3D ANIMATION + VISUAL EFFECTS

Gain experience with traditional arts, computer animation, and cinematic storytelling skills in a professional, studio environment.

You are creative and passionate about animation, and enjoy creating stories that are inspired by your life experiences. You see computer animation as an instrument for telling your stories. You have the ability to evolve high-level concepts and still dive into the granular aspects of 3D design. You’re working to build a rock-solid art foundation that includes cinematic and technological training. You are a digital artist.

An Education in 3D ANIMATION + VISUAL EFFECTS

Animation students in the render farm

Production

Work on the production and post-production of your film in a dedicated workspace, with advice from seasoned instructors.

Production

Animation student. Preproduction artwork.

Pre-Production

Dig into the research, design and asset building, as you narrow your focus and start pre-production for your film.

Pre-Production

Animation + Visual Effects Pipeline Class in Theatre

Animation + Visual Effects Pipeline

Explore the overall 3D animation and visual effects pipeline, and experiment with the different disciplines of 3D.

Animation + Visual Effects Pipeline

Program Breakdown

Study traditional arts and computer animation and build the foundation to work within the 3D computer animation environment.

Advance your 2D and 3D animation skills as you start to delve into the art of Life Drawing. Complete courses in 3D lighting, texturing, and visual storytelling.

Determine the focus for your final project. Prepare for, and pitch, your final project ideas. Dive into the pre-production of your project.

Moving into the studio, review your work weekly with mentors and instructors. Begin advanced courses in your chosen field.

Having completed, to deadline, all 3D pre-production requirements, get started on production of your project, maintaining a full production schedule under the guidance of your project supervisor.

Finalize everything and produce the final cut of your reel. Examine industry practices and ethics, and the steps to getting your start in the industry.

  • program length

    12 months

  • Time spent with instructors

    1260 Hours

  • 3D Animation + Visual Effects alumni on Film and TV

    2672+ credits

Specializations

3D Animation / Modelling / Visual Effects

 

See program breakdown and full course descriptions for more information.
  • A Diploma in 3D Animation
  • A mastered demo reel of your final project
  • Access to the VFS Alumni Directory and Job Board

Key Faculty

Our instructors are award-winning industry professionals. They are dedicated to sharing their extensive knowledge and expertise to help you thrive in your future career. 

Head of Animation and Visual Effects Vanessa Jacobsen

Vanessa Jacobsen

Head of Department

Over the years, Vanessa has built strong partnerships in the entertainment arts industry to enhance the student experience and to support graduates transitioning into their careers.

Animation and Visual Effects Creative Director Colin Giles first photo
Animation and Visual Effects Creative Director Colin Giles second photo

Colin Giles

Creative Director

Colin has over 17 years' experience as a Character Animator, Animation Director, and Designer, with credits in traditional and computer animation. His credits include work for Cartoon Network, Disney Interactive, and HBO.

Animation and Visual Effects Creative Director Casey Kwan first photo
Animation and Visual Effects Creative Director Casey Kwan second photo

Casey Kwan

Creative Director

Casey has devoted himself to the computer animation industry for 20 years. For the last five years at VFS, he has focused his experience as a Production Designer, CG Supervisor, and Art Director, to shape VFS's industry-focused curriculum.

Visual Effects Senior Instructor Brent Greening

Brent Greening

Senior Instructor – Visual Effects

Brent has extensive professional experience as a Visual Effects Supervisor, CG Supervisor, and Character TD. He has worked on numerous feature films like Night at the Museum, and game cinematics, such as Ghostbusters.

Modelling Senior Instructor Michael Monks first photo
Modelling Senior Instructor Michael Monks second photo

Mike Monks

Senior Instructor – Modelling

Mike comes to VFS with over 15 years' experience as a production artist with studios such as Mainframe, Nerdcorps, Nexon and Nitrogen. He has been a Lead Technical Director and Modelling  Supervisor on projects ranging from episodic television to mobile gaming.

Mentorship and Industry Relations Lead Sarah Von Fersen

Sarah Von Fersen

Mentorship + Industry Relations Lead

Sarah has over 17 years experience working in the VFX, animation, and games industry. She started her career working as a modeller for The Jim Henson's Creature Shop and, before coming to VFS, was the Sets and Characters Lead for Pixar Canada. Other studios include Electronic Arts and Framestore.

Faculty Career Highlights

Reboot Poster, Animation and Visual Effects staff credits

ReBoot

Casey Kwan — Supervising Animator

Skate 2 Poster, Animation and Visual Effects staff credits

Skate 2

Craig Shiells  — Lighter
Sarah von Fersen — Character Artist

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets Poster, Animation and Visual Effects staff credits

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

Sarah von Fersen — Modeller

Barbie in the Nutcracker poster, Animation and Visual Effects staff credits

Barbie in the Nutcracker

Casey Kwan — Director of Technical Development

Electronic Arts logo, Animation and Visual Effects staff credits

Electronic Arts

Sarah von Fersen — Senior Character Artist

Framestore CFC logo, Animation and Visual Effects staff credits

Framestore CFC

Sarah von Fersen — Lead Character Modeller

Ghostbusters poster, Animation and Visual Effects staff credits

Ghostbusters

Brent Greening — VFX/CG Supervisor

Hasbro logo, Animation and Visual Effects staff credits

Hasbro

Casey Kwan

Hot Wheels: AcceleRacers poster, Animation and Visual Effects staff credits

Hot Wheels : AcceleRacers

Casey Kwan — Creative Concept Director

Jim Henson Creature Shop logo, Animation and Visual Effects staff credits

Jim Henson Creature Shop

Sarah von Fersen — Modeller

Land of Gians: A Walking with Dinosaurs Special poster, Animation and Visual Effects staff credits

Land of Giants: A 'Walking with Dinosaurs' Special

Sarah von Fersen — CGI Modeller

Mattel logo, Animation and Visual Effects staff credits

Mattel

Casey Kwan

Nexon logo, Animation and Visual Effects staff credits

Nexon

Casey Kwan

Night at the Museum poster, Animation and Visual Effects staff credits

Night at the Museum

Brent Greening — Visual Effects Lead

Pixar logo, Animation and Visual Effects staff credits

Pixar

Sarah von Fersen — Character and Sets Lead

Thomas and Friends poster, Animation and Visual Effects staff credits

Thomas & Friends

Colin Giles — Lead Animator

Sleeping Dogs poster, Animation and Visual Effects staff credits

Sleeping Dogs

Craig Shiells  — Lighter

Family Guy Online poster, Animation and Visual Effects staff credits

Family Guy Online

Mike Monks  — Lead Artist

Space Chimps poster, Animation and Visual Effects staff credits

Space Chimps

Vanessa Jacobsen — Facilities Administrator

Dragon Booster poster, Animation and Visual Effects staff credits

Dragon Booster

Casey Kwan  — Environment Designer
Mike Monks  — Modellg Supervisor / Lead Technical Director

War Hammer 40K Carnage poster, Animation and Visual Effects staff credits

War Hammer 40K Carnage

Mike Monks  — Lead Artist

Redbull Air Race logo, Animation and Visual Effects staff credits

Redbull Air Race

Mike Monks  — Lead Artist

Action Man poster, Animation and Visual Effects staff credits

Action Man

Casey Kwan  — Department Head - Lighting and VFX
Brent Greening — 
Mike Monks — Modeller / Animator

Heavy Gear poster, Animation and Visual Effects staff credits

Heavy Gear

Casey Kwan  — Department Head - Lighting and VFX
Brent Greening — 
Mike Monks — Modelling Supervisor

Campus Life

We’ve designed our new campus to mirror the professional studios that surround us in Gastown, among the coffee shops, restaurants, and beautiful brick buildings. You’ll create with our custom-built character rig (built by Long Winter Studios), and render through the Qube! render farm, as you collaborate with artists from other disciplines, such as filmmakers and sound designers.

Student walking the corridors of the Animation and Visual Effects campus

CAREERS IN 3D ANIMATION + VFX

As an Animation + Visual Effects graduate, you’ll leave VFS as a well-rounded artist with specific skillsets. Depending on the size and style of the animation studio you work in, you may specialize in one field or work in many. 

Visual Effects Artist

As an Effects Artist, you’ll be responsible for the creation of natural and supernatural phenomena and compositing them into a finished image. Effects range from the subtleties, like the removal of wires, to extremely complex effects, like water or explosions.

Character Animator

You’ll create animatics and reference, and use that material to create an authentic character performance. Animators are "actors" and you’ll need to have an intuitive understanding of physical and emotional performance. Whether for film, television, or games, animators breathe life into a wide range of characters.

Modeller

Using a Designer's conceptual drawings, you’ll create the 3D geometry that Animators later use to create motion. A team of multiple Modellers may be broken up into different positions, including Character Modeller, Prop Modeller, and environment Modeller.

Grad Career Highlights

Chappie poster, Animation and Visual Effects alumni credits

Chappie

Dean Mangion — Matchmove TD
Jeff Tetzlaff — Lead Modeller Image Engine
Jose Luis Alfredo Chavez Olmos — Senior Visual Effects Compositor
Muhammad Marri — Texture Artist
Neill Blomkamp — Writer and Director
Shawn Walsh — Visual Effects Executive Producer
Teh-Wei Yeh — Previs / Proof Of Concept

Seventh Son poster, Animation and Visual Effects alumni credits

Seventh Son

15 grads from 3D Animation + Visual Effects worked on Seventh Son.

American Sniper poster, Animation and Visual Effects alumni credits

American Sniper

Chelsea Whittet — Creature FX TD
Christopher Ahrens — Senior Lighting Artist
Eleni Topouzoglou — Compositor
Hugo Brunet (Gauvreau) — Digital Compositor
Rene Allegretti — Track / Matchmove Artist

Paddington poster, Animation and Visual Effects alumni credits

Paddington

Chelsea Whittet — Creature FX TD
Christopher Ahrens — Senior Lighting Artist
Eleni Topouzoglou — Compositor
Hugo Brunet (Gauvreau) — Digital Compositor
Rene Allegretti — Track / Matchmove Artist

Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb poster, Animation and Visual Effects alumni credits

Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb

14 grads from 3D Animation + Visual Effects worked on Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb.

The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies poster, Animation and Visual Effects alumni credits

The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies

Aaron Gilman — Animation Supervisor
Alex Berson — Digital Compositor
Angelo De Witt — Senior Digital Paint Artist
Armando Velazquez — Digital Compositor
Christine Siolkowsky — Motion Editor
Daphne De Jesus — Digital Compositor
Jeffrey Struthers — Animator
Kieran Tether — Senior Lighting TD
Kristin Sedore — Lighting TD
Matthew Weaver — Previs Artist
Roland Vallet — Senior Animator

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 1 poster, Animation and Visual Effects alumni credits

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 1

Chung-Yin Hsieh — Senior Prep Artist
Ian Parra Patino — Digital Compositor
Kristin Pratt — Layout TD
Steven Davies — Digital Compositor
Vikram Mohan — Animator

The Maze Runner poster, Animation and Visual Effects alumni credits

The Maze Runner

10 grads from 3D Animation + Visual Effects worked on The Maze Runner.

The Expendables 3 poster, Animation and Visual Effects alumni credits

The Expendables 3

11 grads from 3D Animation + Visual Effects worked on The Expendables 3.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles poster, Animation and Visual Effects alumni credits

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

16 grads from 3D Animation + Visual Effects worked on Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.

Guardians of the Galaxy poster, Animation and Visual Effects alumni credits

Guardians of the Galaxy

20 grads from 3D Animation + Visual Effects worked on Guardians of the Galaxy.

 

Dawn of the Planet of the Apes poster, Animation and Visual Effects alumni credits

Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

Aaron Gilman — Animation Supervisor
Alex Berson — Senior Digital Paint Artist
Angelo De Witt — Senior Digital Paint Artist
Armando Velazquez — Digital Compositor
Cesar Rodriguez — Senior Paint Artist
Christine Siolkowsky — Motion Editor
Daphne De Jesus — Digital Compositor
Jeffrey Struthers — Animator
Kieran Tether — Senior Lighting TD
Roland Vallet — Senior Animator

Transformers: Age of Extinction poster, Animation and Visual Effects alumni credits

Transformers: Age of Extinction

15 grads from 3D Animation + Visual Effects worked on Transformers: Age of Extinction.

Edge of Tomorrow poster, Animation and Visual Effects alumni credits

Edge of Tomorrow

12 grads from 3D Animation + Visual Effects worked on Edge of Tomorrow.

Maleficent poster, Animation and Visual Effects alumni credits

Maleficent

31 grads from 3D Animation + Visual Effects worked on Maleficent.

X-Men: Days of Future Past poster, Animation and Visual Effects alumni credits

X-Men: Days of Future Past

17 grads from 3D Animation + Visual Effects worked on X-Men: Days of Future Past.

Godzilla poster, Animation and Visual Effects alumni credits

Godzilla

23 grads from 3D Animation + Visual Effects worked on Godzilla.

The Amazing Spider-Man 2 poster, Animation and Visual Effects alumni credits

The Amazing Spider-Man 2

20 grads from 3D Animation + Visual Effects worked on The Amazing Spider-Man 2. 

Frozen poster, Animation and Visual Effects alumni credits

Frozen

Maia Neubig — Character TD
John Wong — Animator
Lino DiSalvo — Head of Animation 

Captain America: The Winter Soldier poster, Animation and Visual Effects alumni credits

Captain America: The Winter Soldier

20 grads from 3D Animation + Visual Effects worked on Captain America: The Winter Soldier 

Gravity poster, Animation and Visual Effects alumni credits

Gravity

Daniel Wennerholm — Lead Stereoscopic Conversion Artist
Eleni Topouzoglou — Compositor
Henry South — Texture Artist
Maximilian-Gordon Vogt — CG Modeller
Paul Hurwitz — Simulation Artist
Raphael Santos — Prep Artist

Game of Thrones poster, Animation and Visual Effects alumni credits

Game of Thrones

24 grads from 3D Animation + Visual Effects worked on Game of Thrones.

The Smurfs 2 poster, Animation and Visual Effects alumni credits

The Smurfs 2

Farhad Mohasseb — Compositor
Marteinn Oskarsson — Pipeline Technical Director
William Towle — Digital Compositor

Elysium poster, Animation and Visual Effects alumni credits

Elysium

40 grads from 3D Animation + Visual Effects worked on Elysium.

Big Hero 6 poster, Animation and Visual Effects alumni credits

Big Hero 6

Maia Neubig — Character Technical Director

Her poster, Animation and Visual Effects alumni credits

Her

Chris Buckley — Character Animator

The Last of Us poster, Animation and Visual Effects alumni credits

The Last of Us

Ana Cho — Shader / Texture Artist

Admissions Info

To make sure you have accurate admissions information please select your region based on country of citizenship.

Tuition

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Start Dates

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Requirements

You will be asked to submit one of the following along with your application. Your advisor can help with selecting the best option.

Send samples of your work that include life (preferred), still, or character drawings, and 3D computer work (maximum 12 pieces total). When you apply to the 3D Animation + Visual Effects program, we expect that you have some 3D experience. If you don’t have sufficient 3D experience you may be given conditional acceptance based on the strength of a combination of your other computer artwork (e.g. Flash, Photoshop, Illustrator, etc.) and your drawing skills. You'll find information on how to send your portfolio in the application form, or you can ask your Advisor.

When you talk to your Advisor, let them know that you've completed the Foundation program and they will put a copy of your diploma in your file for you.

For more about language requirements and other information for international students, visit the International Students page.

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