Master's degree in 3D character animation

Breathe life into
the heros in you!

Master’s cycle in 5 years

Become a 3D character animator for feature films, series or video games. Your mission? Breathe life into 3D characters by becoming a true specialist in acting and movement (facial expressions, emotions, intentions, etc.). During your course you’ll learn about the methods and different styles of animation — from cartoon to hyperrealism — as well as the most commonly used 3D animation software. You’ll be able to animate a character’s movements and intentions accurately, whether for a complex emotional moment or a rhythmic action scene. Patience and meticulousness are required: a few seconds of animation sometimes require several days of work, and the help of several animators for the same character!

ARTFX is a founding member of RECA, an association that currently includes 28 French animation film schools clearly recognised by the professional world, both in France and abroad.

Admission baccalauréat
(secondary school leaving qualification) level
  • Exclusive of Parcoursup: you apply directly to the school.
  • Tests + creative folder + interview

Find out more about admission

Montpellier
or Lille

1 class of 25 students is organised on each site.

International

ourse in French 🇫🇷  and English 🇬🇧
More information

A professional qualification
recognised by the State

7, equivalent B +5 (5th year), registered in the Répertoire national des certifications professionnelles (national directory of professional certifications) on 14 September 2020

The academic year runs from October to mid-June

The Master’s in 3D Character Animation is a 5-year programme designed to train professionals with a solid knowledge of acting, anatomy and movement, as well as a perfect command of the software used for 3D character animation. 3D animators trained at ARTFX can effectively work as soon as they leave the school, and are able to adapt to future technological developments. They also stand out for their creativity and their wealth of artistic knowledge. During their studies, students complete at least one internship lasting at least six weeks and benefit from masterclasses with partner studios. In the 5th year, they make an animated short film which is screened before a professional panel, giving them an understanding of the different production stages of an animated film from storyboarding to post-production.

Year 1 The basics

Like all courses, the 1st year consolidates the basics and confirms the choice of orientation. Building on English skills.

The basics

Observation drawing, figure drawing & anatomy, perspective, sculpture, colour & light

Cultural development

Creativity, storytelling, image grammar, photography, screenplay, film and video game culture

Workshops to explore professions

Directing, 3D modelling, matte painting, programming, storyboard, 2D animation, charadesign, video games

Collaborative and individual projects

Year 2 Orientation

One year to choose your area of activity.

Visual development

Concept art, character design, anatomy, figure drawing, sculpture

Directing and storytelling

Screenplay, storyboard, storytelling, image grammar, film culture

Professional workshops

Production, 3D computer generated images, 3D animation, rigging, layout, compositing, real time, visual effects, image and sound editing

Making a short film

Year 3 Specialisation

A year to refine your choice of specialisation. Teaching in English.

Visual development

Concept art, character design

Directing and storytelling

Screenplay, storyboard, layout

Professional workshops

3D character animation, rigging, acting

Project

Making a short 3D animation film in a team

Year 4 Professional program

A foot in the world of work.

Production of a demo professional reel

Specialised workshops

Character animation, acting

Management of projects and of teams

Masterclasses with partner studios

Internship six weeks minimum in studio

Year 5 Production

Carrying out your professional project.

End-of-studies project

Creating and making an end-of-studies short 3D animation film

Coaching in English

Presentation to a professional panel

Professional meetings

Job Dating

Learning objective

An animator is an actor with a pencil”, Chuck Jones.

3D character animation involves learning the theoretical and artistic basics of animation – anatomy, body movements – through the practice of drawing and sculpting and by sharpening your sense of observation. You’ll learn to master acting (facial expressions, emotions, lip-synching with the voice, etc.). You’ll be introduced to character design (creating a character) and concept art (conveying an idea or an atmosphere through an illustration).
The first two years will allow you to experiment with 3D manufacturing processes, including modeling, texturing, lighting, rigging, and animation.
In the next three years you’ll focus on character animation, to reach the level required by studios.
From blocking (defining the key poses of characters to build the animation plan, which will be validated by the supervisor) to the refine/spline phase which involves working frame by frame to ensure that movements are fluid and executed based on the timing devised for the character, you’ll master all the techniques required to bring a character to life.

Prerequisites

  • All types of baccalauréat (secondary school leaving qualification), film or art foundation
  • Practical experience in anatomical drawing/live models is a plus.
  • Parallel admissions possible in 2nd and 3rd years
  • Your level will be evaluated during the admission session to offer you the appropriate orientation.

Tuition fees

Year 1:
€7,200 in Lille and Montpellier
€7,700 in Paris
Excluding enrollment fees
Années 2 à 5 :
€8,200/year in Lille and Montpellier
€8,700/year in Paris
Excluding enrollment fees

Fees

Software used

  • Zbrush
  • Storyboard Pro
  • Maya
  • Arnold
  • Harmony
  • Krita
  • Substance Designer
  • Substance Painter
  • ?
  • ?
  • Houdini
  • ARTFX obtained Houdini 2021 certification from Side FX

Careers and main occupations studied

France is the leading global producer and exporter of animated films in Europe (3rd in the world, behind the United States and Japan). No less than 120 French studios deliver channels on international television, in film and on video-on-demand platforms (Netflix, Disney+, etc.). ‘The Swallows of Kabul’, ‘The Red Turtle’, ‘Josep’, ‘Calamity’, ‘Little Vampire’, ‘I lost my body’, ‘Pachamama’, ‘Dilili in Paris’, ‘Ernest & Celestine’, etc. Over the last 10 years, a quarter of the animated films released in cinemas have been made in France (2D and 3D combined). This boom is due to the constant support of the CNC, the French National Centre for Cinema and the Moving Image, but also the quality of French animation schools, which rank among the best in the world. ARTFX is one example. France also boasts a rich culture of images and drawings, from the great painters to Franco-Belgian comic strips. The animation sector is growing fast and currently employs 7,500 people. Forecasts predict that it will reach 10,000 by 2025 (source). Students studying the Master’s in 3D Character Animation are supported to enter the professional world through masterclasses given by partner studios, an internship lasting six weeks min. and a job dating session organised following the end-of-studies panel, to which French and international recruiters from the most prestigious animation studios are invited. Opportunities are also available in special effects studios or 2D animation, which sometimes hybridises 2D and 3D, or uses 3D models with 2D effect to facilitate animation.

Occupations studied:
•3D animator
•3D rigging artist
•3D layout artist
•Artistic director
•Character designer

Examples of productions

Work and talent

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ARTFX_2021_HOSTILE_KEY_SHOT_05
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ARTFX_2021_GREEN_KEYSHOT_07
Green_Keyshot_fullHD_01
ARTFX_2021_COCORICA_KEYSHOT_21
ARTFX_2021_COCORICA_KEYSHOT_10
ARTFX_2021_FROM_ABOVE_KEYSHOT_04
ARTFX_2021_FROM_ABOVE_KEYSHOT_07
Copie de ARTFX_2021_PIR'HEART_keyshot_01
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ARTFX_2021_LESOUFFLEURDEREVES_KEYSHOT_12
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The school provided me with really sound technical skills to begin with, which everyone then developed on their own, but I would never have been able to master anything without this grounding. Another key main strength is that the skills helped me to develop an artistic, critical eye for what I was doing or watching. My studies and the internship totally prepared me to enter the studio.

Stanislas Vincent 3D Animator Important Looking Pirates VFX – Promo 2020

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the next academic year?

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