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Digital Animation - 3D Concentration (year 2)

Focus on 3D animation and bring objects to life using computer graphics.

A woman in a striped shirt looks at a computer screen.
Start Date:
Typical Length:
2 Years


The 3D Animation concentration is an option of the Digital Animation diploma program. You start this concentration in the second term of your first year.

This concentration develops advanced 3D modelling and animation skills. The primary focus is 3D animation and storytelling through acting, posing and scene setup. Throughout this process you learn to transform a 2D character concept to a finished 3D model and rig it ready for animation. This includes setting up environments with lighting, texturing and compositing, all to enhance the storyline.

You can expect to experience different 3D workflow processes needed for storytelling while still developing your traditional artistic skills. Finally, you learn how to combine these skills to produce a short 3D piece to add to your online portfolio.

You learn how to transform a character concept to a finished 3D model ready for rigging (creation of a digital skeleton with joints and bones required for animation). You use image-based modelling to develop a 3D sculpture and demonstrate the different stages of workflow while you create and complete a realistically-rendered 3D model. You also focus on intermediate texturing and lighting techniques for 3D environments and various levels of animation. In addition, you learn how to combine these skills to create and produce a short 3D animated film, and leave with a polished portfolio of your work.

September 2024

Campus Full time/part time Delivery
Truro Campus
Full time In person
Delivered in-person. Some courses may have online elements.

Admission requirements

  • Successful completion of Digital Animation – Year 1 or advanced standing.
  • Advanced standing – To be considered, you must apply to and meet the admission requirements for the Digital Animation program. Advanced standing is based on academic credits (certificate/diploma/degree) completed from a recognized public institution within the past ten years that meet the academic requirements of the full first year of the program. Advanced standing is subject to seat availability.

Program requirements

  • Portfolio development – As part of your studies at NSCC, you develop a portfolio of your work; the portfolio captures your achievements and profiles your skills to employers.


Tuition amounts are for the 2023-24 academic year. Program costs and fees (textbooks, supplies, etc.) are additional.

Tuition (Domestic):
Tuition (International):

Tuition, fees and program costs

In addition to annual tuition, there are program costs (books, tools, etc.) and student fees for College services, health and dental plans, your student association and parking.

View detailed program fees page(s). Please note that amounts on these pages are meant for planning purposes only. They don't represent final amounts owing.

Career options

  • Upon graduation, you're qualified for entry-level positions such as 3D animator, 3D modeler, 3D rigger and 3D texture artist.
  • Self-employment and entrepreneurial career paths are also opportunities, as graduates benefit from a hands-on, project-based learning approach and exposure to the business.

Future study options

Courses may include

These are some of the courses offered in this program. It is not a complete list and courses are subject to change in advance of the academic year.

Recognizing prior learning / transfer credits
If you have previous learning (course, employment, etc...) that's relevant to your program, you may be able to apply to earn credit. Not all programs are eligible. Learn about our recognizing prior learning (RPL) process.

DATD 1002 - Sculpture
Learners will experience and create 3D forms with their hands through the process of building models with a variety of materials.

DATD 1015 - Digital Painting I
This course introduces learners to painting with digital software. A variety of tools and painting techniques will be covered, as well as some art aesthetics and design principles. Learners will discuss the merits of their paintings and how they can be improved.

DATD 1500 - Animation Production I
In this course learners will work on an animation production. The importance of setting realistic goals, creating a schedule and following it to meet deadlines will be emphasized. Strong communication skills are crucial to keep all stakeholders informed and to avoid costly mistakes.

DATD 2000 - Life Drawing II
A hands on in studio and on location life drawing course which expands the learners’ fundamental drawing skills developed in Life Drawing I, which are the foundation required to pursue a career as a 2D or 3D Animator. By working as a team to critique, mount and exhibit their work in a public exhibition space learners will develop their team and interpersonal skills, while presenting and speaking about their work in a professional manner.

DATD 2005 - Character Design
This course covers how to design characters. Learners will improve their drawings skills, constructing characters in a structural manner. There will be discussion of the animation principle of appeal, and what makes a character design appropriate for a particular story.

DATD 2010 - Structural Drawing - Anatomy II
Learners will apply and further develop the observational and visualization skills needed to accurately draw geometric forms and skeletal structures in perspective and apply to drawing human and animal forms in movement. Learners will apply structural drawing skills developed in Structural Drawing – Anatomy I to create more accurate and complex drawings. Learners will also apply their learning to Life Drawing and Animation.

DATD 2015 - Digital Painting II
This course expands on the knowledge gained from Perspective Drawing and Structural Drawing and Anatomy I. This course will emphasize the use of the computer as a tool for illustration. This course focuses on using the computer and specific software to further develop their traditional illustration skills. Learners will examine and continue to develop their skill at applying proportions, dynamic composition, lighting and shading in their artwork.

DATD 2030 - Animation and Modelling
The course will introduce learners to different areas of concentration within the 3D animation field. Through a project learners will learn the process involved with transferring a character concept into a finished 3D model ready for rigging. Learners will also be presented with character set-ups which will allow learners to learn animation solutions to a pre-approved scenario.

DATD 2500 - Professional Portfolio Project
In this course, learners will participate in intensive portfolio development and animation industry readiness workshops, seminars, in class projects and training. Learners will engage with faculty and industry for mentorship and feedback on the development of their career focused portfolio. Learners will engage is a series of workshops on topics related to industry preparedness.

DATD 3000 - Life Drawing III
An in studio and on location course designed to expand and focus the freehand drawing, design and visualization skills developed in the first year, as directly applied to Animation in 2D and 3D. Learners will further develop their craft of creating dynamic drawings of human and animal forms in motion, with an increased awareness of conveying emotion in their work. Learners will also engage in the process of a gallery education by critiquing and exhibiting their work.

DATD 3005 - Storyboards and Animatics
This course outlines the use of production storyboards in the story-making process. Learners will challenge their creativity by brainstorming and by rearranging storyboard panels in an attempt to generate several different story-telling options.

DATD 3010 - Animation Process I
The focus of this course is on storytelling and acting, in order to help learners with their animation projects (Character Animation or 3D Production/Rigging). The basics of story plot and structure will be covered. Learners will explore acting techniques for creating empathy and portraying emotion. They will also explore comedic and dramatic timing and delivery, conflict, status, body language and exaggeration.

DATD 3030 - 3D Production and Rigging
This course develops the skills and knowledge required for rigging a character in a 3D environment. Rigging prepares a character for animation and is an integral part of the process pipeline of 3D animation. Learners will animate their rigs to analyze problems trying to achieve humanistic motion. The course also continues to develop analytical skills associated with performance and storytelling.

DATD 3035 - 3D Sculpting I
This course explores digital modelling, sculpting and painting techniques for today’s 3D artists. Learners will create their own basic 3D models and develop them into detailed 3D sculptures by understand the workflow through the different stages of development. Upon completion of this course learners will have conceptualized, created and completed a realistically rendered 3D model.

DATD 3039 - Clay Sculpting I
This course emphasis is on sculpting realistic human anatomy in clay. Through image presentations, demonstration and hands-on exercises, learners will explore the artistic fundamentals and workflow techniques of figure sculpture. Over the duration of this course students will make their own modelling clay and apply fundamental sculpting techniques to their models.

DATD 4000 - Life Drawing IV
An in studio and on location course designed to expand and focus the freehand drawing, design and visualization skills developed in the first year, as directly applied to Animation in 2D and 3D. Learners will further develop their craft of creating dynamic drawings of human and animal forms in motion, with an increased awareness of conveying emotion in their work. Learners will also engage in the process of a gallery education by critiquing and exhibiting their work.

DATD 4010 - Animation Process II
This course will cover technical and post-production skills required to support production. Aspects of post-production such as creating and editing sound effects, music, dialogue, title/end credit creation and film editing techniques will be explored to further support the Animation Production Project or 3D Production/Motion Capture projects. Learners will use industry software to edit and export their final animation or 3D production projects.

DATD 4030 - 3D Production and Motion Capture
This course continues to emphasize the general pipeline of 3D animation. Through a project learners will enhance their previous learning from 3D Production and Rigging. Learners will learn the process involved with animating characters realistically and cartoon style. Learners will apply the principles of script, storyboards and animatics to fully develop a character animation piece for their portfolio.

DATD 4033 - Advanced Digital Painting
This course enhances the learner’s digital painting abilities. The course will emphasize portfolio development when planning and creating illustrations meant for the 3D industry. Using a variety of digital tools will be encouraged enabling learners to create original artwork. Learners will create original artwork using advanced digital tools and techniques.

DATD 4035 - 3D Sculpting II
This course builds upon what was learned in 3D Sculpting I. Learners will create proportionately correct 3D organic models and develop them into realistically detailed 3D sculptures. Through presentations, demonstration and hands-on exercises, learners will learn improved techniques of realistic organic sculpturing using a standard 3D modelling application.

DATD 4040 - Exploratory 3D
This course concentrates on advanced topics of 3D. Learners will have the opportunity to research in specific areas of concentration that do not fall under the learning of other courses within this 3D stream. These areas may include; dynamics, Mel or python programming, compositing, special effects, exploring another 3D software applications. Learners will expand their knowledge into a specialized area of interest.

GAME 4020 - Self-Promotion and Entrepreneurship
This course provides some of the tools and knowledge needed for self-promotion. Learners learn how to identify potential self-promotional opportunities and become familiar with various methods and techniques such as guerrilla marketing to produce cost-effective, efficient material and devices.

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