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 graduates have worked on major films and television series, including Avengers: Endgame, Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, The Lion King, Captain Marvel, Aladdin, Hobbs and Shaw, Yesterday, Horrible Histories, Ready Player One, Early Man, Isle of Dogs, The Jungle Book, Game of Thrones, Doctor Who, Harry Potter, Inception, The Dark Knight Rises  and many more.

DFX students are taught essential 2D and 3D VFX and SFX techniques and will go on to specialise in either compositing, colour or CG 3D. They work with the latest available software and camera technology and are taught by current industry artists, technicians and supervisors.

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)

​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

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

“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 compositor on blockbusters such as Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald, Ready Player One andAvengers: Infinity War. Full story here.

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

“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.

Dominik Bari, NFTS Digital Effects MA second year student, has been included in an annual list compiled by Forbes magazine, highlighting him as one of 30 most successful people under 30 in his homeland of Slovakia. Full story here.

What you will study

During this extremely practical modular course, you will spend critical time learning techniques “on set”, as well as learning at a computer. Students work closely with other specialisms within the NFTS on a diverse range of NFTS film and television projects – many of which go on to become international award-winners.

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, through filming, emulation, CGI creation, VFX creation and finally post production, finishing and delivery.

Much of the first year is dedicated to shared modules teaching across the three major digital effects disciplines – compositing, colour and CG 3D – after which students can elect to specialise in one for the remainder of the course.

Download programme specification (PDF)

Download course outline (PDF)

Head of Department

The course is led by NFTS Head of Digital Effects John Rowe. John has over 30 years in the DFX Industry and education.

Current or Recent Tutors

Recent tutors include Ted Chaplin (Early Man, Godzilla, Star Wars: The Clone Wars), Chris Packman (Eastenders, Love Soup, Jonathan Creek) and Aviv Yaron (World War Z, Blade Runner: 2049, Skyfall).

Fees and funding options

Fees for this course are as follows:

Home/EU/EEA £14,800 per year (for January 2021 intake)

Overseas £31,000 per year (for January 2021 intake)

We also welcome EU/EEA students on the same rate as our UK students – and those enrolling onto a two-year MA in January 2021 will continue to pay home fees for the second year of their MA. 

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

There is a compulsory, non-refundable £60 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: 05 Nov 2020


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.

You can apply online by clicking on BEGIN YOUR APPLICATION below.

We are happy to receive applications at any time up until the midnight of the application deadline date.

Begin your application