Classical Animation

Create a demo reel that showcases your animation skills.

Create an attention-grabbing reel of animated work that showcases your classical animation techniques, storytelling skills, and grasp of modern digital tools.

You are inspired by the limitless creative potential of animation. You understand that the technology of animation is constantly evolving, but the principles of crafting unforgettable characters and engaging journeys remain stronger than ever. You have a storyteller's eye and the passion to thrive in today's entertainment industry. You are an animator. 

An Education in Classical Animation

Core Skills

Develop core drawing and design skills as a foundation for telling your story and to establish yourself as a creative and versatile artist and designer.

Core Skills

Character Animation. Moose Pagans Class Selects.

Character Animation

Design characters with originality and 'animate-ability' in mind. Learn techniques for creating various types of model and expression sheets, to create the characters who will help bring an animated story to life.

Character Animation

Classical Animation student using digital link

Digital Tools

Make your traditionally animated production digital,using computer software to create many of the visuals while streamlining the workflow.

Digital Tools

Program Breakdown

Delve into the fundamentals of drawing, animation, and basic art direction. Refine your visual art skills by working with live models.

Enhance your drawing skills with storyboard and background design exercises. Interpret storyboards to create character model sheets and layouts.

Explore more complex animation concepts like animating a character's thoughts and emotions through acting principles. Put your growing knowledge to practice in creating production storyboards.

Apply your skills to the production of your final animated film project. Create storyboards, character model sheets, layouts, and final artwork for rendering, with guidance from your mentor.

Progress to the digital ink and paint phase of production on your final project. Focus on art direction and final look development.

Complete post-production on your final project and create a new animated short in Flash. Assemble a traditional animation portfolio in preparation for graduation.

  • program length

    12 Months

  • Time spent with instructors

    1000+ Hours

  • A Diploma in Classical Animation
  • A mastered demo reel of your final project
  • A traditional art and animation portfolio
  • Access to the VFS Alumni Directory and Job Board

Student Work

Nata Metlukh
Final Film Project

Synopsis: A fearless man arrives to a big city, where every citizen has their own fear. After getting into a dangerous situation, the man realizes, that fears cannot only hinder people's everyday lives, but they can also be helpful and fun friends.

Fears

Ahmed Al Hasnawi
Final Film Project

Synopsis: Have you ever imagined what it would be like to live life as a king? This is the story of an unfortunate man who gets that chance.

Heavy Crown

Maria Jose Castrillon
Final Film Project

Synopsis: Imogen is a little girl who wants to play with her dad. Since he is too busy over the phone, she decides to go flying into her imagination.

Imogen

Eduardo Casian Gallegos
Final Film Project

Synopsis: A series of unexpected situations happen around our main character who is too focused on his smartphone to realize it.

Looper

Morgan Pabst
Final Film Project

Synopsis: A thief steals a beautiful necklace at a private party and is chased through Paris by a man who wants to claim it back.

Yours or Mine

Andrea Castillo
Final Film Project

Synopsis: A girl and a boy look at each other through a crowd of monsters during train ride.

Once or Twice

Elisa Moya
Final Film Project

Synopsis: Mia's date is not going too well for, but she knows exactly what she needs to do.

The Date

Silvia Prietov
Final Film Project

Synopsis: Through a sequence of different representative social archetypes and situations we see how selfishness rules these individuals lives so strongly that they communicate with each other using little more than 'me', 'myself', and 'mine'.

It's Not You, It's Me

Eduardo Casian Gallegos
Final Film Project

Synopsis: A film that shows the relationship between a kid and his grandfather. The film talks about the moments when you are not able to do something and how your family helps you to figure it out.

The Factory

Sai Uthathammarat
Adobe Flash Film

Synopsis: The monster of a magic wizard has to take care of his master 's child.

Baby Sitter

Oling Chu
Final Film Project

Synopsis: A little story between two couples. One love letter shows how crazy people are when they fall in love.

Love Letter

Sarah Jolley
Final Film Project

Synopsis: Silent comedy is immortal, except when the film begins to burn through, but abandoning his film causes this silent star to encounter movies, and a leading lady, that he was never cast for.

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Key Faculty

Our Animation instructors come right from the industry, and offer an unparalleled education based on decades of real-world experience, designed to give students the skills, contacts and confidence to kick start their careers.

Head of Animation and Visual Effects Vanessa Jacobsen First Photo
Head of Animation and Visual Effects Vanessa Jacobsen Second Photo

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.

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.

Dieter Mueller

Senior Instructor

Dieter launched his career as a freelance animator at International Rocketship, and over his 20+ years there, he directed numerous commercials and won awards. His short film The Butterfly was nominated for a Palme d'Or at Cannes.

Jim Inkster

Instructor – Digital Ink + Paint

Jim began his career as a cell painter in 1995 on Gary Larson's Tales From the Far Side II. He moved to Mercury Filmworks as Paint Supervisor and Composite Supervisor on a variety of children's series

Marv Newland

Instructor – Story Concept/Film/Film Final Concept

Marv began his career in animated features with the creation of his 1969 short, Bambi Meets Godzilla. He designed, directed, and created animation for TV commercials, and has been honoured with numerous award wins and nominations.

Life Drawing and Colour Theory Instructor Adam Rogers
Life Drawing and Colour Theory Instructor Adam Rogers

Adam Rogers

Instructor – Life Drawing/Colour Theory

Adam has five solo and seven group exhibitions to his credit. His honours include the Society of Illustrators 43rd Annual Exhibition, Ozzie Awards for Magazine Design Excellence, and a Graphex Award for Editorial Illustration.

See more Instructors and staff

Faculty Career Highlights

Robotboy poster, Classical Animation staff credits

Robotboy

Colin Giles — Timing Director

Babar: The Movie poster, Classical Animation staff credits

Babar: The Movie

Dieter Muller — Animator

Dan Vs. poster, Classical Animation staff credits

Dan Vs.

Colin Giles — Animator

Comedy Central logo, Classical Animation staff credits

Comedy Central

Dieter Muller

A Little Curious poster, Classical Animation staff credits

A Little Curious

Colin Giles — Animation Director

GQ Magazine logo, Classical Animation staff credits

GQ Magazine

Adam Rogers

Happily N'ever After poster, Classical Animation staff credits

Happily N'ever After

Colin Giles — Character Animator

Mickey's Phonics Quest poster, Classical Animation staff credits

Mickey's Phonics Quest

Colin Giles — Animator

Microsoft logo, Classical Animation staff credits

Microsoft

Adam Rogers

MTV logo, Classical Animation staff credits

MTV

Dieter Muller
Marv Newland

Mucha Lucha poster, Classical Animation staff credits

Mucha Lucha

Colin Giles —  Animator

National Film Board of Canada logo, Classical Animation staff credits

National Film Board of Canada

Marv Newland

NHL logo, Classical Animation staff credits

NHL

Adam Rogers

Nickelodeon logo, Classical Animation staff credits

Nickelodeon

Dieter Muller
Marv Newland

PGA logo, Classical Animation staff credits

PGA

Adam Rogers

Ren & Stimpy's Adult Cartoon Party poster, Classical Animation staff credits

Ren & Stimpy's Adult Cartoon Party

Colin Giles — Animator / Timing Director

Studio B Productions logo, Classical Animation staff credits

Studio B Productions

Marv Newland

Tales From the Far Side poster, Classical Animation staff credits

Tales From the Far Side

Dieter Muller — Layout Artist, Storyboard Artist
Jim Inkster — Production Artist
Marv Newland — Director, Storyboard Artist

Thomas & Friends poster, Classical Animation staff credits

Thomas & Friends

Colin Giles — Lead Animator

Campus Life

The new 42,000 square-foot Animation + Visual Effects campus is located in the middle of downtown Vancouver. This facility closely mirrors a real-world professional studio and gives you access to every amenity you will need to create amazing work, from studio space to a custom-built life drawing theatre.

Classical Animation student at her drawing station

Program Events

Pixar representatives speak to Animation students

Guest Speakers

Gain valuable career insights from industry guest speakers who will give demonstrations or answer questions about their specialties. Recent guests include Paramount Animation's Creative Director, Lino DiSalvo (Frozen), Academy Award-winning animator Leo Baker (Where the Wild Things Are), and Fox Animation's Chris Bailey (The Lion King).

Guest Speakers

Student drawing at Draw by Night event

Extra-Curricular Drawing Events

Participate in extra-curricular drawing events held on campus. Some regular events include life drawing sessions (every two weeks) and Draw By Night, a casual bi-monthly gathering of students and local artists.

Extra-Curricular Drawing Events

CAREERS IN 2D ANIMATION

As a VFS Classical Animation graduate, you’ll be trained to perform in a variety of roles in creating a traditionally animated film. Depending on the size and style of the studio you work in, you may specialize in one field or work in many.

Animator

There are several career paths for you as an animator, including hand-drawn characters, 2D and 3D digital art, hand-drawn effects, and digital effects. Generally, animators use their skills to turn still art into moving entertainment. Entry-level positions for traditional animation include assisting and clean-up, and, for 2D digital, include animation, posing, and character builds.

2D Digital Animator

You'll be responsible for creating 2D animation using computer software rather than pencil and paper. As a 2D Digital Animator, you must be fluent in Adobe’s Flash, Toon Boom’s Harmony, and a variety of other programs.

Layout Artist

Layout Artists set up the scene for the animators. You'll create composition and camera moves in preparation for animators. 

Alumni Success

Vancouver Film School grads are some of the most successful professionals in the Animation industry. Take a moment to browse some of their accomplishments and achievements. The Alumni Success Stories feature tales of triumph and fame, and will open in another window to take you to the VFS Blog page. Grad Career Highlights offers a glimpse at some of our amazing alumni credits and contributions to the industry.

Alumni Success Stories

Grad Career Highlights

Spectre poster, Classical Animation alumni credits

Spectre

Shivas Anthikkat — Digital Paint Lead

Star Wars: Episode VII - The Force Awakens

Shivas Anthikkat — Digital Paint Artist

Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Road Chip poster, Classical Animation alumni credits

Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Road Chip

Andrew Park — Animator
Roy Margalit — Animator

Hotel Transylvania 2 poster, Classical Animation alumni credits

Hotel Transylvania 2

Dhruv Govil — Pipeline TD

The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water poster, Classical Animation alumni credits

The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water

Jessica Grimshaw — Stereoscopic Compositor

San Andreas poster, Classical Animation alumni credits

San Andreas

Jessica Grimshaw — Stereoscopic Compositor

Rick and Morty poster, Classical Animation alumni credits

Rick and Morty

Samuel Alkaitis — Lead Build Artist
Sara Franco — Animator
Kristian Lowe — Harmony Animator

Monster Pack poster, Classical Animation alumni credits

Monster Pack

Graham Peterson — Co-creator

My Little Pony: Equestria Girls poster, Classical Animation alumni credits

My Little Pony: Equestria Girls

Justine Pulles — Clean-up Artist
Sebastian Zegers Risopatron — Layout Artist

Pirate Express poster, Classical Animation alumni credits

Pirate Express

Daniel Larg — Effects Animator

Rocket Monkeys poster, Classical Animation alumni credits

Rocket Monkeys

Kyle Hoffman — Animator
Luis Gadea  — Animator

Transformers: Rescue Bots poster, Classical Animation alumni credits

Transformers: Rescue Bots

Chun Ting Wu — Layout Artist 

Littlest Pet Shop poster, Classical Animation alumni credits

Littlest Pet shop

Jennifer Jackson — Character Builder

Jake and the Neverland Pirates poster, Classical Animation alumni credits

Jake and the Neverland Pirates

Anamika Baruah
Andres Rivera
Betty Lu
Carlos Mejia
Christian Dominguez
Eduardo Vasquez
Ga Young Back
Johanna Schread
Justin Smith
Miguel Otalora
Oling Chu
Paula Utria
Reem ElShaer
Russel Heyman
Sam Alkaitis
Sergio Di Bitetto
Shalyn Hong

Kid vs Kat poster, Classical Animation alumni credits

Kid vs Kat

Rob Boutilier — Creator

Yam Roll poster, Classical Animation alumni credits

Yam Roll

Jon Izen — Creator

Fast & Furious 7 poster, Classical Animation alumni credits

Fast & Furious 7

Andrew Park — Animator

The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies poster, Classical Animation alumni credits

The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies

Andrew Park — Animator

If I Stay poster, Classical Animation alumni credits

If I Stay

Frank Akrong — Digital Compositor

Guardians of the Galaxy poster, Classical Animation alumni credits

Guardians of the Galaxy

Dhruv Govil — Pipeline TD
Roy Margalit — Animator

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 still-life drawings, life drawings, and character sketches (maximum 12 pieces). You'll find information on how to send your work 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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