MA Visual Effects Production (Compositing)

Course Details


London campus or live online

Start date

23rd September 2024


1 year

Mode of study

Full time


London campus (UK students): £18,995 

London campus (international students): £19,995

Live online: £15,995

Entry requirements

An undergraduate honours degree in a field related to visual effects

Degree awarded by

Transparent black Coventry University logo
Thirs place Rookies award icon for production excellence in visual effectsTop 10 Rookies award for creative schools in the UK

Course Overview

Become a master of make-believe, create the illusion of reality. 

Compositors, also called Finishing Artists, compose the final images in a VFX or motion picture sequence, creating VFX that make the impossible, possible!  

Studios are crying out for skilled Compositors. With the rise of online streaming platforms, demand is ever-growing, and this really is the place to be. In 2021, streaming services led to over $220bn in total content spend worldwide (source Ampere Analysis via Fierce Video).

Common with our Advanced Compositing short course, the first 18 weeks will be hands-on tuitions with industry-trained tutors who worked on the likes of Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Kingsman and Guardians of the Galaxy Vol.2. You’ll learn how to use 2D tools, exploring stereoscopic compositing and understanding how 2D and 3D VFX integrate. The remainder of the course is made up of two major projects, collaborative and individual, where you’ll apply the skills you’ve learned to an industry-relevant brief with help from your tutors and industry guests. 

By the end of the course, you’ll graduate with a masters qualification, have a strong showreel of advanced work and the technical skills you need to get hired. Industry guest speakers and our talent development and Aftercare services will help you build your network and land your first job in the industry. 

See also Compositing for VFX (12 weeks) or Advanced Compositing for VFX (18 weeks) 

See more student work

Why choose this course

  • Ranked 3rd in the UK - and 10th in the world for Production Excellence in Visual Effects by The Rookies 

  • Based in London - home to some of the best animation studios in the world  

  • Industry feedback - receive industry-standard critique from an expert in their field from Framestore (February 2024 intake). Previous studio partners for our compositing course have included Industrial Light & Magic, The Mill and Outpost VFX.

  • Industry briefs - 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 (Avengers: Endgame and Oscar-winning Dune) and MPC (The Lion King and 1917), 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 at some of the world’s top studios. 47 Escapees worked on Avengers: Endgame, 36 on No Time to Die and 16 on Stranger Things

  • 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 – study in a studio environment that mirrors current industry practice, using professional software such as Nuke and Silhouette 

  • 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 Coventry University which will boost your employability around the world.


But what is compositing?

Compositing and Finishing (sometimes called 2D or 2D VFX) is a crucial part of any VFX project and is used across films, TV and commercials. It's the final step of the visual effects pipeline, which consists of seamlessly integrating all of the CGI elements together, in order to present a complete and finished product.

Want to know more?

Course modules

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. 

The first 12 weeks are common with our 12-week Compositing for VFX course and the first 18 weeks are common with our 18-week Advanced Compositing for VFX course.

  • The interface: premultiplied images

    • Production pipeline and light

    • Digital images, formats and resolution

    • Film properties and behaviour: log vs. linear

    • Premultiplication maths

    • Introduction to Nuke

  • Transformations and rotoscoping

    • Transformations and introduction to tracking

    • Multiple-point tracking

    • Planar tracking and refining track data

    • Introduction to rotoscoping

    • Rotoscoping human movement

  • Rig removal composites

    • Rotoscoping in Silhouette (SFX)

    • Tracking in SFX

    • Painting in Nuke

    • Generating clean plates

  • Advanced paint and prep work

    • SFX prep techniques

    • Warping and morphing

    • Advanced prep work

    • Matching film grain

    • Marker removal

  • Keying

    • Introduction to keying methods

    • Keylight node and the despill process

    • Primatte and IBK keyers

    • Compositing outside the keyer

    • Pre and post processing: refining the key

  • Colour correction and grading

    • Exposure, gamma and curves

    • Density and colour matching

    • Colour management

    • Atmospherics

  • Filters, motion vectors and time-based effects

    • Convolutions filters

    • Foreground and background edge integration

    • Retiming

  • Projections

    • Introduction to the 3D interface

    • Projection types and 3D

    • Camera projections

  • Projection workflows and camera tracking

    • Lens distortion

    • Nuke camera tracking

    • Projection rig removal methods

    • Utilising camera data

  • Compositing CG

    • Multichannel workflow

    • Introduction to render passes

    • 2D and 3D motion blur

    • CG production pipelines: Framestore, MPC and The Mill

  • CG and 2D element integration

    • Edge pre and post treatment

    • Integrating CG and live action

    • Redefining your composites

    • Advanced keying and edge treatments

  • Project week

    • Finalising your shots

    • Developing your demo reel

    • End of course presentation

  • Advanced compositing craft 1

    • Advanced CG compositing with AOVs

    • ModelBuilder

    • UV unwrap techniques for 2D

    • Advanced projection techniques

  • Compositing TD (Technical Director)

    • Expression node and filtering: Matrix and Laplacian Pyramid

    • Position/normals, relighting, distortion

    • Expressions, Gizmo’s, OpenGroups and

    • Scripting: Python, TCL and Bash

  • Advanced compositing craft 2

    • Seamless cuts with projections

    • Projections for DMP (Digital Matte Painting)

    • Beauty retouching and basic face tracking

    • Nuke rayrender, 3D lighting and rendering techniques

  • Senior/Lead Compositor skills

    • Nuke Studio project management and pipeline

    • Shotgun project management and pipeline

    • Receiving and giving feedback in dailies

    • Estimating project requirements

    • Consistency and continuity

  • Emerging compositing techniques

    • Volumetric rendering with Eddy for Nuke

    • VR and 360 images with Cara VR

    • Particles

    • Deep compositing

    • Geo tracking and face tracking with KeenTools

  • Project week

    • Showreel advice

    • Job hunting tips

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. 

You might be paired with a student from the 3D course to seamlessly integrate their CG renders with live footage, like you would in a VFX production.

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 programme and module specifications.

More information

  • Nuke 

  • Silhouette

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.

Minimum requirements

An undergraduate honours degree in art and design, architecture, computing or engineering-related subjects. 

Applicants without a degree who have significant industry experience in VFX or related creative subjects will be considered.

Suitable applicants will be asked to submit a postgraduate portfolio.

International students 

We welcome applications from qualified candidates all over the world. 

Postgraduate applicants will need a good undergraduate degree in a relevant subject (or significant professional experience) and a postgraduate portfolio.

View individual country requirements. If yours are not listed, then please contact

International students 

We welcome applications from qualified candidates all over the world. 

Postgraduate applicants will need a good undergraduate degree in a relevant subject (or significant professional experience) and a postgraduate portfolio.

View individual country requirements. If yours are not listed, then please contact

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.

QualificationScore required
IELTS 6.0 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 & Proficiency176 (with a minimum of 169 in Reading and Writing and 162 in Speaking and Listening)
Internet-based TOEFL90 Overall including at least 22 in Reading, 21 in Writing, 17 in Listening and 20 in Speaking

International students will be required to hold a Secure English Language Test (SELT) at B2 in order to be able to apply for a visa to study at Escape Studios on a student visa. View Qualifications that are accepted by UKVI.

You may be exempt from proving your English level if you are from an English-speaking country listed as recognised for visa purposes or have a degree level qualification obtained in one of these countries. The latest list is available on the UK Government website.

For students who have a SELT at B2 but who do not meet our requirements, we can also consider alternative qualifications. Please contact for more information.

If you’d like to discuss your circumstances before applying, contact us at or +44 (0) 20 4570 5091.

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: 

  • A strong internet connection 

  • An external hard drive (minimum 2TB) to back up your work during the course 

  • A three-button mouse (or optionally a Wacom tablet or similar) 

  • A computer microphone (and optionally a webcam) 

  • Note-taking materials 

If you have any questions about learning online or if you need help with what to buy, get in touch at

Fees for 2024 entry

London campus:

  • UK students: £18,995

  • International students: £19,995

Live online: £15,995

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.

Fees include:

  • 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.

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 for more information.

Payment plans

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.

Contact our Admissions Team on or +44 (0)204 570 5091 or visit our admissions page for any questions about fees, funding, payment plans and scholarships.

"In compositing we have the unique pleasure of coming at the end of the pipeline. That means everything we do directly appears in the finished product on screen. That combined with the perfect balance of creative contribution to the finished product and technical problem solving, means that the scope of work is broad and no two days are ever quite the same." Chris Fryer, Digital Compositor at Industrial Light & Magic

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: 

  • Runner 

  • Texture/Modelling/CFX Artist 

  • Previs Artist 

  • Rotoscope/Prep Artist 

  • Layout Artist  

  • Production Assistant  

  • Production Coordinator 

Compositors often start out in junior roles or as Rotoscope Artists to then rise to mid-level and senior roles such as Compositors and Compositing Supervisors, opening the path to becoming a VFX Supervisor. 

Our students have gone to work as both specialist and generalist artists in creative studios, across TV shows, films and commercials, at companies including Industrial Light & Magic, Cinesite, Pixomondo and Milk VFX. Read some of our VFX 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.  

Formative assessment

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. 

Summative assessment

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 (compositing 1, compositing 2, advanced compositing for visual effects), you will be assessed as follows: 

  • Practical project – 60% 

  • Production logbook – 30% 

  • Individual presentation – 10% 

For the collaborative module, you will be assessed as follows: 

  • Group project – 80% 

  • Retrospective group presentation – 20% 

For the production project, you will be marked as follows: 

  • Production project – 60% 

  • Written retrospective – 40% 

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

Overall workload 

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.

Profile picture of Sokratis Synitos

Meet our industry-experienced tutors

Sokratis Synitos is the lead tutor on this master’s programme. He’s worked on titles including Bond: Spectre, Avengers: Endgame and Dr. Who. Our tutors work together to develop our courses. They all have industry experience, at studios such as DNEG, Framestore and Industrial Light & Magic, and are experts in their fields. 

Meet your tutors

Student showcase

The excitement and gratification of producing the end result is an exhilarating position and creative career to grow into.

Davi Stein
Technical Trainer at Industrial Light & Magic