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Alex Williams to Lead BA Program at Buckinghamshire

Buckinghamshire New University announces a new BA (Hons) Animation and Visual Effects program to be led by Alex Williams.

Alex Williams pictured with a visual effects character

created by Bucks animation student, Charlotte

Buckinghamshire New University is launching its BA (Hons) Animation and Visual Effects under the direction of Alex Williams, a renowned animation and visual effects specialist whose works include Harry Potter and The Lion King.

Alex said the course, which will commence with its first intake of students in September, will reflect developing industry needs and aim to ‘build the best animation and visual effects course in the country’.

As part of their course fee, each student will have the added bonus of receiving a laptop and software at the start of their course so that they are equipped with the tools to make a running start in their qualification, whilst not having to incur the extra expense.

Alex said “There are lots of courses in the UK that offer animation but very few of them actually teach industry-level skills, at a standard high enough that students can compete with the best international graduates.”

The course has been designed to develop graduates with the skills to fill gaps identified by animation employers, and is closely aligned to the Core Skills VFX handbook, compiled by creative graduate and recruitment support agency, Creative Skillset, in response to research which discovered significant skills gaps in home-grown talent.

Alex added “It is difficult for many UK graduates to compete with peers from highly-regarded animation schools across Europe and North America. Therefore the employer-focused design of this new course will allow Bucks graduates to compete on an international level. Elements of the experience will be based on best practice from top performing animation educators, such as California Institute of the Arts (CalArts) in America.”

The veteran animator said the degree would also place strong emphasis on character and creature creation, using cutting-edge technology to ensure creative locomotion and exact reproduction of animal behaviours.

He added “In my view this is the most interesting part of the visual effects industry, giving a convincing performance, making characters come to life in a believable way.”

The course will be taught by Mr. Williams and his team of digitally dynamic colleagues. In addition, Kevin Spruce, Head of Animation at renowned imaging and visual effects company, Framestore, will act as an external course reviewer. Bucks New University students will also have the opportunity to practice their skills through a new partnership with world-leading motion capture company, Centroid, adding a further industry-linked dimension to the course.

Alex concluded “Our course is aimed at anyone who wants to work in the animation, visual effects, games, television or web industries. If you want to learn to create characters, animals and creatures, and bring them to life, this course is for you.

“In addition, we’re building the cost of a laptop into the first year course fee so that every student gets a free workstation when they begin, loaded with all the right software.

“The idea is that every student has their own mini-studio where they can experiment, learn and take on freelance jobs. We want our students to inspire each other with the work that they do and become leaders in their field.”

Source: Buckinghamshire New University

Jennifer Wolfe's picture

Formerly Editor-in-Chief of Animation World Network, Jennifer Wolfe has worked in the Media & Entertainment industry as a writer and PR professional since 2003.