Monday, 2 February 2015

Portfolio Guidelines - Online MA in Animation

Life drawing
Thinking of applying for our new online MA in animation at Bucks? One of the most common questions we get asked by prospectivestudents is: What should go into my portfolio?

The answer is - a bit of anything and everything. Drawings, Painting, Life drawing, sketches, scribbles - anything you've got. But most especially - 3D digital artwork. 

Ever tried Blender? It's free!
What kind of candidates are we looking for? 

We want candidates with good all-round art skills, including drawing, design and animation. You should also be comfortable with computers and computer software, and be curious enough to want to know more. 
3D Animation is a blend of art and technology. Ever tried downloading Blender and trying it out? These days there are tons of free animation tutorials at YouTube, and Blender is completely free.  If you'd like to do a free Blender test that we recommend, follow this link. See how you get on!

Drawing is a plus, but not essential
Do our applicants need good tech skills?

Ideally, yes. It helps a lot if you don't get too frustrated when computers go wrong - which they do all the time.  Software malfunction should be a challenge to be overcome - not a reason to stop work.  Why not download a free copy of Autodesk Maya? It's the main software we use to teach animation, and it's free for students.

Do our applicants need to draw well?

Good drawing skills are a plus, but they are not vital. We live in a digital age, and most of our work is now done using computers as our tools.  Of course, we do want to see signs of creativity and visual invention. Animation is not just about mastering the software, it's about having ideas, and giving a performance. So a sketchbook or blog full of ideas is a definite plus.
Should our applicants have an online portfolio?

Ideally, yes. The best kind of digital portfolio is a website or blog showcasing your work. Check out our post here on how to create a free blog and/or website, and start uploading your work today. It's never too early to have your own online showcase, and it's completely free to build a website at You can also upload to tumbler, which is really a simplified kind of blog.

Quick sketches capture movement,

What if an applicant doesn't have a blog or portfolio?

If you're not ready to put your work online, or you simply don't have the time, just email us your artwork. This could take the form or a JPEG or a PDF document; something that is easily opened with standard software. Movie files in simple formats like .avi or .mov are also welcome.

Definitely.  Just like if you were applying for a job, make sure you present your work in a format which is easily opened. Do a quick tech check before you send it out - do the files actually work? And can they be opened in standard software like QuickTime or Adobe Acrobat?

Does Bucks do Skype interviews?

Definitely. We will be delighted to do a Skype interview. Just ask admissions to set one up. Of course, you will need to have your work online, or be able to send us a PDF of your artwork.

For more on the experience of studying at Bucks New University, come and visit us at one of our Open Days,  take a virtual tour of one of our animation studios, check out what our students think of our course, and see why we're ranked in the top 12 creative universities in the UK. Find out why we're giving free laptops to all our students, and why we give all our students free access to videos at Also, see what financial assistance might be available to you. Learn which is better for animation, a PC or a Mac? Get hold of a copy of a map so you can find your way around campus, and learn about motion capture at Bucks

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