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Institute of Technology or Polytechnic

Nelson Marlborough Institute of Technology (NMIT) - Te Pukenga
Nelson Marlborough Institute of Technology (NMIT) - Te Pukenga logo

New Zealand Diploma in Animation (Level 6)

This course is available


Level of Study



40 weeks

Next start date

Expected Jul 2024


Nelson Marlborough Institute of Technology


Create the future, and your own, by building on the fundamental skills and techniques learned in the Level 5 programme.

Have the opportunity to explore an area of your own interest in more depth with further project work. Choose one of two focus areas of animation in your second semester.

Many akonga choose to submit their projects to the numerous film festivals held across the motu, either individually or in teams.

This programme can be completed standalone, or you can pathway into the final year of the Bachelor of CGI.

What Will I Learn:

Professional Practice

The Professional Practice courses prepare you for work in professional and commercial CGI studios, and as an independent contractor. Content includes business acumen appropriate for freelance work, legal considerations, statutory regulations and tax obligations and an understanding of the implications of the Te Tiriti o Waitangi for animation in Aotearoa New Zealand. A vital element for a CGI professional is the understanding of the CGI production workflow and pipeline and the ability to work collaboratively in a team-based professional environment.

3D Modelling

Modelling is a fundamental skill in CGI. The products of modelling are 3D geometric assets, which can resemble anything from creatures, characters, environments, props and abstract forms. There are two types of general approaches to modelling: soft-body and rigid-body. Soft-body modelling is for organic forms, such as creatures, characters, vegetation and other natural forms. Rigid-body modelling is used for hard structures that are not usually prone to deformation, such as man-made objects like buildings, vehicles, furniture and mechanical structures.

Rigging and Animation

Rigging is the process of preparing 3D geometric assets for animation. For example, a creature would consist of a soft-body 3D modelled asset, which would then be rigged with a ‘skeleton’ or ‘armature’.

Animation is the process of manipulating rigs inside of 3D modelled geometric assets to create movement.

Dynamic Effects

Dynamics is the process of animating complex systems of movement that would be too tedious to animate through traditional manual key-frame methods. Examples include fire, smoke, fluid, explosions, physics-based simulation and crowd-based swarming and simulation of creatures and characters.

CGI Lighting, Post-production, Real-time shading

CGI lighting, post-production and real time shading include the processes of producing photorealistic lighting, shading and rendering the 3D assets to composite them with any other elements such as live-action films and real time game engines. The product is the final cinematic scene as seen by the audience.

CGI Technical Development

CGI Technical Development is a technical avenue of problem solving CGI design challenges. Often it is necessary for CGI practitioners to develop their own tools to make up for a lack of commercial off-the-shelf solutions to unique challenges. Most tools for professional CGI feature a coding interface to accommodate the development of customised functionality; the technical development courses enable the student to take advantage of these features.

CGI Project

The CGI project courses enable the learner to work on a substantial CGI project. Students will benefit from working in a collaborative environment, negotiating consensus and producing deliverables to milestones and deadlines. Projects will be tailored to the students’ area of interest.

Entry criteria

New Zealand Diploma in Animation (Level 5)

Alternative requirements

Applicants who are unable to evidence that they meet Academic entry requirements, but who can demonstrate acquired skills for tertiary study gained through study, work and/or life experience, may be approved for alternative entry by the Curriculum Manager (or delegate)

English language requirements

IELTS test: Academic score of 6.0 with no band score lower than 5.5. TOEFL Internet-based test (iBT): Score of 60 (with a writing score of 18); PTE (Academic) score of 50 with no band score lower than 42; Cambridge English Qualifications: B2 First, or B2 First for schools, or C1 Advanced, or C2 Proficiency with a score of 169. No less than 162 in each skill. OET: Minimum of Grade C or 200 in all sub-tests. NZCEL - Level 4 (Academic). Language Cert - C1 Expert International ESOL Written (LRW) PASS with no less than 25/50 in each skill and Spoken (S) PASS.

Note: Applicants who do not have evidence of English language skills and are a New Zealand citizen or permanent resident, may contact NMIT for an assessment

Applicants who have achieved NCEA Level 3 University Entrance requirements are not required to provide evidence of English language skills

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