Key facts


Stoke-on-Trent Campus

Mode of attendance: Full-time
Duration: 3 years full-time
UCAS code: W614
Academic year: 17 September 2018 – 14 June 2019
September 2019 – June 2020 (dates to be confirmed)


Want to gain the technical skills to create awe-inspiring special effects for film, television, games and advertising? Take our CGI and Visual Effects degree.

The UK visual effects industry is amongst the most highly rated in the world – and this is your chance to become a part of it. Our Computer-Generated Imagery (CGI) and Visual Effects degree is optimised for students wishing to learn the creative and technical skills required to produce awe-inspiring special effects for film, television, games and advertising.

Combining visual effects, 3D modelling, animation and digital technology, this course teaches you to produce the sort of mind-blowing results that you see in Hollywood blockbusters. Whether you’re keen to create explosions and chaos, or master the technology required to bring a motion capture character to life, we can prepare you for an exciting career in the visual effects industry.

Covering areas like 3D modelling, digital animation and matchmoving, your first year will see you get to grips with the foundations of CGI and Visual Effects. You’ll learn how to use software such as Maya, Adobe Photoshop and After Effects. You’ll take part in a team project, producing a short film to showcase your newly-acquired skills.

You'll create effects using professional industry technology, including HD and 4K digital cinema cameras, green screen studios, Unreal games engine and post-production suites. Using innovative software from Foundry, Pixel Logic and Adobe is also a fundamental part of this course.

On successful completion of study, we will issue the following award: BSc (Hons) CGI and Visual Effects



Course content

In Year 1 you’ll learn and experiment with the fundamental skills required to succeed in visual effects. In a team you will plan and shoot a short film. This is a chance to use the skills you've learned in 3D modelling, digital compositing, lighting and rendering, digital animation, pre-visualisation and matchmoving.

In Year 2 you’ll take your computer graphic skills to a higher level. You’ll learn advanced 3D nuke compositing, advanced image manipulation, tracking and shot clean up, as well as photorealistic CG lighting and rendering. In more advanced 3D modelling work you'll create characters and computer generated environments. You’ll also take part in team-based assignments, with each person taking on a job as you would in industry.

In your final year you’ll study programming concepts for visual effects. Here you can automate processes to speed up your workflow, making you more employable. You’ll also study dynamics and simulations for effects such as fire, water and destruction. You’ll work on another team based VFX project allowing you to further focus on the areas that interest you. Finally, you’ll complete your individual research-based project and portfolio piece. This will showcase your talents and become the cornerstone of your showreel.


This module map provides an indicative list of the modules that make up your course. Each module is worth a specified number of credits: you take a combination of compulsory and optional modules, enabling you to cover key subject knowledge while developing your own interest. You must take modules worth a total of 120 credits at each level of the course. The number of optional modules you can take depends on the number of compulsory modules at a given level, you may have more choice in later parts of the course.

Our teaching is informed by research, and modules change periodically to reflect developments in the discipline. You can always find the most up-to-date information about your modules and who is teaching them in our module catalogue. We aim to ensure that all optional modules run as scheduled. If for any reason an optional module cannot be run we will advise you as soon as possible and help you choose an alternative module.

Before you can register on some optional modules, you may be required to have undertaken prerequisite modules. Some module combinations may not be allowed.

Year 1

Semester 1
Module title
Digital Photography for VFX Compulsory
Production Skills for VFX Compulsory
Introduction to CGI Compulsory
Semester 2
Module title
Digital Photography for VFX Compulsory
Production Skills for VFX Compulsory
Digital Compositing 1 Compulsory

Year 2

Semester 1
Module title
Scripting Concepts for VFX Compulsory
Visualisations Compulsory
Digital Compositing 2 Compulsory
Semester 2
Module title
Junior VFX Team Project Compulsory
Dynamics and Simulation for Visual Effects Compulsory
3D Modelling for VFX Compulsory

Year 3

Semester 1
Module title
FX Research Project Compulsory
Senior Team VFX Project Compulsory
Lighting Techniques Compulsory
Semester 2
Module title
Senior Team VFX Project Compulsory
FX Portfolio Project Compulsory
Employability for Visual Effects and Games Compulsory

Teaching staff

You will be taught by an expert teaching team whose expertise and knowledge are closely matched to the content of the modules on the course. The team includes senior academics and professional practitioners with industry experience. Postgraduate research students who have undertaken teaching training may also contribute to the teaching of seminars under the supervision of the module leader. Our teaching is research-informed and 72% of our full-time staff are Fellows of the Higher Education Academy.