Frequently Asked Questions
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.
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?
Do I need an undergraduate degree?
No. But it helps. 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. In addition to formal entry requirements, applications are assessed on a portfolio, experience 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 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.
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.
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’.
- Fee type ‘Postgraduate Domestic Coursework’
- Fee year 2020
- Cohort 2020
- Course area ‘Transdisciplinary Innovation’
- 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 should include images, video, links to code repositories if you’re a coder, see the portfolio examples for details)
- Academic record and/or documentation of your industry experience
- A personal statement of why you want to join the ALA.
If your portfolio is considered to be of proficient standard 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 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 - 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 2020 there are 45 weeks of learning, with 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 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.
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.
Is there access to fee help?
Fee Help is available for domestic students.
Please see here for more info: https://www.uts.edu.au/current-students/managing-your-course/fees-and-payment/domestic-student-tuition-fees/government.
We also offer an annual 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?
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.