Animation Arts


The Digital Entertainment Industry has grown exponentially since the dawn of the internet and mobile technology. Today, animated content and games constitute some of the most successful entertainment products in the world. Even though South Africa is a fledgling player in this multi-billion international industry, at the Open Window we believe strongly that we have the talent and the skills needed to be world class contenders.

Animation Arts is primarily based on narrative development in an interactive engaging context. Students learn the fundamental principles driving the medium, and develop their own distinct artistic abilities. Our experienced faculty takes a proactive approach to introduce students to the latest industry trends and technologies. Animation Arts includes the following major subjects: 3D Animation, Game Design and Motion Design.

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3D Animation

If you are drawn to the idea of putting a soul into a character you have created and then making it move with cutting edge technology, it could indicate that you are ready for a career in 3D Animation.

Whereas 2D Animation is closely related to disciplines such as fine arts and design, 3D Animation has more in common with sculpting and puppetry. It is the mixture of these principles operating in the ever-evolving digital domain that makes 3D Animation such a truly diverse form of art.

The course follows the latest industry trends and provides the necessary skills to participate in the rapidly expanding digital entertainment industry. Students receive hands-on training in the production of high-end 3D content for narrative, visualisation and interactive applications.

Careers include 3D Artist; 3D Animation-Compositor; 3D Concept Artist; Character Animator and 3D Animator.

Second Year 3D Animation
Elective Modules

3D Character Development 201

Students study the digital concept art industry and the techniques of prominent artists in the field. Based on this investigation, students produce character sketches and costume and prop designs. The process concludes with 3D sculpting, lighting and digital renders.

3D Character Set-up 202

Students focus on the creation of fully functional character armatures that can be used by animators to control character performance and interactive behaviour. In addition students will learn to create blend-shapes for facial animation and customise parameters for increased functionality in animation and game application.

Digital Environment Rendering 203

Students investigate 3D environments suitable for a digital animation production. Students are required to design original environments and assets, which are then modelled, lit, textured and rendered to create convincing worlds for 3D films and games.

3D Special Effects 204

Students study the application of visual effects that enhance the impact of the visual message. Students create realistic, dynamic simulations that blend effortlessly into real footage using lighting effects, hard and soft body simulations, particle effects, and fluid simulations.

Game Design

If you can challenge the laws of reason and imagine worlds and experiences where anything and everything is possible, then you could be a game designer.

The purpose of the game designer is to create a series of visual elements that guide the player through a world of intricate decisions, laws, obstacles and perils, and to turn all that into a thrilling immersive experience.

This course uses the latest tools and technologies to explore creative possibilities in this rapidly expanding digital entertainment phenomenon. Students dissect popular games, identify core mechanics and design intricate logic systems for various development platforms such as mobile, desktop, console and Virtual Reality.

Careers include: Game Designer; Game Artist; Level Designer; Game Animator.

Second Year Game Design
Elective Modules

Concept Art for Games 201

Prerequisites: None

Students are provided with the visual communication skills to translate key elements from game design documents or scripts into pre-production material. Students will use various visualisation techniques to interpret their own game concept or narrative.

Real-time Animation and Physics 202

Prerequisites: Game Design 101

Students unpack real-time animation and physics by investigating topics such as simulation systems, state machines, interactive character animation and gameplay dynamics. Students create various interactive objects that behave physically in a virtual environment.

Real-time Rendering Techniques

Prerequisites: Game Design 101

Students explore the aesthetic capabilities of real-time render engines and the development and realistic representation of non-static real world objects in a computer game environment.

Game Publishing 204

Prerequisites: Game Design 101

Students investigate various publishing and monetisation options and work on the preparation of their projects for publishing. In addition, students prepare a variety of promotional material for their games.

Third Year Game Design
Elective Modules

Prototype Development 301

Prerequisites: Game Design 101

Students scrutinise the game prototype development process. Students will produce professionally resolved proposals for a game with original prototypes that are well documented, play-tested and analysed for further development.

Game Enhancement Techniques 302

Prerequisites: Game Design 101

Students explore various interactive concepts and technologies. The range of student projects includes human-computer interaction, robotics, ergonomic design, motion capture techniques, facial or gestural recognition, augmented or virtual reality, computer vision and other modern device capabilities.

Game Art & Interface 303

Prerequisites: Game Design 101

Students focus on the development of visual elements for games with an emphasis on theme specific design, texturing, lighting and mood. Students explore parameters relating to usability, colour, resolution, access speed, playability, aesthetics, navigation and layout that mediate the design process.

Motion Design

If you are captivated by the poetry of movement, 2D animation and visuals that spin, split and explode… this subject is definitely for you.

The simplicity and beauty of creating an animation out of basic objects is one of the oldest of the moving image arts. Today it covers everything from traditional hand drawn animation, to stop-frame animation, motion graphics, information visualisation and even special effects. The course explores traditional animation, compositing and motion graphics.

These skills are used to produce TV channel inserts, movie title sequences, music videos, animated infographics and visual effects. You will be immersed in a hands-on experience, whether studying traditional or digital animation.

Careers include: 2D Animator; Motion Graphics Artist,  Motion Designer; Special Effects Designer

Second Year Motion Design
Elective Modules

Motion Design Techniques 201

Prerequisites: None

Students are introduced to the essential motion design techniques of working with shapes, masks, 2D space and expressions. Students complete a series of short animations aimed at developing proficiency in industry standard software Adobe After Effects.

Digital 2D Character Animation 202

Prerequisites: Motion Design Techniques

Students investigate digital 2D character animation techniques using a supplied character model. The student sets up a rig with facial expressions, and animates a walking/talking character. Emphasis is placed on following the appropriate workflow using Adobe After Effects and Illustrator.

Digital Compositing 203

Prerequisites: None

Students complete a series of compositing and motion-tracking exercises with an emphasis on understanding the technical concepts that underlie digital compositing. The student follows the appropriate workflow to achieve seamless results.

Visual Effects 204

Prerequisites: Digital Compositing

Students explore visual effects techniques specific to Adobe After Effects. Additionally, third party plugins are used to create a series of visual effects exercises including green screen chroma keying. Emphasis is placed on the workflow necessary to achieve convincing results.

Third Year Motion Design
Elective Modules

3D for Motion Design 301

Prerequisites: Digital Compositing

Students explore the integration of 3D objects within a 2D environment by incorporating 3D modelling, animation and rendering techniques into the process. Emphasis is placed on workflow between Cinema 4D and Adobe After Effects and setting up files to facilitate compositing for broadcast-quality output.

Information Visualisation 302

Prerequisites: None

Students investigate the art of representing large sets of complex data in intuitive ways. The student produces a graphic model focused on allowing people to see, explore, and understand large amounts of information at once.

Projection Mapping 303

Prerequisites: None

Students explore the various applications and methods of mapping moving images onto three-dimensional structures and complex surfaces. Students will be familiarised with the tools necessary to create spatially augmented reality for installations and live events.

General Elective Modules Applicable to all
Animation Arts students

Research Skills 303

Students are introduced to research in the different academic disciplines and are instructed in researching live action and animated film production. Students study the principles, concepts and methods of rigorous, open-ended humanities-based research and academic writing, with an emphasis on the role of critical thinking. In addition, they study the foundational role of analysis and critical interpretation in both reading research and film criticism.

Professional Practice 304

Students are introduced to subject specific professional practice and general business principles and procedures. Project and personal financial management essentials are described and issues of Tax, Vat and Labour Law elaborated. Students are guided through the concepts and conventions underpinning business practices such as agreements, contracts, project schedules and general bookkeeping. Emphasis is placed on developing a thorough understanding of key professional practice components to enable them to enter the workplace as confident and informed professionals.

Package Information

Stop Motion Animator


2D Animator/Motion Designer


Indie Game Developer


3D Animation Generalist



2nd and 3rd Year

Open your window to infinite possibilities…

Department Heads

Jozua Loots

Jozua Loots

Academic Coordinator
Subject Manager: Sound Design

B IS (Information Science) UP
B IS Hons (Information Science) (Cum Laude) UP
MMus (Music Business & Technology) (Cum Laude) UP

Stephan Calitz

Stephan Calitz

Practical Coordinator
Subject Manager: Game Design

BA (Visual Communication Design) OWI
Enrolled for BA Hons (Visual Communication) OWI


Devon Callaghan

Devon Callaghan

Lecturer: 3D Animation

BA (Visual Communication Design) OWI

Jan van der Walt

Jan van der Walt

Subject Manager: Motion Design

BA Hons (Visual Communication Design) OWI

Sean Viljoen

Sean Viljoen

Subject Manager: 3D Animation

BA (Visual Communication Design) OWI
BA Hons (Visual Communication) OWI

The Open Window (Pty) Ltd (company registration 1973/015860/07) is registered as a Private Higher Education Institution by the Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET) with Registration Certificate Number: 2000/HE07/016. Open Window (Pty) Ltd courses are accredited by the Council on Higher Education (CHE) and registered with the South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA) under the Higher Education Act, 1997. For more information, please contact Open Window on 012 648 9200.
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