Digital FX are everywhere – from low budget independent movies and online digital content, to commercials, television programmes, games and Hollywood blockbusters.
  • Extensive, practical training on set, in a vfx and animation studio and in cutting-edge digital post suites.
  • Work with the latest software applications and digital camera technology.
  • Tutored by artists, technicians and supervisors currently working in the Industry.
  • Shared modules during Year 1 across essential 2D and 3D vfx/sfx techniques.
  • Specialise in Year 2 in either Compositing - Design and produce digital vfx for multiple projects or Colour - Online and colour grade multiple projects or CG 3D - Design and create 3D cg vfx for multiple projects.
  • A unique bridge to the post production and vfx industries.
  • A Creative Skillset-supported course.
  • Unlike other schools, all production costs are met by the School.

We welcome EU/EEA Students. Those accepted onto the course starting in 2018 and 2019 will have their fees guaranteed at the UK rate for both years of the course. Postgraduate students can apply for a loan to help with their studies via the Student Loans Company Loans. A £10,609 loan is available to contribute to course and living costs. The Postgraduate Loan is only open to EU/EEA and UK Students who normally live in England.  It is not currently available to Scottish, Welsh or Northern Ireland Students. Find out more here.

Application Deadline: 27 Sep 2018

Course Overview

This course commences in January each year. During this extremely practical modular course, you will spend a lot of time learning techniques “on set”, in addition to learning in front of a computer. You will work closely with students from all the other NFTS MA disciplines, creating 2D/3D VFX, CG 3D FX or Colour Grading and Onlining the entire production, on a diverse range of NFTS film and television projects – many of which go on to become international award-winners.

Watch our 2013 graduates talk about their favourite NFTS projects, and show us the techniques they used on them

This course shares a common first year, allowing you to specialise in the second year in one of three areas:

COLOUR: For those who aspire to be:
Digital Film Colourists (Baselight/Nucoda/Scratch)
and/or Online Editors (AVID|DS/Symphony/Smoke)

COMPOSITING: For those who aspire to be:
VFX Artists/ 2D/3D Compositors (Nuke/Flame/Adobe CS6)

CG: For those who aspire to be:
CG 3D Artists or CG TDs (Maya modelling/lighting/texturing/rendering)

Ultimately the course will provide the backbone for a career in 2D VFX or 3D VFX or Colour Grading/Online editing.

The NFTS holds a unique position within the film and television industries, whereby it can offer an invaluable “Bridge to Industry” that attempts to help graduates establish themselves in a new career. At the time of writing, all the previous Digital FX graduates are in employment from Soho to São Paulo. Some are 3D CG TDs at Framestore, Double Negative and MPC in London, others SFX producers at Millennium FX, others 2D/3D compositors at The Mill, Cinesite and The Senate, others working in software development and as product specialists at Filmlight, Image Systems, Assimilate and The Foundry, and others as freelance conform editors and colourists.


This unique modular course has been designed to keep pace with changes in technology and Industry practice.

You’ll control many of your own projects from start to finish. You learn by ‘doing’ as well as understanding theory, developing a variety of practical and creative skills from planning, budgeting, storyboarding and pre-visualisation through filming, CGI creation, VFX creation and finally post production and delivery.

Several modules are shared with other departments within the NFTS - such as the popular Take One Painting project - and the Digital FX students participate individually, or as teams, on many of the other NFTS students’ film and TV projects.

You learn what to do and then get a chance to do it for real. Problem solving is paramount.

Year One begins with a series of core modules shared by all three Digital FX disciplines (Compositing, Colour, CG 3D) which the whole cohort of students undertake:
The Common Agenda; The Fundamentals (inc. Motion Graphics);3D CG (Maya); Introduction to Tracking /Match Move; Take One Painting (Maya & Nuke); 2D/3D Compositing (Nuke); Previsualisation; Physical and Practical SFX.

After 9 months of common tuition, students would then choose to specialise further in one of three areas:

Compositing or Colour or CG 3D
To cement students’ choice of specialisation and to prepare them for their second year of MA studies, students would undertake one further common module on ‘Transmedia Storytelling’ and then three units related to their specialisation:

Year 1: Motion Capture/Adv. Maya + Nuke; Transmedia storytelling; Green Screen Module (with Prod. Design)
Year 2: Compositing + Prosthetics shoot/post; Compositing + MoCo Workshop/Models/Miniatures

Year 1: Colour Management on set and in post; Transmedia storytelling; Colour Grading
Year 2: Colour Grading Prosthetics project; Online Editing and deliverables

Year 1: Motion Capture/Adv. Maya + Nuke; Transmedia storytelling; Prosthetics and SFX Make-Up
Year 2: CG + Prosthetics shoot/post; CG + MoCo Workshop/Models/Miniatures

As with all other MA specialisations at the NFTS the Digital FX students would complete a dissertation over the period of the course informing and reflecting on their practice, and work on the 2nd Year Graduate Film and TV Productions.

For the duration of the course, every Digital FX student has a dedicated computer workstation loaded with the latest 2D and 3D software applications including Maya, Nuke, PF Track, After Effects/Photoshop and many other specialist applications.

Working closely with Industry partners, students will also benefit from a wide range of workshops and masterclasses run by Industry professionals. Carefully selected practical work placements may also be available.

Unlike other schools, all production costs are met by the School. In addition you will be given a cash Production Budget. NFTS students are engaged in more productions as part of the curriculum than any of our competitors.

For the outline programme specification and MA course student agreement, please view the documents available on our entry requirements page for more information.


Graduate credits include: CG VFX on projects such as The First Avenger, Kick-Ass, Doctor Who, 2012, Harry Potter, Inception, Captain America and Avatar, Compositing VFX on Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, The Tree of Life, John Carter, Paul, Iron Man 2, War Horse, Sherlock Holmes, The Dark Knight Rises, Clash of the Titans 2 and The Pirates! In an Adventure with Scientists, conform/grading on Generation Kill, The Chronicles of Narnia, & Jack and the Giant Killer, as well as SFX on Being Human, Torchwood, Prometheus and Frankenweenie.

Entry Requirements

The course covers such a diverse range of subjects that there is no typical candidate. Your background may be in the arts or other media or you may be a recent graduate or Industry professional looking to fast-track or switch your career.

Although not strictly necessary, you are likely to have some Industry experience or training in your chosen field and you must already understand the basic technical and operational use of computers.

An ideal candidate should have a mixture of creative and technical skills. Communication, people and management skills are also desirable.

Your application should be supported by a brief outline of your particular interests in the Compositing, Colour Grading or CG 3D fields including any relevant experience, either academic or practical.

You must indicate in your application which specialism you wish to study during the second year:

either Compositing or CG 3D or Colour.

Apply With

  • A critical analysis of the use of visual effects or colour grading in a film or television programme of your choice, no more than two sides A4 typed.
  • A brief outline of your particular interests in the Compositing, Colour Grading or CG 3D fields including any relevant experience, either academic or practical. One side A4 maximum.
  • A digital portfolio containing samples of your work.  This need not demonstrate experience in effects.  For applicants not from a film or television background, this item is optional.  

How to Apply

You can apply directly to us at the NFTS by clicking on the link below:

When selecting your course, please ensure that you have read the entry requirements and details of the supporting materials that should accompany your application.

Timing your application

We are happy to receive applications 24/7 and 365 days a year up until the deadline.

  • 2 Year Course
  • Full-time
  • Course runs Jan-Dec each year
  • Next intake: January 2019
  • NFTS Scholarships available for UK Students