South Seas Film and Television School is a part of New Education Group’s creative college division, which includes Animation College, New Zealand’s only college to offer degree and diploma level courses specialising in both 2D and 3D character animation, as well as Yoobee School of Design, New Zealand’s largest specialised design school.

We are part of an exciting and evolving industry, and we endeavor to ensure our students have access to the best facilities and tutors in their respective fields, which is why, as of 2019, the animation department of South Seas Film and Television School will be merging with the programmes offered at both Animation College and Yoobee School of Design. Animation courses will no longer be running from the South Seas Glenfield campus and instead will be offered from two central Auckland locations

If you are looking to study a Diploma in Animation, there are a number of study options that may work for you in 2019.

Animation College and Yoobee School of Design both offer animation certificates, diplomas, and degrees that will start you on your journey to an exciting and rewarding career in the animation industry.

If you are interested in finding out more information about our other animation offerings, we can assist you by organising a campus tour at Yoobee or Animation College so that you can experience the campus environment first-hand.

Visit the Animation College website here or check out the Yoobee School of Design site here.

  • Want a career in Animation? Let South Seas take you there. In two years, you will master the cutting-edge tools and technology, as you grow and develop creatively to become a professional animator.

    In South Seas Animation School, you will work in all key creative areas of games and animation, so that by the end of the course you will have your own show-reel and be ready to get a job.

    Our experienced staff will be there to guide you every step of the way, with expert training as well as on-going one-on-one feedback and advice.

    Successfully complete this course and you’ll receive the New Zealand Diploma Animation (Level 5) [Ref. 2634=””][/Ref.] OR New Zealand Diploma Animation (Level 6) [Ref. 2635=””][/Ref.].

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  • Things change quickly. Our course content is reviewed every year to remain cutting edge and relevant.

    We don’t want you to merely know what’s waiting for you upon graduation. We want to give you hands-on experience in navigating both the jobs and the realities of the industry.

    Get the Highest Rated Training

    South Seas is regularly reviewed by NZQA – the government agency responsible for quality assurance of qualifications. In the latest review (June 2015), South Seas was given the highest rating – EXCELLENCE – in all categories.

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  • NZ Diploma in Animation (Level 5)A button to easily access key student information about this qualification.

  • NZ Diploma in Animation (Level 6)A button to easily access key student information about this qualification.



  • TERM 1

  • Foundation

    During the first term you will learn the fundamental tools, software and concepts used to create animation for games and films. This includes Adobe Photoshop and After Effects training, other animation software such as Toon Boom and introduces you to 3D skills using Autodesk Maya. You will also begin developing essential art skills.

  • TERM 2

  • 3D Digital Production

    Here your focus shifts to 3D modelling and texturing; During practical classes and assignments you learn to design and create hard-surface and organic “assets”, from modelling to applying colour and texture to your 3D creations. By the end of the term you’ll have made a range of small game props and designed, modelled and textured your own 3D character.

  • TERM 3

  • Animation & Effects

    Let’s get busy learning how to bring characters to life through animation. The Body Mechanics training explores how the body works by learning to create realistic movements and actions such as walks, runs, jumps, climbs, attacks, rolls, lifts, etc. By the end of term you will be living and breathing your characters. Students research and plan filming reference footage on which to base their animation shots including the use of full studio resources and camera team in a slow-motion effects shoot, where we basically combine high-speed filming with destroying stuff!

  • TERM 4

  • Final Image

    Lights, Camera, Action! Now we learn how to create visually appealing shots using strong design, composition, colour and lighting. Students learn to composite individual rendered elements together to produce a final image. You’ll also learn to work together in a team on a game project.


  • TERM 1

  • Advanced Digital Production

    Design and develop 3D interiors and exteriors, city streets, houses, and “lived in” rooms or fantastic organic outdoor spaces. Learn the skills of an Environment Artist creating fantastic worlds for films and games. Learn team skills while making a game using Unreal Engine 4.

  • TERM 2

  • Pre-Production

    Explore the fundamentals of designing and directing for screen, including planning camera, lighting and good story-telling. Apply fundamental pre-production skills to create and use storyboards and visual development art, and plan and pre-visualize game and film projects. Visually plan and direct story and game-play sequences.

  • TERM 3

  • Group Production

    During an 8-week schedule you will work as a team in a real production setting, to produce a short animated film; each person works in a specific role requiring both leadership and team-work skills. The process will draw on all of the other creative and technical skills that you’ve learned so far and will be an experience that ultimately prepares you for the standards and dynamics of studio production.

  • TERM 4

  • Showreel

    At the culmination of the course you will have 10 weeks to design, develop and create your own show-reel. It will showcase only your best work and skills, in any of the following areas: game design, modelling, texturing, effects, character animation, rigging, concept art and design, environment creation, and generalist skills. Your show-reel will play an important role in getting your first job in the games and animation industry.


  • Animation-3D-Modelling-and-Texturing

  • 3D Modelling & Texturing

    Your Maya training includes learning to create appealing and detailed 3D models for use in games and animated films. It includes learning both high and low poly modelling, use hard-surface poly-modelling typically used to create non-organic props  and objects such as building structures, furniture, hand-held objects etc. as well as soft-surface or subdivision modelling used to create organic pieces such as plants, animals or human characters. You’ll also learn to create detailed surface materials and textures, for both stylized and realistic contexts and settings.

  • Animation-General-Production-Skills

  • General Production Skills

    Throughout the course you will be challenged to apply your developing skills to a variety of situations and contexts within the field of animation production for games and films. This will require a general understanding of how the tools and techniques are similar and different across linear (films, television) and non-linear (games) platforms. Familiarity with the basic timeline, aesthetic, planning and design skills will all be essential as a generalist involved in making animation and games.

  • Animation-Effects

  • Effects Animation

    Effects animation training and application will continue throughout the course beginning with your fundamental training and effects assignment in Year 1, and developing further with advanced effects exploration in Year 2, as well as the design and implementation of unique character, vehicle and atmospheric effects during your group project. You can explore simulating effects using fluids, dynamics, and particles to create almost anything that you can imagine.

  • Animation-Character-Animation

  • Character Animation

    In Year 1 you’ll use custom-built feature quality 3D animation character rigs, and learn to apply the core principles of character animation that include follow-through action, showing weight, squash & stretch, drag, arcs, timing and cushioning. Continue in Year 2 developing your skills; bringing characters to life through acting and performance. Learn fundamental dialogue and lip-synch tools and techniques. Develop solid animation workflow skills using Maya. Learn professional tips and custom tools from industry animators.

  • Animation-preproduction

  • Pre-production: Design and Planning

    Create stunning concept artwork for environments and characters. Learn a range of professional techniques for creating and presenting your visual development work. Explore visual aspects of game design and storytelling for film, using storyboards, animatics and pre-visualisation. Learn how professionals effectively use reference material to improve their visual development process and speed up workflow.

  • Animation-Group-Production

  • Group Production

    This is your chance to experience the challenges of production and teamwork! Working together with your team over an 8-week period, you will create a short animated film that includes everything you have learned to date. This is where your REALLY learn exactly how animation is made! Be ready to encounter high standards, tight deadlines and real-time problem-solving.

  • Animation-Showreels

  • Showreels

    In other industries you read someone’s CV to learn about their skills; In animation and games we evaluate a person’s skills by viewing their showreel. As you prepare to graduate, you’ll spend the last part of the course creating a showreel that shows the very best of what you can produce, and demonstrates the level of your skills. It is also your chance to show your creativity, and to challenge yourself by producing a specific new piece of work. Exactly what that is will be largely up to you!

  • Animation-Internships

  • Internships

    In Year 2 we are on the lookout to select students for internship positions within local production houses and studios. An internship position may turn out to be the key opportunity that helps you get your first industry job!

  • Student Work

    Some of our student work in the team project “Ponytail Express”.

  • Graduate Interviews

    We asked some of our graduates about getting their first jobs. Their answers may surprise you.



  • Application Requirements

    Please view the general application requirements before applying.

    Application Sections

    1. Basic information
    2. Education & work experience
    3. Aptitude (incl. 1 essay question)
    4. Course specific questions
    5. Additional information

    Prepare for Applying

    • Order the application questions to your email:


Animation Course Overview

  • New Zealand’s most comprehensive character & gaming animation training programme
  • A fully equipped film and animation production facility
  • Taught by experienced industry professionals
  • Focus on character and story driven animation
  • Classes limited to maximum of 16 students
Download Brochure


  • South Seas Animation School Aims

    1. To produce graduates who have a high level of practical, industry recognised professional animation skills.
    2. To deliver training modules that incorporate fundamental animation skills with current production procedures, for use in film, TV, gaming and entertainment platforms.
    3. To encourage an understanding of how animation tools, including increasingly updated software, can be combined with creative skills, to achieve high quality animation.
    4. To foster ongoing artistic development, understanding of software and technological developments, industry trend awareness, and pro-activity in seeking and nurturing creative inspiration.

    This course gives you the perfect outlet for your passion for the fascinating craft of animation. Providing you with all the skills and experience you need to succeed in the animation & gaming industry, South Seas assists graduates to obtain industry jobs, from key animator to storyboard artist.

    Animation student robot artwork

  • Career Opportunities in Animation

    • Game Asset Artist: building characters props & vehicles for games
    •  3D Character Animator: animating characters for films and television & games
    •  Effects Animator: animating fx sequences e.g. explosions, fire, water, magic
    •  3D Modeler: create 3D models for characters, creatures, vehicles and props
    •  3D Texture Artist: developing materials e.g. skin, clothing, etc.
    •  Storyboard Artist: drawing storyboards for animated tv series & live-action films
    •  Environment Design or Layout Artist: key locations for animated films & gaming
    •  Concept Artist: concept design for games, animated & live-action film & tv productions
    •  Flash Animator: general animation production using Flash for tv & web
    •  Digital Paint Artist: painting characters, backgrounds & props
    •   2D Character Animator: hand-drawn animation specialist
    •   Clean-up Artist: final line drawing specialist for 2D animation
    •   Pre-viz Artist: 3D staging & shot planning for film & television

    …and many more.


  • Animation Course Content

    The diploma course provides up to date animation training for the gaming, television and film industry. It develops professional production skills for CG artists and animators.

    Curriculum Overview

    There are 8 course training modules covering all aspects of animation. Each module builds on the core skills of Character Animation & Story Art.

    Year 1

    • Game & feature asset creation, model & texture props and characters
    • 3D Character animation: Body mechanics, acting, gesture & attitude
    • Effects Animation: Fire, Fluids, Smoke, & fundamental FX techniques
    • Lighting, rendering and compositing
    • Clean-up: refining imagery ready for the screen.
    • Drawing, character design, composition & colour, anatomy

    Year 2

    Year 2 is all about professional skills development. Training includes:

    • Layout & Entertainment Design. Develop design & 3D production art skills
    • Story Art & Character: Staging for story, advanced animation shots, facial animation
    • Short film project: Work as a team and also develop individual strengths
    • Create your own demo-reel. This is your ticket to the industry!
    • Opportunity for internships: Each year we select suitable students for internships
  • South Seas Animation

    Student Head Artwork

2018-2019 Calendar for Animation Production Course

Graduation TBC

Term 1 (11 weeks)

Term 5 (11 weeks)

Term begins: Wed 31 Jan 2018 Term begins: Jan/Feb 2019
Term ends: Fri 13 April 2018 Term ends: Apr 2019

Term 2 (11 weeks)

Term 6 (11 weeks)

Term begins: Mon 23 April 2018 Term begins: Apr 2019
Term ends: Fri 06 July 2018 Term ends: Jul 2019

Term 3 (9 weeks)

Term 7 (10 weeks)

Term begins: Mon 16 July 2018 Term begins: Jul 2019
Term ends: Fri 14 Sept 2018 Term ends: Sept 2019

Term 4 (10 weeks)

Term 8 (10 weeks)

Term begins: Mon 24 Sept 2018 Term begins: Sept 2019
Term ends: Fri 30 Nov 2018 Term ends: Nov/Dec 2019

2017-2018 Calendar for Animation Production Course (Level 5 & 6)

Graduation TBC

Term 1 (10.5 weeks)

Term 1 (11 weeks)

Term begins: Wed 01 Feb 2017 Term begins: Tue 30 Jan 2018
Term ends: Thurs 10 April 2017 Term ends: Fri 13 Apr 2018

Term 2 (11 weeks)

Term 2 (10 weeks)

Term begins: Mon 24 April 2017 Term begins: Mon 23 Apr 2018
Term ends: Fri 07 July 2017 Term ends: Fri 29 Jun 2018

Term 3 (10 weeks)

Term 3 (10 weeks)

Term begins: Mon 17 July 2017 Term begins: Mon 16 Jul 2018
Term ends: Fri 16 Sept 2017 Term ends: Fri 21 Sept 2018

Term 4 (09 weeks)

Term 4 (09 weeks)

Term begins: Mon 02 Oct 2017 Term begins: Mon 1 Oct 2018
Term ends: Fri 01 Dec 2017 Term ends: Fri 30 Nov 2018

2016-2017 Calendar for Animation Production Course

Graduation TBC

Term 1 (10 weeks)

Term 5 (11 weeks)

Term begins: Wed 03 Feb 2016 Term begins: Tue 31 Jan 2017
Term ends: Fri 15 April 2016 Term ends: Thu 13 Apr 2017

Term 2 (11 weeks)

Term 6 (11 weeks)

Term begins: Tues 26 April 2016 Term begins: Mon 24 Apr 2017
Term ends: Fri 08 July 2016 Term ends: Fri 07 Jul 2017

Term 3 (11 weeks)

Term 7 (10 weeks)

Term begins: Mon 18 July 2016 Term begins: Mon 17 Jul 2017
Term ends: Fri 16 Sept 2016 Term ends: Fri 22 Sept 2017

Term 4 (10 weeks)

Term 8 (10 weeks)

Term begins: Mon 26 Sept 2016 Term begins: Mon 02 Oct 2017
Term ends: Fri 02 Dec 2016 Term ends: Fri 01 Dec 2017


  • Immerse Yourself in Animation

    At South Seas we believe in total immersion – hands on, full on training. You will spend 40 hours a week (or more!) on your animation skills – life drawing, creative drawing, analysing films/games and computer animating.

    Total immersion is not for everyone. It’s for people who are passionate about animation and want to work hard – while surrounded by people who share that passion. Training at South Seas Animation School will propel you head-first into something you love – your future job. Imagine that!

    Student Artwork

  • Advantages of South Seas Animation School

    • The school is a fully equipped film production facility, and includes a film studio, sound recording suite (incl. ProTools) & Avid editing suites, lighting & audio equipment. These are utilised throughout the training, for filming animation and effects reference, recording character voices, foley & sound fx and even working with editors in post-production, to cut & tweak short animation projects
    • We run the most comprehensive character animation & gaming programme in NZ, with in-depth practical training in character performance and facial animation. We develop & use our own custom 3D rigs
    • The course is taught by industry professionals, with extensive experience in film, games & television
    • We focus on character and story driven animation & production artwork
    • Limited classes of 16, means more opportunity for 1-1 with tutors & greater access to resources

Requirements & Fees

  • Animation Course Entry Requirements

    • The Diploma in Animation Production Course is open to all New Zealand and International students.
    • New Zealand applicants must be 17 years or older and preferably completed secondary school studies.
    • Internationals applicants must be 18 years or older, completed the equivalent of secondary school studies and must have English language skills equivalent to IELTS level 6:0.
    • All applicants must complete a course application form, (preferably online) provide necessary documents and submit a portfolio of relevant drawings.
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Animation Course Fees

Animation Production Diploma Course – Fees & Costs (Level 5 & 6)
Domestic Student Fees International Student Fees
Tuition Fees (GST Inc @ 15%) NZ$16,744.25 Tuition Fees (GST Inc @ 15%) NZ$18,791.00
Less Govt EFTS Subsidy NZ$ 7,124.25
NetDomestic Fees NZ$ 9,620.00 Total International Fees NZ$18,791.00

The Animation Diploma is a 2 year course and the costs above are per year. Additional costs for Animation Production: Students should allow approx $200 per year for stationary and another $150 per year for field trips as well as general course costs.

Animation – Graduate Stories