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We create award-winning work; achieve more together and have fun!

Since opening our doors in 2000, The Animation School has established itself as the leading source of specialist animation education in South Africa and is ranked 13th in the world (Animation Career Review website, 2022). We have a laser-sharp focus on animation production, while drawing on local and international knowledge and experience from related sectors such as art, design and film. This focus gives our students a competitive advantage, because they are able to refine and develop the skills which the animation industry specifically seeks. Our vision is to be internationally recognised as a leading provider of higher education in the field of animation by producing award-winning graduates who are employed by top companies worldwide. Our mission is to develop a pool of creative talent with the knowledge, skills and motivation to be highly competitive in the global animation industry while maintaining a culture of respect, integrity and professionalism. We believe that it is essential to always act with integrity and that all our students can create award-winning work. We believe that we can achieve more together whilst having fun.

Countries: South Africa

Location: Online Campus

Industries: 2D Animation 3D Animation Concept Art & Illustration

Software: Adobe Creative Suite Adobe Substance Painter Autodesk Maya Maxon Zbrush Nuke

Programs: Diploma

Certifications: Toon Boom Authorized Training Centre


Kane Forster
Michelle Kao
Celeste Jamneck
Zac Bakker


The Animation School offers a 3-year full time Diploma in Digital Animation. The aim of the Diploma is to prepare students for a successful career in the animation industry by equipping them with the knowledge, skills, technological training and profession development required to make a smooth transition into the workplace or to further their studies.

Students will gain a strong theoretical foundation in the history of animation, the principles of animation, art direction, storytelling and pre-production, production and post-production. They will also develop detailed knowledge of the field of animation and how that knowledge relates to film and media studies, history, art and design. Students will be assessed on their ability to critically analyse principles and theories and apply them when solving complex problems within 2D and 3D animation.

Our curriculum is designed according to four essential pillars of learning that the students focus on for each year of study:

  • Story & Context
  • Visual Development
  • Technical Artistry
  • Animation

Story and Context Course

In the first year of the Story and Context Course, the students are introduced to global animation history and practice in order to expose them to various stylistic approaches as sources of inspiration for their own creative practice. The students also engage with narrative and the translation of script cues into a visual language and then reverse-engineer these into story beats. In 2nd year, context is advanced into conceptual thinking in order to identify and challenge existing modes of representation to further inform their own artistic practice. Their visual storytelling skills are also advanced and begin to underpin every component of the production pipeline and provides an essential platform from which to explore the relationship between narrative and visual execution. In 3rd Year this course translates to the pre-production component of their short film production and students are tasked with crafting a cohesive and distinct production aesthetic. By the end of this course, students will be able to use story to inform the visual development of a project and will be able to critically assess both their own designs and those of their peers in constructive and mutually beneficial ways.

Visual Development course

The first year of the Visual Development Course, focuses on the creation of effective and appealing production design and the interpretation of those designs into stylised 3D assets. Special focus is placed on abstraction and stylisation and the students model and texture these assets according to strict pipeline conventions. These skills are further developed in 2nd Year specifically for more advanced character development. Emphasis is placed on modes of representation so that character designs are grounded in authenticity and avoid cliché and stereotypes. Students practice translating two-dimensional character designs into the creation of 3D characters with an emphasis on theme, shape language, colour, proportion and costume. Students also focus on functional anatomy and the topology required for effective character deformation.

Technical Artistry Course

In the 1st year of the Technical Artistry Course, students are introduced to surfacing, lighting, compositing and rigging workflows. They focus on producing convincing and appealing materials that integrate both real world surface response to light and artistic inspiration. In addition to this, the students analyse real world reference, using this to inform their stylistic lighting setups. Basic compositing theory is introduced, and they cover the basic rigging principles that are further advanced in 2nd Year, where they complete a full character rig. Particular attention is paid to character performance requirements and adherence to production pipeline conventions. Students are instructed on the creation of a skeleton that supports a wide range of motion and sculpting deformation shapes that allow for appealing facial expressions and soft tissue deformations. 2nd Year students also learn intermediate lighting and compositing workflows wherein the focus is placed on these as tools for emphasizing mood and theme.

The Animation Course

The Animation course in 1st year serves as an introduction to animating both 2D and 3D characters using the twelve principles of animation via the creation of simple loops and walk cycles. In 2nd Year the students get to hone in on these skills focusing on basic body mechanics and performances like lip sync; facial performance; how to work with props; how to use blend constraints and focus on communicating emotion and internal workings of character through gesture and body language. Students are instructed to recognise the importance of 2D animation within the 3D pre-production process and are taught efficient production compatible animation workflows. The use of acting reference for character animation and analysing their animation is emphasised to ensure not only clarity of performance and fluidity of gesture, but also appeal. These collective pipeline skills culminate in the creation of a convincing 3D animation performance in which students are responsible for the fabrication of all aspects of the production as well as planning and adhering to a production schedule.

In 3rd Year, the 3 courses above (Visual Development, Technical Artistry, and Animation) become electives in which the students can select and specialise. By the end of this course students will have contributed meaningfully to the production of a short film which they work on in groups 3rd year students must apply the collective sum of the knowledge they obtained in previous years in order to make a significant contribution to their team’s production. In the 3rd Year Professional Development course, the students are prepared for a variety of employment opportunities in order to bridge the gap between the classroom and the workspace. They are required to complete a two-week experiential learning component and attend guest lectures by leading professionals in their field. They learn how to prepare a professional CV and demo-reel and become familiar with all of the practical processes required to apply for a position.

The full Diploma is 3 years and the pricing for the *2024 academic year is as follows:

  • SOUTH AFRICAN APPLICANTS: R110,300-00 - R 120,500-00 (various payment options available)
  • REST OF AFRICA APPLICANTS: Full settlement of R110,300-00 on Registration.
  • INTERNATIONAL APPLICANTS: Full settlement of R140,000-00 on Registration.

Subsequent years fees will be subject to an annual price increase linked to inflation.

The Animation School accepts applications all year round and our academic year runs from the beginning of February to the end of November annually. Registrations close at the end of February for the respective academic year. Applicants need to prepare a Portfolio of Artwork and must meet the minimum admission criteria specified in our Prospectus (available on our website). A competency in English is essential as all lectures and courseware are presented in English as it serves globally as the business language of communication. We do not teach basic computer literacy as applicants are expected to meet this basic criteria.

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