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Join us at our upcoming online information session “Master your career in Animation and Visualisation – Graduates in demand” on Thursday 12 November @ 5:00pm, and find out where a career in animation and visualisation can take you.
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Frequently Asked Questions
Can I apply now?
How does the application process work?
Domestic Students – You need to register an account with UTS and submit an online application with UTS: Online Application
International Students – You need to register an account with UTS and submit an online application with UTS International
The application must contain:
- Portfolio – We would like to see examples of your work in at least one specialisation of digital production or visualisation (e.g. animation, modelling, rigging, FX, compositing, surfacing, art/design (concept art, scenic art, storyboarding, anatomy, character development, still-life), virtual reality, augmented reality and/or coding/programming). This should include images, video and/or links to code repositories if you’re a coder (see portfolio examples for details).
You are welcome to submit both concept art and a show reel if you would like, we just ask that you present your work as a PDF file (10 pages) and/or a link to your show reel (no more than 10mins) on Vimeo, YouTube or QuickTime file, with a show reel breakdown.
As this is a Master’s degree which primarily focus’ on 3D and real-time, there is an expected base level of knowledge in the fundamentals of these areas (with nearly all our students already having some undergraduate skills). The few students that don’t start the year with 3D fundamentals have had exceptional talent in a related field, for example game programming, VFX compositing in Nuke, or exceptional 2D concept art skills. Where possible, in your portfolio please make sure to include examples of your best work that is directly related to 3D, as we would like to get a sense of what you are capable of in that area.
- A personal statement of why you want to join the UTS ALA – As part of your personal statement please make sure to outline what field of the animation and/or visualisation industries interest you. For example, is it character animation, FX, compositing, or something we haven’t seen yet? Please try to be as specific as possible – the more information you can provide us, the better it will help us understand what you would like to achieve through the course. Make sure to also explain what you’ve done in this field and why you want to pursue it. Then use your portfolio to include examples of your work in this field.
- CV – clearly articulate your education, training and experience in a specialisation area of digital production or visualisation, and a concise account of the individual role played in the creation of any work submitted.
Please make sure to also include:
– Any previous qualifications you have attained (e.g. Bachelor’s degree, Advanced Diploma, Diploma, evidence of short courses and/or online learning, etc.)
– A list of any self-directed learning outcomes you have completed (e.g. completed software training, online courses, etc.)
– Any relevant industry experience you have in the animation and visualisation industries (dates employed and names of employers, with reference letters)
– Any work and/or project experience that you have (with reference letters)
- Academic record and/or documentation of your industry experience
If your portfolio is considered to be of suitable standard for advanced study, we will organise an interview (in person if you are in Sydney, or via Skype if you are applying from outside). The interview will provide us with an opportunity to find out more about your previous experience, and provide us with more detail to you about what to expect in a year at the Academy. If you are visiting in person, you will also have the chance to see the studio in action! And of course the interview provides you with the chance to ask us questions. If you are successful with the interview and presentation of portfolio, your complete application is processed by the UTS admissions department, and pending the assessment of the provided documentation and attainment of all application requirements, they will inform you of the full outcome of the admissions process. If you are not offered a place at the Academy, you can request feedback from the Academy on how you can develop your knowledge and skills and try again in the future.
Do I need an undergraduate degree?
Generally speaking yes you do. But if you don’t have a Bachelor qualification we will assess you to see if you have reached an equivalent level of proficiency through combinations of other types of undergraduate and/or industry qualifications, industry experience and evidence of outcomes based on self-directed learning.
Applicants may be considered for admission based on one of the following:
- Diploma and/or Advanced Diploma in relevant areas of study, combined with at least one year of industry experience AND/OR evidence of advanced levels of knowledge and skill through self-directed learning (evidenced through a portfolio of work); or
- Minimum two years’ relevant industry experience; or
- Completion of three or more industry short courses in relevant areas of study combined with at least one year of industry experience AND/OR evidence of advanced levels of knowledge and skill through self-directed learning (evidenced through a portfolio of work); or
- Non-recent school leaver (over 21 years of age) with demonstrated maturity to undertake postgraduate studies (evidenced through employment and/or project experience) and can demonstrate outcomes in self-directed learning equivalent to the level of a bachelor’s qualification (evidenced through a portfolio of work).
In addition to formal entry requirements, applications are assessed on a portfolio, experience and interview.
When do I submit my porfolio?
As early as possible! We’ve heard that a lot of people wait until the last possible minute to submit. DON’T DO THAT. We would much rather you get in touch with us early so that if your portfolio isn’t up to standard, we can advise on what you can do to improve it.
For example we’ve had several students in the past show us great 2D concept art but no examples of 3D. We have asked them to download a learning edition of Maya, or Zbrush, or Substance, try creating some simple assets and send them to us. This has often been enough proof to secure an interview.
What do I put in my portfolio?
We like to see examples of your work in at least one specialisation of digital production or visualisation (e.g. animation, modelling, rigging, FX, compositing, surfacing, art/design (concept art, scenic art, storyboarding, anatomy, character development, still-life), virtual reality, augmented reality and/or coding/programming).
We ask you to present a PDF file (10 pages) AND a link to your showreel (no more than 10mins) on Vimeo, YouTube or Quicktime file with a showreel breakdown.
For coders, computer science and programming applicants (without a showreel) please provide documented experience in programming for digital production or visualisation and include links to coding projects on sites such as GitHub.
To help you get things together, we’ve put together some portfolio examples from recent graduates.
What is the Course Structure - When are the session dates & breaks
The Master of Animation & Visualisation is an accelerated, industry-focused 1-year master’s degree, broken into 3 sessions:
In 2021 there are 41 weeks of learning, with 2 x 2 week breaks:
- Studio 1 – 18 January – 23 April (14 weeks)
- (2 week break)
- Studio 2 – 10 May – 16 July (10 weeks)
- (2 week break)
- Studio 3 – 2 August – 26 November (17 weeks)
What happens during the three sessions?
In summary, the development of a short film, group pitches in emerging technology, and the production of an animation and a real-time project.
Studio 1 – A short film
The short film is mostly developed in the first session where the students approach the film like a high-end commercial studio. The entire cohort work on the one film, breaking up into the departments for story, concept, layout, modelling, rigging etc. Some students choose to stay in a single department, others want to jump between several roles. The leads function as directors/mentors/clients/teachers, doing whatever is required to keep the project on track and running masterclasses when needed and halfway through the session the studio feels similar to most production studios. Desk rounds are run in the morning, dailies in the theater run throughout the day, notes are taken, the work is improved constantly and iteratively until the session is done. In previous years this means all the ‘asset and performance’ part of the pipe is done, and the ‘output’ part of the pipe (FX, lighting, comp) are about halfway complete.
Studio 2 – Explore realtime
In the second session we ask everyone to play with and research everything in the emerging tech space; AR, VR, realtime, datavis, and invite in as many industry experts as we can in those fields. The aim is to break into cabals of 5 or 6 artists and those teams have to pitch what real-time project we will all work on in the final session. These professional grade pitches are presented to a panel of industry experts and involve whatever will help sell the idea. In the past this has been full playable prototypes of VR and AR projects, highly detailed mood boards and concept or mock up videos.
Studio 3 – Finish and polish
The session where we have to finish all the things! The chosen idea from studio 2 has to be completed to the quality expected at ALA (the closer to commercial releasable quality the better), the short from from studio 1 has to be finished, and inevitably other projects that have been started along the year all have to be finished. By this time the leads are involved less and less in the daily running of the studio and the students are largely running projects themselves. The leads will always step in if things are drifting away from the original goal, and they are always around to mentor and give guidance, but we’ve found by this stage of the year, most of the students are now at the level of professional industry artists.
Do you only work on animation and film vfx?
No. A large part of the year is focused on real-time technology such as Unity and UE4. We also try and push beyond the standard capabilities of those game engines running on PC, and create projects that run on the Microsoft Hololens, on ARKit for iOS, Vive/Rift, the UTS Data Arena, and any novel and emerging technology we have access to. Check out our projects page for some examples.
What projects have been done at ALA?
Each year we produce a high-fidelity animation project and a completed emerging media project. You can see a selection of these on our projects page.
Students also develop prototypes for emerging technologies projects such as VR, AR, Mixed Realty and/or Realtime technology in session 2. Ask when you come by for an interview to find out more about these.
How many students are in the cohort?
Numbers vary from year to year, but we anticipate around 30-40 enrolments.
Are there exams?
No. We focus on a professional mentoring style of teaching, where you are taught as part of a collaborative team working on a large scale project. We have professional leads, who mentor teams of 10-15 students each in their area of specialisation (creative, effects or technical). So there are no exams, but you will be assessed on your contribution and performance. You are also required to reflect on what you have learned each session in a written submission.
What software do we use?
Our software changes every year depending on what the industry is using and where we feel the industry is heading. For example, we felt that the industry would embrace Pixar’s USD file format so jumped on that early in 2018. Sure enough we we won an award at SIGGRAPH the same year for our work and have since seen the entire industry move towards USD. Here’s a list of software we currently use, and in what departments:
- Autodesk Maya for modelling, layout, animation, rigging
- Pixologic Zbrush for high-resolution sculpting
- Allegorithmic Substance Painter for surfacing
- SideFX Houdini for FX and advanced modelling tasks
- Foundry Katana 3 for lighting
- Foundry Nuke for compositing
- Pixar Renderman 22 for rendering
- Davinci Resolve for editing, grading
- Adobe Photoshop for image editing
- Adobe Premiere for editing
- Autodesk Shotgun for project tracking, asset management
- Pixar USD as primary pipeline geometry format
- Autodesk RV for sequence review
- Pixar USDView for geometry review and QC
- Unity for reatime development
- Epic Unreal Engine 4 for realtime development
What happens after graduation?
Will the Masters guarantee me a job at Animal Logic?
No. We are a UTS course and do not have automatic work placements at Animal Logic. That said, we are very fortunate to work closely with Animal Logic and have had several graduates who have successfully gained employment there, as well as several other high profile studios such as Mill Film, Flying Bark, Method Studios, Electric Lens and many more both here and overseas.
How much does the course cost?
The Masters is an accelerated qualification. We pack 2 years of learning into 1 year of full-time study (with 3 sessions a year rather than 2 semesters), combined with a 5-day-a-week workload. So even though the Masters costs around the same as other similar masters qualifications, you are out in the workforce 1 year earlier earning a salary.
Cost information is centralised over the UTS fees page, where you will have to enter the relevant course information to get the current course fees. Remember the course is made up of 72 credit points and runs over 3 sessions of 24 credit points each.
Just click on this link: https://www.uts.edu.au/current-students/managing-your-course/fees-and-payment/tuition-fees-search
- Choose ‘Search for fees by course’
- If you are a domestic student, select Fee Type ‘Postgraduate Domestic Coursework’
If you are an international student, select Fee Type ‘Postgraduate International Coursework’
(Please note, additional information for costs for international students can be found here – https://www.uts.edu.au/future-students/international/essential-information/fees-information)
- Fee year: 2021
- Cohort year: 2021
- Course area: ‘Information Technology’
- Course code: ‘C04423’
Is there access to FEE-HELP or scholarships?
FEE-HELP is available for domestic students. Please see here for more information.
UTS also offers a variety of scholarships, including options which reward achievement and recognise motivation to succeed, as well as offering support to students experiencing financial hardship and/or other educational disadvantages.
You can explore the scholarships offered by UTS by reading the latest UTS: Scholarships brochure and by using the scholarships search tool. This tool provides specific details on each scholarship, including closing dates and how to apply.
If you have any questions regarding scholarships we suggest contacting the UTS Scholarships team directly.
Do you offer financial assistance?
If you would like to make an appointment with the Financial Services Team you can call +61 2 9514 1177. Appointments are offered from Monday to Friday, 9.30am – 4.30pm.
Currently all appointments are by phone, with our Financial Assistance staff telephoning you at the time of your scheduled appointment. If you have a preference for Zoom, please email Financial Assistance.
Otherwise, you can email general enquires to: email@example.com
Does the course have an English language requirement?
Project work in the animation and visualisation industries relies heavily on verbal briefings and dailies, as well as being able to insightfully understand directions, and provide immediate spoken feedback.
The Master of Animation and Visualisation is an immersive studio experience, designed to reflect this real-world production environment. As such, there is an emphasis in the learning and collaboration on a high level of verbal communication in English language.
For application to the Master of Animation and Visualisation it is recommended that you have a high level of English comprehension and verbal expression before applying for the course.
Please note, UTS has English language proficiency requirements for all its courses for all students. Visit the UTS website to the check the requirements that apply to you. These requirements may apply to you, even if you are not an international student.
If you need to complete an English language test or program recognised by UTS, the required language results for the course are:
- Academic IELTS: 6.5 overall with a writing score of 6.0; or
- TOEFL: paper based: 550-583 overall with TWE of 4.5, internet based: 79-93 overall with a writing score of 21; or
- AE5: Pass; or
- PTE: 58-64; or
- CAE: 176-184.
If you have any questions we suggest contacting the UTS International team directly to discuss your particular circumstances and they can confirm your options.
Where can I find information on housing options?
We recommend checking out the UTS Housing Service webpage, which provides information about both UTS student residences and off-campus accommodation.
Some additional useful links include:
If you would like to get in touch with the UTS Housing Service, there are a number of options:
Do you have suggestions for courses that would help me reach the skill level required to gain entry to the Masters?
We would suggest doing some online research to find a course that best suits you, whether it be in-person learning, online classes, or a mix of both.
Former Master of Animation and Visualisation graduates have come from a variety of backgrounds, including (but not limited to):
- Screen and Media
- Media Arts
- Creative Arts
- Fine Arts
- Computer Science
- Game Design and/or Development
- Product Design and/or Development
A good place to start looking for courses is The Rookies website, which has a great ‘Discover’ page where you can find out about industry recognised places to study. They also offer free consultation sessions, which provide advice about navigating schools, perfecting your application and creating a portfolio.
Also, don’t forget that there is an abundance of great tutorials available for free on YouTube, which you can use to try new techniques, refine a skill or learn how to navigate different software.
If you would like to start developing particular software skills, please be aware that most of the industry standard software have free or educational versions that you can use to learn with. Our recommendations include:
- Animation or Rigging – Autodesk Maya
- Modelling – Autodesk Maya & ZBrush
- VFX – Houdini & Cinema 4D
- Character & Environment Design – Adobe Creative Suite (Photoshop)
- Compositing – Nuke
- Surfacing – Substance Painter
- Lighting – Autodesk Maya
- Real Time – Unity & Unreal Engine
When deciding which area of specialisation you would like to focus on, we would always encourage you to consider diversifying, where possible. By broadening your knowledge base and developing additional skillsets, you can increase both your long term study and employment opportunities. For example, if you have a passion to study Character Design, you need to consider the fact that this field is highly competitive (with even the best Character Designers out there only sometimes getting a handful jobs every few months or so). So, if in addition to studying Character Design you also look at developing skills as an Environment Artist, this could also provide the opportunity to work in a ‘Production Environment Artist’ role as well (which means using Maya and Nuke to create digital set replacements, etc.) Not only will you have expanded your job prospects, but you can also demonstrate to future employers your capability and willingness to learn new skills if required!
Once you reach the stage of narrowing down your course options a final tip would be to look at the course output – if it doesn’t look like it could come from a film or high-end game, then there’s no point attending.
Keep in mind, if your long term goal is to apply for the Master’s, remember that this degree primarily focus’ on 3D and real-time, so there is an expected base level of knowledge in the fundamentals of these areas (with the few students that don’t start the year with 3D fundamentals having had exceptional talent in a related field). Where possible we will always request to see examples of your best work that is directly related to 3D, so make sure to try pick up some skills in this area if possible.
What is the Graduate Certificate in Animation and Visualisation?
The Graduate Certificate in Animation and Visualisation has been developed in partnership with the industry-leading digital animation studio Animal Logic through the UTS Animal Logic Academy, and is ideal for students wanting to gain some experience with early stage professional animation production without having to commit to a full year if full-time study.
The course introduces participants to the creative and working practices, procedures and standards of a professional digital production studio. Structured in crew roles, students work in collaborative teams to develop an early stage, professional-style animation project.
Under the guidance and mentorship of practitioners and leaders from the industry, learning takes place in a custom-built digital production studio modelled on real-world production work structure and engineered to the highest industry standards.
Students engage in the early-stage development of an animation project, working across disciplines including:
- Story development (concept, storyboarding, pre-visualisation)
- Art and design (concept art, character design, environment design, prop design)
- Asset creation (modelling, rigging)
- Layout and animation (early stage animation)
- Project management (collaborative team skills and pipeline integration)
Multidisciplinary knowledge is supported by masterclasses and mentoring by industry and academic experts. Students engage in collaborative problem-solving and knowledge-sharing as a dynamic process in a professional-like production environment.
The full-time Graduate Certificate in Animation and Visualisation is run over a 14 week block from the 18th of January 2021, Monday to Friday from 9am to 5pm. Successful completion prepares graduates for entry level employment and/or articulation into the Master of Animation and Visualisation program (with 24 units of credit).
How do you apply for the PhD program and/or scholarship?
We are calling for expressions of interest from suitably qualified and experienced candidates to work on practice-based PhD research projects which explore innovative technologies and/or creative approaches to a range or combination of areas including (but not limited to):
- User/Audience experiences, engagement and narrative (particularly in relation to technologies such as augmented and virtual reality)
- Animation and interaction
- Novel uses of machine learning in the broad context of animation, visual effects, games and interaction
- Interaction design for professional animation/visual effects work
- New aesthetic and technical approaches to data visualisation
- Creative collaboration in the context of professional CGI work
- Real-time computer-generated visuals and sounds
- Creative coding & software development
The Academy Research team is a highly interdisciplinary team and welcomes applications from outstanding individuals with backgrounds in any academic discipline. We particularly encourage those with demonstrable experience innovating across disciplines to apply.
You will need to have completed:
- A UTS recognised master’s by research; or
- Bachelor’s degree with first or second class Honours (division 1); or
- An equivalent higher qualification; or
- Provide other evidence of professional experience that demonstrates your potential to pursue graduate research studies.
Applicants will need to develop a research proposal outlining their intended project and the methods they intend to use to realise it. You are strongly encouraged to discuss your project with the Research & Course Director, Andrew Johnston, prior to submitting an application.
To apply, please email your CV and a brief overview of your proposed project to the UTS ALA Research & Course Director, Assoc. Prof. Andrew Johnston, preferably before September 20, 2020. The formal closing date for applications is September 30, 2020.
Please note, the scholarships provide a tax-exempt stipend of $28,092 per annum (indexed) for three years full-time. Candidates for these positions must be Australian residents.
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