What are the top animation training programs in Europe?

Top 10 Animation Training Programs in Europe - 2021 School Rankings
1Filmakademie Baden-WurttembergGermany
2National Film and Television SchoolEngland
3Trazos School of Digital ArtsSpain
4Animum Creativity Advanced SchoolSpain
5FX Animation - Barcelona 3D & Film SchoolSpain
6Universal Arts SchoolSpain
79Zeros Animation SchoolSpain
9L'IDEM Creative Arts SchoolSpain
10The Game AssemblySweden

Our 2021 rankings of the top animation training programs in Europe. For this ranking we only consider professional training programs, that is, non-degree programs such as certificate, diploma, and similar programs that are not formal 4-year bachelor's degrees. For an explanation of our ranking criteria, click here

1. Filmakademie Baden-Wurttemberg, Ludwigsburg, Germany
Filmakademie Baden-Wurttemberg

Founded in 1991 as a publicly funded film school, Filmakademie Baden-Wurttemberg (Filmakademie) features classes taught and mentored by more than 300 experts from the film and media industries. With the help of these mentors, student teams produce 250 films each year covering a range of genres. Many of these films win prizes at major film festivals such as SIGGRAPH and the VES Awards.

Filmakademie houses the Animation Institute. Established in 2002, the Institute is a training center for Animation, Interactive Media, and VFX that highlights a practice-oriented and project-based curriculum covering the entire spectrum of animation. Hands-on training at the Institute is complemented by scientific research and development and collaborations with national and international partners.

The Institute’s Film + Media Diploma Program offers a Focus in Animation or Interactive Media, along with various Specialization options. Students in all focus areas and specializations will engage in interdisciplinary work in all the departments of Filmakademie, they will interact with guest speakers, and participate in the FMX Conference on Animation, Effects, Games and Transmedia, which the Animation Institute has hosted since 1994.

Graduates of the Animation Programs at Filmakademie go on to work for studios in Germany or abroad, or start their own business.

2. National Film and Television School, Beaconsfield – Buckinghamshire, England
National Film and Television School

National Film and Television School (NFTS) opened in 1971 as The National Film School. The only UK film school with its own television studios and post-production facilities, NFTS serves more than 400 students enrolled around 40 MA, Diploma, and Certificate Programs. Specific programs for aspiring animators include an MA in Directing Animation, a Diploma in Model Making for Animation, and Certificate in Character Animation.

Students in the MA in Directing Animation will study all forms of Visual Storytelling, along with Traditional and Digital Media including Drawn 2D, 3D, Stop-Motion and Life-Size Pixilation. Program highlights include collaborative workshops with other filmmaking disciplines, the chance to work in real production facilities and on real projects, and the opportunity to develop, produce, and direct a graduation film, while leading a fully crewed team.

All NFTS students will also have the opportunity to attend the school’s masterclasses program, with animation guests including, Michaël Dudok De Wit (Father and Daughter, The Red Turtle), Glen Keane (The Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast), Travis Knight (Kubo and the Two Strings, The Boxtrolls), and David O’Reilly (The External World, Please Say Something).

The Diploma in Model Making for Animation is the only UK-based program of its kind located in a dedicated film studio environment. Students in the program will learn to create professional models, sets, props, and puppets. Projects will be completed individually and as a team, and students will engage in challenging modules, workshops, and tutorials, some of which will take place online. During the last few months of the program, students will work with MA students on their animation graduation films.

The Certificate in Character Animation is a 12-week, full-time, intensive and practical course based in the Aardman Sudios in Bristol. The program covers core animation skills, drawing, and acting, culminating in a short character animation sequence.

The MA Program may be completed in two years and the Diploma Program takes one year to complete. Internship opportunities are available and both programs require a full-time commitment.

3. Trazos School of Digital Arts, Madrid, Spain
Trazos School of Digital Arts

Established more than 25 years ago, Trazos School of Digital Arts trains professionals in Technology and New Media, and in Digital Art disciplines such as 3D, Animation, Digital Marketing, Graphic Design, Motion Graphics, VFX, Video Games, Web Development, and more. The school, which has partnerships with Adobe, Apple, Autodesk, Maxon, Pixologic, and others, focuses entirely on job placement in the industry, as well as helping active professionals improve their skills.

Specific pathways for Animators include Professional Master Programs in 2D Animation with Toon Boom, 2D Design and Animation with Toon Boom, 3D and Animation, 3D and VFX with Maya and Houdini, 3D with Autodesk Maya, Advanced 3D with Autodesk Maya, Advanced Animation, Animation, Character Design and Animation, and VFX with Houdini. Trazos also offers Zbrush and Advanced Zbrush short programs.

Master Programs consists of 300 or 600 hours of study, Zbrush consists of 75 hours, and Advanced Zbrush consists of 150 hours. Students in all programs will produce a number of animated productions as well as a Final Diploma Project utilizing personal studio spaces and facilities that mirror a real professional studio.

Trazos School of Digital Arts has more than 10,000 graduates to date, all of them professionals in their field.

4. Animum Creativity Advanced School, Malaga, Spain
Animum Creativity Advanced School

Established more than a decade ago, Animum Creativity Advanced School (Animum) offers graduate programs, more than 500 software workshops, and Autodesk Training. The school offers a number of benefits for students such as free classes with professionals from 3D Animation, Graphic Design, Modeling, and Photography, workshops, and talent scholarships awarded each year. In addition, all Animum graduates have access to “an exclusive service” that provides the opportunity for alumni to promote their reel or portfolio to agencies, companies, and studios, both nationally and internationally.

Animum Creativity Advanced School serves hundreds of students in more than 30 countries enrolled in programs delivered face-to-face and online. Animation pathway’s include Master’s degrees or shorter programs in 3D Animation and Illustration, Advanced 3D Production, Advanced Cartoon Animation, Animation for Video Games, Animation or Modeling of 3D Characters for Cinema and Videogames, Digital Drawing and 2D Animation, and VFX and Composition with Houdini and Nuke.

Courses and workshops include Advanced Cartoon Animation, Animation of 3D Characters for Video Games, Animation of Creatures for VFX, Digital Composition with Nuke, Explode Your Reel – Animation, Fundamentals of 2D Animation, Fundamentals of Drawing, Foundations of 3D Production with Autodesk MAYA, and Rigging 3D Characters.

Graduates of the Animation Programs at Animum have landed positions at Advertising Firms, Animation and Game Studios, Motion Graphics Studios, VFX companies, and more. Framestore and Illumination Mac Guff are just a few companies that have hired Animum graduates.

5. FX Animation - Barcelona 3D & Film School, Barcelona, Spain
FX Animation - Barcelona 3D & Film School

Established in 2007, FX Animation - Barcelona 3D & Film School has a 99% job placement rate, with graduates working at more than 800 companies around the world. The school offers specialized training in areas such as 2D/3D Character Design, 3D for Architecture, Animation, Games, Graphic Design, Photography, and Visual Effects.

Pathways for animators include an Advanced Master’s in 3D Design and Art for Videogames or VFX with Houdini and Maya, an Advanced Master’s in Compositing and Postproduction, a Professional Certificate in 3D for Graphic Design & Photography, and a “3D Master & Postproduction for VFX.” In 2021, the school added two new (short) programs including Art Direction for Cinema (five months) and Direct Sound (four months).

All FX Animation students will learn to master the latest methods, technologies, and software including Adobe After Effects, Avid, Nuke, Cinema 4D, Houdini, Maya, 3ds Max, V-Ray, Forest Pack, RailClone, Pro Tools, Adobe Premier Pro, DaVinci, Mari, Cara VR, SynthEyes, LightWave , and more.

Other program highlights include small class sizes (maximum 15 students), internship opportunities, and a final marketable animated production. Students have completed internships at companies such as El Ranchito, Deluxe, Entropy Studio, Digital Legends, The game forge, Scarecrow studio, B · Water Studios and Music has no limits, among others.

6. Universal Arts School, Valencia, Spain
Universal Arts School

Established in 1994, Universal Arts School (UA) has two campuses in Valencia, Spain and one in Hollywood, California. The school offers a Character Animation Bachelor's that takes 33 months to complete, a Character Animation Diploma that takes 25 months to complete, and a 17-month Character Animation Master's. Programs may be completed on campus or online and all students have the opportunity to complete a final project and professional demo reel.

Other program highlights include access to more than 200 top mentors and nearly 100 speakers and collaborators working at benchmark studios within the film and game industries, the Start-Up component, which helps students develop the skills needed to start their own business, and internship opportunities.

In addition to starting their own studios, graduates of UA Animation Programs have landed positions at major companies and studios such as Blizzard Entertainment, Disney, Industrial Light & Magic, Lucasfilm Animation, Pixar, and many others.

7. 9Zeros Animation School, Barcelona, Spain
9Zeros Animation School

9Zeros Animation School (Escola de Cinema de Barcelona – ECIB) offers courses and master’s degrees in 2D, 3D, Cinematographic Direction, Concept Art, Documentary Film, Editing, Film Directing, Photography, Scriptwriting, Sound, Stop-Motion, and VFX Animation. Per the school, 9Zeroes is one of the only institutions in Europe that combines all these cinematographic disciplines.

Specific programs for aspiring animators include a three-year Animation training program covering the three branches of Animation including 2D, 3D and Stop-Motion Animation. 9Zeroes is the only school in Catalonia that provides training in all three branches.

The program requires 180 credit hours of study to graduate. Upon completion of the program, 9Zeros/ECIB graduates have landed positions with major studios and companies such as Aardman Animations, Double Negative, Lightbox Animation Studios, Pixar, Weta Digital, and many others. Alumni have worked on productions such as Brave, Inside Out, Cars 3, Justice League, The Chronicles of Narnia, The Hunger Games, The Jungle Book, X-Men: Apocalypse, and more.

8. New3dge, Paris, France

New3dge is a Digital Arts Training School that opened in 2010. This private school serves more than 100 students enrolled in Animation, 3D & VFX, and Game Design programs. Students in all programs will work in teams to complete a number of projects, including a final graduation project.

Specific program options for aspiring animators include the 3D Animation & VFX Master. The curriculum covers the creation of characters, matte painting, storyboarding, polygonal modeling, rigging, rendering, 2D animation, film production, integration of virtual elements in real photo or animated shooting, perspective analysis in the image and video tracking, compositing, post-production and finalization, integration of sound into image, and more.

The first year of the program consists of traditional preparation in drawing, modeling, and sculpture. In year two, students will learn 2D and 3D computer graphics techniques. In year three, students will deepen their knowledge of computer graphics and choose a specialization. Students will refine their skills and complete the final graduation project and portfolio during the fourth and fifth years of the program.

Graduates of the 3D Animation & VFX Master Program at New3dge are prepared to pursue careers such as 3D Animator, 3D Graphic Designer, Artistic Director, Character Designer, Environmental Designer, Production Manager, Setup/Rigging Specialist, Storyboarder, and many others. 

9. L'IDEM Creative Arts School, Barcelona, Spain
L'IDEM Creative Arts School

Established in 1997, L'IDEM Creative Arts School (L'IDEM) is one of the founding members of the French Network of Animation Schools (RECA) and is included in the group of large schools that contribute to the success of animated film in France. With campuses in Barcelona and France, the school has partnerships with more than 1,000 businesses and studios. Just a few include 2d3D Animations, Cartoon Saloon, Digital Dimension, Giant Animation, Hahn Film, Illumination Mac Guff, Motion Pictures, Studio 352, and Ubisoft. Thanks to these partnerships, L’IDEM students have access to numerous internship and job opportunities.

Other L’IDEM highlights include a multi-disciplinary academic formula, workplace replication, teaching staff with experience in the field, master classes, workshops, and conferences with animation and graphic design experts.

Programs for aspiring animators include the International Bachelor and MA in 2D-3D Animation. Course highlights for the programs include 2D and 3D Animation, 3D Organic Modeling, Animated Drawing, Animation Culture, Animation Production, Computing and Infographics, Image Analysis and Theory, Storyboard, Soundtrack and Sound Design, Study and Design of Movement, Video Post-Production, and Visual Arts. Students will complete a final film project.

Technical training for the programs is based on industry software such as 3D Studio Max, After Effects, Final Cut, Maya, Nuke, Photoshop, Premiere, Toon Boom, and Unity.

Graduates of the L’IDEM Animation Programs are prepared to seek positions in Film, TV, Web and Videogames. Possible titles include 2D Animator, 3D Animator, 3D General Artist, Artistic Director, Character Designer, Game Artist, Layout Person, Producer, Rigger, Storyboarder, Visual Effect Specialist, and many others.

10. The Game Assembly, Malmo, Sweden
The Game Assembly

Founded in 2008, The Game Assembly (TGA) is a polytechnic school that trains game artists (3D), game programmers (C++), and level designers. With an additional location in Stockholm, TGA offers programs that allow students to spend 1/3 of their education in the workplace. This component of the program, known as Learning at Work (LiA), takes place towards the end of the program.

Other TGA highlights include small class sizes (16 students), the opportunity to collaborate with students from all disciplines, partnerships with numerous gaming studios, and courses taught by industry professionals.

Specific program options for aspiring animators in the Game Animator Diploma. Students in the program will learn the 12 animation principles, animation of both mechanical and living characters, motion capture and keyframe animation, rigging of 3D models, Autodesk Maya, and Motion Builder. Throughout the program, Game Animator students will create eight games, from concept to playable game.

Students will collaborate with other game artists to bring the characters to life in both gameplay and cinematics. All projects “follow the same working methodology that companies in the industry use,” says the school. The Game Animator Diploma Program takes 2.5 years to complete, full-time.