London campus or live online
2nd October 2023
Mode of study
London campus (UK residents): £17,995
Live online: £15,450
An undergraduate honours degree in a field related to character creation
Degree awarded by
Design, create and bring life to your own characters and creatures.
Over the course of this programme, you will learn how to design, model, texture, rig and animate your own characters. The first 18 weeks of the course are common with our Advanced Character & Creature Creation course. You’ll learn hands-on character and creature design skills before applying them to two major projects based on industry briefs. One of those projects will be collaborative, so you get used to working as a group just like in a studio, the other will be individual to allow you to create and finesse more pieces for your portfolio.
At the end of the course, you’ll have earned a postgraduate qualification, have a showreel of character and creature creation work and a thorough understanding of the animation and VFX industry. Led by our industry-trained tutors who’ve worked on credits including The Lion King, Godzilla and Doctor Strange, and with help from our Talent Development Team, Aftercare programme and industry guest speakers, you’ll build the skills and connections to kick-start your creative career.
If you are serious about building a career in character and creature design, this course will give you the qualification, confidence, skills and connections to start applying for roles in the industry.
Why choose this course
Industry feedback - you’ll receive industry-standard critique from an expert in their field. Previous studio partners for our character and creature creation course have included VFX and games studios like Framestore, Rocksteady and Improbable
Industry briefs - you'll work on industry-standard briefs and experience real-life scenarios, just like in a professional studio
Professional input - our advisory board of experts, from the likes of DNEG (Fantastic Beasts and Stranger Things), Framestore (His Dark Materials, Thor: Love and Thunder), Rocksteady (Archam) and MPC (The Lion King, Pinocchio) help develop and keep this degree relevant
Successful alumni - you'll join our community of thousands of Escapees, many of whom have gone on to work as Character Technical Directors at some of the world’s top studios including Framestore, MPC and Blacklist Creative.
Aftercare package - we'll help you polish your showreel and find the right job, with access to our studios and showreel clinics for 12 months
Industry-standard facilities - you'll work in a studio environment that mirrors current industry practice, using professional software such as Maya, Zbrush and Unreal Engine
Flexibility - choose to study live online if you can’t travel or need a visa to study in the UK. The final 24 weeks are project based and can be organised around a part-time job or personal schedule
Recognised degree - graduate with a postgraduate MA qualification from the University of Kent which will boost your employability around the world.
This programme is a one-year course including 18 weeks of direct teaching time, a 12-week collaborative project and a 12-week final project.
Character and creature design theory
The importance of research, body language and expressions
Tools and techniques for creating character and creature concepts
Colour and background
Light and shadow
Using anatomy of characters and creatures in design choices
Analysing an established style to create character and creature concepts
Functional fashion in character and creature concepts
Establishing new styles
How to prepare a character or creature design bible for animation, outsourcing and videogames, and a pitch for comic publishing
Introduction to ZBrush
Character and creature anatomy
Introduction to Maya
How Maya works
Introduction to texturing
Introduction to Substance Painter and Mari
VFX and games pipelines
Differences and similarities
Lighting and rendering
Rendering in Arnold and Unreal Engine
Presenting characters and creatures for portfolios
Introduction to rigging for creating character poses
Directed project time
Character rigging in Maya
Creating advanced character rig setups
Introduction to python
How Maya really works
Creating cloth and soft surface simulations in
Maya and Houdini
FEM and Vellum workflows
Creating muscle systems in Maya
Character FX pipelines
Fur and hair groom
Long and short hair/fur with dynamics
Creating character cycles for presentation
Walks and runs ready for final showreel presentation
Project catch-up week
For this module, you will work on a project as a group, to demonstrate your ability to choose correct techniques and approaches, and to apply them to a specified professional brief.
For this module, you will work on a final major project with feedback and guidance from your tutors and industry professionals. It will allow you to showcase your in-depth knowledge of your specialism area, ready for use in a portfolio.
For more details about modules, see the full module specifications.
Unreal Engine 5
Adobe Creative Suite
Call our Admissions Advisors on +44 (0) 203 441 1303
Email us at email@example.com
Reach us on chat Monday to Friday, 9am - 5pm
A strong internet connection
An external hard drive (minimum 2TB) to back up your work during the course
A three-button mouse (or optionally graphics tablet)
A computer microphone (and optionally a webcam)
Escapee Aftercare and career support, including help and advice on your CV, showreel and job applications for 12 months after the end of your course.
Free Autodesk student registration allowing access to educational versions of software such as Maya and Arnold.
18 weeks of classroom study followed by 12 weeks of remotely directed learning and a 12 to 15-week remotely directed final project. All with feedback from your lead tutor and from an industry professional.
CFX (Character FX) Artist
Practical project – 60%
Production logbook – 30%
Individual presentation – 10%
Group project – 80%
Retrospective group presentation – 20%
Production project – 60%
Written retrospective – 40%
To apply, complete an online application form which includes a link to submit your portfolio. Our Admissions Team will get in touch to take you through the next steps.
If you have any questions about your application, your portfolio or our entry requirements, get in touch!
As part of the application process, you will need to agree to our terms and conditions for your place on the course to be secured.
An undergraduate honours degree with a significant component in the field of art and design or related discipline.
Applicants without a degree who have significant industry experience in animation or related creative subjects will be considered.
Suitable applicants will be asked to submit a creative portfolio.
International students can choose our live online mode of study. You must be living and have the right to study in the UK to study a postgraduate degree on campus. If you require a visa to study in the UK you will need to choose our live online mode of study.
English language requirements
All our courses are taught in English. If your first language is not English, you may need to complete an English language test, such as a Pearson English language test (PTE Academic) or International English Language Testing System (IELTS) test, to demonstrate you have the language skills needed to complete your degree.
|IELTS||6.5 IELTS (with a minimum of 6.0 in Reading and Writing and 5.5 in Speaking and Listening)|
|PTE||62 including 60 in each subtest|
|Cambridge English: Advanced & Proficiency||176 (with a minimum of 169 in Reading and Writing and 162 in Speaking and Listening)|
|Internet-based TOEFL||90 Overall including at least 22 in Reading, 21 in Writing, 17 in Listening and 20 in Speaking|
If you’d like to discuss your circumstances before applying, contact us on firstname.lastname@example.org or +44 (0)203 441 1303.
We can provide remote access to our workstations during teaching time. Due to availability restrictions, we highly advise you to have your own set up at home to study in your own time.
More things you’ll need:
If you have any questions about learning online or if you need help with what to buy, get in touch at email@example.com.
London campus: £17,995
Live online: £15,450
Our postgraduate fees are payable within the first 18 weeks of the course, with a deposit to be paid before the start of the course. Please note, we review our fees every year.
Funding for UK students
To be eligible for funding from Student Finance England, you must be studying on an eligible course at a provider registered with the Office for Students (OfS). Escape Studios is registered with the Office for Students and our Master’s programmes are eligible for funding.
Visit www.officeforstudents.org.uk for more information.
We offer a range of payment plan options for all courses. Following an initial deposit at registration stage, your chosen payment plan will break down your remaining fees into up to six equal instalments, to be paid over the course length.
We want anyone with great creative potential to have the opportunity to succeed on our degrees. That’s why we offer an £8,000 scholarship to one applicant per discipline for each cohort of our postgraduate courses.
You’ll automatically be considered for a scholarship if you apply for a postgraduate degree and submit a creative portfolio by the announced deadline. Check out our creative portfolio guide to know what we expect to see in those.
Find out more information about our scholarship offer and how to apply.
Our 3D Animation, Game Art and VFX postgraduate programmes are also eligible for a BAFTA UK Scholarship Programme.
“Animation in the UK has a strong track record in character development and storytelling. It also leverages the UK’s global leadership in the artistic and technical aspects of the visual product.” (source Animation UK)
You’ll graduate with a postgraduate qualification and a killer portfolio put together with advice from tutors and industry professionals. Ready to apply to start your career in the industry!
Some of the opportunities you can consider once you’ve finished your studies include:
Our students have gone to work as both specialist and generalist artists in creative studios, across films, TV, games and visual effects. Read some of our Escapee success stories.
Check out our Careers Guide for more information about career opportunities and progression routes.
The assessment methods employed in this programme have been developed to mirror industry practice as far as possible. We balance feedback from tutors and industry experts. It is crucial that, as a student, you learn how to accept and work with feedback from your superiors and peers, as this will be the norm when you work in industry. You also need to develop a keen self-critical eye, to be able to step back from your work and see what you could improve, and to have the ability to look at yourself and your working practices and make changes where necessary.
This is one of the most important aspects of your work. You will receive regular feedback from your tutor, studio assistants and peers during your modules. This will often be oral feedback on your work, sometimes on a one-to-one basis, sometimes in a group feedback session or daily. All of this should help you build on your strengths and develop your skills as you progress through the course.
This will be specifically designed to measure how well you meet the learning outcomes of the module. They will usually involve a task to meet a brief set by your tutor and will allow you to demonstrate the knowledge and skills that you have learned during the module. You’ll need to decide exactly how to complete the task, choosing particular techniques and approaches, and making decisions on the aesthetics and style to meet the given requirements.
Each module will have a practical element (usually a practical project, where you make something) and a written element (usually a journal or blog, where you reflect on what you’ve made). Sometimes you will also have to give a presentation to demonstrate your work. All these elements are essential to your development, by showing that you can deliver to a required level and that you understand why you can and how you could improve.
Summative assessment breakdown
For your pathway modules (character and creature design, character and creature modelling and presentation, character and creature technical direction), you will be assessed as follows:
For the collaborative module, you will be assessed as follows:
For the production project, you will be marked as follows:
For more information, see full programme specifications.
Your overall workload will be divided between teaching sessions and independent learning.
During your course, you’ll be able to develop your knowledge and skills in a number of ways. Some learning time will be closely directed and supervised by your tutors, at other times you’ll be free to organise your own study with guidance. All your scheduled studio time, except for some information sessions and presentations, will be in smaller groups based on specialism.
For your team project, you’ll be working with a smaller team, collaborating to meet a shared brief. This will give you ample opportunity to get the support and assistance that you need.
The first three modules have a high contact time (180 hours for each module), as this is where you will learn the knowledge and skills associated with your chosen subject, directed and informed by your tutors’ expertise and experience. These will normally involve a large part of each day with your tutor and studio assistant, following demonstrations and working on set exercises to help you develop your craft.
The Studio Project and Production Project modules will have a lower contact time (15 hours and 30 hours respectively), with your tutors taking on the roles of supervisors or studio leads. You’ll meet with them regularly to get feedback and help you stay on the right path, but these modules are much more about you managing the learning experience to meet your objectives. You’ll be free to organise your work either as a team or an individual to best suit your project requirements.
Each module has its own area on our Online Learning Environment (OLE) where you will find information about the module and the resources that are provided to support your learning. Some of this information will be dedicated to the module, other elements may be shared across different modules and some may be external assets that can help with your further study. There may be links to videos, online journals and e-books, and you should take advantage of these to enhance your development and take it beyond the studio experience. Tutors may highlight some of these during their sessions.
Students with additional needs or disabilities are supported by our Student Services team.
This programme has two entry points each year. It is divided into two stages. Stage 1 comprises modules to a total of 120 credits and stage 2 comprises a 60-credit Production Project module. You must successfully complete each module in order to be awarded the specified number of credits for that module. One credit corresponds to approximately ten hours of 'learning time' (including all classes and all private study and research). Obtaining 180 credits in an academic year requires 1,800 hours of overall learning time.
The first three modules are taught in intensive blocks of six weeks each, giving a total of 18 weeks. During each of these modules, you will spend around 30 hours per week studying in tutor-led sessions or practice supported by studio assistants. The final two modules are more self-directed. The Studio Project will take around 12 weeks, during which you will have around 15 hours of feedback sessions with your tutor. Finally, you will spend around 18 weeks on the Production Project, including around 30 hours of feedback sessions with your tutor.
Each 30-credit module on the course requires you to commit 300 hours of study, with one 60-credit module which requires 600 hours of study. Some of these hours will be formally supervised in the learning environment and others will involve private study.
For more details about modules, credits and workload, see full programme specifications.
Meet our industry-experienced tutors
They all have industry experience and are experts in their fields, including certified trainers for Unreal Engine, Autodesk and Houdini. They've worked at studios such as Walt Disney, EA and Framestore, on credits including Doctor Strange, Kingsman and Bond: Spectre.