be brought to life through the production of a short piece of character animation. Seminars, tutorials and workshops will introduce students to a range of narrative strategies. This module aims to refine and cohere student’s animation and design skills so they can effectively communicate ideas and stories to an audience.

Field one: collaborate - 20 credits*
Widen your horizons by joining students from other courses to collaborate on a project. You’ll take inspiration from other disciplines to build on your experience and expand your creativity – and use your skills and artistic insight to apply them to your work.

Constellation: concept - 40 credits  
This module introduces you to the wider world of ideas, theory and contextual studies to help you develop your academic research skills and critical thinking. You’ll focus on particular areas of interest in study groups and you’ll become familiar with the exciting trans-disciplinary research and expertise in Cardiff School of Art & Design.

Year Two

Subject: Production - 40 credits
You’ll develop your skills and concepts within digital technology, building your understanding of the animation process and industry terminology. You’ll have opportunities to gain industry experience and pitch for live briefs with external clients. Your preconceptions will be challenged by exploring experimental techniques and concepts, and you’ll become accomplished at using key tools and processes.

Field two: explore - 40 credits* 
You’ll expand your experiences with challenging projects designed to encourage you to explore and experiment outside your immediate discipline. This transformative opportunity leads to new thinking and innovation and opens up all kinds of future possibilities. You’ll take on exciting projects that challenge you in new ways. You can also choose to travel, take a work placement, start your own business or try something new.

Constellation: critique - 40 credits  
By critiquing literature, journals and exhibitions, you’ll hone your ability to put your design practice into context. You’ll also have opportunities to interact with students and staff and delve deeper into your areas of interest.

Year Three

Subject: animation major project - 40 credits
This level focuses on individual student creative development, helping you to decide the path you want to take in the future. You’ll experiment with techniques, tools and structures – consolidating the skills you need to begin your professional career or take on further study. And you’ll bring everything together to produce an animated project that reflects your learning and professional goals.

Field three: Exposure - 40 credits
Your final term is dedicated to a major project and an exhibition of your work. This is where you draw together everything you’ve learned during the course and is the launch pad to your future career.

Constellation: contribution - 40 credits
Your practice is underpinned by your knowledge. Demonstrate your research and analysis skills in your final constellation submission, where you explore ideas in both written and practical forms.

*modules available through the medium of Welsh

Learning & Teaching

A significant focus on Studio teaching is maintained, supported by Keynote Lectures and supporting seminars. Individual students will be supported by significant amounts of ‘feedback’ during Group Critiques, single and group tutorials.

During their first year of study each student can expect to receive between 14 and 22 hours of contact time per week via lectures, seminars, tutorials and practical workshops.

Students take a significant lead in their studies, develop their own research focus and expertise base and actively engage with the process of assessment and the manner in which their individual expertise is expressed and tested.

Students will be supported as they work autonomously such that they are able to generate​ significant and unique learning through rigorous, self-directed and collaborative practice.

Assessment

Throughout the duration of your studies, you will be evaluated on three main criteria, which underpin all of the disciplines being taught at CSAD: 

SKILLS: 
The practical, technical and conceptual skills you acquire during your course.

CONTEXT:
Your understanding and knowledge of broader intellectual context within which your discipline and work is located. This includes historical, environmental and ethical issues and will often be explored in your 'Theory and Context' modules.

IDEAS:
Your understanding of intellectual and creative ideas from within and beyond your discipline; plus your ability to acquire new concepts and form new ideas. Ideas will be explored in your written work, as well as being evident in your practical progress. Each of these criteria is given equal weighting during the assessment process. That is to say that they are seen as equally important and critical to your development; an emphasis which is designed, for example, to enable a more well-rounded skill set from a student who may be skilled technically, but weak in generating ideas, or a student with much creative flair who may struggle to hone a broad concept into a strong, individual design. 

We provide a number of ways for you to track your progress en route to submitting your work for marking. Understanding that the emphases will revolve around the core areas of skills, context and ideas, you will also become familiar with the structured assessment form used by your tutors and learn to relate to your work back to the intended learning outcomes of each brief. 

The main types of formative assessment are; academic (feedback from your tutors); peer (from your course-mates or project partners); and self-assessment (which is your own critique, in light of other forms of feedback). You won't just be receiving feedback at the end of a brief, however – your tutors will often assess your progress as your work develops, providing formative feedback at crucial moments where it is hoped to encourage you to take risks, maintain your motivation or shape-up your ideas ahead of deadline.

 

Employability & Careers​

Graduates from the programme are well placed to work as independent animators, join media & design companies or advertising agencies, or to be employed in the film, television and broadcast industries.

During the course, there will be the opportunity to undertake live briefs and work experience. This will include building contacts and undertaking placements as well as exposure to animation professionals through industry talks and mentoring. You will be offered support in forming your own business should you choose to do so.

Some graduates become teachers by taking a PGCE. Some graduates elect to take their studies further by studying at CSAD for a Master's level qualification and there are opportunities to take this further still, into research with a PhD or a Professional Doctorate in Art or Design.

Entry Requirements​ & How to Apply

Typical Offers

  • Tariff points: 96-120
  • Contextual offer: See our contextual offers page.
  • GCSE: Preferably five GCSEs at Grade C / 4 or above to include English Language / Welsh First Language, Mathematics / Mathematics – Numeracy.
  • English Language Requirement: Academic IELTS 6.0 overall with at least 5.5 in all elements, or equivalent.
  • A level: Minimum three A levels. No specific subjects required. Welsh Baccalaureate – Advanced Skills Challenge Certificate considered as a third subject.
  • BTEC National / Cambridge Technical Extended Diploma: MMM-DDM
  • T Level: No specific subjects required.
  • Access to Higher Education Diploma: No specific subjects required.
  • International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma: 24 points. No specific subjects required.
  • Irish Leaving Certificate: No specific subjects required. Higher level subjects only considered with a minimum grade H4.
  • Scottish Advanced Highers: No specific subjects required.
  • Other requirements: Successful interview and portfolio review. Applicants will be required to submit a digital portfolio.

Combinations of the above qualifications are accepted if they meet our minimum requirements. If your qualifications aren’t listed, please contact Admissions or refer to the UCAS Course Search.

Further information on Overseas qualifications can be found here.

If you are a mature applicant, have relevant experience or RPL that you would like us to consider, please contact Admissions.


How to Apply

Further information on how to apply can be found here.

Tuition Fees, Student Finance & Additional Costs

For up to date information on tuition fees and the financial support that may be available whilst at university, please refer to www.cardiffmet.ac.uk/fees

Undergraduate costs of study in CSAD 

Materials 

CSAD provides a variety of basic materials. These enable students to develop their competence in a range of skills and demonstrate their technical ability. Materials needed in unusual quantities, or those that are specialised, expensive or unusual are at the student’s expense. Advice will be given about how ‘unusual’ is defined, which materials are deemed to be ‘expensive’, and examples given of what is viewed to be ‘unusual’. CSAD students often elect to spend on materials they prefer to work with, including sketchbooks and pens, as well as specialist equipment of their own choosing. 

In the main, no charges are made for the use of equipment, with the exception of some specialist high end equipment such as the Mimaki and 3D printers. Access to Cardiff FabLab is subject to student membership; it offers reduced fees for student use. 

For further information about additional course costs, including fees, equipment requirements and other charges for each undergraduate programme, please visit www.cardiffmet.ac.uk/additionalcosts.

Field trips and visits 

Field trips that are part of core learning will be paid for by the School. Additional visits are occasionally arranged which are optional and where the students may be asked to share the costs. The costs of study abroad, including exchanges, placements and projects are the responsibility of the individual student.

Contact Us

For general enquiries please contact the Admissions Team on 029 2041 6044 or email askadmissions@cardiffmet.ac.uk.

For course specific enquiries, please contact the BA (Hons) Animation Admissions Tutor, Owen Stickler:

Email: ostickler@cardiffmet.ac.uk
Tel:  029 2020 5554

We endeavour to deliver courses as described and will not normally make changes to courses, such as course title, content, delivery, and teaching provision. However, it may be necessary for the university to make changes in the course provision before or after enrolment. It reserves the right to make variations to content or delivery methods, including discontinuation or merging courses if such action is considered necessary. Please read our Terms and Conditions for the full information.

Key Course Information

UCAS Code: 6HJ3

Place of Study: 
Llandaff Campus

School:
Cardiff School of Art & Design

Course Length:
Three years full-time. Four years full-time if undertaking year-long sandwich placement.

COURSE OVERVIEW | DEGREE HIGHLIGHTS
Degree Highlights

Senior Lecturer Owen Stickler explains what the BA (Hons) Animation degree course at Cardiff School of Art & Design has to offer.

MEET THE TEAM
Meet the Team: Owen Stickler

Animation subject lead Owen Stickler explains how he uses his industry experience to prepare our students for their careers.

EXPLORE OUR FACILITIES | VIRTUAL TOUR
Animation Studios Tour

Take a virtual walkthrough of our Animation Studios.

STUDENT & GRADUATE EXPERIENCE
Callum - Animation
How Animation at Cardiff Met is getting me industry ready

Final year Animation student Callum explains how studying at Cardiff Met helped prepare him for work in the industry.
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Georgia - Animation
Discovering new dimensions with Animation at Cardiff Met

Georgia blogs on how her skills evolved to incorporate 2D and 3D techniques during her time studying animation at Cardiff Met.
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Bethan - Animation
From Cardiff Met Animation student to freelance animator

Bethan shares the story of how a work experience placement in second year helped her kick off her career as an animator.
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Student Animation Showreel

A showreel featuring a selection of animation work created by Cardiff Met students.

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