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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
Code
W615
Start
September 2023
Duration
3 years full-time
Attendance
Full-time
Fees
£9,250 (UK) *
£15,100 (EU / INT) *
Course leader
Lilly Husbands

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.

Year after year our students produce outstanding industry-standard work and leave the course with an impressive portfolio to launch their career. Take a look at some of the work from last year’s graduates on our Creative Graduates 2022 exhibition site.

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

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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 - Compulsory (2022/23)

    • Introduction to Animation and Creative Workshops (90 credits)

      This module aims to develop:

      • a personal approach to animation based on research, experimentation and the exploration of animation and its relation to other areas of arts and creative industries practice from a historical, contemporary and cultural perspective
      • communication skills to enable articulate discussion, analysis and evaluation of one’s own work and that of others
      • a basic understanding of film language, narrative and the technical processes of animation with the ability to apply that knowledge in the planning and creation of animation sequences
    • From Pencil to Pixel (30 credits)

      This module will introduce students to the core issues in the international history of animation and computer animation. It will survey the changing modes of production, practices, aesthetics and accompanying theories and enable the student to develop research skills and engage critically with the topic.

  • Year 2 - Compulsory (2022/23)

    • Animation Practice and Creative Workshops (90 credits)

      This module aims to further develop:

      • improved technical skills coupled with an independent and challenging approach to animation problem solving
      • increased confidence in articulate critical analysis, evaluation and discussion
      • a deeper understanding of animation from a contemporary, historical and cultural perspective.
    • Animation and Digital Cultures (30 credits)

      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. Close readings of key texts introduce critical and methodological approaches. It will further develop an understanding of academic research methods and will include an examination of representational and social aspects of visual culture.

  • Year 3 - Compulsory (2022/23)

    • Animation: Major Projects and Professional Portfolio Development (90 credits)

      This Module aims to:

      • Reinforce, extend and consolidate previously acquired skills to achieve a confident, independent approach to animation practice at a professional level.
      • 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 showreel, portfolio and promotional material.
    • Critical and Contextual Research (30 credits)

      This module aims to enable students to identify and deliver a research project related to their studio practice. The project will involve an analytical engagement with a range of research resources in order to have a greater understanding of an aspect of studio practice through its historical, theoretical and social contexts. The module will consolidate the development of skills of project identification, research organisation and development, time management, visual analysis and critical argument. Students will extend their ability to think creatively about the presentation of conceptual, critical and contextual material in both written and visual form. Students will further consolidate the development of skills required for autonomous learning.

  • Year 1 - Compulsory (2023/24)

    • Introduction to Animation Techniques (30 Credits)

      This module will introduce you to the fundamentals of character animation and explores a range of visual storytelling and sound production techniques. On completion of the module you will be practiced in using visual research as a tool for developing realistic and convincing animation and have a working knowledge of storyboarding, animatic production, audio recording and creative sound design techniques.

    • Elemental Animation Filmmaking (30 Credits)

      This module aims to encourage you to develop a unique vision drawn from personal experience and to explore creative approaches to animation filmmaking. You will examine their own history and cultural background to find inspiration for a narrative, to develop into an animated short. From the initial concept through to completed film, you will gain an elemental working knowledge of the animation process, working from concept to pre-production and production through to post-production.

    • Analogue and Digital Animation Skills Workshops 1 (30 Credits)

      This module will introduce you to the essential processes and disciplines utilized in animation production. Comprising a series of workshops aimed at developing entry level animation related expertise, the aim of the module is to bring you up to a fundamental level of competence across a range of 2D and 3D animation techniques including stop motion, a portfolio of industry standard animation software packages and a regular program of classes in life drawing for animation.

    • Introduction to Animation History, Theory and Creative Research (30 Credits)

      This module will introduce you to core issues in the international histories and theories of animation. It aims to develop students’ understanding of the changing cultural contexts, modes of production, technologies, practices and aesthetics that characterise the evolution of animation as a global art form. It aims to develop your abilities to engage critically with key concepts related to animation and to develop research and analytical writing skills. The module informs and expands your knowledge of how their own practice relates to that of others, which in turn promotes personal development and innovation.

  • Year 2 - Compulsory (2023/24)

    • Narrative and Character Construction Lab (30 Credits)

      The module aims to enable you to explore the communication of emotional states in animation and to create original designs of both characters and backgrounds using materials in an innovative way. These character projects give the animator the skills they need to develop both technical and storytelling skills. The module further develops your storytelling skills and collaborative working practices. Throughout the module, students gain a deeper understanding of animation from a contemporary, historical and cultural perspective.

    • Intermediate Animation Filmmaking (30 Credits)

      This module aims to develop your personal voice to produce original and enthralling stories. It fosters a better understanding of film structure and narrative and development of a personal animation style. It aims to improve your animation skills as well as help them acquire new software skills. It will enhance your professional documentation and pitching skills so that you can verbally pitch an idea for a 2-minute animated short film and then develop and produce it to completion. Through the process of feedback, you will further develop skills to enable articulate discussion, analysis and evaluation of your own work and that of others. Throughout the module, you will gain a deeper understanding of animation from contemporary, historical and cultural perspectives.

    • Analogue and Digital Skills Animation Workshops 2 (30 Credits)

      The module develops your core technical and professional skills to prepare them to interact with the industry. Continuing from the Level 4 animation skills workshops, the module improves and expands students’ animation skills towards a professional level. Life drawing strengthens your drawing skills, enhancing your understanding of form and perspective and exposing them to new and different materials. The professional practice and development section of the module improves your collaborative skills by allowing them to work in an animation production team, which mirrors how a professional studio works. The grad assist project helps you to develop your listening and teamwork skills; this internal internship is accompanied by a project where you research and contact members of the industry, preparing them for seeking employment.

    • Critical Animation Aesthetics (30 Credits)

      The module aims to develop your abilities to think independently and to apply analytical and critical thinking skills to your work as creative practitioners, as well as to be able to effectively research, reflect and communicate in an academic context. The curriculum is socially critical in its aims, drawing from the analytical and critical methodologies found in aesthetics, critical theory, film, media and cultural studies. It plays a central role in your development of graduate attributes such as academic excellence, critical thinking, effective communication, ethical awareness, teamwork and cultural competency.

  • Year 3 - Compulsory (2023/24)

    • Specialist Animation Exposition (60 Credits)

      This module aims to reinforce, extend and consolidate previously acquired skills to achieve a confident, independent approach to animation practice at a professional level. You may elect to work either individually, as a partnership or in collective to develop a compelling concept, proposal and preproduction materials, from which you will then prepare an engaging final major project, choosing to work either on an animated short film or alternatively, produce a professional portfolio.

    • Professional Practice and Industry Interfacing (30 Credits)

      This module aims to advance your ability at identifying and evaluating potential career paths and anticipating the expectations of the animation industry. Essential work experience will be gained through collaboration on a professional ‘Live Brief’, delivered according to the specifications of a real creative industries client. Additionally, you will prepare a graduation showreel, portfolio presentation and promotional materials. On completion of this module students will have garnered essential professional experience, built their self-confidence and finessed their professionalism, organization, presentation and communication skills.

    • Critical and Contextual Research Project (30 Credits)

      This module aims to enable you to identify, conduct and deliver a critical and contextual research essay that is the product of sustained engagement with a range of research resources and an area of animation practice. The module will consolidate the development of skills of project identification, research organisation and development, time management, visual analysis and critical argument. You will extend your ability to think creatively about the presentation of historical, conceptual, critical and contextual material in both written and visual form. You will further consolidate the development of skills required for autonomous learning, which are intended to promote the lifelong learning habits of critical practitioners. You will also practice your capacity for self-reflection and respond productively to feedback over the course of an extended written project.

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.

Susan Light
Life Drawing Tutor

Susan Light studied Fine Art at Leeds Polytechnic and San Francisco State University. A practising painter working from a studio in NW London, her paintings have been selected for the BP Portrait Award, the Ruth Borchard Collection and Hunting Art Prizes amongst others. She teaches painting from her studio and drawing on the Illustration and Animation courses at Middlesex University.

Dr Lilly Husbands
Lecturer in Animation Theory and Research

Dr Lilly Husbands received her doctorate in Film Studies from King’s College London. Her research and teaching is concerned with closely investigating contemporary experimental animation, focusing particularly on the varieties of non-normative aesthetic experience that such works invite and cultivate. Her interests include experimental cinema and video, animation and special effects, film aesthetics, film philosophy, spectatorship, and film music. She has published widely on experimental animation in Moving Image Review & Art Journal (MIRAJ), Frames Cinema Journal and Alphaville: Journal of Film and Screen Media.

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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