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Bachelor Digital Arts and Entertainment (DAE)

Bachelor Digital Arts and Entertainment (DAE)

Do you often fantasize about 2D or 3D worlds which do not yet exist? Do you consider yourself to be creative, ambitious, resourceful and above all passionate about games, films and special effects? Do you wish to experiment and create content with state-of the art technology and software? Do you want to become a professional game developer, a game or VFX Artist, a 3D animator or a Sound Designer for games, or even start your own game company? If so, then Digital Arts & Entertainment is the educational programme for you!

The Digital Arts & Entertainment degree belongs among the absolute world top elite in its field of study. DAE has a strong international focus and consequently not only offers Dutch, but also English taught classes.
 
If you choose to study DAE, you choose for an internationally respected degree that prepares you for the wonderful, but challenging world of creating games or movies. No matter what major you choose, in DAE you will always be trained to become a “technical artist”, which is a mix of both technical and graphical skills, with a strong focus on production.
 
The program of the online infoday for DAE can be found on the DAE Website. In order to experience all the infoday has to offer, we recommend that you first watch the introduction movies for each major via the DAE website and afterwards read through the curriculum of your choice via this link. The live stream is the common thread throughout this infoday. If you have questions after everything you've watched, heard and read, then you can ask them directly to the relevant teams via the chat channels below.

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Cannot find a suitable timeslot? Mail us: bezoek@howest.be

A question about the programme?

DAE General

DAE trains “Technical Artist” profiles for the international entertainment industry. If, after going through all the Major specific information, you still have general questions about DAE, then we are happy to assist.

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DAE Global

Are you an international student applying for DAE? Or are you a Belgian student who’s curious to find out more about our global community? Our DAE community managers will happily answer all your questions!

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DAE Study Track Counciling

Do you have questions relating to your enrolment? Are you considering an individualized study track during which you could spread the workload over an additional study year? We are happy to assist!

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Sound Design

The new DAE Sound Design major aims at teaching all the skills necessary to provide state-of-the-art game and film productions with pro-level quality audio.

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3D Animation

In this brand-new major, you’ll be submerged in the magical universe of animation film.
This curriculum covers the general skill set of a 3D artist albeit catered towards 3D animation.

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Visual Effects

The Visual Effects major provides you with an in-depth understanding of the 3D pipeline. You’ll develop a strong technical foundation while specializing in compositing and simulations.

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Game Graphics Production

Become one of the best 3D artists on the market. Specialize in individual assets and characters in the Assets minor, or become the technical key member for the art team in the Environments minor.

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Independent Game Production

Independent game production enables enterprising people to translate concepts into games by offering a broad range of artistic and technical skills.

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Game Development

Become a DAE Game Developer and be at the heart of the production process of a game. With a set of technical and artistic skills you’ll be the game dev wizard companies are looking for.

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Ready to enroll? Register now

Pictures of the programme

A picture says more than a thousand words. We'd like to give you a sneak peak of what awaits you.

Campus Kortrijk Weide - The Level

The Level beschikt over een ruime greenkey studio, hightech motion capture systeem, VR/AR-lab, kenniscentrum, enzovoort. Het tot de verbeelding sprekende interieur vormt de kers op de taart. De campus ligt bovendien op een boogscheut van het station én vlak bij het centrum van Kortrijk. Kortom, dit is in alle opzichten de ideale locatie.

Contactgegevens:

Botenkopersstraat 2, 8500 Kortrijk
+32 56 23 43 60
the.level@howest.be
Meer info en routeplan

Frequently asked questions

Which secondary education will prepare me best for the bachelor programme in DAE?

There is no perfect secondary school programme that can prepare you for DAE. However, having seen plenty of mathematics, or other relevant content (basic programming for game development of independent game production; art and drawing basics for the art majors) will make it easier to adapt to some of the first year course material. 

What are the admission requirements for DAE?

The prospective student needs to have acquired a Flemish secondary school or HBO5 diploma. If these requirements are not met, it is still possible to enrol if the applicant has met the following conditions: 

  • You have acquired a certificate of general education and a certificate of professional education. 
  • In case you are 21 years or older, you may apply for an alternative admission procedure. 

For international students and students with other diplomas, please refer the following link.

 

Is it possible to combine the DAE bachelor programme with a job?

Although the general consensus leans towards “no”, it is not entirely impossible, provided that you opt for an individualized track (4 year programme or longer) and a part-time job. The final-year modules “group projects” and “internship” are not compatible with an office hour job due to your mandatory attendance at the school or the internship company. 

Is it possible to attend DAE classes remotely?

UPDATE 16/06/2020: due to the fact that the COVID-19 threat will most likely not be subdued by the start of the next academic year, we will adapt the way we teach accordingly.

If the situation has not been contained by next academic year, which is likely, we will offer all our classes remotely. We will however allow for physical feedback/lab sessions as well, for students that are able to attend our school physically. We are also looking into the possibility for students to study at our campus in-between classes. Students will also be able to participate in online and physical community events.

Do DAE graduates have high employment rates?

About 80% of our students are able to find a job within the 2 months following graduation. 60% finds a job in Belgium, the rest settle abroad. We have observed that 2 years after graduating, around 60% of our alumni are working abroad.

Do I need to have certain drawing skills in order to be able to succeed in one of the art-focused majors?

No previous knowledge is required; the courses start at a basic level. However, they will pick up in speed and complexity very quickly, so it is advisable to have at least basic drawing skills before choosing these majors. 

Am I eligible for a scholarship or grant?

In order to determine if you are eligible for a scholarship you can refer to the following website: www.studietoelagen.be.

Alternatively you can contact a STUVO staff member, who can help with the application process or in some cases offer an alternate solution. 

Unfortunately the school itself does not offer grants. 

When are the exams?

There are 3 exam periods during the academic year: 

  • In January for your first semester courses. 
  • In June for your second semester courses. 
  • In August for any first- or second semester retakes. 
Does the campus feature a student dormitory?

Howest has recently opened its own dormitories, dubbed “The Wing”. It’s located in the Vercruysselaan in Kortrijk. There are numerous other student housing options in the vicinity of the campus. You can look up student accommodation in Kortrijk.

 

 

Which software packages are used during the programme?

Depending on your major choice you will learn to operate industry mainstream 3D- and or programming software. To get a complete rundown of the software we currently employ, check out each course individually

 

What are the hardware requirements?

Most classes will require a mid to mid-high tier gaming laptop or workstation. The current requirements are as follows: 

  • CPU: 8e of 9e generatie Intel core i5 of AMD Ryzen equivalent 
  • GPU: RTX2060 of hoger 
  • MEMORY: 16GB DD4 RAM 
  • STORAGE: 1TB HDD (SSD voor opstartpartitie is aangeraden) 
  • DISPLAY: 15” FHD (1080p) 

A laptop with similar specs will cost you around €1000-1500. Through a partner agreement, it is possible to buy a suitable laptop at a competitive price, including a 3 year warranty- and service contract. 

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A small piece of advice: don’t buy your laptop a year in advance: prices will inevitably drop and/or next gen tech may be introduced. But don’t wait until the last moment to order your device either. Make sure you’re fully equipped before the start of the academic year. 

For courses that require a drawing tablet we recommend the Wacom Intuos Pro (Medium) for the artists and the (Small) version for developers. These tablets cost around €250 and €100 respectively. 

Are there extra costs, besides the laptop and tablet?

All the course material will be available online for the student (free). Depending on the major choice, it is required to buy a book or extra costs for a company visit, drawing material, ...  

Which computer language is taught in DAE?

That depends on which major you choose. 

  • Students in the Game development or Sound Design track will mainly focus on C++. 
  • Independent Game Production students will learn to code in C#. 
  • Game Graphics Production and 3D & Visual Effects students learn to script in Processing (JAVA), Python and other relevant scripting languages. 
Can I enrol for the English or Dutch programme?

Students with a Flemish TSO, ASO or KSO secondary school diploma can choose to enrol in the Dutch as well as the English programme. Students with a Flemish BSO diploma or with a secondary school diploma from one of the other Belgian communities, need to provide proof of minimum CEFR level B2 in English if they want to opt for the English programme. 

Those students and students with international diplomas, can find a list of recognized language certificates in section five.

Can I enrol after the start of the academic year?

Although it is technically possible to enrol at any time during the academic year, we strongly advise students to enrol no later than 3 weeks after the academic year has begun. Due to the pace at which new course content is processed, it will be nearly impossible to catch up with the materials and deadlines, while keeping up with the ongoing classes. 

Starting at- or during the course in the second semester is also not recommended, as most of the courses of the second semester build upon the content of the first semester modules. 

I don’t have 60ECTS left, can I still enroll?

You are allowed to enroll for the amount of ECTS you currently own. You cannot purchase additional study credit. 

Can I switch between the Dutch and English programme?

Yes. If you are not confident enough to take the courses in English, you can choose to start in the Dutch curriculum and later switch to the English curriculum or vice versa.

Can I enroll for some of the courses instead of the complete programme (60 ECTS)?

Yes. There are different study formulae available. You can take an additional year to complete the default programme in order to spread the workload or you could choose a credit contract and compose your own personalized curriculum which consists of courses from different majors/study programmes. 

You cannot partake in any of the third year courses (internship, graduation work, group projects) when choosing a credit contract. 

I’ve already had some form of higher education covering similar topics, can I apply for exemptions?

If your previous higher education’s subject matter sufficiently overlaps with the content of one or more DAE modules, you can consider applying for an exemption. You can apply up to 15 days after the start of the academic year or enrolment date (if you missed the start). 

To apply, please send an email to trajectbegeleidingdae@howest.be and state which module you wish to be exempt from. Be sure to provide a course overview of the relevant modules from your previous education as well as a grade sheet or certificate. 

A DAE study track counselor will process your application and will pass on his or her decision to you soon after. Should you apply for an exemption after the start of the academic year it would be wise to keep attending all classes until an approval for exemption has been obtained. 

Can I pursue a master’s degree at DAE?

Sadly no. There is currently no DAE master programme. 

Can I visit the school to better help me decide which study programme to choose?

We are happy to meet you during one of our info days. Each major showcases its programme and our staff will also assist you with any questions you may have. 

COVID-19 UPDATE: If the health regulations regarding social distancing are still enforced a physical tour of the school will not be possible. We will be providing online alternatives during this time, please check our website for more information. 

Is there an age cap for students to enrol?

No. You are only limited by your dedication to the programme and your willingness to invest the required time

Is there a limitation on enrollments?

No. Everybody that meets the prerequisites can enrol. 

Is class attendance mandatory?

No, but you will quickly come to realize it is nearly impossible to stay on track and process the subject matter autonomously if you periodically miss class. 

What is DAE?

DAE is a degree that aims to educate the best possible, production ready, employees for the international entertainment industry. No matter what major you will choose in DAE, the focus will always be on creating some sort of content for the production pipeline of an entertainment application. Both games and movies are graphical media and both are the result of a complex pipeline that includes a lot of technicalities and the use of lots of different types of software.  This means that the DAE profile is that of a Technical Artist, a profile that is a mix of technical and artistic skills. If you only want to be an artist or if you only want to write code and nothing else, then DAE might not be the right choice for you. 

I’m an experienced gamer or a cinephile, does this mean I’ll have a higher chance of succeeding?

Making games or movies is something completely different than playing games or watching movies. If you fail to tell the difference, you might be in for a very rough ride. Playing games and watching movies is important to get to know the medium, but that is not where our focus is. Everything we teach relates to what happens behind the screens. 

How do I know that I have the right profile for DAE?

There is only a very limited amount of schools worldwide that offer the same level of education as we do. If you compare DAE with playing football, we are not playing on a local level, we are playing in the Champions League.  This means that DAE is the digital equivalent of top sport where the bar is set high. You will have to train as hard as you can muster in order to reach the required level of skill. Learning how to push yourself and constantly trying to exceed your boundaries is an essential trait of a DAE student.  Accepting feedback and turning it into ways to improve yourself is a crucial attitude for a DAE student.  

Bottomline: studying DAE is not about getting your degree but about becoming as good as possible in what you are passionate about. If you are not passionate about what you study, you will not enjoy our working regime. 

What is (student)life in DAE like? What is the working regime like in DAE?

Life in DAE can be tough due to the high workload and the high level of expectations in terms of skills. You won’t be able to handle this easily if you plan to act like a lone wolf. Integrating yourself into the student community is an essential element of student life in DAE. Help others where you can and be helped by other students where you need help is the essence of student life in DAE. 

Being able to compose a schedule and organize your work accordingly is crucial. Without proper time management, you will likely get overwhelmed. A DAE student plans his/her assignments well in advance in order to make all the deadlines. Working against deadlines is an essential element of your training in DAE. After all, missing your scheduled release date as a game studio could upset investors and even mean the end of the company. 

How many hours of work am I expected to deliver on a weekly basis?

Full-time students have around 25 hours of class per week. However, since we are a very practically oriented programme, students will have to continue honing their skills outside of class by working on assignments. For each hour that we spend teaching you, we expect you to spend at least one hour at home training your skills. Students can expect to invest around 40-50 hours per week in order to reach the required level of skill to get a passing grade. This amount corresponds with a fulltime working week. 

What is the importance of the International Community?

Our International Community gives the campus a great vibe of different cultures and backgrounds. The international students that join DAE have a significant impact on the entire student population. They bring a different and unique perspective to our campus and Global community, as they have made this immense step to leave their home country and follow their passion for the Game/VFX industry. 

What non curriculum related activities are there available at DAE?

Our DAE Community Team together with the students organize several weekly activities for students.  

  • Energy Boost workouts, Monday and Wednesday evening. 
  • Zumba on Tuesday evening.  
  • Study Nights, every Thursday evening the campus stays open late for students to study together and help each other in an informal setting. For special events, our Study Night Team (2nd and 3rd year students)  organize fun activities as Gaming night, Nerf Gun battles, Ping Pong contests, Global Taste Affair-a food festival where international and local students host food and culture stands and share the delicacies from their countries and more. 
  • Workshops and Guest Lecturers, we invite companies to give presentations to DAE students and inspire us with their passion and expertise. Our alumni are regularly back on campus to give portfolio feedback and talks about what they are working on. Subjects are diverse: artistic and programming topics, how to get into the industry, a newly released game, a movie breakdown, etc. 
  • Creativity Week, one week in the Spring semester, there are no regular classes, in order to make room for fun and creative workshops, talks, Game/VFX - Jams, fun evening activities etc. Our campus is packed with creative students and this week is the perfect time to test the boundaries of their creative ‘limits’. 
  • International Study Visits USA, Canada, Japan or UK, are among the highlights of DAE’s past study journey. Giving the students a chance to visit world-famous companies, have a look behind the scenes, get first-hand invaluable advice from industry professionals and possibly secure an internship or job offer. Companies DAE visited over the years: Naughty Dog, Blizzard Entertainment, Valve, Microsoft Game Studios, Facebook, Unity, Pixar, Sony Pictures Imageworks, MPC, ILM, Framestore, The Mill, DNEG, Electronic Arts, The Creative Assembly, and many more!  
What is the GGP major about?

GGP shapes you into a 3D artist for the games industry. You will be able to choose between a more artistic approach which focuses on creating individual objects and characters (Assets), or a more technical approach, which focuses on creating game settings and the automatization of the workflow (Environments). Although both minor tracks focus on the artistic part of game development, Environments has a substantially bigger focus on technical and programming skills.

I want to become a concept artist. Is GGP the right pick?

Although bringing concept artists to the in the industry is not our focus, the GGP Assets minor will yield the most drawing courses and experience. If you want to completely focus on only becoming a pure concept artist, then maybe DAE is not something for you, as nearly all majors contain technical courses to some degree. 

I want to do something with programming but would like to do something more visual than gameplay or back-end. Is GGP a right pick?

The minor Environments minor is most likely the right choice for you! In this minor we spend a lot of time giving you the tools and skills you need to weave programming-, scripting- and other technical skills into a 3D environment. 

What is the GD major about?

Although video game production is a hugely collaborative endeavor, it’s fair to say that game developers are at the core of everything. They are responsible for programming all the visual ideas, animations and sounds into the actual game itself. 

As a result, they need to understand the wider vision of the game’s creators, as well as possess the technical expertise to implement it. 

Where the GGP student can be considered the “artist” on game project, the GD students is the “programmer” on a game project. 

How can I prepare myself best for GD?

Before you enrol, make sure that game development is the right choice for you; take a few online tutorials in programming, experiment in Unity or Game Maker, create a mod with the Steam workshop, participate in a jam on itch.io, etc. Do those experiences spark your interest? Welcome to GD. 

What kind of math background is required for the major Game Development?

If you’ve seen an average of 4 hours of math during your secondary school education, you should be fine. If you’ve enjoyed more than 4 hours per week, the math courses will be even more accessible. Students that have had less than 4 hours of math in secondary school can still succeed, but will have to put in much more effort.

What is the IGP major about?

IGP builds upon the technical artists roots of the DAE profile by adding a focus to game design and game production. It contains a broad overview of the entire production- and business process of game development and -design in order to guide students towards founding their own studio, creating their own production or allow them to take up supportive rolls in a production, such as an assistant producer or game play designer and developer.  

What is the Sound Design major about?

The Sound Design major aims at imparting the students with an attuned set of (sound) programming skills. It teaches students a number of necessary skills to properly understand, integrate and communicate demands for an audiovisual or game production’s sound design. The curriculum features insights in 5 areas of game sound creation, namely SFX, Music implementation, Voice recording/acting, Foley recording and Ambient. Moreover, students are taught the fundamentals of recording, mix-down, mastering and audio spatialization. 

What is the 3D animation major about?

Are you fascinated by the magic of animation? We take you through the production process of a 3D animation film. We start with the visual storytelling in a storyboard: evolving from a 2D animatic to a 3D block-out to the final scene. In this pipeline, *you* are the "puppet master". Let virtual beings jump, run, fly, talk, cry, fight, fall in love... There are no limits. With animation, the boundaries are 
endless.  
You learn to analyze reference material image by image. Whether the character is an animal, a human being, an object or an alien... the silhouette, the emotion and the key pose you convey must be universal and credible. 

But it doesn't stop here. You also explore the pipeline of 3D modeling and sculpting, texturing, rigging, shading...  

At the start of the course, the foundations are laid immediately by teaching the student to draw anatomy and perspective. You will get an introduction to SideFX Houdini paired with a solid base of math that allows you to create spectacular procedural 3D content. You also get the chance to experiment with motion capture and photogrammetry within our high-tech greenkey studio. 

What is the VFX major about?

The secrets of VFX blockbusters are finally revealed! From the start of this study programme, we're going to take a look "behind the scenes" to discover what goes into the creation of all those visual effects. The process of film magic starts with rotoscoping, tracking, matchmoving and compositing. We dive into the greenkey studio or we film on location with a portable green screen. You will be given a solid technical foundation which consists of math and programming at the start of the programme, once the groundwork has been laid, we unleash the full potential of SideFx Houdini in order to give you a thorough understanding of how all the visual effects are made and what's required to bring them all to life. 

In addition, we see all possible scenarios in terms of simulations: explosions, smoke, particles, fluids, cloth, muscles, hair, ... You literally become *the* CGI creator of a hyperrealistic 3D scene, or you combine recorded material, 2.5D matte paintings and set extensions. Techniques such as compositing and color grading are the final steps in this production process. 

The content of this curriculum is based on to the current needs of the film industry. Whether it's London, Montreal or closer to home, the possibilities for hard-working VFX Artists are unlimited! 

I want to create characters but also animate them, do I choose 3D animation or GGP?

Choose one of the two. An animator and a character artist are two very different things. Excelling in both of them is not impossible, but exceeds the scope of one study programme. 

More information about student services and facilities and the laptop project at Howest

Student services and facilities

Still figuring out what course to take? Questions about student facilities, grants, financial support, accommodation or compensation of your transport costs to and from campus? Any questions on a more personal level?

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Laptop project

Each Howest student requires a laptop with legal software as recommended by the program.

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