New York Film Academy
1-800-611-FILM  |  1-212-674-4300
New York Film Academy Animation
Request Info

Hands-on Intensive 4-Week 3D Animation & Visual Effects Workshop

An animated dragon created at NYFA's animation school An animated character eyes a bottle in his cupboard An animated character looks at his phone An animated fairy created at NYFA's animation school


In response to the rise in popularity of the medium and the incredible expansion of venues for showcasing the art, the New York Film Academy has designed a hands-on intensive Four-Week 3D Animation & Visual Effects Workshop. This workshop is designed for individuals who want to learn the basics of a high-end 3D computer program but do not have the time required to devote to full-time study as a year-round student.

Students in the 3D Animation & Visual Effects workshops will write, animate, direct and edit their own computer animated short films. Our animation programs do not require drawing ability. Animation students at the Academy are able to create 3D characters and environments along the lines of "Shrek."

An animated boy holds a ball and phone


The workshop is designed for students with little or no experience in animation. Regardless of previous experience, each student designs, animates, and completes her or his own personal 3D computer animated short film.


This course teaches students the principles of animation (movement, timing, weight, character development, etc.) using Maya—the industry standard high-end 3D computer program. Students progress through basic modeling, motion and rendering exercises en route to the completion of a short 3D computer animated film (with sound) of their own design by the end of the course.

Testimonials from our July summer intensive animation students

The Four-Week 3D Animation & Visual Effects Workshop is an intense experience. From day one we delved right into it and learned at an exciting rate. Every day we covered an enormous amount of material that only an expert in both animation and teaching could properly impart on us. It's amazing that we were taught in such a way that allowed us to understand the material so we could apply it to our own individual projects. The environment was one where students could interact with each other, share knowledge and help each other flesh out project ideas. It was also fun and invigorating to sit in the lab, by my computer working, and just banter with everyone.

I loved the course. I met people from all over the world, I probably learnt more in a few weeks than I have in my entire college career, and I worked harder and couldn't have been happier doing it. I enjoyed this course so much I plan to come back for the one year animation course.

Andrew Kaufman
July 2013 4 week animation student

The Four-Week 3D Animation & Visual Effects Workshop has been very informative. I got a chance to learn a lot and advance my current knowledge. I am sad these four weeks have come to an end, but it was a great experience with Robert Appleton, he has been very helpful and thorough.

Saviour Okiro July 2013
4 week animation student

This course was a great experience for me as a beginner. I felt like I've gotten a good grasp on the basics of Maya and After Effects, and am excited to continue my education by watching tutorials and continuing to practice. I felt like I had a lot of creative freedom in the class so I was able to make a character and animation the way I wanted to, and the teacher was really helpful in getting the image that I wanted.

James Rockwell
July 2013 4 week animation student

The Four-Week 3D Animation & Visual Effects Workshop at the New York Film Academy was an amazing experience. Attempting to learn the entire process of producing a computer animation in such a short time span is considered impossible by some, but this course comfortably achieves just that. From concept art to final composition and all the steps in between, the entire process is covered by knowledgeable instructors ready to teach. It is true that there is not enough time to go into depth on any specific steps, but for a solid, complete, and accurate understanding of what is necessary for an animation to be created, this course proved to be outstanding. I am very happy with my experience and thrilled about what I was able to achieve through this course. I am excited to see where this experience and knowledge will take me in the future.

Tiffany Okel
July 2013 4 week animation student

Topics Covered

a) Screenwriting and Storyboarding

b) Modeling
  • Building objects and characters from primitive shapes using polygonal modeling
  • Basic nurbs modeling
c) UV Maping
  • Introduction to UV's
  • Planar maps
d) Materials
Introduction to shaders and textures
  • Using hypershade
  • Applying textures to models and characters
  • Photoshop
  • Shaders
  • Textures
e) Lighting
  • Basic 3 point lighting
  • Directional light
  • Ambient light
  • Spot light
  • Depth map shadows
f) Rigging
Introduction to rigging
  • Building the skeleton – understanding joints
  • Forward and inverse kinematics
  • Constraints - they make a characters eye follow an object, a hand pick up a glass
  • Skinning - Binding a character to the rig.
  • Local rotation axis
  • Controllers
  • Set driven key
  • Blend shapes
g) Animation
Introduction to animation:
  • Key frames
  • Squash and stretch
  • Bouncing a ball
  • Walk cycle
  • Acting for animators
  • Creating animation reference materials
  • The graph editor
h) Cameras
  • Creating cameras
i) Rendering
  • Render - Creating finished images - a sequence of completed frames of your scene to be composited to make the movie for outputting to your editing program
j) Editing and Compositing
  • AfterEffects/ Premiere

Animation Topics Covered

This is a labor and time intensive medium. Students should be prepared to work long hours. Students’ success in this program depends on the strength of their animation ideas and their willingness to put in the necessary hours to fully srealize their goals.

The quality of student work has consistently been praised, and students themselves applaud the level of intensity and enjoyment involved in learning. Students have gone on to win prizes at festivals for animated films created at the New York Film Academy.

A 3D animated scientist holds a vial In the Film Academy 3-D Computer Animation Workshops, classes are held every day, Monday through Friday. Students also learn concepts of story writing, directing, cinematography, and editing as they apply to animation. The bulk of students’ time outside of class is spent in supervised labs. Lab time is used to complete and to expand upon assignments, as well as to work on their final animated films. The students final films are output digitally and projected at a celebratory screening.


Held two times a year in New York City and two times during the summer at our Harvard University location, the Animation program attracts creative students from various backgrounds who have imagination and the fortitude to immerse themselves in an intensive animation experience for four weeks. A love of animation and the ability to work very hard are better predictors for success than technical skills alone. A studio arts background is not necessary for successfully creating 3-D computer animated films. Please try to arrive with story or film ideas clearly formulated in your mind or set down on storyboards.

Dates & Tuition


Tuition: $4,000 (USD)

Location & Available Dates

For New York City:
Jul 6, 2015 - Aug 1, 2015
Sep 21, 2015 - Oct 17, 2015
Jan 4, 2016 - Jan 30, 2016
Jul 11, 2016 - Aug 6, 2016
Sep 19, 2016 - Oct 22, 2016

Apply OnlineOnline BrochureDownload Center
First Name*
Last Name*
Email Address*
Country Code*
Phone Number*
Mailing Address*
Zip Code
Preferred Start Date*

Program Type*
Program of Interest*

Location of Interest
How Did You Hear About Us?*
Please Specify:*
Highest Level of Education:
Have You Served in the U.S. Military?
Yes No
* Required Information
New York Film Academy Disclaimer
 • HomePrivacy PolicySite Map

Copyright © 2015 New York Film Academy

All programs and workshops are solely owned and operated by the New York Film Academy and
are not affiliated with Universal Studios, Harvard University, or Walt Disney World® Resort.