BA (Hons) Visual Effects and Motion Graphics


The BA (Hons) Visual Effects and Motion Graphics course at USW is the right choice for artists that have a passion for visual media and for those that know exactly where their career path is heading.

The visual effects industry is increasingly in demand from big budget films, high-end TV series to creative advertising, with motion design appearing in Film UI Design, TV title sequences, social media advertising, music live performance visuals and so much more.

This course prepares you for a successful career in the creative industries. With active industry experienced lecturers directly working with you to craft your projects and help you network with the leading Visual Effects and Motion Design studios across the UK.

Our award-winning students have gone on to work for big-name studios that we work in collaboration with; including ILM(Opens in a new tab)DNEG(Opens in a new tab)Framestore(Opens in a new tab)MPC(Opens in a new tab)Bait Studios(Opens in a new tab)Nineteentwenty(Opens in a new tab) to name just a few.

BA (Hons) Visual Effects and Motion Graphics

Typical A-Level Offer
CCC (this is equivalent to 96 UCAS tariff points).

Typical Welsh BACC Offer
Pass the Advanced Welsh Baccalaureate Diploma with Grade C in the Skills Challenge Certificate and CC at A Level (this is equivalent to 96 UCAS tariff points).

Typical BTEC Offer
BTEC Extended Diploma Merit Merit Merit (this is equivalent to 96 UCAS tariff points).

Typical Access to HE Offer
Pass the Access to HE Diploma with a minimum of 96 UCAS tariff points

Additional Requirements
GCSEs: The University normally requires a minimum 5 GCSEs including Mathematics/Numeracy and English at Grade C or Grade 4 or above, or their equivalent, but consideration is given to individual circumstances

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Entry Requirements

Contextual offers

We may make you a lower offer based on a range of factors, including your background (where you live and the school or college that you attended for example), your experiences and individual circumstances (as a care leaver, for example). This is referred to as a contextual offer and we receive data from UCAS to support us in making these decisions. USW prides itself on its student experience and we support our students to achieve their goals and become a successful graduate. This approach helps us to support students who have the potential to succeed and who may have faced barriers that make it more difficult to access university. Here is a link to our Contextual Admissions Policy.

Other qualifications and experience

We can also consider combinations of qualifications and other qualifications not listed here may also be acceptable. We can sometimes consider credits achieved at other universities and your work/life experience through an assessment of prior learning. This may be for year one entry, or advanced entry to year two or three of a course where this is possible.

To find out which qualifications have tariff points, please refer to the UCAS tariff calculator.

If you need more help or information or would like to speak to our friendly admissions team, please contact us here

Applicants in the UK

Selection for this course is based on a suitable application. If you do not meet the entry criteria, you may also be required to provide a portfolio of your work to help us assess your suitability for the course.

Applicants outside the UK

Selection for this course is based on a suitable application and submission of a portfolio of your work which the Course Leader confirms is suitable for an offer to be made.


The course covers the skills and techniques required for the five main career sectors within Visual Effects and Motion Graphics: 

  • Compositing 
  • Digital Matte Painter 
  • 3D Artist 
  • FX Artist 
  • Motion Design Artist 

We will cover the theory and workflows of these specialist areas as well as technical workshops on a whole range of industry specialist software available on the course:

Year One

Within the first year of study you will gain a solid foundation within Introducing Previsualisation, Compositing, 3D and Motion Graphics.  
You will also gain hands-on camera, sound and lighting training. 

Contextual Studies 

  • Composition & Editing 
  • Colour Theory 
  • Story, Genre & Representation 
  • Brand and identity & Advertising 
  • History of VFX and Motion Graphics 
  • Idea Creation 
  • Research 
  • Concept Development

Image Acquisition Fundamentals 

  • DSLR 
  • Audio 
  • Portable Lighting 
  • Edit & Grade 
  • C300 Studio Cameras 
  • Greenscreen sessions  

Filmmaking Fundamentals 

  • Unreal Pre-Vis 
  • Storyboarding 
  • Photoshop & Premiere 
  • Shot Composition 

Sound & Vision 

  • NukeX 
  • Roto Techniques 
  • Basic Keying 
  • 2D Tracking 
  • After Effects 
  • Sound Sync Animation
  • Velocity & Momentum  

CG Foundations 

  • Cinema4D 
  • Animation & Lighting 
  • Physics & Dynamics 
  • UV & Materials 
  • HDRI Capture 
  • Compositing 
  • Plate Prep 
  • Lens Effects & Light Wraps 

Motion Production 

  • Title Sequences 
  • Open Project 
  • Green Screen Keying Fundamentals 
  • 2.5D Projection 

Year Two

Within the second year, you will explore a range of new areas including Environments and FX with Houdini simulations and procedural 3D work and Advanced Compositing techniques. You will also have the opportunity to learn more about studio workflows and pipelines while allowing the opportunity for a work placement in the industry.

Professional Practice 

  • VFX Industry & Pipeline 
  • Project Pitching 
  • Shotgrid 
  • Dailies 
  • Future of VFX 
  • Industry Connections 
  • Internships 
  • Showreels 

Critical Studies 

  • Historical & Critical analysis 
  • Infographics 
  • Believability 
  • Individual Tutorials 
  • Advanced Research 
  • Preperation for Dissertation 


  • Houdini 
  • Digital Matte Painting 
  • 3D Environments 
  • Atmospherics 
  • Projection Techniques 
  • Advanced Keying 

FX dynamics 

  • Particle Workflows 
  • Rigid Body Destruction 
  • Weather System Simulations 
  • Trapcode Suite 
  • Visualising Music 

Creative Production 

  • Multi-Pass Compositing 
  • Projection Cleanup 
  • Channels & Expresssions 
  • Gizmos 
  • Pitch Presentations 
  • UI Design 
  • Technical Checks 

Year Three

The third year is focused around creating your standout showreel projects. Taking everything that’s been learnt and going further with the advanced techniques and industry practices. In the final semester you will gain an understanding on how to network, create a standout showreel and convert your studies into employment in the industry.

Professional Development 

  • Showreel clinic 
  • Online Portfolios & Networking 
  • Freelance & VFX Applications 
  • Individual Career Guidance 
  • Live interview assessment 
  • Reflective Writing 
  • CV & Covering Letter 
  • Interview Techniques 

Critical Research 

  • Dissertation or Practical report 
  • Idea exploration & research 
  • Report Structures 
  • Individual tutorials 

Minor Project 

  • Project Pitching 
  • Scheduling 
  • Budgeting 
  • Specialist Driven Project 
  • Dailies 
  • Bespoke Discipline Support 

Collaborative Project 

  • Project Pitching 
  • Scheduling 
  • Budgeting 
  • Collaborative Driven Project 
  • Project Co-ordination 
  • Dailies 
  • VFX Pipeline Practice 
  • Client Style Briefs

Major Project 

  • Project Pitching 
  • Scheduling 
  • Budgeting 
  • Managing major projects 
  • Industry standard pipelines 
  • Industry style dailies 
  • Individual project support 


Studying on the course is primarily done through practical workshops in the computer studios under the instruction/supervision of the industry experienced lecturing team. This will teach a blend of technical software skills, industry standard visual effects and motion design techniques, as well as the theory behind these skills and processes. 

As part of the course, we invite industry in to give talks and masterclasses, as well as giving the opportunity for networking events with global recruiters. 

The emphasis is very much on giving you the tools and the means to learn through creating your own projects. To allow you to concept develop ideas, push the boundaries, problem solve, and most importantly, to find your voice as an artist. 


The majority of your assessments are through practical productions, with remaining elements in visual presentation form or written. 

You will be expected to present your project ideas and concepts to your peers and leading VFX professionals, in a constructive and supportive environment that mimics life in a visual effects studio. 


This course is industry recognised by ScreenSkills, the leading skills body for the UK’s screen-based industries, and carries the ScreenSkills Select quality-mark, which indicates courses best suited to prepare students for a career in the screen industries.

The course is also part of Film & TV School Wales(Opens in a new tab), which provides students with up-to-date skills, opportunities and specialist training required by the Film, TV, commercials, VFX and games industries.

We are also proud to be a SideFX certified course. SideFX, the developers of the award-winning procedural FX software Houdini, have acknowledged our high standard of training and have awarded us their certification. This strengthens links with industry and provides a wide range of employment opportunities upon graduation.


The course will directly make use of the specialist filming studios and range of camera equipment, giving you hands on instruction and direct access to book out the facilities and camera equipment for your use while studying on the Visual Effects and Motion Graphics course.

Our facilities include:

Green screen studio
Motion capture suite
Two full access computer studios
TV and Film studios
Grading and Editing suites
Two screening cinemas
By providing state of the art industry level facilities and equipment, we provide hands-on industry focused training and teaching to make sure you are studio ready, but also to let you realise your creative ideas.

Additional Costs

As a student of USW, you’ll have access to lots of free resources to support your study and learning, such as textbooks, publications, online journals, laptops, and plenty of remote-access resources. Whilst in most cases these resources are more than sufficient in supporting you with completing your course, additional costs, both obligatory and optional, may be required or requested for the likes of travel, memberships, experience days, stationery, printing, or equipment.


The course is completely geared towards employability. Not just offering the training needed to be studio ready as soon as you graduate, but offering bespoke careers advice from the team of industry professionals that have years of experience. The Professional Development module is aimed to prepare you with what you need to transition directly to employment, whether in a visual effects studio, or setting yourself up as a freelancer.

The lecturers give individually tailored career guidance for each student, and graduates can expect to be ready for entry level roles in industry such as:

Roto Artist
Paint & Prep Artist
Studio Runner
Junior Compositor
Motion Designer
Data Capture Wrangler
Matchmove Artist
Environment Artist
Digital Matte Painter
CG Modelling Artist
Production Co-ordinator
Check out this helpful VFX Industry guide from ScreenSkills(Opens in a new tab)

We are proud to have a Graduate Alumni that work throughout the world, from Canada to London and the local area for places such as ILM(Opens in a new tab), DNEG(Opens in a new tab), Framestore(Opens in a new tab) and Bait Studios(Opens in a new tab). Having credits on releases such as Star Wars: Rise of Skywalker, Lion King, Avengers: Endgame, the Mandalorian, No Time To Die, Inception, Chernobyl, Wonder Woman, Black Mirror, the list goes on.

Our graduates are recognised every year for their industry work, from Academy Award OSCARS, Bafta, Emmy and the prestigious Visual Effects Society awards.

Through this course, you will be part of a thriving community that carries on even after you’ve graduated. Networking is vital in this sector and this course at USW has a vibrant, industry recognised network that spans the world.

Our Careers and Employability Service
As a USW student, you will have access to advice from the Careers and Employability Service(Opens in a new tab) throughout your studies and after you graduate.

This includes: one-to-one appointments from faculty based Career Advisers, in person, over the phone or even on Skype and through email via the “Ask a Question” service. We also have extensive online resources for help with considering your career options and presenting yourself well to employers. Resources include psychometric tests, career assessments, a CV builder, interview simulator and application help. Our employer database has over 2,000 registered employers targeting USW students, you can receive weekly email alerts for jobs.

Our Careers service has dedicated teams: A central work experience team to help you find relevant placements; an employability development team which includes an employability programme called Grad Edge; and an Enterprise team focused on new business ideas and entrepreneurship.


Full time

Complete your degree in the shortest possible time and study flexibly – when and where suits you!


You’ll study 9 modules in total (approx. 37 hrs/week).

Part time option one

Study for a degree whilst fitting it around your work, care and other life commitments.


You’ll study 6 modules per year (approx. 25 hrs/week).

Part time option two

Take time to study and spread the tuition fees over a longer period – at no extra cost.


You’ll study 4–5 modules per year (approx. 19 hrs/week).

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