World junior bronze medallist Dixon, competing for Great Britain, finished second in the prelims with a total of 439.50 points.
Four out of his six dives scored more than 72.00 points, with his lowest scoring effort being 66.30.
He was only beaten by Chinese star Jian Yang.
And by finishing second, Dixon avoided Yang and fellow Chinese diver Ze Wei Xu and Britain’s Noah Williams in the semi-final draw.
Dixon won his semi with some more consistent diving. He scored 429.90 points, to finish more than 13 points ahead of Australian Matthew Barnard in second.
The top three divers in each semi-final pool qualified for Saturday’s final in Gatineau, Quebec.
Dixon will dive second-to-last in the final. His competitors will be Yang, Barnard, Xu, Mexico’s Diego Balleza, and Canada’s Vincent Riendeau.
The Plymouth Studio School pupil will also compete in the men’s synchro final on Sunday with GB team-mate Williams.
Meanwhile, Dixon’s cousin Shanice Lobb will compete in the women’s platform preliminary round on Friday.