Monday, 12 August 2019

Animation MA Module and Grade Structure

Kiwi by Oliver Canovas
Our online MA in 3D Animation at Bucks New University is a unique course, still the only online MA in animation in the world.

Priced at just £7,200 for the full 18 months, it is a gateway to a career in the animation industry and also a passport to teaching animation at university level.

Inside the MA are five modules; four run consecutively throughout the year, and the final module runs for the full 18 months of the course.

Module Structure
Our MA 3D Animation Course comprises five modules: DA701, DA702, DA703 and DA704 run sequentially, one after the other, while DA705 (The dissertation module) runs alongside them over the full 18 months of the MA.  DA701, DA702, DA703 and DA704 contain two assignments each, one practical, one written. The practical assignment is "weighted" at 70%, while the written assignment is weighted at 30%, meaning that the final grade for the module is calculated in a 70/30 ratio. DA705 contains three assignments, the last - the dissertation - being the most important.

DA701 PR1 "School Run" by Lee Caller
DA701 - Animation Mechanics 
This first module is DA701, is taught primarily in Autodesk Maya, and deals with animation basics, such locomotion and mechanics.

DA701 starts with simple actions such as a bouncing ball, and builds up to physical actions, such as jumps and throws.

At the end of the Module students submit a project for formal assessment based on character locomotion, such as the one below by graduate Neil Whitman.

There are two assessed assignments to submit: a practical assignment DA701 PR1, worth 70% of the marks in the module, and an academic assignment, DA701 CW1, worth 30% of the marks in the module.

To find out more about DA701 Locomotion & Mechanics, read this blog post.

DA702 - Character Performance
In this second module, students get to grips with character performance, including complex physical actions, pantomime animation, acting, dialogue and lipsync. The module builds up to an entry in the monthly 11 Second Club competition, which is also part of the student's assessed work.

Like DA701, DA702 has two assignments. The first, DA701 PR1, is a practical assignment, and is worth 70% of the marks. The second is an academic assignment, and is worth 30% of the overall marks.
Below is an excellent example of a submission for DA702 PR1 by Bucks MA student Jinng Hwee Tan.

DA703 - Animals and Creatures
This third module, DA703, focuses on animal and creature work, with an emphasis on the kind of photo-realistic animation in which London studios like Framestore, MPC and DNeg specialise. Students learn quadruped locomotion, as well as how to animate creatures like birds, spiders and scorpions.

Again, there are two submissions, DA703 PR1, which is a practical assignment (see an example below), worth 70% of the marks, and DA703 CW1, which is an academic submission, and is worth 30% of the marks. To see more about this module, see this blog post.

DA704 - Demo Reel and Final Project
This penultimate module focuses on the creation of a final project and also a demo reel to showcase the student's best work. A demo reel is the student's shop front, their display of talent and skill, and is the single most important factor in finding work in the industry.

DA704 has three elements for submission. One is DA704 PR1, a practical assignment, worth 40% of the module. The second submission is DA704 CW1, a written assignment, worth 40% of the module, and the third is DA704 CW2, a written assignment, worth 20% of the module.

Final Demo Reel
DA704 PR1 includes cutting together a final demo reel, such as Neil Whitman's below:

To see more about DA704 follow this link

DA705 - Dissertation
This final module is entirely academic in character, and involves the writing of a dissertation, under the supervision of Fil Ieropoulos.
The first four Modules run consecutively through the year and while the last module, DA705, runs through the entire year alongside the other modules.

DA701 Animation 1 - Locomotion and Mechanics - 30 credits
DA701 PR1 - Practical assignment, worth 70% of the module
DA701 CW1 - Written assignment, worth 30% of the module  

DA702 Animation 2 - Character Performance - 30 credits
DA702 PR1 - Practical assignment, worth 70% of the module
DA702 CW1 - Written assignment, worth 30% of the module

DA703 Animation 3 – Animals and Creatures - 30 credits
DA703 PR1 - Practical assignment, worth 70% of the module
DA703 CW1 - Written assignment, worth 30% of the module
DA704 Animation 4 - Final Project and Demo Reel - 30 credits
DA704 PR1 - Practical assignment, worth 40% of the module
DA704 CW1 - Written assignment, worth 60% of the module
DA705 Dissertation
DA705 CW1 - Written Report, worth 15% of the module
DA705 CW2 - Literature Review, worth 15% of the module
DA705 CW3 - Dissertation, worth 70% of the module


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.

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