BDes (Hons) Special Effects Modelmaking for Film and Television with foundation year

Tricking our minds into believing the unreal often relies on a hint of the real – genuine models and props provide anchors that help audiences suspend disbelief. Our Special Effects Modelmaking for Film and Television with foundation year course offers industry-experienced staff and fantastic facilities, ready for you to learn specialist model and prop-making skills and techniques.

Key information

Award:

BDes (Hons)

Mode of Study:

Full-time

Duration:

4 years

Location:

The University of Bolton

UCAS points:

48

UCAS code:

W631

Start date:

21/09/2020

Course Details

From alien spaceships to samurai swords, and body parts to ancient statues, special and visual effects uses physical artefacts to inject reality into computer generated action, as well as provide a sense of place, time and atmosphere for actors and audiences. Our BSc (Hons) Special Effects Modelmaking for Film and Television with foundation year course is designed to train the talented artists and craftspeople this highly creative industry needs.

The foundation year is the first year of this degree, offering an excellent grounding in the fundamentals of art and design practice. We’ll support you to develop skills in fine art and concepting, and working in 2D and 3D using different media and materials. It is designed to equip you for degree level study.

With this preparation, you’ll be ready to begin our intensely practical education in special effects modelmaking. We’ll encourage you to experiment with materials and tools, and practice contemporary and long-established modelmaking techniques. We’ll support you as you learn the principles of scale representation and how to create bigatures. We’ll lead you in an exploration of how models and props can combine with 3D computer graphics to create spectacular on-screen environments.

Highlights
  • You don’t have to worry about the cost of the tools and materials needed to complete your studies – we provide these for you. This means you can concentrate on learning how to use expensive industry-standard materials, like silicones and resins, rather than worrying about how you are going to pay for them!
  • Neill Gorton, multi-award winning artist/designer and founder of the world-renowned Millennium FX Company, is our Visiting Professor of Special Effects. His astonishing range of professional experience, knowledge of cutting-edge techniques and industry contacts brings enormous benefits.
  • You’ll have access to our fantastic range of facilities, including our casting and moulding room, boutique film studio, 3D workshop, heavy engineering and woodworking facilities, and composites laboratories.
  • We’re committed to helping develop your employability and career network. You’ll be encouraged to attend guest lectures that enhance your learning and help you make contacts in the industry. For instance, the modelmaking masters Artem have recently shared their expertise with students on our SVFX courses.
  • Alongside your special effects modelmaking skills and knowledge, we’ll support you to develop a broader understanding of production design, including concepting, cinematography and composition. This will help you appreciate the roles, skills and expectations of other professionals working in the industry.
  • We’ll encourage you to research, analyse, design and develop modelmaking techniques so that you can take an idea from a brief or script scene and find the most time-efficient, cost-effective and visually impressive way to turn that vision into reality.
Key Features
  • The course is designed in collaboration with professional special effects modelmaking designers and artists. This ensures that the content is industry-relevant and includes the latest techniques, materials and innovations.
  • We’ll help and support you to develop a portfolio of work/show reel that demonstrates your skills in readiness to impress potential employers.
  • Course assignments and projects mimic industry pipelines and standards so your experience is a realistic preparation for a career in special effects modelmaking.
  • Our dedicated staff team have a wide range of professional experience, industry knowledge, technical expertise and academic credentials, offering you a variety of perspectives and broadening your horizons.
  • We offer a warm and friendly environment for your studies, with relatively small class sizes, purpose-built teaching facilities, and excellent student support and library services.
  • We prefer to keep lecture and practical classes relatively small, so that you have plenty of opportunities to us ask questions and get individual help, as well as benefit from the ideas and support offered by your classmates.

  • 48 UCAS points. Please see our guide to the UCAS Tariff for examples of how to achieve these points.
  • Any subjects are acceptable at Level 3. You should also have five GCSEs at grade C or above or grade 4 to 9 (or equivalent) in English and Mathematics.
  • You'll be required to attend for interview and provide a portfolio of appropriate work.
  • The quality of the portfolio/interview is the primary basis on which applicants are selected; therefore special consideration will be given to applicants without the above qualifications who have a strong portfolio.
  • If English isn’t your first language you’ll also need IELTS 6.0 with no less than 5.5 in any band (or equivalent). We also accept a range of other English language qualifications – please visit our English Language Requirements web page for more details.

Want some reassurance or advice? Speak to one of our advisors. Email us at enquiries@bolton.ac.uk or call us on +44 (0)1204 903 903.

Where changes are made to material information contained in this course description or a decision is taken to suspend a course between the offer of admissions and enrolment, we will inform applicants at the earliest possible opportunity and will outline the various options available to the applicant.


As a graduate of this course you’ll be able to demonstrate and combine creative skills with high levels of technical ability and will design, create and produce 3D scale models and miniatures for use on film and television productions.

You’ll possess a range of practical hand skills and transferable skills such as utilising a range of different materials, sculpting and modelling techniques, using a range of tools and computer-assisted equipment, working with accuracy and attention to detail, developing ideas and concepts with others, team work, working to deadlines and project management. You’ll also have an eye for detail, the ability to understand scale, patience and the ability to focus for long periods of time.

What can I do with this qualification?

Most modelmakers are self-employed and work on a project-by-project basis. Freelance modelmakers can progress by building up their businesses or by becoming agents for other modelmakers.

Modelmakers create models that bring to life the ideas of production designers, props masters or the visual special effects team. Talented modelmakers are still very much in demand, even with the rise of CGI in film and TV special effects.

Alternative career options

As well as film and television, other clients who employ modelmakers include engineers, designers, architects, advertising companies and museums. Graduates can also use the qualification to enter a range of other careers, and for some of these roles, both relevant experience and postgraduate study is required. Other industries and careers include:

  • Film production
  • Aviation
  • Motor industry
  • Civil engineering
  • Manufacturing
  • Advertising and marketing
  • Animation
  • Games design and production
  • Teaching
  • Product design
  • Arts management

Course fees
Home EU Fees Year of study Total
Entry year2020/212021/222022/232023/242024/25
2020£9,250£9,250£9,250£9,250-£37,000
International Year of study Total
Entry year2020/212021/222022/232023/242024/25
2020£9,250£12,450£12,450£12,450-£46,600

The fees for a student’s course of study will be set for the normal duration of that course subject only to inflationary increases – measured by the Consumer Price Index (CPI) recorded in March each year to take effect for subsequent start dates.

The university is currently awaiting government guidelines as to EU fee charges for students commencing study in 2020/2021.

UK undergraduate tuition fees are subject to UK government approval and are subject to the outcome of the Teaching Excellence Framework.

Bursaries

Click here for more information about the scholarships and bursaries available to University of Bolton undergraduate students.


September start

Please apply through UCAS (the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service) for September entry.

The online application form and guidance notes are available on the UCAS website.

You can apply for up to 5 courses through UCAS (at the same or different institutions) for a fee of £24. Alternatively, if you only wish to apply for a single course at a single institution then a reduced applicant's fee of £13 is applicable.

You will need the following information to complete your UCAS application form:

  • Institution Code Name: BOLTN

  • Institution Code Number: B44

UCAS - Universities and Colleges Admissions Service

Tel: 0870 1122211
Web: www.ucas.com

The University welcomes applications from international students from all over the world. We try to make the application process as simple and as fast as possible for our international applicants.

How you apply is determined by your current location and what you are choosing to study:

  1. Apply direct to the University. Links for the next available intakes of this course are shown below. Please click the link which will direct you to the online application form. Please read the user guidance before completing this.
  2. Apply via one of our approved in-country referral partners. A list of our partners may be found on the International pages of this website.
  3. Apply via UCAS for courses starting in September only – visit www.ucas.com.

Should you have any queries please contact the International Team on +44 (0) 1204 903110 or email international@bolton.ac.uk

University of Bolton Group Partners

Bolton College
University Technical College
Alliance Learning
University of Bolton

The University welcomes applications from our group partners and progressing students so we try to make our application process as simple and as fast as possible. By selecting the link for your chosen course from the list shown below you will be taken directly to our online application form. Please read the user guidance before completing this and ensure you upload all supporting documents such as certificates and your personal statement when you apply.

Please ensure when you are asked to add a contact email address you add your college/university email account address as well as your personal address. If you do not add your college address as your contact address we will be unable to identify you as a partner and you will be referred to apply via UCAS, which incurs a cost.

We look forward to receiving your application and you continuing your academic journey with us!


We use a wide variety of teaching and learning methods to help you achieve your potential, and you can expect our blended style to include lectures, seminars, tutorials and critiques, self-directed learning, e-learning and laboratory/workshop sessions, as well as online learning.

Lectures are used to introduce the core course content, while seminars allow you to explore subjects in greater detail. Practical skills and techniques are gained through technical introduction and support, workshop sessions, demonstrations and activity-based assignments. Tutorials allow you to ask any questions you have, ensuring you understand the topics covered in lectures and workshop sessions.

Guest lectures and visits give you opportunities to engage with and learn from respected professionals working in the special effects arena. Our highly practical and project-based approach promotes active learning, and our specialist facilities create realistic industry-like learning environments. Our project modules encourage you to interact and collaborate with students specialising in both your own and other areas of special and visual effects, helping to give you a taste of working on group and multidisciplinary projects.

Personal and independent study is essential and you should expect to devote a significant amount of time to activities such as project work, background reading, preparation for seminars and tutorials, research, design and creative thought.

In terms of assessment, you can expect assignments, projects, case study, quizzes, interviews and presentations. As far as possible, we set project-based coursework that simulates professional situations. These pieces contribute to your final mark and allow you to demonstrate that you’ve met the learning outcomes. The course doesn’t include formal examinations.

Modules

The modules listed below may be a mixture of compulsory and optional. You may not have the opportunity to study all the modules shown as part of the course.

  • Media and Materiality in Art and Design
  • 2D Art and Design
  • 3D Art and Design
  • Introduction to Art and Design Practice and Study
  • Specialist Art and Design Practice
  • Scholarship
  • 3D Physical Processes
  • Concepting
  • Introduction to Mould-making
  • Introduction to FX Modelmaking
  • Introduction to 3D CG
  • Employability and Entrepreneurial Skills
  • Advanced 3D Physical Processes
  • Portfolio Project
  • Multi Year Group FX Project 1
  • Advanced Mould-Making
  • History and Replication
  • Research
  • Advanced FX Modelmaking
  • Bigature Modelmaking
  • Multi Year Group FX Project 2
  • Major Project
Assessment methods
LevelAssesment method
Level oneCoursework 97%, Practical exams 3%
Level twoCoursework 100%
Level threeCoursework 100%
Level fourCoursework 100%
Learning activities
LevelLearning activity
Level oneGuided independent study 58%, Scheduled learning and teaching activities 42%
Level twoGuided independent study 61%, Scheduled learning and teaching activities 39%
Level threeGuided independent study 60%, Scheduled learning and teaching activities 40%
Level fourGuided independent study 63%, Scheduled learning and teaching activities 37%

Disclaimer

The university will use all reasonable endeavours to deliver your course as described in its published material and the programme specification for the academic year in which you begin your course. The university considers changes to courses very carefully and the university will minimise any changes. Please be aware that our courses are subject to review on an ongoing basis and changes may be necessary due to legitimate staffing, financial, regulatory and academic reasons. The content of course modules and mode of associated assessments may be updated on an annual basis. This is to ensure that all modules are up-to-date and responsive to employment and sector needs. The published course material and the programme specification contain indicative ‘optional modules’ that may be subject to change due to circumstances outside of our control. For this reason, we cannot guarantee to run any specific optional module.

The academic staff detailed above teach across a range of courses in this subject area and may not teach on this course specifically.

Programme Contacts

Jim Costello
Programme Leader

J.Costello@bolton.ac.uk

+44 (0)1204 903451

Enquiry Team
University of Bolton

enquiries@bolton.ac.uk

+44 (0)1204 903903

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Postgraduate Options

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