New York Film Academy ACTING & FILM SCHOOL The Most Hands-on Intensive Programs In The World

3D Animation School at the New York Film Academy

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Discover Your Passion at the School of Animation

The New York Film Academy’s 3D Animation School offers a set of top-notch programs that provide comprehensive training in 3D using Autodesk's Oscar Winning software, Maya, the industry standard for animation.

Students in the Academy's 3D Animation School get the opportunity to learn the technical and artistic tools required to master 3D animation. Whether students are interested in learning the basics of the medium through our 3-Week and 4-Week Workshops or receiving more comprehensive training through our One-Year Conservatory and Bachelor of Fine Arts Programs, the 3D Animation School provides students with the background needed to pursue animation across a wide variety of career paths. After completing the workshop or program, they may choose to become independent animators or to pursue a career in the film, gaming, interactive or commercial industries.

Be a Part of the Revolution in 3D Animation

Over the past several decades, 3D animation has evolved from an emerging field in film, animation, and game design to becoming a major focus across the entertainment industry and beyond. Be it the immersive environs of James Cameron’s Avatar, feature length films pioneered by Pixar’s Toy Story and recent releases like Rango, or in record-breaking video games like Bioshock and Halo 4, 3D animation is everywhere these days. NYFA’s 3D Animation School is an ideal starting point for animators looking to break into the field. Not only are students taught to realize their characters and stories on the industry standard high-end Maya 3-D computer program, but they will also learn the full field of skills required to be a successful 3-D animator, including story writing, directing, cinematography, editing, and lighting. Students leave the 3D Animation School's animation programs ready to find employment in the rapidly growing field of 3D Animation for a variety of media.

Preparation for the 3D Animation School

Whether enrolling in a workshop or program, potential students do not need to have previous 3D or animation experience. A familiarity with studio art or previous computer experience will help students to reach their educational goals more quickly. In addition, it is advisable that students have some background using computer graphic programs like Adobe Illustrator or Photoshop. A Personal Learning Edition of Maya can be freely downloaded from, which students are advised to do and become familiar with prior to beginning a workshop or program.

Pursue Your 3D Animation Goals

In pursuing their animation dreams at the Film Academy’s 3D Animation School, students are expected to achieve the following goals:

  • Lighting technique and rendering
  • Advanced rendering with mental ray
  • Visual effects with particles and dynamics
  • Advanced rigging techniques
  • Advanced modeling with Maya and ZBrush
  • Compositing in Shake
  • Creating a dynamic reel for your portfolio
  • Nurbs hard surface modeling

What to Expect

Like the other schools at the New York Film Academy, students enrolling in a 3D Animation School program or animation workshop will learn by doing while also receiving a solid background in the fundamentals of animation and visual storytelling. Students will be challenged through creating their own short film or projects depending on which program or workshop they have enrolled in.

A frog sings while wearing headphones Regardless of making a three-week or three-year commitment to the Film Academy’s 3D Animation School, students will participate in every part of the 3D Animation production pipeline, while at the same time getting the opportunity to interact with fellow students from all over the world. In addition, students should expect to fully dedicate themselves to the 3D Animation School’s curriculum, studying Monday through Friday and receiving hands-on experience with the equipment and processes that they will encounter upon completion. This hard work does come with rewards, however, as many of our students have won prizes and awards from festivals for the animated films created at 3D Animation School.

To get a sense for the type of student work completed at the 3D Animation School, check out past student productions.

Study Maya and Learn 3D Animation

First released in 1998, Autodesk’s Maya software was honored by the Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2003 with an Academy Award for Technical Achievement, along with subsequent Academy Awards in 2005 and 2008. Over the past fifteen years, it has become the standard software for generating 3D graphics across cinema, television, game design, architecture, and many other fields. Containing over 20 million lines of code, it is an extraordinarily powerful software and has been used in films such as The Lord of the Rings Trilogy, the Shrek movies, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, the Iron Man movies and countless others. It has also been used in such popular television shows such as Game of Thrones and The Walking Dead and video games like Halo 4.

Workshops and Programs Overview

  • 3-Week 3D Animation Workshop: For those who are unable to make the time commitment our one-year and Bachelor’s programs require, the 3D Animation School offers an intensive 3-Week Workshop in which students will be taught the essentials of working with Maya, along with the principle theories of animation, including movement, timing, weight, and character development. In addition to the time they spend in class learning these principles, students will work in labs under the supervision of instructors in order to finish their course work and complete their own animated film, which be shown at a group viewing at the conclusion of the workshop. Topics covered include modeling, introduction to Shaders, Rigging, Lighting and Cameras, Introduction to Animation, and Rendering, Editing, and Compositing.
  • 4-Week 3D Animation Workshop: Covering more ground than the 3-Week Workshop, the 3D Animation School’s 4-Week Workshop also provides students with a thorough grounding in Maya and animation fundamentals while also pushing students to write, animate, direct, and edit their own computer animated short films. Students should expect an intense experience and be willing to commit themselves to lengthy days while being rewarded with the success of achieving their goals. In addition to the topics covered in the 3-Week Workshop, students will also learn subjects such as Screenwriting and Storyboarding, Modeling, UV Mapping and Materials. The workshop is held twice a year in New York City and twice over the summer at Harvard University.
  • One-Year 3D Animation Program: NYFA’s 3D Animation School’s One-Year Program is a wide-ranging hands-on education that covers all of the fundamentals of animation. Students learn Maya extensively through instruction and long hours spent in the lab. They also become familiar with the vital features of animation, covering stages like storyboarding to the creation of a final movie. In the first semester, students are expected to complete two short animated projects, the first of which occurs during the first month and familiarizes the student with the animation work flow from inception to completion. The second project builds upon the principles, skills, and knowledge students have already developed. In the second semester, students present proposals for their final projects and group projects, with each student being encouraged to concentrate on a particular area of the animation pipeline to be included in their animated reels. In addition, focus will be placed on ZBrush modeling, hard surface nurbs modeling, mental ray, and advanced lighting and rendering.
  • Bachelor of Arts Program: The 3D Animation School’s BFA in Animation is a thorough, eight-semester full-time undergraduate program completed over the course of three years. Located at our Los Angeles campus, our set of courses have been constructed in order to engage future 3-D Animation and Visual Effects Artists in every facet of the field, preparing students to pursue a career path across the fields of film animation, CGI, game design, and much more. The 3D Animation School offers a challenging and supportive environment to help nourish the talents of its students in which they produce multiple short films and final, longer film project. Mirroring the structure of a professional production, the school prepares students for the professional world of 3D animation by providing them with the requisite knowledge of contemporary work in the industry. Finally, a strong emphasis is placed on furnishing students with essential storytelling techniques and know-how.

What Students Learn at the School of 3D Animation

From the Film Academy’s workshops to our programs, students will receive a comprehensive education in the following aspects of 3D Animation:

  • Students will demonstrate creative mastery of animation principles to create believable animation of characters and objects through the use of such techniques as key-framing principles to animate objects or characters and applying the laws of motion of motion to create the illusions of weight, inertia, and force.
  • Students will create believable and defensible character design of animated characters.
  • Students will create believable and defensible design of animation environments.
  • Students will create believable and defensible characters through concept, acting, and story.
  • Students will produce managerial assets for entrepreneurial film creation to include materials required for production management, an emotional maturity to accept criticism, and professional ability to speak the vocabulary of animation.
  • Students will produce short films with in-depth understanding of cinematic principles and practical creative application of appropriate narrative concepts.

Our Student Profile

While potential students considering enrollment in our 3D Animation School do not require a 3D background, aspiring 3D Animation and Visual Effects Artists should possess certain qualities to ensure that they get the most out of their time spent at the 3D Animation School.

  • A sincere interest in the art and craft of 3D Animation.
  • A spirit of collaboration and inquisitiveness.
  • A willingness to work with other artists and cultivate creative relationships.

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* All MFA, BFA, BA, MA, and AFA degree programs are offered only at the New York Film Academy Los Angeles campus.