3D Animation & VFX for Film

Visual effects artists, animators and compositors create the fantastic worlds, superhuman feats and spectacular imagery that you see on the big (and small) screen. AIE's 3D Animation and Visual Effects for Film program runs over two years, full-time and is designed to get you into these industries. It is a practical course designed to give the best technical training using the latest, state-of-the-art technology.

This course has been written in consultation with leading film and visual effects studios, enabling you to complete impressive film projects that showcase your skills and create a professional show-reel to impress potential employers.

Course Content

Stage One

Students develop their skills in 3D modelling, texturing, UVW unwrapping, rigging, animation, lighting, using cameras, rendering and compositing. Students will concept, model and animate character, design game levels, create high-detail creatures, build realistic environments and craft a short animated movie.

Stage Two

In year two, you’ll be set up to work in team-led structures much like real-world Industry workplaces. In addition to learning advanced high polygon modelling, realistic lighting, texturing and advanced realistic character animation, the course incorporates skills in organisation, time and project management.

The course trains you to articulate and present your ideas to peers. It will give you experience and tools for production, management, scriptwriting and essential skills for a number of career development and progression.

Short Film Production

This subject is the culmination of your studies at AIE where you will be working on a group project utilising the skills and knowledge you have developed through the course. You'll work with other students on a multi-disciplinary project. The project may be a Short Animation or a Visual Effects sequence.

You will be demonstrating knowledge of team collaboration, scheduling, and project development while leveraging the skills you have learned throughout the course to complete and deliver the film or Visual Effects project with your team.

Subjects you will study

Stage One

  • 3D Art Pipeline
  • Health and Safety in the Office
  • Principles of Animation
  • Modelling and Texturing
  • Character Pipeline
  • Character Animation
  • Digital Lighting and Compositing
  • Storyboards
  • Production Planning
  • Production

Stage Two

  • Visual Effects
  • Specialisation
  • Story Development
  • Short Film Production
  • Online Portfolio

Software You Will USe

Students utilize industry standard software and resources such as:

  • Maya — 3D Modelling, rigging, animating, lighting and rendering
  • ZBrush — High-detail sculpting and texturing
  • Adobe Photoshop - Concept art and texture maps
  • Nuke and 3D Equalizer - Compositing and match-moving
  • DaVinci Resolve - Video editing
  • Renderman — Rendering
  • Deadline — Render farm management
  • Substance Painter — High detail materials and texturing
  • Substance Designer — Creating custom materials
  • Houdini - Visual effects and animation
  • ShotGrid - Project management tool design to manage production of visual effects and animation.

Your Career Opportunities

  • Character Animator
  • Environment Modeler
  • Technical Director
  • Fur/Feathers FX Artist
  • Water FX Artist
  • Modeler
  • 3D Tracker/Match Mover
  • Digital/Matte Painter
  • Surfacing/Texture Painter

Graduates can be found working in the film, advertising and TV sectors. Common positions secured by graduates include animator, technical director, surfacing artist and modeller.

Some graduates also move into other fields including medical visualisation and simulations.

Entry Requirements

Entry for this course is based on:

  1. Interview - In the interview we are assessing your suitability for the course including any specific requirements you may have.
  2. Portfolio - we are looking for evidence of creativity which is demonstrated through a collection of works in a medium of your choosing.
  3. Copy of your Year 12 Certificate OR by achieving an Exit Level 3 score within the Australian Core Skills Framework assessments in reading and numeracy.

An Exit Level 3 score within the Australian Core Skills Framework assessments in reading and numeracy will show that you have the capability to be successful in this course. AIE can assist you with this assessment process if required and results will be reported to you as soon as practicable. As per the Department of Education and Training guidelines, assessment results are also available to the Department Secretary on request.

For more information please see our interview and portfolio page

State Funding

Students in Victoria and South Australia may be eligible for government funding for some of this course. Please refer to the following webpages:

Our Fees

Maximum tuition fees for the intake commencing February and July 2023

3D Animation and Visual Effects Tuition Fee
Year 1 CUA51020 Diploma of Screen and Media (2023) $16,750
delivered in conjunction with
CUA51120 Diploma of Visual Arts (2023) $16,150
Year 2 CUA60620 Advanced Diploma of Screen and Media (2024) $17,300
Total Fee $50,200

The VET Student Loans program allows eligible students enrolled in AIE's approved Diploma, Advanced Diploma and Graduate Diploma courses to defer part of the cost of their tuition fees. Courses are subject to maximum loan caps and students will be required to pay any fee over and above that cap. For more information visit our VET Student Loans page.

Please note:

  • VET student loans will not be approved for students who do not meet eligibility requirements.
  • VET student loan gives rise to a HELP debt that continues to be a debt due to the Commonwealth until it is repaid.
  • On successful completion of stage 1, students will be awarded recognition of prior learning or credit transfer towards Stage 2 of the Advanced Diploma.

For more information on our tuition fees, please visit our FEES page

To see our international fees, please visit our FEES page


Students can study this program in the following modes:

Study Mode Campus Day and times Hours per week
Face to Face AIE Campus in Sydney, Melbourne, Canberra or Adelaide Week days, 9am to 5pm 20 hours (full-time)
Online Day-time AIE Online Campus Week days, 9am to 5pm AEST 20 hours (full-time)
Online Evenings AIE Online Campus Week nights, 5pm to 9pm AEST 20 hours (full-time)
Online Part-time AIE Online Campus Week nights, 5pm to 9pm AEST Flexible, between 4 - 20 hours


This two-year, full-time program has been developed with industry and is delivered through the following qualifications:
3D Animation & Visual Effects Cricos
Year 1 CUA51020 Diploma of Screen and Media 106064C
delivered in conjunction with
CUA51120 Diploma of Visual Arts 106067M
Year 2 CUA60620 Advanced Diploma of Screen and Media 106065B

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