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Animation BA Honours

Whether it’s designing epic visuals or creating fantastical animations, you’ll gain the skills needed for a career in animation
Clearing is now open!
This course is available through Clearing

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Code
W615
Start
September 2022
Duration
3 years full-time
Attendance
Full-time
Fees
£9,250 (UK) *
£14,700 (EU / INT) *
Course leader
Lilly Husbands

This course is now available in Clearing, click here to find out more.
To apply, call 0208 411 6565 or WhatsApp us.

Embracing all aspects of animated film making, this animation degree simply makes perfect sense if you’re an aspiring animator.

Animation for the modern age

Animation is at the heart of the movie industry, from the latest blockbuster to the small budget indie. Here you will develop your vision as an artist, animator, designer and director, equipping yourself with the essential skills to establish yourself in the animation industry. You'll be encouraged to experiment and be given the space to explore your own creativity and develop your own style. You’ll study across a broad range of animation practice, including traditional and digital 2D, motion graphics and stop motion, as well as 3D computer animation and even working directly onto 16mm film.

Space to develop your own creativity

While studying animation you'll combine both theory and practice to develop your skills and knowledge. In class discussions and lectures, you'll learn about the history of animation, building your understanding of the changing practices of animation and being introduced to new concepts around animation and games.

When it comes to practical work, you'll develop and consolidate your own approach to animation in our state-of-the-art animation studios. Using building your own animated films as part of your portfolio development module. Using industry standard software, you'll build and refine your technical skills with a focus on designing and directing your own animated films, which will make up part of your portfolio development module. You'll also learn storytelling, scriptwriting and characterisation alongside film and sound editing techniques to convey compelling narratives.

You’ll learn alongside our BAFTA winning academic team who all work professionally in film making, each with their own set of skills in long and short animation, commercials, TV shows, motion graphics and music videos. They have worked with companies like Dreamworks, Warner Bros, Cartoon Network and the BBC with nominations and wins across events such as Cannes Film Festival and London International Animation Festival.

Support for your career goals

While on the course, you'll have close, regular contact with your lecturers and tutors. You’ll also get support from our Student Learning and Graduate Academic Assistants, who have experience in your subject area. Full time specialist technicians and technical tutors with in-depth professional experience will support you during workshops and studio practice.

We have strong links with UK and international animation companies, and our industry partners even sponsor final year students and give specialist workshops and lectures. You'll have the opportunity to build your network, as well as showcasing your work to employers within the creative industry at events, festivals and our end of term Degree Show. Our graduates have gone on to work on such films as Wes Anderson's 'Isle of Dogs', as well as animation companies like Lupus Film, Tiger Aspect Productions and Passion Pictures.

If you're passionate about animation and determined to succeed in a high pressure, fast paced environment, our BA in animation can set you up with the skills and support you'll need to succeed.

MDX Animation 2021 Showreel from MDX ANIMATION on Vimeo.


Find out more

Sign up now to receive more information about studying at Middlesex University London.

What will you study on BA Animation?

On this course you will study a broad range of animation practice including:

  • Traditional 2D: Drawing, Painting, Mixed Media
  • Digital 2D: Flash, After Effects, Cel Action, Toon Boon, TV Paint and Adobe Photoshop
  • Stop Motion: Puppet, Claymation, Cut Out, Sand on Glass, Paint on Glass and Pixilation
  • 3D Computer Animation: Cinema 4D and Motion Capture

In your first year you will develop a personal approach to animation and learn to apply an understanding of film language, narrative and the technical processes of animation to the creation of your own animation sequences. You will learn about changing practices in the history of animation and explore and experiment with different forms of graphic media.

In your second year you will further develop your animation practice and begin to identify specific areas of interest. The second year of study gives you the opportunity to refine your technical and problem-solving skills. In the Digital Cultures module you will be introduced to a range of concepts related to aesthetic and cultural theories of moving images.

In your final year you will consolidate your skills to a professional standard and fully prepare for a career in the animation industry, identifying potential career paths and preparing a graduation showreel, portfolio and promotional material. You will research and write a contextual studies dissertation that connects to your practical areas of interest.

What will you gain?

You will learn to:

  • Research and develop your own ideas and turn them into compelling and emotive screenplays
  • Develop strong and believable animated characters that your audience can empathise with
  • Explore and experiment with image making as a means to developing a personal visual language
  • Effectively use film language to communicate concept, character, personality and emotion
  • Plan and manage all aspects of an animation production and deliver on time according to an agreed schedule
  • Use film editing techniques to effectively convey concepts and narrative
  • Use sound recording and editing techniques to create professional soundtracks for your films.
  • Research into and think critically about cultural products and contexts.

Modules

  • Year 1

    • From Pencil to Pixel (30 Credits) – Compulsory

      This module will introduce the core issues in the history of animation and computer graphics. You will survey the changing practices, aesthetics and accompanying theories and enable you to develop research skills and engage critically with the topic.

    • Introduction to Animation and Creative Workshops (90 Credits) – Compulsory

      This module gives you an exciting foundation in the Fundamentals of Animation. We explore visual storytelling in detail and the importance of experimentation, research and development in Animation film making. You are methodically taken through the technical principles of analogue and digital 2D Animation, Stop Motion and 3D Computer Animation and learn a range of industry standard software relevant to animation production, in a way that is accessible, creative and rewarding. Alongside the core teaching, there are many exciting intensive workshops involving collaboration with students from BA 3D Animation and Games, and BA Illustration.

  • Year 2

    • Animation Practice and Creative Workshops (90 Credits) – Compulsory

      This module investigates contemporary workflows in the Animation industry through a series of intensive workshops, including individual and group work. This includes a deeper exploration of film language and the importance of characterisation in story development and design. Building on the skills developed in Year 1 you will work on a challenging Advanced Animation Skills Workshop and a collaborative Mixed Media Animation Workshop. As the year progresses you will collate and present your investigations in a Two Minute Animated Film. This curriculum aims to be varied and surprising, encouraging the nurturing of individual art practices and group working. Through this succession of technical and artistic experimentations, you gain the confidence to begin approaching studios while establishing your own collectives and professional networks.

    • Animation and Digital Cultures (30 Credits) – Compulsory

      This module aims to introduce students to a range of theories and aesthetic concepts relating to animation, games and digital culture and their cinematic legacy. You will further develop an understanding of academic research methods and the module will include an examination of psychological and cultural aspects of computer games.

  • Year 3

    • Animation: Major Projects and Professional Portfolio Development (90 Credits) – Compulsory

      This module combines group and individual projects and aims to reinforce, extend and consolidate previously acquired skills and knowledge to achieve a confident, independent approach to animation practice at a professional level. We invite established creative industry professionals to set live briefs and help you to hone your skills as emerging animation professionals. You can choose direct your own Graduation Film, working as an independent animation director or alternatively form a partnership or collaboration with other students from your cohort. During your final year you will cultivate highly articulate analysis, evaluation and discussion with an explicit critical understanding of current animation practice. Identify potential career paths and anticipate the expectations of the animation industry in the presentation of a graduation film and show reel, portfolio and promotional material.

    • Critical and Contextual Research Proposition Essay (30 Credits) – Compulsory:

      This module aims to enable you to identify and deliver a research project that is the product of sustained and creative engagement both with a range of research resources and an area of studio-practice. The module will consolidate skills of project identification, research organisation and development, time management, written and visual analysis and the presentation of a critical argument/thesis. The module further consolidates the development of skills required for autonomous learning.

More information about this course

See the course specification for more information about typical course content outside of the coronavirus outbreak:

Optional modules are usually available at levels 5 and 6, although optional modules are not offered on every course. Where optional modules are available, you will be asked to make your choice during the previous academic year. If we have insufficient numbers of students interested in an optional module,  or there are staffing changes which affect the teaching, it may not be offered. If an optional module will not run, we will advise you after the module selection period when numbers are confirmed, or at the earliest time that the programme team make the decision not to run the module, and help you choose an alternative module.

  1. Overview
  2. Teaching and learning
  3. Assessment and feedback
  1. Standard entry requirements
  2. International (inc. EU)
  3. Interview and portfolio
  4. How to apply
  1. UK
  2. EU fees
  3. EU / International
  4. Additional costs

Check out recent work by current students and alumni at the MDX Animation online showcase.

Each year we take final year projects from students on BA Animation to be displayed at the Arts and Creative Industries degree show, usually held at the Truman Brewery.

How can the BA Animation support your career?

Middlesex has strong links with art and design employers. Our industry partners sponsor final year students and give visiting lectures. Hundreds of art and design agencies, organisations and other employers attend our final year degree show each year. Animation at Middlesex will prepare you for a career in many areas of the animation industry, with roles including:

Animation DirectorMotion Graphic Designer2D animatorStop Motion Animator
Storyboard ArtistLayout ArtistCharacter DesignerBackground Artist
After Effects ArtistProducerCompositorCGI animator

Our graduates

Our students have gone on to work in roles where animation skills are highly valued, for example, creating visuals for live music tours, concerts, events, theatre productions and operas. The BA Animation also enables entrepreneurial students to set up their own business. To name a few of our alumni and their work:

  • Camrhon Mitchell (2021) - Stop motion animator on Aardman Animation’s latest feature film ‘Chicken Run 2’
  • Gemma Schnable (2020) - Animated film ‘Dysmorphia’ won the animation category for the #poweryourbreakthrough competition.
  • Lydia Byron (2019) - Motion Designer at Procreate
  • Ryan Fairbanks (2018) - Colourist on ‘The Tiger Who Came to Tea’, Lupus Films, assistant animator at Studio AKA.
  • Rhiannon Loki Fellows (2018)- Motion graphic designer at Mindful Education
  • Rizwan Rafiq (2018) animator at Tiger Aspect, Hoopla Studio, Blinkink
  • Gabija Zygaite (2018) - Designer at Eikon Group Limited
  • Erica Hodne (2017) - Animator on ‘Mr Bean’, Tiger Aspect Productions
  • Anna Pereira-Finn (2017) - Colourist on ‘The Tiger Who Came to Tea’, Lupus Films
  • Giulia Riva (2017) - Clean up artist on ‘Klaus’, The Spa Studios, currently background artist at Gigglebug Entertainment
  • Sofja Umarik (2017) – Owner of Elklore Animation. Directed ‘The quiet power of introverts’ | BBC Ideas, ‘The Quiet Power of Leadership’ in collaboration between BBC Ideas and Open University.
  • Adara Todd (2016) - Production assistant on children's television at Tiger Aspect
  • Eleonora Quario (2015) - Assistant animator on many productions such as 'Ethel & Earnest' (BBC) and Wes Anderson’s film 'Isle of Dogs'

Most recently, 2021 BA Animation graduate Kate Mercer’s animated film ‘Walden’ won the Exceptional Merit award at the Nature Without Borders International Film Festival.

Work experience

Work experience in all forms greatly improves graduate employment prospects and we encourage all our students to undertake work experience during their studies whether through part-time work, volunteering or other means. The Animation department also organises live projects with industry practitioners so you can experience working on professional creative briefs.

Our specialist Employability Service and London location ensure that every year our students and graduates have access to an excellent range of work experience opportunities.

What support is available?

Our Employability Service can help you to develop your employability skills and get some valuable work experience. We provide workshops, events and one-to-one support with job hunting, CVs, covering letters, interviews, networking and so on. We also support you in securing part-time work, placements, internships and volunteering opportunities, and offer an enterprise support service for those looking to start their own business.

Our specialist facilities are recognised as among the best in country and include:

You can also hire specialised equipment for your assignments. There is a wealth of specialist technical help with professionals dedicated to helping you achieve excellence in our workshop areas.

Jonathan Hodgson
Course Leader

Jonathan Hodgson is an internationally acclaimed, BAFTA and Luna de Valencia award winning animation director who combines teaching with a successful career in the animation industry. A Royal College of Art graduate, he has directed numerous award winning short films, high profile advertising campaigns, TV motion graphics and was art director on the children's TV series Charlie and Lola.

In 2019, he won his second BAFTA for his animated short, Roughhouse. He has also won Best British Film at London International Animation Festival with his short animation film Roughhouse. He has designed and directed the animation 'The Trouble with Love and Sex', which explores relationships using audio from a series of Relate counselling sessions, and was the first full length animated documentary to be broadcast on British TV.

Clients include: BBC1, BBC2, Channel Four, Diesel Jeans, Saab USA, Bell Atlantic, United Bank of Switzerland, Vanguard, the Home Office and Persil. His specialist area of research and practice is animated documentary. He teaches Classical and Digital 2D animation, After Effects, Sound Design and Animation Direction.

www.hodgsonfilms.com

www.hodgsonfilms.tumblr.com

Chris Shepherd
Lecturer – Animation

Chris Shepherd is a BAFTA nominated television/film writer and director. He is mainly known for combining live action with animation. His work fuses comedy with commentary on the darker side of human nature. In 2017 he directed an animated film, as a tribute to playwright Joe Orton. Watch the trailer.

Matt Ingram
Lecturer – Animation

Matt Graduated from Middlesex University’s Illustration BA in 2016.

After a few years working as an in-house illustrator at a London brand agency, Matt decided to go freelance.  In 2020 he created the opening animated title sequence for Sky Cinema’s 2021 film, ‘To Olivia’, drawing inspiration from the work of Saul Bass.

Matt further continued his studies at the London Atelier of Representational Art (LARA) on their drawing programme where he continued to hone his figure drawing skills.

Dr Sam Summers
Lecturer – Animation

Dr Sam Summers is a film and animation scholar specialising in computer animation, aesthetics, intertextuality and the Hollywood animation industry.  As well as publishing several articles and book chapters on these topics, he is the co-editor of Toy Story: How Pixar Reinvented the Animated Feature (2018), the author of DreamWorks Animation: Intertextuality and Aesthetics in Shrek and Beyond and the co-convenor of the Animation Special Interest Group for the British Association of Film, Television and Screen Studies.

Steve May

Steve May is an animation director and freelance illustrator based in London (UK). He studied painting and filmmaking at Trent Polytechnic (1988-91) and after several years working as an illustrator / animator, gained an MA in Animation at the Royal College of Art (1999-2001).

As an animation director his films ‘Anger & Rabbits’ won the Association of Illustrators Gold New Media Award in 2012 & 2010. ‘X&Y’ (2008) was shortlisted for the British Animation Awards 2008 and has been screened internationally. His films ‘Gut’ (2001) and ‘Round’ (2000) have been screened in numerous international festivals and he has directed work for commercials and television including ‘Cyberstreetwise’ for HM Government, and ‘Spacehopper Man’ for BBC 3's acclaimed Monkeydust series.

As an illustrator he has produced high quality illustration work for a variety of clients including Marks & Spencer, Harper Collins, The Guardian, The Economist, Puffin & Faber amongst many others.

Daniel Quirke

Daniel is a BAFTA nominated animation director based in London who specialises in mixed media and stop motion animation. He graduated from Middlesex University with BA Animation in 2017 and NFTS with MA Directing Animation in 2020. He has freelanced for clients such as Netflix and It's Nice That, working with companies such as Pavilion Works and Mindful Education.

Anthony Lavagna

Anthony is an animator, illustrator and story maker who previous to studying animation, worked as a freelance illustrator for several years. He brought his experience and illustration skills as a freelancer to the animation course and created a film in his first year that won an award at Middlesex Universities end of year showcase for best animation. The film also debuted at Alexandra Palace's Drive-In Cinema before each main showing. As well as illustration and animation, Anthony is a keen storyteller and writes stories for potential animations in his spare time. For Anthony's final year project, he created a concept for an animated series with a portfolio of illustrations and an introduction sequence. Anthony considers himself a generalist and is looking to move into the animation industry as either a designer or animator.

  • Kuba Ludziejewski

    Animation BA graduate

    Being part of the course helped me to realise my potential and gave me some great work experience opportunities. I worked on the visuals for The Who's US Tour 2011 and also went to Milan for the Design week in May 2012 to work on the live visuals for Bombay Sapphire Gin. After graduating, Kuba joined Treatment Studios, a collaborative association of designers, directors and content producers who create visuals for live music tours, concerts, events, award ceremonies, large-scale theatre productions and operas.

  • Antonio J Busto Algarin

    Animation BA graduate

    Busto's graduation film 'The Day I Killed My Best Friend' was premiered at the 56th BFI London Film Festival and won the audience prize at the ANIMAR Animation Festival in Valencia. The film has also recently been awarded best student film at the prestigious 2014 British Animation Awards.

    I have always worked a lot on my own but I can't say that everything I made at Middlesex University was just thanks to me. The teachers and students from the Animation department gave me some of the most important help, guidance and professional opportunities.

  • Emmy Ivanova

    Animation BA graduate

    I chose the BA Animation course at Middlesex after seeing the facilities and meeting some of the tutors at an Open Day. The course offers exactly what I was looking for; a mix of traditional, digital and 3D animation. It allows a lot of freedom to develop our own ideas and make actual films, not just exercises. It is all combined with great tutors who work in the industry at the moment themselves and there is no better way to learn.

    What I love about the course is that the tutors really care about the individual. They push you to produce your best work. I have also met some brilliant guest lecturers, which I never dreamt I'd be able to do. It has been such an inspiring and fulfilling experience to learn about the filmmaking journey and if you want to be a filmmaker and not just an animator, Middlesex University is the place to go.

  • Svetlana Simanenkova

    Animation BA graduate

    I chose to apply to Middlesex University because it was well established, with a good ranking and reputation. Of course, having BAFTA winning and nominated teaching staff lecturing on the course also impressed me.

    I've really enjoyed the experiences offered by this course. The facilities and equipment are amazing and I've produced some fruitful collaborations with other students. The tutors are always there for you regarding any questions or queries you have and they're always willing to share tips on animation and filmmaking techniques.

  • Rebecca Balint

    Animation BA graduate

    The Animation course at Middlesex University is a fantastic programme for future animators. This course made me grow as an artist and as a person. If you are hard working and passionate about what you do, this is the course for you.

  • Clive Shaw

    Animation BA graduate

    Clive's second year film was chosen by The Simpsons creator Matt Groening for Shooting People's Film of the Month Award in September 2011.

    As a mature student returning to full-time education I'm glad I chose Middlesex. The campus facilities, one-to-one support and in-depth training gave me the confidence and techniques to have the career I had dreamed of and get my work seen around the world.


We’ll carefully manage any future changes to courses, or the support and other services available to you, if these are necessary because of things like changes to government health and safety advice, or any changes to the law.

Any decisions will be taken in line with both external advice and the University’s Regulations which include information on this.

Our priority will always be to maintain academic standards and quality so that your learning outcomes are not affected by any adjustments that we may have to make.

At all times we’ll aim to keep you well informed of how we may need to respond to changing circumstances, and about support that we’ll provide to you.

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