Digital Design major - Bachelor of Design

Making the magic

This compilation features a range of student work from the Digital Design department at AUT’s School of Art and Design. These ‘making of’ videos, ‘breakdown’ sequences, and animation exercises and tests expose the often complex creative and technical processes behind creating digital animation and visual effects shots and sequences, much of which is invisible in the finished work.

In taking on these creative challenges, Digital Design students learn to develop their skills as visual effects and animation artists, through creative and imaginative visual storytelling and communication through the mastery of a range of moving image, animation and graphics software tools.

Click here for more student videos.

Digital design skills are in high demand. Movies and games are only the beginning; digital design and 3D animation are also key for architecture, engineering, health, gallery facilities or education. New Zealand is extremely well regarded in the moving image field, a field the government is keen to help develop further.

The Digital Design major focuses on the application of new and emerging technologies in the field of moving image. It covers everything from 3D animation, cinema, serious gaming and visual effects to motion graphics, television commercials and other emerging technologies. These include mobile phone apps and interactive installations for performance.

The Digital Design major in the Bachelor of Design (BDes) enables you to become a creative problem-solver and effective story teller, approaching each project with a variety of creative solutions. You learn how to animate 3D characters and place them into any moving image project, whether animated or cinematic. You also learn how to write, plan, research, shoot and post-produce a digital cinematic narrative. Visual effects within a digital cinema field is another area extensively covered and one many students specialise in.

Key features

  • Growing demand for digital design skills, not just in the entertainment industry
  • Focus on animating 3D characters, and create digital narrative and visual effects
  • Studio, lab-based learning environment
  • You will be based within your first year cohort but will interact with students from other majors and year levels in your minor
  • You will have access to AUT's cutting edge Motion Capture Lab
  • 60 hours of work experience in a field of your choice in the final year of study for organisations such as Flux Animation Studio, Watermark, Toybox, TV3 Auckland, Ogilvy Advertising, Yukfoo Animation, Brandspank Ltd, Images and Sound, Fish ‘n’ Clips, and One To One Hundred
  • Present your final year work to the media and industry through the annual AUT Art and Design festival
  • This major can serve as a pathway into further study. Many Digital Design graduates continue into postgraduate study to specialise further in an aspect of digital design
  • When you graduate, you will be work-ready and have the skills necessary to further your development in this field

More information about the Bachelor of Design

Career opportunities

  • 3D animator 
  • Art director
  • Cinematographer
  • Game artist
  • Interactive designer
  • Motion capture artist
  • Motion designer
  • Screen arts
  • VFX artist
  • Postgraduate study


Entry requirements

  • University Entrance
  • Portfolio of art work
  • An interview may be required
  • Applicants for whom English or Māori is not their first language must provide proof of their English proficiency. IELTS (academic), completed within the last two years is the preferred test for entry. Minimum IELTS (academic) requirements are as follows: 6.5 overall with all bands 6 or higher


All papers are delivered over one semester and are worth 15, 30 or 45 points. You will need to complete 120 points each year and 360 points for the entire degree. In each year you will study and complete core compulsory papers within your major and selected minor.

See list of minors

Year 1 papers

Level 5:
DIGD501 Digital Design Studio I (30 points)
DIGD502 Digital Design Studio II (30 points)
DIGD503 Introduction to 3D Animation (15 points)
DIGD504 Theory and Context I (15 points)
DIGD505 Theory and Context II (15 points)
In addition you will study one paper at level 5 from the minor that you have selected.

Year 2 papers
Level 6:
DIGD601 Digital Design Studio III (30 points)
DIGD602 Digital Design Studio IV (30 points)
DIGD603 Theory and Context III (15 points)
DIGD604 Theory and Context IV (15 points)
In addition you will study two papers at level 6 from the minor that you have selected.

Year 3 papers

Level 7:
DIGD701 Digital Design Studio V (30 points)
DIGD702 Digital Design Studio VI (45 points)
DIGD703 Theory and Context V (15 points)

With a further one paper from the following:
DIGD704 Serious Gaming (15 points)
DIGD705 Motion Capture (15 points)
DIGD706 Advanced Digital Cinema (15 points)
In addition you will study one paper at level 7 from the minor that you have selected.

Click here for more information about papers.

Additional course information can also be found here

Enrolment in papers is subject to meeting all prerequisite requirements and availability of enrolment space in each paper.

Please email for programme information.

Last updated: 22-Mar-2017 3.05pm

The information on this page was correct at time of publication. For a comprehensive overview of AUT qualifications, please refer to the Academic Calendar.