Frequently Asked Questions

What do I put in my portfolio?

This gets asked so often, we’ve put together some portfolio examples from recent graduates.

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.

Can I apply now?


Domestic Students – Apply now via the UTS Online Application System.

International Students – Applications for international students must be lodged with UTS International.

Do I need an undergraduate degree?

No. Applications are assessed based on your portfolio, experience (including any studies you may have undertaken) and interview.

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 work there, as well as several other high profile studios.

Do you only work on film vfx?

No. A large part of the year is focused on realtime 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.

How much does the course cost?

Cost info can be found via the following search page:

  • choose ‘Search for fees by course’.
  • fee type ‘Postgraduate Domestic Coursework’
  • fee year 2020
  • cohort 2020
  • course area ‘All’
  • course code ‘C04322’


How does the application process work?

You register an account with UTS and submit an online application. The application will contain

  • portfolio (this could include images, video, links to code repositories if you’re a coder, see the portfolio examples for details)
  • academic record (if applicable)
  • personal statement of why you want to join the ALA.

If your portfolio is of sufficient quality we will organise an interview (in person if you are in Sydney, or via Skype). The interview will provide us with an opportunity to find out more about your previous experience, as related to the course, as well as us providing 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 we don’t offer you a place at the Academy,  we will give you reasons why so that you can develop your skills and try again in the future. 

What is the Course Structure - Semester dates/breaks

It is a 1-year master’s degree, broken into 3 sessions:

  • 2020 (45 weeks + 2 x 1 week breaks)
  • Session 1 – 13 Jan – 15 May (18 weeks)
  • 1 week break
  • Session 2 – 25 May – 31 Jul (10 weeks)
  • 1 week break
  • Session 3 – 10 Aug – 4 Dec (17 weeks)
What happens during the three semesters?

In summary, a short film, several pitches in emerging tech, and a realtime project.

Studio 1 – A short film

The short film is mostly produced in the first semester where the students approach the film like a highend 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 by halfway through the semester the tone of 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 semester 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 second semester 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 realtime project we will all work on in the final semester. 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 semester 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.

What projects have been done at ALA?

Please see our projects page.

How many students are in the cohort?

Numbers vary from year to year, but we anticipate around 30-40 enrolments.

Is there access to fee help?

Yes for domestic students. Please see here for more info:

We also offer a scholarship, click here for more information.

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

Are there exams?


What happens after graduation?

Our first year students have gone on to work in film, games cinematics, commercials, episodic tv, realtime studios, and PhD research.

You can find out more by look at our graduate stories and our projects page.

If you didn’t find the info you need here, please get in touch via our Facebook page or email us at