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View Full Version : AAU or Bournemouth University?


Inhyeok
02-18-2008, 09:13 PM
Hi i'm currently highschool student and i'm researching on universities.
(courses on 3d - animation/visual effects for film/movie industry)
I am considering Bournemouth, Teeside and hertfordshire Universities in UK or AAU(academy of art university) in US.

I think AAU courses are better than other courses as I get to learn all the foundation stuffs, not only advanced skills. (and i think it has got better reputation)
But the tuition fee is so much higher than UK universities and takes more years to get BA or MA.
(UK- 3 years, [approx $16000/y - £8000/y], US - 4 years, [approx $22000/y - £11000/y]


so my question is;
Is AAU better than Bournemouth, considering the extra money and time I have to put in?


thank you for reading this thread :)

andrewsweet
02-18-2008, 09:27 PM
Swansea? what about that place.

Looks good to me.

Andy

Remi
02-18-2008, 09:27 PM
http://forums.cgsociety.org/showthread.php?f=2&t=69427

Inhyeok
02-18-2008, 09:56 PM
thanks, but i wanted to know if AAU is actually better than UK universities (if it is worth the extra time and money), not just good or bad points of each universities.

also San fransisco seems like quite expensive place.. how is it compared to england?

playmesumch00ns
02-19-2008, 12:10 PM
If you're any good, you're pretty much guaranteed a vfx job in soho at the end of the bournemouth course. Depends what you want to learn really.

ThE_JacO
02-19-2008, 12:42 PM
Bournemouth has produced a ton of amazing people.
While you can spend all day arguing what is better, if you put a smidge of effort into your schooling both are pretty much guaranteed to qualify you and network you enough that you will have a foot in the door.

If ultimately you want to come back to England Bournemouth is a better choice, as it will contribute to networking here. If you want to move to the states then an american uni will of course help tons with the (otherwise neigh impossible) visa process.

Oh, and yes, SanFran is f***in' expensive, definitely more so than most of england, easily on par with London in many regards.

Sully
02-19-2008, 12:45 PM
I know several people who studied computer graphics at bournemouth and they werent that impressed with the course there, especially the master degree suposed to be a waste of time and money. I went next door to the Arts institute, that has a good reputation but I wouldnt recommend it to anyone for 3d (not enough computers and to many cancelled lessons). Do alot of research before you hand over your cash, remember Uni's are out to make money and in my experience thats all there after. There are alot of bad tutors and really bad courses out there.

mattmos
02-19-2008, 01:34 PM
Bournemouth degree or masters will get you into the industry, but only if you work hard enough! I did the MA and only have good things to say about it - 24 hours access to workstations, decent talks from industry, and tutors that actually know what they're doing and not lecturing directly from software manuals. All the decent graduates were picked up pretty quickly.

Like Raff says, it depends where you want to end up - UK or US...

Creature
02-19-2008, 05:23 PM
I wouldn't skip on Hertfordshire only because it is not as well known as AAU and Bournemouth yet. "I studied at AAU" won't get you a job - your demoreel will. So you should look at the reels of people that graduated.

I did my Masters at Hertfordshire and both the MA and the BA are bloody amazing courses and the graduates are well up to par with graduates from AAU and Bournemouth.

www.3dhit.co.uk is the unofficial forum of the 3d courses of Hertfordshire where students put up their work for critisim. If browse through the gallery and wips there it gives you a good overview of the level of quality of that university.

ThE_JacO
02-19-2008, 05:28 PM
I wouldn't skip on Hertfordshire only because it is not as well known as AAU and Bournemouth yet. "I studied at AAU" won't get you a job - your demoreel will.

Saying you studies somewhere won't get you a job, nor won't a demoreel. What really gets you a job is finding somebody who will watch your demoreel and ask you where you studied. Reels happen to be largely useless when they sit in a bin somewhere, unwatched.

If Hertfordshire has half decent connections to the industry and can catch the eye of somebody on the cv/resume then, provided you bust ass, it's just as good (to get you a job) as Bournemouth is. If the social networking side is less efficient, then it's worse.

Creature
02-19-2008, 05:50 PM
Agreed.

Hertfordshire certainly got the attention of all big London companies: http://www.h3da.co.uk/

blurgh
02-19-2008, 08:00 PM
Unfortunatly, none of the UK unis are truely rated by industry..because frankly none of them are amazing. That bieng said, Bournmouth certainly does have a reputation (if its deserved or not I to be honest dont know).

If your looking to get a job in the VFX houses in London, I would probably say Bournmouth is your best bet

-D

Inhyeok
02-20-2008, 03:31 PM
Thanks everyone :)
so it depends on where i want to work really...
and i've got to study more rather than spending time on looking for good unis :D

jogger97
02-21-2008, 10:58 PM
It also depends on what kind of work you want to be doing. I will do my best not to take sides on the whole 'whats the best course rant'.
Im sorry if I do...! :thumbsup:

AAU is best known for its character animation courses and NCCA (Bournemouth University) is best known for producing technical directors. Both courses are endorsed and run by the animation industry. Basically the courses are more about training students into professionals, ready for intense team-based production work.

Although I have not heard many AAU or NCCA films in animation festivals, they do have a great success for producing young professionals and also having a high rate of employment in professional studios. Worth an apply a think!

Hertfordshire has been doing quite well in UK festivals recently. They tend to focus on generalist skills rather than specialist skills such as pure character animation or pure programming etc. Individual short-film making is what the course is geared towards. It is not industry endorsed or industry quality. Not many of their students have gained work in the industry. However, a couple of students in the past have been employed in a couple production houses. So its worth a look around!

I can’t comment about Teeside, cause I have never visited there, researched there or even attended there. But this included, there are loads of other industry-endorsed courses in the UK to consider e.g. UWE Bristol, arts institute at Bournemouth etc:
http://www.skillset.org/animation/accreditation/
http://www.skillset.org/animation/accreditation/article_2868_1.asp

My best advice for you is to research as much as possible before applying. Heres, what I think, are the most important things to be thinking about:

1) Teaching quality – The most important I believe! Find out WHO they are, WHAT they teach, WHERE they worked, and HOW they teach etc. There’s nothing worse than enrolling on a course and finding that your tutor is either a total wanker, teaches very basic CG skills, or isn't really the 'teaching-type' i.e. he knows 3d but isn’t good at teaching it. Don't always believe in what the course lecturers are telling you about what they have 'supposedly' achieved with their course. See for yourself! Research!

2) The students – talk to as many students as you can! They’re doing the course so who better to get all the info from. But not just one student. They’ll be some who like to suck up to course lecturers, they’ll be some who only turn up once every couple of weeks but then thee will be some who will be extremely helpful. Like ppl on this forum! And find out exactly WHY they like/dislike it or WHAT they spend most of their time on etc. Oh, and see if the students are nice people. AND most importantly, how sucessful are the students? Who has been employed and where? Freelance? Do the majority of students actually get work? Yes they get a job at MPC or framestore etc. but what kind of job do they have? A running position? A cleaners position? Freelancer artist? Find out..
Check out student websites to find out if their students truly get work or not. Bear in mind that its the student that gets the work, not the course.

3) Work/Environment – You may prefer team-based work or you may prefer individual film making? How intense is the course? What kind of work will you be doing? It something worth considering because you will be spending the next three years there. This also falls under the category of location. What’s there to do here? Is there a big city near by? Nightlife? Will I be very happy here or really depressed here?

I am sure there is more to think about. All I can really say is that if a course has a good reputation, then its certainly worth trying to get into (for the best training)...
...but don’t feel obliged to go to the best courses just because they’re the best. Go to the course that you KNOW that you will enjoy spending 3 years in. They could either be the best three years of your life or the three worst...

good luck

LordMcGoat
02-22-2008, 06:42 AM
Although I have not heard many AAU or NCCA films in animation festivals, they do have a great success for producing young professionals and also having a high rate of employment in professional studios

There were two shorts from the Bournemouth BA in siggraph this year, and maybe something from one of the masters degrees too, and that's certainly not uncommon.

Anyway, I agree completely with what jogger says as far as my own experience goes.

I did the BA at Bournemouth and whilst I wasn't blown away with the standard of teaching or course organisation, what made it for me was the standard of students going there. Because Bournemouth has such a rep in industry it can pick and choose from the most motivated applicants (thats true for the BA at least), which means you're pitted in friendly competition with a bunch of very skilled go getters. That's what'll push you. If that's the case at other unis then the results would be much the same (better even, if the course was well organised and the teaching top notch).

The rep also helps with getting work experience over the summer at the major fx houses in soho (every year quite a few BA students do it), and of course going straight into a job afterwards. In my year most students who wanted it were able to walk into at least an entry level position in soho, and no one started as a runner.

And because of the rep, and because soho is bursting with ex Bournemouth grads, if people are needed people DO get employed from Bournemouth just because of the name, despite having average to appalling work to show for themselves. That shouldn't be a motivation of course and it's to the industy's discredit, but it happens.

jogger97
02-22-2008, 12:27 PM
There were two shorts from the Bournemouth BA in siggraph this year, and maybe something from one of the masters degrees too, and that's certainly not uncommon.


Oh yea, I forgot about siggraph. Yes, there have been quite a few from bournemouth. Sorry about that! I was still impressed by the teaching at NCCA.

One thing I forgot to mention about character animation, I would probably suggest trying to enroll on a 2d/classical character animation course (if you do wish to pursue character animation). Or any animation course that will teach life drawing/anatomy/observational/artist studies etc. Having a weekly life drawing class that is neither assessed or taught, I believe is not the same thing as just having a life drawing class. I think doing 2d would make it easier to understand timing and poses better BUT thats just my own opinion.

However, depending on software skills is not enough for character animation. You WILL employed on your sense of timing and observational skills. The drawing part will help improve on this. Being able to thumbnail etc.. http://www.navone.org/Media/AnimationThumbs/index.htm

It IS true you do not need to be the best illustrator to pursue a career in CG animation, which I believe makes this form of animation so great... But being able to observe/analyse life and having a good sense of timing is soooooo crucial. I believe that the majority of CG animation courses everywhere are not providing this.

From your course selection, I believe that only the AAU would be able to provide you with this kind of training (and by the boys from Pixar I may add!) :thumbsup:

Solrogers
02-22-2008, 01:38 PM
Hey there Inhyeok,

I’m a lecturer at the University Of Hertfordshire in Digital Animation Programme. Which includes 2D Digital Animation, 3D Digital Animation, 3D Games art and Visual Effects. I just fancied saying hi and clearing up a few things hands on.

We are a generalist course when it comes to pure 3d for 2 years of the degree allowing people to experience the wider skillsets required and also to find the particular specialism they really like. Then in the final year you create a negotiated project and a portfolio of work to your chosen specialism. Collaborating with others people and their specific skill sets.

Our main direction is to create 3D Artists and so do not do huge amounts of programming. But you are required to have strong art skills before starting and we continue with life drawing, anatomy studies and concept art throughout all levels of the degree.

As for past students.... well they are everywhere. Framestore, DNEG, MPC, Mill, EA, Blitz, Rare, SCEE, Splash Damage, Eurocom etc... but with a wider skillset base we find the job prospects much higher with smaller/medium sized companies where generalists with a strong specialism are most useful and can have a greater input with projects. Not just small cogs in big machines… not that this is always the case lol.

There are lots of CG courses around the country and in fact the worlds, as Universities find these courses very profitable. Popular course = many students = lots of cash.

The best thing is to visit all the universities you are interested in and meet the staff and students at open days. You will be able to then make your own educated decision. Remember all universities have different teaching styles and focuses, its just a case of finding the right one for you. If they don’t all fit in with one trip, most would be willing to give private tours if you asked in advance. Our open days are available at www.herts.ac.uk (http://www.herts.ac.uk/)

As a word of advice, be wary of courses which do not interview students, these are often just money makers.



If you would like any more info your welcome to contact me directly.
s.rogers(at)herts.ac.uk



and finally a small plug :)
This is the type of thing our students are doing

One from last year is currently frontpage of www.youtube.com (2nd year student film Funkphonic)

a few others:


Tale of Rock
http://www.tale-of-rock.com/

Tidy Monster - BAA Nominated
http://www.tcmarchant.com/portfolio.htm
Diversion - Best Visual Effects - Global Student Animation Awards
http://www.simonreeves.co.uk/diversion-film/

moidphotos
02-22-2008, 02:20 PM
One thing I forgot to mention about character animation, I would probably suggest trying to enroll on a 2d/classical character animation course (if you do wish to pursue character animation). Or any animation course that will teach life drawing/anatomy/observational/artist studies etc. Having a weekly life drawing class that is neither assessed or taught, I believe is not the same thing as just having a life drawing class. I think doing 2d would make it easier to understand timing and poses better BUT thats just my own opinion.

However, depending on software skills is not enough for character animation. You WILL employed on your sense of timing and observational skills. The drawing part will help improve on this. Being able to thumbnail etc.. http://www.navone.org/Media/AnimationThumbs/index.htm

It IS true you do not need to be the best illustrator to pursue a career in CG animation, which I believe makes this form of animation so great... But being able to observe/analyse life and having a good sense of timing is soooooo crucial. I believe that the majority of CG animation courses everywhere are not providing this.

From your course selection, I believe that only the AAU would be able to provide you with this kind of training (and by the boys from Pixar I may add!) :thumbsup:

I'd like to correct your knowledge of the course at Hertfordshire because much of our character animation is taught by animators who have worked at Disney and Dreamworks and were taught in the 2D classic character animation style. We also teach life drawing, this is taught by a lecturer with a fine art background with extensive anatomical knowledge and years of experience of getting the most from students, happens once a week and is mandatory for students. We also offer additional life drawing optional classes in the evenings that are free and open to all students who really want to be strong artists.

We also teach a very wide range of digital and traditional skills - texturing, modelling organic and hard surface forms, lighting (which is rarely taught in the UK), rigging, rendering for passes, compositing, narrative design and storyboarding, character and environment design, cinematography, history of film and animation, editing, website and DVD creation etc. All our lecturers are from the 3D or 2D industries with experience in film, commercials, music videos, cartoon series, motion graphics, games and arch vis.

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