Buckinghamshire New University, located in High Wycombe, England, is re-launching its Animation and VFX Degree (BA Hons) program, the content of which is in line with the Core Skills of VFX handbook put together by Creative Skillset to help plug the skills gap in the animation industry and increase the supply of capable home-grown talent. The course will kick off in September and the University is now recruiting students.
The new program has been put together by an experienced team of industry vets, including course leader Alex Williams, an animator and visual effects expert whose work includes The Lion King, Harry Potter and The Chronicles of Narnia. Kevin Spruce, head of animation at Framestore, is also one of the course’s external reviewers. The course will feature a strong emphasis on character and creature animation focusing on cutting edge technical skills, strong links with leading animation and vfx houses (the department has partnered with Cendroid Motion Capture Studio already), collaboration with complementary disciplines and departments at the University, exploration of extended digital arts skills, and a blended approach using lectures, seminars, online content and guest lectures from the industry—joining the existing course this month are Zac Ella and Jim Le Fevre.
The University notes in its announcement that despite the existence of roughly 80 animation courses in the U.K. only seven have been approved by Creative Skillset and few have emerged as internationally recognized leaders. Buckinhamshire hopes this course will develop to compete with highly regarded schools in France, Germany, Denmark and North America, with elements of the course following best practices used by leading programs like those at CalArts and Denmark’s Animation Workshop.