Top 25 International Animation Schools:
25. Ecole Emile Cohl. Lyon, France.
This school requires artists pass three different admissions steps before becoming enrolled. Students can then take a French Preparatory Class that costs €6,620 and runs nine months training in both drawing and the French language. They also have a three year CG Drawing program that trains in 3D animation and costs €6,720 for the first year that spans 1,400 hours, €6,960 for the second year that spans 1,150 hours, and €7,260 for the last year that spans 1,100 hours. Not good enough to pass the admissions process? They also offer five years of additional art training!
24. Seneca College. Toronto, Canada.
Check out these statistics of success that Seneca College boasts: 92% employer satisfaction rate, about 8,000 graduates every year, 28,000 full-time students, 70,000 continuing education registrants annually, and approximately 5,500 international students from 140 countries! Their Seneca@York Campus in Toronto has four programs for aspiring artists. The Animation program is six semesters spread over three years with a tuition cost of $9,103. The 3D Animation program spans two semesters in eight months with a tuition cost of $11,498, as do their programs for Game Art and Animation, and Visual Effects for Film and Television. Books and supplies cost roughly an additional $2,000.
23. Royal College of Art. London, United Kingdom.
Royal College of Art (RCA) has seen its graduates go on to be nominated or even win several Academy Awards, BAFTA Awards, and Jerwood Moving Image Awards. Whereas many schools have a student gallery of graduate work, RCA believes so much in its graduates that it even links directly to their personal art portfolio pages! Most schools have an admissions process that wants to see an art portfolio before training you to become an animator. Not RCA. They prefer students to submit a completed animated short film just to be invited for an admissions interview. Students should estimate the cost of living in London at £12,000–£15,000 per year, but some RCA students may be eligible for the new Postgraduate Student Loan of up to £10,000 per course of study. Their MA Program is two years and tuition fees for 2017 are £9,500 per year for domestic UK/EU students, and £28,400 per year for international students. They also have two year programs for Documentary Animation and Experimental Animation.
22. Melies - Escola de Cinema 3D e Animação. São Paulo, Brazil.
Melies has programs for Classical Animation, Digital Sculpture, 3D Lighting and Texturing, Animation of Characters, 3D Modeling, Short Films, V-Ray Training, Video Editing, Motion Graphics, Digital Games, 2D Animation, Graphic Design, and more! Many of their programs run a short six months or less, and they even have several programs available as online courses! Check out their diverse student gallery to see all of the artists they've accommodated and improved in the past.
21. Créapole. Paris, France.
This school continues to bring out the best in talented artists. Regardless of what specialty students enroll in, they can expect to visit several studios or museums, as well as be trained on various industry case studies to display what's successful in the industry and why. Their Cinema Animation and Video Game program can be three or five years. Three year students can seek careers such as 3D Artist, 2D Animator, Storyboarder, 3D Modeler, 2D Illustrator, Game Designer, Editor, Texture Artist, Level Designer, Pixel Artist, Character Designer, or Matte Painter. Those who complete the five year program can instead apply for Lead Artist or Lead Designer careers for all of the above skills.
20. Max the Mutt College of Animation, Art & Design. Toronto, Canada.
This school began after Maxine Schacker and a few other teachers at Sheridan College began helping students outside of the classroom and eventually decided to launch a school of their own! Their four year programs are Animation Diploma (which focuses on classical and computer animation) and Concept Art Diploma (which focuses on animation and video games), and both cost a total of $46,400. Their three year program is a Sequential Arts Diploma (which focuses on comic books and graphic novels) and it costs a total of $34,550. International students don't pay much more than the above prices. Max the Mutt has one of the best student art galleries of the year, so check them out!
19. Teesside University. Middlesbrough and Darlington, England, United Kingdom.
Teesside has life drawing spaces, a recording studio, motion capture studio, and even a sound stage with green screen facilities and motion control cameras! Their Computer Animation & Visual Effects undergraduate programs include: Computer Animation and Visual Effects BA (Hons), Computer Character Animation BA (Hons), Games and Animation (Art Foundation Year), Technical Direction for Visual Effects Bsc (Hons), Visual Effects MComp (Hons), and Concept Art BA (Hons). Students who want a postgraduate degree have three Computer Games programs to choose from and two Computer Animation programs to choose from. They also have ten different Computer Games degrees, as well as a BA (Hons) for Comics, Graphics Novels and Sequential Art! With over £270m invested in their campus, their students enjoy high quality services.
18. The Animation School. Cape Town & Johannesburg, South Africa.
Unsurprisingly, this school only trains artists in animation! The Animation School is on a roll lately, with a stunning student gallery section to prove it. Their three year Diploma in Digital Animation has led to over 40 awards won by students in the past. Have you heard of the animated film Khumba that's on Netflix right now? It was made by the Triggerfish Animation Studios in Cape Town which is home to many alumni from this school!
17. Trazos School of Arts. Madrid, Spain.
Trazos has seen its graduates go on to work at over 400 companies around the world! They have two educational facilities in Madrid that span more than 750 meters squared, as well as official recognition as a training center for Adobe, Autodesk, Maxon, Pixologic, and The Foundry. On top of all of this, they even offer art camps for children and BYOB (Bring Your Own Beer) painting lessons for adults! Their five video game programs span anywhere from 40 hours to 1,200 hours, and they have seven VFX programs and eight Motion Graphic programs to choose from! Trazos has four animation programs as well: Career in Animation (900 hours), Professional Master in Animation (600 hours), Master in 3D Image (300 hours), and Master in Animation (300 hours).
16. The Animation Workshop/VIA University College. Jutland, Denmark.
Weekend drawing courses? Check. Semester drawing courses? Check. Professional courses in 3D Character Animation, VFX, Drawing & Visualization, Animation Sans Frontières, AniDox:Lab, and Master Classes? Check. Four year degree programs for Character Animation, Computer Graphic Arts, and Graphic Storytelling? Check! The teachers often come straight from the animation industry, and the students often graduate straight into the animation industry.
15. Media Design School. Auckland, New Zealand. Other campuses: Bangkok, TH, and Australia locations at Brisbane, Melbourne, and Sydney.
Arguably the best school in New Zealand for animators and game designers, they offer the following powerful programs to kickstart your career. For the game industry, they have: Game Art (three years, $10,565 NZD), Game Programming (three years, $10,520 NZD), and Digital Creativity (one year, $11,158 NZD). For the Animation and VFX industry they have: 3D Animation & Visual Effects (three years, $8,556 NZD), Graduate Diploma in Creative Technologies (one year, $8,945 NZD), and Digital Creativity (one year, $11,158 NZD). All prices listed here are the domestic fees; the international fees will be more, and are available on their site. Be sure to check out the many scholarships that they offer!
14. Aula Tematica. Madrid & Valencia, Spain.
Aula Tematica is an animation powerhouse in Spain! Not only do they have one of the best looking sites on this list, here are some of the projects their graduates have worked on: The Angry Birds Movie, Paddington, Guardians of the Galaxy, Transformers: Dark of the Moon, Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Man of Steel, and even Star Wars: The Force Awakens! They offer five programs in video game design (two of which are Master's programs) and two programs in 3D animation.
13. Bournemouth University. Bournemouth, United Kingdom.
This school is the complete package! With a nice campus, £2,000 scholarships, dining accommodations, a variety of living arrangement options, and more, Bournemouth takes care of its students every hour of the day. Its undergraduate programs for animators and game designers are three or four years at a cost of £9,250 for domestic tuition and £13,500 for international students. These programs include: BA (Hons) Computer Animation Arts, BA (Hons) Computer Visualization and Animation, Bsc (Hons) Software Development for Animation Games and Effects, Bsc (Hons) Games Programming, and Bsc (Hons) Games Technology. Its postgraduate options are typically one year and cost £8,000 (or less) for domestic tuition and £15,000 (or less) for international students. These programs include: MA 3D Computer Animation, MA Computer Games Art, MA Digital Effects, MSc Computer Animation and Visual Effects, and Msc Mobile App Development.
12. Think Tank Training Centre. North Vancouver, Canada.
Not only is this one of the highest quality schools on the list, but Think Tank might be the most imaginative school on the planet. Its facility is modeled after Jules Verne’s 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, and its student gallery oozes in creativity. With twenty five instructors, and only 36 full-time students, Think Tank graduates receive the one-on-one training that most artists dream of receiving one day. This school only accepts twelve new students per semester, with their one year program lasting three semesters and costing $36,400 CAD ($48,250 CAD for international students). They also offer a four month mentorship. To ensure they maintain their full attention on each student, they hand pick the best applications by interviewing some applicants up to two hours! That’s the winning formula that has led them to a graduate placement rate that’s over 92%, with some of the most imaginative student showreels on this list!
11. The University for Creative Careers | SCAD. Hong Kong, China.
Students from all SCAD locations are allowed to study abroad at SCAD Hong Kong with the same tuition for study abroad coursework at all locations! The SCAD alumni network includes artists who went on to work at famous studios like Disney, Pixar, 20th Century Fox, Cartoon Network, and Nickelodeon. The Hong Kong location offers a BFA in Animation that runs 180 hours. As an added bonus, the housing options for SCAD Hong Kong students are pretty impressive!
10. Graduate School of Crafts Art (ESMA). Nantes, Toulouse, and Montpellier, France.
In France, it goes by “ESMA - École Supérieur des Métiers Artistiques” and each year over 90% of ESMA's students find employment within six months of graduation! Their 3D Animation program covers 3D Maya (modeling, texturing, and animation), Houdini (3D special effects), Marvelous (fabric effects), Arnold and Renderman (renderers), Yeti (dynamic engine for fur, feather, and hair effects), and more. Their alumni have gone on to grace film festivals, Oscar nominations, and even audiences in major blockbuster releases, such as Gravity!
9. Lost Boys Studios – School of Visual Effects. Vancouver, Canada.
Whereas most schools on this list offer degrees in various specialties like 3D Modeling, 3D Animation, Game Design, or VFX, this school instead focuses solely on VFX, and it does it damn well. Their NUKE Training is certified by The Foundry and their student portfolios of environmental effects, destruction effects, and crowd animations are all jaw dropping. The Advanced Visual Effects Compositing program is one year and focuses heavily on NUKE training. Their Effects Technical Director program is an accelerated one year program that trains students in advanced Houdini workflows. That program, so far, has seen 96% placement at junior, mid-level, and senior FX positions within the industry, including prestigious studios like ILM, Digital Domain, Sony Image Engine, Method, Double Negative, Hydraulux, and MPC!
8. Vancouver Institute of Media Arts (VanArts). Vancouver, Canada.
VanArts keeps getting better and better! For over 20 years, VanArts has provided its students with the foundation and mentorship necessary to launch a successful career. They offer specialized one-year diploma programs in 2D/3D Character Animation, Game Art & Design and Visual Effects, as well as Photography, Acting, Broadcasting and Web Design. Benefits to studying at VanArts include a world-class faculty of industry professionals, small class sizes, and being located in Vancouver, a world center for film & media, animation and VFX production. Tuition ranges from $23,750CAD to $37,750CAD for one full year of study, and degree pathway options are available for those who wish to pursue further education. VanArts graduates are working on feature films, TV series, and video games in studios all over the world, with credits on everything from Assassin’s Creed, Far Cry, and Halo to Star Wars, Game of Thrones, and Zootopia.
7. MOPA – Motion Picture in Arles. Arles, France.
Founded in 2000 as Supinfocom Arles, last year it split from the Supinfocom family to become Motion Picture in Arles, or MOPA. Their awards page boasts 93 graduation films, 611 festival selections, and 52 prizes or awards, including the Best Animated Short at Siggraph 2014! Despite few, if any, other schools on this list comparing with their award history, their tuition is very competitive! First year students pay €6,550, second year pay €7,250, third year €7,250, fourth year €7,900, and fifth year pay €7,900.
6. National Film and Television School. Beaconsfield, United Kingdom.
12 graduates worked on Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Half of all the Oscar nominations for Short Film from 2010 to 2015 were for its students. Check back next year for an even better statistic; this school always raises the bar each and every year. Their degree program paths are too numerous to list, and cover literally every career of the television, film, and game industries. Their MA Masters Courses are two years, their Diploma courses are twelve to eighteen months, they have dozens of short courses, and their Certificate in Character Animation is a three month course that is taught at the Aardman Animations studio by Loyd Price, the Head of Animation at Aardman! Want to join one of their prestigious MA programs? NFTS awards more than £700,000 each year to MA students from the United Kingdom!
5. Filmakademie Baden-Wuerttemberg. Ludwigsburg, Germany.
This school continues to help its students create hundreds of new films each year, much to the envy of schools around the world. Year after year, if animation students could attend any school for free, this is one of the schools listed the most! Filmakademie Baden-Wuerttemberg established its own Institute of Animation (Animationsinstitut der Filmakademie Baden-Württemberg) in 2002, and they currently offer tracks for the following two year disciplines: Animation/Effects Directing, Character Animation, Concept Artist, Effects Artist, Animation/Effects Producing, and Technical Directing. Their 2016 student showreel looks almost as impressive as the 2016 Hollywood showreel!
4. Supinfocom Rubika. Valenciennes, France. Pune, India. Montreal, Canada.
Not to be confused with Motion Picture in Arles (MOPA), which split off from the Supinfocom family last year. This is the original school that was founded in 1988 and has been an art industry training leader ever since. The Bachelor Rubika cycle is their broad three year program that lets students spend 50% of their time training in industrial design, animation, or video game design. Supinfocom Rubika's Expert Animation cycle program offers three specializations: Animation of Characters, Preproduction Realization, and VFX Images. They also have a Supinfocom Rubika Expert Video Game cycle program that comes with three specializations: Game Design, Game Art, and Game Programming. Some of their newest graduate animations and video games look more jaw dropping than some of the best titles that are currently out in stores!
3. Sheridan College. Ontario, Canada.
This is one of the most respected schools in the world by students and other schools alike! Businesses approve of Sheridan, too; 93% of Sheridan's graduates satisfy their employers after receiving a degree here. No matter which career path you take courses on, Sheridan is a college with a lot of clout in the industry. They offer a four year Honours Bachelor of Animation ($9,903 a year for domestic students and $26,166 for international students) and a four year Honours Bachelor of Game Design ($9,649 a year for domestic students and $18,172 for international students). They also have one year programs for Computer Animation, Digital Character Animation, Digital Creature Animation, Game Level Design, and Visual Effects.
2. Vancouver Film School (VFS). Vancouver, Canada.
VFS opened its doors in 1987 to twelve students and is now one of the best animation schools on the planet. Their about page has a timeline with a milestone for nearly every year since it launched, and it even has a “student life” service that helps students find their perfect roommate. While students in many other schools are up all night rendering projects on their own computers, VFS students instead get to use the school's Qube! render farm to save time and relieve stress. Their programs include Game Design, Foundation Visual Arts & Design, Film Production, Programming for Games, Web & Mobile, Classical Animation, Digital Design, Animation Concept Art, and 3D Animation & Visual Effects. Canadian students should expect to pay anywhere from $20,000 to $35,000 for the programs listed above, but each of those VFS programs are only one year long! VFS offers in one year of training what most schools can't accomplish in four years. After a year of training, some of its graduates have gone on to be the most successful and influential artists in the entertainment industry. If you saw Disney's Moana or Rogue One: A Star Wars Story in theaters, then you've already seen some of their alumna's world renowned artwork!
1. GOBELINS, The School of Visual Communication. Paris and Noisy-le-Grand, France.
Perhaps the most famous animation school of all time, GOBELINS has launched countless careers in both 2D and 3D arts since it launched an animation program in 1975. Each year it's part of the Animation Sans Frontières, which enables small teams of animators to collaborate on high skill projects over several weeks with help and guidance from several top schools! GOBELINS has also been granted the Erasmus University Charter in Europe for 2014-2020.
They offer a one year full-time 3D Character Animator program (8,500 € for European students, 12,600 € for international students) that comes with a two month internship at a company. GOBELINS also offers a Master of Arts program in Character Animation and Animated Filmmaking (7,800 € a year for EU citizens, 12,600 € a year for international students) that's two years full-time. Want something more in-depth? GOBELINS offers Masters classes for these areas of specialty: Character Animation, 2D Animation, 3D Animation, Visual Development, Drawing for Animators, Storytelling, Acting for Animators, Motion Capture, Animation and Audio-Visual Production, and Training for Trainers. Want something short? They even offer summer school courses!