3D Modeling Animation

Art and Design
  • Student Collections


    Explore your creativity with an art & design career
  • Experienced Instructors

    Learn from instructors who work in the industry
  • Endless Opportunity

    Use your skills anywhere in the world
  • Program Credential


  • Program Duration

    73 Weeks

  • Program Location

    calgary Campus

Program Overview

Our 3D Modeling Animation Art and Design diploma program teaches you the knowledge and skills you need to successfully compete in the computer-generated animation industry. The program harnesses the talent of industry-leading professionals to teach the theory and techniques used in three-dimensional animation art and design.

The program focuses on game development, including staging scenes, game environments, using storyboards, and designing and animating 3D characters using industry-standard software.

Graduates of this program will have a portfolio to showcase their animation work to find employment in 3D animation industries such as game development companies, computer animation studios, post-production and special effects studios.


  • Computer Animation Studios Computer Animation Studios generate and produce digital imagery and media products for various forms of entertainment.
  • Game Development Companies Game Development Companies generate and produce 3D digital imagery and media products for game design and development.
  • Post-Production Post-Production involves editing content for final production through colour grading, building and improving upon animation and visual effects for optimal visuals. 
  • Special Effects Studios Special Effects Studios or SFX / FX are visual illusions for various entertainment industries, including gaming, film, animation, and other applications.
  • Industrial Design Firms Industrial Design Firms or product design agencies use 3D software and designers to produce mockups, instructions, or builds in product design.
  • Software Producers Software Producers create internal software for professional usage.
  • 3D Graphics Companies 3D Graphics Companies are responsible for curating 3D graphics for entertainment, game, video, animation and product design. 


  • Work with major trends in visual and graphic arts.
  • Apply critical thinking and creative expression techniques.
  • Analyze and critique a production.
  • Draw a character and its environment.
  • Produce a concept sketch.
  • Shape a model.
  • Stage a scene.
  • Design game environments.
  • Design game characters.
  • Develop a storyboard.
  • Produce computer-generated images.
  • Produce 3D models of props.
  • Prepare 3D models of characters.
  • Represent movements in three dimensions.
  • Animate characters.
  • Create digital visual effects.
  • Present a professional portfolio.
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Courses Timeline

Your program begins with teaching you the fundamental skills necessary for your future as an artist. These traditional, digital and informational skills give you a strong foundation — all are focused on building your skills and knowledge to succeed in the media industry.

You expand your skills and understanding of the production pipeline by focusing on the foundations of storytelling, character development and planning.

Get hands-on digital techniques and training to understand the next steps in development and how to bring your visions into reality utilizing current software and methodologies.

Expand your previous skillset and learn to visualize and conceptualize digital concepts. Through a series of projects and assignments, learn to synthesize your creativity with industry standards and subject matter experts.

Delving into more advanced techniques and bringing ideas to life, you learn various critical workflows and focus on developmental aspects which showcase your accumulated skills.

In preparation for graduation, you will hone your skills and continue to advance as you focus on your portfolio pieces and projects. These pieces and projects will showcase and demonstrate all your acquired knowledge and skills, ensuring industry success.

  • Student Success Strategies

    This course will cover the importance of goal setting, prioritizing tasks, and managing time and stress from study and work situations — accomplished through the exploration and practice of active participation. Students taking this course will benefit from completing the Enriched Academy© program, which provides comprehensive coverage of financial and money management skills that will allow them to save, budget, and manage their money and time.

  • Colour & Design

    This course will build students’ understanding of colour and design principles through exploration and application across media, visual, and applied practice. This course will introduce students to the fundamental principles of colour theory through design, such as layout, composition, balance, colour science and theory and teach them how to apply these principles. These concepts will be reinforced through specific practical exercises and activities that will...

  • Life Drawing I

    This course will lay the foundation for a robust understanding of anatomy for applied illustration purposes. Topics emphasize a variety of figure drawing techniques applicable to both human, and animal morphology, helping to tie the subject matter into later 3D, and illustration expectations.

  • Photoshop I

    In this course, students will gain an understanding of the application and importance of image editing and construction as a universal skill in across diverse design genres. This course introduces students to raster image-editing software, Adobe Photoshop. Through this 'hands-on' course, students will acquire skills with workflow fundamentals, as well as advanced features, and tips, and acquire the skills to prepare images for digital output and print. Emph...

  • 2D Animation Foundations

    In this course, students learn the basic principles of animation by participating in several practical projects designed to illustrate the fundamental processes. The course will explore the traditional techniques and how they apply in the modern world of computer generation by exploring stop-motion, visual effects, traditional animation and CG.

  • Drawing I

    This course will focus on the development of perceptual and descriptive skills through an introduction to a variety of drawing media, techniques, and subject matter. Through this course, students will acquire a thorough understanding of the elements of art and the principles of organization as related to drawing. Students will be able to demonstrate an understanding of contour lines, positive and negative space, perspective, sighting of angles, and measurements of...

  • Maya I

    This course is an intensive introduction to the complexities of the 3D application. The first portion of the class focuses on the tools in Maya. Students will learn how to work in 3D through projects that introduce modelling in both NURBS and polygons. Students will then cover simple unwrapping procedures while learning about the complexities of UVs and lighting tools.

  • Life Drawing II

    This course focuses on skeletal structure, musculature drawing, and surface coverings of the human body and animal forms. Students will learn the anatomical names of the skeletal elements, landmarks and muscle groups, how to draw the structures of the human skeleton then add the surface muscle groups and features appropriate to the skeletal sub-structure.

  • Character Design

    This course explores the design and production of characters for the industry. Students learn the principles of good character design, from research to final detailing, while focusing on character development, style, and personality to achieve expressive, well-developed, appealing characters. By the end of this course, students should be able to work with various styles, archetypes and body structures to construct their characters.

  • Storyboarding & Project Planning

    Students will learn how to plan for and create clear, concise industry-standard storyboards by exploring the elements of a final production storyboard, including a 30-second commercial, a television show, a cinematic for computer games, and a feature film. Topics will include conceptual development, pitches, concept and production boards, thumbnail sketches, design, character staging, model sheets, art direction, background (layout) design, and camera positioning.

  • Environmental Modeling II

    This course explores the design and development of 3D environmental modeling by observing real-world environments and translating these observations into production. Students will also learn to consider design and structure in the staging and environmental mood. Topical coverage includes interior and exterior environment design, creating illusions of depth, matte painting (fundamentals), camera action and displacement props, effects, and strategies for creating moo...

  • Life Drawing III

    This course builds on the material delivered in Life Drawing II, strengthening the student’s knowledge of the human form and introducing props, drapery, and clothing. The student will work with life drawing samples and reference material to add appeal and strengthen their style.

  • Character Modeling II

    The key focus of this course is being able to think like a character modeler following professional design methods— simple characters will be lit, unwrapped and textured to ensure that existing designs are accurate. For efficiency, students are assigned pre-determined assignments.

  • Animation II

    Building on skills and techniques learned in Maya I, this course will introduce students to intermediate 3D animation techniques. Students will create movement in a 3D character they will have previously developed. Topical coverage will include keyframing, modifiers, basic morphing techniques and linear and non-linear animation.

  • Rigging

    This course explores the process of setting up a character model for animation by character modeling and animating with a focus on the rigging of the characters. Students will learn how to prepare and set up character rigs, bind structures to geometry and work with meshes and armature, facial expressions and lip movement, joint orientation and skeletons, inverse kinematics, facial rigging, armature, and binding structures to geometry and meshes.

  • Environmental Modelling III

    This advanced studio course explores the design and development of 3D environmental modeling and design. Students will work with a developed concept and follow the required specifications to develop professional environments and then translate their research into producing dynamic environments. Students will also learn to consider staging, atmosphere and environmental mood to enhance the professional look of the environment. Topical coverage includes effective adva...

  • Sculpture

    This course teaches introductory sculpture for modellers and animators. In this course, students will transfer their knowledge of anatomy, drawing anatomical features, and character design, in developing a 3D sculpture. This course explores the materials, tools, and industrial production techniques used to result in a finished painted sculpture called a ‘maquette’ of their design

  • Character Modeling III

    This course explores advanced designs and the human anatomy of male and female character models. Students will work with the available tools to add realism to these designs by developing low poly models that are well-built and dynamic. Students will work with predesigned characters and real-life reference material to ensure the models are proportioned and have proper anatomy.

  • Animation III

    This course focuses on acting and intermediate animation techniques students will improve their skills from term one and push their timing, anticipation, follow-through secondary action and cycles. Students will use live references to enhance their animation, both technical and acting techniques, and prepare for advanced animation and portfolio development.

  • Lighting & Texture

    This course addresses the creation of multilayer and high-resolution textures for environments, environmental and character models. It also seeks to provide students with various production contexts, such as texturing characters' faces for film and games, developing environment textures for next-gen game environments, and an in-depth look at various direct lighting tools and controls available when lighting 3D assets.

  • Character Modeling IV

    In this advanced character modeling class, students will develop high poly models working between Maya and Zbrush, focusing on digital sculpting and texturing. Students will learn the interface and tools in Zbrush while designing and modeling their characters and the industry approach to developing character models to assess if this is the creative direction they would like to explore for their portfolios.

  • Maya Scripting

    This course introduces the student to 3D scripting using Maya Embedded Language or MEL scripting. Students will learn the various features and functions of the language that will add advanced capabilities to the animations. Students will learn to use the MEL scripting language to streamline and automate the character rigging process and explore MEL scripting to create a character animation.

  • Production & Rendering

    This course explores production and rendering techniques for showcasing models, textures, and scenes professionally. This course will examine challenges and practical solutions to nighttime lighting, indoor lighting, outdoor lighting, and advanced rendering features available in Mental Ray. Students will make informed choices about which light rigs and rendering features make the most sense for their scenes.

  • Advanced Animation

    Students will work with advanced Maya tools to develop aesthetically pleasing environments and characters for game engine use and to create normal maps in both Maya and Photoshop that present and blend colour aesthetically. Advanced lighting techniques and the preparation process for rending 3D content to video are also introduced.

  • Portfolio I

    This course prepares students for the professional world by preparing them for job interviews and helping them compile and defend a first draft of their portfolio— which contains pieces produced to demonstrate their skills in conceptualization, design, modeling and animation. Students are encouraged to identify a preferred skill set and style to polish and develop. Feedback will come in the form of industry, instructor and peer critique.

  • Compositing & Editing

    This course focuses on the video presentation aspects of the final demo reel. Students will work with compositing and editing tools to add the final touches to their presentations. The course will focus on small projects that will help the student understand the complexities and tools of compositing, editing and creating their final edit with the assistance of the portfolio and compositing and editing instructors.

  • Effects Animation

    Students will explore the basics of digital effects animation and work with particle and effect tools in Maya to develop simple dynamic animations while considering elements to add life and atmosphere to their reels. Students will cover elementals such as fire and water and discuss lighting, mood and atmosphere created by these effects. Timing physics and design will ensure the believability of the developed effects.

  • Advanced Lighting & Texture

    This course takes the students beyond light sources and shadows and explores lighting and texturing as an art. Students will learn to select the appropriate light type for a particular situation, Raytracing, 3D textures and projections, 2D and 3D material textures, lighting colour and composition, Maya light types, high-quality shadows and effects, advanced lighting/texturing skills and techniques, and how to apply them to their final modeling and animation project...

  • Portfolio II

    This course will prepare students for graduation and their final portfolio presentation with a demo reel to showcase their strengths and talents in a visually appealing branded presentation focused on showcasing the student’s primary and secondary skills— increasing potential employment opportunities. Students will utilize and follow planning and production pipelines to meet deadlines.

Costs & Requirements

Standard Admission

Alberta high school diploma or equivalent verified by transcript or DAR  OR A minimum of 50% in the following courses that can be verified by transcript or DAR:

  • Math 30-1, Math 30-2, Pure Math 30, Applied Math 30, or equivalent*
  • English Language Arts 30-1, English Language Arts 30-2 or equivalent**

*Equivalents may include academic upgrading courses.  

Mature Admission

Students must meet ALL of the following criteria:

  • Be at least 18 years of age prior to admission (19 for out-of-province)
  • Successful completion of the VCAD Admissions Test.
    * Manitoba applicants must also have been out of school for one year in addition to the above.

For tuition prices and costs, fill out the request info form to speak with an admissions representative.


VCAD's Refund Policy abides by the Private Training Regulation of the Private Training Institutions Branch (PTIB) Private Training Act.
For more information, click here.

Check out and connect with some Alumni on LinkedIn.

  • Alumni 1 Noel Gabriel Ambrosio 2020
  • Alumni 2 Nikki Katouzian 2022
  • Alumni 4 Dryden Sereda 2022
  • Alumni 4 Madison Prangnell 2020
  • Alumni 5 Tuong Kim Thuy Nguyen 2020

Student Testimonials

  • If it wasn't for VCAD I don't think I would be where I am today. I've had some amazing opportunities, I've met some wonderful people - amazing connections, and I'll be forever grateful.

    - Sabrina Laprise
  • The most important thing that I learned at VCAD was how to use software - graphic design software.

    - Ewa Wawryszuk
  • What drew me to the interior design program was that it was a creative industry and also that it's business oriented.

    - Luc Kwan
  • I chose VCAD because of all the options and programs that they offered, and I wanted to succeed and through not just my classes but also making like really cool things that I'm proud of.

    - Luke Johnston
  • The instructors are really helpful, even outside school projects. They gave me a lot of advice about improving my skills as a graphic designer.

    - Maricel Benjamin
  • The most valuable part of the program is the one on one time with the teachers. They are always willing to go out of their way to make sure you understand what you are doing.

    - Katrina Selkirk


See what VCAD grads have to say about the program.

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Meet our Instructors

  • Alfred Marqueda

    3D Modeling Animation Art and Design

  • Ljubomir Milic

    3D Modeling Animation Art and Design

  • Anahit Lou

    3D Modeling Animation Art and Design

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