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Visual Effects (VFX) BA (Hons)


What is Unistats?

Key Information Set (KIS) Data is only gathered for undergraduate full-time courses. There are a number of reasons why this course does not have KIS data associated with it. For example, it may be a franchise course run at a partner college or a course designed for continuing professional development.


BA Visual Effects (VFX) focuses on current industry practice and the creative design, digital assets and software skills needed for professional visual effects in animation, film, television, and games. 100% assessed by coursework.

Green screen and motion capture

5 reasons to study here

Industry expertise: All of our specialist staff work in the VFX and creative technologies industries, and we regularly host industry events and welcome guest speakers.
Collaborative group projects: Work on live briefs in cross-disciplinary project teams made up of games designers, theatre technologists and film makers to build an impressive portfolio before you graduate.
Multi-million pound Elephant Studios: You'll have access to innovative motion capture facilities, green screen and studio spaces, as well as a virtual lab and 3D printing. And you’ll be supported by a team of technical instructors.
LSBU Media Production Agency: As a member of the agency you’ll gain paid and unpaid work opportunities in the creative industries, allowing you to build a network of contacts within the industry.
Tailor your choice of modules: Select modules BSc (Hons) Product Design or BA/BSc (Hons) Theatre Technologies to give you a wide range of skills across film, TV, theatre and games industries.
Inspiring location: We work with over 50 local, national and international arts and creative industries partners, and have 15 large international media companies on our doorstep as well as television companies.

This course covers...

  • Post-production
  • VFX industry
  • CGI
  • Motion capture and motion control.

AIM Awards is the specialist awarding organisation for the Games, Animation and VFX Industries, chosen by major employers to develop this innovative Level 3 Extended Diploma in Games, Animation and VFX Skills with the purpose of preparing students for high level degree courses and Apprenticeships. LSBU currently offers guaranteed interviews to any AIM Awards student wishing to apply for Visual Effects who has successfully passed level 3 or Level 3 equivalent exams

Key course information - ordered by mode
Mode Duration Start date Location
3 years
Start Date
Southwark Campus

Case studies

  • Film Studio and Soundstage

    Film Studio and Soundstage

    The Film Studio is a double-height room with a lighting grid, DMX lighting control, green screen backdrop, air conditioning, green room (for make-up and wardrobe) and sound isolation for use as a soundstage.

  • Editing Suites

    Editing Suites

    The seven Editing Suites are ideal for editing video, sound and recording quick voice-overs. All suites are networked with ultra-fast 10Gb/s network, making it possible to edit and grade, whilst sharing production files at speed.


Methods of assessment for course overall: 100% coursework

Year 1

  • Introduction to VFX
    This module focuses on the core principles of Visual Effects to provide a solid foundation for understanding concepts, creative and technical processes involved in VFX. The module will explore how material is originated and the historical and current workflows adopted by the industry. Through a range of practical projects a core set of skills will lay the foundation for you to develop an industry focused skill-set. Assessment: coursework (70%) and research presentation (30%).
  • Post-production
    There are two aspects to this module. Firstly you’ll be introduced to ‘the cut’ and how to tell a story through the editing and post-production process. The second key focus of the module is to deliver technical knowledge around file formats, codecs, colour principles, resolutions, and post-production workflows for delivery to online, TV and film platforms. You’ll therefore learn to use post-production software effectively and to create compelling narratives, as well as gaining technical skills using various media formats in editing and VFX software. Assessment: A practical project demonstrating skills in editing, sound grading and basic compositing along with supporting written material evidencing their work. The accompanying documentation includes screen grabs, a workflow diagram and a short 1,000 word report outlining technical problems and resolutions associated with each task. (100% Element).
  • The VFX industry
    This module is concerned with industry and professional practice and the module will provide you with a broad contextual overview of the Creative Industries and the firms that operate VFX facilities, as well as individuals working within these organisations. Having a comprehensive view of how the industry operates, its current and future trajectory, and knowledge of the key players is essential in helping you to develop a strategic and successful on-going career. The module also introduces you to working practices. Assessment:A formal 15-18 minute presentation of a complete project for a named client outlining the technical tools, pipeline, personnel and costs. This will be supported by a written project management plan of 1,000 words/diagrams covering costings, workflow, and platforms. (100% Element).
  • The creative industries
    A lecture series with accompanying seminars on the topic of 'The Creative Industries', and visits to TechCity UK and other centres of artistic practice. This is an introduction to industry from a range of critical and theoretical perspectives: aesthetic, geographical, economic, sociological, political, and historical. This is an opportunity for you to develop your understanding of definitions, theories, and industry orientations. Assessment: 1,500-word essay.
  • CG 1
    This module deals with the challenge of creating 3D objects and their integration within a background from another source such as live action. You’ll be introduced to a virtual camera and the principles of real camera data to match movement and dimensions. You’ll also be introduced to the principles of 3D modelling and space, including the idea of placing of objects into a static composite. Assessment: A practical project demonstrating skills in making and combining CG based models with backplates/live video/photographs. This may include: screen grabs, workflow diagram and so on. Students will also submit an accompanying short report outlining any technical problems and resolutions associated with each task. (100% Element).
  • Compositing 1
    This module will draw together various elements, some real world, others CG to create a finished shot. You’ll be provided with a library of assets to use, but also asked to find and create some material. Specifically, the module will build knowledge around the core skills of a VFX artist: tracking, match move and so on. In a professional environment shots will go backwards and forwards to different artists and node-based workflows, transparency, and the ability to develop a systematic approach to work are all key areas. You’ll therefore engage with professional platforms such as NUKE and Fusion. Assessment: Between 4-6 small scale practical shots cut into a video reel, with before and after passes, and demonstration shot breakdowns. (100% element).

Year 2

  • Film set data
    This module discusses the supervising roles on a film set and how those roles interact with VFX specialists. Increasingly VFX departments are involved right from the planning and pre-vis stages of a feature film. You’ll need to understand how the camera data from the set is used in VFX work. This might be as simple as getting a noise reference, or understanding the properties of lenses, and the depth of field. Capturing environment data such as lighting textures and other visual references is also essential. Practical skills will be extended to include an understanding of the principles of lighting Green Screen and the keying in of real world elements (actors etc.). The use of miniature models and slow motion, and the technologies used in modern day film-making such as motion control rigs, 3D tracking data, and motion capture will also be reviewed. Assessment:A practical project demonstrating an animated pre-vis process and a final render that applies data for match move (50% element). A 1,500 written paper that gives a critical analysis of the organizational culture of production teams. This could include commentary on roles and responsibilities, analysis of technical workflow data, the relationship between internal teams and clients, or any other aspect. Topics will be agreed with the tutor. (50% element).
  • The art of illusion and spectacle
    This theoretical module will explore the wider historical and cultural contexts of the visual effects industry, focusing particularly on the art of illusion and the spectacle. The module will begin with a review of techniques used in the medieval mystery plays, and move on through the visual illusions of the Elizabeth and Victorian theatres and music halls. The module then turns to examine in-camera effects, using German Cinematographer Eugen Schufftan’s work on Metropolis (1926) and Peter Jackson’s artistry in The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (2003) amongst other examples. Assessment: 2,500-word essay.
  • Shared filmed performance
    In this module you’ll work with students from other Creative Industries courses to stage a fantasy scene, to film the live action, and to then add post-production. You’ll work across the complete process from start to finish, and become involved in every aspect of the creative work and its realisation. Genres can range from Sci-fi to Horror, and some understanding of the intended audience will be required. It will be important to consider the live action (sets, costume, script, lighting, props, special effects), as well as the post-production (simple CGI and Compositing). The cross-disciplinary nature of the module will foster an understanding of the range of techniques that are being used creatively in the entertainment industry. Assessment: Element 1 (80%): Practical project Element 2 (20%): Reflective journal
  • CG 2
    This module will look at how companies develop specialist modelling techniques, rendering (Renderman, Vray, Mental Ray), and scripting for specific jobs. Advanced lighting and rendering will develop your skills to a high level in preparation for a VFX career. In common with the previous year’s study, the module will also look at the current state of play in the industry, in particular current and emerging trends in Computer Graphics. The historical and contemporary output of particular VFX companies will also be reviewed. Assessment:A practical project demonstrating Computer Graphics and its integration into real world footage (70% element). A 2,500 written analysis of existing or emerging technologies, or workflows associated with Computer Graphics (30% element).
  • Compositing 2
    This module takes you into a professional studio workflow and is designed to develop team-working skills, associated professional communication, and the use of detailed technical terms expected by those working in the VFX industry.  Advanced workflows, node base compositing, scripting, interfaces and the management of a large volume of shots will take you into a challenging, but real world experience of the VFX pipeline. The module will also explore the development of custom made plug-ins, scripts, rendering, and so on, as used by the larger VFX houses to help create a style or look for a specific film. 2D and 3D workspaces, 3D camera tracking, as well as 3D particle systems will take you to the required advanced level of knowledge before you begin your final year and create a professional portfolio. Assessment:A body of contrasting short practical shots, length to be advised by the module supervisor (80% element). Technical supporting material, and/or a presentation of the work offering a critical analysis of the aesthetic and technical aspects (20% element).
  • CG and animation
    This module is concerned with the study of animation within a Computer Graphics environment. This is an opportunity to draw on knowledge previously gained and to now bring CG objects to life. Creating stylized or ‘as real’ animation requires the VFX artist to explore and understand the relationship between time, speed, and distance.  You’ll also explore real world dynamics, and principles connected with compressed time, anticipation, and action/reaction. You’ll be presented with, and deconstruct, the common useful algorithms and techniques used in making successful animation. Through producing a short sequence of shots you’ll be able to develop narratives using a range of different animation techniques. Assessment:A selection of animation shots/sequences in line with the subject matter highlighted in the brief (80% element). Supporting material to deconstruct the technical processes used. This may include pre-vis, filmed reference footage,  screen grabs, and written material (20% element).

Year 3

  • Motion capture and motion control
    This module develops a vocabulary around technologies associated with motion capture and their roles in creating VFX. Technology in VFX has developed rapidly over the last few years, and the use of motion capture has been recently popularised through its adoption in gaming, but also its use in feature films such as the portrayal of Gollum by the actor Andy Serkis in the ‘Lord of the Rings’ film trilogy. Motion capture suites use a combination of hardware and software and rely on an actor to bring the CG character or object to life. Motion control rigs play a very different but essential role in VFX, integrating mechanical and computer technology. Being able to replicate a movement time and time again is essential in creating ‘passes’ for Compositing. You’ll be able to access one or both of these technologies as part of the practical project. Assessment:Presentation of pre-vis, passes and final shots (70% element). Supporting material to show the processes behind the project. This may include research, screen grabs, photos and behind the scenes footage, and technical workflow documentation (30% element).
  • CG rigging and technical director
    This module builds upon the CG 1 and CG 2 modules, and is based upon Creative Skillset’s VFX handbook of the essential skills required by industry for VFX professionals (Skillset, 2015). Rigging controls the way a CG object can be manipulated, for example the arms and legs of a creature into realistic positions. It will be important to encourage real-world observation of movement, so you can take this knowledge into the virtual environment, using CG software. With such awareness of real world movement CG model joints can be manipulated to replicate real world action and body fluidity. The module will also look further at elements such as fluids, particles, collisions and cloth and, through the brief, will allow you flexibility to develop work in an area of interest associated with the module. Assessment:Presentation passes and final shots (70% element). Supporting material to illustrate the processes and solutions used. This can include screen grabs and technical workflow documentation (30% element).
  • Portfolio shared
    At the beginning of the third year it’s important to focus on your professional ambitions for life post-graduation. In this module, students from three courses will come together to form interdisciplinary collaborations. Drawing on previous learning, you’ll be guided through an interdisciplinary creative process in order to plan and create a collaborative piece of work in which your own practice can be developed, informed and enriched by the experience of working across disciplines. Assessment: Element 1 (80%): Practical project / Element 2 (20%): Reflective journal
  • Research paper
    The final year research paper gives you the opportunity to conduct original research in an area of your degree or field of interest. The research paper allows you to use any of the theories, topics and methods encountered on the course. You’ll manage your own learning under the guidance of an academic supervisor. Lectures will offer general advice and guidance on research methods and describe different ways of approaching and structuring the research paper. The way your own research paper is organised and structured is best decided in consultation with your supervisor. Assessment: 6,000-word research paper.
  • Portfolio for industry
    For this module you’ll be required to curate your best work, but will also be expected to produce and showcase an aspect of your practice that pushes the boundaries of knowledge in the VFX field. The portfolio of work is likely to be a contrasting mix of internal and external commissions, drawing on industry mentors, and should demonstrate creative and technical problem solving and development. The module allows you to create your own development plan, mentored by a suitable member of staff who has expertise in that area. In order to ensure work is of industry standard there will be as much liaison and mentoring from industry as possible. Consideration will also be given to the presentation of the work, including accompanying documentation, curation, and technical explanation. Assessment: A portfolio of work produced in negotiation with the supervisor (90% element), plus a 1,000 word critical evaluation of the project (10% element).


The range of industries using visual effects has grown rapidly over the last decade. Skilled visual effects creatives are increasingly in high demand to supply the fantasy landscapes and effects found in advanced digital film making, theatre, TV and the games industry. Well-known companies such as The Moving Picture Company, Framestore and Double Negative are constantly looking for recent graduates to bring into the ever expanding visual effects industry in the UK. 

A degree in visual effects can lead to an overwhelming choice in careers from VFX producer to animatronics to 3D modelling and mobile application development. Other possible routes include:

  • Digital design developer
  • Robotic
  • VFX producer
  • Compositor
  • Motion graphics artist
  • Digital matte painter
  • Runner
  • Animator
  • Effects technical director

LSBU Employability Service

We are University of the Year for Graduate Employment - The Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2018

LSBU is committed to supporting you develop your employability and succeed in getting a job after you have graduated. Your qualification will certainly help, but in a competitive market you also need to work on your employability, and on your career search.

As an LSBU student you have access to the Employability Service and its resources during your time here and for two years after you graduate.

Our Employability Service will support you in developing your skills, finding a job, interview techniques, work experience or a placement/internship, and will help you assess what you need to do to get the career you want at the end of your course. LSBU offers a comprehensive Employability Service, with a range of initiatives to complement your studies, including:

  • Direct engagement from employers who come in to network with students
  • Job Shop – daily drop in service to help with, tailoring CVs, cover letters and applications, sourcing online resource, mock interviews and general job searching. One to one appointments for further support also available
  • Mentoring and work shadowing schemes
  • Higher education achievement report - The HEAR is designed to encourage a more sophisticated approach to recording student achievement, which acknowledges fully the range of opportunities that LSBU offers to our students.
    It pulls into one certificate: Module grades, Course descriptions, Placements, LSBU verified extra-curricular activities
  • Employability workshops - delivered free to students all year round on a variety of related topics
  • Careers fairs throughout the year to really focus your thoughts on a career after university

Find out about any of these services by visiting our student employability page


The course encourages extra-curricular activity in it's third year, and you will be encouraged and supported in finding work within industry to help with the completion of the module 'Portfolio for Industry.'

The University works with industry partners to help place students, and in addition, you will also become a member of the LSBU Media Production Agency, which supports paid and unpaid work opportunities in the creative industries.


  • Film Studio and Soundstage

    Film Studio and Soundstage

    The Film Studio is a double-height room with a lighting grid, DMX lighting control, green screen backdrop, air conditioning, green room (for make-up and wardrobe) and sound isolation for use as a soundstage.

  • Grading Suites

    Grading Suites

    The Grading Suites have neutral wall colours and lighting to provide optimal conditions for the colourist. The premium suite (Grading Suite 1) includes a Dolby calibrated screen to ensure ideal conditions.

  • Screening Cinema

    Screening Cinema

    This 36 seat cinema features a 4K projector and 5.1 sound playback, and is ideal to preview production work before it goes out to the public.

  • Mac Lab

    Mac Lab

    The Elephant Studios at LSBU Mac Lab is fitted with Quad-Core and Dual GPU MacPros, available for digital media workshops and unsupervised student work.

  • Photography Studio

    Photography Studio

    The Photography Studio is a double-height space with a photography lighting grid, air conditioning, green room (for make-up and wardrobe) and two colourama separate systems with a range of backdrop options (including vinyl and paper).

  • Sound Studio

    Sound Studio

    The Sound Studio features a control and live room, ideal for post-production work, mixing and recording small bands. Both rooms are acoustically treated and isolated.

Teaching and learning

The new VFX facilities and our Media Centre are innovative, providing you with unrivalled opportunities for development as a creative technologies professional. You'll benefit from dedicated guidance by our experienced tutors who are at the forefront of VFX and creative technologies research. As a result, you'll have access to a substantial body of cutting-edge research, which will help foster your academic development.

Students work with the Moodle Virtual Learning Environment and are supported with e-learning.

Each semester follows a similar pattern of production and skills based modules, and a contextual module with additional support and tutorials. Each module is typically taught in four hour sessions consisting of production workshops, seminars and presentations.

Percentage of time spent in different learning activities
Lectures and seminars Self-directed learning
Year 1 27% 73%
Year 2 22% 78%
Year 3 22% 78%

Entry requirements

2018 Tariff

  • A Level BCC or;
  • BTEC National Diploma MMM or;
  • Access to HE qualifications with 9 Distinctions 36 Merits or;
  • Equivalent level 3 qualifications worth 106 UCAS points
  • Applicants must hold 5 GCSEs A-C including Maths and English or equivalent (reformed GCSEs grade 4 or above)
  • A portfolio of creative technologies work forms part of the application
  • We welcome qualifications from around the world. English language qualifications for international students: IELTS score of 6.0 or Cambridge Proficiency or Advanced Grade C.

How to apply

International (non Home/EU) applicants should follow our international how to apply guide.

Instructions for Home/EU applicants
Mode Duration Start date Application code Application method
3 years
Start date
Application code
Application method

All full-time undergraduate students apply to the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS) using the University's Institution Code L75. Full details of how to do this are supplied on our How to apply webpage for undergraduate students.

All part-time students should apply directly to London South Bank University and full details of how to do this are given on our undergraduate How to apply webpage.


Students should apply for accommodation at London South Bank University (LSBU) as soon as possible, once we have made an offer of a place on one of our academic courses. Read more about applying for accommodation at LSBU.


It's a good idea to think about how you'll pay university tuition and maintenance costs while you're still applying for a place to study. Remember – you don't need to wait for a confirmed place on a course to start applying for student finance. Read how to pay your fees as an undergraduate student.

Fees and funding

Fees are shown for new entrants to courses, for each individual year of a course, together with the total fee for all the years of a course. Continuing LSBU students should refer to the Finance section of our student portal, MyLSBU. Queries regarding fees should be directed to the Fees and Bursary Team on: +44 (0)20 7815 6181.

The fee shown is for entry 2018/19.
UK/EU fee: £9250International fee: £13125
AOS/LSBU code: 4628Session code: 1FS00
Total course fee:
UK/EU £27750
International £39375

For more information, including how and when to pay, see our fees and funding section for undergraduate students.

Possible fee changes

Current regulatory proposals suggest that institutions will be permitted to increase fee levels in line with inflation up to a specified fee cap. Specifically, LSBU may be permitted to increase its fees for new and existing Home and EU undergraduate students from 2017/18 onwards. The University reserves the right to increase its fees in line with changes to legislation, regulation and any governmental guidance or decisions.

The fees for international students are reviewed annually, and additionally the University reserves the right to increase tuition fees in line with inflation up to 4 per cent.


We offer students considerable financial help through scholarships, bursaries, charitable funds, loans and other financial support. Many of our scholarships are given as direct tuition fee discounts and we encourage all eligible students to apply for our Access Bursary. New home full-time undergraduate students meeting eligibility criteria could receive a £1,000 cash bursary by joining us in the 2017/18 academic year. Find out more about all our scholarships and fee discounts for undergraduate students.

International students

As well as being potentially eligible for our undergraduate scholarships, International students can also benefit from a range of specialist scholarships. Find out more about International scholarships.

Please check your fee status and whether you are considered a home, EU or international student for fee-paying purposes by reading the UKCISA regulations.

Case studies

Select a case study and read about practical project work, students' placement experiences, research projects, alumni career achievements and what it’s really like to study here from the student perspective.

  • Film Studio and Soundstage

    Film Studio and Soundstage

    The Film Studio is a double-height room with a lighting grid, DMX lighting control, green screen backdrop, air conditioning, green room (for make-up and wardrobe) and sound isolation for use as a soundstage.

  • Editing Suites

    Editing Suites

    The seven Editing Suites are ideal for editing video, sound and recording quick voice-overs. All suites are networked with ultra-fast 10Gb/s network, making it possible to edit and grade, whilst sharing production files at speed.

Prepare to start

We help our students prepare for university even before the semester starts. To find out when you should apply for your LSBU accommodation or student finance read the How to apply tab for this course.

Applicant Open Days

To help you and your family feel confident about your university choice we run Applicant Open Days. These are held at subject level so students start getting to know each other and the academic staff who will be teaching them. These events are for applicants only and as an applicant you would receive an email invitation to attend the relevant event for your subject.

Enrolment and Induction

Enrolment takes place before you start your course. On completing the process, new students formally join the University. Enrolment consists of two stages: online, and your face-to-face enrolment meeting. The online process is an online data gathering exercise that you will complete yourself, then you will be invited to your face-to-face enrolment meeting.

In September, applicants who have accepted an unconditional offer to study at LSBU will be sent details of induction, which is when they are welcomed to the University and their School. Induction helps you get the best out of your university experience, and makes sure you have all the tools to succeed in your studies.

Read more about Enrolment and Induction.

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Contact information

Course Enquiries - UK/EU

Tel: 0800 923 8888

Tel: +44 (0) 20 7815 6100

Get in touch

Course Enquiries - International

Tel: +44 (0) 20 7815 6189

Get in touch
Upcoming events
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