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 in a range of moving image, interactive and immersive fields, including 3D animation, visual effects, gaming, cinematic production, motion graphics, motion capture, and augmented and virtual reality.

New Zealand is a world leader in the development and use of innovative technologies in the entertainment industry, including cinema, television, gaming, mobile applications and online platforms. This has also benefitted other areas like architecture, health, education, engineering, data visualisation, and fine arts practice to name a few.

The Digital Design major focuses on four pathways:
•    Animation
•    Visual Effects
•    Game Design
•    Virtual and Augmented Reality (VR/AR)

These pathways can overlap and combine flexibly, and encompass other key areas like motion capture, cinematic production and motion graphics. For example a student project might bring together live action and digital elements in a cinematic visual effects production, or combine 3D animation with interactivity for a gaming or virtual reality experience.

The curriculum is future-focused, with a project-based learning environment that deploys cutting-edge digital practices, state-of-the-art lab facilities, and strong ties to industry.

Key features

•    Growing demand for digital design skills, not just in the entertainment industry
•    Studio, lab-based learning environment with a fully equipped green-screen studio, games lab, stop-motion animation room, and virtual reality lab
•    You will have access to AUT's state-of-the-art 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, Assembly, TV3 Auckland, Ogilvy Advertising, Yukfoo Animation, Brandspank Ltd, Images and Sound, Fish ‘n’ Clips, and One To One Hundred, Staples VR etc.
•    Be involved in live industry projects
•    Present your final year work to the media and industry through the annual AUT Art and Design festival
•    When you graduate, you will be career-ready and have the skills necessary to further your development in this field

More information about the Bachelor of Design

Career opportunities 

•    3D animator
•    Game designer
•    Visual effects artist
•    Motion capture artist
•    Virtual reality designer
•    Data visualisation
•    User experience designer
•    Motion graphic designer
•    Editor
•    Cinematographer
•    Art director
•    Interactive designer
•    Postgraduate research

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:
DIGD705 Motion Capture (15 points)
DIGD706 Advanced Digital Cinema (15 points)
DIGD707 Motion Capture Project (15 points)
DIGD708 Professional Practice for Digital Design (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: 23-Aug-2017 10.51am

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