Howest University of Applied Sciences - Digital Arts and Entertainment
DAE is a three-year full-time Bachelor degree programme designed by and developed for creative, ambitious, passionate and exceptional individuals, ready to push the limits of tomorrow’s interactive or pre-rendered 3D.
Digital Arts and Entertainment (DAE) is a state-of-the-art, yet accessible, English-taught Bachelor’s degree. Fully accredited, 3 years, amounting to 180 ECTS credits. DAE is taught at Howest, a modern and unconventional university of applied sciences, situated in a small but beautiful historic city in Flanders, Belgium, in the heart of Western Europe. At DAE you can choose between 6 study majors: Game Graphics Production, Game Development, Independent Game Production, Interactive Sound Production, 3D Animation or Visual Effects (VFX). It is an industry-approved and award-winning curriculum, with alumni in leading companies and studios all over the world, such as Blizzard, Bungie, Ubisoft, DICE, Rocksteady, Guerrilla Games, Larian, Unity, Studio Gobo, Sumo Digital, ILM, MPC, DNeg and many more.
Digital Arts and Entertainment has its own campus building, The Level, which clearly reflects our and our students’ ambitions. When entering The Level, the link to a first-person shooter or action-adventure game is easily made. The raw materials, the level differences, the ‘peculiar’ staircase, the overview of the space, the mystical light coming through the atrium – it all contributes to the overall atmosphere. The Level is also a multifunctional building, where everything revolves around (interactive) 3D. So what exactly goes on here?
The Level has an extensive green key with Mocap and state-of-the-art equipment. Our students learn to work with these materials and in this environment, so they are familiar with the latest technology in their field. Our knowledge and competence center also comprise an audio studio, editing studio and a multi-purpose meeting and conference room.
Regular classes are held in the classrooms for either 30 or 60 students. There are always two teachers present if you have classes in a big classroom: one who teaches the content and another who assists and helps students out. More theoretic lectures are held in bigger auditoriums. We regularly invite guest lecturers to talk to our students in the seminar room. Third year students do their group projects in "the Hive".
One day in the week the Level is open in the evening so students can use the classrooms to work, study and help each other out. It is also a chance to get together and work on group projects. Of course, after the hard work a drink is in order and socialize with your fellow students.
During one week in the year we skip regular classes and organize a whole series of workshops that will stimulate your creativity. During this week you can follow classes and workshops on graphic design, sculpting with clay, landscape painting, street dance, photogrammetry, game jam, petcha kucha's...
Our staff is a mix of lecturers with lots of didactical experience and lecturers with lots of industry and technical experience. We organize in-house workshops for our staff done by experts on the technology in question, or by our own staff. There is always a lecturer that has taught himself something new that he’s willing to share. We make sure that there is an ever-present atmosphere of life-long learning, as that is fundamental to our industry and vision of the program.
DAE makes it their mission to have industry-ready alumni that are fully prepared to jump into a junior position. 80% of our Alumni are employed within the year they graduate. Those who are not employed within that timeframe are usually continuing their studies at a different program. We’re proud of these metrics and believes they represent a clear result of our vision.
2 out of 3 of the program’s alumni stay in Belgium after graduation to work in the local games of VFX industry. Those who go abroad end up all over the world, from the US to China to the UK. 70% of our alumni end up working in games or VFX. 30% end up in a lot of different sectors, from (medical) visualization to ICT and even banking security and applications, where their broad knowledge is applicable in inconvenient settings.
Autodesk Maya, Houdini, Unreal Engine 4, Unreal Engine 5, Quixel Megascans, Substance Painter, Substance Designer, Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Premiere, Pixologic Zbrush, Adobe After Effects, Adobe CC, C++, .NET Framework (C#), Python, Blackmagic Fusion, Microsoft Visual Studio Enterprise, Perforce, Processing, DirectX SDK, Unity, MySql, Lumonix ShaderFX, Nvidia FX Composer, Nvidia PhysX SDK, fmod, Open GL ES, WebGL, HLSL, GLSL, GIT, Miro, HacknPlan, Audiokinetic Wwise, Cockos Reaper
Mocap studio, Greenkey, Audio equipment, Video equipment, VR headsets
Take a look at some of the traditional and digital artwork Howest University of Applied Sciences - Digital Arts and Entertainment students produce during their education.
•Pablo Sanchez | Concept Artist, Sumo Digital
DAE has relationships with many international studios due to the relationships we maintain with our Alumni. We have a very close relationship with Larian Studios, located in Gent, whom you may know from Divinity: Original Sin 2. We have a couple of internships running there every year. Next to that we maintain close contact with studios like Ubisoft Massive, Airborn Studios, Elite3D, Epic Games, Guerilla Games, Electric Square, Bungie, Double Negative, MPC and ILM, to make sure our program and focus stays up to date with the current industry. DAE’s graduates, that we lovingly call “Veterans”, find their place in a wide and diversified range of companies, ranging from triple-A to mobile to local industry and serious games.
Networking & Careers
While there are many success stories we’d like to share, some of them stand out to us. Almost every graduate finds a job opportunity within the year of their graduation, a metric we are very proud of. Many of them become prominent artists, programmers or leads in the industry.
DAE has many alumni that are currently working, or have recently worked on, high-profile triple-a productions. VFX productions ranging from Game of Thrones to Avengers: Endgame and big titles such as Overwatch, Heroes of the Storm, Fortnite, The Division, Assassin’s Creed and many more.
Many of DAE’s graduates go on to become heavy lifters in the industry. Here are just a few examples: Tim Moreels graduated in 2016 and currently works as a Lead 3D Character Artist at Airborn Studios, the company responsible for the 3D creation of many of the characters we know and love from Overwatch. He’s had his hands on lots of skins that you can find the game. Next to that we have Jeroen Maton, who graduated in 2009. He spent 6.5 years at DICE before moving on to becoming at Senior Environment Artist at Bungie. Another great example is Robbert-Jan Brems. He has worked at many great studios throughout his ongoing career, including Codemasters, Walking The Dog, Eidos, Electronic Arts Vancouver and as a Senior Solutions TA at Unity.
Following studios hire our graduates:
DAE has relationships with many international studios due to the relationships we maintain with our Alumni. We have a very close relationship with Larian Studios, located in Gent, whom you may know from Divinity: Original Sin 2. We have a couple of internships running there every year. Next to that we maintain close contact with studios like Ubisoft Massive, Airborn Studios, Elite3D, Epic Games, Guerilla Games, Electric Square, Bungie, Double Negative, MPC and ILM, to make sure our program and focus stays up to date with the current industry.
DAE’s graduates, that we lovingly call “Veterans”, find their place in a wide and diversified range of companies, ranging from triple-A to mobile to local industry and serious games.
The DAE curriculum educates you to become an entry-level technical artist for the international games or VFX industry. It is a three-year full-time Bachelor programme. During these studies, we try to reflect as closely as possible the working conditions and methods from the industry. Hence our strong focus on the production pipeline and on being productive as one of many people in a larger team.
At DAE, you can choose from 6 majors, depending on your individual skills and interests:
- Visual Effects
- 3D Animation
- Game Graphics Production
- Game Development
- Independent Game Production
- Interactive Sound Production
Your choice depends on the kind of job and industry you want to end up in. If you want to develop games and program gameplay, tools and engines, then Game Development is the path to choose. If, on the other hand, you want to focus on making worlds, creating objects, levels and characters for games, then Game Graphics Production will be your preferred playground. If you dream of making complete games by yourself or in small teams, producing the graphics and code as well as taking care of the business side of your game, then you will do well in Independent Game Production. And if games are not your thing, but you want to create stunning VFX for movies, TV series, ads or other 3D productions, then the Visual Effects major will be your perfect match.
The process of film magic starts with rotoscoping, tracking, matchmoving and compositing. We dive into the greenkey studio or we film on location with a green screen. You will be given a solid technical foundation at the start of the course math and programming, after which we pull open all registers of SideFx Houdini to show you how all the visual effects are made and what's needed to bring them all to life.
3D AnimationWe start with the visual storytelling in a storyboard: evolving from a 2D animatic to a 3D block-out to the final scene. In this pipeline, *you* are the "puppet master". Let virtual beings jump, run, fly, talk, cry, fight, fall in love... There are no limits. Within animation, the boundaries are endlessly.
Game Graphics Production
A graduate from Game Graphics Production is an expert in creating graphical assets for AAA games. Starting from a concept, you translate the vision of your art director into breathtaking graphics. Just like a game developer you own a thorough understanding of the production pipeline and you are able to find a balance between quality and production speed. You master a wide set of 2D, 3D and technical skills. Moreover, you know which tool is best suited for a specific situation.
In this specialisation you will immerse yourself in the full production process of AAA games. You become an all-in developer, who learns to conjure with game graphics and gameplay programming. In addition, the student learns breathtaking real time productions such as games, AR and VR simulations. Art and game design are controlled by code that leads to a sensational gaming experience.
As an accomplished juggler, you keep the many elements that lead to a game in balance. They're in the center of a game's radar work, be it in the engine, the artificial intelligence, the game play, the UI, the 3D visuals...
Interactive Sound Production
Sound is an indispensable and crucial part in audiovisual media and games; its importance can hardly be overstated in modern-day game productions. With this DAE-major in Sound Design, we initially aim at imparting our students with an attuned set of programming skills. This part of the program enables students to fully grasp and function in various roles of a game development team (e.g. basic programming skills, knowledge of audiovisual language, math, physics, 2D & 3D, game engines, level editing, procedure and pipeline).
Independent Game Production
Making games is not a game but serious business. Independent Game Production takes you through the full production of a game. During your training it introduces you to the game engine within which you bring a world to life. You learn also the ins and outs of the content creation tools that you design them with. We focus on the knowledge needed to take the lead in the development of new projects. Supplemented with a solid portion of game design knowledge you are ready to play 3D and games like your favorite medium. As a student in IGP, we will provide you with the necessary knowledge to make your own game to develop within a pipeline that is suitable for smaller productions.
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