January 20, 2017 at 12:57AM

In the 17th century, audiences of Shakespeare’s The Tempest were thrilled by the sound of cannon balls rolled on wood to suggest thunder. Four centuries on, in the Royal Shakespeare Company’s latest production of the play, actors control on-stage digital avatars via cutting-edge motion sensors.

It’s a measure of how widespread the deployment of digital arts skills has become. To feed the demand, universities are increasingly catering for the technological aspects of the creative industries with a range of master’s programmes covering film, animation, product design, marketing and more.

“There are more jobs than there are digital creatives with the right skills,” says former music producer Gigi Piscitelli. During his master’s in creative technology at Middlesex University London, he won funding to create an app that offers live music performances in 3D sound and 360-degree video, suitable for the immersive environment of virtual reality (VR). He’s learned to code, build an app and understand applications of VR. “I’m not an expert,” he says, “but you at least need to know what’s possible with technology before you set about creating something.”

Despite being highly practical, the master’s at Middlesex recruits from a range of professions, including marketing and music. “Humanities students are welcome,” says Dr Magnus Moar, senior lecturer in digital arts technologies. “I let them know what they’re in for technically at interview.”

Amedeo Beretta, senior tutor at the Met Film School, says new ways of consuming video online require innovative thinking. “Any student serious about making film their career will need to be aware of the new techniques and tools that digital media provides,” he says.

On Bournemouth University’s master’s in digital effects, staff look for a creative background. “We’ve had yacht designers, fine artists, sculptors and painters,” says senior lecturer in computer animation Phil Spicer. They might find digital skills heavy going at first, he says, but “by the time they reach their final project of four, they are firing on all cylinders”.

from Education | The Guardian http://ift.tt/2j2DIOK