The National Centre for Computer Animation (NCCA) at BU has retained Houdini Certified School Status for the fifth year running.

The certification means that NCCA graduates are eligible for a free commercial licence with Houdini, a 3D animation software application produced by Side FX.

To gain the certification, a panel of 25 judges from major studios are appointed by Side FX to review BU’s Houdini curriculum and students’ Houdini work. In addition to polished pieces of work, judges seek to evaluate the development of students’ soft skills, preparing them for industry.

Phil Spicer, Senior Academic for MA Digital Effects, said: “We support their development of professional skills through group projects, and there are opportunities for cross-course collaboration – all to support them to become industry leaders.

“Within the current climate it’s excellent to have the industry acknowledgement from such a vast panel of professionals, with more content being created and enjoyed while the world gets back to normal, artists and their creativity will always be employed.”

Lewis Parker and Diana Pelino studied at Bournemouth University for their undergraduate degree in Computer Animation. Their decision to progress to study MA Digital Effects was influenced by the 2020 climate.

“At the time of applying in Summer 2020, there were little opportunities for work and we both felt we were missing a vital 3D procedural knowledge that Houdini can offer,” Lewis said.

“The course offers the perfect blend of individual and collaborative work… [and] a gradual build-up into the world of VFX and once having mastered the basics [we’re] able to start personally experimenting.”

Lewis is now working as Groom Artist for MPC, supporting a feature film, while Diana is working as an Assistant Technical Director at DNEG.

Now both supplied with their free commercial licence from SideFX, the pair are working on past projects and perfecting them to a higher standard to develop their personal showreels. “It adds a final extra bonus to the course, so we’re really happy to be awarded with this free licence.”

Learn more about BU’s undergraduate and postgraduate degrees in the NCCA.