VFX, Digital Arts & Animation BA Hons Degree

Master the tools of trade and be at the forefront of the growing industry

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Overview

Master the latest, cutting-edge digital technologies whilst producing 2D and 3D animations, digital images and visual effects solutions for film, gaming, AR/VR, live performance, installation and interactive art. Our degree course immerses you in the world of visual fx and digital art design with a vast range of ‘hands on’ projects, real world briefs, professional workflows and experimental hands-on workshops that will broaden your outlook and focus your creative output. 

Throughout this multidisciplinary programme, you will gain the crucial skills across these key industry-relevant areas, which are needed to excel in whichever direction you decide to pursue in your career as an artist and technologist. Our project-based curriculum allows you to build a portfolio while you shape your academic projects towards your professional goals and interests. Whether you're interested in gaming, animation, immersive installations or on-set VFX, this programme provides you with the knowledge, gear, facilities and guidance to realise your creative and professional goals.

Create & collaborate

Collaborate with film directors, producers, actors, musicians and creatives on multiple film productions and digital art projects. Get ongoing support, guidance and mentorship from our industry professional tutors to sharpen your technical skills, grow your creative muscle and build an industry relevant portfolio.

Carve a unique identity

Explore emergent creative arts and new forms of storytelling, whilst developing visual narrative, digital interfacing and project management expertise. Develop a unique creative vision and discover your artistic voice. Build a professional network and cultivate the human attributes required to pursue a rewarding and successful career in the technological arts industry.

Degree course structure

Year 1

Overview

Train your eye, explore a variety of techniques and approaches to visual effects and digital arts. Create and mix elements in a final image by shooting practical effects and live action footage with real actors (in collaboration with our Acting, Film & Music Production Schools!). Take photos and references, supervise on set and in a green screen studio, create and animate 2D graphic elements, compose matte paintings, sketch, and bring 3D assets to life.

During this first year of you will complete:

  • 15+ concept shots/installations
  • 1 short film as a VFX artist/supervisor
  • Countless collaborations on set and postproduction with our Film Production students

The digital portfolio you walk away with will not only contain your original work and projects. It’ll also serve as a certification of the software and technical skills you’ve developed. You can also include sketches and concepts, case analyses, and project-based learning descriptions and outcomes.

Workshops

  • Live Action & Practical FX
  • Post Production & Color Grading
  • 2D and 3D Assets 
  • Image Composition, Visual Storytelling and Workflows
  • Development
  • Roundtable Discussions
  • More details here.

Topics

Study areas to look forward to:

  • Shoot live action, including fundamentals of cinematography and lighting
  • On-set visual effects supervision
  • Practical effects including in camera effects, vfx make up, animatronics etc…
  • Stop motion and miniatures
  • Green screen and 3d tracking
  • 2D assets creation and animation
  • 3D assets, including modeling, texturing and lighting
  • Digital Compositing and camera projection
  • Matte painting and image retouching
  • Post production and colour grading
  • Character Design
  • Image composition and visual narrative
  • Physics, light and the science of visuals
  • Fundamentals of fine art and storytelling
  • Training your eye
  • The visual effects pipeline
  • Filmmaking, camerawork and working on sets
  • Collaboration, giving and receiving critical feedback, and introspection

Year 2

Overview

In the second year, the focus shifts from quantity to quality, as we go deeper into the art of visual creations with workshops in mechanics and dynamics, VFX supervising and digital compositing. Learn new tools and interfaces, and also take the time to explore other formats, spaces and realities whilst developing your own creative voice.

Workshops

  • Mechanics & Dynamics and Real Time
  • Creative Coding
  • LAB - physical spaces, interactive installations and extended realities
  • VFX Supervising and Live Cinema
  • Art history & practices, Visual Effects analysis and Visual Storytelling
  • Technological Arts Formats & Spaces
  • Creative Practitioner and “Entrepreneurship
  • More details here.

Topics

Study areas to look forward to:

  • Visual Effects supervising
  • Fluids, particles and smoke FX
  • 3D Modelling and Rigid bodies
  • Materials, Texturing and UVs
  • Match moving and camera projection
  • Industry Formats and Rendering Farms
  • Dynamic environments & Digital compositing
  • 2d Realtime and Generative visuals
  • Coding languages and shaders (python, GLSL)
  • Midi Controllers and user interfaces
  • Motion Capture
  • Live cinema & Real time rendering 
  • Live Visuals & Performance
  • Augmented reality, Virtual Reality and Live Painting
  • Projection  Mapping
  • Multi camera and Live streaming
  • Technology Evolution and Future Perspectives
  • Digital Art languages and Formats
  • Creative and technical planning
  • Storytelling and visual narrative 
  • Collaborative projects and self management
  • Industry panorama and Entrepreneurship
  • Guest sessions
Year 3

Overview

During this final year you will craft the final project that makes it all real.

Train up in your chosen specialised field and get ready for the big one. Work in short creative bursts focusing on improving specific skills in the context of the larger whole. 

Whatever your ambitions, our tutors supported by guests and specially chosen mentors will push you to reach even further in deep one-on-one consultations. However outrageous your goals, we will support you with our facilities, equipment and network as much as we can - and give you a friendly nudge to make your own connections in the industry.

This final year focusses on:

  • Individual specialisation
  • Development and production of a major project over the whole year
  • Collaboration with peers
  • Working with autonomy and self-management
  • Enriching perspectives through key guests and chosen mentors
  • Bridging the gap to entrepreneurship 
  • Making their first professional steps outside the school
Software

Some of the software you’ll use includes:

  • Adobe After Effects, Mocha
  • Adobe Photoshop
  • Adobe Illustrator
  • Adobe Premiere
  • DaVinci Resolve
  • Fusion
  • Cinema 4D
  • autodesk 3DS
  • autodesk Maya
  • Unreal
  • Blender
  • Substance painter
  • Zbrush
  • Vray
  • Fume FX
  • Meshmixer
  • Touch Designer
  • Resolume
  • Processing
  • Madmapper 
  • Spark AR
Hardware

Some of the hardware you’ll use includes*:

  • High powered PC’s with 10 bit displays (x2)
  • High powered gaming laptop for offsite work
  • Wacom drawing tablets
  • 4k projector and a range of mapping projectors
  • VR headset HTC Vive Cosmo
  • Kinect Azure 
  • Leapmotion 
  • A full range of midi controllers 
  • Arduino kits 
  • Fully packed filmmaking kits including Panasonic GH5, lights, stands, grip and accessories
  • Panasonic AU-EVA1 and Canon C100
  • VFX kits (chrome and grey ball, laser meter, trackers etc…
  • 1400 bookable items : other cameras on top of the ones mentioned above, lights and accessories for use onsite, fog machine, gimbals, dollies, gels, flags, stands, grip gear, cabling and expendables, props and costumes. 

* Our tech team aim to upgrade our hardware repertoire throughout the year, allowing us to keep up with latest technology trends.

Online resources

During this programme you will also have full access to a curated selection of 50+ online classes around every topic approached in our workshops, including membership access to Skillshare’s extended catalogue of resources.

A selection of the bonus online courses available to Catalyst Berlin Visual Effects students

Read more

A safe space to dream big

Maximise your hands-on access to state-of-the-art visual effects facilities and equipment.

Progression

Building success

However you measure it and whatever artistic realm you are working in, most creatives would like to achieve success with their creative endeavour. There are many types of success an individual may want to achieve. From successful completion of an artistic exploration all the way through to financial security and a global audience

There are many skills required to develop these dreams into real and practical futures. Our optional course in self-development and leadership is the ‘rocket fuel’ which will provide you with the frameworks, the focus and the drive to help realise your future.

Self development to better understand how to take decisive action, to communicate powerfully with others and take an honest look at how you limit yourself. Leadership to complete your creative project, to bring your work into the external world and to attract an audience to share, appreciate and follow your work. 

Leadership
Professional outcomes

After your time with us, you’ll be eligible for many positions in the industry, including:

  • Visual effects artist
  • Visual effects supervisor
  • Visual effects producer
  • Production designer
  • Media artist
  • SFX technician
  • 3d Animator
  • Matte painter
  • Motion designer
  • Rotoscoping artist
  • Matchmover
  • Digital compositor
  • Digital preparation artist
  • 2d Animator
  • DIT (digital imaging technician)
  • Color grading artist
  • Post-production engineer / supervisor
  • VFX education

* Warning! This list of positions is not exhaustive! There is an endless catalogue of positions in the various industries concerned with visual effects and animation, and more new positions are created every day. From there, the only limit is your own determination and grit. 

Our tutors are industry experienced with a passion for passing on their knowledge to others. Here are a few of the experienced and friendly tutors that will be supporting you throughout your learning process.

Structured Play

Engage and adapt to the industry of today and the future by collaborating on projects with film production, screen acting and music production students. By learning how to apply these tools and methods used you will define your own artistic approach and style as you gain first-hand experience and start to build a unique portfolio of your own work and from other collaborations and real-life projects. 

Showcase of second year projects

ADMISSIONS

Entry requirements

All applicants will be asked to provide: personal and educational information, documentation of their education experience, a portfolio or audition tape, and a personal introduction (which can be submitted as a written statement of motivation or a video/audio clip). 

MINIMUM ENTRY REQUIREMENTS

- Standard entry: graduation from high school at a level which would normally permit entry to university in the country where it was gained. This would be A-Levels in the UK and the Abitur in Germany, for example.

- Non-standard entry: We recognise that not all education happens in the classroom and it may be possible to admit you through a non-standard access route. If you do not possess the required formal qualification, but have acquired relevant professional or life experience, please contact our Admissions team.

If neither of the two categories above describe your situation, you'll most likely need to complete a short course to gain access to our 1 and 3-year HE degree courses.

LANGUAGE 

The language of instruction in all our courses is English and applicants must demonstrate a level equal to IELTS 6. We do not ask for official exam results, but we will assess the standard of English in your application and support materials.

For more information please contact our Admissions team and we’d be happy to discuss your opportunities to come study with us.

Info hub
Course dates and application deadline

Course start: mid-September 2023

Application deadlines

  • Round 1 - International (non-EU) and EU students - 31 March, 2023*
    * Non-EU students will need to apply for a student visa to live in Germany. The application process for this takes several months and you can only begin this process after you have been offered a place and enrolled on the course.
  • Final deadline - EU students only - 31 May 2023
More info
Tuition fees

We offer 2 ways to pay:

  • Single Payment Option:
    Enrolment Fee* €895 + Tuition Fee €10,855 = €11,750 per year**
    Single payment tuition fee - August 1st deadline
  • Instalment Payment Option:
    Enrolment Fee* €895 + 10 instalments x €1,185.50 = €12,750 per year**
    Monthly instalment plan from August 1st - May 1st

* Note- Enrolment fee is non-refundable. It is due every year as part of the total annual fee.
** BA degree = 3 years x total annual fee.

If you decide to enrol in both a 4-week short course and HE degree course (1 or 3-years long) with us, you will receive a discount of 500€ on the total tuition.

More detail
Open days and taster workshops

Get a feel for our school from the comfort of your home with our Virtual Open Days and skill-focussed Taster Workshops.

Hosted by our team and students, these online events will give you a sense of what it's like to come and study with us in Berlin.

We look forward to meeting you online soon!

Learn more

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