The University of Technology Sydney (UTS) has joined forces with digital animation and VFX production studio Animal Logic to offer a new, industry-led postgraduate program.

The Masters of Animation and Visualisation will focus on digital animation, visual effects and CGI, including virtual and augmented reality.

It intends to give students skills that can be applied across a range of settings beyond pure animation – including software development, data visualisation, data science and emerging technology.

Offered through the newly-established UTS Animal Logic Academy, a custom-built, on-campus studio at UTS' Ultimo campus, the course will see students emulate real-world production, working on projects nine-to-five, five days a week.

As well as the dedicated UTS teaching staff, Animal Logic creatives – behind the likes of Happy Feet and The LEGO Movie – will run masterclasses, advise on student projects and mentor students.

Animal Logic’s head of production Ingrid Johnston said the studio had looked to partner with UTS with a view to build the local industry, and avoid a “brain drain” of talent moving overseas.

“If the film industry in Australia and NSW is really robust, that’s good for us and that’s good for everyone else,” she told IF.

In designing the Masters program, Animal Logic worked extensively with UTS, looking at everything from the kinds of topics that need to be covered, the degree structure and the need for a full-time, studio-based cohort model, said Johnston.

Among the key considerations was ensuring that graduates were industry-ready. Johnston said that while a lot of graduates went onto the job market with great creative and technical skills, they could sometimes lack collaborative or iterative experience. 

“What we’re trying to replicate is the experience of working in a studio,” she said.

“We find a lot of students, they work on personal projects and all the work in that project is their own.

“Whereas when you come to work for a visualisation or animation studio, you’re doing one part of scene, shot or a character, and someone else is working with you on it. You need to take on feedback and be able to creatively iterate and come up with new ideas.”

UTS Vice-Chancellor Professor Attila Brungs said the course would prepare students for “jobs of the future”, requiring the ability to interpret and visualise big data.

"This is a program like no other in Australia, deeply industry-linked and led, and one that aims to generate skills and capacity to enable Australia to be a leading player globally in the creative industries and in particular the emerging visualisation industry," said Brungs in a statement.

"I predict this sector will be a critical contributor to future employment."

Animal Logic will also be involved in selecting the successful candidates for the course. Up to fifty students are expected to make up the first cohort in January next year.

Students must demonstrate relevant experience and provide a portfolio of previous digital animation, VFX or software development work, and sit an interview before they are accepted. International and domestic fees for the full course are $45,735.