Master (MA) in 3D Character Animation

Bring the heroes
within you to life!

5-years Master (MA)

The Master’s degree in 3D Animation prepares students for careers in 3D character animation. This master’s degree aims to develop students’ creativity and sensitivity as well as their technical skills. Students experience the different aspects of the production chain of a 3D animated film, from storyboarding to post-production, with a particular focus on the techniques used to bring a 3D character to life. This know-how requires mastering the fundamental principles of animation, its theoretical and artistic foundations (good knowledge of anatomy and movements, for a realistic animation)… and developing an expertise in 3D

ARTFX is a founding member of RECA, an association that currently includes 28 French animation film schools that are recognized by the industry, both in France and abroad.

  • Apply directly with the school
  • Tests + portfolio + interview

Find out more about admission

or Lille

1 class of 25 students is created yearly on each site


Course in French 🇫🇷  and in English 🇬🇧
More information


Awards the title of “digital producer” (lev.7, equivalent 5 year degree), registered in the Répertoire national des certifications professionnelles (national directory of professional certifications) on 14 September 2020

The academic year runs from October to 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 Artistic Foundation Course

The 1st year at ARTFX offers a common core for all courses. This system allows students to acquire a common foundation, but also to experiment, to discover and practice the different stages of filmmaking or game creation. The strength of this pedagogical choice is that through experience, the student better understand the production chain, learn to collaborate with colleagues and discover the trade.

→ Artistic foundation course: observational drawing, figure drawing & anatomy, sculpture, perspective, color & light, digital painting

→ Cultural development: creativity, storytelling, image theory, photography, screenplay, culture and language of cinema and video games

→ Workshops to discover the professions: film practice, introduction to 3D (modeling and animation), matte painting, programming, storyboarding, traditional and digital 2D animation, character design, video games

→ Collaborative projects: preparation of an exhibition
Individual project: portfolio

→ English

Year 2 Professional Foundation

›General 3D: modeling, rigging, texturing, lighting.
Fundamentals of 3D animation. Visual development: concept art, character design. Animation culture.


›Personal and team project

Year 3 Improvement

›3D character animation, rigging, acting

›Visual development: concept art, character design

›Directing and storytelling: script, storyboard, layout

›Project: production of a 3D animation short film in team

Year 4 Professionalization

›Production of a professional demo tape

› Management of projects and teams

› Masterclasses with partner studios

›6-week min studio internship in a studio

›Advanced specialized workshops: character animation, acting

›Development of the Final Project

›Culture of production and trade

Year 5 Directing

› Completion of a graduation team project: creation and production of a 3D animation short film for the final year of study

› Masterclass and conference / professional meetings

› Professional coaching in English

› Presentation to a professional jury

› 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 sharpening your sense of observation. 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 processes, including modeling, texturing, lighting, rigging and animation.
During the following three years you’ll focus on character animation, to reach the level required by the studios.
From blocking (defining the key poses of characters to build the animation plan) to the refine/spline phase, involving working frame by frame so that movements are fluid and executed based on the appropriate timing, master all the techniques required to bring a character to life.


  • Any high school degree OR art foundation year
  • Practical experience in anatomical drawing/live models is an advantage
  • Parallel admissions are possible in 2nd and 3rd years
  • Your level will be evaluated during the admission session to assess your orientation

Tuition fees

Years 1 to 5 :


Software used

  • Zbrush
  • Maya
  • Arnold
  • Harmony
  • Krita
  • Houdini
  • Storyboard Pro
  • Substance Designer
  • Substance Painter
  • ARTFX obtained Houdini 2022 certification from Side FX


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 of them. 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 this nimber will reach 10,000 by 2025 (source). Students in the Master’s in 3D Character Animation are supported to enter the industry through masterclasses given by partner studios, an internship lasting six weeks min. And a job dating session 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 combines 2D and 3D technics, or uses 3D models with 2D effect to facilitate animation.

Occupations studied:
•3D Animator
•3D Rigging Artist
•3D Layout Artist
•Artistic Director
•Character Designer

Production samples

Talent display

Copie de ARTFX_2021_PIR'HEART_keyshot_01

I joined ARTFX to specialize in 3D Animation for 3 years. At the end of my studies, I immediately joined
Fortiche Animation in Montpellier. I first did an internship as a 3D Animator on season 2 of Arcane.
At the end of this internship I signed my first contract to animate the main characters of the series
and I still work there today.

Elise Bourgeois 3D Animator Fortiche Animation - Class of 2021

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