BDes (Hons) Special Effects Modelmaking for Film and Television

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 degree offers industry-experienced staff and fantastic facilities, ready for you to learn specialist model and prop-making skills and techniques.

BDes (Hons) Special Effects Modelmaking for Film and Television

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 Special Effects Modelmaking for Film and Television degree is designed to train the talented artists and craftspeople this highly creative industry needs. We focus on preparing you for a career as a skilled artisan, creating visually stunning pieces that help bring on-screen productions to life.

We offer an 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.

This highly creative industry demands transferable skills too – communication, project and time management, team-working and entrepreneurship are all needed for success in this often freelance profession. We aim to support you to develop these attributes, alongside the imagination, flair and curiosity that will enable you to help make the unbelievable, believable.

  • UCAS points: 104
  • Location: The University of Bolton
  • Award: BDes (Hons)
  • UCAS code: W630
  • Duration: 3 years

Course 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 your own personal bench space and locker in our dedicated special effects studio, providing a secure base for your studies. You’ll also 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.

Entry requirements

  • UCAS points: 104
  • Location: The University of Bolton
  • Award: BDes (Hons)
  • UCAS code: W630
  • Duration: 3 years

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) including English Language and Mathematics.

Career opportunities

A graduate of this course will 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 will develop 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 will also develop 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

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

Professional recognition

Fees & funding

Home/EU fees

  Year of study Total
Entry year 2019/202020/212021/222022/23
2019/20 £9,250£9,250£9,250-£27,750
2020/21 -nullnullnullnull

International fees

  Year of study Total
Entry year 2019/202020/212021/222022/23
2019/20 £12,450£12,450£12,450-£37,350
2020/21 -nullnullnullnull

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 2019/20.

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

No hidden extras

  • Any additional costs associated with the Research Project module beyond the £100 per student allocated amount. The additional cost is dependant upon the nature and scope of the individual project (2019-20)
  • Any additional costs associated with the Final Major Project module beyond the £200 per student allocated amount. The additional cost is dependant upon the nature and scope of the individual project (2019-20)
  • Any equipment required to process materials not normally offered as part of the course. (2019-20)
  • Trips to any event not required as part of the curriculum, such as trade events, exhibitions, overseas trips, etc. (2019-20)
  • Although we provide pens for specific use on the Cintiq drawing tablets during class time, you may wish to purchase your own pen to use outside of normal class time should you wish to. (2019-20)

How to apply

Home/EU

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

International

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.

This course is not currently accepting online applications

Please contact Admissions by telephone on 01204 903903 or email enquiries@bolton.ac.uk

Admissions
University of Bolton
Deane Road
Bolton, BL3 5AB
United Kingdom

Tel: 01204 903903
Email: enquiries@bolton.ac.uk

Teaching & assessment

Modules

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

  • 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

Teaching, learning and assessment

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.

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. Please be aware that our courses are subject to review on an ongoing basis. 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.


Assessment methods

Level Assessment method
Level One Coursework (100%)
Level Two Coursework (100%)
Level Three Coursework (100%)

Learning activities

Level Learning activity
Level One Guided independent study (61%), Scheduled learning and teaching activities (39%)
Level Two Guided independent study (60%), Scheduled learning and teaching activities (40%)
Level Three Guided independent study (63%), Scheduled learning and teaching activities (37%)

Contact The University

Key facts

  • UCAS code:
    W630
  • Course type:
    Full-time
  • Location:
    The University of Bolton
  • Award:
    BDes (Hons)
  • UCAS points:
    104
  • Duration:
    3 years

Contact us

Jim Costello
Programme Leader
Email: J.Costello@bolton.ac.uk
Telephone: +44 (0)1204 903451

Enquiry Team
Enquiry Team
Email: enquiries@bolton.ac.uk
Telephone: +44 (0)1204 903903