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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 used in a wide range of industries, including film, television, video games, advertising and web design. In this 2-year diploma program, you will explore the creative process of character design, storytelling and animation techniques using industry-standard software. You will develop your artistic skills in drawing, painting and visual language, while learning the various elements of the animation production pipeline—including storyboarding, character design and layout. You will receive hands-on training and leave with artistic skills and industry knowledge that will position you for success in this exciting field.

This program has a common first semester that focuses on traditional artistic skills and explores the animation industry. At the end of the first term, you choose the concentration you will pursue: 2D animation or 3D 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, full-time employment in a field related to your program.
    • Co-op takes place in third term and must be a minimum of 12 weeks and 420 hours.
    • Our co-op program follows Co-operative Education and Work-Integrated Learning Canada (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.

September 2024

Campus Full time/part time Delivery Availability
Truro Campus/Online
Full time Blended
Delivered through a combination of online and in-person classes. At least 50% of learning is in-person.
Seats available

Admission requirements


Tuition amounts are for the 2024-25 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

  • 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

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 students to the fundamental elements of developing the solid drawing skills required as a classically trained animator in 2D and 3D Animation. Students will begin the process of creating dynamic drawings of human and animal forms in motion.

DATD 1001 - Animation Fundamentals
This course provides students with an introduction to the principles of animation. Students will be introduced to key industry terminology and production procedures. In addition, students will cover basic concepts and how squash and stretch, path of action, arcs, timing, overlapping action, anticipation and settle combine to create fluid motion.

DATD 1040 - Pre-Production Design
This course introduces students to the pre-production process required to make an animated film. Projects will include designing characters, props and locations, storyboarding, and creating animatics. The full 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 is integral to creating strong, believable compositions. The emphasis will be on one and two point perspective, but also covers 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 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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