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Saiyora-Saga
08-25-2011, 02:08 PM
I currently attend the Academy of Art University, but due to some problems I've been having out of the school, I'm very much considering transferring schools.

I've never done this before, and I'm not sure what to expect, or if I should throw expectations out the window.

I work part-time just to make ends meet with groceries, rent, and other small things. I don't live with my parents, but rather with my soon to be husband.

But I've been looking around at a few different schools which seems significantly cheaper in the long run then AAU. (I'm in my second year and at least 20K in debt)

What I'm looking for:
A school to teach me how to model and animate 3d characters.
What My Goal Is:
To work as a character designer/3d animator for video games.

I've looked into Vancouver so far, and found it close to what I'm looking for. I'm just hoping that they'll be able to take Financial Aid.

I've also looked at AnimSchool but I believe its far from what I'm looking for. It's more Pixar related from what I've seen.

Then theres iAnimate who also seems Pixar related.

With these schools out there, theres also the option of going to a local community college to work in there animation program. But I have a lingering fear that they wont teach me what I want.

I also have a fear that a lot of these schools are not going to teach me what I need for the industry, ill graduate and have no job... :curious:

Any recommendations/Advice out there? Would be greatly appreciated.

Thank you.

matmonkfish
08-25-2011, 04:56 PM
hi Saiyora-Saga

in terms of the animation schools you mention... i dont think you should overlook them. they do aim at the feature film market, but in general they just teach proper animation with all the proper principles, including body mechanics which can be used in games too.

agktran3d
08-26-2011, 03:55 AM
Hey Saiyora-Saga!

Seems like your at quite a bit of a cross road, I was at this stage once. I went from a local digital college to a different one that seemed like they had more of an 'interest' in gaming, but I was exceedingly disappointed by the curriculum they taught, eventually it got me no where after graduating for a bachelor.

I'm currently studying with AnimSchool so my opinions might be bias but hopefully the experience that I share with you might squash any concerns or doubts. I love the program, originally I wanted to get into CG live action studios that don't really deal with principles you see in animated features like pixar or dreamworks. So it was quite a bit of a gamble for me to choose AnimSchool, and to add to the doubt there were the talented teacher from Bluesky that are renowned for their sense of cartoony animation. However as soon as Dave (Founder) laid out to me what the program and the teaching intention behind it all, I knew it was going to arrowhead me in the right direction.

For any school to teach you both modelling and animation, I feel there's not a lot of emphasize on either one for a student to be classed as a professional CG artist. With the AnimSchool program you do get a choice either the character where you model or choose to rig, and then there's the animation where you learn the principles of animation. Now in the animation course you do get taught modelling and rigging aspects to add to your tool belt that will benefit you as an animator.


I'll touch on what you wanna hear now, when it comes to game studios if your going for an animators role the thing that you need to be proficient is your body mechanics, and animating from all angles. The AnimSchool program will teach you the necessary skills, we have a teacher Tony Bonilla that's former Bluesky animator turned animator for a big game studio. If you want to do cinematics for a gaming company you will need to know your body mechanics and your acting. The teachers are really experienced working from the industry, I'm currently being taught by Garrett which use to be ex-animator at EA games now Bluesky animator and he always brings up examples from experiences when he was at EA.

I think as a student everyone should look deeper in the program and what they will offer to teach you rather then what the surface may appear.

Again I've been through that stage and I feel AnimSchool has provided a really unique program, I don't think you should look anywhere else but that's my opinion :)

Good luck hunting!

agktran3d
08-26-2011, 03:56 AM
and here's our facebook page!

http://www.facebook.com/pages/Animschool/174875139232456

:)

Saiyora-Saga
08-29-2011, 11:07 PM
There seems to be a lot of hype about the Anim School, and I don't doubt that its a good school at all. But one of the problems I would encounter if I were to do that school would be the inability to transfer credits as Anim is not an accredited school, and I would be wasting tuition dollars at that point.

I would also want to be earning a degree, not a certificate that says I can do it.

Secondly, since it is not an accredited school, I would be chased after 6 months to repay my debts.

I'm considering honestly, dropping down to an AA and then returning much later for my BA.

Fess1001
08-30-2011, 03:36 AM
IMO it's a bit of a waste and an overkill to take a degree purely in CG. :/ What about completing a degree in a cheaper art school and just learn cg/technical stuffs on your own via digital tutors/gnomon, and maybe take a masterclass or two down the road if necessary? Traditional art education, if it's good, can do wonders for your 3d work...

Polaroid29
08-30-2011, 03:59 AM
Hey, an AAU buddy! I'll be starting there this fall semester as an Animation major. Our situation might be a little different because I'm focusing specifically on character modeling rather than animation, but the way to get there is gonna be pretty similar I think. AAU is expensive, but I think any accredited college you go to is going to be very expensive over the span of 2/3/4 years.

That being said if you want to focus specifically on animation, I've heard a million amazing things about Animation Mentor, seeing as their entire staff are artists who are CURRENTLY working in the industry, rather than some guy who worked on that one movie as a TD in 1985.

Do most companies care about degrees? I was under the impression that your demo reel is what's going to ultimately get you the job.

Anyway, hope it works out for you :). Hopefully I'll enjoy AAU.

Saiyora-Saga
08-30-2011, 02:27 PM
IMO it's a bit of a waste and an overkill to take a degree purely in CG. :/ What about completing a degree in a cheaper art school and just learn cg/technical stuffs on your own via digital tutors/gnomon, and maybe take a masterclass or two down the road if necessary? Traditional art education, if it's good, can do wonders for your 3d work...


Well, if you look at the specifics of the course in AAU, its not purely in CG. They require you to take fundamentals of art and other courses which lead up to CG I've already taken 2 of the 4 required formal art classes required. Also I've already gone over the option of what you suggested. Cost is actually the only problem for me.

Hey, an AAU buddy! I'll be starting there this fall semester as an Animation major. Our situation might be a little different because I'm focusing specifically on character modeling rather than animation, but the way to get there is gonna be pretty similar I think. AAU is expensive, but I think any accredited college you go to is going to be very expensive over the span of 2/3/4 years.

That being said if you want to focus specifically on animation, I've heard a million amazing things about Animation Mentor, seeing as their entire staff are artists who are CURRENTLY working in the industry, rather than some guy who worked on that one movie as a TD in 1985.

Do most companies care about degrees? I was under the impression that your demo reel is what's going to ultimately get you the job.

Anyway, hope it works out for you . Hopefully I'll enjoy AAU.

I'm learning about both. And yes, the way to get to where you're headed is very similar. I imagine you'll be taking a lot of the same classes I already did.

Not all accredited colleges are too expensive. By the time I graduate with a BA in Computer Animation, I will be 122K in debt.
A simple AA costs 50K in debt.

Each unit of class is $780.00 and there are 3 units per every class.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not entirely knocking on AAU's education. So far I've learned a good bit and believe that I wouldn't be here today without those start up basics.

But you'll find that there are some drawbacks to AAU, especially if you're an online student like myself.

As far as a demo reel goes, you're right. It will get you the job, but probably not a high enough salary to pay off your debts.

Fess1001
08-30-2011, 10:21 PM
Well, if you look at the specifics of the course in AAU, its not purely in CG. They require you to take fundamentals of art and other courses which lead up to CG I've already taken 2 of the 4 required formal art classes required. Also I've already gone over the option of what you suggested. Cost is actually the only problem for me.


Oh yeah, I know. I am actually in my graduate year in 3d animation program here (3d modeling major). You were saying that this is too expensive, and I agree - I was just suggesting to perhaps consider a cheaper degree with greater return for the $. :/ What AAU has isn't bad, and a number of required traditional art classes is definitely a step in the right direction - but you're missing out if you're taking those online, plus, the following required CG classes, if you don't have a decent 3d/animation portfolio, are things like intro to maya and stuff you can learn on your own with DT for maybe $120 over 3 months, vs ~$3000 that a degree class costs.

In my experience here, there are only maybe 4-5 classes in 3D animation/3d modeling that are (arguably) worth $3000. All the other stuff can be easily picked up on your own, if you're dedicated, via the already mentioned formats. Imo, a better degree breakdown would be all traditional classes on-site + 4-5 CG classes (which could be workshops or masterclasses, if they aren't offered in school). Anyway - just my 2c :)

//I ve taken 5 CG classes so far, being very selective, yet only 3 of them were worth $3k. The rest were traditional, and, imo, they were all worth it -- plus more for some that were taught by masters.

Saiyora-Saga
09-05-2011, 09:43 PM
Oh yeah, I know. I am actually in my graduate year in 3d animation program here (3d modeling major). You were saying that this is too expensive, and I agree - I was just suggesting to perhaps consider a cheaper degree with greater return for the $. :/ What AAU has isn't bad, and a number of required traditional art classes is definitely a step in the right direction - but you're missing out if you're taking those online, plus, the following required CG classes, if you don't have a decent 3d/animation portfolio, are things like intro to maya and stuff you can learn on your own with DT for maybe $120 over 3 months, vs ~$3000 that a degree class costs.

In my experience here, there are only maybe 4-5 classes in 3D animation/3d modeling that are (arguably) worth $3000. All the other stuff can be easily picked up on your own, if you're dedicated, via the already mentioned formats. Imo, a better degree breakdown would be all traditional classes on-site + 4-5 CG classes (which could be workshops or masterclasses, if they aren't offered in school). Anyway - just my 2c :)

//I ve taken 5 CG classes so far, being very selective, yet only 3 of them were worth $3k. The rest were traditional, and, imo, they were all worth it -- plus more for some that were taught by masters.

It's a very tough choice to make. I'm taking the fundamentals class online since I live in Florida. Well... everything is online. And to hell if I'm going to the Art Institute for my education, I've heard a lot of bad mess about that place, even from a fellow colleague who had trouble with them.

I do enjoy what AAU has to offer... I can't say I haven't learned anything as of yet. A lot of it just has to do with my impatience and my timing in life (ie my personal goals of having my own place and getting married before 30). That said, I don't want to hold someone dear to me back in life at all as well, even though we've talked it out.

Have you started applying for internships yet? Are you seeing a lot of interest in your portfolio? Did you go for your AA or your BA?

Fess1001
09-05-2011, 11:47 PM
Have you started applying for internships yet? Are you seeing a lot of interest in your portfolio? Did you go for your AA or your BA?

I am doing a BFA. I haven't really started applying anywhere yet as I am kind of at a crossroads myself.. (i.e. I am thinking of continuing education with possibly another degree.) As for interest in my portfolio -- I had some before starting in this school, with my old demo reel. I reckon if I was going for a 3d job right now, I'd probably get some interest too -- granted I spend some time finishing off my latest works. :/

Yeah, I can imagine changing schools/re-planning everything is pretty nightmarish. Good luck -- I hope you find something good that's not too expensive. Oh, and just a fyi regarding Art Institutes -- I've read somewhere that their degrees aren't accredited properly, so if you wanted to transfer to another school or do a masters, you wouldn't be able to with their degree. :/ Maybe worth finding out..

Saiyora-Saga
09-06-2011, 02:40 AM
I am doing a BFA. I haven't really started applying anywhere yet as I am kind of at a crossroads myself.. (i.e. I am thinking of continuing education with possibly another degree.) As for interest in my portfolio -- I had some before starting in this school, with my old demo reel. I reckon if I was going for a 3d job right now, I'd probably get some interest too -- granted I spend some time finishing off my latest works. :/

Yeah, I can imagine changing schools/re-planning everything is pretty nightmarish. Good luck -- I hope you find something good that's not too expensive. Oh, and just a fyi regarding Art Institutes -- I've read somewhere that their degrees aren't accredited properly, so if you wanted to transfer to another school or do a masters, you wouldn't be able to with their degree. :/ Maybe worth finding out..

Your portfolio is really great. I'm hoping that AAU can help me build up to at least that level. Maybe I'll just stick with AAU. I know it and I'm pretty comfortable with it and I've only had one real problem thus far. I suppose the best thing to do is push forward and not think about the money at this time, and concern myself with working on an excellent demo reel?

Fess1001
09-07-2011, 01:18 AM
Your portfolio is really great. I'm hoping that AAU can help me build up to at least that level. Maybe I'll just stick with AAU. I know it and I'm pretty comfortable with it and I've only had one real problem thus far. I suppose the best thing to do is push forward and not think about the money at this time, and concern myself with working on an excellent demo reel?

Thanks, although, I should probably mention that I went to another art/cg school before AAU. :/ The demo reel in my portfolio (the 2007 one) is what I had before I started here. As a result, I didn't have to take most of the required CG classes and could just concentrate on art fundamentals, traditional stuff, etc. If you can't waive/transfer in the required classes, then you'll be taking a ton of really basic maya stuff instead of something more useful (high end)..

Plus, I also go to workshops here at aau, I've been taking various online masterclasses, and, on top of all the required homework -- which takes a ton of time by itself -- I would also work on my cg stuff in whatever spare time is left. About 90%+ of all the digital stuff in my portfolio (2d and 3d) was done on my own time (at night, over weekends/holidays/semester breaks, etc - not as part of a class homework). AAU is only maybe 60% of what I do. Don't intend this to come off as bragging and I don't know what your artistic background is, but just so that you don't have unrealistic expectations (especially if you're getting in debt with this school) as it can only get you so far :/

Saiyora-Saga
09-08-2011, 12:53 AM
Ahh, well its good work.

At the moment I'm playing around in Maya, while reading into an Introduction Maya book on my own time. I'm still just a novice, but I love what I'm getting into. But there's only so much I can do with my free time.

Polaroid29
09-08-2011, 03:57 AM
Hey there, so I started at AAU and I'm really enjoying it so far.

I didn't realize before that you were doing it online. One awesome thing that I don't think a lot of new AAU students know about yet is our full access to the entire Digital Tutors library for free. That's worth a huge chunk of money in itself, so you should look into that for your Maya fundamentals or anything else if you feel like you're not getting enough in your classes.

Almaghest
09-09-2011, 12:34 AM
Have you considered SCAD? It would be relatively close to where you are now (so you wouldn't be far from your fiance/family) and they have a ton of classes on what you want to do. They are actually very generous with scholarships and counting transferred classes, so you can definitely cut the sticker price waaaaay down.

I do think you're smart to be considering something other than AAU, especially if you're doing it online. While I can't say anything about the quality of their education, a lot of the value of spending money on one of the "big name" art schools is visits from recruiters and networking with peers, which you can't do online.

carson4k
09-10-2011, 07:53 PM
Well, this is just one idiots opinion, but this is what I would do if I were you.

Transfer to FAU. It's local, state run, cheaper and most if not all of your credits would transfer. They have programs in both. Visual Arts and/or Multimedia Studies. Get either your BA/BFA or at a minimum your AA.

I'm not sure how you are paying for school now, but we all know the private art schools are very expensive. FAU would lower your cost which probably allow you to work your way through school due to the lower cost and limit the amount you have to futher borrow. You can also get Federal Stafford loans. Stay away from private educational loans... the interest will kill you after you graduate.

Don't waste the time and especially money you've spent at AAU by just walking way without some type of degree. Especially since you have to pay that money back anyway.

http://www.fau.edu/scms/undergrad.php

http://fau.edu/vaah/undergraduate.php

Sure, it might not be as sexy as AAU but it's got teeth. I think many students today dramatically overlook the value of a traditional art education, it pays off in spades in the long run. And I think the value of a degree is overlooked.

Yes, your portfolio/reel is the determining factor but there are very few of those animation jobs out there, be it Pixar style character anim or Gaming or VFX, it's just a very small industry stuck in the middle of a horrible economy. There will be times you might have to work for a corporation and not a studio. More often than not those corporation HR depts require a college degree as part of their corporate hiring structure. I know my company requires a BA, even though my portfolio got me the job in the end, my degree didn't keep me from not getting the job. Thus having that college degree, while it won't get you a job these days, it does keep your options open by not limiting the jobs you can apply for.

I think schools like AnimSchool, iAnimate and AnimMentor should be looked at as more of a focused Graduate program. You can always go back and do that at anytime.

Saiyora-Saga
09-14-2011, 11:15 PM
Well, this is just one idiots opinion, but this is what I would do if I were you.

Transfer to FAU. It's local, state run, cheaper and most if not all of your credits would transfer. They have programs in both. Visual Arts and/or Multimedia Studies. Get either your BA/BFA or at a minimum your AA.

I'm not sure how you are paying for school now, but we all know the private art schools are very expensive. FAU would lower your cost which probably allow you to work your way through school due to the lower cost and limit the amount you have to futher borrow. You can also get Federal Stafford loans. Stay away from private educational loans... the interest will kill you after you graduate.

Don't waste the time and especially money you've spent at AAU by just walking way without some type of degree. Especially since you have to pay that money back anyway.

http://www.fau.edu/scms/undergrad.php

http://fau.edu/vaah/undergraduate.php

Sure, it might not be as sexy as AAU but it's got teeth. I think many students today dramatically overlook the value of a traditional art education, it pays off in spades in the long run. And I think the value of a degree is overlooked.

Yes, your portfolio/reel is the determining factor but there are very few of those animation jobs out there, be it Pixar style character anim or Gaming or VFX, it's just a very small industry stuck in the middle of a horrible economy. There will be times you might have to work for a corporation and not a studio. More often than not those corporation HR depts require a college degree as part of their corporate hiring structure. I know my company requires a BA, even though my portfolio got me the job in the end, my degree didn't keep me from not getting the job. Thus having that college degree, while it won't get you a job these days, it does keep your options open by not limiting the jobs you can apply for.

I think schools like AnimSchool, iAnimate and AnimMentor should be looked at as more of a focused Graduate program. You can always go back and do that at anytime.

I would actually love nothing more then to transfer out to a state university. But unfortunately... I really got the short end of the stick when I was born to my family, (I do love them. Don't get me wrong.) But part of my problem there has to do with not being prepared to go to a college of the state. My mother never told me to take my SAT's or even prepared me for college in the future. I'm guessing because she never went to college herself and dropped out and she didn't know how to prepare me herself. Times were hard too with my family, they lacked the money for a lot of things.

I did talk to someone about transferring into a state college, and I don't meet any of the requirements.

I've pretty much come to terms that I'm going to be in a heck of a lot of debt.

Saiyora-Saga
09-14-2011, 11:16 PM
Have you considered SCAD? It would be relatively close to where you are now (so you wouldn't be far from your fiance/family) and they have a ton of classes on what you want to do. They are actually very generous with scholarships and counting transferred classes, so you can definitely cut the sticker price waaaaay down.

I do think you're smart to be considering something other than AAU, especially if you're doing it online. While I can't say anything about the quality of their education, a lot of the value of spending money on one of the "big name" art schools is visits from recruiters and networking with peers, which you can't do online.

I've heard good things about SCAD. One of my friends actually went there, but he was chopped off in his last year because he couldn't find a co-signer for his loans... I'm a bit worried that may be my case in the end...

Almaghest
09-17-2011, 09:31 PM
It definitely wouldn't hurt to apply and see what they offer you, you might be surprised. I think they run free online application days (they used to be Tuesdays) so you might not even have to pay an application fee. If you are going to be in a lot of debt anyway it would be ideal to be physically at a school making connections with peers and recruiters.

But yeah, I know a number of people in the same situation as your friend, which is really unfortunate. The nice thing is SCAD will let you pick up where you left off for several years, so you can take time off for financial reasons if you have to without it effecting your class standing or scholarships. Most classes are offered year round so it doesn't put you back too badly to take a quarter off (unlike at many state schools where classes are only offered in either fall or spring.)

Kanga
09-18-2011, 04:50 AM
You want to be a bit careful with expecting others to 'prepare you' for anything. Also a philosophy of 'there is only so much I can do with my spare time' wont really advance or aid you. You are already 20k down the tubes and I only see one picture in your gallery.

Designing and building functional characters takes a lot of practice and there is a big amount of technique tied to that work. There is much competition because it is a small market and really talented artists produce great work in a short time. Very motivated students stand a chance of finding employment. Unless you are very well connected if your folio sucks you are going to find it very tough indeed.

Saiyora-Saga
10-14-2011, 06:26 PM
You want to be a bit careful with expecting others to 'prepare you' for anything. Also a philosophy of 'there is only so much I can do with my spare time' wont really advance or aid you. You are already 20k down the tubes and I only see one picture in your gallery.

Designing and building functional characters takes a lot of practice and there is a big amount of technique tied to that work. There is much competition because it is a small market and really talented artists produce great work in a short time. Very motivated students stand a chance of finding employment. Unless you are very well connected if your folio sucks you are going to find it very tough indeed.

I'm just going to say, because there only is one picture in my gallery doesn't mean I have other pieces of work laying around. I just haven't updated anything because I'm busy with school. :curious:

I don't know... one tries putting their foot in the right direction only to find that its actually a pitfall trap. :banghead:

Polaroid29
10-14-2011, 06:42 PM
If you are going to be in a lot of debt anyway it would be ideal to be physically at a school making connections with peers and recruiters.

This is in my opinion one of the most important parts to consider. Honestly, the classes are great and I'm learning quite a bit, but I'm reallllly getting my money's worth by being able to get direct, instant feedback in person from my teachers on not just my class work, but also my portfolio, and to me that has been such a huge help so far. I feel like going to art school online really defeats the purpose, especially when you can just get Digital Tutors tutorial dvds for a very small fraction of the cost.

I know you're attending AAU online right now, are you not able move on campus? I would give their financial aid department a call and really grind them about your situation and if you are persistent enough, you should definitely be able to work out getting some state money to help.

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