BA (Hons)

Games Art

student work
  • UCAS code(s): P323
  • Level(s) of study: Undergraduate
  • Study mode(s): Full-time
  • Location: Confetti at Creative Quarter Campus
  • Starting: September
  • Course duration: Three years, full-time

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The global games industry is a rapidly expanding technology driven industry with a growing demand for graduates with industry specific creative software skills combined with the ability to be innovative, adaptable, self-directed and demonstrate problem solving abilities within an artistic workflow. This BA (Hons) Games Art degree responds to those needs by giving you the opportunity to focus your study on establishing a career in a practical, industry relevant environment.

The course content is focused on specific software applications vital to games art, which is enhanced by student-focused investigation into industry specialisms. This enables you to develop an understanding of the core areas of games art production including; pre-production visualisation, production concept art, asset production and project management, alongside personal investigation of key artistic technologies such as 2D, 3D, VR and AR.

This course is taught at Confetti Institute of Creative Technologies in Nottingham.

The modules of this course will allow you to form a solid understanding of the role of the artist in the current global games industry.

Key features

  • Be trained on the latest industry standard software and hardware such as Autodesk suite, Adobe Creative Cloud and games engines such as Unreal and Unity.
  • The course includes elements of project management and industry workflow that will enhance your career aspirations.
  • Study in IT suites with industry standard software, designed to provide a professional games studio environment.
  • Benefit from regular guest lectures and workshops from industry professionals working in both AAA and independent markets.
  • Have access to Confetti’s annual Industry Week, where previous guests have included Rockstar and Playstation.
  • Benefit from our partnership with the National Videogame Arcade.
  • Take part in enrichment activities including expo trips and game-jams.
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Degree Showcase Showreel - 2018
A showreel of work from our undergraduate degree-level students exhibiting at 2018’s showcase

What you'll study

The course content is focused on specific software applications vital to games art, which is enhanced by student-focused investigation into industry specialisms. This enables you to develop an understanding of the core areas of games art production including; pre-production visualisation, production concept art, asset production and project management, alongside personal investigation of key artistic technologies such as 2D, 3D, VR and AR.

You'll enhance your academic and professional skills through the use of student-lead research and investigation. Development of your independent learning is essential to forming the qualities and attributes required to complete your studies. You'll learn how to apply your own creative, analytical and critical abilities to the creation of games art and assets for a global audience and to develop communication and problem solving skills to realise your intentions.

You'll research and investigate the global impact and economic value of a commercial games product. As such, you'll be encouraged to consider the importance of current and future legal and economic frameworks, ethical considerations, sustainability and moral choices required in the creation and distribution of games.

  • Year One

    Concept Art for Games (100 credit points)
    This module introduces you to the principles of drawing and visualisation that form the fundamentals required for a career as a games artist. You will study idea generation and concept development and its essential use within a games development pre-production stage.

    You will develop and refine your game art drawing skills from observation and imagination using both traditional hand drawn techniques and digital processes. The aim is to develop a visual language that will allow you to record information for future development of game art concepts. There is an emphasis on exploration and you are encouraged to record visual information within your sketchbooks.

    On completion of your exploration, you will refine your concepts by developing them through 2D and 3D digital processes. This module will introduce the use of 2D digital software and 3D modelling and sculpting software to create visual concepts to relevant industry standard specifications.

    The module will introduce you to and develop your understanding of anatomy, form, composition and colour theory and how this can be applied in the creation of game art. You will study environments, architecture, figures and objects allowing you to visualise and incorporate these elements in to original game design.

    Games Art Critical Studies (20 credit points)
    Understanding  the context of art and design is vital in the creation of games art assets and concepts. This module will provide you with the underpinning knowledge of art and design theory and historical context and how that will impact your professional practice within the modern games industry. You will look at both contemporary and historical art and design and its global impact socially, ethically and economically.

    You will be encouraged to investigate and research a broad range of art, games genres and the wider creative media industries (design, film, animation, illustration, graphic novels) and your research will be presented through your research journal and case study on art style within games.

    On completion of your studies you will be able to deconstruct modern video games and critically analyse their design in terms of aesthetics. This module also aims to develop your understanding of the importance of the role of the audience within the games industry and how, as an artist, you are responsible for considering the ethical and social context surrounding the creation of games art for commercial release.

  • Year Two

    Games Art Production (100 credit points)
    This module aims to build your knowledge and technical skill in the production of game art assets for computer games. You will study the integration of concept art within the computer games production pipeline and its value as part of the development of 2D and 3D art assets. Game art processes taught will include 2D digital software techniques, 2D to 3D workflow and the creation of graphical elements including GUI and HUD creation.

    This module will further develop and consolidate your technical knowledge of 2D and 3D visual theory and practice that was initiated in the Concept Art for Games module in Year One. This year, you will be introduced to modelling and sculpting techniques specific to the design of 3D game environments including industry standard workflow techniques and pipelines. The techniques taught will be relevant towards the integration of these assets into an industry standard games engine. This will result in you producing innovative environment designs for use within your industry portfolio.

    You will be expected to undertake efficient coordination of resources and effective deployment of technology in order to create refined art assets intended for a prescribed professional purpose. You will be required to evaluate your own game art, assess its appropriateness for use within a commercial production and evaluate its suitability in informing your concepts target audience.

    Industry Practice (20 credit points)
    You will undertake appropriate self-directed projects, working collaboratively on creative work, allowing you to directly apply the knowledge and skills learnt throughout the course in the context of the workplace. This module aims to develop your overall professionalism and provide you with the knowledge and resources to begin a career in the creative industries.

  • Final year

    Advanced Modelling and Sculpting (40 Credit Points)

    As 3D modelling or sculpting is a necessity of most creative positions within the games industry, you will create a body of work that evidences your ability to use a variety of industry relevant software tools and techiques. You will learn how to efficiently manage an asset development cycle which will include the planning and designing of multiple game assets, all to self directed brief/s.

    This module builds on your previous knowledge and skills with various 3D packages acquired during level 4 and 5. It aims to provide you with the opportunity extend and advance your skills in 3D modelling as the module complements and builds on your existing hard surface modelling skills with soft surface modelling and digital sculpting aimed at creating organic forms to the technical specifications of the concept and the requirements of industry.

    This module will allow you to develop your skills in a specific 3D software package suitable to you and help you develop an industry standard workflow and pipeline for asset creation. These 3D assets could be specific to but not limited to characters, props and/or environments.

    Whilst your skill set may lean towards 2D artwork this module is aimed towards giving you versatility in your creative skillset. You will look at organic form, artificial and hard edged structures, custom textures and materials alongside realistic lighting and rendering techniques.

    Pre-Visualisation and Production Art (40 Credit Points)

    This module aims to provide you with the opportunity explore the full pipeline for artists working within the games industry. It is the aim of this module to give you a better insight and understanding of the complex nature of art and design within the games industry.

    Throughout this module you will aim to advance your understanding and ability with  the principles of games art and design to a professional, industry ready level. This will include initial pitch art, world building, art direction, reference sheets, asset production, promotional art and final key art.

    As there are a range of specialist pathways within art production in the games industry this module aims to allow you the opportunities to refine your approach to a number of these potential future employment opportunities.

    The conclusion of this module should give you a clear understanding of the professional direction of your game art portfolio.

    Creative Investigation (40 Credit Points)

    This module builds on your previous experience and knowledge gained during Level 4 and 5. The module provides you with an opportunity to develop a research based portfolio of work, through self-initiated creative investigation.

    The emphasis of this module is to create a dissertation based on your interests and personal study which is negotiated through consultations with tutors. It provides you with the opportunity to develop professional practical work while demonstrating sustained intellectual engagement with a specific form of creative investigation.

    In this way the module gives you greater autonomy to define your career direction, produce industry level practical work and demonstrate your potential for professional practice.

    The module will provide you with opportunities to demonstrate your ability to research, critically analyse, contextually formulate opinion and produce work on industry related topics.

    As part of this investigation you will also enhance your abilities to communicate your findings with an audience and consolidate your skills in project management and self-directed work, both of which are vital for a career within the creative industries and wider world of work.

    The module serves to acquaint you with the key skills and practices required to undertake and complete independent project research and to produce creative technological products in response.

You'll have the opportunity to experience a range of techniques and software used in the games industry, while developing specialist skills to support career goals within your chosen art role

How you’re taught

The global games industry is continuously evolving to meet consumer needs. New technological advancements in hardware mean that students should be versatile, digitally literate and adaptable in their approach to hardware and software. As such, this course is primarily ran within a specialist Games Art IT lab. Practice based lectures and workshops give you the opportunity to develop specific software and technology skills and evaluate them in regards to your career goals.

The teaching and learning methods used on the course reflect the need for you to develop a wide range of professional skills alongside your academic knowledge. The range of modules gives you the chance to advance your creative skills using the latest industry standard packages.

Alongside the practical hardware and software skills you develop, you will be taught  professional project management techniques and how that will influence your time management within your production

There is a key emphasis on self-directed study, with you being encouraged to investigate creative technology, its place within the games industry and how that in turn impacts your career progression.

Assessment

There are two different types of assessment on the course - ‘formative’ and ‘summative’. During all modules, you'll submit work at varying stages for your formative assessment. This will allow your tutors to make an accurate assessment of your artistic and academic development and provide you with feedback in order for you to plan for your final summative assessment deadlines and overall future development.

Your summative assessment deadline will take place at the conclusion of that module. Assessments will focus on your level of achievement against each of the module learning outcomes. Feedback for these assessment will primarily be in written form, but may also be verbally via digital recording and occurs at the end each module. Summative feedback provides you with an overarching review of your achievements set against the learning outcomes for a module.

You'll also receive significant amounts of informal feedback throughout the course. The feedback is to help you evaluate your progress as you work within sessions or independently. This type of feedback is typically verbal, through discussions with tutors or peer feedback but may also be as part of tutorials, seminars, lectures or workshops, and in response to project presentations.

To progress through the course you must achieve 120 credit points each year. Your final degree mark will be based 100% on your final year work.

Industry Week

As a game art degree student, you will take part in Confetti’s Industry Week – a unique event that brings over 100 top names from the music, games, TV and film industries to Confetti for workshops, masterclasses, lectures and seminars. From artists to games developers, Industry Week is your chance to be inspired, make contacts and learn from the pros.

Our students have had the opportunity to meet and receive advice from established names, such as Ian Livingstone and professionals from Rockstar and Playstation to name just a few.

Degree Show

In your final year you will exhibit your work as part of Confetti's Degree Show. This event includes all final year students across Confetti's courses and is a great platform for you to showcase your work to key influencers across the creative industries.

You'll be taught on the latest industry-standard software and hardware such as Autodesk suite, Adobe Creative Cloud and games engines such as Unreal and Unity

Careers and employability

Upon successful completion, you’ll have the option to progress to Confetti’s MA Creative Technologies or MSc Creative Technologies, apply for internships or job roles within industry.

Students who complete the programme can progress to relevant employment, self-employment or to further study. Graduates of this course can apply their expertise in vocational areas such as:

  • Concept artist
  • 2D/3D artist
  • Environment artist
  • Weapon designer
  • UI designer
  • Technical artist

Connecting with industry

Industry professionals visit the course to guest lecture and share their experiences. You will also attend workshops from industry professionals working in art roles for both AAA and independent markets, giving you the opportunity to make contacts and build your portfolio and CV.

You’ll also take part in Confetti’s Industry Week where you'll meet a range of professionals - previous guests include Rockstar and Playstation. Confetti partners with the National Videogame Arcade, giving our students unparalleled access to games industry professionals, as well as opportunities to network and showcase their projects.

Work placement and internship opportunities

One of the features of this course is the strong opportunity for work-based learning that is embedded into the curriculum.

You will be provided with the opportunity to work in partnership with local, national and sometimes international games developers and related creative media industries. Current and on-going industry links via Confetti and module leaders will provide ample opportunities for a regular guest speaker programme from a variety of organisation within the games industry.

Previous Confetti students have been working with companies, such as Rockstar Games, Riot Games, Sumo Digital and Ubisoft Blue Byte.

Study in IT suites with industry-standard software, designed to provide a professional games studio environment

Entry requirements

  • A-levels – BBC; or
  • BTEC Extended Diploma – DMM; or
  • 112 UCAS Tariff points from at least two A-levels or equivalent qualifications; and
  • GCSE – English and Maths Grade C / 4.

This course is not suitable for tier 4 visa applicants.

We accept qualifications from schools, colleges and universities all over the world for entry onto our undergraduate and postgraduate degrees. If you’re not sure how your international qualification matches our course requirements please visit our international qualifications page.

English language entry requirements

If English is not your first language, you need to show us that your language skills are strong enough for intensive academic study. We usually ask for an IELTS test and we accept some alternative English language tests.

Help and support

If you have any questions about your qualifications or about making an application to the University please contact our International Team for advice.

How to apply

Application for this course is through the UCAS application form.

Ready to join us? Then apply as soon as you can. Just click the Apply button at the top of the page and follow the instructions for applying. Make sure you check the entry requirements above carefully before you do.

Selection for this course takes place through UCAS application form.

Application deadline

This course starts in September and applications should be submitted by the UCAS deadline, 15 January.

Applications received after this date will only be considered if places are still available, after all applications received by the deadline have been assessed.

Mature students

We welcome applications from mature students (over the age of 21) for this course. We will assess applicants of this nature on an individual basis.

If you are a mature student, you will still need to apply to us by UCAS form, but you don't necessarily need to meet our minimum entry requirements.

Writing your application and personal statement

Be honest, thorough and persuasive in your application. Remember, we can only make a decision based on what you tell us. So include all of your qualifications and grades, including resits or predicted grades,

Your personal statement is a really important part of your application. It's your chance to convince us why we should offer you a place! You've got 4,000 characters to impress us. Make sure you use them to show how your skills and qualities are relevant to the course(s) you're applying for. For more hints and tips, take a look at our page on how to write a good personal statement.

Keeping up to date

After you've applied, we'll be sending you important emails throughout the application process - so check your emails regularly, including your junk mail folder.

You can get more information and advice about applying to NTU on our Your Application page.

Getting in touch

If you need any more help or information, please email our Admissions Team or call on +44 (0)115 848 4200.

Please read our notes on the University's commitment to delivering the educational services advertised.

This course is not suitable for tier 4 visa applicants.

We accept qualifications from schools, colleges and universities all over the world for entry onto our undergraduate and postgraduate degrees. If you’re not sure how your international qualification matches our course requirements please visit our international qualifications page.

English language entry requirements

If English is not your first language, you need to show us that your language skills are strong enough for intensive academic study. We usually ask for an IELTS test and we accept some alternative English language tests.

Help and support

If you have any questions about your qualifications or about making an application to the University please contact our International Team for advice.

Please read our notes on the University's commitment to delivering the educational services advertised.

Further information on how to apply

Need help with your application?
For admissions related enquiries please contact us:
Telephone: +44 (0)115 848 4200

Fees and funding

Preparing for the financial side of student life is important, but there's no need to feel anxious and confused about it. We hope that our fees and funding pages will answer all your questions.

Getting in touch

For more advice and guidance, you can contact our Student Financial Support Service.

Tel: +44 (0)115 848 2494

While we aim to keep any extra study costs to a minimum, please see our page on additional costs and optional extras to find out about any additional expenses you may incur on your course.

Still need help?

+44 (0)115 941 8418