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Zolteon
03-10-2012, 05:55 AM
I know there have been a million threads on X school vs X school, I've read quite a few myself, but I have a serious question in order to prepare me for a career in the animation field.

I've been accepted to Game Art and Digital Media Arts College in Boca Raton, Florida and I have also been accepted to Computer Game Design at George Mason University. I really do want to go to Digital Media Arts College for a variety of reasons such as I'm more interested in Game Art, more specifically environment modeling/level design, rather than general game design and when I asked George Mason about a more art specific major, they told me to go major in their Art program...which kind of defeats the purpose if I'm not taking any 3D classes, right?

Well here is my dilemma, my mom won't release my trust fund or fill out the FAFSA if I choose to go to school out of state. Yea, big problem. Digital Media Arts College also requires a housing deposit before I can move in the dorms too, which makes things a little more icky. I can apply to scholarships/grants, but I can't get the student refund until 16 days (or something like that) after I am enrolled.

So, my question to you guys, is it worth it? I'm gonna include the course descriptions in a quote because I honestly have no idea what I am going to get myself into at either place. I feel apprehensive about going to George Mason because there program is rather new and I'm not sure how successful their program will be; however, I have seen work from DMAC graduates and I am overall impressed.

George Mason

Major Core (59 credits)
AVT 104 - Studio Fundamentals I Credits: 4
AVT 280 - Introduction to New Media Arts Credits: 4
CS 112 - Introduction to Computer Programming Credits: 4
GAME 210 - Basic Game Design Credits: 3
GAME 230 - History of Computer Game Design Credits: 3
GAME 231 - Computer Animation for Games Credits: 3
GAME 232 - Online Gaming and File Sharing Credits: 3
GAME 250 - Music for Film and Video Credits: 3
GAME 310 - Game Design Studio Credits: 3
GAME 330 - Computer Game Platform Analysis Credits: 3
GAME 331 - Consumer Gaming Platform Analysis Lab Credits: 1
GAME 332 - Story Design for Computer Games Credits: 3
GAME 367 - Writing and Editing Music and Sound Credits: 3
GAME 398 - Advanced Game Design Animation Credits: 3
GAME 410 - Advanced Game Design Studio Credits: 3
GAME 490 - Senior Project Credits: 2-6 (Must be taken for 6 credits)
GAME 491 - Internship Credits: 4
MUSI 101 - Introduction to Classical Music Credits: 3
Digital Media Electives (10 credits)
Select three courses from the following (one from AVT required or advisor’s approval)
AVT 354 - Digital Photo Techniques Credits: 4
AVT 382 - 2D Experimental Animation Credits: 4
AVT 383 - 3D Experimental Animation Credits: 4
AVT 390 - Video Art Credits: 4
AVT 482 - Advanced Image Making Credits: 4
AVT 487 - Advanced Topics: New Media Art Credits: 4
COMM 355 - Video Principles and Practices Credits: 3
FAVS 399 - Special Topics in Film and Video Studies Credits: 1-3
GAME 399 - Special Topics Credits: 1-4
Visual Arts Electives (8 credits)
Select two courses from the following
AVT 215 - Typography Credits: 4
AVT 222 - Drawing I Credits: 4
AVT 232 - Painting I Credits: 4
AVT 243 - Printmaking I Credits: 4
AVT 252 - Fundamentals of Photography Credits: 4
AVT 262 - Sculpture I Credits: 4
AVT 311 - Graphic Design Methods and Principles Credits: 4
AVT 323 - Drawing II Credits: 4
AVT 324 - Figure Drawing Credits: 4
AVT 333 - Painting II Credits: 4
AVT 337 - Figurative Painting Credits: 4
AVT 343 - Printmaking II Credits: 4
AVT 363 - Sculpture II Credits: 4

Digital Media Arts College

Major Core
CG 1012 BASIC MODELING 3
CG 1015 ANIMATION PRINCIPLES 3
CG 1025 DIGITAL IMAGING & PAINTING 3
CG 1045 STORYBOARDING PROCESS 2
CG 2005 MODELING FOUNDATION 3
CG 2015 ANIMATION FOUNDATION 3
CG 2021 MODELING I 3
CG 2035 ANIMATION I 3
CG 3005 CHARACTER ANIMATON 3
CG 3012 CHARACTER RIGGING & ANIM SETUP 3
CG 3025 CREATIVE WRITING STUDIO 2
GA 3030 GAME ART 3
CG 3045 DIGITAL LIGHTING & TEXTURING 3
GA 3050 LEVEL DESIGN I 3
GA 4000 PRODUCTION PIPELINE I 3
GA 4010 LEVEL DESIGN II 3
GA 4020 THESIS I 3
GA 4030 THESIS II 3
CG 4045 ADV APPLICATIONS IN ANIMATION 3
CG 4055 ANIMATION PORTFOLIO 3
GA 4060 PRODUCTION PIPELINE II 3
FS 1005 CINEMATIC TECHNIQUES 3
FS 2005 FILMMAKING 3
Fine Arts
ARH2000 COMPUTER ART HISTORY 3
FA 1005 PRINCIPLES OF DESIGN 3
FA 1015 BASIC DRAWING 3
FA 1025 FIGURE DRAWING I 3
FA 1035 THREE DIMENSIONAL DESIGN 3
FA 2005 CONCEPT ART FOR GAMING 3
FA 2015 EXPRESSIVE DRAWING

Thank you in advance.

esDeus
03-16-2012, 03:59 PM
Hi, I am currently studying Game Design at University of Central Lancashire (UK, Preston). Would like to say that there's down and uphills, some briefs doesnt make sense and some of the classes aren't so well organized as they could. But what I've notice is that it doesn't really matter what they teach or how they teach, as long as you get some decent feedback from them.

Love some of my teachers, they have lots of industry experience, so if I was you, would deffo search about industry connections, teachers experience, how much you get feedback etc, because doesnt matter what art or design course you take, all the works are done mainly as homeworks, so it all comes down to teachers.

Zolteon
03-20-2012, 08:03 PM
Hi, I am currently studying Game Design at University of Central Lancashire (UK, Preston). Would like to say that there's down and uphills, some briefs doesnt make sense and some of the classes aren't so well organized as they could. But what I've notice is that it doesn't really matter what they teach or how they teach, as long as you get some decent feedback from them.

Love some of my teachers, they have lots of industry experience, so if I was you, would deffo search about industry connections, teachers experience, how much you get feedback etc, because doesnt matter what art or design course you take, all the works are done mainly as homeworks, so it all comes down to teachers.

That's my main problem, the course has no graduates, no student work, the teachers have little information on them (some were in game design in the 90s). I've called and email and I usually get general responses. It's literally driving me up a wall.

EDIT: P.S. I want to thank you for your reply, I was nearly about to give up. I appreciate your insight a lot, and your post is helping me concede with going to a college I am apprehensive about. I might just take the Gnomon or CG workshop tutorials (I see a few that I'm interested in) just to work on my self study with Maya and scripting in Maya. I just find it ridiculous I'm going to pay for a school, and then pay for lessons to benefit what I want to do.

FrankIowa
03-21-2012, 12:04 AM
Tyree:

Have you made any environment models or designed any levels for games? For example, have you used any 3D software packages to model or downloaded the UDK, CryEngine, or Unity game engines and played around with them? The reason I ask is to determine if you really know that you want to be an environmental artist (or just “think” that is what you would like to do). You are making an important decision that will have a major impact on your future. If you could get a job as an environment artist in the game industry without completing a degree—would you jump at the chance?

If you really want to get a position in the game industry I would recommend that you take some fundamental courses at a community college (especially art and drawing) and then get your hands on the student version of Autodesk Maya or 3dsMax and select a game engine, such as Unity, and jump right into learning how to model and input assets into a game engine as well as design some levels. You could learn the game art pipeline by buying some training DVDs from Gnomon Workshop, eat3D, 3dMotive, and other providers. CG Society has game art workshops that are taught by experienced teachers. You do not need a four-year degree to get a good job in the game industry. You need to develop a portfolio geared toward the position that you want. There are several game-related sites where you can post work and get critiques to help you improve (as well as make contacts).

The DMAC core contains a lot of animation-related courses. Having some background in animation is not a bad thing, but if you do not want to become an animator then you will be spending a lot of time taking courses that will “get you a degree,” but not move you closer to the field that you are interested in. If I had to “pick and choose” from the course list, I would select modeling, game art, level design, digital lighting & texturing, basic drawing, three dimensional design, and production pipeline. But you won’t get to “pick and choose” if you want a degree. Learning how to model, texture, and light are important for environment artists. Some environment artists start out in environment prop and "set dressing" positions. It will require some experience before you get to do actual "design" (unless you start with a small Indie company).


The GM major core contains courses such as “Music for Film and Video” and “Writing and Editing Music and Sound Credits” that really appear to reflect the background of the program director and founder’s primary field (music). I can’t identify one course in that list that would clearly cover the environment art pipeline. If you want to be a game artist you need to jump into realtime game art heavily. You want to learn from people that have developed game environments and learn the pipeline as quickly as possible.

I do not want to dissuade you from getting a degree, but a degree from either institution will not guarantee you a job doing what you want to do. You asked “is it worth it?” I believe, based on what you want to do, that the answer is “probably not.”

Zolteon
03-21-2012, 01:38 AM
Tyree:

Have you made any environment models or designed any levels for games? For example, have you used any 3D software packages to model or downloaded the UDK, CryEngine, or Unity game engines and played around with them? The reason I ask is to determine if you really know that you want to be an environmental artist (or just “think” that is what you would like to do). You are making an important decision that will have a major impact on your future. If you could get a job as an environment artist in the game industry without completing a degree—would you jump at the chance?

If you really want to get a position in the game industry I would recommend that you take some fundamental courses at a community college (especially art and drawing) and then get your hands on the student version of Autodesk Maya or 3dsMax and select a game engine, such as Unity, and jump right into learning how to model and input assets into a game engine as well as design some levels. You could learn the game art pipeline by buying some training DVDs from Gnomon Workshop, eat3D, 3dMotive, and other providers. CG Society has game art workshops that are taught by experienced teachers. You do not need a four-year degree to get a good job in the game industry. You need to develop a portfolio geared toward the position that you want. There are several game-related sites where you can post work and get critiques to help you improve (as well as make contacts).

The DMAC core contains a lot of animation-related courses. Having some background in animation is not a bad thing, but if you do not want to become an animator then you will be spending a lot of time taking courses that will “get you a degree,” but not move you closer to the field that you are interested in. If I had to “pick and choose” from the course list, I would select modeling, game art, level design, digital lighting & texturing, basic drawing, three dimensional design, and production pipeline. But you won’t get to “pick and choose” if you want a degree. Learning how to model, texture, and light are important for environment artists. Some environment artists start out in environment prop and "set dressing" positions. It will require some experience before you get to do actual "design" (unless you start with a small Indie company).


The GM major core contains courses such as “Music for Film and Video” and “Writing and Editing Music and Sound Credits” that really appear to reflect the background of the program director and founder’s primary field (music). I can’t identify one course in that list that would clearly cover the environment art pipeline. If you want to be a game artist you need to jump into realtime game art heavily. You want to learn from people that have developed game environments and learn the pipeline as quickly as possible.

I do not want to dissuade you from getting a degree, but a degree from either institution will not guarantee you a job doing what you want to do. You asked “is it worth it?” I believe, based on what you want to do, that the answer is “probably not.”


First, I would like to say thank you for your reply. I currently take a dual enrollment 3D Animation course. I've also have a limited fine arts background (I can draw, but I'm more of a painter, like when I draw, I don't use lines, but value. XD). I use 3DS Max at school, but I'm starting to pick up Maya. I haven't played around with engine integration, but I was hoping to start working on it when school calms down. I understand either institution won't guarantee a job, but a degree makes mommy and daddy happy, haha! Right now, I'm probably going to go to GM, because my parents refuse to work with anything else. So, I decided that I'll go to school and mainly focus on the workshops from CGSociety. I have a set of dream companies I would like to work for, and one has an internship program and they use Maya. So I could use the CGSociety workshops to get an understanding of Maya (once I learn where most of the functions are, I think it would just be transferring how I learned to model in 3DS Max to Maya).

Thank you for your post again, I really feel that either college isn't worth the 90,000, but I know DMAC would probably get me more bang for my buck.


EDIT: I decided to go to a community college for traditional art courses and take some online workshops. Thanks a lot!

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