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Diploma in Animation

Level 5

The Diploma in Animation (DA) is aimed at students looking to build foundation animation skills. There is a strong emphasis on story and narrative, character design, animation principles and drawing. Students can choose to study on a 2D or 3D pathway, but will enjoy shared classes around the topics such as life drawing and storytelling.

Students will gain a snapshot of different areas within the animation pipeline, with flexibility for those who wish to hone particular skills. Students can choose to exit at the end of this year, or move into a Diploma in Specialised Animation.

Successfully complete this course and you’ll receive the New Zealand Diploma in Animation (Level 5) [Ref. 2634].

Programme Overview

Are you a fan of Hayao Miyazaki? Do you have a soft spot for Disney or Anime? If you’re captivated by the hand-drawn characters of legends like Miyazaki and Walt Disney or you’re a super-savvy techie who’s into using software, not pencils, then choose your weapon.

Either become a master of 2D Digital or 3D Computer Animation.

Kick start your animation training with an introduction to the theory and practice of animation principles with a Diploma in Animation. This one-year foundation programme gives you the option to explore the fundamentals of character animation, pre-production, specialist software and performance animation, with anatomical knowledge at its very core.

Gain the fundamental knowledge and skills you need to launch your career as an animator, concept artist or 3D guru. A solid foundation in animation principles and visual communications will set you up to create some insanely cool stuff during our studio sessions – that’s when you get your hands dirty and put into practice everything you’ve been learning. It’s here you’ll learn the nuts and bolts of animation methods like movement and dialogue, and build your knowledge of software, workflow and industry practice. Work collaboratively, using the industry standard production pipeline to create an inspiring animation project with your fellow classmates.

Visual storytelling will be a vital part of your craft. We’ll teach you how to turn your brilliant ideas into storyboards and comics, and equip you with some invaluable cinematography techniques. Your first year also comes with a healthy dose of technology training – you’ll work with current industry standard software to develop your understanding of 2D and 3D animation mediums, and you’ll explore some mind-bending ways to use compositing. You’ll even produce your own film clips. 


The course introduces students to the theory and practice of animation principles through a series of lectures and exercises. Students will learn to identify and describe traditional animation principles and how to apply them to a selected medium. Over the course, students will work both collaboratively and individually to produce animation that reflects their knowledge of the principles of animation.

The course aims to provide students with a firm grounding in the principles of visual communication design and their relationship to animation, a common vocabulary and understanding of art and design concepts to enable their development as creative animation specialists.

This course aims to provide students with principal character animation techniques such as movement and dialogue, as well as fundamental practices and processes of animation. This course utilises animation principles and design principles to introduce the professional practice of animation.

This course aims to give an introduction into the art of visual storytelling, ideation and world building. Students will be using techniques from this course and Visual Communications, to develop and narrow down potential narratives concepts into a final storyboard and comic.

This course aims to introduce students to technologies and techniques that will aid in the creation of digital media. Students will work with current industry standard technologies that aid both 2D and 3D animation mediums and explore a range of visual styles and methods.

The course aims to introduce students to the pipeline of animated production, time management techniques and engaging in collaborative environments through discussion and presenting of ideas. This course also aims to develop student’s understanding of industry workflow and their sense of professional responsibility.

The course introduces students to a contemporary special topic in animation. Students will explore the contemporary approaches, tools and alternative media forms. Over the course, students will work both collaboratively and individually to explore a contemporary and special topic in the area of animation.

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32 Weeks (2D or 3D)

Start Dates 

Auckland and Manukau Campuses
25 February 2019
22 July 2019

Rotorua Campus
25 February 2019


Domestic Students
$9,673.68 + $340 Student Services Levy

(Eligible for "Fees-Free" study)

International Students
$19,500 + $2,000 Course Fee


Auckland, Manukau, Rotorua 


Level 1 NCEA and Complete Portfolio


120 (NZQA Accredited)