2020 Digital Art Competition – GIF Challenge

Take part in our GIF challenge 2020!

See below for full details of the task set out by our BA (Hons) Animation course team and get creative. Make sure to keep your eyes peeled for our Games & Concept Art Challenge coming soon too!


THE BRIEF: Create a short, looping animated GIF based on the theme of SURPRISE.

This may seem simple on the surface, but an effective GIF is often a complex idea that has been refined into a memorable, funny or clever series of images that remains powerful after several viewings. A loop is a cycle of action that starts and ends in the same way, so it will seamlessly play again and again. You may create your GIF in any way you want – drawings, models, live action, photographs etc. – but it must be appropriate for ALL audiences (so no inappropriate content!)

YOU WILL NEED: You can create your GIF in as high- or low-tech approach as you want, but you will require as a minimum an App. like ‘Gif Maker’ or similar, and a camera. You could also use Photoshop – if you have access to this. Whatever your approach – you WILL need your imagination!

HOW TO ENTER: Once completed – please share your GIF with our Animation Course Leader, Stuart Messinger, by e-mailing the file to: mynewanimationcourse@staffs.ac.uk

The Animation team will review all submitted entries and select the most effective GIFs – which will be shared on our Social Media channels.



Character concepts up close on the Harry Potter studio tour

On 19 October students studying Character Concept Design turned up for class at Hogwarts rather than College Road…

As part of their Character Concept Design module, one of our undergraduate classes took a trip to Warner Bros. Studio Tour London – The Making of Harry Potter last week. Anne Ramsden, course leader for the foundation year for Concept Art for Games and Film, organised for Level 3 and 4 students to spend an eye-opening day at the Leavesden studios.

Student sketching Harry Potter characters

With worksheets designed by their tutors and sketchbooks at the ready, the students explored the rich world of the Harry Potter films. They took careful note of the behind the scenes information provided, looking especially at the concept art and models.

Dobby the house elf character design

Paying particular focus to costume and character design, along with set design and environment sketching, the students were encouraged to draw and sketch as they went along, and to take photo – which were then pooled together on the module’s Blackboard. Some of the students even got a close up of the goblin masks and concept art when the tour guides spotted their sketchbooks.

Display of hats on Harry Potter studio tour

The Concept Art students will show and critique their sketches from the trip in class in Week 6.

Congratulations, Class of 2017!

Congratulations to all of our students who graduated on Friday!

It was great to see the School of Computing and Digital Technologies out in force for the grand finale of Awards Week 2017. Despite the day starting off a little on the dark side, the sun came out to see lots of our students and staff enjoying the day with family and friends on the beautiful Trentham Estate.

Our Computing graduands were up first in the morning ceremony, where Carol and Kevin Shanahan received the joint award of Honorary Doctor to recognise their work and the thriving local business they set up together – Synectics Solutions.

“Change always equals opportunity for someone,” Kevin told our new graduates. “Major change equals major opportunities, and it’s up to you guys to go and seize them.”

The company employs over 350 people – including two Staffordshire University alumni on the senior leadership team – and has taken many students on placement over the years.

“We’re absolutely delighted that the Class of 2017 are coming to Synectics,” added Carol, explaining that three of this year’s graduates will be joining the company.

staffordshire university awards 2017

Then our Film and Media, Journalism, Games and Visual Effects students took to the stage in the afternoon for what Vice-Chancellor Liz Barnes described as “probably the liveliest ceremony of the week”! Staffordshire-born explorer, photographer and writer Major Levison Wood received his honorary doctorate, and he too had some inspirational words for our graduates:

“This isn’t the end; it’s only the beginning of a new great adventure, which you should be very excited about.”

If you want to relive the moment you crossed the stage, you can view the live streams now on the Awards Ceremonies Facebook page.

Find all the best photos of the day on the Staffordshire University Facebook page.

Now we’re looking forward to doing it all again next year!

staffordshire university graduation 2017

GradEx 2017

We recently held our annual graduate exhibition GradEx right here at Staffs, taking over huge areas of the university to bring you the most up-to-date and exciting innovations created by our third year students.

Click Here to find out what The Sentinel had to say about this great day!

Vivian Murray, exhibiting her Games Software Design