How to learn VFX abroad

Animation studies

You can find different versions of animation studies. There are degree programs that cover a wide range of animation, for example drawing and stopping tricks, real-life films, interactive applications and computer animation. Sometimes there is also a kind of basic course with an introduction to all areas and then a specialization with a focus of your choice and / or your own project.

On the other hand, you will discover courses of study who specialize in an area of ​​animation technology or an application area from the outset. A degree in 3D animation, for example, is of course primarily concerned with, right: 3D animation. If you want to specialize in VFX, i.e. visual effects, it will mostly be about working in the (post) production of a film, because visual effects are used, for example, when the effect cannot be produced on the film set or is too dangerous (So ​​many actors should thank you then!).

There are also animation courses that teach business basics and organizational skills such as project management. Since animation experts often go self-employed, this is knowledge that can be of use to you in the future.

There are also related courses that include seminars on animation, but understand them “only” as part of a curriculum specific to the field. For example, you learn inGame design studies usually everything that includes game design, including storytelling, marketing, etc. If you are passionate about this art form, maybe this or one will come into play Game Development Studies for you in question. You may also find some overlaps with animation studies in the Media design orCommunication design studies especially when it comes to theoretical foundations and the history of the discipline “design”. So there are many options in the area of ​​moving images or animated objects that you can research.

Because animation programs go in different directions, so is it difficult to pin down common content. But we have a few points for you that will be on the schedule:

  • Theoretical foundations of animation
  • Technology of animation or the chosen focus
  • Practical relevance through our own supervised projects, etc.

You will surely notice how general we have kept these statements in order not to make false promises or to put you off with content that is then neglected in one or more courses - it is best to take a close look at the universities and their offers yourself our provider database.

Formal requirements

The higher education entrance qualification (Abitur), the subject-specific higher education entrance qualification or an equivalent recognized qualification are often a prerequisite, and thus also a minimum age of 17 or 18 years. If in doubt, however, always ask the university whether and in which cases exceptions to the school leaving certificate are possible. To a particular one grade point average (N.C.) you usually don't have to worry too much.

In a way, it's just as important, if not more important, that you are personally fit for the study. That's why you usually have to Work samples submit and / or be invited to a personal interview or an aptitude test. Work samples can be, for example, a coherent film or film excerpts in which you show animations that you have already created. Pictorial / graphic work in an application folder is also conceivable, and a letter of motivation is sometimes required. In any case, pay close attention to the demands your desired university places on your application documents, that can vary greatly between the individual universities. You should also adhere to organizational conditions such as the size of your digital files and the scope of your application portfolio, etc. With us you will also find general tips about your portfolio in media studies.

For a master’s degree, a bachelor’s degree in a related field or in the corresponding bachelor’s degree can also be a prerequisite.

Some degree programs specify a maximum age for an application, but also ask the university here, because this condition can be suspended in justified cases.

personal requirements

Next to your creative talent and your intrinsic motivation, a visual eye, a feeling for colors, shapes, movement and space will certainly help you. You should also not shy away from tricky technical questions and computer programs of all kinds.

Good English skills are a big bonus due to the international orientation of the industry and the possibility of teaching in English.

The following characteristics can also be advantageous for studying animation, among many others:

  • Ingenuity and the patienceto implement these ideas, if necessary in detail
  • Communication talent, because you have to be able to explain your projects to others well and possibly also sell them
  • Good time management, especially in the parallel implementation of projects and written work

Depending on the university, type of study and degree, the calculation is in months or semesters; the range here ranges from ten months (e.g. in the case of a private course with an internal university diploma) to eight semesters (i.e. up to four years or 48 months). At the The most common, however, is the standard period of six to seven semesters for a Bachelor's degree. As already mentioned, at some universities you can set your own priorities after completing a general degree.

Forms and degrees of study

An animation course is currently (as of January 2020) in Germany mostly full-time offered. There are also some selected offers for part-time or part-time animation studies.

The the most common degree is the bachelor's degree, but there are also some master’s courses. Here you can find the offers for animation studies in the master’s degree. In addition, there are individual university-specific degrees, such as in the context of a master's degree, you can find out more directly on the websites of the universities.

Depending on the course, you usually acquire the degree through a successful project work or a written thesis (bachelor's or master's thesis), sometimes combined with a corresponding colloquium. A combination of practical project and written work is also possible.

At the moment (as of January 2020), animation courses are often offered by private universities and academies. In contrast to state universities, which usually “only” charge a flat-rate semester fee, there are fees per semester or month. Information on possible applications for BAföG and other financing options such as educational loans, funds or scholarships can be found directly on the universities' websites.

We have also put together general tips for you here:

Costs and funding for your studies

As you now know, your future job is animation depending on what suits you and what focus you are looking for, because the professional field is wide and ramified. The demand for certain services can also fluctuate, so you may also have multiple fields in which you work.

Possible job titles (although these are quite fluent in the industry) are:

  • 2D animator
  • 3D animator
  • 3D generalist
  • Digital film designer
  • Game Art Animator
  • Motion Designer
  • Motion capture artist
  • UI / UX designer
  • VFX / Visual Effects Artist / Producer / Supervisor

Industries and companies in which your talents are in demand include:

  • Film production or post-production
  • VFX agencies
  • Television companies
  • Marketing and PR agencies
  • Creation of animated web content in numerous other industries

In a creative, flexible and growing industry like animation, too Freelancerwho take orders from multiple employers.

As is so often the case in the world of creative people, professional niches and blurred work areas: Probably nobody can give you a reliable salary prospect. Your exact industry and activity and position, your professional experience, often your contacts and your negotiating skills as well as other factors influence your earnings.

This small overview can give you a rough and unrepresentative clue:

positionBranchAgegenderSalary (gross)
3D designerAdvertising and PR41m3500 €
3D artistMedia, press23m3418 €
Motion DesignerMedia, press32w3062 €
UX / UI designerAdvertising and PR24w2942 €

(Source: gehaltsvergleich.com and gehalt.de; Status: January 2020)