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Animation. Graphic Design. Game Art.

2014 Top 100 International Animation Schools

Written by Tom FronczakMarch 18, 2014
Did You Know.....Full Sail University offers online degree programs in computer animation, game art, and game design? Learn more about Full Sail University's online programs.
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10. Melies - Escola de Cinema 3D e Animação. São Paulo, Brazil.
Founded in 2005, this school isn’t even a decade old and its graduates have already won pages of awards! Its 3D animation courses cover various modeling, animation, lighting, and texturing techniques, and it even has a classic 2D animation course and an entire class dedicated to sculpting in Zbrush. Their film classes cover camera, motion graphics, film editing, and visual effects. I’ll say this, out of all the schools on this list, this school has some of the most phenomenal student art galleries, and in great quantity, too. This leads ongoing excellence in education leads me to believe that it isn’t just the best 3D school in Brazil, it’s one of the best 3D schools on the planet. So if you can break through the language barrier make sure you also look into their online course options!

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929. SAE Institute Paris. Paris, France. Other campuses in France: SAE Institute Geneva.
The SAE Institutes have over 50 animation schools spread out across dozens of countries on Earth. This is the best one. SAE Paris has two great choices for students looking to break into the 3D animation industry. Students who just want a crash course in 3D modeling and animation but with more of a training in digital art software, then SAE Paris’s Motion and Graphic Designer six month program will teach you the basics in every important piece of software. Students who want to dive as deep as possible into 3D animation will hugely enjoy their extensive 3D Animation Program. In that degree program students should expect to learn Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Illustrator, Adobe Premiere, Adobe After Effects, Autodesk Maya 3D, Autodesk 3DS Max, Nuke, and even Pixologic’s ZBrush software! With many countries still having slumped economies and job markets, you won’t have to worry about quickly being hired if you take full advantage of this school before you graduate.

8. Trazos School of Arts. Madrid, Spain.
If you live in Spain, you don’t need to read any further into this list. This is the school that other countries wish they had. Education in the animation industry is quickly becoming less about degrees obtained from several years of college tuition; by the time you graduate the things you learned might already be outdated! Trazos offers an extensive amount of short courses and workshops for far less money than a several year degree so that you can dive right into exactly what you need to learn and immediately start your career. Want to jump into the animation industry? Bookmark this. Want to rock the movie industry with your VFX? Bookmark this. Want to change the game industry with your artistic ideas? Bookmark this. Be sure to come back in six months and thank me when you’ve become a master and get your first job while your friends aren’t even halfway through college!

7. Graduate School of Crafts Art (ESMA). Nantes, Toulouse, and Montpellier, France.
Or as it’s known in its native French language, “ESMA - École Supérieur des Métiers Artistiques” is a private institute whose graduates went on to work on the blockbuster films Arthur Christmas, Kung Fu Panda, Avatar, and the recent Academy Award winning film, Gravity. Yawn. Another year and another list of awards associated with this school’s alumni; ESMA has grown used to ongoing success. Its 3D animation / Multimedia degree is a three year program for both 3D animation and special effects in films. Graduates from any of the three locations can expect to find jobs as 2D/3D animators, character modelers, character designers, graphic designers, VFX artists, or even VFX supervisors.

6. Vancouver Institute of Media Arts (VanArts). Vancouver, Canada.
Want to learn every dimension of animation to break into the booming animation industry? Their one year 2D/3D Character Animation program will be a catalyst to your career. Want to dive into the game industry instead? Don’t waste four years learning skills that might be outdated by the time you graduate; their one year Game Art & Design degree is exceptional. Want to do all the fancy VFX graphics in the film industry? Canada’s VFX industry is on fire right now and this school’s one year Visual Effects degree is what you need to become a part of it. With pricy tuition, there are definitely cheaper options on this list, but if you’ve been to the movie theater lately you’ve probably seen work from VanArts graduates, so you get what you pay for with this school.

5. Institute of Animation at Filmakademie Baden-Württemberg. Ludwigsburg, Germany.
It’s no surprise to hear many call this “animationsinstitut” one of Europe’s best after its graduates have gone on to work for Pixomondo, Aardman Animation, Studio AKA, Dreamworks, Digital Domain, Disney, Pixar and even Industrial Light & Magic! Students can choose curriculum that’s focuses on concept art, animation effects, or technical producing. To get a better idea of how impressive some of the recent graduates have been, scroll through its years of astounding graduate galleries. Even back in 2001 students were creating better projects than many of the schools on this list produce today!

4. Vancouver Film School (VFS). Vancouver, Canada.
Do you want to get involved with 3D graphics but are uncertain of what job you ultimately want in the many 3D industries? This list doesn’t have many options for hesitant students, but this school does with its one year Foundation Visual Art & Design degree. From there you can easily transition into their programs for Film Production (one year), Digital Design (one year), Game Design (one year), Classical Animation (one year), 3D Animation & VFX (one year), or Advanced Digital Character Animation (six months). From there, you’ll soon be watching your 3D work in movie theaters if you’re like many of its recent graduates who are taking the entertainment industry by storm! Canada’s entertainment industry is quickly coming out of Hollywood’s shadow and it’s largely due to this school’s continual training of tomorrow’s new experts.

3. Gobelins, The School of Visual Communication. Paris and Noisy-le-Grand, France.
This is a school name you should know! The Harvard of animation, this school has been creating influential industry artists since it first opened in 1975. Its graduates were getting hired by studios like Walt Disney Animation Studios, Universal Studios, Hanna Barbera, Pixar, DreamWorks Animation and Warner Bros. since before most of the schools on this list even existed. It offers programs for Video Games, Motion and Graphics, and also Animated Films, and degrees can run anywhere from ten months to four full years, with tuition varying greatly. Despite the school’s ancient age it continues to teach the newest 3D technologies to its students and even offers five month internships for some of its programs! But let’s be real here: Gobelins is all about 2D animation. Another year has come and passed, and the planet’s reigning king of 2D animation schools remains at the top. With a school this great, the industry-defining courses aren’t even the best perks; it’s knowing that all of the best aspiring 2D animators in the world will be flocking to the seats all around you in a class and you’ll be competing with and learning from the best new animators in the world.

2. Bournemouth University. Bournemouth, United Kingdom.
Over 50 animation graduates from Bournemouth University went on to work on the blockbuster hit, Avatar. About 60 alumni went on to work at Framestore, the studio responsible for the Oscar winning film, Gravity, that achieved levels of VFX that had never even been attempted before. That means BU grads literally can achieve no greater levels of success in the film industry, and it’s not about going any higher in the industry, it’s about how many total students BU can help reach the very top. Here are the three year full-time programs that BU offers for animation degrees: Digital Media Design BA (Hons), Computer Animation Arts BA (Hons), Computer Visualization and Animation BA (Hons), Games Technology BSc (Hons), and Software Development for Animation, Games, and Effects BSc (Hons). One of the many perks students enjoy is the school regularly getting guest lecturers from previous graduates who now work at famous studios such as DreamWorks, EA Games, Pixar, Weta, and ILM. Yep, that could be you soon!

1. Supinfocom. Arles and Valenciennes, France, and Pune, India.
Supinfocom was ranked the #1 animation school worldwide back in 2007 by 3D World magazine due to its students’ extensive amount of film festival award winners and nominations. In 2007 alone it had 120 film festival award nominations, which was as many as the next three best schools in the world combined. After 2007, it shuffled its course paths around and introduced even more challenging classes to keep up with the quickly evolving 3D animation industry. It currently offers three and two year programs, with many students taking both. With any other school I’d advise students to be careful with a five year commitment, but its student showcase will instantly make you change your mind. Combining jaw-dropping high quality with an absurdly large quantity of gorgeous new animation shorts each year, the graduates’ short films are so utterly amazing that it makes you reconsider if Pixar is even responsible for the industry’s best work in recent years. When a few students can accomplish more in college than most professionals do in their entire careers, you know you’ve found the best animation school in existence.