This unique and exciting one year full-time practical diploma course delivered in partnership with Mackinnon & Saunders, and Aardman Animations will equip students with the skills and experience necessary to enhance their career in the field of professional model / prop making within Animation or other media industries.

  • Unique and exciting course
  • Delivered at NFTS in partnership with Mackinnon & Saunders, and Aardman Animations
  • Intensely practical using current industry standard techniques
  • 12 month course duration
  • Working in a fully equipped studio environment
  • Experienced visiting lecturers from industry
  • Cross platform Integration with other NFTS courses - Animation, Production Design, Digital Effects, and Cinematography
  • Access to all NFTS masterclasses led by major creative figures from Film, Television and the Games industries.

Course Overview

This is the only UK based model making course located in a dedicated film studio environment. We intend to take advantage of that.
We will be creating professional models, sets, props and puppets. Successful candidates will work individually, and as part of a team within a course comprising tutorials and challenging modules, which will culminate in building models and sets on the current grad animation films.
You will be encouraged to research, sample, test, and mix traditional and new techniques throughout the course and will use a vast array of materials to successfully realise the brief. This will be as “real world” as it can be.


  • Introduction and workshop safe practice.
  • Pattern and mould making
  • Scale set and prop building
  • Replica set build
  • Sculpture and Puppet making,
  • Work experience at a leading animation studio.
Major project - The major part of the year will involve working on the NFTS Animation grad films.


Experienced Model & Prop maker John Lee has been appointed to run the Diploma course. During his career, John has worked in Commercials, Animation, Children’s TV, Promo’s, and Feature Film, as both Modeller, Art Director and Designer.
I am also no stranger to the NFTS, as I have worked as a visiting lecturer for the last 7 years with students from Digital FX, Animation, and Production Design, so I am looking forward to fully integrating the Model making diploma course within the school. Model Animation is an exciting and tactile medium to work in. The attention to detail is exquisite, and as a discipline, gives the modeller and film maker complete control of this unique craft
John is passionate about model making and animation, and worked as a modeller on the feature films Fantastic Mr Fox, and Frankenweenie. He was Production Designer and supervising model maker with his team of artists on the multi award winning John Lewis Christmas advert The Bear & The Hare. More recent work includes Wes Anderson’s stop frame animated Isle of Dogs, and prop making on Rogue One: A Star Wars Story.

Entry Requirements

There will be no typical candidate for this course. Your background will almost certainly be in the Arts, and you may well be a recent graduate or Industry professional looking to further specialise.
You will most likely have some pre-industry experience of model making or training in your chosen field and have a basic understanding and experience of workshop equipment and machinery. The ideal candidate should have a mixture of creative, technical, communicative, and problem solving skills necessary to work within a highly productive team.
Your application and CV should be supported by a brief outline of your interests in modelling, puppet making, sculpture, filmmaking etc, and show photographic examples of a selection of your best work with detailed notations.
If you are not an EEA National, you must already be in possession of a UK visa valid for the duration of this course.  We are unable to accept your application if you do not.

Apply With

  • Please provide links to your online portfolio, website or showreel and supply detailed notations of your contribution to the images. State whether the work is collaborative or created by you entirely.
  • If you are selected for an interview, you will be expected to show examples of your work in the form of a photographic stills portfolio, as well as digital format on a laptop or tablet.

How to Apply

The application deadline has now passed, please contact registry via email stating your name, course of interest and email address if you would like to be added to a mailing list:
  • 12 month course
  • Starts September 2018