NFTS applications now open for 2014 course

        Category: Blog Topical | Article posted on: May 2, 2014

Aardman Animations has hired three graduates from the 2013 NFTS Certificate in Character Animation.

The National Film and Television School (NFTS) has confirmed that it is to run its Certificate in Character Animation course in partnership with Aardman Animations following the successful of the inaugural course last year.


The intensive 12- week course offering training for 12 CG and stop frame animators was launched last June to meet the growing demand for animation talent in the UK. The 2014 course will run from 15th Sept to 5th Dec 2014.

Taught at Aardman’s Bristol studios by industry professionals, tutors included Loyd Price, Head of Animation at Aardman (Nightmare before Christmas, Chicken Run, The Curse of the WereRabbit, Flushed Away and Pirates! In an Adventure with Scientists) with one-to one feedback sessions with Wallace & Gromit creator Nick Park (an NFTS graduate), Peter Lord and Shelley Page (Dreamworks talent outreach).

The course also attracted top masterclass speakers such as and Richard Williams (Who Framed Roger Rabbit) and six major animation companies including Sarah Fell (Series Producer, Turner, The Amazing Adventures of Gumball), Darren Walsh (Director Passion Pictures), Oli Hyatt (Co-owner Blue Zoo), Sarah Cox (Director at Arthur Cox) and Andy McEvoy (Supervising Animator, DNEG).

David Sproxton, Aardman co-founder and producer said: “This first Aardman/ NFTS animation course proved beyond doubt the effectiveness of linking a strong training institution with a first class industry player when it comes to high-level skills training. From the selection of the students to the finer points of the curriculum this was a very strong partnership. Having the students training alongside working professionals at our studio in Bristol was a great experience for everyone. The results speak for themselves, with excellent work being screened in the final showcase event, demonstrating imagination, verve and strength in character animation. We look forward greatly to running another course.”

The training gives 12 selected students the core practical skills needed to become professional animators. The majority of the course is practical with participants working on animation exercises to improve their skills, knowledge and experience. This is also supported by animation theory. It culminates in a short character animation sequence – pre-planned and boarded – to showcase the skills learnt during the course. You can view the 2013 student showreels here

Loyd Price, Aardman Head of Animation, added: “Without exception all of the students’ animation, acting and understanding of performance greatly improved over the 12 weeks and they produced a final sequence far in advance of what many of them believed they would ever have been capable of.”

Asked what were the highlights of the course, the students said:

“Having one-on-one time with legends like Nick Park and Peter Lord, the chance to pitch a feature film to them and be in a studio like Aardman every day.” (Adam Watts)

“I genuinely felt like I came away a better animator. ” (William O’Neill)

“Getting our work looked at and critiqued by Nick Park and Peter Lord was not only a rare opportunity but was a great experience.” (Hannah Wright)

“There’s just nothing to beat actually being at Aardman and standing in the lunch queue next to Nick Park.” (Alexandra Kogl)

This is one of six new courses launched by the NFTS last year with partners from the film and television industry. Many of these courses include employment opportunities and work placements for graduates.

NFTS Director Nik Powell said: “When students invest in education, they want to know there is a chance of a job when they graduate. The success of this NFTS course and the contracts offered by Aardman goes to show how valuable it is for film schools to partner with leading companies to train talented people for the UK’s growing film, television and games industries.”

Apply before JUNE 5th deadline for the NFTS Certificate in Character Animation in partnership with Aardman Animations.