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Digital Animation

Learn the art of visual storytelling and develop the creative and technical skills needed for a career in animation.

A person wearing a black and white plaid shirt and headphones leans over a tablet to create a digitally animated character.
Alumnus Ben Durrell works on a design at Halifax's Copernicus Studios.
Start Date:
Typical Length:
2 Years

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Digital Animation is a program that focuses on animation production. There's a common first term, where you develop your traditional artistic skills of drawing, painting, sculpture and visual language/composition. You also explore the two types of animation (2D and 3D).

At the end of first term, you choose the concentration that you'll pursue: 2D animation or 3D animation.

Considerable time is spent with hands-on learning in this program. Regardless of your concentration, you continue with life-drawing and traditional art classes. You also study courses that are specific to the animation production pipeline, such as storyboarding, character design, layout and animation.

Co-operative education

  • This program is eligible for an optional cooperative education (co-op) credit course between year one and two.
    • Co-op provides an opportunity for paid employment – in a field related to your program.
    • Opportunities are full-time work placements that last 12 to 16 weeks.
    • Our co-op program follows Co-operative Education and Work-Integrated Learning (CEWIL) guidelines.
  • For more information visit Work Experience Opportunities.

Choose NSCC

  • Every student has access to their own traditional animation desk and there are two computer labs with current industry-standard software.
  • A motion-capture system and full 3D body scanner are available for those who specialize in the study of 3D animation.
  • Instructors with diverse skill sets will help guide and support your personal and academic direction.
  • Throughout the program, industry experts and guest speakers are brought into the classroom to deliver specialized training.

2023-24 programs

Program delivery may be subject to change based on Public Health guidelines.

September 2023

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

Admission requirements

  • High School Graduation Diploma or equivalent.
    • International students – High school diploma equivalency and English language requirements vary by country. View details
  • A portfolio is a significant factor in determining your admission into the program. For detailed information on what your portfolio needs to include, see the Digital Animation Portfolio Requirements (PDF 1.36MB).


Tuition amounts are for the 2022-23 academic year. Program costs and fees (textbooks, supplies, etc.) are additional. 2023-24 tuition will be announced in the late Spring.

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

  • Animation is a growing field in Nova Scotia and across Canada. In addition, it's a sector where small animation and gaming studios are benefiting from advances in technology and establishing competitive positions in the market.
  • Creative positions that require animation skills are found in a range of firms, including entertainment, software development, training, animation production, illustration and graphic design.
  • Upon graduation, you're qualified for entry-level positions with animation and gaming studios. Job titles may include junior 2D or 3D animator, junior designer, junior storyboard artist, junior layout artist, junior background artist, junior 3D modeler, 3D rigger and 3D texture artist.
  • Students in the program benefit from a hands-on project-based learning approach and are exposed to the business-side of the industry, so graduates may also have the opportunity to pursue self-employment or an entrepreneurial career path.

Future study options

  • Continue your studies at university – This program includes courses that count towards a university degree. Find out more

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 1000 - Life Drawing I
This is a hands-on in studio and on location life drawing course which introduces learners to the fundamental elements of developing the solid drawing skills required as a classically trained animator in 2D and 3D Animation. Learners will begin the process of creating dynamic drawings of human and animal forms in motion. Learners will also engage in the process of a gallery education, by critiquing and exhibiting their work. 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 1001 - Animation Fundamentals
This course provides learners with an introduction to the principles of animation. The learner will cover concepts such as squash and stretch, path of action, arcs, timing, and volume. The concepts will be applied using different media: traditional pencil on paper, 2D digital software, and 3D digital software.

DATD 1010 - Structural Drawing - Anatomy I
Learners will develop the observational skills needed to more accurately draw objects and skeletal structures with basic geometric shapes, while applying the basic principles of perspective. Learners will apply structural drawing skills to create more accurate drawings and begin to demonstrate this understanding in their animation and life drawings.

DATD 1040 - Pre-Production Design
This course will introduce learners to much of the pre-production work that is required to make an animated film, before the actual animation is started. Learners will do projects that involve designing characters, props and locations, storyboarding, and creating animatics. The whole production process will be discussed, as well as the importance of meeting deadlines and communicating with the team.

DATD 1045 - Perspective Drawing
This course will focus entirely on the skill of drawing perspective, the art of making a two-dimensional image look three-dimensional. The emphasis will be on one and two point perspective. Other topics will include ellipses, inclined planes, reflections, repeating objects, and characters.

DATD 1056 - Painting Theory and Practice
Students will explore and experiment with paint and other media to depict lighting, shading and shadows. Additionally, colour theory and symbols of visual language will be used and applied to communicate ideas.

DATD 1060 - History of Animation and Film Theory
This course explores the evolution of styles and forms of animation, beginning with the methods and inventions of its pioneers. Short animated films will be screened and the techniques used to create them will be discussed. Drawing and/or animation styles and techniques will be researched and then emulated. Learners will also look at the basic visual components and aspects of film structure that aid in storytelling for animation including cinematic, emotional, aesthetic, symbolic, as well as theatrical reality, the suspension of disbelief and the illusion of life.

DATD 1075 - Introduction to 3D
This course utilizes 3D software for the creation of basic 3D models using industry standard packages. Through hands on experience, students will have the opportunity to develop skills by creating a variety of increasingly involved 3D models while learning professional workflows of a 3D artist. Learners will focus on navigating, file structure and have a working knowledge of polygons, UV unwrapping, and material nodes.

SAFE 1000 - Introduction to WHMIS (Workplace Hazardous Materials Information Systems)
This course offers learners basic overview of WHMIS principles and establishes a solid foundation to support workplace-specific training on the safe storage and handling of controlled/hazardous products. Upon successful completion of the course, students receive basic WHMIS certification.

SAFE 1001 - Introduction to NS OH&S Act
This course offers students an introduction to the Occupational Health & Safety (OH&S) Act of Nova Scotia, which is required by any person employed in a Nova Scotia workplace. This is a generic, introductory course that provides basic knowledge of the Act for students and is considered to be the basis from which more specific training can be given.

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