Home Programs & Diploma Diploma of Advanced 3D Productions
Diploma of Advanced 3D Productions PDF Print E-mail

Course description:

Advanced 3D Productions is an intensive two-year course that will set you up with the skills you need to enter and thrive in this demanding industry. You’ll come away with a Graduate Diploma, sophisticated levels of 3D production capability, and solid team production experience.

The intensive nature of this course and its standing as New Zealand’s premiere specialist 3D animation qualification will go a long way to give you a competitive edge when vying for positions in the New Zealand and international market. Our course content has been developed with input from industry advisors from around the world – including Weta Digital and Animal Logic.

Completing both years of the Advanced 3D Productions course will set you up to play a key specialist 3D technical role, and open up wider and higher industry opportunities. You’ll come away with a great understanding of the production pipeline and be ready to hit the ground running.

First year:

The first year of the Graduate Diploma is common with the Diploma of 3D Computer Animation.

Second Year:

For your final year you’ll gain a huge upward shift in your knowledge from the first year. This includes: computer graphics theory, advanced modeling and digital sculpting (Mudbox and ZBrush), traditional and CG lighting, advanced rigging and MEL scripting, advanced image-base lighting, dynamic particles and cloth simulations, photorealistic rendering (using global illumination) and compositing in Nuke.

An emphasis on team projects during this year mirrors the sort of production pipelines, pressures and deadlines you’d expect out in the industry. The projects involve 3D based animation (full CG), and the integration of CG with live action. You’ll need research, creativity and innovation to get the amazing final results.

Career paths:

Graduates from the Advanced 3D Production course could expect to find employment opportunities primarily in the following areas:

• 3D Generalist
• 3D Modeller
• 3D Texturer
• 3D Animator
• Lighting TD (Entry Level)
• Creature TD (Entry Level)
• Effects TD (Entry Level)

Course breakdown:

Intro and Modelling Weeks 1-9 (Year 1)

You’ll begin your course by getting used to the tools of the trade, including both practical and theory components for Maya, Photoshop, After Effects and practical Photography. Then in week 5 you’ll move onto organic and inorganic modelling, a core skill for 3D animation.

Rigging and Animation Weeks 10-19 (Year 1)

Starting with your first Pre-Production (relating to your final 12-week end of year project) in week 10, you’ll then move through the principles and practical techniques of both rigging and animation. Including: Rigging techniques (covering goals and ideas), principles of animation, blocking and smoothing, timing and facial animation.

Texture, Lighting and Rendering Weeks 20-27 (Year 1)

Week 20 starts with your second Pre-Production session, then learn the skills behind texturing, lighting and rendering – including: storyboarding, lighting techniques and practices, shading models and materials, UV layout, texture painting, rendering techniques and troubleshooting

Final Production Weeks 28-40 (Year 1)

Week 28 starts with your final Pre-Production week, before launching into the production for your 12-week, end-of-year 3D project itself that will hone and showcase the skills you’ve learnt. You’ve got until week 40 to meet the deadline!

Photography, Lighting, Modelling, Nuke & Still Life Project Weeks 1-14 (Year 2)

In the first 14 weeks of the course you’ll cover a lot of ground from photography to CG Lighting, and spend the weeks from 10-14 doing a 3D Still Life project. You will cover: first-week introduction, photography practical & theory, CG lighting I & II, modelling, 3D paint & sculpting, compositing with Nuke, Mel & the 3D Still Life project.

Rigging and Animation Weeks 15-19 (Year 2)

Weeks 15-16 is an intensive period of rigging and some animation. Then you’ll get a week’s break before launching into Dynamics for two weeks.

First Team Production Weeks 20-29 (Year 2)

After a week’s production prep and learning about Story, you’re into your first team production – 10 weeks total for a full CG animation short film. Week 32 is a big one, as you present your first project.

Research Project Week 30 (Year 2)

A week long research project which culminates in the delivery of a master class on a selected topic with the field of 3D graphics.

Second Team Production Weeks 31-40 (Year 2)

No time for a breather: from week 33 you’re straight into your second team production, a CG live action VFX integration animated short film. This is your chance to show off everything you’ve learned in the last two years.

Entry requirements:


Minimum 19 years


A tertiary degree (creative or digital content specific), or relevant industry experience and/or skills.

If applying without a tertiary degree you must have a written endorsement from your tertiary providers and/or employer supporting your application.

Cross-crediting into second year:

Graduates with Level 6 or above specialist diplomas in 3D Animation (such as the Media Design School Diploma of 3D) and/or relevant 3D industry experience (including a strong working knowledge of Maya and Photoshop) may apply for cross crediting and if successful join the second year.

Portfolio Requirements:

Relevant visual work such as 2D and 3D animation, computer generated imagery and digital media.


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