University of Hertfordshire

BA (Hons) Model Design (Character and Creative Effects)

All three of our model design courses share the same First Year, giving you an excellent introduction to model making, prop making, sculpture and special effects. Building on this foundation, you’ll learn to use a wide range of specialist materials and processes to create original sculptural characters, props and set dressings – including the option of developing stop-motion puppets or collaborating with special effects students.

In your second year you will explore a wide range of specialist materials and processes such as sculpting, moulding and casting that enable the creation of original characters, props and set dressings

In your Final Year you’ll work on major projects and create a professional portfolio to impress employers. Throughout your studies you’ll have access to traditional model-making equipment and cutting-edge prototyping technologies. This course is accredited by Creative Skillset, reflecting the highest standard of teaching and facilities.

What Our Employers Say About Us

"We regularly take a number of students on work experience and often find ourselves wanting to extend the placement, or offer the students contracts during their holidays. This is principally down to the thorough preparation Hertfordshire students have for the workplace, through initiatives such as Professional Practice Seminars, which means we have increasingly found its graduates to be very employable"
Steve Hagon, Figure Production Manager, Merlin Studios (Madame Tussauds)

"With 3 courses covering different aspects of the Special Effects industry, (which I think is unique), they are the main supplier of graduates to our industry. More importantly these graduates are aligned with the needs of the industry and are readily employable".
Mike Kelt, CEO Artem

"The Model and Special Effects Programme at the University of Hertfordshire has consistently produced some of the most employable graduates in our industry".
Mark Ward, Managing Director, Asylum Models and Effects

Model Design Successes

The Model Design Programme is the only Special Effects course to have been accredited by Creative Skillset

The programme has outstanding links with industry and these result in high profile work experience opportunities for our students. In 2013, our students worked on major feature films at leading UK studios, including making action props on Guardians of the Galaxy, Jupiter Ascending, Exodus and Black Sea.

In 2014, 92% of our second year students undertook work experience on four major feature films at Leavesden, Pinewood, Shepperton and Twickenham studios.

Graduates from this degree often work with leading figures in the creative industries and a host of companies including: Anarchy Ltd, Artem, Asylum, Berry Place, Crawley Creatures, Creatures Inc. Ltd, Darkside FX, Ferox Effects, Gerry Judah, Madame Tussauds, Merlin Studios, etc.

The programme regularly exhibits at the New Blades exhibition (held at Holborn Studios in London), our graduates won three prizes in 2013, making a total of thirteen awards at New Blades in the last 4 years.

Articles about the work have featured in a variety of international publications including Wired Magazine and CNN.

Model Design Facilities

Our students’ work in a large airy purpose built studio (with individual spaces for every student), which is situated above an extensive workshop that contain a wide range of traditional and cutting edge technologies. Students are able to use a wide variety of equipment/machinery and state of the art rapid prototyping facilities: laser cutters, 3D printers, CNC milling and routing. Our students also use a well-equipped sculpture studio, which has excellent life drawing and modelling facilities, a plaster mould making area and industry standard extraction in the fiberglass/resin casting room. The sculpture workshops also provide excellent brazing, soldering and welding facilities for most types of metal fabrication and finishing. In addition to these dedicated workshop facilities, our students are taught a variety of computer aided design processes in both 2D and 3D packages in computer suites, which are situated close to the Model Design studio. Our students have access to all of the facilities across the school including excellent photographic equipment/studios and printing.

Entry Requirements

UCAS points A Level BTEC IB requirements
104-1120 BCC-BBC MMM-DMM 104-112 UCAS points

Access course: Diploma with 45 level 3 credits at merit.

All students from non-majority English speaking countries require proof of English language proficiency, equivalent to an overall IELTS score of 6.0 with a minimum of 5.5 in each band.

Career Prospects

A strong focus on sculpture and practical skills linked with creative ability will equip you to work in advertising, TV and film. It will also enable you to seek employment in other areas of the entertainment industries including fine art installations, theatre, theme parks and interactive displays in museums or exhibitions.

With a strong focus on sculpture, practical skills and creativity ability, you’ll be well equipped to work in TV, film and advertising. You could also find yourself working with theatres, theme parks, museums and exhibitions or creating displays. Our graduates have gone on to employment with the likes of Anarchy Ltd, Crawley Creatures, Universal Creations, MacKinnon and Saunders, Madame Tussauds and Merlin Studios

Course Details

You'll experience a wide variety of learning styles on this course. During your studies you'll develop your capacity for self-directed study and your interpersonal skills. We particularly emphasise the importance of 3D making leading to physical artefacts created through structured research and design; well-prepared written and verbal presentations; and computer literacy. Alongside elements of standard lectures, seminars, tutorials and practical workshops, you also learn through case studies, individual and group projects and other student centred activities. In your final year you will have the opportunity to practice your independent study skills by completing a major project and dissertation.

The Model Design Degree Programme uniquely, has a combined first year covering model making, prop making, sculpture and special effects. Second and third year students specialise in one of three-degree pathways: Model Design (Character and Creative Effects), Model Design (Model Effects), Model Design (Special Effects). 

First Year

You will be introduced to current materials, techniques and design processes in a combined first year (all three degree disciplines) and gain a strong grounding in workshop machinery and practices, which are relevant to the whole programme.

Second Year

You will explore a wide range of specialist materials and processes such as sculpting, moulding and casting that enable the creation of original characters, props and set dressings. Communication of ideas will be developed through drawing and presentation skills. You can also combine designing and making characters with animation using stop motion armatures, or with animatronics (in collaboration with students on the special effects degree).

All of our second year students have the option to undertake a professional work experience module with one of our many high profile industry contacts.

Year 1

Scale and structure
Shape and form
Design and fabrication
The model in mind: histories, contexts, theories (c&cs)

Year 2

Turbo projects
Design process and realisation
Character and creative effects contextualised model
Talking models: the theory of practice (c&cs)

Optional
Professional work experience 30: screen
Professional work experience 45: screen 45 optional
Professional work experience 15: screen
Professional work experience 15 5b: screen

Year 3

Year abroad
Professional context model
Professional practice
Creative effects major project proposal
Critical and cultural studies: l6 enquiry / report / essay (model design)
Character and creative effects major project
Sandwich year (creative arts)

*The information’s are correct at the time of publishing, however it may change if university makes any changes after we have published the information. While we try our best to provide correct information, It is advisable to call us or visit university website for up to date information.

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