A Guide to 3D Animation Courses

Thanks to the advancement of film, computer gaming and special effects, 3D animation is increasingly popular. This has meant that the demand for specially trained 3D animators is higher than ever. Courses might be called 3D animation, or 3D computer animation. You will learn a variety of cutting edge skills, such as graphic design, visual effects, character animation and motion capture. 

Studying 3D Animation as an Undergraduate

An undergraduate degree will give a good foundation level of 3D animation knowledge. You will explore the animation industry, and develop and understanding of industry standard equipment and technology. As well as this, you will likely be introduced to the games industry and film industry, as they are popular destinations for graduates. You might study modules on 3D digital animation and games, film, television, design concepts, and post-production techniques.

Your degree will be taught through a mixture of modes. Although this will include lectures and seminars, because animation is a highly creative industry, you will also be given many opportunities to put your knowledge into practice. Some universities might encourage you to participate in a placement year or module.

Postgraduate 3D Animation Studies

A postgraduate degree in 3D animation will allow you to build on your knowledge and skills. You will further develop your practical skills, learning more advanced and complex techniques. Your postgraduate modules might include working on animals and creatures, character performance, and locomotion and mechanics.

Your degree will be delivered through lectures and seminars, as well as practical and computer laboratory sessions. There will be an emphasis on practical application, and you may be presented with the opportunity to take part in a work placement, or attend talks and classes with industry professionals.

Studying 3D animation at University

You can study 3D animation at Undergraduate and Postgraduate level at University.

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Specialisations of 3D Animation

Depending on where you choose to study, you may be able to specialise throughout your degree. Your specialisation of choice can influence the area in which you work or study after you have graduated. It can also help you to decide what area you wish to do your dissertation or research project on. Common specialisations include:

  • Virtual Reality
  • Motion Graphics
  • Pre-production Design
  • Films and Games Design
  • Cartoon Animation
  • Realistic Animation

Accreditation and Certification

The accreditation of your degree will depend on where you choose to study. It will also be influenced by your level of study. At undergraduate level, you can expect to be awarded a Bachelor of Arts (BA), or a Bachelor of Science (BSc). At postgraduate level, you can expect to be awarded a Master of Arts (MA), or a Master of Fine Arts (MFA). If you choose to study for a research postgraduate degree, you will be awarded a Master of Research (MRes), a Master of Philosophy (MPhil), or a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD).

Depending on your institution, the course you choose may also be accredited by a professional or academic body. For example, in the UK, some courses could be accredited by ScreenSkills.

Timeframe and Further Studies

Generally, an undergraduate degree will take three to four years to complete. Foundation degrees, diplomas and certificates can last up to two years, when studied full-time. A postgraduate degree will normally take one to two years. If your course includes a placement year, this will normally add another year onto your studies.

Some institutions might offer part-time study options. Studying a degree part-time normally means that your course will last anywhere between three and eight years, with some universities offering more flexible study options.

Entry Requirements for 3D Animation Courses

Undergraduate entry requirements

The entry requirements for an undergraduate degree in 3D animation will depend on where you choose to study. Typically, you will be required to have previously studied a subject related to 3D animation, such as computer animation or IT. If you do not have a strong background in the area, but can show that you are passionate about animation, some institutions might still consider your application. Some universities might require you to sit an entrance exam, where others may rely on previous exam results. Other institutions may consider relevant work experience. If your first language is not English, it is likely that you will be required to provide that your English language is to a high enough standard.

Postgraduate entry requirements

The entry requirements for a postgraduate degree in 3D animation will also depend on your institution of choice. They will also be influenced by the level of postgraduate degree you are applying for. Normally, you will be expected to have an undergraduate degree in 3D animation, computer animation, or a closely related subject.

You should check each institution to see what entry requirements they have for their 3D animation programmes.

  • UK – 6.5 IELTS, 2:2 or higher
  • US – 6.0 IELTS, 3.0 GPA

Costs of 3D Animation Courses

Tuition fees for 3D animation courses can vary greatly from institution to institution. Fees for postgraduate degree courses tend to be higher than undergraduate courses. Exact tuition fees are displayed on institution course pages.

You may be eligible for a scholarship or funding. This could be awarded by your institution, or by a separate funding body. For more information, visit our scholarships and funding section.

Career Options with a 3D Animation Degree

It is most common for 3D animation graduates to gain employment as a 3D animator. You could work on feature length movies, short sketches, and video games. As well as this, you could work in a more generic role, such as computer programming or software engineering. You will have gained a wide range of transferable skills that will offer up opportunities in many different fields.

Top Courses in 3D Animation

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