Home > Higher Certificate In Design: 3d Animation & Visual Effects Nqf5

Higher Certificate in Design: 3D Animation & Visual Effects, NQF5

SAQA ID: 97900, 120 Credits, NQF 5, Higher Certificate in Design Thinking

GDC offers a Higher Certificate in Design Thinking with a focus on 3D Animation & Visual Effects.  

This high impact 3D Animation and Visual Effects programme is for students who are interested to work in the film, TV or visual effects industry. Students will start to work as 3D artists using the popular Maya 3D software as well as the latest state-of-the-art technology and processes. Students will be exposed to all aspects of 3D modelling, animation principles and compositing techniques with the help of Autodesk Maya & Mudbox, Adobe Photoshop After-Effects and V-Ray. (Review the VR Lab block below) 



Skill sets acquired in this higher certificate programme seamlessly transitions the students into one of our BA Degree programmes. Another plus is, that students graduate with a standalone qualification at NQF level 5.



Features and Benefits

  • Greenside Design Center is an authorised Autodesk training centre.

  • Learn critical industry-required skills software and technology platforms such as Unity, V-Ray, Autodesk Maya, Adobe Photoshop and After Effects and more to the value of thousands of Rands, a critically advantageous consideration for any employer when considering.


  • Get access to the full software suites of Adobe (for 1 year), Unity3D (for 1 year), Autodesk (for 1 year) with no limitations and restriction to any functionality, all included in the price.


  • Learn how to sell your skills with our  “Freelancing for Creatives, Designers and Digital Artists, Making Money in the Gig Economy” module 

  • During the program, students will prepare and write the  Autodesk Maya User  certification. 


  • Get a free Office 365 Education A1 license, valid for the duration of your studies.


  • Online students, get support by our technology and our support and lecturing staff. The focus is on a blended learning approach. It is a combination of flexible Virtual Class online, at home exercises, activities and project-based.
  • Job placement assistance through our industry network and online recruitment portal, exclusively available to The Greenside Design Center.
  • Shared industry skills such as Project Management was added to further maximum employment success.


  • Involvement in our institution-wide community engagement project known as 10 percent. Our students across all levels of study and all disciplines, come together to form new multidisciplinary teams, and apply their design expertise to work with a real community.


  • Access to local and international student award entries

  • Industry exposure from top industry key players

  • Access to our on-campus specialised labs. This programme incorporates our MakersLab and VRLab


  • Specialized LabMakersLab
  • Specialized LabVRLab

The MakersLab gives students the chance to see their designs, ideas and innovations become a reality.

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An interactive space that helps students explore the use of Virtual and Augmented Reality in the visualizing and presentation of data.

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Admission Requirements

  • NQF4 (Competency in the English language)
  • No matric? You still have an option to do our FET Certificate: Design Foundation NQF4
  • Computer literacy (hardware functions; operating systems; file management)

Hardware Requirements

Please note that you are required to have your own computer for this qualification. GDC, in partnership with Dell and TripleH committed to supplying every student with a Dell laptop to support our DigitalCampus initiative. Available exclusively to GDC students, devices can now be financed with your tuition fees. We provide two models:



  • MEDIUMMedium Spec, Dell Latitude 5510, i7, 16GB
  • HIGHHigh Spec, Dell Latitude 5510, i7, 32GB

R19 000.00 (OUT OF STOCK)Learn More

The foundation for intense graphic and processor heavy tasks.

11th Generation Intel Core i7-11370H(12M cache, up to 4.8GHz), 15.6-inch FHD (1920 x 1080) Anti-Glare LED-Backlit Non-touch Narrow Border WVA Display, Camera & Microphone, Power Button without Touch Fingerprint Reader, 16GB (2x8GB) DDR4 Non-ECC RAM, M.2 256GB PCIe NVMe Class 35 Solid State Drive, Nvidia GeForce MX450 w/2GB GDDR6 Graphics Memory, 4 Cell 54Whr Express Charge Capable Battery, Windows 10 Pro (64 Bit), 1Y Collect and Return Service

R21 500.00 (OUT OF STOCK)Learn More

Same foundation, more memory...for those who want to get a little more serious.

11th Generation Intel Core i7-11370H (15.6" FHD (1920 x 1080) Anti-Glare LED Backlight Non-Touch Narrow Border WVA Display, Camera & Microphone, Power Button without Touch Fingerprint Reader, 32GB (2x16GB) DDR4 Non-ECC RAM, WLAN, M.2 256GB PCIe NVMe Class 35 Solid State Drive, Nvidia GeForce MX450 w/2GB GDDR6 Graphics Memory, Windows 10 Pro (64 Bit), 1Y Collect and Return Service

Salaries & Skills

* All statistics are derived from

  • Pricing & Payment Options

  • Duration

    Full Time 

    • Full Time, Contact Learning (Hybrid), 12 Months
    • Full Time, Online Learning ,12 Months
    • Classes from Monday to Friday, +- 20 hours/week



    • Part Time, Flexi Online Learning, min 12 Months, Max 24 Months
    • Classes conducted after hours over 2-3 sessions/week (on selective Saturdays)

    * Class structures are subject to change without notification. 

    Learn More

  • Career Options


    • Game 3D Asset Creator/Modeller
    • Environment building
    • Texture artist
    • Game Content Creator
    • 3D Animator
    • 3D Asset Creator (VR)
    • Product Modelling
    • Virtual Reality Specialist Consultant


  • Study Kit

    Your Teacher and Learning Material is included in your fees and will contain:


    • Free Unlimited WIFI (Unlimited, On Campus only) 
    • Autodesk student license valid for 1 year
    • Adobe student license valid for 1 year.
    • Orientation kit

What you get

On completion the student will earn:


  • NQF level 5 Higher Certificate in Design Thinking
  • Internationally recognized Autodesk Certificates for all software modules.
  • Internationally recognized V-Ray Certificate
  • Autodesk Maya Certified User Certification (upon successful completion of the certification)
  • Portfolio of Evidence, Show-reel stills and Animation


Additionally you also get

  • Portfolio of Work (world-class portfolio)

Our Learning Methods

Our learning methods is a technology mediated delivery model, focused on flexibility, accessibility, and academic support to provide the ultimate learning experience without compromising teaching time and quality.





Full Time - Contact/Hybrid

A modern twist on traditional face-to-face, full-time learning. Our contact classes are delivered via Hybrid learning, providing students with the flexibility to attend on campus, virtually, or both.

Full Time, Online

Extending our reach with online only, full time learning. Our progressive technology platform and people-supported academic journey giving students access to our classes from anywhere in the world.

Part Time, Flexi Online

Designed for the working professional, our part time programmes provide you with the flexibility to manger your own schedule and pace of learning. Sessions are conducted after hours on selected weekdays, and on alternate Saturdays.

Career Video

Watch this video to understand a day in the life of a 3D Animator. 

Throughout the year, the Higher Certificate Programme equips students with the fundamental design skills necessary to progress in any design discipline. But the final 12 weeks long project is an ‘elective’ project where students get the opportunity to specialise in 3D Animation.


3D Animation & Visual Design

  • Students who elect to specialise in 3D Animation get the opportunity to focus on print-based visual communication. They get to explore designs that might incorporate the fields of corporate identity design and logo design, poster design, editorial design, packaging, typography and type design.



Modelling and Sculpting

This module will introduce the student to the process of creating content in Autodesk Maya.

The following topics are covered in this module:

  • Understanding the software interface
  • Setting up a project,
  • Basic modelling Techniques and Principles using Maya
  • Advanced modelling and sculpting techniques
  • Project and Asset management




Cinematic Light and Colour Theory

The student will be introduced to the theory of light and how to use it with cinematic principles. Following this the student will learn how to apply these principles in the Unity game engine This module will cover the following:

  • Basic properties of Light (Reflection, Refraction, Diffusion),
  • Attenuation,
  • Colour balancing.
  • Cinematic lighting setups,
  • colour as focal point and contrast,
  • telling story with light.
  • Cinematic colour theory: cool/warm colours, emotion of colour, colour as focal point, colour for depth.
  • Creating lights in Unity for game environments.




Textures, Maps and UVW Mapping

Students will be exposed to the basic principles and workflows of texturing for games using Autodesk Maya.

This module will cover:

  • Properties of Materials in Autodesk Maya
  • Creating textures with Adobe Photoshop




Rigging and Animation

Students will be exposed to the principles and workflows of creating rigging and animation for games using 3DsMax or Maya as well as creating cinematic camera movement in a game engine.

  • Rigging and Animation in Autodesk Maya.
  • Theory and Principles of animation and motion.
  • Camera movement and setup.




Dynamics and Simulation

Students will be taught how to create dynamic simulations in Unity as well as employ particle system for special effects in their scenes

The module will cover:

  • Simulation of Physics and Particles using Autodesk Maya.




Virtual Reality

With Virtual Reality becoming one of the fastest growing fields in the game industry we believe no gaming course would be complete without introducing the student to the specific requirements and nuances of designing for this interface. Our VR module is a standalone course that will not only introduce the basic concepts of VR but also expose the student to some of the fields beyond gaming where this is being applied and the specific needs of working in those industries. This module will cover the following topics:

  • Introduction to Virtual and Augmented Reality: This topic will cover the basics of Virtual Reality, the concepts and ready to use VR environments. Learners will use their Goggles VR Headset and experience various VR environments both static and interactive.


  • Introduction to the 3D Environment using Virtual Reality: A topic to introduce students to the concept of 3D using virtual reality. By using VR, learners will conceptualize the 3D environment much quicker.
  • Modelling for Virtual Reality: Guidelines and tips for ensuring correct modelling techniques are followed to ensure the best experience.
  • Preparing your 3D Data for Virtualization and Immersion: This topic will cover how to prepare your data for the virtual reality environment. It will explore the conversion of your data through various channel, using applicable software so that it is VR ready.
  • Design Validation through Virtual Reality: Use VR for design validation.
  • Presenting your data in Virtual Reality: Using VR platforms, learn how to present and use your data in various VR scenarios, from basic stereo images to full immersive experiences.




Composition, Presentation and Storyboards

This module will introduce the students to the principles and techniques of rendering, composition and post-production of rendered content.

This module will cover the following topics:

  • Rendering,
  • Cinematic Composition and blocking principles.
  • Composite Rendering and Post Production (Adobe PS and AE).
  • Effective Storyboard and pacing principles




Portfolio Project

The world is changing and with the traditional degree not being a guarantee for employment anymore students need to show that they don’t just have the knowledge, but that they can be

innovative and apply the knowledge it as well. Employers are increasingly looking for proof of application and competence, especially in the creative fields and the portfolio has become a standard requirement for any job application.

Our course is based around the building of a complete portfolio that will allow the student to showcase skills and abilities at the end of the programme.




Freelancing for Creatives, Designers and Digital Artists, Making Money in the Gig Economy

This module will introduce the student to the exciting, tumultuous and ever-changing world of freelancing in the creative industry and the burgeoning gig economy.

The module will cover the following topics:

  • Introduction to freelancing and exploring different freelancing services
  • Exploring freelancing supporting sites and finding the right one for your skillset
  • Explore crowdsourcing and finding the right one for your skillset
  • The importance of a High-Quality Portfolio Website
  • The Importance of a professional online personal and social profile and building of your PERSONAL BRAND
  • International Job Hunting/Jobs Hunting, your market is bigger than you think


  • Campus
    Registration Close Date
    Start Date
  • 11 July 2022
    Late Registration In Progress
    18 July 2022
    Full Time, Contact
  • 13 February 2023
    20 February 2023
    Full Time, Contact
  • 11 July 2022
    Late Registration In Progress
    18 July 2022
    Full Time, Online
  • 13 February 2023
    20 February 2023
    Full Time, Online
  • 11 July 2022
    Late Registration In Progress
    18 July 2022
    Part Time, Online
  • 13 February 2023
    20 February 2023
    Part Time, Online

Include a Laptop? Yes No   Read more