Written by Patrycja
Hello, my name is Patrycja and I’m from Poland. I’m a first year BA (Hons) Computer Animation Art and Design student. Today I want to answer the question that I am frequently asked:
What’s it like to study Computer Animation at BU?
First of all, for me it is great! It is a lot of fun. It involves drawing, bringing things to life and a lot of creativity. I really like my fellow animation students and I love studying computer animation, but I have to admit that it can also be quite demanding; even frustrating and stressful sometimes, but only if you are a picky perfectionist like I am and want your assignments to be flawless.
What modules do you have and what exactly do you do there?
We have had three modules per semester in the first and second semester. The subjects are actually really cool and interesting. Okay, there were some parts of some subjects that I didn’t enjoy as much, but in general I had a great time and it is impossible to like everything all the time.
So far we have had storytelling seminars and workshops where we were inventing the craziest stories ever (some of them based on uni experiences.) We also studied the basics of visual effects. That involved struggling for photorealism, soda cans, and sometimes crashing Maya software which can be a very interesting but time-consuming mixture. On this module we were learning the production tools, and the other part of it was Python programming. I personally loved Python, but not everyone was keen on it as we are the artistic side of computer animation at BU. Not all of us love maths and numbers and so on, and the programming side is more for Technical Effects students. The last module in my first semester was the Fundamentals of Design which contained life drawing workshops, some theory lectures, and Photoshop workshops. I personally enjoyed the life drawing part the most, so I was very happy that we still had it in the second semester.
In my second semester, we had very interactive and engaging design lectures. They seemed scary at the beginning because we had to speak up in front of everyone and be very active, but we got used to it and learned a lot. We also had design workshops where we were creating concept art and working on storyboards, among other things.
We had character pipeline workshops which can be quite demanding but very rewarding and interesting. For this module we created our own animated 3D characters. We picked a character model, rigged it (made it moveable), animated it and did a lot of other steps to make a final short video. Some of us chose a well-known character (I chose Pink Panther), and some people chose lesser-known or even their own original characters. We also studied Moving Image Theory and Practice, which introduced us to the history of film and various forms of animation, but also dabbled in photography and many different things.
Are the assignments interesting or do people die of boredom doing them?
Yes, the assignments are mostly very interesting but also time consuming, so good time organisation and independence is required. I do not recommend pulling all-nighters before deadlines! Most of the assignments are practical so you learn by doing them.
How do you spent most of your time?
The majority of my time is spent in Weymouth House Animation Labs. Really, it is like a second (or rather third) home for me. I spend many, many hours every day doing uni assignments and my own projects and talking with friends. I could do several parts of my assignments at home (some students prefer it that way) but being in labs helps me to focus on my tasks more. Also, there are always helpful course-mates or second year students in the labs, and life-saving demonstrators next door.
Are you looking forward to next year?
Yes, definitely! I can’t wait for all the new modules and projects and options, and especially the group project in the second semester.