The 2020 Best 2D Animation Schools and Colleges in the World rankings is something we take very seriously and no external influences or payments are entered into at any point. Our rankings focus on the quality of students portfolios that are submitted to our judging panel which best reflect the recruitment interview process.

We feel that traditional school rankings that include peer and employer reviews, faculty to student ratio, citations and other data are not adequate when ranking the best creative schools. For a complete breakdown of how we rank the best schools for 2018 please read how we rank the best schools and how we analyse the data in the sections located at the bottom of this page.

What is 2D Animation

2D, or two-dimensional animation, is a combination of artistic technique and media design that creates the illusion of movement in a two-dimensional environment. By sequencing individual drawings together over time, characters, backgrounds, objects, and effects look as if they are moving. This is commonly done for animated movies and television, but it is also seen in video games, websites, mobile apps, and advertisements. It can be useful to draw images by hand before using 2D animation, also known as vector-based animation. Computer software such as Adobe Photoshop, Adobe After Effects, and Toon Boom Harmony are just a few of the industry standard programs for 2D animation. Therefore, it can be beneficial to seek higher education in order to learn the technical skills needed.

School of the Year Trophies

The Rookie Awards are the most important student award and ranking globally as it has a credibility that others just don’t have. It doesn’t let advertising budgets create higher school rankings, it uses industry to assess and judge student work and discounts for any school flooding the awards with entries. Having the ‘employability of the Artist’ as a judging criteria is key, for in the creative fields you can be free of constraint and let the ideas flow but getting and building a career requires an additional ability to be practical and having ideas that can be executed and maintained.
Darryn Melrose, former Chief Executive of Media Design School

Top 2D Animation Schools and Colleges in 2020

The official rankings for 2020 have been calculated based on the performance of students work submitted to our industry panel. Full details can be found further down the page about how we calculate and rank schools.

Rank School Location Score
1 School of Visual Arts United States 81.49 Learn More
2 Cleveland Institute of Art United States 66.42 Learn More
3 University of Hertfordshire United Kingdom, Online 63.13 Learn More
4 Savannah College of Art and Design United States 47.52 Learn More
5 The One Academy of Communication Design Malaysia 45.22 Learn More
6 Flinders University / CDW Studios Australia, Online 41.42 Learn More

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Top entries submitted by 2D Animation students from these schools and colleges

Follow these links below to view some of the incredible entries that our judging panel were tasked with reviewing. These entries showcase the quality of work created by students which helped rank their schools.

Adam Bohorquez

Making animation has always been the path I've wanted to follow, ever since my first Lego stop-motion in 2006. The idea of getting people invested in the lives of inanimate objects and drawings is inh...

Cora mckenna

Cora Mckenna is a director, editor, character animator and artist from Kilkenny, Ireland. She recently graduated The Animation Workshop, with her main focuses during his education being on directing, ...

Diego Porral Soldevilla

After studying 5 years an Architecture degree, I decided that I was passionate about the design and creative aspect of things, and not so much the physics and construction part of it. So whilst finish...

richard lopez

When I was young, animated shows have been a place that made me feel as though nothing could harm me, that i was not alone, and that there was hope in a better tomorrow for all needing guidance. Ever ...

Meton Joffily

Since I was a teenager watching animations like AKIRA

Ella Cesari

As a kid, I loved watching all the behind-the-scenes features that showed the people and the process behind the animated films and shows I enjoyed. Seeing the inner workings of animation made me reali...

Guyu Liang

I still remember how stunned I was when I watched animation for the first time, the beautiful action and shot cuts for me are like a magic. I started to learn drawing when I was a child and I have dra...

Jakub Bednarz

I knew I wanted to be an animator since I was 13 (probably just like the rest of us:)) Big thanks to Star Wars and Chihiro.

Jessica Pon

During my second year of high school, when I was doodling way more than I was paying attention to class.

Jiamu Tao

I've always enjoyed drawing since I was a kid, but I didn't make up my mind to pursue animation until I saw Frozen in my 9th grade. It struck me that animation is a media with which you can literally ...

Yujin Mingala

One of the main reasons why I decided to join the creative media industry is because I love story and have always seen it as a powerful medium of communication.

Victoria Grenier

Just after the contest to enter the Medecine University in France, I realized that what I wanted the most in my life to be happy was to find a way to draw and tell stories until the end.

Cas Yee

I've been watching cartoons and making doodles as long as I can remember. But I decided to learn animation when I watched artists online posting their own animated content. Tiny child me thought, "I w...

Erchun Guo

I enjoy animation and movies since I was a kid. I love the magic on screen and I also want to create what they did.

Alex Marek

I've been watching cartoons all my life, as I'm sure many people here have. Throughout the years I've practiced several different forms of animation and storytelling. I've given just about everything ...

Fiona Shoppa

I first realized I wanted to work in creative media/entertainment industry when in high school. I've always found joy in drawing and creating art, but in high school I started to realize I could lever...

Detailed information about the top schools and colleges for 2D Animation

The following schools are the top 2D Animation educational facilities for 2020 and offer great courses and curriculum that produces students that are ready for the challenges faced by professional artists working in 2D Animation. Follow the links below to find out more about these schools, their facilities, team, success stories, student artwork and more.

School of Visual Arts

1. School of Visual Arts

School of Visual Arts has been a leader in the education of artists, designers and creative professionals for nearly seven decades. With a faculty of distinguished working professionals, dynamic curriculum and an emphasis on critical thinking, SVA is a catalyst for innovation and social responsibility. Comprised of more than 6,000 students at its Manhattan campus and nearly 37,000 alumni in 75 countries, SVA also represents one of the most influential artistic communities in the world.

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Cleveland Institute of Art

2. Cleveland Institute of Art

CIA offers Bachelor of Fine Arts degrees in 15 majors across art, design, craft, and integrated media. We extend our programs to the public through gallery exhibitions, artist lectures, a continuing education program for adults and children, and the Cleveland Institute of Art Cinematheque, an art and independent film program. With 655 full-time students and 670 total students, CIA offers a personal educational experience with the benefits of a larger institution. Students choose from 15 majors and live and work in Cleveland’s University Circle, one of the country’s most unique cultural centers – recently named by Forbes Magazine as one of the ten prettiest communities in the country.

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University of Hertfordshire

3. University of Hertfordshire

The School of Creative Arts is the oldest part of the University of Hertfordshire, and its roots date back to 1890 with the formation of St Albans School of Art that later merged with the University in the 20th century. The School prides itself on its devotion to teaching creativity and the skills required to enable students to reach the goals they want from a degree and future career. It combines a wealth of physical resources that cover all aspects of creative arts production from animation, games and film, to fashion, print making, ceramics and architectural design to name a few.

A large base of talented staff with working experience of the industries they teach in allows students to gain knowledge from those who have already worked in the areas they wish to enter after graduation. The School maintains close links with many companies in the creative industries, allowing students to be part of live projects, company visits, guest lectures on specialist cutting edge topics and to get to meet the people and companies who inspired them to begin their journey into art in the first place.

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Savannah College of Art and Design

4. Savannah College of Art and Design

The Savannah College of Art and Design exists to prepare talented students for professional careers, emphasizing learning through individual attention in a positively oriented university environment.SCAD visionThe Savannah College of Art and Design, an institution with distinctive yet complementary locations, will be recognized as the leader in defining art and design education. By employing innovation in all areas, SCAD will provide a superior education through talented and dedicated faculty and staff, leading-edge technology, advanced learning resources and comprehensive support services.SCAD valuesBeing a student-centered institution.

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The One Academy of Communication Design

5. The One Academy of Communication Design

For over 25 years of creative education excellence, The One Academy has been renowned as one of the best art and design colleges in Asia with over 2,500 existing students in two of our main campuses. We are committed to our role as a world-class education provider by nurturing creative pioneers who can brace and surpass international standards.To achieve this, we provide comprehensive courses, for instance, Film Visual Effects and Digital Animation with Game Development, in collaboration with industry masters such as Andrew Gordon, Pixar animation director, Eduardo Pena, concept artist of The Hobbit trilogies, and also Ubisoft, to name a few.

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Flinders University / CDW Studios

6. Flinders University / CDW Studios

In partnership Flinders University and CDW Studios have created a very unique study environment where you are being taught by an instructor who currently works as a professional in that industry. Our instructors are world class, and have experience freelancing and working for some of the world’s top entertainment providers and creators, such as Blizzard Entertainment, Rising Sun Pictures, Disney, Warner Brothers and Lego just to name a few. By employing industry professionals CDW Studios and Flinders University ensure that students receive an intensive industry relevant education along with the critical thinking, analysis and structure that a Flinders University degree provides.

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How we calculate the school rankings

Data is based on the quality and performance of student work that is submitted to our judging panel for the Rookie Awards.

We feel that traditional school rankings – that include peer and employer reviews, faculty-to-student ratio, citations and other data – are not adequate when ranking the best creative schools. This might work in industries with more traditional career paths, however, when it comes to technical and creative roles, such as Visual Effects, Feature Animation and Games, it’s a lot more complicated.

The Judging Process

Each entrant is reviewed by members of the official Judging Panel which includes over 120 highly influential and respected industry veterans. The Judges were asked to score entries based on criteria including — creative skills, technical skills, presentation, variety of skills, complexity, raw talent, and employment potential.

School Calculations

Based on the results of student submissions we received this year we have released the following in-depth breakdowns about the best schools.

Each school is awarded a final score based on the performance of each student representing their academic facility.

When analysing the average scores of each student per school there are three possible data formulas available to use: mean, median and mode.

The Rookies uses median. The median is the middle point of a number set, in which half the numbers are above the median and half are below. A median is intrinsically understandable. It is the middle number when the values are put in order.

  • Schools with < 8 student entries are excluded from ranking.
  • Incomplete student entries are removed from calculations. No penalties.
  • Each student receives a performance score. Max 100 points.
  • Median students score calculated per school. Max 100 points.
  • Each category finalist receives 2.5 bonus points toward School Score.
  • Each category runner up receives 5 bonus points toward School Score.
  • Each category winner receives 10 bonus points toward School Score.

Is your school missing?

For Students: Please put us in touch with the right person at your school.
For Faculty: Our team is here to help showcase your school to the world. Talk to us today about how to get your school certified, to promote your sucess stories and to make sure you rank highly next year!

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