2021

What are the top international animation training programs?

Top 25 International Animation Training Programs - 2021 School Rankings
RankingSchoolCountry
1Vancouver Film SchoolCanada
2Vancouver Institute of Media Arts Canada
3Filmakademie Baden-WurttembergGermany
4Seneca CollegeOntario
5Think Tank Training CentreCanada
6National Film and Television SchoolEngland
7Trazos School of Digital ArtsSpain
8The One AcademyMalaysia
9Capilano UniversityCanada
10Algonquin College of Applied Arts and TechnologyCanada
11The Animation SchoolSouth Africa
12Animum Creativity Advanced SchoolSpain
13FX Animation - Barcelona 3D & Film SchoolSpain
14Universal Arts SchoolSpain
15Faculdade MeliesBrazil
16Max The Mutt College Of AnimationCanada
17CG MastersCanada
18Nanyang PolytechnicSingapore
199Zeros Animation SchoolSpain
20New3dgeFrance
21L'IDEM Creative Arts SchoolSpain
22The Game AssemblySweden
23The Odd SchoolPortugal
24Humber Institute of Technology and Advanced LearningCanada
25CG SpectrumAustralia

Our 2021 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

1. Vancouver Film School, Vancouver, British Columbia
Vancouver Film School

Vancouver Film School (VFS) opened its doors in 1987 to a class of just 12 Film Production students. The school went on to introduce the world’s first fully dedicated production training center for New Media in 1991. Today, Vancouver Film School is considered a global leader in Entertainment Arts education, offering 15 programs to more than 1,000 students across eight campuses, including Shanghai VFS (SHVFS), launched in 2014.

Vancouver Film School offers Diploma Programs in Animation Concept Art, Classical Animation, and 3D Animation & Visual Effects with Specializations in 3D Animation, 3D Modeling, and Visual Effects. A two-day, 3D Animation & Visual Effects Workshop is also available.

The 12-month Animation Concept Art Program explores the fundamentals of drawing, digital painting and design, character design, storytelling, worldbuilding and more. Students will graduate with a professional pitch-package and portfolio to help them compete in the Comic Arts, Film, Games, Illustration, Interactive Media, and Television industries.

Students in the Classical Animation Program will learn all about animation, art direction, drawing, storyboarding and background design, character animation, and digital ink and paint. In the final few months of this 12-month program, students will complete a final project and assemble a traditional animation portfolio.

The 3D Animation & Visual Effects 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.

Students in all programs will have access to the VFS Alumni Directory + Job Board, and attain industry connections that will help guide their careers. Graduates of the programs are often hired by major studios locally and internationally.

In Vancouver alone, more than 60 studios make up the VFX and Animation industry, comprising the world’s largest cluster of domestic and foreign-owned studios.

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

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 careers in Acting for Film & Television, Broadcasting, Character Animation, Game Art & Design, Professional Photography, Visual Effects Production, and Web Development.

Students in all VanArts programs benefit from small class sizes, a specialized, adaptable curriculum, courses taught by industry professionals with decades of experience at studios such as Disney, Dreamworks, and Industrial Light & Magic, and an international network with degree pathways available through industry partners in Australia, New Zealand, the UK, and the U.S. The VanArts network (which also includes partners in Canada) provides the opportunity for students to complete their bachelor’s degree in as little as one year after graduating. Deakin University (Australia), Emily Carr University of Art + Design (Canada), Full Sail University (US), Media Design School (New Zealand), University of Gloucestershire (UK), and Woodbury University (US), are just a few options.

For aspiring animators, 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. Course, topic, and workshop highlights for the program include Acting and Performance, Adobe Premiere, Asset Building, Character Animation, Editing & Audio, Harmony, Life Drawing, Lighting, Maya Fundamentals, Rendering, Story, and Visual Language.

The 2D/3D Character Animation Program takes just 12 months to complete and it leads to a Diploma. Graduates of the program work at studios such as Bardel Entertainment, Framestore, Sony Pictures Imageworks, and Titmouse Studios. Program alumni have worked on Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, Hotel Transylvania 3, Spider-Verse, The Angry Birds Movie 2, Transformers: Rescue Bots, and many others.

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

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

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

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

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

4. Seneca College, Toronto, Ontario
Seneca College

Combining career and professional skills training with theoretical knowledge, Seneca provides a polytechnic education to 30,000 full-time and 60,000 part-time registrants. With campuses in Toronto, York Region and Peterborough and education partners around the world, Seneca offers degrees, graduate certificates, diplomas and certificates in more than 300 full-time, part-time and online programs, now most of them virtually. Seneca’s credentials are renowned for their quality and respected by employers. Co-op and work placements, applied research projects, entrepreneurial opportunities and the latest technology ensure that Seneca graduates are highly skilled and ready to work.

Located on the grounds of York University, the [email protected] Campus houses the School of Creative Arts & Animation. Pathways include an Advanced Diploma in Animation (ANI) and Graduate Certificates in 3D Animation (DAN), and Game Art and Animation (GAA).

The three-year Advanced Diploma in Animation covers Traditional and Computer Animation. Students will learn to animate characters and scenes, design, and draw storyboards, and practice applying theories of motion, timing, storytelling and digital technology to produce “high-quality” animations and designs, says the school. Students will also receive hands-on learning that will enable them to “utilize the equipment, facilities and computer software currently used in the industry.” Graduates of the program are prepared to pursue careers in feature film and gaming studios as an animator.

In the eight-month 3D Animation Graduate Certificate, students will develop skills in Animation, Compositing, Lighting, Modeling, Rendering, and Rigging. They will also learn project management skills and storyboard drawing techniques. Graduates can pursue careers such as 3D Painter/Texturing and Lighting Specialist, Character Rigger, Digital Animator, Modeler, and many others.

The Game Art and Animation Graduate Certificate covers Animation, Design, Lighting, Modeling, Scene Staging, and Texturing. Art Direction and Production Management are also part of this eight-month  program. Graduates are prepared to pursue careers such as Animator, Level Builder, Level Designer, Lighting Artist, Modeler, Prop Artist, Texture Artist, and many others.

Students in all programs benefit from internship opportunities and Seneca’s affiliations and associations with ACM SIGGRAPH, Computer Animation Studios Ontario (CASO), Toon Boom Centre of Excellence, and Toronto Animation Arts Festival International (TAAFI).

5. Think Tank Training Centre, North Vancouver, British Columbia
Think Tank Training Centre

Established in 2005, Think Tank Training Centre offers a 16-month Specialized CG Training Program (Asset Creation) covering Character Modeling for Games, Environments for Games, Modeling for Film, and Texturing and Look Development. The program is offered online and on campus and leads to a Diploma. For each course, students receive access to a weekly training video and assignments build upon the lessons, contributing to the term project.

At the end of each term, students will have a completed term project that will help build a professional portfolio.

Think Tank also offers a 12-month Computer Animation, Visual Effects and Game Design Program and a four-month Mentorship the results in a completed portfolio reel. The 12-month option is an intensive program that specializes in the latest software, techniques and technologies used in the film, television, and gaming industries.

Think Tank graduates have been hired by a variety of studios including Animal Logic, BioWare, Digital Domain, Double Negative (DNEG), EA, Industrial Light & Magic, Rainmaker, Sony Pictures Imageworks, and many others.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

8. The One Academy, Selangor, Malaysia
The One Academy

The One Academy (TOA) was established in 1991 by a small group of entrepreneurs and pioneers renowned in the fields of New Media Visual Communication and Effects. This Professional Art and Design School is a tertiary institution, registered with the Ministry of Education, Malaysia. Open to artists from around the world, TOA offers Degree, Diploma, and Certificate programs. A three-year Diploma in Digital Animation is offered for aspiring animators.

Students in the program will work with mentors in an industry-oriented environment while building their portfolios and demo reels. Students will also have access to “international industry-standard facilities,” says the school, allowing them to “experience and explore the variety of state-of-the-art-media, properties, techniques and surfaces to develop their cutting edge skills.”

Course highlights include Cartoon Character Design, Compositing & Editing, Conceptual Rendering, and Visual Storytelling. At the end of the program, students will complete Final Project Development and a Portfolio Presentation.

Graduates of The One Academy have landed positions at major firms and studios such as BBDO, DreamWorks, Leo Burnett, Lucasfilm, Ogilvy, Rhythm & Hue, Ubisoft, and many others.

9. Capilano University, North Vancouver, British Columbia
Capilano University

Capilano University (CapU) was founded in 1968 by the school boards and residents of North Vancouver, West Vancouver and Howe Sound. When it opened, the school (then a college) had 784 students enrolled in night classes in the classrooms of West Vancouver Secondary School. The main campus opened in North Vancouver in 1973.

Today, Capilano University serves approximately 12,700 students each year across two campuses in North Vancouver and scenic Sechelt, and the new extension center—CapU Lonsdale, in The Shipyards development in Lower Lonsdale.

CapU houses the Faculty of Fine & Applied Arts in the School of Motion Picture Arts (SMPA). Located in the Bosa Centre for Film and Animation, the School offers a range of programs for artists seeking careers in Animation (2D and 3D), Costuming, Documentary, Filmmaking, Games and Virtual Reality, Lighting/Grip Work, and Visual Effects (VFX). The SMPA at CapU offers one of the only Indigenous filmmaking programs in North America.

Programs for aspiring animators include 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 as well as Drawing, Design, Digital Visual Effects, and Creating 3D Computer-Generated Characters. Students in all programs have access to facilities including virtual reality and motion capture-equipped studios, Cintiq drawing tablets, high-speed render farms, professional filmmaking equipment and 3D printers.

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.

“With more job openings in Vancouver than talent to fill them, there are unparalleled opportunities for skilled people,” says the school. Graduates of the CapU Animation Programs have access to opportunities at more than 250 local production studios, creating entertainment properties for film, TV, console, mobile and streaming services.

10. 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 (Algonquin College or AC) was formed from the merger of the Eastern Ontario Institute of Technology, established 1957, and the Ontario Vocational Centre, established 1965. Named after the First Nations people who lived in the area, the school opened with roughly 120 students and a staff of seven.

Today, Algonquin serves nearly 20,000 students enrolled in over 350 programs in dozens of departments and schools. The School of Media Design offers 22 programs, including a three-year Advanced Diploma in Animation and a 28-week Drawing Foundations for Animation and Illustration Certificate.

The Animation Diploma Program “focuses on acting and body mechanics,” says the school where students learn “traditional, 3D, tradigital (using Toon Boom`s Harmony) and video game animation techniques.” Courses for the program are taught by faculty members who have worked for studios such as Disney, Sony Image Works, Warner Bros. Animation, and many others.

Course highlights include 2D Digital, Animation Design, Business Studies for Animation, Character Design, Design Thinking, Gesture Drawing for Animation, and Scriptwriting for Animation. Courses are offered in the classroom or lab, entirely online, or in a hybrid mode, which combines classroom sessions with online learning activities.

Through Independent Study courses, students will develop Animation, Layout, Rigging, Special Effects, and Storyboarding skills, as they “concentrate on developing a portfolio specific to the job they wish to pursue in a studio.”

Graduates of the program are prepared to pursue positions such as 3D Animator, Animator, Background or Layout Artist, Character or Location Designer, or Tradigital Modeler or Rigger at a professional animation or game studio. “Other employment opportunities might include working on feature films, animated TV series or commercials.”

Students in the 28-week Drawing Foundations for Animation and Illustration Certificate Program will explore Character, Creature and Environment Design, Life Drawing, and Sculpting. Sculpting and painting with digital tools and software is also part of this immersive studio program. Students will create a portfolio and exhibit their best work at the Annual Showcase.

Graduates of the program may pursue careers in Animation, Book Illustration, Comic Books, Concept Art, Gaming – Anime, Graphic Novels, and more.

11. The Animation School, Cape Town and Johannesburg, South Africa
The Animation School

The Animation School opened its doors in 2000. The school offers a three-year full-time Diploma in Digital Animation and Intensive Short Animation Programs in Digital Drawing, Introduction to 3D Animation, and Introduction to 3D Sculpting.  Programs are offered across two campuses in Cape Town and Johannesburg, South Africa.

With a “laser-sharp focus on animation,” says the school, students will have “a competitive advantage, because they are able to refine and develop the skills which the animation industry specifically seeks.” 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.

Students in the Animation Program will “gain a strong theoretical foundation in the history of animation, the principles of animation, color theory, art direction, storytelling and pre-production, production and post-production.” They will develop “detailed knowledge of the field of animation and how that knowledge relates to film and media studies, history, art and design.” Course highlights include 3D Production, Character Animation, Character Development, Digital Animation, and Visual Narrative.

During the third year of the program, students will complete Professional Development and the course Animated Short. The short film will be completed as a team.  The final year of the program also includes an opportunity to gain industry-relevant experience through a two-week placement within an animation studio and preparation of a personal demo-reel.

Animation School graduates enjoy an 80-90% employment placement rate in the local animation industry. Some graduates have gone on to work in Canada, Europe, and the US. Program alumni work in Advertising, Animation, Film, Gaming, TV, and VFX as Animators, Character Designers, Compositors, Concept Artists, Generalists, Lighting Artists, Rendering or Rigging Artists, Surfacing/Texturing Artists, Storyboarders, and more.

Graduates also work in sectors such as Architecture (virtual tours of buildings), Engineering (simulated engineering processes or 3D models), Forensics (recreating crime scenes), Health and Medical (simulated medical procedures), or Virtual Reality (VR).

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

14. Universal Arts School, Valencia, Spain
Universal Arts School

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

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

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

15. Faculdade Melies, Sao Paulo, Brazil
Melies

Established in 2005 as Melies School of Cinema, 3D And Animation, Faculdade Melies (Melies) offers programs in Animation, Digital Games, and Design. The school offers programs in both Animation Design and 2D Animation.

The Animation Design Program is an undergraduate option that focuses on the Production of 3D Digital Animated Films. This two-year program covers the 3D Digital Animated Film Production Process, Post-Production (Rendering, Assembly, Effects and Editing), Pre-Production (Screenplay, Storyboarding, Concept, Art Direction), and Production (Modeling, Rigging, Texturing, Lighting, Animation). Students will complete a final Short Film as the Graduation Project. Graduates of the program will receive an EAD Diploma.

Alumni work in Advertising, Animation Studios, Design Agencies, and Film/Television Studios as Art Directors, Animators, Animation Designers, Digital Animators, Modelers, Short Film Producers, VFX artists and more.

The 18-month 2D Animation Program begins with the Principles of Animation, Drawing, and Painting. Over the next two years, students will complete courses covering topics such as Character Creation, Character Rigging, Mechanics of Movement, Planning and Thumbnail Animation, Traditional and Digital Animation, and more.

The program concludes with the creation of a Final Animation Project and Portfolio. Upon completion of the program, graduates will receive a Post-Graduate Certificate with a Specialization in 2D Animation. Job opportunities are accessible at more than 400 local agencies, studios, and more. Program alumni are Animators at Advertising Agencies and Animation, Film/Television, and Game Studios.

16. 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 (Max the Mutt) was founded by artists and animators in 1996. The school highlights small class sizes, individual instruction by working professionals in the field, and workshops and programs that prepare graduates for careers in animation.

Max the Mutt offers an Animation Diploma (Classical & Computer Animation & Production), and two Diploma programs that are unique in Canada: a four-year Diploma in Illustration & Storytelling for Sequential Arts (ISSA); and a four-year Diploma in Concept Art for Animation & Video Games.

The Animation Diploma is a three-year program. Students will take both Classical and Digital Animation courses, as well as Drawing classes, Acting for Animation, Background Painting/Design, Character Design, Cartooning, and a sequence of Storyboarding, Storytelling, and Visual Language courses. In the third year, students will produce an original short, using 2D Computer Animation.

In the final year, students will move on to advanced courses in 3D Animation and, in groups, they will participate in a simulated 3D production experience directed by an industry professional.

Maxx the Mutt hosts an Industry Event that showcases graduating students and their work. The event is “well attended by representatives from animation and gaming companies,” says the school. In addition to the opportunity to showcase their best work in the final year of the program, students will put the finishing touches on their professional portfolio, demo reel, and online profile page.

Graduates have been hired at Disney Design Group, Guru Studios, Mercury Films, Pipeline Studios, Pixar, See Creatures, Sony Pictures Imageworks, Warner Bros. Games, and many others.

The ISSA Diploma Program (formerly three years) has been enhanced to include an extra year that includes a “two-semester graphic novel development course that will leave each graduate with a package that can be pitched to publishers,” says the school. The program covers Adobe Suite, Creating Mobile Comics, Digital Media, Graphic Design, Illustration, and Storyboarding for Advertising. Core courses for the three-year Diploma remain a part of the new Diploma Program.

Courses cover creating, penciling and inking comics, storytelling and scripting for comics, and children’s book illustration. Graduates are prepared for a variety of positions in Advertising, Animation, Gaming, Multimedia, Publishing, and more.

The Concept Art for Animation & Video Games Program provides an “in-depth curriculum based on suggestions and portfolio requirements” from major animation companies and game studios. The program includes a mix of Animation, Cartooning, Fine Art, and Illustration courses, as well as concept courses and instruction “in all necessary computer software from Photoshop to Maya.”

Graduates of the program have been hired at Corus/Nelvana, Guru, Portfolio Entertainment, UbiSoft Toronto, Warner Bros. Games, Yowza Animation, and many others.

17. CG Masters, New Westminster, British Columbia, Canada
CG Masters

Founded in 2012, CG Masters is a School of 3D Animation & VFX that is also a working studio and “the world’s only school to offer industry-designed, production studio based, visual effects and 3D animation job-skills training instead of the old academic process of tests and grades – in just one year,” says the school. Other highlights include small class sizes, courses taught by professionals in the industry, and job placement assistance.

For aspiring animators, CG Masters offers a 12-week 3D Foundations Certificate in Animation & VFX and a 48-week Animation & VFX Production Diploma. The 3D Foundations Certificate covers basic Animation & VFX skills including 3D Modeling, Art Theory, Cinematography, Compositing, FX Particles and Dynamics, Photography, Rendering, Storyboarding, and Texture Creation. The Foundations Certificate will be available online in June 2021.

The 48-week Animation & VFX Production Diploma is an intensive program that consists of three terms: Core Skills, Transition to Practice, and Practical Training. Course highlights include Animation I-II, Dailies III, Modeling & Texturing I-II, Production I-III, and Rigging and Scripting I-II.

Graduates of the programs at CG Masters work at every major studio. Alumni credits include The Dragon Prince, The Lion King, Puss in Boots, Spiderman, Tarzan, and more.

18. Nanyang Polytechnic, Ang Mo Kio, Singapore
Nanyang Polytechnic

Founded in 1992 as an Institute of Higher Learning, Nanyang Polytechnic (NYP) serves more than 15,000 students enrolled in dozens of programs in seven schools. The School of Design & Media offers a full-time Diploma in Animation & Visual Effects that teaches students to create virtual worlds, and 2D and 3D moving images.

Courses for this three-year program are taught by professionals from major studios Animal Logic, DNEG London, Industrial, Light & Magic (ILM), Lucasfilm Singapore, The Method Studios, The Walt Disney Co Asia, and Ubisoft Asia. Course highlights include 2D Character Design, 3D Character Animation, Advanced Lighting and Rendering, Animation Principles, Audio Creation, Business for Digital Media Industry, Cinematography for Visual Effects, Compositing, Creative Producing, Dynamic Effects, Game Story Creation, Digital Marketing, Mixed Reality Experience Design, Motion Capture Techniques, and Sequential Art. Students will also complete an internship during the course of the program.

NYP’s Diploma in Animation & Visual Effects opens doors for graduates to further their studies at local and international universities such as Nanyang Technological University (NTU), Singapore Institute of Technology (SIT), ArtCenter College of Design (USA), DigiPen Institute of Technology (USA), Savannah College of Art and Design (USA), Vancouver Film School (CAN), Bournemouth University (UK), and University of Hertfordshire (UK).

Graduates also go on to land positions at Animal Logic (Australia),Blizzard Entertainment, Crave FX (Singapore), DNEG (UK, Canada), Industrial, Light & Magic (ILM), Netflix Animation (USA), Sony Pictures Imageworks (Canada), and many others.

19. 9Zeros Animation School, Barcelona, Spain
9Zeros Animation School

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

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

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

20. New3dge, Paris, France
New3dge

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

22. The Game Assembly, Malmo, Sweden
The Game Assembly

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

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

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

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

23. The Odd School, Lisboa, Portugal
The Odd School

The Odd School was established in 2007 by production company Até ao Fim do Mundo and a group of Digital Entertainment professionals. The school trains students for entry into the Animation, Games, Programming and Visual FX 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 Animation (13 months), 3D Art (12 months), Concept Art (24 months), Motion Graphics (12 months), and Concept Art (24 months). Foundation courses ensure that students master the tools necessary to complete a large number of immersive required projects.

Foundation courses include 3DS Max, After Effects, Cinema 4D,  Drawing, Houdini, Maya,  Modeling and Render for Architecture, Photoshop, Project for Pitching and Support, Rigging, Script for Animation/Cinema, Storyboard, Toon Boom, Traditional Sculpture, VRay, and ZBrush.

Other program highlights include mall class sizes, courses taught by industry professionals, and a high employment rate. Graduates of The Odd School Programs will enter the workforce with a portfolio consistent and equivalent to that of a Junior Artist.

24. Humber Institute of Technology and Advanced Learning, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Humber Institute of Technology and Advanced Learning

Founded in 1967, Humber Institute of Technology and Advanced Learning (Humber College or Humber) is known for its “Centres of Innovation (COIs),” which “reinforce the interdisciplinary collaboration the college is known for in five areas,” says the school. This includes Creative Business, Entrepreneurship, Health and Wellness, Social Innovation, and Technology.

When Humber opened, it had just few hundred students enrolled in classes in the skilled trades. Today, the school has three campuses that serve more than 80,000 full- and part-time students enrolled in over 150 programs in a number of faculties and schools. The Faculty of Media & Creative Arts offers an Advanced Diploma in 3D Animation.

Students in the program will “develop a blend of the most relevant digital and analog 2D and 3D art skills, as well as an understanding of creative and technological processes,” says the school. Students will also “learn to translate traditional art and design into models of characters, objects, scenes and virtual worlds,” and “develop cinematography and design skills.” During the final semesters of the program, students will complete an Internship, Capstone and Portfolio.

In just six semesters, animation students will be prepared to pursue roles in the Advertising, Animation, Film & Television, and Video Game industries.

25. CG Spectrum, South Melbourne, Australia
CG Spectrum

Founded in 2015, CG Spectrum is a College of Digital Arts and Animation that prepares students for careers in the Animation, 3D Modeling, Digital Painting, Game Development, and Visual Effects. The school highlights small class sizes, flexible schedules, job-focused career training, mentors who have worked on major films and best-selling games, access to industry insights, networking opportunities, and 100% online study options.

Programs for aspiring animators include an Advanced 2D Animation Diploma, Advanced 3D Animation Diploma, 2D Animation Diploma, 2D Animation Diploma (Anime), and a 3D Animation Diploma. The Diploma Programs take nine months to complete, with a 20-hour-a-week time commitment.

CG also offers Introduction to 2D Animation and Introduction to 3D Animation Programs. Both options take three months to complete with a 20-hour-a-week time commitment. All programs offer intense animation study, the option to learn in small group classes or one-on-one, and access to industry standard software.

CG Spectrum Animation graduates are prepared to pursue positions such as 2D Animator, 3D Animator, Character Animator, Character Rigger, Clean-Up Artist, Creature Animator, Layout Artist, Pre-Vis Animator, Storyboard Artist, and many others.

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