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UK Universities: The Curse of Too Much Choice

Take one look at global animation school rankings and you will notice something very particular: the amount of UK universities you’ll see. The United Kingdom has some of the best creative institutions in the world; a look at this country’s creative industry output is evidence of this fact.

There are many animation courses around the world that offer a spectacular experience, but if you were to focus on one country in which to study such a field, the UK would be an excellent choice. However, with roughly 130 universities around the nation, choices are about to get a lot harder to make.

What Do You Actually Want to Study?

Let’s start with the hardest question: what do you want to do? Are you interested in 2D or 3D? Or both? Do you want to work in special effects, character animation… Do you want to work in the film, TV, or video game industry? The list goes on.

Bear in mind that there is nothing wrong with not knowing either. Many courses are designed to focus on all aspects of animation across the industry, but if you are sure there is something you really want to do or stay away from, don’t waste your time learning things you’re not interested in. You can check out animation job profiles on Screenskills to get a feel for the different roles within the discipline.

What Can These Animation Courses Offer You?

Resources and support offered by your university are definitely something to consider when looking at your options. Animation requires a diverse toolkit, especially if you’re still exploring your preferred focus within the area. Schools should be equipped with good equipment, workplaces, and competent staff. Look up the course leader on the university website, or even better, attend an open day.

Open days are always a good idea; they allow you to see the place for yourself, ask specific questions, and get a feel for the lecturers and students you will be spending a lot of your time with. Even better if universities offer ways to speak to alumni and master’s students, who will be able to give you a better understanding of what the specific course and its material will be like.

You can also ask questions on online student forums, where you may be able to get some more raw and honest answers. Just remember, don’t believe everything you see on the internet.

Rankings of UK Universities

What about rankings? They are important to an extent, but especially when discussing the creative schools within a university, these can be very misleading. World university rankings place heavy emphasis on academic achievements of students and research output, things which are not necessarily as relevant to a creative discipline.

We would recommend looking at online rankings that focus on creative subjects – and that are well-trusted. For animation, The Rookies ‘Find a School’ is a great place to start. Their rankings are given by a group of experienced professionals who actively work in the industry. Also try What Uni, which give you a more personal ranking system where honest ratings are given by former students.

At the end of the day, choosing a course is a very personal decision, but one that should not be taken lightly. Animation is a very diverse field; no one person can cover all aspects of it. At Dragonfly, we produce all kinds of animation, from carefully-hand drawn 2D to photorealistic 3D. Animation is an exciting industry to be a part of, and one which is getting larger and more complex. It’s hard work, but very rewarding.

Dragonfly Productions is a London-based animated video company that has been providing content in this industry for over a decade. From engaging animated explainer videos to stunning 3D films, take it from us when we say that opportunities are only growing.

Who knows? Maybe we’ll need you one day. We love to hear from new and experienced animators alike. If  you’re interested in working with us, you can apply to join our talent network.

 

 

Author Dan Walsh

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Dragonfly, a video production company in London.