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3D Animation & Visual Effects

Bachelor of Art & Design

  • Length:
    Three Academic Years
  • Qualification:
    Degree, NZQF Level 7 (420 Credits) 1.2 EFTS per year
  • Cost:
    Domestic - $8,719.30 NZD
    International - $26,400.00 NZD
  • Intake Date(s):
    February 20th, 2017
    July 17th, 2017
    September 25th, 2017
    February 19th, 2018
    July 16th, 2018
    September 24th, 2018 View Intake Calendar
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Course Overview

Create the impossible. Develop stunning 3D Animation and imagery and learn how to use visual effects to blow stuff up...without accidentally blowing your computer up! Our award-winning faculty will take you on an immersive journey; teaching you the basics of modelling, rendering, lighting, and technical direction that will culminate with you being a part of an amazing, industry-level short film in your final year.

Careers & Industry

To succeed in the film post-production industry, you'll need to be proficient and confident in using industry standard visual effects software. You'll also need experience applying creative thinking and problem solving in a collaborative and demanding environment. Employers value our graduates because this course focuses on the technical skills and soft skills you'll need in the industry.

Your first year will begin with an eight week introduction to the world of computer graphics. You'll finish the year by working on an intensive yet rewarding short 3D production that will ensure you have the academic foundation and the skills you need to progress throughout your degree.

During your second year, you'll be asked to pick a specialisation in visual effects, technical studies or 3D animation, which will enable you to fine-tune your particular skill set.

Your final year will see you working on a number of industry level productions that will culminate with you being a part of an amazing, state-of-the-art short film. You'll also finish your final year with a research project that will provide you with the skills to take your knowledge of 3D animation and Computer Graphics (CG) to new levels.

  • Graduates have gone on to work on blockbuster films including Avatar and The Hobbit
  • Student short films receive international accolades
  • Graduates are in demand for their experience working on major projects within a studio-like environment

Career paths include 3D Modeler, Compositor, VFX artist, Animator, Technical Director, Effects Designer.

"At Weta Digital we really appreciate that Media Design School graduates have not only studied a broad range of disciplines, but by the end of their studies they have taken a specific role in a group project under knowledgeable leadership. This means they enter the industry with a good understanding of their strengths, what they most enjoy and the realities of working in a team to deadlines."
Richard Frances-Moore Head of Animation, WETA DIGITAL

Student Work

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More information

Course Outline

Year 1

During the first year, you will learn foundation art skills and achieve proficiency in industry-standard technical tools and visual effects software this includes an introduction to modelling, animation, rigging and visual effects.

Year 2

The second year involves immersive studies in core subjects such as preproduction, scripting and dynamics. In the second term, pursue a chosen specialisation in visual effects and motion graphics, technical 3D studies or 3D Animation studies. Students retain a specialist focus for the remainder of their studies. However, all core subjects including tutorials, theory classes and art classes are taught collectively.

Year 3

In year three, you will be immersed in production as you work on group and individual projects. The final year also incorporates industry procedures and practice to prepare students for industry placement.

Full Course Components

Entry Requirements

General Admission

To qualify for General Admission, you'll need a minimum qualification of NCEA University Entrance or equivalent, such as CIE or IB University Entrance, or, level 4 or higher Qualification from a related discipline.

NCEA University Entrance

NCEA Level 3: Three subjects at Level 3, made up of 14 credits each.


10 credits at Level 2 or above, made up of:

  • 5 credits in reading
  • 5 credits in writing


10 credits at Level 1 or above, made up of:

  • achievement standards (specified achievement standards available through a range of subjects), or,
  • unit standards, package of three numeracy unit standards (26623, 26626, 26627. All three required)

If you are enrolled at a New Zealand secondary school and have not yet completed your NCEA (CIE or equivalent) qualification you can still apply now for admission. When your NCEA results are available in January, we will check them and contact you.

IB and CIE University Entrance

More information on alternative eligible qualifications such as IB or CIE, click here.

International Students

If you are an international student, you'll need to prove you have sufficient English language skills in order to complete this course. We'll be looking for Academic IELTS 6.0 (minimum), or equivalent qualification if English is not your first language.

Special Entry, Discretionary Entry and Cross Credits

If you don't have university entry, you may still be able to apply for this course. More information about Special Entry, Discretionary Entry and Cross Credits here.


When you apply, you'll need to provide us with a digital copy of your portfolio.

Your portfolio is a selection of work that shows your skills and talents. It introduces you and your ideas, and shows us you have the creativity and imagination to be a student at Media Design School. There are no strict rules about what you should include in your portfolio. As a guide, it should include a range of 12 - 20 pieces of your best works that represent who you are as a creative person. We recommend including a range of media and styles. It is not imperative you include digitally rendered artworks. Here are some of the examples you could include:

  • Pencil drawings and illustrations
  • Painting
  • Photography
  • Graphic or Digital design
  • 3D models or visualisations
  • Concept art and characters
  • Video or moving images

For full description of portfolio requirements, see More Information about Portfolio Requirements.

International Students

Study at the Media Design School in Auckland, and you can assure your family that you'll be staying in one of the safest and most live-able cities in the world. Auckland is such a diverse city that, no matter where you're from, you'll find food and experiences here that remind you of home.

This wonderful city has nature on its doorstep and, in the same amount of time it takes to fetch a latte, you could travel to spectacular countryside or beaches, all within a stone's throw from the Central Business District.

If you're thinking about making New Zealand your home while you study for your world recognised qualification, you can find more information about making the transition to our beautiful country here.

Looking to enrol or find out more?