3D Design and Animation

This course is the foundation for our creative, technical and innovative 3D studies. 3D envisions images of future products, brings life to imagination, creates lifelike simulations, and special effects in games and movies.

Vocational course

1 year

Available online

3D design and animation vocational training

A world full of possibilities

3D design is a craft that can be compared to painting and drawing. Where the painter uses canvases, brushes and paint, the 3D designer uses custom made software and computing power to create their images. 3D images can have a variety of different purposes. They can be used to create images of the impossible, give life to fantasies, lifelike simulations and creating illusions and special effects in movies. Regardless of what the products are intended for, the steps in the creation process are the same. When you create an image, you must transfer the design to the canvas. This is challenging and requires the ability to observe; to notice how things really look like. Beacause of this we work with observational drawings throughout the program.

Modeling 3D characters

A 3D designer is also a sculptor, but rather than working with clay or metal, we use digital tools for modeling. When modeling 3D, we "build" a model out of different types of objects in the software, and we manipulate and give them shapes. The objects in question can be furniture, glass, interior, exterior, houses, people or fantasy characters. How real these models look depends on how well we manage to observe the real object, and our ability to reproduce the details correctly in the 3D software. The model you have created can be compared to a sketch drawing that is not colored. To make it look real, it needs to get color and texture. In the software you specify whether the object has surface of metal, wood, leather or something else. Just like in real life, a metal surface will have different qualities than a surface of skin. After texturing, the model needs to be lighted, and we place light sources in the virtual space around the figure. Once this is done, you are ready to "take your picture". Then you let the computer show what it is capable of, and let it do all the work of putting the model together.

A mathematical model of reality

In a photo studio, you would press the button on the camera, and the camera would have the picture ready for you in the blink of an eye. In the 3D software, you also press a button, but the computer needs more time to save the image. How long depends on the complexity of the image you are creating. Since the software is actually working on a mathematical model of reality, there are many calculations to be done. Just think of how many calculations that has to be done if there are more surfaces on the model to reflect the light! This process is called rendering.

If you create an animation, each frame of film has to be rendered. There are usually 24 frames per second in a standard animated film. For one minute of finished film you will need to render 1,440 frames, or for an entire feature film of 90 minutes: 129.600 frames!

After the computer has finished rendering, you often need to tweak the images. While compositing we can stitch together multiple elements. For instance, you can add a background which is made in a completely separate process. When combining color correction and adjustment of the image, you hopefully get what your look you are after! All these steps are required for each 3D product we create.

To animate 3D characters you make rules for how they can move. Think of how our skeletons, muscles and tendons enable, and also limit, how we human can move. I order for a 3D model to come "alive" like a real person, it also needs a framework for defining the ability for movement. This part of the process is called rigging.

Learning outcomes

After finishing this course at Noroff, you should be able to plan 3D projects, anticipate challenges, solving these challenges as early in the process as possible, and ultimately create and deliver quality products within deadlines.

You will be able to create and animate the characters and objects in a manner that makes them appear believable. First, you design the characters on paper, then build and paint them digitally. When the digital model is finished, you create frameworks for them to be able to move. After they finished animated, place virtual lights and create the atmosphere, before finally ending up with a movie or a still image. Finally this is completed in post production software.

Course structure

To be good at something you need continuous training, and 3D Design and Animation is no exception. 3D is a mixture of both technical knowledge and artistic abilities. This is highly emphasized at Noroff, and we therefore facilitate our training to include both design skills and technical competency. It will be expected that you complete several drawing exercises on paper, and your software as well as technical skills must also be proficient.

The assignments in 3D Design and Animation have an objective to simulate real-life challenges that awaits in the industry, and by so prepare you for immediate employment and production after graduation.

All our students have access to the world's largest online video training website for creative professionals. Every week, new training videos are published, on anything from drawing to highly sophisticated software applications.

Career options

As a skilled 3D designer you have multiple career opportunities. Most people who study 3D Design and Animation choose to continue their studies at one of our second years of 3D studies: 3D Game Design or 3D Film Production. However, several students have had the opportunity to go directly into employement after only one year of 3D Design and Animation.

Traditionally 3D design was seen as a craft belonging to to the gaming or entertainment industry, but 3D designers are now doing amazing work in a variety of industries. Architectural visualization is about building digital houses and apartments in 3D, in order to show how a new building might look before construction has even begun. Within the advertising industry, 3D designers create ads for print media, animations for websites, and animated commercials for cinema and television.

A 3D designer can visualize products for the industrial sector for sales-, training- and planning purposes, for example for companies in the oil and offshore industry. 3D printers are also making their way into the market. Who knows what opportunities this will provide a skilled 3D designer in the near future?

Further education

Most graduates of 3D Design and Animation continue onto one of our second years of 3D studies: 3D Game Design or 3D Film Production. After two years at Noroff Vocational School, depending on which second year you choose, you have the opportunity to apply directly into a Bachelor's degree program at Noroff University College, or apply for a Bachelor abroad at Teesside University in England, Deakin University in Australia or University of South Wales in Britian.


Apply for the course

Course information

Next startup:

August 14 2017 on-campus,
August 15 2017 online.
Read more about semester start.

Campus: Oslo, Bergen, Stavanger, Kristiansand and Online Studies
Duration: 1 year
Price online: NOK 33.500,- per semester full time
NOK 16.750,- per semester part time
Price on-campus: NOK 55.750,- per semester.
NOK 1.500,- registration fee.
Approvals: Approved for loans and grants from the State Educational Loan Fund. Approved by NOKUT.
Credits: 60 ECVET

Admission requirements

Three-year upper secondary education or a vocational education certificate.

You may also apply for admission on the basis of prior learning, as described in our school regulations.

Read more about our admission requirements.

Lecturing staff

Andres Kroff

Vocational teacher and local administrator, Oslo

Adrian Lervåg Skår

Vocational teacher, Oslo

Kevin Fosse

Vocational teacher, Bergen

David Ludvigsen

Vocational teacher, Stavanger

David Froholt

Vocational teacher, Kristiansand

Kristian Foshaug

Vocational teacher, Online Studies

Jani Mattinen

Vocational teacher, Stavanger and Online Studies

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