The Best Visual Effects Schools is 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 Visual Effects 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 Gnomon California, United States 85.795
2 3dsense Media School Singapore 81.875
3 Think Tank Training Centre Vancouver, Canada 75.26
4 Lost Boys | School of Visual Effects Montreal/Vancouver, Canada 71.7
5 ESMA Multiple Locations 71.38
6 ArtFX Montpellier, France 65.985
7 University of Hertfordshire Hertfordshire, United Kingdom 63.31
8 New3dge Paris, France 63.105
9 The Netherlands Film Academy Amsterdam, Netherlands 62.18
10 PIXL VISN | media arts academy Cologne, Germany 61

Congratulate the Best Visual Effects 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. 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.

2. 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.

3. 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.

4. 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 specialised Diploma & Certificate Programs for feature film VFX production delivered from within a studio environment.  Focused &; specialised training sets a solid foundation for growth, puts you in demand, and maximises 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.

5. 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.

6. 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.

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. New3dge

New3dge, located in Paris, is a private school of higher education specialised 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 New3dge, 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%

9. The Netherlands Film Academy

The Netherlands Film Academy (NFA) was founded in 1958. The academy is the only recognised institute in the Netherlands that offers training to prepare for the work in the various crew disciplines. Specialisation is possible in fiction directing, documentary directing, screenwriting, editing, producing, sound design, cinematography, production design, and interactive multimedia/visual effects.

10. 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”.