What are the top animation training programs in the world?
|1||Vancouver Film School||Canada|
|3||Vancouver Institute of Media Arts||Canada|
|4||National Film and Television School||England|
|6||Think Tank Training Centre||Canada|
|7||Trazos School of the Arts||Spain|
|9||Lost Boys Studios||Canada|
|10||Algonquin College of Applied Arts and Technology||Canada|
|11||The One Academy||Malaysia|
|12||The Odd School||Portugal|
|13||Melies College of Technology||Brazil|
|14||9Zeros Animation School||Spain|
|15||Universal Arts School||Spain|
|16||Max The Mutt College Of Animation||Canada|
|18||The Animation School||South Africa|
|20||North Metropolitan TAFE||Australia|
|22||Academy of Interactive Entertainment||Australia|
|24||Animum Creativity Advanced School||Spain|
Our 2019 rankings of the top animation training programs in the world, excluding the US.
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 (VFS) opened its doors to a class of 12 Film Production students in 1987. Today, this entertainment arts school serves more than 1,000 students enrolled in 13 full-time programs. Among these programs is a Diploma in 3D Animation & Visual Effects with Specializations in 3D Animation, 3D Modeling, and Visual Effects. The program begins with the basics of the 3D pipeline, and progresses to the studio component of the program. Students will work with faculty, industry mentors, and other students to complete a demo reel. The Diploma Program takes just 12 months to complete.
2. Gobelins, The School of Image, Paris, France
Founded in 1975, Gobelins, The School of Image, offers Photography, Animated Filmmaking, 3D Animation, Motion Design, and Video Gaming programs. The school’s offerings cater to needs of professionals, businesses, international students, other schools, festivals and even cultural services of embassies. Program options for animators include a BA in Animated Filmmaking (4 years, full-time), an MA in Character Animation and Animated Filmmaking (2 years, full-time) and one-year Diplomas in 3D Character Animation and Motion Design. The Character Animation Program includes a 2-month internship with a studio, in France or abroad. Gobelins alumni have landed positions at studios such as DreamWorks Animation, and have worked on productions such as Despicable Me, Shark Tale, and A Monster in Paris.
3. Vancouver Institute of Media Arts (VanArts), Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
Vancouver Institute of Media Arts (VanArts) offers a 2D/3D Character Animation Program that begins with the Principles of Animation (Initiating Force, Path of Action, Lead/Follow, Timing/Spacing, Physics and Body Mechanics) and progresses to Honing Skills, Lighting, Rendering and the Demo Reel. Established in 1995, VanArts has articulation agreements in place with several well-established universities/colleges in Canada, the USA, Australia, New Zealand and the UK. Full Sail University (USA), Emily Carr University of Art + Design (Canada), and Deakin University (Australia) are just a few. Students may complete their bachelor’s degree in as little as one year after graduating from VanArts.
4. National Film and Television School, Beaconsfield – Buckinghamshire, England
National Film and Television School (NFTS) opened in 1971 as The National Film School. The school serves more than 400 students enrolled in more than 30 MA and Diploma programs. The only UK film school with its own television studios and post-production facilities, NFTS offers MA degrees in Directing Animation, Digital Effects, and Screenwriting (Animation, Film, TV), as well as a Diploma in Model Making for Animation and a Certificate in Character Animation (three months). The MA Programs may be completed in two years and the Diploma Program takes one year to complete. Internship opportunities are available and all programs require a full-time commitment.
5. Filmakademie Baden-Wurttemberg, Ludwigsburg, Germany
Filmakademie Baden-Wurttemberg (est. 1991) is home to the Animation Institute. Established in 2002, the Institute is a training center for Animation, VFX, and International Media. Per the school, “the curriculum is practice-oriented and project-based” covering “the entire spectrum of animation.” Students will engage in interdisciplinary work in all the departments of the Film Academy, interact with guest speakers, and participate in the FMX Conference on Animation, Effects, Games and Transmedia, which the Animation Institute has hosted since 1994. Diplomas are offered in Animation Artist, Effects Artist, Animation/Effects Producer, and Technical Director. Animation Institute graduate films regularly win prizes at major festivals such as SIGGRAPH and the VES Awards. Many alumni go on to establish successful careers at media companies or well-known studios, while others have established their own businesses.
6. Think Tank Training Centre, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
Think Tank opened its doors in 2005 and hasn’t looked back since. This boutique campus offers individualized training and a close-knit atmosphere. Not only will you make great connections, but the campus program also gives you the ability to tour studios and connect with recruiters. The campus program, which is often sold out a year in advance, is a 12-month program structured so that you will be able to produce a professional piece specifically targeted to the career that you desire upon completion. Whether it’s animation, compositing, lighting, texturing, modeling for games or film – we have the training for you. Think Tank also offers an online school for those not able to attend the campus. We have condensed everything we know and have developed a rigorous online course with amazing results. This program is delivered over 16-months; with weekly videos and assignments and a session with a real-life supervisor to help guide you and answer any questions you may have. Think Tank graduates have been hired by many well-known studios such as EA, Digital Domain, Animal Logic, Sony Pictures Imageworks, Double Negative Visual Effects (the list goes on) and are renowned for the quality of their work.
7. Trazos School of the Arts, Madrid, Spain
Trazos School of the Arts has been existence for 25 years. Per the school, Trazos trains professionals in technology and new media as well as Digital Art disciplines such as Animation, VFX, Motion Graphics, Graphic Design, Web Development, Videogames, Digital Marketing, and more. The school says that the objective of all its training is the creation of specialized professional profiles, with a focus entirely aimed at job placement in the industry, as well as updating and improving skills of active professionals. Aspiring animators choose the 3D and Animation Program, which covers the first stages of production to texturing and final animation, using the latest software and tools including Maya, Zbrush, Substance Painter, Nuke Studio, Arnold, and more. Graduates will leave the program with a portfolio and “videoreel.”
8. Seneca College, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Seneca College opened its doors in 1976. The school serves more than 30,000 full-time students annually enrolled in more than 300 programs leading to a degree, diploma, or certificate. The school lists the following animation offerings: Graduate Certificates in 3D Animation, Game Art and Animation, and Visual Effects for Film and Television, and an Advanced Diploma in Animation. Offered through the School of Creative Arts & Animation, the programs covers traditional and computer animation, game art, and visual effects. Per the school, students will “learn to draw storyboards, design and animate characters and scenes, and practice applying theories of motion, timing, storytelling and digital technology to produce high-quality animations and designs.” Hands-on learning enables students to “utilize the equipment, facilities, and computer software currently used in the industry.” Students will leave the programs with the skills needed to produce animations for the web, television, games or film.
9. Lost Boys Studios, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
Based in the growing Canadian VFX hubs of Vancouver & Montreal, the award-winning Lost Boys Studios operates this extraordinary school of visual effects. With its roots as an internationally renowned VFX boutique with 20+ years of excellence. Lost Boys has both pioneered and mastered craft-centric specialized programs for feature film VFX production delivered from within a studio environment. Currently Lost Boys offers unrivaled training for the trades of Effects, Lighting, and Compositing and plans for more crafts to be offered in the future. Focused and specialized training sets a solid foundation for growth, putting alumni in high demand, and maximizing their career potential. Alumni enjoy a combined placement rate of 99% and can be found contributing to the top VFX projects in almost every major VFX facility. Lost Boys is the studio that teaches.
10. Algonquin College of Applied Arts and Technology, Ottawa, Pembroke and Perth, Ontario, Canada
Algonquin College of Applied Arts and Technology was established in 1967. The school serves more than 18,300 students enrolled in 300+ programs through dozens of departments and schools. The School of Media Design offers 22 programs, including a three-year Advanced Diploma in Animation and a one-year Pre-Animation and Illustration Certificate. The Certificate is designed to help students determine if they have the creativity, motivation, and dexterity to pursue a career in Animation, Illustration or Concept Art. The Diploma Program covers traditional, 3D, 2D tradigital and video game animation techniques. Per the school, students in the Diploma Program will take courses in Animation, Life Drawing and Design that “focus on all facets of animation” including character design, performance-based character animation, location design, gestures and anatomy studies. Graduates “gain the knowledge, skills and techniques required to work effectively as animators using a variety of tools within a professional animation or game studio.”
11. The One Academy, Selangor, Malaysia
Established in 1991, The One Academy (TOA) is an international art and design institution, dedicated to professional art and design education. The school offers degree, diploma, and certificate programs. Options for aspiring animators include a three-year Diploma in Digital Animation. Students in the program will work with mentors in an industry-oriented environment while building their portfolios and demo reels. Sample courses include Cartoon Character Design, Visual Storytelling, Compositing & Editing, Conceptual Rendering, Final Project Development, and Portfolio Presentation. TOA graduates can be found working in positions at Lucasfilm, DreamWorks, Rhythm & Hue, Ubisoft, BBDO, Leo Burnett, Ogilvy, and many others.
12. The Odd School, Lisboa, Portugal
The Odd School was established in 2007 as an educational space to "feed” the Animation, Games, Visual FX and Programming industries. The school offers intensive courses that take anywhere from 12 to 24 months to complete, full-time, eight hours a day, five days a week. Program options include 3D Modeling & Texturing (12 months), 3D Animation (13 months), and Concept Art (24 months). Foundation courses ensure that students master the tools necessary to complete a large number of required projects. Foundation courses include 3DS Max, After Effects, Cinema 4D, Drawing, Traditional Sculpture, Script for Animation/Cinema, Houdini, Maya, Modeling and Render for Architecture, Photoshop, Project for Pitching and Support, Rigging, Storyboard, Toonboom, VRay, and ZBrush. Graduates will leave the program with a portfolio consistent and equivalent to that of a Junior Artist.
13. Faculdade Méliès, Sao Paulo, Brazil
Established in 2005 as Melies School of Cinema, 3D And Animation, Faculdade Méliès offers programs in 2D Animation, Art for Digital Games, VFX, Graphic Design, and more. Specific programs for aspiring animators include an undergraduate degree in Animation Design (EAD) and a Post-Graduate Certificate in 2D Animation. The goal of the Animation Design program is to teach students how to produce 3D Digital Animation Films. The 2D Animation Program covers topics such as Character Creation, Planning and Thumbnail Animation, Traditional and Digital Animation, Mechanics of Movement, and Character Rigging. The undergraduate degree takes two years to complete and the certificate takes just one year. Both programs lead to a finished 2D Animation or 3D Digital Animation film.
14. 9Zeros Animation School, Barcelona, Spain
9Zeros (Escola de Cinema de Barcelona – ECIB) says that it is one of the only institutions in Europe that combines all the cinematographic disciplines, with courses and masters in 2D, 3D and Stop-Motion Animation, Cinematographic Direction, Sound, Photography, and Documentary Cinema. Specific programs for aspiring animators include a three-year Animation training program covering the three branches of animation: 2D, 3D and Stop-Motion Animation. ECIB says that it 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 Pixar, Double Negative, Weta Digital, Lightbox Animation Studios, Aardman Animations, and many others.
15. Universal Arts School, Valencia, Spain
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. A unique benefit of the program is the Start-Up component, which helps students develop the skills needed to start their own business. In addition to starting their own studios, graduates of the program have landed positons at BlueSky Studios, Blizzard Entertainment, Disney, Pixar, Lucasfilm Animation, Industrial Light & Magic, and many others.
16. Max The Mutt College Of Animation, Art & Design, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Max The Mutt College Of Animation, Art & Design was established in 1996. The school offers an Animation Diploma that takes four years to complete. Students in the program will take both classical and digital animation courses, as well as drawing classes, cartooning, acting for animation, character design, background painting/design, and a sequence of visual language, storytelling and storyboarding courses. In the third year, students will produce an original short. In the final year, students will move on to advanced courses in 3D Animation and participate in a simulated 3D production experience directed by an industry professional. Graduates will leave the program with a solid portfolio, a demo reel, and an online profile page. Graduates have been hired at Pixar, Sony Pictures Imageworks, Disney Design Group, Pipeline Studios, Warner Bros. Games, and many others.
17. Capilano University, North Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
Founded in 1968, Capilano University (CapU) opened with 784 students. Today, the school serves 11,600 students across two campuses in North Vancouver and Sechelt. Programs for aspiring animators are offered through CapU’s Faculty of Fine & Applied Arts, School of Motion Picture Arts. Located in the Bosa Centre for Film and Animation, the School offers Diplomas in 2D Animation & Visual Development, 3D Animation for Film and Games, and Digital Visual Effects. An Animation Fundamentals Citation of Achievement is also available. Programs cover areas such as traditional and classical animation techniques through hands-on exercises, drawing, design, digital visual effects, and creating 3D computer-generated characters. Diplomas take two years to complete and the Citation takes just one year. Depending on the program, graduates will complete a practicum at a local studio and/or a professional-quality demo reel.
18. The Animation School, Cape Town and Johannesburg, South Africa
The Animation School teaches animation across two campuses in Cape Town and Johannesburg, South Africa. The school says that it has a “laser-sharp focus on animation” that gives “students a competitive advantage, because they are able to refine and develop the skills which the animation industry specifically seeks.” Program options include a three-year full-time Diploma in Digital Animation and intensive short animation courses in Digital Drawing, Intro to Maya, and Intro to 3D Sculpting. Program highlights include small class sizes, instructors who have “excelled” in the animation industry, access to lectures, workshops, and seminars, participation in local and international film festivals, 24-hour access to professional facilities, an exchange program with Emile Cohl School in Lyons, France, and the opportunity to work on solo and team productions in 2D and 3D Animation. Graduates of the program enjoy a 90-95% employment placement rate with “leading studios worldwide.”
19. Nanyang Polytechnic, Ang Mo Kio, Singapore
Nanyang Polytechnic (NYP) was founded in 1992. The school serves nearly 15,000 students enrolled in hundreds of programs through seven schools. The School of Interactive & Digital Media (SIDM) pioneered the first animation course in Singapore in 1996. Program options include Diplomas in Animation, Digital Game Art & Design, Game Development & Technology, Motion Graphics & Broadcast Design, Digital Visual Effects, and Interaction Design. A major component of the programs at NYP is the opportunity to work on real-world projects, locally or in countries such as France, Sweden, Finland, the U.S., China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, and Japan, through the Internship Program (ITP). Established in 1998, the program has helped graduates land positions at Lucasfilm Singapore, Ubisoft, Disney, Blizzard Entertainment, Pixar, Weta Digital, and many others.
20. North Metropolitan TAFE, Perth, Western Australia
North Metropolitan TAFE was established in 1900 as Perth Technical College. The school offers more than 350 programs to 30,000 students across 10 campuses in the greater north and northeastern metropolitan regions of Perth. Programs for aspiring animators include Advanced Diplomas in Animation or Animation & Visualization and Diplomas or a Certificate IV in Animation & Visualization or Animation & Games Design. Diploma programs take one year to complete and Certificate programs take just six months to complete. All students have access to state-of-the-art production facilities, internship opportunities, and study abroad experiences.
21. Anomalia, Litomysl, Czech Republic
Established in 2008, Anomalia offers professional training in animation in a unique environment. Programs are held at the European Training Center, which is part of the “renowned” Renaissance castle complex and old brewery house. The school says that Anomalia “does not feel like a school, which is what we wanted.” Aspiring animators have their choice of programs or labs including 3D Graphics, 3D Animation, Concept Art Lab, Character Design Lab, and the Story Lab. Students will work solo and/or with mentors and peers to create a series of animated projects. Graduates of the programs at Anomalia have landed positions at PIXAR, Valve, Aardman Animations, Blue Sky Studios, and many others.
22. Academy of Interactive Entertainment, Melbourne, Sydney, Adelaide and Canberra Australia
Established in 1996, Academy of Interactive Entertainment (AIE) has campuses in the U.S. and Australia, and one dedicated Online campus. Programs for aspiring animators include Diploma and Advanced Diplomas in 3D Animation & VFX for Film and Game Art & Animation. A Certificate in 3D Animation Foundations is also available. The 3D Animation Program is designed for students seeking titles such as Character Animator, Technical Director, VFX Artist, and Compositor. Game Art & Animation prepares graduates for careers such as 3D Modeler, Texture Artist, Level Designer, and Technical Artist. Both AIE Diploma Programs are focused on getting students to meet or exceed industry expectations in order to gain employment with a development studio or to develop their own independent games. Per the school, AIE graduates “work on the top games and films worldwide.”
23. TRUEMAX – Copenhagen Academy of Games, Animation and Visual Effects, Copenhagen, Denmark
TRUEMAX – Copenhagen Academy of Games, Animation and Visual Effects has been teaching 3D, CGI and VFX since 1998. The school offers a full-time 3D Digital Artist Program that takes 3.5 years to complete. The Bachelor’s Degree program begins with Foundation Theory (3D Basics, Moving Image, Game Character), then progresses to the final project, apprenticeship at a 3D company, and completion of the showreel. Other program highlights include guest instructors, optional lectures, and a study abroad trip. Graduates are prepared to seek positions in Film, Games, Advertising, Architecture, and more.
24. Animum Creativity Advanced School, Malaga, Spain
Animum Creativity Advanced School has been teaching Digital Arts for more than a decade. The school serves hundreds of students in more than 30 countries enrolled in programs delivered face-to-face and online. Programs for aspiring animators include Master’s Degrees in 3D Animation and Illustration, Advanced 3D Production, Animation or Modeling of 3D Characters for Cinema and Videogames, VFX and Composition with Houdini and Nuke, and Digital Drawing and Animation 2D. A number of intensive courses and workshops are also offered including Digital Composition with Nuke, Animation of 3D Characters for Video Games, Rigging 3D Characters, Advanced Cartoon Animation, Explode Your Reel - Animation or Animation of Creatures for VFX, Foundations of 3D Production with Autodesk MAYA, Basics of Drawing, and Foundations of 2D Animation. Animum alums have landed positions at videogame studios, advertising companies, VFX studios, and motion graphics studios for web and television. Framestore and Illumination Mac Guff are just a few companies that have hired Animum graduates.
25. PlaygroundSquad, Falun, Sweden
Established in 2001, PlaygroundSquad (PSQ) accepts 40 new students each year consisting of animators, game graphics artists, level designers, game programmers, and many others. The school offers a Certificate/Diploma in 3D Graphics that prepares graduates for positions in Art/Animation. An Autodesk Authorized Training Centre (ATC), PSQ has a unique partnership with Sony that provides the opportunity for students to work with PlayStation First to develop animations and games for PlayStation Store. The school also offers six-month internships with other companies and studios as well as the opportunity to create an additional three collaborative game projects in-house and develop a polished portfolio. Students can expect to complete the PSQ 3D Graphics program over three terms.