Digital Design Major - Bachelor of Design

Digital design skills are in high demand in the moving image, interactive and immersive fields - from animation, motion capture and visual effects, to gaming, cinematic production, and augmented and virtual reality.

At AUT, you learn in a future-focused environment with cutting-edge and innovative digital practices. You gain expertise in a range of digital production and software tools, as well as an understanding of how to create and communicate stories visually, design compelling user experiences, and visualise data in engaging ways.

This major offers a lot of flexibility, and you could work on projects that bring together live action and digital elements in a cinematic production, or 3D animation and interactivity for a gaming or virtual reality experience.


This is part of the Bachelor of Design.

Start date: 2019

You need to complete 120 points each year and 360 points for the entire degree. In each year you study core compulsory papers within your major and selected minor.

List of minors

Year 1

You study the following papers

You also study one paper from your chosen minor.

Year 2

You study the following papers

You also study two papers from your chosen minor.

Year 3

You study the following papers

You also study one paper from your chosen minor.

More details about papers in this programme

Detailed programme structure and paper outlines (Blackboard)

Search for a paper (Arion)

Email artbox@aut.ac.nz

Enrolment in papers is subject to meeting all requirements and availability of papers.

The Digital Design major focuses on the following pathways. These pathways can overlap and combine flexibly, and encompass other key areas like motion capture, cinematic production and motion graphics.

Animation pathway

While this pathway focuses primarily on 3D digital character animation, it also covers stop-motion, 2D animation, motion graphics, motion capture, augmented/virtual reality, and stylistic applications ranging from photorealism to illustrative design. You’ll explore animation from idea generation to creating an industry-standard short project.

Our graduates now work in a variety of areas of the industry, including motion graphics, character animation and motion capture at Weta, art direction and animation for local studios.

Gaming pathway

The Gaming pathway not only provides students with an understanding of game mechanics and the technical skills to create and publish their own games, but also investigates narratology/ludology, environmental storytelling, interactivity, and participatory experience. It also covers the growing area of augmented/virtual reality.

You learn the creative pipeline from brainstorming to game creation, and explore commercial and independent/experimental approaches, including real-life projects for industry.

Our graduates now work as designers and technicians for local and overseas gaming studios, and virtual reality projects.

Visual Effects pathway

Visual effects (VFX) are present in most films and advertisements. VFX can seamlessly combine real and digital elements, and generate the spectacular effects that blockbuster movies are known for – explosions, pyrotechnics, stormy oceans and fur-clad gorillas. Title sequences, motion capture, and augmented/virtual reality scenes also fall under the VFX umbrella.

Our graduates are now employed by Weta, local studios, overseas production houses, and have also exhibited work in an art gallery context.

  • 3D animator
  • Games designer
  • Virtual reality artist
  • Interactive designer
  • Motion capture artist
  • Motion designer

Find out more about industry trends, job descriptions and what employers may be looking for.

Digital Design Careers

Key features
  • Access to state-of-the-art facilities
  • Strong ties to key industry organisations, including Weta
  • Growing demand for digital design skills, in the entertainment industry and beyond
  • 60 hours of work experience in the digital design industry
See yourself as
  • A story-teller
  • Technologically savvy
  • Visually creative
  • A problem-solver
  • Innovative

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