Did you know that the menacing tiger in Life of Pi was not a real life tiger, but was instead masterfully created through digital animation? Or how about in X-Men: First Class when Emma Frost transforms into her magnificent diamond form? That was created digitally too!
Even more remarkable is that both the tiger in Life of Pi and Emma Frost’s crystallisation were actually created by Malaysians, right here in Malaysia!
If you have always wanted to create animated cartoons, visually stunning movies or even video games, a course in digital animation could be the path for you!
This guide explores everything you need to know about studying a Digital Animation course in Malaysia, from what it’s all about and what you’ll learn, to career options and opportunities!
The Basics of Digital Animation
What is Digital Animation
Digital animation isn’t only used in animated cartoons like Toy Story, How To Train Your Dragon and our very own homegrown animated series BoBoiBoy — it’s also widely used in advertisements, films as well as games!
From quirky, loveable cartoon characters to terrifying dinosaurs a la Jurassic World, Digital Animation has enabled many people turn fantasy into a reality by creating characters and stories that they can share them with the world.
And the best part? With the huge technological advancements that we’re experiencing today, it’s only going to get better!
What Are the Various Fields of Digital Animation?
|Field||What It Is All About|
|TV Series & Movies||Animators in this industry often work on animated TV series / movies, or create realistic scenes (e.g. fight scenes) for non-animated feature films|
|Commercials & Ads||Animators in this field work with advertising agencies to produce 3D animations for commercials, and may also work on 3D visualisations of products|
|Video Games||Video game animators bring characters and scenarios in games to life, creating characters and ensuring that they move realistically & convincingly|
|Educational Videos||Animators create animated instructional videos & interactive tutorials to make learning interesting, whether it's for school children or corporate employees!
Studying a Digital Animation Course
What Qualifications Do You Need?
In order to pursue a Degree in Digital Animation, you will generally need:
(1) SPM / O-Level Qualification
- Minimum of 5 credits
(2) Pre-University Qualification
- A-Level: Minimum of 2 principal passes
- STPM: Minimum CGPA of 2.0
- Australian Matriculation: Minimum of ATAR 60
- Canadian Pre-University: At least an average of 60%
Entry requirements may vary depending on university, so make sure you do your research before you decide which institution to study at!
Alternatively, you could also choose to do a Diploma in Digital Animation right after SPM.
Since Digital Animation emphasises on practical skills and creativity, it may make sense to do a Diploma as opposed to a Pre-University course after SPM. After completing your Diploma, you can still choose to pursue a Degree in Digital Animation.
In general, entry requirements for a Diploma is typically 3 credits at SPM level.
How Long Is a Digital Animation course?
A Degree in Digital Animation is generally 3 years long.
However if you decide to do a Diploma instead, it is usually 2 to 2.5 years long. Upon successful completion of your Diploma, you can choose to either start working, or enter directly into Year 2 of a Degree in Digital Animation.
What Will You Study in a Digital Animation Course?
A Digital Animation course will help you to understand the principles of design, animation and storytelling. You will also gain technical skills in using various tools and software, such as Illustrator, Maya and After Effects, to help you produce animations.
Some of the subjects you may learn include:
- 2D Animation
- 3D Modelling
- 3D Animation
- Conceptual Rendering
- Film Studies
- Visual Effects & Compositing
Most Digital Animation courses will require you to showcase a project during your final semester. Some courses may also have a semester of internship / practical training, which is crucial to help you gain industry knowledge and experience to prepare you for the working world!
Why Should You Study Digital Animation?
Here are some of the top reasons why you should study Digital Animation.
(1) You want to apply your imaginative and creative skills
As a Digital Animation student, you will be required to generate new and creative ideas all the time to complete coursework and projects. If you’ve always been inspired by works of animation, whether it’s classics like Doraemon or Pixar’s award-winning films, and have always wanted to turn your wildest ideas into a reality, Digital Animation might be just the thing for you!
(2) Allows you to work in various creative industries
Digital Animation doesn’t limit you to just producing animated cartoons, although there are opportunities if it’s what you want to do. You can always venture into advertising to create animated commercials for companies, game animation to bring gaming characters to life, visual effects for non-animated films, or even educational videos for both young and old alike!
(3) You want to experience a fun, creative and rewarding career
This is an industry where you get the opportunity to turn all those doodles and drawings in your sketch pad into real characters. Imagine being the creator, or a part of the animation team, that produces your children’s favourite childhood cartoons! It’s a feeling unlike any other when you hear them act out or recite lines from a scene that you had a hand in.
What Skills Do You Need to Study Digital Animation?
Here are some of the key qualities and skills that you will need to develop in order to do well in Digital Animation.
(1) Dedication and the drive to push boundaries
This is a course that is heavily based on practical work — expect LOTS of assignments and projects that may take you into the wee hours of the morning. Many Digital Animation students work tirelessly on honing their art and creatives because of their huge passion for the field and the determination to push creative boundaries.
(2) Creativity and unlimited imagination
Digital Animation students are often imaginative and wildly creative, bringing ideas to life. Some people may look at the Petronas Twin Towers and see it as one of our national landmarks, but an animator might imagine it to be a superhero’s headquarters! As an animator, your mind needs to be able to think creatively, and often, in very wild ways!
(3) A keen eye for detail
How will a character look like with a small twitch around the mouth? Or a twinkle in his eye? Whether you’re animating emotions and movements, creating great atmospheric effects through lighting, or designing the textures of a character’s superhero costume, you need to have a keen eye for detail. Animating can be extremely tedious, since you’re analysing and staring at the smallest of detail, but it can be extremely rewarding and satisfying to see the fruits of your labour!
Career Options For a Digital Animation Graduate
After completing a course in Digital Animation, here are some of your career options:
- 3D Animator
- 3D Modeler
- Art Director
- Concept Artist
- Design Director
- Film & Video Editor
- Motion Designer
- Storyboard Artist
- Texture Artist
- Video Game Designer
- Visual Effects Artist
Where Can You Study Digital Animation in Malaysia
Here are some of the popular institutions Digital Animation schools in Malaysia.
Diploma in 3D Animedia Technology
Campus: Shah Alam, Selangor
Intakes: Jul & Dec
Estimated Fees: RM25,300
Offers industry-relevant courses on 3D animations and creative business management
Provides a strong foundation in the development, preservation and management of intellectual property (IP)
A subsidiary of Les’ Copaque Production, the company behind the successful children series, Upin & Ipin
Bachelor of Arts (Hons) Animation
Campus: Bukit Jalil, Kuala Lumpur
Intakes: May & Nov
Estimated Fees: RM87,000
Scholarships: Up to 50% tuition fee waiver
Graduates have gone on to be employed by international studios such as Aardman Feature Animation & Mackinnon and Saunders
Degree awarded by Staffordshire University (UK)
Rated Tier 5 (Excellent) out of 6 overall by the Ministry of Education (MQA SETARA 2017)
Bachelor of Creative Arts (Hons) in 3D Animation Design
Campus: Kuala Lumpur
Intakes: Jan, May & Sep
Estimated Fees: RM68,440
Work on real, actual projects from industry clients
Graduates are equipped and ready for the industry in the areas of Advertising Agency, Multimedia Lab,Design Studio· Corporate Art Department, Television Network Station, Animation House & etc.
Employs a variety of approaches to inspire the best out of students, both in conceptualisation as well as practical hands-on work
Bachelor of Arts (Hons) Digital Animation
Campus: Kajang, Selangor
Intakes: Jan, May & Oct
Estimated Fees: RM39,860
Offers multiple scholarships and financial aids that you can apply for
Offers unique study modules, such as Sun Tzu’s Art of War and Business Strategies