The School of Creative Arts is the oldest part of the University of Hertfordshire, and its roots date back to 1890 with the formation of St Albans School of Art that later merged with the University in the 20th century. The School prides itself on its devotion to teaching creativity and the skills required to enable students to reach the goals they want from a degree and future career. It combines a wealth of physical resources that cover all aspects of creative arts production from animation, games and film, to fashion, print making, ceramics and architectural design to name a few.
A large base of talented staff with working experience of the industries they teach in allows students to gain knowledge from those who have already worked in the areas they wish to enter after graduation. The School maintains close links with many companies in the creative industries, allowing students to be part of live projects, company visits, guest lectures on specialist cutting edge topics and to get to meet the people and companies who inspired them to begin their journey into art in the first place.
The majority of the classes take place in the Film Music and Media (FMM) building on the College Lane campus with additional classes (life drawing and theory lectures) taking place in the Art and Design building nearby. Students from all three years of the programme will meet and mingle in our labs and are encouraged to collaborate together on the larger second and third year animations, films and games, so encourage an atmosphere of learning that goes vertically through the student body, and is not restricted to just one cohort or year group at a time. This experience allows final year students to know graduates in the industry who they worked with previously, and this assists them enormously in helping them to gain employment when they graduate.
The university provides an annual staff training budget so that staff attend relevant courses in their field, but also many of the main companies in the industry offer training to us if they want to recruit graduates with specific skillsets; by training the lecturers in those areas we then pass on the learning to the students. Our own alumni are also very useful for advice regarding cutting edge techniques and knowledge and we reach out to them frequently. The university also provides access to Linkedin Learning, and via SideFX we have access to their considerable body of learning materials for Houdini. The university allows 20 days of research time per year for full time staff to spend on updating skills.
59% of graduates (2017- 2018 cohort) are employed in the animation, games, visualisation or VFX industries. 88% of graduates go on to work overall (2017-2018 cohort)
Maya, Houdini, Arnold, Unreal Engine, Marmoset Toolbag, Zbrush, Marvellous Designer, Photoshop, Paint Tool Sai, Adobe Creative Suite, Mari, Substance Designer, Quixel Megascans, Nuke, After Effects, Shotgun, PT Gui Pro, Deadline Adobe Animate, TV Paint, Toon Boom Harmony.
The Digital Animation Programme has 5 dedicated labs with high speed PCs (i7 processors, 16-32GB RAM) - a total of 270 PCs each with a WACOM tablet. Every lab also contains Cintiqs. There is one computer per student in all classes. The Learning Resouce Centres of the university both contain exact clones of our labs (software and hardware) for students who wish to continue studying very late at night or during the weekend.
We have a free of charge loan store that allows students access to cutting edge hardware. We have a variety of specialist Film, Video & Audio Equipment that can be booked by students and staff. The sort of items students like access include HTC Vive, Oculus Quest, Black Magic Ursa Camers, Canon 5Ds, 3D Total Model Anatomy models. We also have full 360 Motion Capture Studio
Take a look at some of the traditional and digital artwork University of Hertfordshire students produce during their education.
•Aidan Gibbons | CG Lead | The Mill London
The University of Hertfordshire’s Visual Effects work really impressed us on the live projects we ran with them; we feel that their students are the ones to watch at graduation time.
Networking & Careers
The Digital Animation graduates work in over 300 2D, 3D and VFX companies worldwide. The Games Art graduates are in over 200 companies across the globe. Many graduates also work in the visualisation industries and also have become educators, teaching at many universities, colleges and schools around the world. They have worked on Oscar and BAFTA award winning productions, as well as films such as Star Wars: The Last Jedi, Gravity, Inception, Avatar, Box Trolls, Dark Knight, Hellboy, Thor 2, Guardians of the Galaxy, Harry Potter films, Prometheus, Narnia films, John Carter, Total Recall, Hunger Games, Godzilla, Game of Thrones etc
Following studios hire our graduates: The School consults companies in each of the relevant industries when designing and updating the degrees it offers to ensure that they remain focused on the requirements of those industries. The companies that have close links with the School will visit to give lectures and demonstrations about new skills, as well as inform the staff as to changes in skills direction within the relevant industries. The programmes of the school all have their own selection of companies that run company visits with for students. The Career’s Advice department of the university runs an impressively large Creative Arts Career’s Fair every year with the main companies in each industry having stands and giving talks about their recent work to the students. Companies visit every Wednesday afternoon to talk about their work, the skills they look for in future and to offer critique and advice on student projects to ensure they are as industry focused as possible. At the end of each academic year the School holds a week long festival that celebrates the creative energy of the final year students and invites companies to visit and meet the students that they will wish to employ.
BA 3D Games Art and Design
This course has been ranked 1st place in Console & PC – Games Design & Development for Production Excellence (Rookies World School Rankings® 2019). This course focuses on high-end 3D games art and has been recognised as one of the best courses of its kind. It explores the digital modelling of characters and environments, shading techniques and level creation. Students discover how to create optimised models and textures and apply them to real-time 3D graphics. They also explore games and gaming trends, looking at scenarios that can be applied to PCs, consoles and interactivity and VR. This degree is TIGA accredited.
BA (Hons) 2D Animation and Character for Digital Media
Ranked 5 in Top 2D Animation Schools for Production Excellence (top in UK) (Rookies World School Rankings® 2019)
This course focuses on animation, storytelling and character creation, encouraging groundbreaking and innovative visuals in traditional animation, 2D gaming, concept art and many other possible traditional and digital mediums. Students develop essential skills in character design, production design and animation, and explore context to your studies. Using the latest technology in our award-winning Film, Music and Media Building, the students hone their individual style. Eventually they will produce an eye-catching showreel and body of work to wow potential employers or set yourself up as an independent director.
BA 3D Computer Animation and Modelling
Ranked 7 in Best Animation Schools in the World (top in UK) (Rookies World School Rankings® 2019)
This is an award-winning and world-renowned course taught to the highest level by industry professionals. Its graduates have worked on many Oscar-winning films and are in the best companies in the world. The course trains students to be 3D animators, or modellers for film or children’s cartoon series, or become technical directors or design characters and concept art, or work in visualisation. It allows students to either specialise in the above or be a generalist. We have great resources with cutting-edge software and hardware that is constantly
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