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womble1234
06-10-2009, 08:25 AM
Hey everyone,
I'm quitting my current job in arch-vis to go back to university this september at the NCAA in Bournemouth and just had a couple of questions about the course if anyone here is currently on it or has done it in the past.

1. How is the workload? I'm no stranger to working weekends or long hours but cash might be an issue for me without a job so I was hoping to either take on some freelance or get a bar job or something similiar. I studied Architectural Design for my undergraduate and we spent 12 hours a day, 7 days a week in the design studio, does the Digital Effects MA require as much of a time investment? (I understand that with these courses you get what you put in and you could probably spend your life in the computer lab, but what would you say are the reasonable hours required).

2. How are the workstations? Someone told me to brush up on Ubuntu and Houdini so I've been toying around with those, are the workstations up to scratch or is there a mad rush every time there is rendering to be done?

3. How do you find the course content?

4. How do you find Bournemouth as a city?

5. Is there anything you recomend I learn/research/buy before starting the course? Anything that you wish you had known before you started there?

Cheers guys,
Appreciated.
Gary

behn
06-11-2009, 02:02 AM
I'm in a similar position as you, I'm a recent graduate thinking of doing the Digital Effects MA depending on a few things. For me the cost is also an issue, I'v recently been comparing it to taking classes at escape studios etc since the commitment to a full masters course is quite alot and the impact on your showreel is, at the end of the day, what matters!

I do have a friend there studying an MA in animation I belive, he rates it highly and is producing some quality work. They seem to be producing alot of work with Houdini / renderman and have just about every software programme you could need, so I wouldn't worry about that!

Fumetsu
06-11-2009, 06:37 AM
Personally, I think It's a great place to learn. Although I did not go there, A friend of mine graduated from their bachelors program last year and she enjoyed it. Unfortunately, I don't know much about how things are inside the campus.

Are you aware of the NCCA youtube channel? I have seen some very impressive work from the NCCA students. http://www.youtube.com/user/NCCADigitalFX

They mentioned that houdini is one of the main tools used there, But I am sure you will have access to other major programs as well.

Good luck, I hope an NCCA student can shed some light on your questions!

christo78
06-11-2009, 03:48 PM
I did the MA in computer animation at Bournemouth back in 2003/2004 - it was really good.

1.The workload was pretty heavy if you going from knowing almost nothing about 3D like I was. Obviously it depends exactly what your final project is but expect to be working pretty much 14 hour days towards the end 6/7 days a week. That was the hardest I worked during the course. I didn't spend all my time in the labs, it was probably evenly split beween working at home and being at the university. When I was there, there weren't quite enough computers for everyone so you did have to fight over computers a bit espeicially for rendering. I believe they've reduced the number of people now.

2.All the animation machines were DELL precisions with XP and XSI, I think Effects concentrated on Houdini and the MSc worked in Maya, obviously this could be all different now

3.The course content was really balanced, quite a bit of creative stuff, life drawing etc through to Maths for computer graphics.

4. Bournemouth as a place is amazing - I work in London now and miss the laid back lifestyle quite a lot.

5. Before you go I would recommend doing a small personal project in whatever software you know already and try to cover as many areas as possible ie lighting, texturing, compositing, modelling, rigging so that you get an idea of what you're good at/like doing most. I found the hardest thing was deciding exactly what i wanted to do - it really helps in this industry to be a specialist

I work at pasion pictures at the moment doing character rigging and simulation stuff. before that I was at EA games where I was a generalist.

Hope this helps - best of luck in Bournemouth!

deatheater4ever
07-05-2009, 07:36 AM
( I already have created a thread in the Courses and Schools sections )


Hi Everyone ,

My name is Gaurav and I am thinking of attending the Digital Effects Course ( offered as MA ) at Bournemouth University .... They teach a wide variety of software's like Real Flow , PF Track , Nuke , Shake .... and I 'm familiar with just Maya and ZBrush ....

Is it important to be very familiar with all the software's that they teach before I go there ? Like maybe get Personal Learning Editions of each software's to be familiar with them ....

My one great fear is that there might be other students there who would already know many other programs more that I do . I am sure there would be . I do not wish to feel left behind as they might get on creating artwork and effects while I am still exploring the software ...

So I have a question ... How many of you were familiar with a multitude of 3d packages and compositing softwares before you got into proper college level 3d education ??

mattmos
07-05-2009, 03:05 PM
I went to bournemouth to do the digital effects MA with absolutely zero experience of 3d apps (back in 2002) and while I felt like I was playing catch up for a few months I don't think it was detrimental long term - the course gives everyone a decent grounding. I even made things worse for myself by switching to the character animation classes after a month and starting again with xsi...

That said it might be worth playing with houdini a little as its such a different app to maya that if you go in with a maya mindset then you won't be open to all houdini has to offer. However trying to compare yourself to other students with vastly different backgrounds won't be that helpful - rather share any app specific knowledge you have and use other people's specialist knowledge to help you grow. Try to make it a communal experience rather than a competition.

Sponce
07-05-2009, 03:13 PM
Hey everyone,
I'm quitting my current job in arch-vis to go back to university this september at the NCAA in Bournemouth and just had a couple of questions about the course if anyone here is currently on it or has done it in the past.

1. How is the workload? I'm no stranger to working weekends or long hours but cash might be an issue for me without a job so I was hoping to either take on some freelance or get a bar job or something similiar. I studied Architectural Design for my undergraduate and we spent 12 hours a day, 7 days a week in the design studio, does the Digital Effects MA require as much of a time investment? (I understand that with these courses you get what you put in and you could probably spend your life in the computer lab, but what would you say are the reasonable hours required).

2. How are the workstations? Someone told me to brush up on Ubuntu and Houdini so I've been toying around with those, are the workstations up to scratch or is there a mad rush every time there is rendering to be done?

3. How do you find the course content?

4. How do you find Bournemouth as a city?

5. Is there anything you recomend I learn/research/buy before starting the course? Anything that you wish you had known before you started there?The workload is pretty high I think, I always see students late at night doing work. Best to talk to the students. There's a Facebook group. Alternatively I could pass on your questions to a student for you.

The workstations and network is good, there's a renderfarm available for RenderMan right now. Pretty decent screens and studios for the MA students in their current studio. There are being some changes to the course so I'm not sure where you'll be located in the media school. Ubuntu and Houdini is pretty standard, but there's plenty of Macs and a handful of Windows PCs in the media school you have access to for Final Cut, After Effect, XSI, Photoshop etc. It's rare that I think "why don't we have this?".

I'm on the BA rather than the MA, best to ask students directly.

Bournemouth's nice, the beach is great. Plenty of nightlife, there's a bunch of accomodation within 20 minutes walk of the university in addition to halls. There's plenty of bars if you're looking for work, I haven't had much luck looking for more shelf stacking jobs. Only a handful of students on the BA have jobs, I'm not sure about the MA- definitely ask students on this. The media school is pretty nice, the library could be better for animators but there's plenty of resources available online and shared amongst students.

http://www.facebook.com/home.php#/group.php?gid=27141755416 I'm sure they won't mind you messaging them if you want to know more about the atmosphere. With regard to any preperation it might be best to ask the course boss Phillip Spicer.
Try to make it a communal experience rather than a competition.I completely agree with this, helping each other is really part of the culture at Bournemouth I've found.

deatheater4ever
07-05-2009, 07:36 PM
Thanks a lot MattMos and Sponce ,

I could'nt agree more on what you said about communal experience ......

Sponce , I visited the Facebook link and asked someone about the course .... hope to get a reply soon .... will post it here as I get it
Really thanks for the link ....

Lemme see now how I can work out the fees and funding with my Dad .... The MA Digital Effects has some great advantages like being a degree course , and lots of softwares etc ...

And it's more VFX oriented than the VFS course .....

razorcd
09-07-2009, 08:33 PM
Does anybody know how many people apply for the 3 NCCA Postgraduate courses and how many are accepted?

http://ncca.bournemouth.ac.uk/courses/

I am thinking to apply but my situation is a little complicated so I really need to know what my chances are.

Thanks

whalerider
09-08-2009, 01:06 AM
last year each masters program accepted about 20 people.

whalerider
09-08-2009, 02:30 AM
for Digital Effects - definitely get familiar with Linux (Ubuntu) and Houdini.
sidefx.com has a catalog of all training for Houdini.
they have a lot of free tutorials and video masterclasses.
there are also books and training videos.
the best deal from the videos is 3dbuzz.com - for $35/mo you got access to dozens of hours of Houdini training, plus even more for Maya and Max.
the streaming video resolution is not great, but considering the amount of content it's still a steal.

don't ditch Maya completely, though. when you talk to any big studio in London they say that they have a lot more Maya seats. to get a Houdini job straight out of school you'll have to impress them a lot.

scripting skills go a long way to make you marketable if you want to be an f/x artist/TD.

quite a few of the Digital Effects students focus on compositing, maybe because it's easier to start as roto/matchmover than as effects junior TD.

Realflow - they have licenses, but don't teach it. it's up to you to learn on your own. Same with Massive.

razorcd
09-08-2009, 04:39 PM
Thanks for the fast replay whalerider.
But do you know how many APPLY for the MA ? From where they select only 20 people. Or there is enough room for everybody?

Yes , this is what I intend to do. Learn the fundamentals of every software used there before I start the MA.

whalerider
09-09-2009, 12:01 AM
No, I don't know how many people apply.
If you want to learn the fundamentals of every piece of software they use it may take you a year or two. First you need to figure out what you're going to specialize in - depends on your strengths, what you like to do and feel can do well, is that kind of skill in demand...They you learn the fundamentals of the most commonly used software for that kind of job. Unless you want to be a generalist - you'll have average knowledge in many areas, but won't be really good in any one area. That may get you a job in a small/medium shop, but to get a job in one of the big shops that do the features you need to be a specialist.

Thanks for the fast replay whalerider.
But do you know how many APPLY for the MA ? From where they select only 20 people. Or there is enough room for everybody?

Yes , this is what I intend to do. Learn the fundamentals of every software used there before I start the MA.

praburaj
09-09-2009, 08:40 AM
Hi all,

I was happy to c this thread... I was looking for the thread which discuss about Bournemouth Uni... Courses,life etc...

Is Bournemouth univ is a right place to take a masters program in CG...
Is it a right place for international students....
How about the placements when we complete the course...
Im quite satisfied with the sylubus they follow... That was the main reason im looking for Bournemouth univ....
Im comparing BU with VFS... BU is not that grate in creative side but grate in technical side am i right...

razorcd
09-10-2009, 08:38 AM
whalerider: I see your point. My strongest skill would be hard surface modeling/texturing so a career as environment/vehicle artist would be perfect. Not sure if the Computer Animation MA is good for this as they teach many other stuff too. And I want to learn something more complicated so I would be confident that I have an important and hard to get job. Not that env artist is not important, but there are already so many people doing it ... just worries me.



praburaj: I made a lot of research last few months on what Uni to chose and BU is one of the best. There is Teesside that convinced me too.

You can find a list of Unis here: http://forums.cgsociety.org/showthread.php?f=2&t=69427

Not sure how things work for non UE students but you can find all information on their webpage. As far as comparing BU with VFS you are not the first I've seen saying that BU is more technical.

There are many good Unis in US and UK, I would suggest to search on YouTube for MA projects animations from every Uni and compare that.

gl

whalerider
09-16-2009, 06:52 PM
Now that Bournemouth is Side Effects-accredited school and a bunch of people did their masters projects using Houdini, Side Effects offers internships for BU graduates in both Toronto (where they are based) and in Santa Monica (where the biggest US clients are).
I think a quick path to a career as a visual effects artist is to become a Side Effects intern - especially if you are in Santa Monica the big shops like Digital Domain, Sony Imageworks, and Rhythm & Hues will hire you very quickly. You will be working for one of the best vfx companies in the world, won't have to start in the industry by doing less-than-exciting work like matchmoving (a lot of school grads don't start in effects), and will be getting paid good money - the best salaries in the industry in general are in the US West Coast, especially if you have highly sought skills like Houdini. London may have a lot of work right now, but very few opportunities to start in Houdini and the starting salaries are such that initially you'll barely cover your rent and living expenses.

I think you need to be authorized to work in US/Canada to get one of these internships, so the biggest beneficiaries are Americans/Canadians. It's still a deal to come from the US/Canada to study in the UK though - tuition is less than half what it is in the US, so even if you include rent, food, etc. it's still cheaper to study in the UK than in North America.

Just a little piece of "insider" advice.

praburaj
09-17-2009, 07:00 AM
Hi whalerider,

I had a plan to do masters in BU (Msc-CAVE)... Its late for me to join in oct-2009... Is there any intake in jan-2010... Actually i was impressed by the syllabus wht thy have for Msc-CAVE.... Im from india is it possible for me to get internship in side-effects... Or get any opportunity to work in big studios.... when i complete my masters in BU...

I hope you are the student of BU Msc-CAVE course so u might be very clear with these...
Is there any difference in MA and MSC when we look for job after completing course...

whalerider
09-17-2009, 12:33 PM
There is no January intake for the MSc program, same with the other CG masters programs at the NCCA. You'll have to wait until next October. But you can apply as soon as you want. The sooner you apply, the sooner you'll know if you are accepted or not.
Another benefit is that you can arrange accomodation earlier. If they accept you, I suggest you get a studio in the Student Village. It's on campus, so your flat is 1-2 mins walk from the Media School building and it's the best deal in my opinion - the studios are quite nice for the price you have to pay. It's in a quiet area and the nearest shopping area is 15 mins walk away.

You can get an internship at Side Effects, it does not matter which program you attend, all that matters is that you can create good-looking CG using Houdini.
I asked the coordinator at Side Effects and it turned out that you don't need to be an American or Canadian to become an intern in Santa Monica (Los Angeles). If they choose you to become their intern, they'll provide the documentation you need to get a J-1 visa. Once the internship is over and local companies are interested in you, they may sponsor you for a work visa, although it won't be easy if you don't have prior industry experience. But if they decide you are really talented and want to hire you, they'll do what's necessary.

The other alternative is to try to get a job in London (which has a lot of work right now). With a masters degree you are allowed to stay in the UK and work for a certain period of time, it's called post-study work (PSW).

There is no difference between MA and MSc when you look for work. In general the graduates of the MADE program try to become either compositors or visual effects artists, but there are exceptions, like some people going after environmental artist or matte painting jobs. The same with the MSc - some people go after software jobs (pipeline TD, software developer, R&D), some want to be visual effects artists, some want to do lighting & rendering. You reel has to signal to the company what you want to do. If you want a job in a big studio, you may want to specialize in 1-2 related areas and show them work from these areas. For example areas that tend to go together are effects & effects R&D, or effects & scripting, or lighting & rendering, or matchmoving & compositing.

praburaj
09-17-2009, 01:12 PM
Thanx whalerider,

Thanx for ur guides and information, I will apply for the course as soon as possible...
I do have industrial experience of 1 year 6 months and still counting... I am Maya user and do scripting for several DCC tools... Im in to the technical side of the CG industry and my bachelor degree on Information Technology... That is the reason this MSCAVE course suited for me...

I don't have experience on openGL and houdini... If i learn those will it help me in the course any way....

whalerider
09-17-2009, 04:14 PM
If you want to be effects artist, start learning Houdini and keep learning Maya effects. Also, start learning Python - used for general scripting and in all major 3D and compositing packages,
and MEL - it's used a lot with Maya.

Also, get familiar with C++ - it takes a long time to learn it really well, but you don't need to, unless you plan to become a software/R&D developer. Just learn the basics.

OpenGL - there is only 1 project in the MSc course that uses C++/OpenGL, it's around the midpoint of the program, so you don't need to worry about it right away. The lectures for the course will teach you plenty, and you can learn more on the web - there are tons of free OpenGL tutorials.
Plus, OpenGL is used mostly by developers - in the gaming industry or in the R&D departments of the vfx shops.

ainsleydonnelly
09-19-2009, 05:19 PM
Hey Gary, Ainsley here, funny seeing you here. Well I think you are doing the best thing. I studied the MA at Bournemouth (though 13 years ago now!). At the time, all we had was an animation scripting language programme, so obviously a bit different. However, the course is great, as it is well recognised in the film industry. I think you would be exeptional there, and it would definitely lead to bigger and better things. Word of warning though, the MA was very intense and I often found myself working late and some weekends. The only thing I regret from the course was that I did it straight after my BA, and was not really prepared when it came to my final project - I had to produce an animation, and I am no storyteller, so I wasn't really given enough guidance as what to do. I think if I had just worked on an already good storyline then it would have helped me. All I wanted from the course was to show that I was technically good and was able to work from storyboards, which in film is what happens anyway.
Anyway I had the pleasure working with you at Glo and learned a few things from you.

Bournemouth is increadibly nice by the way, had a fantastic time there, and lived there for a couple of years after my MA.

All the Best,
Ainsley Donnelly

citizenvin
09-23-2009, 11:14 AM
Hi ainsley, nice to meet you.. i am vinodh from india. i am planning to do 3danimation MA pd @ bournemouth university.. i have a basic knowledge in 3danimation.. as i completed my diploma in maya..

but i need to know about the course and teaching@bournemouth.. next intake i am joining.. sep2010. how about the course work content for 3danimation which software mainly used.. heard soft image/xsi..

is it possible that we can get into studio with our final project. and then were u working now.. can you plz guide me..

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