Monday, 24 June 2019

MA in Previz & Storyboarding Validated

Iliana Franklin - lead tutor on our new MA in Storyboarding & Previz
Our new master's degree in  Previsualisation & Storyboarding has now been formally validated by the University of Kent, and starts on 30 September 2019.

Developed in close consultation with industry, this degree is a unique opportunity to learn industry-level skills and also earn an internationally recognised academic qualification.

3rd floor - industry mentors
What is Validation?
Validation is the process of approval that we go through at Escape Studios in order to run degree courses. Our parent body, Pearson College London, does not have degree-awarding powers, so all our degrees are validated and awarded by the University of Kent.

Now that the process of validation is over, we are now in a position to make formal offers to prospective students.

Why previsualisation?
Storyboarding and previsualisation share a common goal - to pre-imagine the story, and bring it to life before the expensive business of animation or principal photography begins. Our course teaches both disciplines, allowing students to focus on two career pathways: using traditional drawings skills (storyboards), or digital skills (previz). Storyboard artists and previz artists both have to solve many of the same problems, including shot flow, cinematography, narrative rhythm, and continuity. Both work closely with the director and editor to bring the story to life. 

Why Storyboarding?
Storyboarding is an important part of the story-telling process and one that is currently an area of skills shortage. Industry has long been telling us that they cannot find enough skilled storyboard artists to satisfy the huge growth in animation and vfx production in the UK in recent years. Storyboarding is a basic skill that every film-maker should have; being able to express a sequence of shots visually is one of the key skills in narrative storytelling.

World First
As far as we can tell, there is no Master's degree like this anywhere in the world. 

Industry Mentors
We have two industry mentors: Blue Zoo animation (for storyboarding) and the 3rd Floor - for previsualisation.  Both companies have generously offered their assistance in bringing this pioneering course to fruition.

We have a number new software packages recently installed at Escape Studios.
  • Toonboom Storyboard Pro, arguably now the industry leader for storyboarding
  • Panel Forge, a new hybrid software that blends 3d modeling resources with drawing tools. Panel Forge is essentially a stripped-down version of Maya, pioneered by Blue Zoo and Jellyfish animation, that greatly speeds up the storyboarding process. 
  • Storyboarder. This free software is open-source and a welcome addition to the board artist's toolkit.
Previsualisation will be mainly taught using using Autodesk Maya.

Wacom Cintiq - industry standard kit
We'll be buying some great new kit for the course - Wacom Cintiq tablets so that all our students have access to industry-level hardware.

Who is this course for?
This course is aimed at anyone who wants to learn the art and craft of storyboarding and presvisualisation.  We teach all our students from scratch (though some knowledge of Maya will be helpful), and our goal is to make you job-ready by the end of the course. As befits a masters' degree, you will also engage with the theory and practice of the medium at masters' level.

Where and when
Storyboarding and Previs will taught at our Central London Campus at 190 High Holborn, WC1. The course starts on 30th September 2019.

Head of animation Alex Williams
Who teaches the course?
The course has been designed by myself and the other animation tutors at Escape Studios, working in consultation with industry. The lead tutor will be Iliana Franklin, an experienced animation artist whose credits include Framestore's The Tale of Despereaux.  She is a veteran storyboard artist and also runs her own production company Mediaframe.  You can see more about her work at her online portfolio.

Final Brief
The course builds up to a final industry brief, which will closely mirror the kind of assignment that storyboard artists and previs artists have to complete on production.

Success Stories
To see some of our Escape Studios animation success stories, follow this link. We're proud of our track record of helping our students break into industry.

Student Work
To see some of the excellent work done by students at Escape Studios, check out our YouTube Channel. You can also see our latest animation demo reel below:

Where can you sign up for the MA?
Follow this link to the official site.
You can also read about the course at

To see a short film that explains more about previsualisation, watch the video below:

Evening class
And, if you don't have the time to commit to a full MA, we also run evening classes in storyboarding. The next class, taught by Blue Zoo storyboard artist Chess Adams, starts on 31st October and runs for 8 weeks.


The Escape Studios Animation Blog offers a personal view on the art of animation and visual effects. To find out more about our new BA/MArt, now recruiting for September 2019, follow this link.   To apply, visit the offical page here.

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