What you will learn
There is a difference between an artist, an animator and a designer, so make sure you understand what it is. Think of an artist as a sculptor – they make the models. An animator moves the models and a designer creates the interactive experience. In game design, for example, this might involve deciding how much damage an ork does with a fireball in a forest at midnight. Studying animation helps students find the part of the process they enjoy the most and develop a body of work that will land them their first job. Most courses cover 2D, 3D, compositing, and stop motion. Graduates tend to have a good balance between technical and conceptual knowledge. Be specific about which discipline you want, as they all work together but are distinct.
How are you going to learn
Teaching is done mainly through practical technical courses and group and individual tutorials. There are lecture-based modules and groups also work together on projects. The tools used for game development and animation are constantly evolving, so it’s important to be nimble.
While many universities would like to see math and computer science on the list of qualifications, to help with the coding and programming elements of a game design course, they are not essential. For animation, some universities require a portfolio of creative design work during an interview.
What job can you get?
There is a lot of money in the games industry and a lot of jobs available, although they can be competitive. There are amazing careers in game design, mobile games, user experience apps, or chat boxes for business and the film industry. It also has portability. For example, designers are sought after by major banks to write software.
For animation, many graduates end up in animation companies or other digital roles. At Northumbria University, recent graduates have gone on to work for companies such as Aardman, Industrial Light & Magic and DNEG.