UG Portfolio Advice for Animation, Interaction Design and Visual Communication
Hi there everyone, I'm David Sims, I'm the program director for International Studies and Progression and I've got my colleague with me today, Bill Long and Bill will just introduce himself. - Hi, I'm Bill Long, I am the college admissions tutor at LCC, plus also an academic teacher on the level four course. - Thanks, Bill, that's great. So myself and Bill are going to be supporting this presentation today in relation to the courses that we're covering today are BA (Honours) Animation, BA (Honours) Illustration and Visual Media, BA (Honours) Interaction Design Arts and BA (Honours) User Experience Design. All these courses are very different, they have different flavours to them, they have similar pathways but they're all very different courses but in relation to Animation, it's a practical course enabling you to choose one of four specialist pathways that reflect industry specialisms. Animation arts, 3D computer animation, visual effects, and game arts.
For Illustration and Visual Media, it's a studio-based course that aims to produce creative and innovative illustrators who are prepared to take risks with their work. And then we have Interaction Design Arts, this is a practice-led dynamic and exploratory course examining the relationships between people and experiences through experimental technologies and processes, and then User Experience Design is a design led and digitally focused course that explores user experience and user interface design for current and emerging technologies. So there's some courses that are not covered today, for portfolio advice, for any of the other courses, check out our other portfolio advice events on our website to book your place and for access to more advice on topics including how to structure your portfolio, what to include, and preparing a portfolio. Again, there's a there's a link there visit arts.ac.uk/portfolio
so again, it may be useful to take a quick picture of that screen and then also check out London College of Communication YouTube to see recordings of all our portfolio advice sessions and we actually do have a dedicate YouTube site for UAL and London College of Communication, where there's a huge range of films and recordings for you to look at. Some more specifically to do with progression to LCC and UAL, but there's others there that are lectures, seminars etc., there's some course content on there so I would really recommend that you just go onto the YouTube site, look at the recordings and just have a play and look at some of the things that are available for you to see. So what are we looking for? So in a portfolio, we're looking for visual language, quality of structure, use of line, shape, 2D or 3D, form, scale, space, light, colour, texture and time, ideas generation, the quality of ideas and the thought processes, expression of design thinking, research in its application including images from sketchbooks, evidence of investigation and the use of appropriate resources. Now these are things you're probably undertaking and studying
and making and doing and playing with in your current studies or in previous studies so these are all very basic formal principles of design and communication. Just to note that BA (Honours) Animation has its own requirements and that you can look those up on their web page. So materials, medium, exploration, experimentation, testing and materials to achieve outcomes, contextual awareness and its influence on the portfolio, understanding and application of subject knowledge and context, you're required to present a portfolio with a maximum of 20 images that you consider would help support your application and again there's animation has its own requirements on their web pages, so again, what these requirements are, what we're looking for, you will be undertaking these skills, this learning, you will be doing this, it's nothing new to you, so you know please don't be worried that, you know, things like context awareness, you're all looking at other artists and other designers to inform your practice as you make whatever you're making and I'll say a maximum of 20 images. So I'm going to talk a little bit more in depth about the courses. BA (Honours) Animation, so within your work sample include no more than five minutes of durational work, moving image or sound along with a contextual statement that explains your contribution to the finished product. Clearly identify your role within the production of the durational work, avoid creating new work and use already existing pieces of work, so that's quite specific in relation to Animation, moving images or sound, and it really does need to be no more than five minutes.
Evidence of ideas, generation, quality of ideas and expression of conceptual thinking, technical skills and experimentation with visual creativity demonstrating your own creative work. Materials and media explanation, experimentation and testing your materials in realisation of concepts, an understanding of the need for a critical analytical approach to research and practice to this area of study. No more than 10 examples of your current work. Personality is paramount so your portfolio should be professional, but it also should be human, it should reflect you and we want to see what your passion, enthusiasm is. Put yourself into the work,
it should reflect your interests and inspirations, use it to showcase your technical abilities and again, that's really important, we're not just about seeing pieces of work, we want to know more about that work and how it reflects your practice, and your work can reflect what your interests in, you know, we're all living in in incredibly turbulent times and the world is in incredible changing times all the time in relation to politics and there's lots of things happening, you know, and your work may be about that and that's, you know, we want to see your passion and what you're looking at, what you're reading, what films you're seeing, all this can influence your portfolio, consider your audience again, this is really important instead of presenting chronologically, we advise you to have a strong narrative. Compare it to a book piece or piece of music, give your work room to breathe, think how academics may read layouts. Are larger images more important? Are items close together, linked? Are images on their own, final pieces? So I think just consider who's going to be looking at your portfolio, and just give the work time to breathe and that goes into how you consider the composition of how you arrange images on paper which brings me to balance and perfection. Don't be embarrassed of imperfection, process is as important as final pieces, you know, that's really important, your journey to your final pieces in some cases is more important than the final pieces themselves because that shows a process of thinking in order for the person who's looking at your work to ascertain and understand your your process to final outcomes. Present research, development, and outcome, if using secondary sources please
credit the artist, designer, communicator, filmmaker, whatever that may be, please do credit the artist. Be mindful of presentation, samples should be mounted, images should be high res., so when you're presenting your work, you may just want to present it on a plain sheet of white paper, so remember that, that's important,, so when when you're looking through work, make sure that there's a border to be able to read the image if that's needed and images should be high-res, it's important that you have high-res images.
So be decisive. We want to see your ability to edit, don't show us everything, editing is a real skill, leaving out is almost as important as what you leave in and that's a real, real important communication design skill that you'll need to understand and it also shows us an ability to be able to edit and consider your work appropriately. Showcase your favourite work, if including film, edit it down and include stills, obviously remember any moving image work, film work, the longer it is, it has a much higher rate, size of file, so be mindful of that. Show a collection of varied projects, we'd like to see a variation of projects, it's important that we see other things, only include work you can talk about, that's really important and then show us what you love, don't assume what we want to see, again, that's really important. Show us what you want us to see, show us your point of view and, again, I referred to that earlier on about your point of view is really important, whether that point of view be about politics or sustainability or climate change, whatever the sort of big issues are happening at the moment or it may be nothing to do with those at all, it might just be your point of view of where you live but it's important that we get to know about you and what you're interested in. Think about format, each course has different requirements so, you know, please check the course pages before submitting your portfolio and that's really, really important.
There's a lot of information on our website, there's a lot of information on our course pages, and so please, you know, teams have spent a long time putting our information there to really help you submit an application. Opt for what suits the subject area, so be mindful that what course you're applying for and maybe adapt your portfolio for that subject area. Photograph your work in high quality against a clear background, so again if you're photographing your work, a plain sheet of white paper and photograph your work, you know, most cameras on mobile phones now, you know, have really good quality so don't feel when you're photographing your work you need to get a 35 mil single lens reflex digital camera, you know, mobile phones are just as good now with high-res cameras so, you know, that's important to remember. So I'm going to talk about submitting a digital portfolio, which many of our courses now have digital portfolio submissions and do keep an eye out on our web pages in relation to digital submissions of portfolios over this next academic year and through the application cycle, so follow the same rules of a physical portfolio, that's important, follow guidance provided in the email including the number of images, format, and size limitations. So when you submit an application through UCAS, when the application gets processed through with us, you'll then get an email notification with a time frame to submit a digital portfolio and so, my advice would be to start thinking about a digital portfolio now. I think it's good practice to have a digital portfolio and a physical portfolio because you can use your digital portfolio over and over again, so be mindful of that, but for LCC and UAL digital portfolios, you'll be given specific guidance on those.
So you can submit images, audio and video, and feel free to include hyperlinks to other work that sits outside your portfolio. Pebblepad is the software we use at UAL for digital portfolios and you may want to take a screenshot of this because this explains the submission tool that we use, which is called Pebblepad. Pebblepad is a software and there's extensive support there on how to submit a portfolio and how to format your images for submission within the submission tool. OK, so that sort of brings me to the end of the presentation and we've got quite a lot of time now to ask any questions and if you want further information, there's a couple of addresses there, so again I'll say it again, please take a screenshot of this, take a picture of this in front of you. So we've got general enquiries, we've got accommodation, student support, and scholarships and fees and, you know, if you want to send an email in, please do so. The university is open up until the 23rd of December so it's important that if you've got any queries, get them in and hopefully you'll get a reply as soon as possible and I think that's about it, thank you.
Thank you, David for such an informative session. Guys, if you haven't had the opportunity yet, please drop your questions for Bill and David and we do have a few questions here in front of us and the first question is if a student is already a UAL student doing a foundation with us, do they still need to provide us with a portfolio and if needed, attend an interview? No, you don't. Bill, do you want to just quickly answer that because I know it's slightly changed. - Yeah, so it slightly changes here but if you're a UAL student, you go through the university progression scheme so with the university progression scheme if you are aligned to a particular course, so if you're doing a design based pathway now and you want to go on to a design course at LCC, you will just go through the university progression scheme and you will not have to show or make up a portfolio for that.
If you're going outside of your specialism, you may be asked to produce a small portfolio for us to have a look at, so if you're a graphic designer and you was going on to something for film practice or photography, yes, we may ask you to make up a small portfolio but otherwise, no, you will just go through the university progression scheme. Thanks, Bill, thank you for the answer. Now the next question is, is there any specific portfolio tips for UX applicants? - OK, so User Experience Design, it's a relatively new course and I think in relation to, depending on what you're currently studying and the current work that you're undertaking, if you're a UK student, you're probably coming from either an extended diploma or you're undertaking a foundation course, so it depends on what you're doing but if in relation to User Experience Design, User Experience Design is about developing experiences for users, for people who use objects, things, so I suppose in relation to your portfolio, it would be useful to have workflows, so by that I mean some wireframing, so understanding the user journey from the start of using a particular device, to where the experience of using that device, where the user will end up, so that narrative of that journey, that workflow is important and that's quite difficult to understand. So make that visual is really, really important on the User Experience Design course pages, you'll see examples of work but also the User Experience Design course at LCC have a a really good Instagram site so just find them on Instagram and you'll see work by those students but I think when you're putting your portfolio together, really try and understand what user experience design is and what it means to you as a user. We're all users but what does it mean to be a user and to experience a device? I think that's what's key for that course, so don't think you have to, you know, divise and design the next operating system for the next iPhone, you know, or show examples of that, it can be something much more simpler and also think about it doesn't need to be necessarily a digital device, you know, how do we use other things? How to, maybe think about instructions, how do we, you know, how do we instruct, IKEA is a good experience, IKEA instructions to make furniture etc. is a really good example of a user experience, so maybe you want to go back to basics and think about the user experience of how do we clean our teeth, so maybe you want to actually just analyse that experience, that user experience of cleaning our teeth, so there's ways of demonstrating your understanding of user experience design in very simple terms, hope that's explained.
Thank you for that, if you need any further clarification please drop us a line. I am now slightly following up on the UX portfolio requirements for someone who's doing graphic design and for A level and has no formal and sort of UX experience, can they include their graphic work in their portfolio? - Yeah, sure, I think that's important because basic visual literacy in relation to communication design is important. I don't know what work you've produced, I presume there's probably posters, there's probably a lot of branding, maybe some advertising, so I think that's important, but as we said within the presentation, editing is really important, so really get advice from your teachers and your peers about what to include and then if you are studying graphic design but want to apply for user experience, take on board what I said previously about showing some examples of user experience design and that can be very low tech, as I said, and a really good place to start is instructions on how to make things. Lego is another great one,
looking at Lego instructions is a fantastic example of user experience design and that, you know, if you follow those instructions you will end up with an amazing piece of Lego, so there's ways of understanding user experience design not within a digital device or a digital environment, because I think when we think about user experiences, we think about digital devices and it doesn't have to be that way, OK? Thank you for the answer. The next question is for Illustration Visual Media, would it be relevant to incorporate one or two paintings to display skills, with oil paints and I suppose any other sketch work in that relation? - Yeah, I think probably only one oil painting, it shows a skill in the application of that particular type of media. Oil paint is a real skill to be able to paint in that way. Oil paint takes many, many hours or days to dry, so it's quite a long process and also sketch, as well your fundamental first sketches and drawings if they relate to the painting itself is fantastic so it shows that sort of critical understanding of the journey from drawings to final painting but also it's important to show within that painting who are you looking at? Who's your inspiration? Don't just paint an oil painting, you need to be looking at other artists and the designers and how that has informed your particular style and how you apply the paint to paper or canvas or board. Perfect, thank you very much. The next question is for someone who is currently on a foundation
course with UAL. Can they include work from their course in their portfolio? From that, yes. From their foundation course, yes, yes, definitely, I think and again, get some advice from your tutors and your peers, look at the course page websites for the course you're applying to but I think fundamentally also editing. Editing is really important and I think what's
key, particularly on a foundation course, there's a lot of experimentation, there's a lot of sketchbook work, so you may want to edit your sketchbook, so photograph a page from your sketchbook and use those within your portfolio but yes, definitely include your foundation work. Lovely stuff. Next question is for the animation course, how much prior animation experience are applicants expected to have? Would a portfolio composed of mainly mixed media figures and illustration work would be a disadvantage? - No, I really don't think it's a disadvantage, I think if you're interested in animation, I think just understanding sequences is important and those sequences can be represented in either a sort of comic strip format but also there's many ways to create stop-motion animations, there's free apps for phones, there's a really good one that's free called stop-motion which is really good for the iPhone, there's many ways to create you know GIFs as well, really basic animated GIFs using Photoshop or Giphy, again for the iPhone and Android devices, so there's lots of ways to create prototype type animations, and that's, you know, that's all we're looking for we're not looking for finished, you know, we're not looking for Toy Story type animations at all, we're looking for the passion and that passion can be demonstrated in a very basic animated GIF or very basic stop-motion animation using your phone. I think what's fundamental is that you show that journey to that piece of animation, so it's where your influences are, who you're looking at and drawings. Drawing, sketches, ideas, lists of words, however you research and investigate a particular idea or theme, that's really important, but no, we're not, there's ways to create very basic prototype type animations very simply so don't feel they have to be, you know, what you perceive to be good animations. For someone who's doing A levels, would you say it's more beneficial to do a foundation or go and apply straight for the course itself? A BA course, that is.
Okay, so I suppose again, it depends on the A Levels. I presume you're doing A Level Art, Photography or Design alongside two other A Levels, so it surely depends on what you want to do. You can apply for both, you can apply for a degree course and you can apply for foundation, they are different application processes, so you may want to do that. At LCC, we would look at a student who applies straight from A Levels, we do take students from A Levels without a foundation course, so I think, again, it's about your portfolio and showing your passion. There's a real rigor to A Level Art or any A Level
practical subject in relation to how you develop your work because I know the curriculums are very tailorable, so I know as I say, there's a rigor, there's a process that you go through with A Level which I think is very rigorous and it's very good and it sits very well when you're submitting your portfolio. It's very easy, I know you work very heavily in sketchbooks etc. etc., so I would say apply for both if you're applying for a course at LCC. We do encourage students to apply with A Levels, also we have students apply without A Levels and a Foundation, so it's entirely up to you but so I my suggestion would be to apply for both and just see what happens. - Can I just make a point there, by backing up what David has just
said, and if you apply for a foundation, you apply directly to the institution itself or the college itself, so you don't go through UCAS, so the whole thing is, you'd still get your five UCAS choices plus, as David said, you apply directly for a foundation because some people think that they have to apply for foundation through UCAS, you don't, you can apply directly to an institution so it won't affect your UCAS choices, sorry, David. - That's OK, that's fine, thank you. Thank you for the answer, now the next question is moving towards what to put in your portfolio when showing one's work. In a portfolio, what do you want to see when annotating or explaining the pieces of work in the portfolio? - Well, ultimately, you know, your work should speak for itself but sometimes I think we all probably agree that sometimes where you need to annotate your work in some ways, to put a clearer explanation into what the work is about, so I would suggest that just, you know, we're not looking for an essay, just a few lines to describe the journey that's being made. So where was the starting
point for this project or this piece of work, who you were looking at, what artists, designers? What experiences you had to, again, to develop this work and then maybe just some some a little bit of narrative about the outcome. Did it work? If it didn't work, why didn't it work? And just, you know, who are you making it for? I think that's quite key in relation to the areas that you're applying to, if you're applying to Communication Design, Graphic Design, any sort of subject area that is advertising, branding, you all very rarely make the work for yourself and that's very different to probably your previous experience when you're painting for yourself, you're creating art for yourself, so I think there needs to be some sort of understanding and realisation that the work that you're making, it has to have an audience, so who is that audience? Who are you talking to? What do you want to communicate? These are real fundamental things in relation to the subjects that we're talking about this afternoon. Audience is really key, so I think that's really important, so you write about that. So you may have done some surveys to test out your poster and the particular typeface on that poster, so those sort of things are important in the narrative to go along with the work. Lovely stuff. The next question is how
many observational drawings should one include for Illustration and Visual Media? How long is a piece of string? Well you'll be given an amount of work you can submit for the digital portfolio for that particular course. LCC, Bill, forgive me I've forgotten how many pages they can submit? - Well, the PDFs look up to about 20. 20 PDFs, so 20 different pages but what we normally suggest is things like still life or life drawing probably we put no more than two to four maximum pieces in so we can see that you've taken part in life drawing or still life classes but you don't have to put them in because a lot of the time you're doing like a 30 second sketch or a 10 second schedule, sketch with your left hand, we don't need to see all of those, so as David said earlier on, editing is a real massive part of your portfolio, so actually if you could get, I don't know, I would say no more than four, if you've got a couple of really nice still lifes, put them on the same PDF and then you've taken one page up, but as David earlier on explained, keep a nice space between them so we can see your techniques. They speak for themselves and I would suggest no more than four though. Thank you very much, just to flag, Pebblepad doesn't accept PDF format, so if you are considering submitting more than one piece of work on one page, use Photoshop or InDesign pages and that should allow you to put more than one piece of work. The next
question is how many pages can I submit for my digital sketchbook at maximum? Again, I think Bill's referred to that really, I think if you've got a sketchbook, I think, you know, we've received portfolios in the past where someone's photographed each page of their sketchbook and laid it out in InDesign, so they're quite small pages when we view them on screen but because we can enlarge the screen we can focus in on the images, so we can actually, so we can view, so you can in fact get quite a few images within a given slide on Pebblepad so, you know, it's, again, I think it's about telling that journey, that story, so if you're thinking about your portfolio and how to put a portfolio together, I would suggest that you have no more than maybe two complete projects from beginning to end but then the rest of the time you can put in bits of other projects that you think are really successful for various reasons but it's how you tell that, show that journey and sketchbooks are important because they're those initial ideas but again it's how you tell that journey around a project that's important for us. Would applying for two different BA courses at UAL across colleges may affect one's application or consideration? No, we have students who who use all their five choices and applied to five different courses across UAL. At UAL we look at your application individually for that particular course, that particular application, so no we don't prejudice or have any other issues around you applying for various courses at UAL. In some circumstances the situation is that, you know, we want you to reach your potential within a given course, so you may have applied for Graphic Media Design at LCC, and you may have applied for Art Direction at LCC, Bill, and myself actually can view all the applications you've made and we may look at your portfolio, decide that Art Direction at LCC is probably better for you than Graphic Media Design, so even though you apply for both courses, sometimes you may get an offer for only one of those courses but sometimes you may get an offer for both courses and you need to decide, so that's a slightly complicated answer but please rest assured that we will not prejudice your application at all if you apply for more than one course within UAL or within a college at UAL. Thank you for the answer, and now I'm moving on to our last question. Considering everything
you've just spoken about and the presentation and when answering the questions, what is the one piece of advice would you give to anyone preparing a portfolio when applying to LCC? Oh gosh, Bill, do you want to go first before then I'll come in after? - I'll go first, I think one of the most important things that I look at is this is our window into your world and the way you work and the way you want to work, so make sure the portfolio is a piece of you, is you in that portfolio, how you work, what you want to work on and how you work, so I think your personality really does need to be in that portfolio of work because we want different personalities, we want different sort of diverse people coming onto all of our courses at LCC and across UAL, so personally make sure that you are in that portfolio and your personality comes through. I think that's very important for me, David? - Yeah, I agree with that, I think also what's key for me, please get advice on your portfolio, I think that's really, really important because we all experience this in that it is quite difficult sometimes to stand back from our work because we are very close to it when we're making our work, we are very close to it, so I think getting advice from your teachers, your peers, and that's really important because sometimes we'll put work in our portfolio that sometimes shouldn't really be there and it says the wrong things so I think that's really important and as Bill said, that journey is really, really important and for me probably one of the most important things is having some sort of critical understanding about where your work sits alongside other work because we're all influenced by other things around us and i think it's important to demonstrate that in your research, show us your influences, who you're looking at, who are you reading, what are you watching, who you're listening to those things are really, really important and again it, as Bill said, it tells us more about you having demonstrated those things in your portfolio and that's really, really important. - Yeah, completely agree. - I'd like to thank everyone, good luck with your application, wherever you're going to apply to, it's been a difficult year and so, you know, really, really look after yourself and good luck, thank you. - And I endorse that good luck and stay safe.