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What are the top European animation colleges?
|3||Animation Workshop/VIA University College||Denmark|
|5||École Supérieure des Métiers Artistiques (ESMA)||France|
|6||Royal College of Art||England|
|9||Pearson College of London||England|
Our 2021 rankings of the top animation colleges in Europe. For this ranking we only consider formal degree programs (bachelor's degree or equivalent). For an explanation of our ranking criteria, click here.
1. Gobelins, Paris, France
Gobelins, l'école de l'image (Gobelins, School of Images) was originally founded by the Parisian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CCIP) in 1964. One of the world’s oldest animation schools, Gobelins serves more than 1,105 students (including 508 apprentices) enrolled in French Professional Baccalaureat and MA degrees in Animation, Audio and Video (Filming and Post-Production), Graphic Design, Motion Design, Photography, Printed & Multimedia Communication, Web and Mobile Design, and Video Games.
The Animation Program at Gobelins leads to a BA or MA degree in Character Animation and Animated Filmmaking. Students will earn Professional Certification in addition to the degree.
Students in the BA Program will master all digital and traditional animation techniques (2D and 3D), from pre-production to post-production, using professional methods from animation studios in France and abroad. Course highlights include 2D and 3D Digital Animation, Anatomical Drawing, Character Background and Design, Film Editing, Layout, Modeling and Rendering, Production Planning, Scriptwriting, Special Effects and Compositing, Storyboard Writing, and Sound Design.
Students will produce short films in teams from both the English-speaking and French-speaking class and mandatory internship (in France or abroad) is part of the program. The BA in Character Animation and Animated Filmmaking takes three years to complete, full-time.
The MA is a full-time program taught in English. “In addition to exercises in writing, storyboarding and complex animation (mixed techniques, interacting characters),” says the school students in the program will “participate in an open-themed end of studies film in conditions similar to a professional environment.” They will also complete a “written report on a reflective work related to an experimental project.”
Curriculum highlights include Advanced 2D and 3D Animation, Character Definition and Characterization, Filmmaking (2D and/or 3D Layout, Character and Background Modeling, Setup, Skinning, Rigging, Acting, Character and Special Effects Animation, Rendering, and Compositing), Graphic Design, Scriptwriting and Directing, Sound Design, and Storyboarding.
Students will also learn about assessing and monitoring production planning, complying with specifications, production pipelines, and teamwork. Throughout the program, production teams will have the opportunity to mix with students from the French Program in Character Animation and Animated Filmmaking. They also have opportunities to participate in workshops and projects sponsored by companies or public institutions such as BMW, DELL, Musée Picasso, the French Ministry of Justice, Netflix, Olympus, Universal Music and many others.
The MA in Character Animation and Animated Filmmaking takes two years to complete. Graduates of the Gobelins Animation Programs enjoy an 88% job placement rate within six months.
2. Bournemouth University, Bournemouth, Poole, England
Bournemouth University (BU) traces its roots back to the early 1970s, when Bournemouth College of Technology was created. The school became Bournemouth Polytechnic (BP) in 1990 and Under the Further and Higher Education Act 1992, BP finally became Bournemouth University, with an inauguration ceremony on 27 November that year. Today, BU is one of the top 100 young universities in the world, with a population of more than 19,000 students.
BU houses the prestigious National Centre for Computer Animation (NCCA), which is one of just a few research-intensive animation centers in the UK. In addition, BU “is one of a small number of institutions from around the world who have been granted Houdini Certified School status by Side Effects Software,” says the school. “Houdini is an Award Winning Industry Standard VFX and Computer Animation Software taught across the NCCA framework of Undergraduate and Postgraduate courses.”
The Centre has two Animation options—BA Degrees in Computer Animation Art & Design, and Computer Animation Technical Arts. Computer Animation Art & Design “places an emphasis on the creative side of computer animation,” says the school, “combining traditional art disciplines like life drawing and cinematography with more technically focused disciplines to produce computer animation using industry-standard tools and software.” Computer Animation Technical Arts “is a unique 50/50 mix of art and science, reflecting practice relevant to the production of graphics and animation for a range of applications.”
Other program highlights include access to professional-level facilities, the opportunity to attend the annual BFX Festival, featuring talks and masterclasses by award-winning artists in the field, and the option to undertake an eight- or 30-week placement (internship), locally or abroad.
In the senior year, students will complete a final major project and dissertation, working individually or as a group, to produce a “significant body of work.”
BU – NCAA Animation graduates enjoy a near 95% employment rate (or further study) within six months of graduation. Alumni have worked on films such as Blade Runner 2049, Dunkirk, Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald, Solo: A Star Wars Story, The Avengers, and many others.
3. The Animation Workshop - VIA University College, Viborg, Denmark
Founded in 2008, VIA University College is one Denmark’s six university colleges, covering the Central Denmark Region. The school serves 15,000 Danish and 2,800 international students enrolled in dozens of programs in the areas of Business, Design, Education, Engineering, Health Sciences, and more. Over 40 programs are offered in English.
VIA’s School of Business, Technology and Creative Industries, houses The Animation Workshop (TAW). Founded in 1988, TAW consists of seven departments, 650 students, staff and professionals, and the biggest animation festival in Denmark—Viborg Animation Festival (VAF). The School also offers a number of professional training programs for aspiring animators including BA degrees in Character Animation, Computer Graphic Arts, and Graphic Storytelling. Professional training seminars and programs that do not lead to a degree are also available.
The TAW BA in Character Animation is taught in English and may be completed in 3.5 years. Each year of the program “focuses on a progressively more complex curriculum,” says the school, that guides students “on the path toward mastery of both 2D and 3D character animation.” The program also offers hands-on experience with preproduction and productions.
The final semester of the program includes a 14-week internship with a production studio. Former students have interned at Aardmann, Cartoon Saloon, Illumination, Nørlum, Sun Creature, and many others.
The Computer Graphic Arts Program “focuses on artistic and technical areas of 2D and 3D animation film production.” The program is taught in English, and it takes 3.5 years to complete. The Graphic Storytelling BA if also taught in English, but it takes four years to complete. The program equips students “with a versatile toolbox relevant to creating comics and graphic novels, illustration, storyboarding, visual development, and more.”
Professional training programs and seminars include 3D Character Animation (3DCA) (17 weeks, 12 weeks beginning in 2022, English), the Animated Documentary Development Seminar - ANIDOX: LAB (six months, English), and Animation Sans Frontieres (six months, English).
The programs will take students through a series of assignments, lectures, and mini productions, “increasing in complexity.” The programs culminate in a final project, lasting four to five weeks. The project includes the students “showreel masterpieces—a 20-30 seconds animated short film.”
4. Rubika, Valenciennes France, Montreal Canada, and Pune India
Rubika was established when three digital design schools merged: Institut Supérieur de Design (Higher Institute of Design 1988), Supinfocom (1988) and Supinfogame (2001). Today, this private school serves more than 1,300 students annually across four campuses in Valenciennes (France), Montreal (Canada), Nairobi (Kenya), and Pune (India).
Rubika has more than 5,000 alumni in over 50 countries, 100+ professional lecturers, partnerships with more than 300 companies, and 20+ partner universities. The school also has a 90% employment rate within a year.
Programs for aspiring animators include Bachelor/Master degrees in FX/VFX Special Effects, 2D Animation, and 3D Animation. Students in the programs will receive a bachelor’s degree after completion of the third year, and a master’s degree after completion of the fifth year. Program highlights include several mandatory internships, annual projects that allow students to work on project management and team management, and a final 3D Animation Project that will be presented to a professional jury.
Graduates of the Rubika Animation Programs are prepared to pursue positions such as 2D/3D Animator, CG Animator, Character Designer, Compositing Artist, FX Artist, Layout Artist/Tracking, Lighting Artist (Lighter), Modeling Artist, Rigger, Set/Environmental Artist, Shading/Texture Artist, Technical Animator, VR Animator, and many others. Potential employers include Rubika graduates include Aardman, Disney Animation Studios, DreamWorks, Framestore Pictures, Illumination Mac Guff, Industrial Light and Magic, Pixar, and more.
5. École Supérieure des Métiers Artistiques (ESMA), Montpellier, France
Founded in 1958, École Supérieure des Métiers Artistiques (ESMA) is a School of Applied Arts, with campuses in Lyon, Montpellier, Montreal, Nantes, and Toulouse. The school offers a Master’s in CG Animation & FX that takes three years to complete. The program focuses on “both artistic and technical knowledge,” says the school, while teaching students to master 3D software used by animation studios, production companies, and video game firms.
Students will learn animation techniques and all about the production stages of an animation project including Pre-production (storyboard, layout, screenwriting…), Production (3D modeling, rigging, compositing, 3D animation…) and Post-production (lighting, rendering, FX…). The fourth year of the fourth year of the program is exclusively dedicated to the creation of an animation short film. Students will produce their final short films in groups consisting of four to seven students.
The CG Animation & FX Master’s Program can be completed in English ESMA’s Lyons campus. Graduates of the program enjoy a 93% employment rate within six months after graduation and a 100% employment rate within just nine months.
6. Royal College of Art, London, England
The Royal College of Art (RCA) began in 1837 as the Government School of Design. Today, RCA is the only entirely postgraduate institution of university status offering degrees in the areas of Art, Communication, Design, and Humanities. The school is home to some 2,300 students served by 450 permanent academic, technical and administrative staff, and more than 1,000 visiting lecturers and professors.
RCA consists of four schools across three sites in Battersea, Kensington, and White City. The School of Communication has been teaching Animation for more than 30 years. The school offers an MA in Animation with three Specializations: Documentary Animation, Experimental Animation, and Narrative Animation. The program consists of 240 UK credits and it takes two-years to complete, full-time.
Students in the program “animate material-based textures of painting, drawing, illustration, puppetry and sculpture, digital tools and processes or mixed media,” says the school. “Works include mimetic narrative, playful abstraction, and expanded documentary methods enhanced by carefully considered sound design.”
Other program highlights include multi-disciplinary electives, visiting artists and professionals, workshops, and experiential learning opportunities such as field trips to animation studios, exhibitions, museums, and archives. The program culminates in an Animated Film (Graduation Project) that will be presented to the Examination Board.
7. MoPA, Arles, France
MoPA began as Supinfocom in 1988. Supinfocom was the first French school dedicated entirely to CG Imaging. In 2015, Supinfocom became MoPA. The new name and new brand reflected “the maturity of its teaching program and its independence,” says the school.
MoPA students have access to the same equipment and software used in professional studios. MoPA studios consist of 200 computers, “loaded with” 3DS Max, Nuke, Substance Painter, Houdini, and more. “A render farm contributes to the computer power necessary to produce” student films.
MoPA offers an Advanced Diploma in Animated Filmmaking. Students in the program will learn about the overall process of how a film is made. They will receive strong technical training, while working in teams to produce professional-quality films. The program begins with the Art Preparatory Year, which concludes with a portfolio that “reaffirms” the student’s career direction. During the next three years of study, students will choose a Specialization (Animation or Digital Imaging), complete an internship, and finish a CG Animated Short Film.
Graduates of Animation Program at MoPA work in all major international studios. Many graduates also return to MoPA to take part in juries, train students, work on projects, and present conferences.
8. ArtFX, School of Digital Arts, Montpellier, Lille, Paris, France
ArtFX, School of Digital Arts, was established in 2004. The school, which serves nearly 500 students, is one of the few European institutions that specializes in both Compositing and Filmmaking Techniques.
Degree pathways include a Master of New Technologies of Cinema, a Master of Animation: 2D and 3D, a Master of CGI & Visual Effects, a Master of Video Game (Game Art or Game Design), and Master of Programming. A Professional Certificate in Programming for Video Games & VFX is also available.
Highlights for all programs include an advanced and innovative pedagogical program, access to high-tech equipment, and membership to a strong professional network. Students also enjoy a main campus in Montpellier—a city known as the “Métropole French Tech” thanks to “an innovative entrepreneurial ecosystem, open to Europe and the world.”
All programs include workshops, internships, presentation in front of a jury of professional artists, meetings with professional artists, and completion of a short 2D or Stop Motion Animated Film. Students will also create a demo reel, and develop and direct a Short Animated Film.
The Master’s Program is approved by the RNCP and recognized by professionals internationally.
9. Pearson College of London - Escape Studios, London, England
Founded in 2002, Escape Studios is part of Pearson College London (PCL)—a boutique institution offering a range of undergraduate and postgraduate degrees, degree apprenticeships, and short programs. Part of Pearson, a FTSE 100 company, PCL has more than 4,000 alumni known as “Escapees.” Many of these artists and designers have gone on launch their own studios or to work on Visual Effects (VFX) blockbusters such as Captain America: Civil War, Ex Machina, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, Gravity, Interstellar, Star Wars: The Force Awakens, The Jungle Book, and many others. PCL alumni have also worked on bestselling games such as Assassin’s Creed and Forza Horizon, and award winning advertisements.
Escape Studios at PCL offers Animation, Game Art, Motion Graphics, and VFX Programs. Degree options for aspiring animators include a BA/MArt in The Art of Computer Animation (Integrated Masters) and MA degrees in 3D Animation, Character & Creature Creation, and Storyboarding & Previsualizaiton. Short program offerings include 2D Animation with Toon Boom Harmony (12 weeks), Advanced Animation (18 weeks), Animation (12 weeks), and Storyboarding & Previsualization (12 weeks or 18 weeks).
Highlights for all programs include extensive training with industry-professional software such as Maya, and Toon Boom Harmony, classrooms and lessons that mirror real animation studios, access to tutors who have worked for Disney, DreamWorks, Fox and Warner Bros., and courses developed with industry partners such as Cinesite, Framestore, and PlayStation Studio London.
10. Teesside University, Middlesbrough, England
Teesside University was founded as Constantine Technical College in 1930. The school serves nearly 19,000 students enrolled in dozens of programs in five schools. The School of Computing, Engineering & Digital Technologies houses the Department of Transmedia, Digital Art & Animation, which offers BA degrees in 2D Animation and Stop Motion, Animation & Visual Effects, Computer Animation, and Computer Character Animation. At the graduate level, an MA in Animation is available.
The 2D Animation and Stop Motion BA helps students develop the skills needed “to work in the animated film and TV industry as a 2D artist, animator, stop-motion artist, model maker and compositor in animation,” says the school. The program includes an optional work placement year, at no extra cost.
The BA in Animation and Visual Effects prepares students “for a career in visual effects for film and TV.” Students in the program will “create photorealistic 2D and 3D visual effects, assets and simulations seamlessly composited into shots for film, TV and 3D animation.” The Computer Animation BA is for artists interested in the creation of 3D computer animation for film, games and TV. The program covers the “fundamental skills common to all animation roles, in drawing and pre-visualization, cinematography, asset design and modelling, 2D and 3D key frame animation and simulation.”
The BA in Computer Character Animation covers key areas such as 3D Character Animation, Look Development, Modeling, Motion Graphics, and Rigging. The MA in Animation is an intensive, practice-based program, which helps students develop skills in animated performance allowing them to “meet industry demands and developments.”
Students in all programs have access to dedicated life drawing spaces, recording and motion-capture studios, and a fully equipped soundstage including green screen facilities and motion-control cameras. Other program highlights include access to industry recruiters that routinely visit the Teesside campus, speakers from Disney, DreamWorks, Industrial Light & Magic and Pixar, and the opportunity to participate in Animex, the UK’s largest animation festival, which takes place on campus.