What are the top Canadian animation training programs?

Top 10 Professional Animation Training Programs in Canada - 2023 School Rankings
1Vancouver Film SchoolBritish Columbia
2Vancouver Institute of Media ArtsBritish Columbia
3Seneca CollegeOntario
4Think Tank Training CentreBritish Columbia
5Algonquin College of Applied Arts and TechnologyOttawa
6Capilano UniversityBritish Columbia
7Vancouver Animation SchoolBritish Columbia
8Max the Mutt College of AnimationToronto
9LaSalle College VancouverBritish Columbia
10Humber College Institute of Technology & Advanced LearningEtobicoke

Our 2023 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

Vancouver Film School (VFS) is a Houdini Certified School with a number of partnerships with major corporations. This allows students to establish valuable industry connections—all before graduation. Partnerships include Adobe, HP, Final Draft, Pixologic (makers of Zbrush), Unreal Engine, Dell Technologies, Unity, NVIDIA, and Autodesk, among others.  

Other VFS features include workshops and visiting artists; internships and other experiential learning opportunities; and 24/7 access to state-of-the-art computer labs equipped with industry standard software as well as studios, theaters, film sets, motion and performance capture facilities (among the largest in North America), production spaces, and screening rooms. VFS facilities are housed across eight campuses and more than 42,000 sq. ft. of space.

For students seeking Animation training, Vancouver Film School has an Animation & Visual Effects Program that consists of three 12-month, six-term Diploma options. These immersive programs include Classical Animation, 3D Animation & Visual Effects, and Animation Concept Art.

The VFS Classical Animation Diploma Program consists of coursework that explores the basics of Animation, Background Design, Animating Characters, Rendering,  Storyboards, Layout, and Art Direction. Students will graduate from the program with a master demo reel and a traditional Art and Animation portfolio.

The 3D Animation & Visual Effects Diploma explores areas such as the 3D Animation Pipeline, Storytelling, Production, Lighting and Rendering. Students will graduate from the program with a master demo reel of their final project.

The Animation Conception Art Diploma explores Creating Characters, Environments and Worlds, Storytelling, Drawing, and Digital Painting. 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.

All Vancouver Film School graduates have access to career services through the VFS Alumni Directory & Job Board. Graduates have also gone on to establish careers at top studios around the world. Over the past 6.5 years, program alumni have worked on 97 feature films, 24 TV/web series, 21 3D Animation projects, and 28 games. Examples include Toy Story 4, Ghostbusters, Overwatch, The Grinch, Justice League, Spider-Man, Luigi’s Mansion, Halo Infinite, League of Legends, Free Guy, and God of War.

Established in 1987 and serving hundreds of students, Vancouver Film School provides 15 post-secondary programs from Animation and Film to VR/AR Design & Development. The school has eight campuses throughout Vancouver, and one within Shanghai University (SHVFS) that was launched in 2014. Vancouver Film School is accredited by the B.C. Private Training Institutions Branch (PTIB) of the Ministry of Advanced Education and the British Columbia Education Quality Assurance (EQA). VFS is also Certified under the Private Training Act.

2. Vancouver Institute of Media Arts, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
Vancouver Institute of Media Arts

Vancouver Institute of Media Arts (VanArts) is a Houdini Training Partner, with additional partnerships with Pixologic (makers of ZBrush), Adobe, Microsoft, SideFX, Toon Boom, and Autodesk. The school provides Diploma Programs that boast a 92% 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 Media Design School, RMIT University, Deakin University, Woodbury University, and Emily Carr University. Some Diploma2Degree Programs may be completed in as little as one year after completing a Diploma Program at VanArts.

An ideal program option for Animators is 2D/3D Character Animation. This program explores The 12 Principles of Animation, Lighting and Rendering, Life Drawing, Set Building, Acting and Performance, Character Assets, and Sound FX. Students will also master Maya, Adobe, Photoshop, and other industry-standard software. 

The VanArts Animation Program culminates with the completion of a short film or a sequence of assignments that demonstrate the student’s skills as a Character Animator. Graduates are prepared for positions in all areas of Animation as well as Television, Games, and Visual Effects (VFX). Students can also use their Animation skills for careers in Advertising, Graphic Design, Education, Architecture, Medicine, Science, and Legal.

VanArts graduates have been hired at or worked with major studios such as Walt Disney Animation Studios, DreamWorks, WETA FX, and Animal Logic. Examples of alumni credits include 101 Dalmatian Street, My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic, Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, The Dragon Prince, Transformers: Rescue Bots, Mega Man, Hilda, and Teen Titans Go.

Vancouver Institute of Media Arts was founded in 1995 by Academy-Award winning Animator and Director Lee Mishkin. Serving hundreds of students from around the world, VanArts focuses on programs in Character Animation, Visual Effects Production, Game Art & Design, Web Development & Design, Professional Photography, and Acting for Film & Television. Vancouver Institute of Media Arts is designated by the Private Training Institutions Branch (PTIB), Education Quality Assurance (EQA), and EduCanada.

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

Seneca Polytechnic College (Seneca Polytechnic) provides a number of 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 Polytechnic 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 Polytechnic has several paths to study Animation. All offer the same benefits and opportunities. Options include the Animation Diploma and Graduate Certificates in 3D Animation and Game Art & Animation. The Certificate Programs take eight months to complete and they are delivered in a hybrid format.

The Animation Diploma Program at Seneca Polytechnic College takes three years (six semesters) to complete. Delivered in a hybrid format and leading to the Ontario College Advanced Diploma, the Program explores Computer Animation and Animation Production. Courses for the program are hands-on and cross-disciplinary, with titles such as Storyboarding – Film Structure, Animation Applications, Storytelling, Layout – Environmental Design, Character Development, History of Animation, Character Acting, and Character Design.

The first year of the Animation Program at Seneca Polyethnic explores Animation Foundations. This helps students develop skills in Animation, Design, Film Language, Life Drawing, and Structural Drawing for Animation. In the second and third year of the Program, students will focus in one of four areas including 2D Animation, 3D Animation, Visual Development, and Game Art and Animation. Students will have the opportunity to collaborate with peers across all focus areas.

All focus areas include portfolio preparation and development courses. Other program features include access to state-of-the-art facilities including the Animation Lab and the Digital Animation Lab; the Toon Boom Center of Excellence Program; affiliations including Toronto Animation Arts Festival International (TAAFI), Computer Animation Studios of Ontario (CASO), Ottawa International Animation Festival, LightBox Expo, and others; and workshops, internships, and visiting artists.

Graduates of the Seneca Polytechnic College Animation Program are prepared to pursue careers in all areas of Animation for Film, the Web, Games, Television, Advertising, and Education. Program alumni also go on to enroll in an Animation BA Program at partner schools such as University of Gloucestershire and Munster Technological University (MTU).

The 3D Animation Program at Seneca Polytechnic explores Animation, Rendering, Modeling, Lighting, Compositing, and Rigging. Students in this program will also develop Storyboard Drawing and Project Development skills. Graduates are prepared for careers in Animation, 3D Animation, Film, Television, Gaming, Forensic Animation, Interior Design and Industrial Design. Examples of potential job titles include Digital Animator, Character Rigger, 3D Painting/Texturing and Lighting Specialist, and Modeler.

Game Art & Animation students will master high-end hardware and software, while developing skills in Design, Modeling, Animation, and Texturing. Students will also learn about how the Production Pipeline works at AAA Game Studios. Graduates are prepared for careers in Animation, Modeling, Prop Art, Level Design, and Lighting.

Established in 1967, Seneca Polytechnic College serves approximately 30,000 students annually, with 7,000 students hailing from more than 150 countries. Seneca Polytechnic provides more than 300 programs leading to a Degree, Graduate Certificate, Diploma, Advanced Diploma, or Undergraduate Certificate.

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

Think Tank Training Centre (Think Tank) has a 3D Animation, Visual Effects & Game Art Diploma Program that explores all aspects of Animation, Computer Graphics, VFX, and Games. Consisting of 40-60 hours of work per week, this immersive program features courses such as 3D Animation, Classical and Flash Animation, Texturing, Compositing & VFX, Acting for Animation, Rigging, Production Pipeline, and Game Design.

Software provides includes Unreal Engine, Nuke, Maya, Mudbox, Photoshop, ZBrush, Mari, V-Ray, UVLayout, Substance Designer, Marmoset, Substance Painter, and Marvelous Designer.

Taught across four terms completed over 64 weeks, the Think Tank Diploma Program culminates with an industry-ready portfolio.

Think Tank Training Centre also has a 16-week option designed for students with very advanced skills in CG. Students in this program learn and create at personal, state-of-the-art workstations, and they have access to personal mentors who are industry professionals. Courses include Production Pipeline, Job Readiness, and Final Portfolio Production.

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, portfolio workshops, and additional job-readiness tutorials.

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 (up to eight students), supervised projects and production, a state-of-the-art learning portal, and full-time support by industry professionals.

Graduates of the Animation and CG Programs at Think Tank Training Centre have been hired at local and global studios such as Electronic Arts (EA), Sony Pictures Imageworks, Industrial Light & Magic (ILM), Digital Domain, BioWare, DNEG, Animal Logic, Phoenix Labs, Method Studios, Scan Line VFX, and Waterproof Studios.

Founded in 2005, Think Tank Training Centre prepares students for careers in the CG Industry. Specialized programs include Animation, Game Art, Visual Effects (VFX), and Game Art. The school serves hundreds of students at its North Vancouver location as well as hundreds of online students around the world.

5. Algonquin College of Applied Arts and Technology, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
Algonquin College of Applied Arts and Technology

Algonquin College of Applied Arts and Technology (Algonquin College) houses the School of Media and Design. Students in the Media School have access to more than 20 programs leading to a Diploma or Certificate. For individuals seeking Animation training, the School has a three-year Advanced Diploma in Animation and a 12-Month Certificate in Drawing Foundations for Animation and Illustration. Courses for the Animation Diploma Program are taught by industry professionals who have worked with or at studios such as Disney, Sony Pictures Imageworks, Warner Bros. Animation, Ubisoft, and Atomic Cartoons.

Course examples for the program include Digital Animation, Gesture Drawing for Animation, Design Thinking, Environmental and Visual Problem Solving, Animation Design, Scriptwriting for Animation, and Character Animation. Courses at Algonquin College are 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. Career options for program alumni 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 at Algonquin College is designed for students who would like to develop strong drawing skills for entry into a variety of creative industries. Students will explore Anime, Games, Graphic Novels, Drawing for Animation, Books, Concept Art, and Comic Books.

Other program features include participation in the Annual Showcase and the opportunity to transfer into the Animation or Illustration and Concept Art Diploma Program. The Algonquin College Certificate Program can be completed in one year.

Algonquin College of Applied Arts and Technology formed in 1967 after the merger of the Eastern Ontario Institute of Technology (est. 1957) and the Ontario Vocational Center (est. 1965). The school serves more than 20,000 students enrolled in 200+ programs across campuses in Ottawa, Pembroke, Perth and Online. The Online Campus at Algonquin College launched in 2019 and it serves students from around the world.

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

Capilano University (CapU) houses the Faculty of Fine & Applied Arts, home to the School of Animation and Visual Effects (AVFX). An Unreal Engine Authorized Training Center, AVFX has several paths to study Animation including 2D Animation and Visual Development, Visual Effects for Film, Streaming & Immersive Media, and 3D Animation for Film and Games.

For students seeking a short program, AVFX has an Animation Fundamentals option. Leading to a Citation of Achievement, this program takes eight weeks to complete. All other programs lead to a Diploma and they take two years to complete, full-time.

Across programs, features include Students access to state-of-the-art facilities and resources across two campuses in North Vancouver and Sechelt; Unreal Engine workshops and others; internship opportunities; and study abroad experiences.

Course examples across programs include 3D Animation I-IV, Technical Direction and Rigging, Studio: Gesture and Form, Visual Effects Animation, 3D Design for Production I-IV, Animation: Emerging Technologies, Animation: Timing and Principles, Visual Effects Modeling and Texturing, Character Animation, The Art of Visual Storytelling, Advanced Production Design for Animation, Visual Storytelling, Animation Action Analysis, and Visual Effects Production.

The programs also provide Business and Entrepreneurship courses such as Entrepreneurship in the Animation Industry and Business Writing for Digital Visual Effects.

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

Founded in 1968, Capilano University serves approximately 12,700 students enrolled in nearly 100 programs, including options in Film, Design, Business Administration, Early Childhood Education, and Kinesiology, among others. Programs at Capilano lead to a Bachelor’s Degree, Diploma, Associate Degree, Certificate, or Graduate Degree. Capilano University is accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU).

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

Vancouver Animation School (VANAS) has both 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 Certificate Program is also available and it takes one month to complete.

The Animation Programs at VANAS can be completed 100% online or in a hybrid (online/onsite) format. 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.

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

Established in 2010, Vancouver Animation School is accredited by the Private Training Institutions Branch (PTIB), Education Quality Assurance (EQA), The Canadian Information Center for International Credentials (CICIC), EduCanada, and the Washington Education Training Board. VANAS has campuses in Canada and Blaine, Washington (USA).

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

Max the Mutt College of Animation, Art & Design is also known as Metro Toronto Media College of Animation, Art & Design (MTM College or Max the Mutt). The school has an Animation Diploma Program that explores Drawing, Storytelling, Cartooning, Background Painting and Design, Visual Language, and Acting for Animation.

Courses for the program explore both digital and classical animation and include Structural Drawing, Cartooning for Animation Storytelling & Story Development, 2D Computer Animation: Introduction (Harmony), 3D Animation Software, Production Process, Design & Composition, Digital Background Painting, Layout for 3D Development, and 3D Film Development & Pre-Production.

Students in the Animation Diploma Program at MTM College will complete several animated productions across four years. The program culminates with a professional portfolio of the student’s best work.

Max the Mutt has an additional program option that is suitable for students interested in Animation. The program (Concept Art) combines Animation, Cartooning, Fine Art, Illustration, and Concept Art coursework. The first year of this Diploma Program consists of Visual Arts Literacy (VAL) coursework. Throughout the program, students will develop advanced skills in software programs such as Photoshop and Maya. 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 Art, Animation, and Gaming workshops (on campus or online); the internship program; and the Annual Industry Open House and Annual Showcase.  

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

Max the Mutt College of Animation, Art & Design was founded in 1996 by Artists and Animators. The school is registered as a Private Career College under the Private Career Colleges Act of 2005 with the Ontario Ministry of Advanced Education and Skills Development.  

9. LaSalle College Vancouver, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
LaSalle College Vancouver

LaSalle College Vancouver (LCV) has two paths to study Animation. Options include Diplomas in Animation Art & Design and 3D Modeling for Animation & Games. Both programs consist of 105 credits completed over seven quarters. Course examples for the Animation Art & Design Program include Digital Imaging, 2D Animation I-II, Advanced Body Mechanics, Vector Animation I-II, Concept Design and Illustration, Life Drawing I-III, 3D Animation Acting and Pantomime, Digital Storyboarding Pre-Visualization, and Production Team.

Students in the 3D Modeling for Animation & Games Program will complete course such as Environmental Modeling, Materials and Textures I-II, Brush Based Modeling, Sculpture, Character Modeling, 3D Concepts, Script Programming, Lighting and Rendering, Rigging, and Modeling for Production.

Across programs, students will have access to state-of-the art facilities and labs; workshops and seminars; and internship opportunities. Students in both options will complete a professional portfolio over two courses. Both programs culminate with the Final Diploma Capstone.

Graduates of the Animation Art & Design Program at LaSalle College Vancouver are prepared for careers in Entertainment, Media, and Digital Arts for Advertising Agencies, Government, Legal Firms, and Corporations. Potential job titles include 3D Animator, Render Wrangler, 2D Animator (traditional and vector), VFX Animator, Junior Production Designer, Technical Animator, Junior Modeler, Motion Capture Artist, Video Game Animator, and Junior Texture Artist.  

Graduates of the 3D Modeling for Animation & Games Program are prepared to pursue entry-level production positions in the Media Arts and Entertainment industries. Examples include 3D Modeler, Texture Artist, Character Modeler, Lighting Artist, Environment Modeler, Technical Artist, Junior Production Designer, and Render Wrangler.

LaSalle College Vancouver opened in 1998. The school provides programs in Animation, VFX for Film and Television, Video Game Programming, Digital Film & Video, Game Art & Design, Graphic Design, Interior Design, Fashion, Culinary Arts and more. LaSalle College Vancouver is accredited by the Private Training Institutions Branch (PTIB) of the Ministry of Advanced Education of British Columbia and is registered with the Ministry of Advanced Education, Student Services Branch. LCV is also a member of the LCI Education Network of 23 campuses across five continents.

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

The School of Media Studies and Information Technology at Humber College Institute of Technology & Advanced Learning (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 school’s 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, 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 Advertising industries. Possible roles range from Character Animation and CGI to Rigging, Lighting, and Technical Directing.

Founded in 1967, Humber College Institute of Technology & Advanced Learning 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, Diploma, Advanced Diploma, or Certificate. Apprenticeship Certificate programs are available as well as more than 60 Online Continuing Education and Professional Training programs. Humber College also provides 400+ single online courses. Housed across eight academic schools, most pathways feature clinical practice, work placement, or industry-related experiences.