Best Concept Art & Illustration Schools in the World 2020
2020 Update! The Best Concept Art & Illustration Schools and Colleges in the World. Find the best places to learn to be a concept artist and become industry ready.
The 2020 Best Concept Art 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 Concept Art?
Concept art is a visual representation which tells a story or conveys a certain look. It is commonly used in film and video games to convey a vision and set the tone for an entire game or movie. Concept art provides a strong reference point that helps align the creatives working on the project.
Why does a Concept Artist do?
A Concept Artist visualizes characters, environments, props and more through storytelling. The saying, “a picture paints a thousand words,” should be the mantra of every Concept Artist. This type of artist is often tasked with working from previous designs, visualizing scenes from a book that will be made into a film, or creating new worlds and characters from scratch. They inject their personal style into their work while keeping true to the assignment and end goals.
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 Concept Art 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.
|1||Syn Studio||Canada||76.64||Learn More|
|2||The One Academy of Communication Design||Malaysia||73.67||Learn More|
|3||FZD School of Design||Singapore||62.06||Learn More|
|4||Flinders University / CDW Studios||Australia||61.59||Learn More|
|5||Academy of Art University||United States||60.76||Learn More|
|6||3dsense Media School||Singapore||59.565||Learn More|
|7||Max the Mutt College of Animation, Art & Design||Canada||56.9||Learn More|
|8||School of Visual Arts||United States||56.22||Learn More|
|10||Breda University - IGAD - (BUAS)||Netherlands||51.59||Learn More|
|12||Howest University of Applied Sciences - Digital Arts and Entertainment||Belgium||50.585||Learn More|
|13||Nanyang Polytechnic - School of Interactive & Digital Media||Singapore||48.3||Learn More|
|14||Savannah College of Art and Design||United States||47.39||Learn More|
|15||CG Spectrum||Online||46.59||Learn More|
|16||Norwich University of the Arts||United Kingdom||46.5||Learn More|
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Top entries submitted by Concept Art students from these top 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.
Detailed information about the top schools and colleges for Concept Art
The following schools are the top Concept Art 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 Concept Art. Follow the links below to find out more about these schools, their facilities, team, success stories, student artwork and more.
1. Syn Studio
At Syn Studio, we specialize in teaching concept art and illustration for the entertainment industry. We believe that strong fundamentals in figurative drawing, painting and sculpture are the foundations of high-level digital artistry. This belief is shared by all of our teachers, friends and advisers which include top art directors, producers, lead and senior artists in Montreal, Los Angeles and San Francisco’s games, film and animation industries.
2. 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.
3. FZD School of Design
Welcome to the FZD School of Design, centrally located in the heart of downtown Singapore. Founded in 2009, our aim is to provide a world class education for conceptual design. Our unique 1 Year Diploma Program is focused on the core fundamentals of drawing and design. Students will graduate with a Diploma in Industrial Design and a vast array of professional skills. Our intense pipeline has transformed hundreds of students into industry professionals. Graduate with a portfolio that is ready for job-hunting in a competitive market.
4. 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.
5. 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.
6. 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.
7. Max the Mutt College of Animation, Art and Design
Max the Mutt College of Animation, Art & Design was founded by artists and animators in the late 1990s. A career college that understands the power of popular culture and hopes, by training the next generation of artists, to contribute to a better world. We offer three Diploma Programs: Classical & Computer Animation & Production, Illustration & Storytelling for Sequential Arts(Comic books & Graphic Novels), and Concept Art for Animation & Video Games(Digital Illustration). From the beginning our mandate has been to provide the best education possible while remaining affordable and accessible. We believe in a well organized, developmental curriculum that gives students the skills at each level to approach new challenges.
8. 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.
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.
10. Breda University - IGAD - (BUAS)
1 to 1 coaching by industry veterans of AAA industry . Latest technology from Sony, Nintendo & Microsoft . Features all relevant game development skills for a practical multidisciplinary education . Partnering with leading game companies around the world . International classroom, completely English-taught, 25% of students and 80% of staff is international . A tradition of winning game awards over the past year (Unity Awards, GGJ, Sumo Digital, Brains Eden, Microsoft, Dutch Game Awards) . Top rated in Dutch higher education . The best and motivated talents are selected to start (180 students per year) . Officially accredited degree by the Ministry of Education, students enter the program in one of three study paths: Visual Art, Programming or Design & Production
New3dge, located in Paris, is a private school of higher education specialized in the fields of Game Art, 3D Animation&VFX and Concept Art. We have tailored our student program and our teaching methods alongside some of the major players in these fields. We recruit our educators from our network of respected professionals around the globe. At New3gde, we give our students the opportunity to learn skills and work with cutting edge technology in an ever-evolving environment, guaranteeing their integration in the video game, 3D animation/VFX field and Concept Art. Our current placement rate is 92% More infos at : www.new3dge.com
12. 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.
13. Nanyang Polytechnic - School of Interactive & Digital Media
Established as an institution of higher learning in 1992, Nanyang Polytechnic’s (NYP) seven academic schools offer quality education and training through more than 40 full-time diploma courses. NYP also has a full suite of continuing education (CET) options for lifelong learning, ranging from specialist and advanced diplomas, to SkillsFuture modules and courses. Through its strong network of industry connections, NYP empowers learners for work and life through relevant curricula and deep capabilities. NYP strives to be the innovative polytechnic, creating a nexus of future-ready learners, ready to take on new challenges and contribute to growth and sustainability. Nanyang Polytechnic is a recipient of Singapore’s top organisational and business excellence awards: the Singapore Quality Award, the Innovation Excellence Award and the People Excellence Award.
14. 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.
15. CG Spectrum
Changing careers? Looking to build up your technical skills? First time in school?Choosing a well-known online animation school or visual effects school will give you the step you need on the competition. Here at CG Spectrum, we’re dedicated to helping you achieve your goals through 3D animation and VFX courses for film and games.The industry rewards those who specialize, and our world-class mentors will teach you how to optimize your technical and networking skills in real-world situations. When you graduate, you will have an understanding of how not only to work alone but within a studio pipeline. CG Spectrum’s top priority is to inspire and prepare the next generation of production-ready artists. Contact us and we will help you find your own path to success.
16. Norwich University of the Arts
Norwich University of the Arts is a dynamic, modern and creative community providing arts, design, architecture and media education from a unique campus at the heart of the city. Norwich University of the Arts (NUA) has established itself in arts, design and media education for over 170 years. But while our history can be traced back to 1845, our outlook is forward-thinking. From a city centre campus that boasts cutting-edge facilities, to an approach to teaching which saw us awarded Gold under the Teaching Excellence Framework and ranked 10th in the UK for teaching quality by The Times and The Sunday Times Good University Guide 2018, our reputation for excellence is well-earned. NUA has thrived as an established University, developing a national reputation as an innovative and creative academic community, with a firm commitment to offering vocational, practice based courses that afford students space to develop their skills and pursue their passion.
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.
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.
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