Ballyfermot College of Further Education BCFE

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Visual Effects – Visual Effects and 3D Technology Diploma (HND) Level 6 Higher

Course Code IFX

NFQ Level 6*

Duration 2 Years

Award Pearson BTEC Higher National Diploma in Creative Media Production (Visual Effects)

* The Higher National Diploma is recognised by the QQI as being comparable to the Higher Certificate at NFQ Level 6

On successful completion of Year 1 of a two-year Higher National Diploma (HND) an Higher National Certificate (HNC) will be claimed for each 1st Year HND student. It will be included as part of the overall HND award on successful completion of Year 2.

This Visual Effects (VFX) course uses industry standard software to shoot live action film and to composite this with CGI backgrounds and 3d characters.

This 2 year Visual Effects (VFX) course uses industry-standard software to shoot live action film and to composite CGI backgrounds and 3D characters.

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Visual Effects (VFX) involves combining live action and digitally created images together to create and develop high quality digital content for the 3D animation and visual effects industry.

During this two-year course you will work with industry leading content creation tools, techniques and workflows. In addition to developing your artistic ability, you will acquire the technical knowledge and skills to produce high quality 3D content for use in the films, television as well as related areas such as Games and the Visualisation Industry.

Your course subjects are taught by sector experts who will lead you through the process of placing real actors on a digital set, teach you how to light and shoot the live action elements, and supervise you while you create and composite digital backgrounds and characters into footage to create the final scene.

BCFE has a reputation for graduates who excel in this field including Richie Baneham who won an Oscar for the Best Visual Effects on the film Avatar. You can read his success story here Alumni Success Stories – BCFE

Course Content

Year 1

  • Visual Effects and Motion Graphics Cultures
  • Visual Effects Practices
  • Creative Media Industry
  • Professional Practice
  • Storyboarding
  • 3D Modelling
  • Principles of Photography
  • Individual Project

Year 2

  • Collaborative Project
  • Personal Professional Development
  • Advanced Visual Effects Studies
  • Advanced Rendering and Visualisation
  • Advanced 3D Modelling
  • Advanced Editing and Compositing
  • Asset Capture

Entry Requirements

Portfolio Guidelines

  • Each candidate will be interviewed on his or her portfolio work. The portfolio interview will last approximately 20 minutes. Candidates may present a variety of portfolio work. The emphasis should be on quality and not quantity. Portfolio work may consist of any or all of the following: Photography, digital artwork, digital images or short video clips which have been either shot, edited or digitally manipulated by the applicant.


  • Industry-standard hardware/software like Maya, Nuke, Photoshop, Zbrush, Mari, Mudbox, VRay, Arnold, Shotgun and access to our cutting edge TV Studio facilities.
  • Sound Stage
  • Scenery Room
  • Dressing Rooms
  • Avid Edit Suites
  • ARRI and Atton Super 16mm Cameras
  • Alexa Digital Cinematography Camera
  • Lighting and support equipment.


  • Graduates may apply for the BA Honours Degree in Visual Media (Games Stream) in BCFE. The BA Honours Degree in Visual Media is validated by the University of Dundee, Scotland.
  • Graduates of this course may also apply through the CAO and/or the Higher Education Links Scheme for entry to higher and advanced certificate and degree programmes at national Institutes of Technology, Technological Universities and Universities (applicants should confirm linked awards and eligibility requirements with the relevant Higher Education Institution).
  • Graduates may also gain exemption of one or two years from other degree courses in the UK.

Career Opportunities

  • VFX and CGI/3D are growing sectors with significant employment opportunities in Ireland and internationally. On successful completion of the course graduates may seek employment and a career in 3D/ CGI/VFX either locally or internationally.

Students' Work

This Visual Effects (VFX) course uses industry standard software to shoot live action film and to composite this with CGI backgrounds and 3d characters.
This Visual Effects (VFX) course uses industry standard software to shoot live action film and to composite this with CGI backgrounds and 3d characters.


One of the great things about the VFX & 3D Technology course is the strong ties to industry – the frequency and quality of guest speakers has been beneficial and insightful, as have the extra-curricular activities the tutors have involved us in; be it film screenings or a visit to a studio. These activities have been positive and encouraging and have led to more cohesion as a class.
Anita Bonesteel Dice
Visual Effects and 3D Technology (HND)

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