Digital Effects



Digital effects (DFX) are everywhere – from Marvel blockbusters and immersive content, to commercials, television programmes, games and independent movies. This course gives students extensive, practical training on real sets, in a visual effects (VFX) and animation studio, and in cutting-edge grading and finishing suites.

DFX students are taught essential 2D and 3D VFX and Colour/Finishing techniques and will go on to specialise in either:

DFX students will collaborate with those in other specialisms at the NFTS to make film, TV, games and practical projects, putting into practice the skills they learn throughout the course – with all production costs met by the School.

All NFTS students can attend Masterclasses. Recent guests include David Fincher (Fight Club), Greta Gerwig (Little Women), Steve McQueen (12 Years A Slave), Edgar Wright (Hot Fuzz), Phoebe Waller-Bridge (Fleabag), Ben Wheatley (Free Fire), Rapman (Blue Story), Louis Theroux, Debra Granik (Winter’s Bone), Denis Villeneuve (Bladerunner 2049), Lynne Ramsay (You Were Never Really Here), Sam Mendes (1917), Asif Kapadia (Senna), Joanna Hogg (The Souvenir), Russell T Davies (Doctor Who) and Alex Garland (Ex Machina).

"If you are interested in learning about the VFX process as a whole there is no better place to do so than at the NFTS. Other places tend to focus on the software and technical knowledge exclusively - the NFTS actually gives you a much bigger picture, allowing you to understand what each department's role on a film production and post production is." - Boyan Baynov, 2016 graduate

This course is industry recognised by ScreenSkills, the industry-led skills body for the UK's screen-based industries, and carries the ScreenSkills Select quality-mark which indicates courses best suited to prepare students for a career in the screen industries.

Recent credits and successes

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Digital Effects alumni have worked on a number of 2021 Oscar nominated films. Jakob Lundbye worked as VFX Artist on The Midnight Sky and The One and Only Ivan, both nominated in the Visual Effects category. Alumni Boyan Baynov (Lookdev TD: ILM) and Eugenio Troiani (Junior Lighting Artist) also worked on the Midnight Sky and Beatriz de la Osa (Visual Effects Coordinator), Paul Robinson (Layout Artist) worked on The One and Only Ivan.

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Digital Effects students collaborated with Model Making students on a 1:8 scale model of the Sarang base from Moon. Read more.

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Digital Effects MA graduate Roni Rodrigues has been nominated for a Visual Effects Society (VES) award for his work as a Visual Effects Supervisor on News of the World, which has also been Oscar nominated in a range of categories.

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“The collaboration, discipline and professionalism you hone whilst at the NFTS is as close as you can get to the industry.” Adam Arnot graduated from the Digital Effects MA in 2012 and has since worked as a leading compositor on blockbusters such as Avengers: Endgame, Wonder Woman 1984Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald and Ready Player One. Full story here.

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2016 graduate Carl Thompson is a colourist at Molinare, an award winning film and broadcast post-production house specialising in television drama, feature films, feature documentaries and broadcast factual.

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“Seeing my name in the credits of such a unique and beautiful film was a real thrill.” Gillian Simpson graduated from the Digital Effects MA in 2017 and has since worked on Wes Anderson’s Isle of Dogs and Dumbo. Full story here.

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Disney+ hit, The Mandalorian, includes several NFTS Digital Effects graduate credits including Lighting and Lookdev TD Boyan Baynov; Compositor Graham Dorey and Digital Compositor Luke Hardisty. The show was nominated for the Golden Globes Best TV Series – Drama and won a Primetime Emmy for Outstanding Special Visual Effects.

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Eloise Tomlinson, 2016 graduate, has been working as a Digital Compositor on The Crown, the multi-award winning series including most recently winning the Golden Globe for Best TV Series – Drama. Eloise's other credits include The Lion King, Sex Education and The Durrells.

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Graduate Carlo Bagliolid's credits include Ready Player One, Avengers: Infinity War and Spectre.

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Graduate Nicholas Zissimos' credits include The Martian, Avengers: Age of Ultron and Beauty and the Beast.

What you will study

Students will apply for, and be accepted onto the course in one of three main specialisations:

Colour Grading and Finishing – students are responsible for finishing all the major NFTS film and TV productions. Learn to colour grade with expert industry tutors using the latest colour grading suites, including Resolve, Baselight and Nucoda. Learn to finish projects with expert industry tutors using the latest online suites, including AVID and flame. Colour Grading and Finishing students leave the NFTS having studied the full NFTS post production pipeline from conforming through to delivery, armed with a production-ready showreel featuring their work across the many genres available at the NFTS that include Fiction, Science and Natural History, Documentary, TV entertainment, Animation and Commercials.

VFX (CG) – students specialise in 3D VFX techniques. Learn to design, create, manage and deliver 3D VFX taught by industry expert tutors using the latest 3D software, including Maya and Houdini. VFX (CG) students leave the NFTS having studied the full NFTS VFX pipeline from on-set acquisition through to delivery, armed with a production-ready showreel featuring their work across the many genres available at the NFTS.

VFX (Compositing) – students specialise in 2D & 3D compositing techniques. Learn to design, create, manage and deliver 2D & 3D VFX taught by industry expert tutors using the latest compositing software, Nuke. VFX Compositing students leave the NFTS having studied the full NFTS VFX pipeline from on-set acquisition through to delivery, armed with a production-ready showreel featuring their work across the many genres available at the NFTS.

Fees and funding options

Fees for this course are as follows:

Home Fees:  £14,800 per year 

International Fees (including EU nationals): £24,900 per year 

These are the fees for January 2022 intake. Fees for January 2023 will be confirmed in June.

Please note:

EU nationals who have been granted settled or pre-settled status under the EU settlement scheme may be eligible for “Home Fees”, subject to meeting the residency requirements. (You need to be  ordinarily resident in the UK or EEA for 3 years prior to the start of your course).  

The NFTS has £900,000 of scholarships and bursaries available.

There is a compulsory, non-refundable £25 application fee for each MA application. A non-refundable deposit of £500 is required against the cost of your fees on confirmation of your place. 

All production costs are included in the course fees, including the use of School facilities and equipment. Students will need to provide their own Wacom tablet and pen. Students will be expected to pay for their travel for occasional off-campus events. The School makes a contribution towards the travel and accommodation for students attending FMX and students are also expected to contribute to the costs.

The NFTS is committed to ensuring it is open to students of genuine ability, no matter what their background or financial circumstances. We don’t want anybody to be put off applying for a place at the NFTS because of the cost, which is why we award more scholarships and bursaries to British students, relative to the size of our student body, than almost any other educational institution in the UK.

At the NFTS you will get far more time learning directly from tutors, in real production facilities and on real projects, than in the vast majority of film schools or universities – and we won’t charge you extra for the cost of productions or materials. The specialist nature of our courses mean that our students gain the relevant skills and experience they need to go straight into the industry.


Digital Effects students take part in a number of exercises throughout the year, often in collaboration with students in other disciplines. 

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. A background in Mathematics and Physics is always of interest.

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.

While many applicants will have a degree from a British or overseas university, we will consider applicants who do not have a degree if they have an impressive portfolio, a creative track record or an alternative qualification.

For international students, more information about our entry requirements, including Visa and English language requirements, can be found on our What You Need To Know section of our Students From Abroad page. 

If you have any questions, please email

How to apply

Application deadline: 07 Jul 2022

Details of how to apply can be found on the course pages for the individual specialisms:

Colour Grading and Finishing


VFX (Compositing)