Whether you're inspired by the works of Pixar or Miyazaki, by Betty Boop or Felix the Cat, it's clear that there are plenty of reasons to want to go into animation.
Before preparing an art portfolio for art school (college&university) admission, you might want to find out what great art schools that you can go to in Canada.
Related article: How Much Money Does Animation School Tuition Cost in Canada?
Canada boasts a wide variety of animation schools
As one of the world's most distinct art forms, animation takes a lot of patience, creativity, and precision. Because of this, it also requires an intense technical prowess, requiring the world's top animators be expertly trained in the field. Any aspiring animator knows that in order to succeed in the field, it's important to get a degree—this is why many people go to Canada.
Arguably the best country in the world to go to for anyone looking to improve their animation technique, Canada boasts a wide variety of different schools and programs that allow you to completely immerse yourself in progressive, helpful education.
However, with this prestige also brings with it a large handful of schools. In fact, there are so many animation schools in Canada that it might be difficult to know exactly where to start. To help you with your search, I've made the following list of the Top 10 Animation Schools in Canada. So, without further ado, let's get right into it:
10. The Art Institute of Vancouver
It's no secret that those who graduate from the Art Institute of Vancouver go on to do some incredible things within the animation. For example, Calista Chandler, an alumnus of the institute, now works with Disney on various Disney XD productions.
There are also many experienced professors to work with at this university including the distinguished Sebastian Brodin.
However, what makes this program truly shine is the 3D modelling aspects of their Animation Art and Design degree program. Through this program, you can become more familiar with traditional forms of animation while also having heavy exposure to 3D effects, rendering, and even videogame connections. In this degree program, you'll become just as involved with animated set design as much as you are with animating specific characters, something we believe to be a testament to the program's efficiency at bringing variety to the table.
9. Emily Carr University of Art and Design
At the Emily Carr University of Art and Design, you'll be able to get a Bachelor of Media Arts in Animation that not only lets you learn what it means to be a fantastic animator but also how to effectively integrate your animation pursuits with a general understanding of the arts.
This is because being a well-rounded animator also means coming into contact with other art forms, and Emily Carr University's robust arts program means that you'll do that on a daily basis by interacting with your peers. Within their animation degree, you'll also be able to have many different possibilities for concentrations, whether you're more interested in experimental animation, motion graphics, or 3D modelling and texturing.
The Emily Carr University of Art and Design is also known for consistently keeping their programs updated, constantly improving their resources with the most modern technology available.
8. Vancouver Film School (VFS)
For those who know exactly which tradition of animation they would like to pursue, the Vancouver Film School (VFS) allows two-degree program options related to animation: Classical Animation and 3D Animation.
In the former, you'll learn how to master hand-drawn styles that harken back to the early 20th century, giving you a perspective on animation that is more in the vein of classic cartoon styles. On the other hand, the 3D animation program lets you become more invested in the 3D styles of animation that have emerged over the past few decades, streamlining your education to what you're most interested in.
This is a very helpful distinction to make, as other degree programs might require you to take a general animation major instead of being able to focus on which part of the art form applies most directly to your career. It should be noted, though, that both of these programs do overlap, as to learn one you do have to know a bit about the other.
However, this crossover won't get into your main concentration, something that I think is pretty convenient.
7. Seneca College
If you're looking to specialize in how animation relates to video games, Seneca College has a program just for you. Their Bachelor of Arts in Animation program does give you a general education on the art of animation but also lets you tackle specific fields that you want to work in such as Gaming and Visual Effects. There are also concentrations that center around Digital Animation, Film and TV or even Animation Arts.
Regardless of which concentration you choose, though, Seneca College specializes in helping translate a well-rounded education directly into industry opportunities. This is why their program is so focused on preparing you for what is to happen after college, with classes pushing you towards developing skills that employers are looking for.
6. Vancouver Institute of Media Arts
Though it's possible to get a general degree in Animation from the Vancouver Institute of Media Arts, the most impressive part of the program is the variety of different techniques you can pursue as your major. For example, the concentration options of 2D/3D Character Animation, Visual Effects for Film and Television, and Game Art and Design help contextualize what is a very immersive education.
The nature of this institution also have many other different majors that coincide with other art forms means that you'll also be networking with other aspiring professionals during your time at the school, something that I believe makes the experience worth it. Though going through undergrad is about learning basic skills, it's also just as much about meeting the right people, and exposing yourself to the work of your colleagues will only help you in future pursuits.
5. Ontario College of Art and Design (OCAD)
From the moment you see the outside of this university's main building, you'll be assured that it is a unique place to get your education. This is very true; with many degree programs directly linked to professional opportunities, ONCAD is a great place to go if you're looking to expose yourself to methods used by some of the most notable animation companies out in the world today.
Many graduates of this program are known to go on working at prestigious places such as Paramount, Pixar, EMI, and even DreamWorks. Personally, I think this program is truly great for those who want to expose themselves to modern methods of working. They have a very robust 3D animation sector of the program, while also including enough knowledge about videogame development that you can also get into that after school if you wish to.
4. Visual College of Art and Design of Vancouver (VCAD)
The primary goal of VCAD is to expose students to a top-notch form of education that is not limited by what they want to do or where they come from. In searching for this, VCAD often surrounds students with incredibly proficient professors and colleagues in varying art forms, allowing you to develop your animation skills alongside situations of collaboration and comparison.
There is also an important emphasis in the general program on using only industry-grade tools, requiring you to be familiar with many of the programs used in professional animation before you graduate. For those who are interested in the nuance associated with 3D animation, the VCAD major of 3D Modeling Animation will allow you to get into the nitpicking type of nuance that is required for successful professionals in the field.
3. Sheridan College, Oakville
If you want to immerse yourself in an incredibly intense program, Sheridan College's Bachelor of Arts in Animation is for you. This unique 4-year program is notorious for piling on tough workloads, often requiring their students to stay on a prestigious path for the duration of the program. In fact, many people have even gone so far as to compare this school to Harvard due to the level of intensity they require from all of their students. This is also why the program is so wonderful, though. After all, if you're at school, why shouldn't you be trying to learn as much as you can?
2. Max the Mutt College of Animation, Art & Design
Max the Mutt is a university that allows you to explore your passion to the fullest degree possible.
In many ways, it's considered the best university that Canada has to offer, though there are some that might disagree with that notion. The reason why it's so critically acclaimed is that of how seriously they take the history of animation when teaching students. Those who decide to major in animation at this university will not be directed based on the specific style of animation they follow, but rather the industry in which they would like to work.
For example, if you're learning narrative animation for film and TV, there is the Bachelor of Arts in Classical and Computer Animation that will teach you just as much about traditional techniques as much as modern ones. If you're somebody who wants to work more in video games and more abstract fields of animation, the Bachelor of Arts in Concept Art for Animation and Video Games will allow you to explore all that industry has to offer.
Regardless of which major you choose, though, there's no doubt that you won't be thrust into an incredibly rigorous, but beneficial environment.
1. Capilano University
The reason why I think Capilano University is the best Animation School in Canada is that of how much opportunity there is after you leave school. Students who are looking to go directly into big studios such as 20th Century Fox, Nerd Corps, Radical Entertainment, and EA should look into this school, as it has a distinct reputation for producing some of the industry's most proficient animators.
The programs offered also let you concentrate in specific niche parts of animation such as texturing and lighting, character and environment modelling, and even concept art. This is best for those who want to be able to work on their strengths and eventually apply those strengths to potential future positions.
Related article: Animation School and Career Guide for Students