MA in Digital Animation by Coursework

The focus in this programme is on the art of animation. Students learn to see, think and understand the possibilities of animation through seminars, viewings and workshops. Digital Animation students hone their 3D skills on Maya, learning how to design, model, light, and animate three-dimensional characters together with strong production management skills.

Graduates can expect to find employment as animators, animation producers and production managers. We have past students working in some of the most highly regarded and cutting edge animation studios in South Africa, such as Luma, Bugbox, Triggerfish and Bladeworks.


You must have a good 4-year professional degree (Such as a BA Fine Arts, BA Dramatic Art, Computer Science Hons or Software Engineering etc) and an average of 65% or above for an Honours degree. The animation course requires you to submit a portfolio of work with your application. The portfolio needs to show evidence of prior 3D learning and a basic understanding of the principles of animation. You may also be asked to come in for an interview.

Course Structure

You are required to do the Digital Animation AND Professional Practice in Digital Arts: Animation courses along with a choice of theory course, either Animation Studies or Critical Debates in Digital Arts. In addition you are required to do a Research Project of between 15 000 – 20 000 words. (This project may include a component of practical work.)

WSOA 7012 – Digital Animation:

In this first semester Digital Animation course, students are introduced to the principles of animation, storyboarding and character design. They are also exposed to all phases of the 3D production pipeline, namely: modelling, texturing, lighting, rendering, rigging and compositing. Along with their practical projects they will research and complete essays on selected topics they have been taught in order to deepen their understanding of the animation process and theory.

The 1st semester culminates in the June exam which is an intensive 3D project that requires the student to create a 10 second animated piece. The focus of this exam is on performance and storytelling.

(Course Outline)

WSOA 7026 – Professional Practice in Digital Arts: Animation:

The second semester Professional Practice in Digital Arts – Animation course gives the students an opportunity to work collaboratively as part of a team on the production of an animated short film. The students work in groups and conceptualise story ideas that they pitch to the lecturers in a professional manner. The students are required to collaborate with WSOA Music Students for their sound design and score for the film. The entire second semester is spent on this project that prepares them for what to expect as a professional animator in the industry. The project is designed not only to encourage students to share ideas, but also to focus them on the art of good storytelling in a limited time frame. We make an effort to keep our project ideas new and fresh every year to provide diversity. Subsequently the projects vary greatly in style and the different collaborations bring something new to the department every year. Students are also taken on industry visits in the second semester in order to gain an understanding of the South African animation industry and the job opportunities that are available to them once they have completed their degrees. Additionally they attend Master classes hosted by industry professionals to improve their skills.

We strongly encourage collaboration and Digital Arts has productive  relationships not only with the South African animation industry, but also with other departments, professionals and artists working in animation all over the world.

(Course Outline)

WSOA 7035 – Animation Studies:

This is a seminar course in which candidates collaboratively explore key films and critical texts in the history and theory of animated film. In the Animation Studies seminars candidates engage with the fascinating history of animation from its roots in motion machines to contemporary digital cinema while learning to develop their analytic, presentational and writing skills. Students get to grips with the most important questions in contemporary animation studies, from the influence of the Disney studio to the impact of globalisation on animation production systems, to questions of representation and politics in character design. This course will prepare practitioners and scholars to understand animation as an international and African form of creative practice.

(Course Outline)

For more information about the Digital Animation programme, contact:
Bronwyn Horne,
Tel: 27 (11) 717 4614

Apply for this programme