Sunday, October 3rd, 2021 Posted by Jim Thacker

Rookies 2021 rankings reveal world’s best CG schools

Background image: Félix Donadio

International student awards scheme The Rookies has announced the Rookies World School Rankings for 2021, its latest annual list of the world’s best CG schools, based on 567 institutions from 98 countries.

The US’s SCAD ranked first overall, and placed first in the motion graphics and product design categories.

In other individual categories, Korea’s SF Film School was ranked first for visual effects, the US’s Ringling College of Art and Design for 3D animation, and Belgium’s Howest for game design.

One of the world’s most comprehensive ranking schemes for CG schools
Since its foundation in 2009, The Rookies – formerly known as the CG Student Awards – has grown to become one of the world’s largest and most prestigious awards schemes for young CG artists.

The 2021 awards attracted entries from 4,100 students worldwide, up 9% on last year.

Students’ portfolios were rated by a panel of 150 judges, primarily working VFX, games and concept artists.

Individual entries were scored on a range of creative and technical criteria, with the heaviest weighting assigned to employment potential, and a median score calculated for each school.

Further bonus points were awarded for each of a school’s students reaching the list of finalists for a category: a contribution raised significantly this year.

As with any subjective rankings, individual results are open to debate, and a school’s scores are obviously affected by the extent to which it encourages its students to enter for the awards.

However, the Rookies’ scoring system is transparent and based on a large pool of data, making its rankings the best guide we’re aware of to the quality of schools worldwide.

Rookies World School Rankings 2021
Category School Location
2D Animation School of Visual Arts* USA
3D Animation Ringling College of Art and Design* USA
Architectural Visualisation SCHOOL-ing Spain
Concept Art and Illustration New3dge France
Game Design and Development Howest Belgium
Motion Graphics SCAD* USA
Product Design (New) SCAD USA
Visual Effects SF Film School Korea
Overall (All Creative Media and Entertainment) SCAD USA

An asterisk indicates that the school also placed first in 2020.

Individual categories reveal world’s best VFX, animation and game design schools
Three schools retain their top spots in individual categories from the 2020 rankings, all of them US-based.

New York City’s School of Visual Arts places first for 2D animation, Florida’s Ringling College of Art and Design for 3D animation, and Georgia’s SCAD for motion graphics.

SCAD also tops the new product design category, though only from a field of three.

Three categories have new leading schools, with Spain’s SCHOOL-ing topping the rankings for architectural visualization, Belgium’s Howest for game design, and Korea’s SF Film School for visual effects.

The incumbents in each category, 3DCollege, Think Tank Training Centre and Gnomon – all of them multiple previous winners – all remain in the top ten in this year’s rankings.

In the overall list, SCAD, buoyed by its individal category wins, moves up from fifth to first, while Gnomon, last year’s top school, falls to 16th.

Further categories for team projects
In addition, the categories for ‘production excellence’ introduced in 2019, and based on the performance of the group projects created at a school rather than its individual students, have been repeated.

Fewer schools are listed than in the corresponding invidual categories, but you can see the results in the VFX and animation categories and for game design on the Rookies website.

Read full listings of the world’s best CG schools in 2021 on The Rookies website

Full disclosure: CG Channel is owned by Gnomon.