The 2020 Best 3D 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 3D Animation

It is the process of generating three-dimensional moving images in a digital environment. Careful manipulation of 3D models or objects is carried out within 3D software for exporting picture sequences giving them the illusion of animation or movement. However, this is completely based on the technique used for manipulating the objects. The procedure of generating 3D is sequentially categorized into three main sections and these are modeling, layout and animation and rendering.

Modeling is the phase that describes the procedure of generating 3D objects within a certain scene. Layout and animation phase describes the process followed for positioning and animating the objects within a certain scene. Lastly, rendering described the end result or output of completed computer graphics. The process of production is successfully completed with the careful combination of the sections mentioned above and also some other sub-sections.

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 3D 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 View
1 Ringling College of Art and Design United States 93.54 Learn More
2 Gnomon United States 81.79 Learn More
3 School of Visual Arts United States 70.14 Learn More
4 Think Tank Training Centre Canada 65.85 Learn More
5 Lost Boys | School of Visual Effects Canada 65.47 Learn More
6 Bellecour Ecole France 59.79 Learn More
7 ArtFX France 59.70 Learn More
8 Vancouver Film School Canada 57.41 Learn More
9 Bournemouth University United Kingdom 56.50 Learn More
10 3dsense Media School Singapore 55.32 Learn More
11 Academy of Art University United States 55.04 Learn More
12 ESMA France 54.69 Learn More
13 Howest University of Applied Sciences - Digital Arts and Entertainment Belgium 53.59 Learn More
14 Animum Creativity Advanced School Spain 50.32 Learn More
15 University of Hertfordshire United Kingdom 48.43 Learn More
16 Savannah College of Art and Design United States 47.92 Learn More
17 PIXL VISN | Media Arts Academy Germany 47.59 Learn More
18 The One Academy of Communication Design Malaysia 46.57 Learn More
19 University of South Wales United Kingdom 43.26 Learn More
20 SAE Creative Media Institute Multiple Locations 39.28 Learn More

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Top entries submitted by 3D 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.

Constantin Vilsmeier

Art always played a big role in my life. The early Walt Disney Movies inspired my childhood and influenced my creativity. The creative process of bringing a story to life by creating new worlds and ch...

Jared Fischler

I've always loved all forms of visual storytelling. However, it wasn't until college when I got really into behind the scenes motion capture videos and realized how breathtaking and emotional CG can b...

Jeremy Schaefer

In high school I started messing around with cameras and visual effects. Two YouTube channels named Freddiew and Corridor Digital both heavily inspired me to just pick up a camera and make something.

Nimrod Zaguri

Probably midway through design college, when I understood I don't really care much for UX/UI or Print. I got into Motion Graphics and started working with Cinema 4d, worked for a bit as a 3d artist f...

James Hyun

I first realized I wanted to work in the creative media and entertainment industry in high school. A buddy and fellow artist told me that, as a career, we can actually make games and movies that we lo...

Pietro Lopez Bernardi

I realized I wanted to work in the creative media and enterainment industry when I begun shooting short movies with my little brother when I was around 12 years old. My passion for visual effects led ...

Dahyun Beak

I have wanted to be a 3D animator since I was interested in observing and expressing all different type of movements in our life.

Shir Baron

I was always passionate about art, but it wasn't until high school that I realized what I would like to make into my career. I studies computer science and art in high school while working in the loca...

David Walz

I took an animation class in high school that was a very fundamental look at Autodesk Maya and I was pretty much hooked from there. That opened up a realm of opportunities I never knew existed!

Sarah Rivelli

Quand je contaste l'émotion que crée un film d'animation chez les personnes.

Abaigeal Collins

Whether is was watching my mother draw Mickey Mouse on napkins at restaurants; my grandmother and I watching Pinocchio on a Thursday mornings; viewing Up after my grandfather passed away and seeing hi...

Rodrigo Chapoy

I knew I wanted to work in the creative media after I was moved by an animated film and realized all the work that is put behind it.

Aly Farroukh

About 6 years ago

Merick Cormier

During my last year of high school, I had to apply for college and my uncle that worked in animation introduced me to what goes into creating animated films and TV shows and I was really interested. I...

Harry Chen

It was the time when I was enrolled in high school. I was asked to create multiple promo videos for school events and during the process, I started to realize that this industry suits me the most.

mikko eustaquio

As a kid I was captivated by the way movies can create an experience and become a window to other worlds. Jurassic park, Star wars, E.T., BTTF to name a few were the early hooks that got my imaginati...

Daniel Schmucker

I've always loved telling and creating stories. I started doing small film projects during High School, especially enjoying cinematography and editing. After High School, I began studying with the int...

Eric Wang

I have always loved to draw. I grew up watching movies and reading comics; before I even knew about animation as a career, I knew I wanted to tell stories through art.

Patrick Yu Wang

I started to learn CG art since I went to college and then I found my passion for it.


Detailed information about the top schools and colleges for 3D Animation

The following schools are the top 3D 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 3D Animation. Follow the links below to find out more about these schools, their facilities, team, success stories, student artwork and more.

Ringling College of Art and Design

1. Ringling College of Art and Design

Since 1931, Ringling College of Art and Design has cultivated the creative spirit in students from around the globe. The private, not-for-profit, fully-accredited college offers the Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in thirteen disciplines and the Bachelor of Arts in two. The College’s rigorous curriculum employs the studio model of teaching and immediately engages students through a comprehensive, program that is both specific to the major of study and focused on the liberal arts. The Ringling College teaching model ultimately shapes students into highly employable and globally aware artists and designers. www.ringling.edu

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Gnomon

2. Gnomon

For over twenty years, Gnomon has educated many of the world’s best digital artists. Called “the MIT of visual effects” by Fast Company magazine, Gnomon offers a variety of educational options to help students reach their goals in the entertainment industry, with both degree and vocational certificate programs, specialized courses for high school students and over 100 individual courses for professional enrichment. Visual effects artists launched Gnomon with the support of the entertainment industry to help meet the demand for well-trained creative talent in the growing field of digital entertainment. Our graduates are professionals working on the latest blockbuster films and games, and have positions at film and video game studios around the world.

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School of Visual Arts

3. 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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Think Tank Training Centre

4. Think Tank Training Centre

Founded in 2005 in Vancouver BC, Think Tank Training Centre specializes in the latest software, techniques and technologies used by 3D artists working in the film, television and video game industries. In 2018 we ranked #1 in Canada (#4 worldwide) for Game Development, and #2 in Canada (#3 worldwide) for Visual Effects, and have consistently placed in the top four in previous years. Think Tank's campus is an inspirational place of learning, delivering a one-of-a-kind mentorship program which gives our students the edge as they transition into fully-fledged working professionals.

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Lost Boys | School of Visual Effects

5. Lost Boys | School of Visual Effects

Complete your training in Effects, Lighting, or Compositing.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 Diploma & Certificate Programs for feature film VFX production delivered from within a studio environment. Focused & specialized training sets a solid foundation for growth, puts you in demand, and maximizes your career potential. Alumni enjoy a combined placement rate of 99% at jobs found within their field of study. Lost Boys is your best chance at a career in VFX.

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Bellecour Ecole

6. Bellecour Ecole

Bellecour Ecole is a specialized art school in the fields of applied arts / design: graphics - multimedia - space - Product - Fashion and Creative Industries: 3d animation - FX - gaming - concept art. Bellecour Ecole provides training to +3 and +5 (Artistic Director, 3D director, ).

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ArtFX School

7. ArtFX School

ArtFX is a private digital arts college, training its students in CGI, VFX, 3D Animation and Video Games. Located in Montpellier (France), the school was created by professionals of the film, video games and visual effects industries.As the only school in Europe specializing in compositing CGI into live-action footage, ArtFX is a reference for CGI and CG animation training. At ArtFx you will develop professional level skills and build a solid network of contacts thanks to our close partnerships with professional artists. Thanks to these connections our graduates also have a 99% placement rate in major post-production studios within France and around the world.As a private establishment of higher education technical training, ArtFx is a member and co-founder of the Network of French Film An

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Vancouver Film School

8. Vancouver Film School

Vancouver Film School is Canada's premier post-secondary entertainment arts institution and one of the most distinguished in the world. The 13 production-oriented programs at VFS span one year or less and cover all aspects of visual media. Students are guided by industry veterans as they create the professional-quality reels and portfolios that get them noticed on the global stage. Recent VFS graduates have gone on to work on some of the hottest properties in entertainment, from film to animation to video games.

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Bournemouth University

9. Bournemouth University

Bournemouth University is a public university in Bournemouth, Dorset, England, with its main campus situated in neighbouring Poole. The university was founded in 1992 as one of the new universities, however the origins of its predecessor date back to the early 1900s.The university was a finalist for two prizes in British higher education – the 2009 Times Higher Education (THE) Awards for "University of the Year" and "Research Project of the Year".Traditionally known for its focus on professional courses, in the 2000s Bournemouth University invested in research to underpin its curriculum and maximise its contribution to the regional and national economies. The university currently has over 16,000 students, including over 1,500 international students.

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3dsense Media School

10. 3dsense Media School

3dsense Media School is a pioneering digital arts school in Asia, preparing students for careers in the media and entertainment industry for over 13 years. Dedicated to providing a real-world education, 3dsense aims to mold the next generation of elite digital artists and designers for the global industry. Some of the properties her alumni have worked on include Interstellar, Star Wars: The Force Awakens, The Avengers, The Hunger Games series, Assassin’s Creed, Game of Thrones and many more. 3dsense was recently ranked top 20 in the world and 1st in Asia in the CG Student Awards 2015, School of the Year category.Besides education, the school also plays a major role in fostering a vibrant arts & design industry through its events and masterclasses.

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Academy of Art University

11. Academy of Art University

Since 1929, Academy of Art University has helped prepare aspiring artists and designers for professional careers by offering 135+ accredited degree options in more than 40 areas of study. Choose from animation and visual effects, game design and development, illustration, fine art, communications, filmmaking, and more. We are first and foremost a professional school—a purpose-based art and design school where students develop their talents and acquire the specific skills sought by the creative marketplace. Our hands-on curriculum is taught by some of the finest minds working in today’s creative and innovative industries—professional artists and designers who bring their industry expertise to the classroom. Academy students graduate with a solid creative foundation, business savvy, and an entrepreneurial spirit that tends to stick with them for life.

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ESMA

12. ESMA

ESMA CG School is a hiher education institution located in Montpellier, Toulouse, Nante, Lyon and Montreal, with more than 25 years of experience.Recognized for the quality and richness of its artistic teachings, the school offers two courses related to CG Animation and FX: a Prépa Entertainment and a Professional Cycle CG Animation & FX.Our ambition: to offer a teaching in adequacy with the professional environment in order to prepare our students for the various artistic professions and to facilitate their insertion and their success in the world of work.

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Howest University of Applied Sciences - Digital Arts and Entertainment

13. Howest University of Applied Sciences - Digital Arts and Entertainment

Digital Arts & Entertainment (DAE) is a state-of-the-art, yet accessible, English-taught Bachelor’s degree. Fully accredited, 3 years, amounting to 180 ECTS credits. DAE is taught at Howest, a modern and unconventional university of applied sciences, situated in a small but beautiful historic city in Flanders, Belgium, in the heart of Western Europe. At DAE you can choose between 4 study majors: Game Development, Game Graphics Production, Independent Game Production or 3D Production & VFX. It is an industry-approved and award-winning curriculum, with alumni in leading companies and studios all over the world, such as Blizzard, Bungie, Ubisoft, DICE, Rocksteady, Guerrilla Games, Larian, Unity, Studio Gobo, Sumo Digital, ILM, MPC, DNeg and many more.

We offer an open, inclusive and international community where you will work on real-life, team-based and industry-assessed projects and assignments. We focus on a practically-oriented education where you receive training by qualified experts. This, together with international guest lectures by key industry speakers and state-of-the-art equipment and facilities, makes for an ideal environment to become an expert in the industry.

Our campus is located at the heart of Western Europe, based in the small, comprehensive, safe and beautiful historic city of Kortrijk, at the banks of the river Leie, where over 1000 years of history meet with modern architecture and design. Here we offer our high-quality degree for a comparatively very low tuition fee. Graduating from our industry-approved and award-winning curriculum, many of our alumni work in leading companies and studios all over the world. This is strengthened by our unique technical artists profile. No matter what major you choose, you will have a good grasp of what your colleagues are up to, which makes cooperation easier.

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Animum Creativity Advanced School

14. Animum Creativity Advanced School

Whether you are passionate about film, videogames, advertising or architecture, our high quality face-to-face and online training focuses on the most important thing: to have the best reel or portfolio in the industry. Our methodology and our academic framework make this possible. The best advice we can give you: thoroughly analyze the work of the students.

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University of Hertfordshire

15. 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

16. 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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PIXL VISN | media arts academy

17. PIXL VISN | media arts academy

PIXL VISN was founded in 2010 by industry professionals Andrei Stirbu and Robb Innes. We offer an accelerated 15-month 3D Animation and Visual Effects training program in a modern facility equipped with state-of-the-art equipment, located in the heart of Cologne, Germany. Instructors at PIXL VISN are a part of the industry: They work in relevant positions at major studios around the world helping to create major Hollywood feature films, hit television series and blockbuster video games. Our graduates have worked on productions like “Avengers: Endgame”, “Game of Thrones” and “Disney’s Dumbo”. In the official “World School Rankings® 2019” at “The Rookies”, PIXL VISN ranked 3rd in the ranking of the best Animation schools in the world and 10th in the ranking of the world's best Visual Effects schools.

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The One Academy of Communication Design

18. 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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University of South Wales

19. University of South Wales

USW Cardiff is one of the largest providers of Creative Industries Education in the UK, with a curriculum covering Illustration, Animation, Graphic Communication, Film and Media Production, to Drama, Performance, Music and Dance. Partnerships with major employers have led to 95% of our graduates entering employment within 6 months of graduation. Our graduates work for major studios including Disney Pixar, Rockstar Studios, Sony Pictures Animation, EA Games, DreamWorks and broadcasters including BBC, HBO along with many independent companies.

USW Cardiff prides itself on its vibrant city-centre location with several animation and games employers within easy reach. The Faculty offers a diverse range of undergraduate and postgraduate courses across the areas of - Animation and Games, Film & VFX, Music and Sound, Journalism & Media, & Performance, Design Communication, Fashion & Photography – all ideally placed within the same landmark building to foster a ‘culture of collaboration’ between them. All courses are united by a course structure that supports the development of ‘creativity’, ‘skills’ and ‘professionalism’, and is underpinned by a shared ethos that focuses upon twenty-first graduate skills.

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SAE Creative Media Institute

20. SAE Creative Media Institute

Creative Media Institute is the world’s leading education provider in creative media industries with over 50 campuses globally. SAE offers degree, diploma and certificate courses across the six disciplines of: Animation, Audio, Design, Film, Games as well as Interactive Technologies.For over 30 years, SAE Institute has maintained a strong commitment to providing high-quality practical education in creative media technologies, producing graduates with industry skills to fill integral professional roles within the sector. Each course at SAE focuses on teaching high-end technical production techniques specific to its niche, developing broader industry perspectives, and creative, analytical, communication and project management skills.

As an SAE student you will have access to our industry-leading campuses, utilise the latest equipment and software, and benefit from our extensive industry network. We’re passionate about our students’ potential and encourage them to chase their dreams. We promise that your SAE experience – wherever you are enrolled in the world – will offer a progressive learning experience to meet your creative and professional aspirations, help you stand out from the crowd, and give you a ticket to the global stage.

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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 10 bonus points toward School Score.
  • Each category runner up receives 15 bonus points toward School Score.
  • Each category winner receives 20 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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