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Azawindam
09-05-2012, 06:22 PM
Hi, I'm an undergraduate student in University of Washington, and I need help in deciding my future plans for education. My situation is that I'm an architecture student, and I'm planning to finish off my degree next year so that I can pursue the animation, which is my passion after realizing it. I had a year of series of courses of animation program (at U of Wash.) where I collaborate with other students to work on a short film, so I had some experience with animation basics and maya.

I'd like to hear some advice and suggestions whether I should pursue MFA or BFA or Diploma. I have financial support to afford any of these three choices, and I also prefer to study at an art school that specializes in teaching that program.
Despite my architecture degree, I personally lean towards applying for MFA because the curriculum is condensed compared to BFA, but I am not too sure either whether how much experience in animation the MFA program needs.

So please, help me on how should I make the best of the animation program (and pursue animation career as soon as possible). Your suggestions and comments are very much appreciated. Thank you.

fig
09-12-2012, 04:19 PM
I think it depends a lot on what exactly you want to do, "animation" as a term is a bit vague and can mean modeling, animation, rendering, lighting, etc.

Since you already have a degree online programs might be an area to consider, depending on the specific field you're interested in. Animation Mentor, iAnimate, and AnimSchool are some of the best character animation training you can get if that's a direction you're looking in.

If you are set on a Masters Degree and have an interest in lighting and rendering you might check out Texas A&M's Viz Lab (http://viz.arch.tamu.edu/) , I did my undergrad in architecture there and a lot of people that get accepted into the program are arch students.

Rexonox
09-25-2012, 10:50 PM
Since you already have a degree online programs might be an area to consider, depending on the specific field you're interested in. Animation Mentor, iAnimate, and AnimSchool are some of the best character animation training you can get if that's a direction you're looking in..

Ya i completely agree with fig. Online man is the way to go. It doesn't matter where you attend. a lot of the greats out there started out as self taught, so having an instructor or mentor is great, but what's more important is your ability to work your ass off and love it. Add the school CGSpectrum to that list. That's where I'm currently learning animation and it's one of the best decisions I've ever made. I have a post on this forum called The New CG school on the block i think and I pretty much pour my soul into that post so check it out if you want a better idea. Either way, considering you already have a university degree, you're probably better off saving your money if your self driven and motivated. I quit my job and I'm doin this full time so trust me when I tell you I know exactly how you feel.

taxguy
09-27-2012, 05:39 PM
No question that you can get a LOT of training using online resources such as Gnomon online videos etc. When you couple this with the tremendously low cost, it makes for a compelling argument.

However, you REALLY need to be a special "cat" to be able to develop all the skills that you need solely from online programs without external feedback and crits. Moreover, other than the Gnomon Videos, most of the online materials such as Animation Mentor deal with character animation and not the other aspects of the pipeline such as rigging, lighting, particles and dynamics, skinning, texturing, etc.

For the reasons given above, I think getting an MFA or another BFA is preferable for most people. Thus, let me make some suggestions:

Ringling, which is considered to be the best undergraduate 3d animation school in the US, allows people to take their BFA program without taking any gen eds if you have a college degree. However, Ringling is very "guild" oriented in that you need to take certain courses in a very prescribed order,which can take at least 3 years. They have no graduate degrees.

I think an MFA would be better IF you have some animation and art background. Some of the better MFA programs are as follows, in no particular order:

1. School of Visual arts in NY: This is probably the best 3d grad school in the east coast after Ringling. They also have a strong 2d animation program , but that is in their undergrad only. However, all courses are available to you even the undergrad courses. It also has the huge advantage, ( and the cost disadvantage) of being in Manhattan. Let's face it: You will get more internship opportunities in Manhattan vs. Bum crap iowa or savannah.Moreover, all their professors are currently working in the industry and thus have a LOT of connections.This is one of the only 2 year programs. It is ideal for those people who already have some sort of animation background or experience.Accordingly, they want to see a strong portfolio particularly with some 3d animation.

2.SCAD: SCAD a very strong 3d and 2d grad program. They even have a sound design MFA. Moreover, you can take courses from all disciplines. However, they are in Savannah and not a great area of Savannah at that.. enough said.

3. USC: Very well known and strong program on the west coast. However, like their Calarts counterpart, where many prefessors come from, they are very 2d oriented including wanting a strong 2d portfolio.It is a 3 year program.

4. Cal Arts: Widely considered the best school in US for animation,but is very 2d oriented. Their grad program is experimental only, which might give you reason to pause.

5. RIT (Rochester Institute of Technology): RIT is the newest member of the elite grad programs offering animation. They have both a 2d and 3d program and courses can be taken from both offerings. I like their program a LOT; however, they are a 3 year program like that of USC. Also, they are in Rochester, which limits connections and are relatively new.However, if you don't have strong animation or 3d training, they might be a great choice.

6. Seneca institute in Canada: They offer graduate certificates. They have three one year programs: fundamentals, 2d character animation and VFX which is essentially 3d. I don't know much about it,but it is reputed to be a very strong program and hard to get into.

7.Gnomon School of Visual Effects: strong school for animation particularly modeling. They have two year certificate program and an optional 1 year fundamental program,which is recommended. My daughter attended their summer program and loved it. I don't think Gnomon, however, is very broad based. Although they offer a number of courses in the animation pipeline, they are not repuded to be strong in character animation.

Azawindam
10-22-2012, 06:50 AM
Taxguy, I appreciate for your response. It's resourceful for me to set plans for my education. After doing a bit of research, I'm favoring towards BFA because it seems that a lot of programs that offer graduate degrees in animation are research-oriented. As much as I'd like to graduate soon, I feel like I'd like to dig deep into animation (including foundations) and treat the 3D computer branch as a tool instead. But that's just my opinion.

Other than that, I'm applying for Ringling and RIT. I also apply to Pratt Institute for Grad program, and I was wondering if you have any thoughts on Pratt? Once again, thank you for your great response.

taxguy
10-22-2012, 05:29 PM
Taxguy, I appreciate for your response. It's resourceful for me to set plans for my education. After doing a bit of research, I'm favoring towards BFA because it seems that a lot of programs that offer graduate degrees in animation are research-oriented. As much as I'd like to graduate soon, I feel like I'd like to dig deep into animation (including foundations) and treat the 3D computer branch as a tool instead. But that's just my opinion.

Other than that, I'm applying for Ringling and RIT. I also apply to Pratt Institute for Grad program, and I was wondering if you have any thoughts on Pratt? Once again, thank you for your great response.

My daughter did interview at Pratt's grad animation program. It seemed very experimental, which is why she didn't go there. I don't know enough about their undergrad program.

As for BFA vs. MFA, a lot will depend on whether the school will waive most of the gend eds that you took and on the emphasis of the school.

Ringling, for example, will waive all gen eds for those with bachelors degrees. Pratt, on the other hand, treats those with an undergrad degree as a transfer student and will evaulate each course to see if it meets their requirements.

Please note that Ringling is reknown for its 3d training, while schools like Calarts, USC are 2d oriented schools. RIT, Pratt and SVA can be both. Personally, I like the SVA program and industry connections at SVA over that of Pratt or RIT. I think you need to check out each school. Talk to the people and faculty at each place.

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