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Associate Degree of Animation


Bring the world of your imagination to life.

Animation is pure imagination. Few industries allow you to mix art and technology to create what has never been seen before. Animation is also a profession where technical expertise and application is as important as raw talent, and this is where SAE comes in.

Our Associate degree is all about building your character and credentials by giving you hands-on experience in a broad range of topics related to the Animation and Computer Graphics industries, such as:

  • Character animation (2D/3D) 
  • Visual storytelling
  • 3D modelling & computer graphics
  • Visual effects & motion graphics

At SAE you won’t find yourself in a lecture with 300 people or even in a traditional lecture at all. You’ll be in a studio environment gaining experience with software like Autodesk Maya, Autodesk 3ds Max, ToonBoom Harmony, Substance Painter, Unreal Engine 4, Unity, SideFX Houdini, Foundry NukeX, Pixologic ZBrush and Adobe Creative Suite and so on, to help bring your ideas to life.

Your growth and development will be assessed through the completion of investigative and practical industry-based projects. This will ultimately help you build up a body of work and portfolio to share with potential employers or first clients.

In preparation for an industry that commands agility and adaptability, you'll cut your creative teeth on projects initially in partnership with your course peers. As your skills develop and you work on more dynamic projects, you’ll apply your capabilities to cross-discipline projects. By the end of your course, you could be collaborating with fellow students across SAE's global network.

Ultimately, this is all about a qualification that will expand your career. There is work placement as part of your course, to provide practical experience and help build your network. This equips you with employability skills, giving you professional strategies in communication and self-promotion. For those wanting to go the extra, and thousands of miles, you can complete up to two trimesters of your course at selected SAE campuses across the planet. Suddenly, real-world experience just went worldwide.

*SAE has a range of approaches to learning and teaching that can be activated to provide flexibility in the face of changing circumstances as required, to support student progression regardless of external factors.

Check out our SAE campuses






Byron Bay








Find out more about Studying Animation at SAE

Enquire Now


Graduate roles may include

  • Post-production for broadcast media
  • Architectural visualiser
  • 2D and/or 3D Animator
  • Product visualiser
  • 3D Modeller
  • Motion graphics designer
  • Game asset artist
  • Educational media production
  • Environment artist
  • Motion graphics designer
  • Concept artist
  • Post-production for broadcast media
  • Technical artist
  • Character artist


Alex Halstead


Alumni Superstars
Alex Halstead is an internationally recognised and accomplished visual effects artist. Having graduated with a Diploma in Animation from SAE Brisbane

"The excitement of learning something new each week and sharing a classroom with passionate, like-minded people" - was what Alex enjoyed most about his study experience at SAE Institute.

Read more


Software available

Adobe Creative CloudNukeAutoDesk






  • Brisbane
  • Byron Bay
  • Melbourne
  • Perth
  • Sydney



SAE has implemented a remote flexible learning option for current and future students. The range of tools developed by SAE will not only allow students to collaborate online but also gain experience in remote working practices widely used within the creative industries.

  • Learn advanced-level industry-standard animation tools, such as Autodesk 3DS Max and Maya and the Adobe Creative Suite.
  • Experience an Animation course designed in collaboration with industry partners, develop the skills the film and interactive media industries want.
  • Work with artists, designers, web, mobile and game developers, filmmakers, animators, and audio specialists.
  • Learn from Animation industry veterans who are masters of their craft.
  • Develop high-level special effects in collaboration with filmmakers.
  • Learn and apply narrative theories to produce compelling animated films.
  • Work with game developers to produce rich worlds, assets, and animation for interactive media titles.
  • Learn in a collaborative, studio-based environment where your teachers are also your mentors.
  • Learn and apply industry-standard project management methodologies from day one.


The Animation Associate Degree program is broken up into discrete stages, each designed to promote different skills.

Stages of Animation Degree

Stage I – Foundational Skills Development
In Stage I, students will undertake a number of foundational modules which will give students the essential technical skills and knowledge not only relevant to the chosen discipline area, but also give students the skills required to collaborate with other creative media students and professionals in later stages of the Animation course. Students will also undertake deliberate practice and weekly rituals including reflective journaling that will assist students in identifying the skills, knowledge, and behaviours required to develop their creative media practice throughout their studies.

Stage 1 has one studio module:

1. Animation Studio 1
Students engage in a collaborative studio-based learning environment, to produce a short animation under client direction and in response to a brief. Students will be guided through their exploration of production methods needed to pitch effective creative concepts to potential producers. By working in small groups, various creative and organisational challenges will be encountered throughout this process, requiring the application of appropriate project management techniques to help ensure the brief is successfully met.


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Stage II – Interdisciplinary Projects, Media and Cultural Studies

In Stage II we show students how their work contributes to and interacts with broader culture and media practice through common modules and studio modules. This knowledge will enable students to work with a variety of other disciplines and artists and expand their potential on the global stage. Within Stage II, students will work closely with facilitators to identify key learning outcomes needed to complete modules. The deliberate and reflective practice assists students through their studio modules, playing an active reflection role throughout the learning journey.

Student projects within Stage II are reflective of real-world scenarios. These may contain real-world dilemmas (societal issues that require solutions) for authentic audiences. The projects work by simulating professional practice and constraints, allowing students to gain an understanding of how a range of constraints can impact projects within professional practice.

Stage II has two studio modules

1. Animation Studio 2

During this module, students work collaboratively on a series of projects within simulated studio environments with a facilitator acting as a project manager, producer mentor, and colleague under real-world timeframes. Emphasis is placed on advancing students' development of the fundamentals of animation production through conceptualisation, planning and executing rapid animations, short films, and contributing towards a portfolio. Working under clear time frames enables students to explore a range of project management skills, creative and technical aspects that are required to produce workflows in a collaborative, cross-discipline and individual workspace.

2. Animation Studio 3

In collaboration with peers, students will work towards developing several projects. Emphasis is placed on students' development of intermediate animation production, including rapid animation production, short films and continuing work on their portfolio. Continued work within a simulated work environment strengthens the students' skill set in the technical and time management aspects and develops transferable skills that are highly valued within the industry.

Stage III

Stage III of the Bachelor of Animation is designed to prepare students for entry-level professional industry roles and to undertake postgraduate studies. Stage III develops a student’s capacity to work with the collaborative and geographically diverse world of creative media practice.

To prepare students for this, SAE project supervisors and facilitators work with Stage III students to develop sophisticated, collaborative creative media projects which meet the professional standards of the industry. These final projects are done in collaboration with all other SAE disciplines, either on campus or remotely, enabling students to pursue their most ambitious and creative portfolio pieces so far.

To support this, students in Stage III learn advanced discipline-specific skills and knowledge, experience remote collaborative practice with their peers across the SAE campus network, broaden their skills and knowledge through studying elective modules in other disciplines, or in creative media business and entrepreneurship and finally, gain industry feedback on their transferable skills through the finalisation of SAE’s creative industries Work Integrated Learning Program.

Stage III is NOT included in the Associate Degree.

SAE Institute Australia Fees and Financing



Vocational outcomes of the Associate Degree of Animation

Students who have completed the Associate Degree of Animation would have opportunities in the professional workplace as:

  • 3D Generalist

  • Character Artist 

  • 2D and/or 3D Animator
  • Media Industry Specialist
  • Motion Graphics Designer 

  • Concept Artist
  • Storyboard Artist
  • 3D Asset Modeller
  • 3D Character Modeller
  • Junior Rigging TD
  • Surfacing Artist
  • Junior Lighting TD
  • Production Coordinator
  • Junior Assembly & Layout Artist


SAE Animation graduates have been involved with many well-known creative media companies, including:

  • Big Ant Studios
  • The Voxel Agents
  • Trickster Games
  • Australian Regenerative Medicine Institute, Monash University
  • Ignition Studios
  • VR Solutions
  • Chroma
  • Buzinga
  • Firemonkeys
  • Learning Seat
  • Thales Australia 
  • Visual Playground
  • Iloura
  • Animal Logic
  • Fin Design
  • Plastic Wax
  • Glitch Productions


Associate Degree of Animation
Trimester 1 (1st Year)
Animation Studies and PracticeDrawing for AnimationFoundations of Computer GraphicsIntroduction to Animation
Trimester 2
Contemporary Industrial PracticesApplied Animation TechniquesAnimation Studio 1
Trimester 3
Media StudiesAnimation Studio 2
Trimester 4 (2nd Year)
Cultural PerspectivesAnimation Studio 3
  • Creative Industry Unit
  • Discipline Specialisation Unit


  • Storytelling
  • Drawing
  • 3D graphics
  • 2D & 3D animation
  • Post production
  • Principles of design
  • Industry knowledge
  • Studio practice
  • Principles of animation
  • Animation tools
  • Project management
Trimester 1
Animation Studies and Practice
Drawing for Animation
Foundations of Computer Graphics
Introduction to Animation
Trimester 2
Contemporary Industrial Practices
Applied Animation Techniques
Animation Studio 1
Trimester 3
Media Studies
Animation Studio 2
Trimester 4
Cultural Perspectives
Animation Studio 3
  • Creative Industry Unit
  • Discipline Specialisation Unit


  • Storytelling
  • Drawing
  • 3D graphics
  • 2D & 3D animation
  • Post production
  • Principles of design
  • Industry knowledge
  • Studio practice
  • Principles of animation
  • Animation tools
  • Project management

Key Info


    4 Trimesters Fast Tracked Full Time

    6 Trimesters Full Time


    Sep 2021

    Feb 2022

    May 2022


    Enrol By: 24 Sep 2021

    Trimester Start: 20 Sep 2021

    Trimester End: 27 Aug 2021



Entry requirements

Applicants for degree courses must satisfy one of the following minimum entry criteria:

  1. Completion of an Australian Senior Secondary Certificate of Education (SSCE) or equivalent, OR
  2. Completion of a diploma level qualification issued under the Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF), OR
  3. Experience Based Entry for applicants who do not meet the requirements above. 'Enquire Now' or call 1800 723 338 directly for more information.

Fees and Payments

Fees: view our current Fee Schedule for information on SAE course fees.

Payment options: Fee-Help, or upfront trimester instalments.

Credit and recognition of prior learning

SAE may recognise your prior learning and may grant credit towards satisfying the requirements for a VET or a higher-level program. This is applied where previous learning is considered equivalent to the content and learning outcomes prescribed for modules within the program.

For full details, please refer to SAE's policy on recognition of prior learning and credit transfers.

Find more information on how to apply and the enrolment process here, or call 1800 723 338 to speak with a course advisor.


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