What are the top international animation training programs?
|Vancouver Film School
|Vancouver Institute of Media Arts
|National Film and Television School
|Algonquin College of Applied Arts and Technology
|Think Tank Training Centre
|Trazos School of Digital Arts
|The One Academy
|The Animation School
|The Odd School
|Max The Mutt College Of Animation
|Animum Creativity Advanced School
|9Zeros Animation School
|Universal Arts School
|Academy of Interactive Entertainment
|Humber Institute of Technology and Advanced Learning
|Zee Institute of Creative Art
|North Metropolitan TAFE
|Ballyfermot College of Further Education
Our 2020 rankings of the top international animation training programs, 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.
Correction: Gobelins was mistakenly included at #2 in these rankings when we first published in early April. The school should have instead been included in our separate rankings of schools and colleges offering formal (four-year) degree animation programs, and not included in this set of rankings at all. We corrected the mistake on April 20, 2020. Prior to this date, schools currently ranked 2 through 25 would have been ranked one spot lower. We apologize for the error and any confusion it may have caused.
1. Vancouver Film School, Vancouver, British Columbia
Vancouver Film School (VFS) opened its doors to a class of 12 Film Production students in 1987. Today, this entertainment arts school has eight campuses that serve more than 1,000 students enrolled in what the school describes as 15 “signature post-secondary programs — spanning every aspect of the entertainment arts — that are developed and taught by award-winning industry professionals.” Each program’s “intensive curriculum evolves along with demands of the industry, and the best, current industry practices.”
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 professional-level portfolio or reel. Students will also benefit from career guidance and expertise from industry mentors, instructors, and guest speakers, as well as partnerships with corporate leaders such as Adobe, Autodesk, Final Draft, HP, and Pixologic.
The VFS Diploma in 3D Animation & Visual Effects takes just 12 months to complete.
2. Filmakademie Baden-Wurttemberg, Ludwigsburg, Germany
Filmakademie Baden-Wurttemberg was founded in 1991 as a publicly funded film school in Ludwigsburg, Germany. The school houses the Animation Institute, which was established in 2002. The Institute is a training center for Animation, VFX, and International Media that highlights a practice-oriented and project-based curriculum that covers 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.
3. Vancouver Institute of Media Arts (VanArts), Vancouver, British, Columbia
Vancouver Institute of Media Arts (VanArts) was founded in 1995 with Academy-Award winning animator/director Lee Mishkin as its founding program director. The school offers a variety of focused diploma programs designed to prepare students for work in specific areas of the media arts including Visual Effects Production, Game Art & Design, Character Animation, Professional Photography, Acting for Film & Television, Web Development, and Broadcasting.
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. With articulation agreements in place with several well-established universities/colleges in Canada, the USA, Australia, New Zealand and the UK, students may complete their bachelor’s degree in as little as one year after graduating from VanArts. Full Sail University (USA), Emily Carr University of Art + Design (Canada), and Deakin University (Australia) are just a few options.
4. Seneca College, Toronto, Ontario
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. The school says 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.
5. 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.
6. Algonquin College of Applied Arts and Technology, Ottawa, Pembroke and Perth, Ontario, Canada
Algonquin College of Applied Arts and Technology began as Eastern Ontario Institute of Technology in 1957. When it opened, the school had roughly 120 students and a staff of seven. Today, Algonquin 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 (using Toon Boom`s Harmony), and video game animation techniques.
Students in the Diploma Program will take courses in Animation, Life Drawing and Design that “focus on all facets of animation,” says the school. This includes 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.”
7. Think Tank Training Centre, Vancouver, British Columbia
Established in 2005, Think Tank Training Centre offers a 16-month Specialized CG Training Program (Asset Creation), which covers Texturing and Look Development, Modeling for Film, Character Modeling for Games, and Environments for Games. The program, offered online and on campus, leads to a Diploma. For each course, students receive access to a weekly training video and each week, required assignments build upon the lessons – contributing to the term project. At the end of each term, students walk away with a term project that will help build a polished portfolio. Students will earn a Diploma upon completion of the program.
Think Tank also offers a 12-month Computer Animation, Visual Effect and Game Design Program (an intensive program that specializes in the latest software, techniques and technologies used in the film, television, and gaming industries) and a four-month Mentorship the results in a completed portfolio reel.
Think Tank graduates have been hired by Industrial Light & Magic, EA, Digital Domain, Animal Logic, Sony Pictures Imageworks, Double Negative Visual Effects, Rainmaker, BioWare, and many others.
8. Trazos School of Digital Arts, Madrid, Spain
Trazos School of Digital Arts has been existence for 25 years. 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.”
9. Capilano University, North Vancouver, British Columbia
Founded in 1968, Capilano University (CapU) opened with just 784 students. Today, the school serves 10,185 students across two campuses in North Vancouver and scenic 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 Full-Time 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.
10. 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.
11. 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. SIDM program options include Diplomas in Animation & Visual Effects (formerly Diploma in Animation and Diploma in Digital Visual Effects), Digital Game Art & Design, Game Development & Technology, Motion Graphics Design (formerly Motion Graphics & Broadcast Design), 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.
12. 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.
13. 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.”
14. 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.
15. 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 a four-year Diploma in Classical & Computer Animation & Production, and two Diploma programs that are unique in Canada: a three-year Diploma in Illustration for Sequential Arts: Comic Books & Graphic Novels; and a four-year Diploma in Concept Art for Video Games & Animation.
Animation students 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.
16. 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.
17. 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.
18. 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 some of the top studios in the world including BlueSky Studios, Blizzard Entertainment, Disney, Pixar, Lucasfilm Animation, Industrial Light & Magic, and more.
19. Academy of Interactive Entertainment, Melbourne, Sydney, Adelaide and Canberra, Australia
Established in 1996, Academy of Interactive Entertainment (AIE) is a specialist games and film school established by top industry professionals. With campuses in the U.S. and Australia, and one dedicated Online campus, the school offers Diplomas 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.”
20. Humber Institute of Technology and Advanced Learning, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Humber Institute of Technology and Advanced Learning (Humber College or Humber), opened in 1967 with a few hundred students enrolled in classes in the skilled trades. Today, the school has three campuses that serve more than 30,000 full-time students and thousands of part-time learners. More than 180 programs are offered including an Advanced Diploma in 3D Animation. Students in the program “use the same 3D animation software and tools” that the professionals use “to render creative thoughts into compelling images and fully-realized design,” says the school. Students will “gain a mastery in adhering to a pipeline,” as they “develop content across courses” and “teamwork,” as they “collaborate with students from other programs to better simulate a studio/production environment.”
In just six semesters, students will be prepared to pursue roles in the film, games, television or advertising industries including CGI, character animation, lighting, rigging, rendering, technical directing, and more.
21. Zee Institute of Creative Art, Mumbai, Maharashtra, India
Founded in 1976, Zee Institute Of Creative Art (ZICA) Is India's First Full-Fledged Classical And Digital Animation Training Academy that trains students in 3D Animation, Visual Effects (VFX), Graphic Design, Web Design, Digital Marketing, Digital Photography, and Interior Design. The Animation Program has three options: a 24-month Professional Diploma Program (PDP) in 3D Animation, 13-month Professional Program – 3D Animation, and a three- to eight-month Certificate Program – 3D Animation. The short programs cover Fundamentals of Art and Design along with a detailed 3D module. Specializations include Modeling & Texturing, Lighting, and Animation.
The 24-month option begins with Fundamentals of Art and Design, Digital Painting, and Digital 2D Animation, then progresses to Visual Effects. Four specializations are offered including Modeling & Texturing, Lighting & Shading, Character Animation, and Visual Effects. Students will also learn how Augmented and Virtual Reality works, and all students will leave ZICA with a polished portfolio of their work. Graduates move on to positions such as Animator, Character Rigger, FX/Simulation Artist, Render Wrangler, VFX Artist, Modeling Artist, Compositor, Rotomation Artist, Lighting Artist, Texturing Artist, and many others.
22. 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 are prepared to pursue positions in animation, gaming, and VFX. Many have landed positions at top studios such as PIXAR, Valve, Aardman Animations, Blue Sky Studios, and many others.
23. 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 a Diploma or Certificate IV in Animation & Visualization, Animation & Games Design, Screen and Media (Animation and Game Art), or Digital Art and Animation. 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.
24. Ballyfermot College of Further Education, Dublin, Ireland
Ballyfermot College of Further Education (BCFE) opened in 1979 as the Senior College, Ballyfermot. The school offers programs through nine departments including Art, Design and Graphics, Business, Animation, Digital, Media, Moving Images, Music Performance; Sound & Management, Tourism & Travel; Lifelong Learning, and Social Care. The Animation Department offers a two-year BA (Hons) in Animation – Visual Media, a one-year Animation Drawing & Illustration Studies Program, a two-year Animation – Classical & Computer Diploma, and a one-year Visual Effects Traineeship – Creative Media for Production (Visual Effects/Animation/Video Production). Course highlights for the programs include Design and Technology, Advanced Life Drawing for Animation, Principles of 2D Animation, Layout and Storyboarding, Principles of Analysis for Animation, 2D Character Animation, and Advanced 3D Modeling for Animation. BCFE Animation Programs are certified by the University of Dundee Scotland.