The Best Animation Schools 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.

2018 School of the Year Trophies

Top 10 Animation Schools 2019

The official rankings for 2019 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 New York, United States 73.835
2 Think Tank Training Centre Vancouver, Canada 72.555
3 PIXL VISN | media arts academy Cologne, Germany 62.935
4 Gnomon Los Angeles, United States 62.71
5 3dsense Media School Singapore 59.795
6 ESMA Multiple Locations 59.43
7 University of Hertfordshire Hertfordshire, United Kingdom 57.87
8 ArtFX Montpellier, France 57.13
9 Academy of Art University San Francisco, United States 55.01
10 Vancouver Film School Vancouver, Canada 54.51

Congratulate the Best Animation Schools with a share of support.

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. This year the data pool included:

3,548 Entrants 500 Schools
89 Countries 38,838 Media Uploads

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.

School Information

Interested in finding out more about this top ranking schools? Follow the links to find out more about what makes them stand out from the crowd. Learn more about the courses they offer, their facilities, faculty members and more.

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.

2. 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.

3. PIXL VISN | media arts academy

PIXL VISN was founded in 2010 by industry professionals. We offer 3D Animation and Visual Effects training 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. PIXL VISN students become skilled 3D Visual Effects Artists through an accelerated 15-month study program that places an emphasis on project-based hands-on learning. Our graduates have worked on productions like “Avengers: Endgame”, “Game of Thrones” and “Disney’s Dumbo”.

4. Gnomon

Since 1997, Gnomon has been educating many of the world’s best digital artists. The school in Hollywood, California, offers a variety of educational options to help students reach their goals in the entertainment industry, with a BFA degree in Digital Production, full-time vocational programs, specialised courses for high school students, and over 100 individual courses for professional enrichment. The founders launched Gnomon in 1997 with the support of the entertainment industry to help meet the demand for well-trained creative talent in the growing field of digital entertainment.

5. 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.

6. ESMA

ESMA CG School is a higher education institution located in Montpellier, Toulouse, Nante, Lyon and Montreal, with more than 25 years of experience. Recognised 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.

7. University of Hertfordshire

The University of Hertfordshire is an innovative and enterprising university, challenging individuals and organisations to excel.We are the UK’s leading business-facing university. The University of Hertfordshire is an ambitious and entrepreneurial university with an international vision, putting students at the heart of what we do.Industry focused courses, state-of-the-art learning facilities, a new £38m entertainment venue and opportunities to study, take a years internship or work aboard are just some of the great aspects of what we have to offer.

8. ArtFX

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 specialising 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.

9. Academy of Art University

For 90 years, artists and designers have called Academy of Art University their home. Founded in San Francisco and family owned since 1929, it is the largest private art and design university in the nation.  At the Academy, students discover a hands-on learning environment that’s more creative startup than classic classroom. Our instructors are professional artists and designers who bring their industry expertise to the classroom—translating blackboard theory into real-world expertise that students use, and hiring companies want. The Academy offers more than 124 accredited programs, and our students graduate with a solid creative foundation, business savvy, and an entrepreneurial spirit that tends to stick with them for life.

10. 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.