What are the top Canadian animation training programs?

Top 10 Professional Animation Training Programs in Canada - 2022 School Rankings
1Vancouver Film SchoolBritish Columbia
2Vancouver Institute of Media Arts British Columbia
3Seneca CollegeOntario
4Think Tank Training CentreBritish Columbia
5Capilano UniversityBritish Columbia
6Algonquin College of Applied Arts and TechnologyOttawa
7Max the Mutt College of AnimationToronto
8CG Masters School of 3D Animation & VFXBritish Columbia
9Vancouver Animation SchoolBritish Columbia
10Humber College Institute of Technology & Advanced LearningEtobicoke

Our 2022 rankings of the top animation training programs in Canada.

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. Vancouver Film School, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
Vancouver Film School

The Animation & Visual Effects Program at Vancouver Film School (VFS) is one of the school’s 15 programs that lead to careers in Animation, Design, Film & Television, and Games. Animation & Visual Effects consists of three 12-month, six-term Diploma programs: 3D Animation & Visual Effects, Animation Concept Art, and Classical Animation.

The 3D Animation & Visual Effects Diploma Program explores areas such as the basics of a 3D pipeline, storytelling, production, and lighting and rendering. Students will graduate from the program with a master demo reel of their final project.

The Animation Conception Art Diploma explores drawing, digital painting, storytelling, and creating characters, environments, and worlds. Graduates will leave the program with a portfolio of their best work. Career possibilities include Comic Arts, Film and Television, Games, Illustration, and Interactive Media.

The VFS Classical Animation Diploma Program consists of coursework that explores the basics of animation, background design, animating characters (conveying thoughts and emotions), rendering, creating storyboards, layout, and art direction. Students will graduate from the program with a master demo reel and a traditional art and animation portfolio.

Established in 1987 and serving more than 1,000 students across eight campuses, Vancouver Film School provides access to workshops, studios, theaters, film sets, motion and performance capture facilities (among the largest in North America), production spaces, and screening rooms. Students also have 24/7 access to state-of-the-art computer labs equipped with industry standard software. VFS facilities and studios are housed across eight campuses that consist of more than 42,000 sq. ft. of space.

All Vancouver Film School students will graduate with industry connections thanks to VFS’s partnerships with corporate leaders such as Pixologic, Dell Technologies, Unreal Engine, NVIDIA, Unity, Beyond Capture Studios, Final Draft, Adobe, HP, Autodesk, and 5Alarm Music. Graduates also have access to career services through the VFS Alumni Directory & Job Board.

alumni have gone on to establish careers at top studios around the world. They have worked on films and games such as Halo Infinite, The Grinch, Spider-Man, Toy Story 4, Overwatch, Luigi’s Mansion, League of Legends, Free Guy, Justice League, God of War, and Ghostbusters, among others.

2. Vancouver Institute of Media Arts (VanArts), Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
Vancouver Institute of Media Arts

The Diploma Programs at Vancouver Institute of Media Arts (VanArts) have a 90% employment rate within six months of graduation. Students can choose from programs such as 2D/3D Character Animation, Game Art & Design, Visual Effects for Film & TV, and Web Development & Design.

Programs can be completed in one year and many are eligible for a variety of Diploma2Degree Programs through articulation agreements with schools such as Deakin University, Media Design School, Woodbury University, Emily Carr University, and RMIT University. Some Diploma2Degree Programs may be completed in as little as one year after completing a Diploma Program at VanArts.

The 2D/3D Character Animation Program explores the principles of animation, life drawing, set building and character assets, story/visual language, acting and performance, sound FX, lighting and rendering, and  Students will master Maya, Adobe, Photoshop, and other industry-standard software.  

The VanArts Animation Program culminates the completion of a short film or a sequence of assignments that demonstrate the student’s skills as a Character Animator.

Founded in 1995 and serving hundreds of students from around the world, Vancouver Institute of Media Arts has a long list of successful alumni. VanArts graduates have worked on Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse (Sony Pictures Imageworks), DRAGON PRINCE, The Dragon Prince, Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, Teen Titans Go, Hilda, 101 Dalmatian Street, Mega Man, Transformers: Rescue Bots, 101 Dalmatian Street, and My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic.

3. Seneca College, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Seneca College

Seneca College was established in 1976. Serving 20,855 students, the school provides  numerous opportunities to gain work experience and immerse in other cultures around the world. Examples include co-op experiences, field placements, work terms, and the study abroad program. Seneca College also participates in a number of associations and groups such as Polytechnics Canada, Colleges Ontario, and Colleges and Institutes of Canada, and it is the only college in Ontario to have programs accredited by the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP).

The School of Creative Arts & Animation at Seneca College has an Animation Program that takes three years to complete. Leading to the Ontario College Advanced Diploma, the program explores both computer animation and animation production. Course examples for the program include History of Animation, Character Design, Storyboarding – Film Structure, Storytelling, Character Development, Animation Applications, Character Acting, and Layout – Environmental Design.

Beginning in the semester five, students will choose a focus area or “stream.” Options include Digital Animation, 2D Animation, and Gaming. Across streams, course examples include Advanced Lighting, Texturing, and rendering, Advanced Animation Tools, Storyboarding for the 3D Environment, Introduction to MEL Scripting, Advanced Digital Tools, Game Engines and Development, 3D Modeling for Games, Game Animation, Systems and Rigging for Games, Digital Storytelling, 2D Effects Tools for Animation, and Animated short Film Production.

All focus areas include portfolio preparation and development courses. Graduates of the Seneca College Animation Program are prepared to pursue careers in all areas of animation for film, the web, games, television, advertising and marketing, and education. Program alumni also go on to enroll in Animation BA programs at partner schools such as University of Gloucestershire and Munster Technological University (MTU). The program at MTU is a BA (Hons) in Animation, Visual Effects, and Motion Design.

4. Think Tank Training Centre, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
Think Tank Training Centre

The Animation Program at Think Tank Training Centre has a full-time pathway and mentorship option. The full-time pathway (Computer Animation, Visual Effects and Game Design), explores all aspects of animation, computer graphics, VFX, and games. Course examples include 3D Animation, Classical and Flash Animation, Texturing, Compositing & VFX, Acting for Animation, Rigging, Production Pipeline, and Game Design. The program consists of three terms completed over 12 months. Students will earn a Diploma upon completion of the program.

The four-month Think Tank Mentorship Program is designed for students with previous training and or experience. Students in this program learn and create at personal, state-of-the-art workstations, they have access mentors who are industry professionals, and at the end of the program, students can take advantage of four additional months of facility access to complete their demo reel and job hunt. Mentees also have access to studio tours with partner organizations.

Think Tank Training Centre launched an Online Division in 2017. Think Tank Online has a 16-month Specialized CG Training Program that features live weekly classes, small class sizes (5-8 students), supervised projects and production, a state-of-the-art learning portal, and fulltime support by industry professionals.

Graduates of the programs at Think Tank Training Centre have established successful careers at local and global studios such as Electronic Arts (EA), Animal Logic, Phoenix Labs, Industrial Light & Magic (ILM), Method Studios, Digital Domain, Scan Line VFX, Sony Pictures Imageworks, Waterproof Studios, ZOIC, Double Negative Visual Effects, and BioWare, among others.

5. Capilano University, North Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
Capilano University

The Faculty of Fine & Applied Arts at Capilano University (CapU) houses the School of Motion Picture Arts (SMPA). Located in the Bosa Centre for Film and Animation, SMPA has options in 2D Animation & Visual Development, Visual Effects for Film, Streaming & Immersive Media, 3D Animation for Film and Games, and Animation Fundamentals. This program takes eight weeks to complete and it leads to a Citation of Achievement. All other programs take two years to complete and lead to a Diploma.

Founded in 1968, Capilano University (CapU) has grown from 784 students to more than 12,700 today. Students in all programs have access to state-of-the-art facilities and resources across two campuses in North Vancouver and Sechelt. In addition, CapU students have access to workshops, internship opportunities, and study abroad programs.

Course examples across CapU SMPA Programs include Studio: Gesture and Form, Digital Matte Painting, Animation: Timing and Principles, Visual Effects Modeling and Texturing, Character Animation, Visual Effects Animation, Visual Effects Production, Advanced Production Design for Animation, Visual Storytelling, Visual Development and Concept Design, Animation: Emerging Technologies, 3D Animation I-IV, Look Development and Lighting, 3D Design for Production I-IV, The Art of Visual Storytelling, Technical Direction and Rigging, and Animation Action Analysis. The programs also provide entrepreneurship and business courses such as Business Writing for Digital Visual Effects and Entrepreneurship in the Animation Industry.

In the final year of the SMPA Programs, students  will have the opportunity to complete a professional demo reel and/or a practicum at a local studio. Graduates of the SMPA Programs at Capilano University are Animators, VFX Artists, Texture Artists, 3D Modelers, Storyboard Artists, and Layout Artists, among others.

6. Algonquin College of Applied Arts and Technology, Ottawa, Pembroke and Perth, Ontario, Canada
Algonquin College of Applied Arts and Technology

Algonquin College of Applied Arts and Technology (Algonquin College) provides more than 300 program options to nearly 20,000 students. Founded in 1957, the school houses dozens of departments and schools, including the School of Media & Design. Students in the Media School have access to more than 20 programs leading to a Diploma or Certificate.

For animators, the School of Media & Design at Algonquin College has a three-year Advanced Diploma in Animation option and a 12-Month Certificate in Drawing Foundations for Animation and Illustration. Courses for the Animation Diploma Program are taught by industry professionals who work (or have worked) at studios such as Warner Bros. Animation, Ubisoft, Disney, Atomic Cartoons, and Sony Pictures Imageworks.

Course examples for the program include Animation Design, Environmental and Visual Problem Solving, Gesture Drawing for Animation, Digital Animation, Scriptwriting for Animation, Character Animation, and Design Thinking. Courses at Algonquin College may be delivered in a classroom or lab, in hybrid mode (online/on campus) or 100% online.

The Animation Diploma Program at Algonquin College may be completed in three years, full-time. Graduates will  leave the program with a portfolio and demo reel of their best work. Examples of potential careers for graduates include 3D Animator, Rigger or Modeler, Game Animator, Animator, Character Designer, Background Artist, Location Designer, Tradigital Rigger, and Layout Artist.  

The Certificate in Drawing Foundations for Animation and Illustration is designed for students who would like to develop strong drawing skills for entry into a variety of creative industries. Students will explore drawing for animation, games, comic books, anime, concept art, graphic novels, and books. Other program features include participation in the Annual Showcase and opportunity to transfer into the Animation or Illustration and Concept Art Diploma Program. The Algonquin College Certificate Program can be completed in one year.

7. Max the Mutt College of Animation, Art & Design, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Max the Mutt College of Animation

The Animation Diploma Program at Max the Mutt College of Animation, Art & Design (Max the Mutt) explores storytelling, drawing, background painting and design, cartooning, visual language, and acting for animation. Courses explore both classical and digital animation and include Production Process, Design & Composition, Digital Background Painting, Structural Drawing, Cartooning for Animation Storytelling & Story Development, 2D Computer Animation: Introduction (Harmony), 3D Animation Software, 3D Film Development & Pre-Production, and Layout for 3D Development.

Students in the Animation Diploma Program will complete several animated productions across four years and a professional portfolio of their best work.

Established in 1996, Max the Mutt has an additional program option that is suitable for students interested in animation. The Concept Art Program combines animation, fine art, cartooning, concept art, and illustration courses. The first year of the program consists of Visual Arts Literacy (VAL) coursework.

Throughout the program, students will develop advanced skills in software programs such as Maya and Photoshop.

Course examples include Artistic Anatomy, Environment Visualization, Advanced Environment Design & Painting in Photoshop, Painting the Costumed Mode, Traditional & Computer Illustration, and Creature Design. Students will leave the Concept Art Program with a professional portfolio.

Students in all Max the Mutt Programs have opportunities to participate in the Annual Industry Open House and Annual Showcase, art, animation, gaming, portfolio development and other workshops (on campus or online), and the internship program.

Graduates of the Animation and Concept Art Programs at Max the Mutt have been hired at studios such as Pixar, Warner Bros. Games, Sony Pictures Imageworks, Guru Studios, Disney Design Group, CMJ Productions, Nanomyte Productions, Mercury Filmworks, See Creatures, Elliott Animation, Pipeline Studios, and Legend 3D.

8. CG Masters School of 3D Animation & VFX, New Westminster, British Columbia, Canada
CG Masters School of 3D Animation & VFX

CG Masters School of 3D Animation & VFX provides career-focused 3D animation training in a real working studio. Founded in 2012, the school also offers small class sizes, courses taught by industry professionals, and job placement services. Program options for animators include a one-year intensive 3D Animation VFX Production Diploma and a 12-week 3D Foundations Certificate. Houdini classes and tutoring are available as well.

Launching on June 7, 2022, the 3D Foundations Certificate will teach the basics of animation and visual effects. The program explores rendering and storyboarding, 3D modeling, photography, art theory, texture creation, FX particles and dynamics, cinematography, and compositing. The program will be offered online and in-person—with small class sizes.

The CG Masters Diploma Program consists of courses such as Animation I-II, Production I-II, Modeling & Texturing I-II, Rigging & Scripting I-II, and Dynamics I-II. In the third term of the program students will complete Production III and Dailies III. Throughout the program, student will explore the production pipeline and complete several projects.

Graduates of the 3D Animation VFX Production Diploma at CG Masters work at studios around the world. They are Production Coordinators, Technical Animators, Character Animators, RotoPaint Artists, Matchmovers, FX Artists, Riggers, Lighting Technical Directors, 3D Modelers, FX Technical Directors, and Texture Artists, among others. Program alumni have worked on productions such as Spiderman, The Lion King, The Dragon Prince, Tarzan, and Puss in Boots.

9. Vancouver Animation School, Burnaby, British Columbia, Canada
Vancouver Animation School

The Animation Programs at Vancouver Animation School (VANAS) can be completed 100% online or online + onsite (hybrid). Students who choose the hybrid option will spend three hours each week in onsite sessions where they will interact with industry professionals and other students.

Established in 2010, Vancouver Animation School has Diploma and Introduction Programs for Animators. Diploma Programs are 12 months and include 2D Computer Animation, 3D Computer Animation, and Animated Short Films. All Diploma Programs have three-month Introduction options. Short or Introduction Programs include Introduction to Digital Art and Writing for Animation. A Professional Career Development Program is also available and it takes one month to complete. At the end of this program, students will receive a Certificate.

Graduates of the Animation Programs at Vancouver Animation School work in a variety of positions at studios and game software developers such as Ubisoft, Zynga, Bethesda Game Studios, Double Negative, Epic Games, Framestore, Gameloft, Reel FX Animation, and Gearbox Software.

10. Humber College Institute of Technology & Advanced Learning, Etobicoke, Ontario, Canada
Humber College Institute of Technology & Advanced Learning

Humber College Institute of Technology & Advanced Learning (Humber College) serves more than 18,000 students across three campuses, making it one of the largest colleges in Canada. The school provides programs leading to a Bachelor’s degree, Diploma, Advanced Diploma, or Certificate. Apprenticeship Certificate Programs are available as well as more than 60 online continuing education and professional training programs and 400+ online courses. Housed in eight academic schools, most pathways feature clinical practice, work placement or industry-related experiences.

The School of Media Studies and Information Technology at Humber College has a 3D Animation Program that takes six semesters to complete. Leading to an Advanced Diploma, the program explores animation, modelling, and visualization. Teamwork is emphasized and students will work and experiment in the new state-of-the-art Usability Lab. Students also have access the Virtual Reality (VR) Room, where they have the opportunity to collaborate across disciplines.

Course examples for the Humber College 3D Animation Program include 2D and 3D, Film, Production, Acting for Animation, Life Drawing for Animation, Post-Production, Animation History, Career Connections, and Workplace Writing Skills. In the last two semesters of the program, students will complete the Animated Short Development, Capstone 1 and 2, and Portfolio courses.

Graduates of the Humber College 3D Animation Program can pursue positions in the film and television, game design, and marketing and advertising industries. Possible roles range from Character Animation and CGI to Rigging and Technical Directing.