PROGRAMME SPECIFICATION Please view the disclaimer. AWARD and ROUTE TITLE BA (Hons) Animation INTERMEDIATE AWARD TITLES BA Animation HE Dip. Animation HE Cert. Creative Digital Media Name of the Teaching Institution Sheffield Hallam University Modes of Attendance Full time / Sandwich / Part time UCAS CODE E615 W615 Professional/Statutory/Regulatory Currently none Body Recognising this Programme QAA Subject Benchmark Framework for HE Qualifications in Statement or other relevant England, Wales and Northern Ireland external reference point Skillset Guidelines on courses for Computer Games and Animation [See: www.skillset.org/games and www.skillset.org/animation] Date of Validation 22 March 2007 1. PROGRAMME AIMS This programme aims to: 1. Provide students with the knowledge, skills, methods and understanding required to produce high quality media artefacts 2. Cover a wide range of techniques from traditional 2D animation to high-end 3D computer animation and provide the relevant facilities and equipment required 3. Develop within the students professional skills including communication and multidisciplinary team-working skills and the ability to innovate and operate effectively within the creative and media-based industries 4. Enable students to create a portfolio of work suitable for gaining relevant employment and professional recognition 5. Provide students with an understanding of the various roles within the animation industry and provide specialised modules in drawing, storyboarding, sound production and 3D modelling 6. Offer a combination of creative and technical expertise enabling students to produce high quality animations 7. Develop student’s technical knowledge in the use of industry standard software packages and provide an understanding of relevant hardware and equipment used (e.g. Motion capture, DVD authoring, audio facilities etc) 8. Enable students to critically evaluate their own work in relation to contemporary animation techniques while also producing new innovative and original ideas 9. Develop an understanding of traditional film techniques in relation to cinematography and shot composition, and how these techniques can be applied to 3D computer animation. 2. PROGRAMME LEARNING OUTCOMES The programme provides opportunities to develop and demonstrate knowledge, understanding and skills in the areas listed below. 2.1 KNOWLEDGE AND UNDERSTANDING By the end of the programme you will be able to: 1. Apply advanced operational and conceptual skills and techniques of animation in a live production context 2. Explain and apply the founding methods and current professional working practices of animation in the context of the moving image production process 3. Demonstrate knowledge of a broad range of production disciplines and differing moving image traditions 4. Make clear connections between meaning, context and form 5. Demonstrate a professional, flexible and confident approach to working practices in animation media production 6. Operate in an informed way in rapidly changing media industry contexts 7. Relate form, content and visual/audio interpretation. 2.2 INTELLECTUAL SKILLS By the end of the programme you will be able to: 1. Make mature and creative animation-based contributions to research, project development work and specific craft areas in the production process 2. Access, interpret and understand new information from a variety of sources and hence make informed predictions about potential future developments within the domain of the discipline 3. Demonstrate attitudes of respect and interest in a wide range of disciplines relevant to working with practitioners of those disciplines on animation-based digital media projects 4. Make and justify independent judgements employing skills of critical awareness. 2.3 SUBJECT AND PROFESSIONAL SKILLS By the end of the programme you will be able to: 1. Explain and apply the fundamental principles of animation, cinematography and filmmaking 2. Demonstrate a critical understanding of the pre-production process, generating ideas, concept art and storyboarding, and of post production and DVD authoring techniques 3. Design and produce 2D and 3D animations for a range of application areas 4. Design creative process practices and tailor them to meet the needs and opportunities of given particular circumstances 5. Identify and critically assess new animation techniques and technologies and discuss their potential application in novel systems 6. Demonstrate an awareness of the structures within the animation industries, especially with respect to project funding possibilities, and opportunities for employment 7. Behave ethically and legally, and advise others so they may do the same 8. Be self critical when evaluating and assessing one's own work and progress. 2.4 KEY SKILLS By the end of the programme you will be able to: 1. Apply knowledge and understanding of the subject to solve problems creatively 2. Demonstrate professionalism in animation across a range of production contexts 3. Work in team environments with a high level awareness of individual contributions to overall objectives 4. Apply a high level of critical and reflective thinking in the context of originality and creativity 5. Apply high-level organisational skills in relation to tasks and project workflows 6. Be able to communicate effectively using an appropriate range of tools and techniques 7. Be able to negotiate effectively in relation to tasks and project workflows 8. Apply appropriate IT/software tools and skills in the context of specific tasks and workflows 9. Demonstrate an awareness of health & safety in relation to specific working contexts. 3. LEARNING, TEACHING AND ASSESSMENT 3.1 LEARNING AND TEACHING METHODS Learning and teaching approaches are coordinated to support first-degree level learning, your own professional development, and the development of learner autonomy and employability skills. You will be required to maintain a Personal Development Portfolio that logs the development of the key professional skills that will make you employable and, throughout your course, you will be given the opportunity to build up a portfolio of creative work that will again demonstrate your employability. Module assignments and projects combine a mix of production exercises and group work on substantial creative development projects, further enhancing employability and strengthening professional networks and further learning opportunities. A feature of the course is that you will be provided with opportunities to work in multidisciplinary teams on common projects along with fellow students from related courses. This will simulate 'real world' working where multidisciplinary development teams consisting of software developers and creative artists commonly work together on joint projects. This approach will significantly help to develop your communication skills. The emphasis, as you move through your course and your confidence grows, shifts from tutor-led work towards self-directed student-led work, which is reflected in the breakdown of taught and self-directed study hours across the modules. Workshop exercises and projects in the first two years of the course are tutor-led, setting specific briefs which foreground content for the development projects. Teaching is delivered through skills workshops, conceptual development workshops, group and individual tutorials, production projects, contextual analysis seminars and critical evaluation through presentation and demonstration/screening sessions. The final year of the course encourages a predominantly self-directed, personal project development-based line of study. You will receive guidance and support from tutors to help you choose an area of study for your project and to choose and use an appropriate approach. You will then undertake your personal project supported by an assigned project tutor. This work will result in the production of a project report and a show-based demonstration of the final project showreel you produce. Further learning support will be provided through the University’s virtual learning environment, which will also act as a useful resource if you wish to access course materials and learning support from off campus. In addition, you will be provided with a list of recommended reading and, where applicable, an indication of other appropriate online resources to help your independent study. 3.2 ASSESSMENT AND FEEDBACK Reflecting the practical nature of the course, all assessments will be based upon coursework undertaken in each module. The majority of assessments will be individually based, with some assessment components being based on work done by groups. Where work is done by groups, part of the assessment for that work may also be individually based, allowing for the assessment of individual performance within a practical group- work setting. Formative and summative assessments include a combination of individual and group reports and presentations, designs, prototypes and models realised in various media and software. The format and focus of the assessment and feedback will support your continued learning and development. To support your work on assessments, and to help monitor your learning, you will receive regular feedback on your work from your tutors during tutorials, workshops and seminars. You will be given many opportunities to discuss your work as part of the learning process. Assessment packages throughout the course draw on and enhance cognitive, subject specific and professional practice skills. You will be required to analyse, utilise and evaluate information in order to design innovative solutions to problems presented in design and implementation activities. In these activities you will be required to demonstrate your ability to apply subject specific and professional practice skills. In addition to the regular feedback provided as part of the learning process, more formal feedback will be given through a planned mix of formative and summative assessments. The format and focus of the assessment and feedback is designed to support individual learning by developing your creative and problem solving capabilities and vocational skills required for work as an animator in the various media-based creative industries. As described above, this includes working with and receiving feedback from peers working in other related disciplines. When a piece of coursework is set, a deadline for the completion and submission of the work will also be specified. Coursework will normally be marked and returned within two weeks of the submission date, with written or verbal feedback, depending on the nature of the assignment. At the end of each semester and academic year, you will receive a written statement of your results for every module completed. Meetings will periodically be held with your personal tutor and/or course leader to review your overall progress. In this way you will have a clear picture of how your studies are progressing. 4. PROGRAMME DESIGN AND STRUCTURE The structure of the course, together with the modules you will study, is shown below. The course belongs to a wider Portfolio of four similar creative media practice courses comprising Games Design, Animation, Digital Media Production, and Film and Visual Effects. In the diagram those modules which are common to all courses in the Portfolio are shown with their titles written against a shaded background. Theories, Critical Methods & Contextual Study Creative Media Practice First Year (80 credits) (40 credits) (Level 4) Drawing for Research Critical Practice Skills Integrated Animation Animation Methods Analysis Project Theories, Critical Methods & Practice Contexts Creative Media Practice Elective Second Year (60 credits) Project (40 credits) (20 credits) (Level 5) Animation: 3D Animation Professional Integrated 3D Animation (Chosen from Histories and Techniques Context Project Project available Contexts module list) Theories, Critical Methods & Creative Media Practice Project Elective Final Year Practice Contexts (40 credits) (60 credits) (20 credits) (Level 6) Development Distribution (Chosen from for Creative Methods and Creative Media Practice Project available Practice Practices module list) All modules are 20 credit modules except the final year Creative Media Practice Project module, which is a 60 credit module. Each year is typical of other Higher Education degree courses in that you will acquire120 credits of learning. Each year is themed to include study of modules that address the theories, methods and contexts relevant to Animation as well as giving you the opportunity to be creative and carry out project-type work where you will build up your portfolio of creative work. Electives are available in the Second and Final Year to enable you to tailor the course to suit your own interests and learning needs. First Year Study of the common modules in the First Year will lay the foundation for the key skills that will underpin the rest of your studies. The module “Critical Analysis” gives you a set of approaches for being able to describe, deconstruct, interpret and contextualise work produced by and for creative practice specialists. By understanding how others have addressed and framed problems you will gain firm insights into how your work should be evaluated by yourself and will be evaluated by others. The module “Research Methods” introduces you to different approaches to exploring and researching problem situations, and gives practical help in how to use sources to find information. In the “Practice Skills” module you will receive a flavour of the skills developed on each of the other courses in the Portfolio. This will enable you to work effectively in multidisciplinary teams with other specialists. The “Integrated Project” provides you with an early opportunity to develop your creative skills and to learn about the key skills required to work in such multidisciplinary teams. Study of the route-specific modules in "Drawing for Animation" will provide you with a grounding in observational drawing, giving you an understanding of composition, perspective, anatomy, proportion and layout. In the "Animation" module you will learn about traditional stop-frame animation as well as 3D computer generated animation. You will be expected, for example, to make use of the skills you acquire on these modules in your First-Year integrated project work. Second Year The two common modules in the Second Year provide you with an opportunity to learn about the digital media industry and to further develop you multidisciplinary team-working skills. The “Professional Context” module takes a multi-disciplinary view of the broad digital media industry, and enables you to acquire a strong understanding of the nature of the industry, the employment opportunities that exist and the related professional issues. The “Integrated Project” module further develops your multidisciplinary team- working skills and creativity. By now you will be able to offer your specialist skills in a context where a range of skills are needed to produce work to professional standards. Study of the three animation modules builds on your First Year studies and, together with study of the common modules, develops significantly your skills and knowledge as an animator. In the "3D Animation Techniques" module you will further develop your animation skills using industry standard packages such as 3D Studio Max and Maya, but you will also learn how figures and scenes are constructed and rendered and about the constraints that technology places on such activities. In the "Animation: Histories and Contexts" module you will study the history and contexts of animation from the beginnings of animation using flip books, through stop-frame animation to high-end digitally-animated films and movies. In the "3D Animation Project" module you will have the opportunity to add to your portfolio of creative work. This will include 2D as well as 3D work. In the elective module you will be able to choose a module from a list specific to the Animation course. Alternatively you may choose any module from across the University, but subject to the approval of your course team. Final Year In the Final Year, you have the opportunity to use the 60-credit “Creative Media Practice Project” module to tailor the course towards your own needs and interests. This block of study is individually assessed, so your mark will reflect your own success and achievement. Work towards the module can be group- based, though, with individuals taking separate roles. This will be negotiated with your tutors. In the "Development for Creative Practice" module you will learn about and make a critical study of the animation development process, looking specifically at storyboarding, narrative and character development. In the "Distribution Methods and Practices" module you will learn how to make an animation available to an audience. You will study various showreel devices such as the web and DVD. You will learn how to promote and market yourself as an animator and visual-effects artist. In your Final Year elective module you will again be able to either deepen your knowledge of animation by choosing from a prescribed list of modules, or broaden it depending on your wider choice of module and its availability. Professional Placement You are thoroughly encouraged to take a Placement year between the Second and the Final Year of your course. The University will help you find a suitable Placement, will ensure that it is professionally relevant, will check certain conditions (such as health & safety), and will negotiate a realistic and professional salary for you. The University will monitor the Placement, including visits by staff to your place of work. In addition to the experience you will acquire on Placement, your award will be a "Sandwich" award and this will be included on your degree certificate. Alternatively, you may take an Independent Study Module as your elective in order to undertake a short term placement in industry or to engage in some other professional project opportunity. In such cases your award would be a Full-Time award as opposed to a Sandwich award. 5. PROGRESSION/CAREER ROUTES Possible course progression or career routes after you have completed this programme include the following: 5.1 COURSE PROGRESSION OPPORTUNITIES Your studies in this course will provide you with a strong grounding for postgraduate studies at Sheffield Hallam University. You will be particularly well prepared for courses such as the MA Animation for Computer Games and MA Animation and Special Effects courses. Other opportunities exist for studying for MPhil or PhD qualifications through taking part in a research programme. 5.2 CAREER ROUTES The course prepares you for a range of careers in the animation/media industry. Being skilled in the use of industry-standard animation tools and the film production process, you will be able to find employment as animators in television, cinema, the film industry, the games industry and as freelance creative media professionals. The latter are in demand in many sectors, especially where companies require distinctive websites and powerful marketing. Specific job opportunities exist in the following areas: Visual effects design for film and television. Animation for entertainment software and the games industry Visualisation design for interactive learning Commissioned and subcontract work in animation and media for the cultural and creative industries Other career routes have been located in the area of teaching, specifically within the area of training. 6. ENTRY REQUIREMENTS AND ENTRY PROFILE 6.0 APPLICANT ENTRY PROFILE Applicants should meet the specific entry requirements specified below. As a student on the course you will be characterised by the following attributes: A creative aptitude using any appropriate medium A desire to acquire enhanced skills in creating 2D and 3D animated content in entertainment software such as computer games The ability to work in groups or teams with shared goals An ability to problem solve creatively The ability to manage time effectively Strong oral, written and visual skills. 6.1 SPECIFIC ENTRY REQUIREMENTS To be considered for the course you are expected to have attained appropriate skills in developing realisations of concepts of real and still life in 2 or 3 dimensional media or using digital animation techniques. You should demonstrate a commitment to ongoing creative development using your skills and knowledge of the subject. Admissions Criteria: The major criterion for acceptance on the course is that you should be able to demonstrate an interest and commitment to the creation of artwork and its realisation in digital media. You should be able to show appropriate evidence of preparation for the course, including, for example, art work in 2 or 3 dimensions, a game, a showreel or storyboards. In addition, you will need GCSE English Language and Mathematics at grade C or above, plus one of the following: 240 points from at least two GCE/VCE A levels (except General Studies) or BTEC National Awards. AS qualifications may count towards these points Pre-2002 A levels - 16 points from at least two A levels (except General Studies) GNVQ - advanced level 3 with distinction Pre-2003 BTEC/SCOTVEC National Diploma - with distinction or merit in the final year Access Programme - 16 credits, at level 3 including mathematics and four credits at level 2 from an Open College Network accredited course Foundation Diploma - pass in Art and Design. 6.3 NON-STANDARD ENTRANTS Applicants without formal qualifications will be considered individually on merit, taking account of skills and previous experience. The Admissions Team will take account of: Relevant industrial experience backed up by references Relevant industry based or professional qualifications International qualifications relevant to the applicant's country of origin. In most cases, such applicants will be interviewed by a member of the Admissions Team. 6.4 PRIOR CREDIT (APCL/APEL) You may be admitted to any appropriate point in the degree programme provided that you can demonstrate specific learning in terms of learning outcomes, credits and levels equivalent to that of the programme. You must also demonstrate that you are able to complete the remaining requirements of the course and to fulfil the objectives and attain the standards required for the award. The University's procedures for Prior Accredited Learning (ACPL) and Prior Experiential Learning (APEL) will be applied by the Portfolio Director to assess your suitability and the suitable level of entry.