New Computer Animation Degree Launched

From September 2005, the Department of Electronics at the University of Kent will complement its BSc in Multimedia Technology and Design with an MSc in Computer Animation.This MSc, which is a direct collaboration between the Department of Electronics and Mike Eames, Head of Animation at Framestore CFC (the largest visual effects and computer animation studio in Europe), will equip students to become highly skilled professionals in the animation and visual effects industry.The course programme, which consists of approximately seven months of coursework followed by five months of project work (resulting in a final project film and showreel), will cover 3D animation practice and principles, the animation pipeline, drawing skills for the time-based 3D medium, story boarding for animation, the language of film and character animation. All projects will be professional briefs carried out in the department’s Computer Animation Laboratory under expert supervision and with monthly reviews by industry professionals.David Byers Brown, a lecturer in Multimedia Technology and Design, and the senior lecturer in Computer Animation said: ‘3D computer animation, which now accounts for most animation, is a growth area for the foreseeable future and is recognised by the film and games industries to be a core element of their most successful products. There is a constant and increasing demand for professional computer animators of a high calibre. However, there is a lack of highly skilled, professionally trained animators. Our course aims to address this need.’With a distinguished career history in the animation and visual effects industry, David Byers Brown brings a wealth of experience and knowledge to the course. An in-demand storyboard artist, animator (traditional and 3D), designer and director, he was Senior Computer Graphics Animator for George Lucas’s Industrial Light & Magic (ILM) from 1994 to 1999, and has worked for many major film studios, including Disney and Warner Bros. His list of film credits includes The Lost World: Jurassic Park; Dragonheart; 101 Dalmatians; Small Soldiers and Who Framed Roger Rabbit?Framestore CFC was formed in December 2001 through the union of two of the most creative and dynamic companies in the industry: Framestore and The Computer Film Company (CFC). The company is now the largest visual effects and computer animation company in Europe, with over 30 years of combined experience in digital film and video technology.Framestore CFC’s movie portfolio includes work on such films as Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Troy (where they created the now famous armada shot of 1,000 ships from only two real ones), Thunderbirds, Cold Mountain, The Mummy Returns (Framestore CFC was the only European effects house to work on the film) and Mission: Impossible II. Recent television work includes Space Odyssey: Voyage to the Planets, The Giant Claw and Land of Giants (Walking With Dinosaurs specials) and Dinotopia. The company has won numerous international awards including two Technical Academy Awards from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, three BAFTA Craft Awards and 11 Primetime Emmy Awards.When asked about the new course, Framestore’s Mike Eames could not have been more specific. ‘This is what the industry needs,’ he said.David Byers Brown added: ‘We are extremely honoured to have Mike Eames and Framestore CFC on board, particularly since our programme is entirely orientated towards current industrial needs, technology and practice. Together with Mike Eames and Framestore CFC, we aim to equip animators with the tools necessary for employment in this very desirable and high-profile modern creative industry.’Please contact David Byers Brown for further information about the course or Gareth Howells for applications enquiries.