THE animation boss behind Disney hits such as Big Hero 6 visited Bournemouth and praised the quality of its university graduates.

Michael Kaschalk is head of effects at Walt Disney Animation Studios and has been closely involved in some of its biggest successes.

He was at the BFX Festival, the event at the BIC which showcases the visual effects and animation industry as well as inspiring the next generation of animators.

It is the first time Disney has been represented at the event, alongside other major players such as Pixar, Dreamworks and Industrial Light and Magic.

He said: "We’re impressed with what Bournemouth has – the level of both technical and creative artistry that’s been coming out of this school is definitely impressive.”

The festival contains a recruitment element, with studios offering advice to the town’s animation students.

Mr Kaschalk said: “We’re always looking for new people and people that come with fresh ideas and are open to new technology and new ways of thinking and new ways of collaborating with different people.”

The festival is organised by the International VFX Hub, which brings together Bournemouth University’s National Centre for Computer Animation (NCCA) and the Arts University Bournemouth to raise the profile of the town’s work.

Some of the guests from the animation studios were Bournemouth graduates themselves.

Tessa Mapp graduated from Bournemouth University in 2003 and is responsible for talent acquisition at Aardman Animations, the company best known for Wallace and Gromit.

“We’re very well known as a stop motion company but we also do CGI – about 70 per cent of our work is CGI," she said.

“We have a mix of animators and more technical people. To do computer animation, we need both.”

Bournemouth University graduate Dan Bethell works for Iloura and was action unit visual effects supervisor on Mad Max: Fury Road.

Mr Bethell, who flew in from Australia for the event, said “I meet NCCA graduates in the industry all the time. Some of them are truly world class.

“Bournemouth has a phenomenal reputation. It’s been doing the course for quite a while and there are some really excellent graduates out there.”