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View Full Version : 3D Schools... a couple questions


Mangled Poly
05-10-2003, 09:04 PM
I am currently 19 looking for a 3d school. My current choice is VFS ( Vancouver Film School). I know they do not teach lightwave, however I have been told by many people this is one of the best 3D school to attend.

From what i have seen there demos are awesome, and there placement is at 89%

There is one set back it is a very intensive year schooling (which im ok with). However, you leave the school with a diploma. Is a diploma from a school like VFS acceptable to the career. I have talked with a counselor there she has told me some time next year they will start offering a masters program for all there past vfs student, which is something cool to look into down the road.

Any thoughts on this?

SplineGod
05-10-2003, 11:41 PM
It really depends on what you want to get into. Ive never had any studio ask to see any formal credentials. The purpose of the paper they give you when you finish is to give evidence to a potential employer that you have been trained or at exposed to the subject material. Its more useful in fields where you simply cant prove whether you are knowledgeable or proficient. The great thing about this industry is that a demo reel can tell far more about your skill level then a piece of paper.
The bottom line is that no matter which route you take the common element is going to be practice practice practice. Being lectured to and given assignments is perfected through practice and feedback. Ive been out here in LA for over 3 years. Ive never worked with anyone that I can remember who went to film school . Several ppl I knew did have some art training or schooling but didnt seem to be paid more or less then anyone else who did or didnt have a degree. Your demo reel says it all and what you do on the job.

leigh
05-10-2003, 11:46 PM
Absolutely, I couldn't agree more with SplineGod.

chrisWhite
05-10-2003, 11:54 PM
That's really interesting, Larry Lee told me the same thing at the tour.

I'm still trying to decide what to do, I'm probably going to need to stay in state here in Colorado, but I'm looking at two art school or doing a double major of film and computer science at University of Colorado, Boulder. What do you guys think would work best, or would you suggest that I don't go to school and just invest that money in training and software and make a killer demo-reel or animated short over the time? Can you get the same/better education by doing that?

SplineGod
05-11-2003, 12:08 AM
Originally posted by N2ChristTheKing
That's really interesting, Larry Lee told me the same thing at the tour.

I'm still trying to decide what to do, I'm probably going to need to stay in state here in Colorado, but I'm looking at two art school or doing a double major of film and computer science at University of Colorado, Boulder. What do you guys think would work best, or would you suggest that I don't go to school and just invest that money in training and software and make a killer demo-reel or animated short over the time? Can you get the same/better education by doing that?
Its a cost vs benefits issue. Will paying a lot to go to a CGI school get you a better paying job then a talented artist who dropped out of High School but has a great reel? I doubt it.
I think taking classes in traditional art is better then 99% of the 3D animation programs Ive seen at most schools.VFS might be an exception but its very expensive so they better hold your hand when you go to job interviews. Ive seen guys who paid lots of money to go to someplace like Sheridan College but end up doing the same work and getting paid the same as the other guys who were self taught but good.
One thing about sitting in a class is that the slowest person in the group sets the pace. To do well you end up having to work on your own which is basically the same as not going to school and doing it on your own anyways.
These are the same issues that I dealt with when I created my online courses. Give everyone the same lectures and then let them work at their own pace. Rather then give out tests I make sure that the student post their work to have it critiqued. Its easy enough to tell if someone is progressing. Its nice to see how someone is progressing just by looking at the work theyve posted on the various threads on the support forums. Students can view all the critiques which helps to answer questions as well.
Between the hours of lectures on CD, having your work critiqued and questions answered directly and being able to see the same comments on other peoples work you have a tremendous amount of material and feedback that would be very difficult to get at typical school with a 3D program. The cost of my online courses is very cheap compared to what you get or compared to teh typical 3D courses as I mentioned.

chrisWhite
05-11-2003, 12:32 AM
Thanks!

If I didn't do college, I think I'd take classes at a local communitie college (who actually offers a class in Lightwave, plus PS, and all the other standards, and lots of trad art). I would also take things like you classes, 3D Buzz, maybe 3D garrage, desktop images plus stuff for Maya, Combustion, Houdini, etc, lots of books.

Mangled Poly
05-11-2003, 01:17 AM
Larry i totally know what you mean although there are advantages to proper schooling..

1 Contacts: A school like VFS has many alumni that still come back to the school, to teach or to lecture, these people are now in big production studios, and is a great way to get exposure to them youll never get.

2 Training: you will get training on things that sure you can learn over the internet, however in this way its down on "paper" and is added to experiance.

3 Placement: VFS has a 89% placement for 3d Animation, this is great because they have many great lasting relationships with big companies, making it easier to pass through the door into the bosses office for an interview.

4 Diploma: Although it may not be a degree is shows to the employer that you have had some kind of proper training along the way, not only that but when it comes down to the line and they have several awesome reels they will look at the applicants background, this is where schooling can help a ton.

wgreenlee1
05-11-2003, 02:48 AM
Looks like they have some pretty intense Maya courses also....

Even the part time courses look like fun.
From basics all the way to full production...

Something tells me there is not going be time for waiting on the "slowest person to set the pace..."

private
05-11-2003, 03:30 AM
Do you know how many complaints there are against VFS? Living in Vancouver is the best thing of the deal, as it's a world class beautiful city.

Their job placement isn't 89%. There is no way. I have a friend that works for EA, and they get reels from VFS students all the time. They also get reels from people that learned the software on their own. They choose the best reels, interview the person to see if they could work as part of a team and get to know a little more about the person.

Most people that go to intensive 3D schools couldn't give two shits about the piece of paper the school offers. It's all about the reel. You pay the big money for access to the software and lab times. Most people all use the lab as a render farm, and do their work at home.

As was pointed above, it's a lot of money. Think about how long it takes to pay that money back. I've said this before, it's better to buy all the training material you can for the software you use, lock yourself in your house for a year (or preferrably your parents house where you don't have to pay for rent and food), work on a project on your own, try to do a reel. When you hit a snag, ask on CGTalk or take a part-time course at a community college and have the professor trouble shoot there, not worrying about the students that are slower than you.

wgreenlee1
05-11-2003, 04:06 AM
Heres some suckie stuff about VFS................... (http://www.filmaction.com/vancouver_film_school.htm)


Heres their online school news paper...thingy.. (http://www.vfs.com/vfsnews/2000/jan.htm)


here is a vfs online alumni directory (http://www.netdirectories.com/~vfs/login.cgi)


Digital domain gives them a mention.. (http://www.d2.com/recruit/recruit_3.html)


couple of graduates (http://www.blastradius.com/who/people.jsp)

Here is one guy who graduated from VFS and works for EA sports (http://www.myvfs.com/news_alumni/3d/janfeb2003.html)


here is a award they got in '98 for their website... (http://www.webaward.org/thebuzz.asp)

heres their online webstreaming project (http://www.vfslive.com/aboutus.html)


Heres one of the old teachers from VFS,some of you may know him... (http://www.imdb.com/Name?Zahara,+Alex)


heres a internet based business that claims VFS made them what they are today..... (http://www.koolkraft.be/)


hersa alumni teraching dance....Michael Smith
(http://www.westendstudiotheatre.com/about.htm)


heres a interview with then managing director at VFS...Marty Hasselbach (http://www.moviemaker.com/hop/15/filmed.html)


Dan Vest who now works at DAZ3D graduated from VFS (http://www.daz3d.com/pages/dp/aboutus/eb.html)


Heres a student that is going to VFS right now and he has completed one mini movie (http://www.solidmirror.com/)

SplineGod
05-11-2003, 04:09 AM
Originally posted by Mangled Poly
Larry i totally know what you mean although there are advantages to proper schooling..

1 Contacts: A school like VFS has many alumni that still come back to the school, to teach or to lecture, these people are now in big production studios, and is a great way to get exposure to them youll never get.

2 Training: you will get training on things that sure you can learn over the internet, however in this way its down on "paper" and is added to experiance.

3 Placement: VFS has a 89% placement for 3d Animation, this is great because they have many great lasting relationships with big companies, making it easier to pass through the door into the bosses office for an interview.

4 Diploma: Although it may not be a degree is shows to the employer that you have had some kind of proper training along the way, not only that but when it comes down to the line and they have several awesome reels they will look at the applicants background, this is where schooling can help a ton.

1. Id rather make contacts with people who are already working. I can and still do that for free. Just by being on these forums you have far more access to people working in the business then you would get by paying to go up to VFS. As I said, in the years that Ive been doing this Ive NEVER once ran into anyone that went to VFS. In this country most of the CGI work is done in LA. I have to agree with private. Get all the stuff you need and move down to LA and start building contacts and a reel. Most people I know who are taking classes down here do so part time or in the evenings in areas like figure drawing and so forth. You have far more resources down here then up in vancouver. I know people here who would rent you time on their render farms for cheap or even for free as you build up friends and contacts. Id rather spend my time getting to know people where the studios are for a lot less expenditure then going to canada and spending huge amounts of cash.
2. Once again, I agree with private here. Most of the time you get stuck in groups trying to work on a piece and nobody is helping or its a chaotic mess. You end up working from your apt and using the schools computers as a render farm. There are places in LA to take classes for any software. You can figure out where you need help and get the help locally.
3. I also agree that 89% sounds pretty overblown. I dont know of any studios down here that have any formal releationships with any film schools. Maybe Disney and Cal Arts but then again they set it up originally. I have yet to see student work that couldnt be done by anyone outside of a formal school environment by the use of talent, hard work and determination. There are just so many people down here that are very helpful. Again, there are places here locally to make great contacts with people working at studios who you can befriend and get feedback from. There arent many things that I could think of that you could learn up there for large sums of cash that you couldnt pick up here for a lot less sums of cash. You could pay someone to tutor you personally in any area for less money.
4. Again, most employers in this business could care less about a degree. A degree wont convince an employer to hire you unless you have a reel to back it up. On the other hand, if I have a great reel and no "formal" training they arent going to care because obviously I can do the work. I have seen very few awesome student reels. The reason is the limited amount of time you have plus having to deal with other personalities in the group.
Take your money, move to where the work is being done. Get all the training materials you need and hole up somewhere. Focus on learning what you need to learn and on making contacts. There just isnt anything you could learn by moving hundreds of miles to the north that you couldnt learn down here.

private
05-11-2003, 04:50 AM
I personally know over 7 people that dropped big money on CG schools, and haven't found a job. You'll find that you go through the courses, and many are too slow. If it's too slow, and you already know the material, then what are you going to do?

Every one of them was disappointment with their experience and are paying off their experience for the next 10 to 15 years.

I know a few people that also got a job, one at EA, and it was just about timing, not about schooling. He was taking the 3D program, but got in on motion capture.

Schools are businesses. Unless a school can provide solid proof that they have 89% placement and say what jobs they got jobs in, I would take that information with a grain of salt.

In addition, VFS holds the rights of all the work you produce at the school during your time there. You're 19. Go to university and get a degree in art and spend the next four years working on a reel. Spend 1/20th of the tuition you would have paid for the CG school and buy the software. Spend another 1/10th and buy learning material. Enjoy your time at university. Send me a 1/10th of the money because I probably just s saved you over $15,000.

alaklij
05-11-2003, 05:17 AM
One recieves much more than a piece of paper when higher education is pursued. Contacts are established, friends of similar interest are earned, emersion into an envoronment where critical thinking is applied without the stress of finances (as long as tuition and housing are paid), and the freedom to create uninhibited.

If one is to pursue higher education, they should go for free. So the stronger your portfolio, the more aid one may get (perhaps a full ride) Maybe the school will pay you to go to school. This is how I got through Grad school, without financial concerns, and it allowed me to focus on my arts and studies.

When thinking of higher education, try not to think your going because it will get you a job, but instead, that the education will teach you how to learn and be learned. Anyone can get a job, as Larry has point out, yet to often people think it is a solely a career move, and tend to ignore all the other elements of education uninhibited.

I would like to point out that, yes, a porfolio will define your abilities and craft with the softwares, yet it doesn't tell the employer if your can work with other people, or if you can speak the english langauge (or any langauage for that matter) without filling everything with "likes" and "ya knows". Higher education allows a person to develop their vocabulary, just by being in the environment of a university. And it allows a person to develop critical thinking, and the ability to communicate/ articulate their ideas to another person.

Taking the first step into undergraduate school is the hardest move a person can make (especially if they are the first of their family). From there it gets easier.

Scott212
05-11-2003, 09:46 AM
Fellow Colorado Guy

I live in denver and go to the Art Institute. Personally, if you're a really motivated person I don't recommend going here. The program is really slow and geared toward people who may have never seen a 3d program. It gets fairly advanced but that is completely up to you. The big bummer that I'm dealing with is that it's a primarily a 3dmax school. They do have Maya complete on all the workstations but they don't teach it. So, you can rule out any form of real particle work or code writing. Most of the vfx work is taught in combustion here and pretty much adds up to the sprites found in combustion. On the upside, the school has mucho cashola and a really good relationship with HP. The school has rooms full of 2ghz and faster workstations. I do wish that they'd invest in a few key technologies such as a mocap rig and flame seat. Just to get us 'kids' familiar with stuff. I hear that the Universities new animation program hasn't got near the monetary backing that this school has. I would at least tour the school to choose for your self if the $65,000 is worth it. If you want any more info, feel free to email me!

SplineGod
05-11-2003, 10:37 AM
Im sorry but for $65,000 you could pay probably any studio to let you work there as an intern for a year or two. You would learn far more that way. :)

Scott212
05-11-2003, 10:40 AM
thanks for the tip Larry :bounce:

oxyg3n
05-11-2003, 10:47 AM
Hello Ryan,

I dont think it matters incredibly which school you plan to go to. You can learn alot where ever you go. It just depends on how much you really want to learn and how hard you are willing to work toward your goals. For example, our previous Lightwave teacher really did not know what she was doing and frankly I dont know how she even got the job, but the semesters I took that class with her were not a wast of time, because I sought out information on my own and was motivated to do the best that I could.

I think of school as a great place to be around people who have similiar interests as me and as a place where I can broaden my horizons. My friends call me a nerd, but I really enjoy taking classes and learning new things.

Remeber, you will only get out what you put into your classes.

You can have the best teachers in the world but if you are not a good student it makes no difference if you are at Cal Arts in La or American River College here in Sacramento.

I agree with Matt, work really hard on your portfolio and maybe you can get enough aid to go to school for free. That has been one of my goals and it is turning out to be like that for me too. (what a relief!)

Oh and ask as many questions here as you can. Why not? They are free and the people seem happy to help. Youll learn something everyday, just today I found out from Larry Shultz about the skin tool. Its really cool, Ill show it to you at our next class.

One last thing. It is only 11 dollars a unit at our school take all the classes you can, including all your ge requirments, math courses, and art classes. It wont hurt you so much when you go to an art school and have to pay 300 dollars a unit!!

Mangled Poly
05-11-2003, 11:14 AM
Jared VFS doesnt work in such a way of GE, it is a year course of 3d only and if you pass you get a diploma, aslo talking with the vfs rep today there starting a certified masters course next year, and any students who have a "diploma" from the school may also get it, so this is a cool advantage as well.

DigiLusionist
05-11-2003, 08:38 PM
How would one go about getting $65,000 in financial aid to intern for a studio?

wgreenlee1
05-11-2003, 08:48 PM
Originally posted by DigiLusionist
How would one go about getting $65,000 in financial aid to intern for a studio?


Yeah really....how would one do this....?

Sign me up!

SplineGod
05-11-2003, 09:32 PM
Originally posted by DigiLusionist
How would one go about getting $65,000 in financial aid to intern for a studio?
Thats my point. Why do the same to get money to go to a school who MAY land you a job as an intern somewhere that you could probably get anyways? :)

SplineGod
05-11-2003, 09:50 PM
Originally posted by oxyg3n
Hello Ryan,

I dont think it matters incredibly which school you plan to go to. You can learn alot where ever you go. It just depends on how much you really want to learn and how hard you are willing to work toward your goals.

I think of school as a great place to be around people who have similiar interests as me and as a place where I can broaden my horizons. My friends call me a nerd, but I really enjoy taking classes and learning new things.

Remeber, you will only get out what you put into your classes.

You can have the best teachers in the world but if you are not a good student it makes no difference if you are at Cal Arts in La or American River College here in Sacramento.

I agree with Matt, work really hard on your portfolio and maybe you can get enough aid to go to school for free. That has been one of my goals and it is turning out to be like that for me too. (what a relief!)

Oh and ask as many questions here as you can. Why not? They are free and the people seem happy to help. Youll learn something everyday, just today I found out from Larry Shultz about the skin tool. Its really cool, Ill show it to you at our next class.

One last thing. It is only 11 dollars a unit at our school take all the classes you can, including all your ge requirments, math courses, and art classes. It wont hurt you so much when you go to an art school and have to pay 300 dollars a unit!!

All good points. If you have the time to produce a great portfolio to get into a school then why not just produce a good one that will get you an internship or a job?
If you want to go to school to socialize with people who have similar goals then why not socialize with people who have similar goals but are already successful at doing the very thing you want to learn? From a practical standpoint its pointless from my POV to go to a school to hang out with other students who are just as ignorant as I am. Whatever I can learn from them I can learn from any group of people who do what I want to do.
The experience oxy had with the bad teacher is all too common. In fact its more common then not. Too many colleges see the glitz of the industry and will take the flash instructor and make him the new 3D instructor. Too many schools dont have an actual 3D ciriculum and rely on tutorials. Most schools have a hard time getting good, knowledgeable instructors because you can make a lot more money doing 3D then teaching it at a school. The best schools will be located in areas where you have a higher concentration of people actually working in the field and who are teaching because they like to or are moonlighting.
In any case I would totally scrutinize any claims to job placement and similar things. You should track down and talk to graduates from programs like this.
Dont get me wrong. Im not against an education. You can get an education anywhere and anytime and this is now more true today then ever before. For me its about what my goals are vs the practical use of my resources. Taking on tremendous debt just to get a job is crazy when there are many many alternatives.

alaklij
05-11-2003, 10:12 PM
Originally posted by SplineGod
Taking on tremendous debt just to get a job is crazy when there are many many alternatives.

Exactly. This is why school should be viewed as more than a job placement tool. All to often schools sell themselves on job placement stats, deceiving the prospective student, yet in the end, one recieves much more than a job.

The difference between an institution (specifically liberal institutions) and internship/industry is that in a liberal school one must love to learn and be learned about more than just what will pay the bills; whereas internship/employment is a pragmatic approach with one goal in mind: survival. Fortunately, in the society of America and other countries, we don't have to solely focus on survival, we can have the pleasures of studies that are not directly focused on paying the bills. In the end, making life more fulfilling, and allowing our skill sets, that do pay the bills, to be influenced be the theoretical studies gained at an institution that breeds individuality.

If you want to be a cog in the CG world, then I recommend you get an internship.

Either way one approaches their learning they will be investing their time and money. So if time and money are involved with everything in our lives, the question remains: what else is there in life?

private
05-11-2003, 10:45 PM
Originally posted by Mangled Poly
Jared VFS doesnt work in such a way of GE, it is a year course of 3d only and if you pass you get a diploma, aslo talking with the vfs rep today there starting a certified masters course next year, and any students who have a "diploma" from the school may also get it, so this is a cool advantage as well.

Mangeled,

I don't think you're listening to what people are reading and you're being seduced the "idea" of school, rather than taking into account what is being said in this thread.

Everyone passes those 3D courses if you show up. You're also getting seduced by the word "masters". Even worse, "certified masters". What does that mean? Who is it certified by? How much weight does it hold? I can bet you that 90% of the students that do graduate from the one year course at VFS aren't going to drop big money again for the "masters" program.

Masters is word most people associate with university and what people do after they finish their undergraduate degree. 3D schools are different....it's apples and oranges.

It's not a "cool advantage as well". If you are from a very rich family, then by all means, go for it. But if you are at all concerned about money, I suggest you look deeper into this choice, you seemed to have already made.

wgreenlee1
05-11-2003, 11:05 PM
I dont know...
I really think he needs to talk to a lot of others of whom are attending and have attended this school and see if its still what he desires.

Firstly he must look at it and see if if its going to benefit him personally....

Some of us can get by on little and make something big of it.
Others may have to have a very small venture to recieve something gradifiying from it...
Still on the other hand some may need a full rounded structured enviroment to benefit.
The "starving artist" thing may work for some and others it may not.

Looking at it now I wish I had been more adventurous when I were younger.
Today I do not have a year to dedicate to something such as this but at nineteen a year is nothing in ones life.

Even if it is a total flop like some are portraying this I do think later on down the line it will be very useful to have this experience be it here or at another school and to whether employers will laugh at him for doing this they will still go by what he can produce as a artist and what he brings personally to whatever job,school or no school.
So if going might benefit him in the slightest bit I see why not.
Some people can turn things like this into something and others can only harp as to what it didnt bring them.
We are all differant in this respect.

Surely even he reconises that this school cannot give him a job afterwards and can only help him in a letter or point him in the right direction.
He will still be left with what he has now and that is his desire...
Will it make him more confident?Maybe ,maybe not.
Will it make him more able to be an artist or capable as a artist?It will if he wishes it to be and only he can see this for hisself.None of us can tell him his future and we only see it from the paths that we have taken.

He really needs to research this and then it is up to him as to what its going or not going to do for him because in the end....he is the one to live with his desisions...

Good luck.:thumbsup:

private
05-11-2003, 11:13 PM
Originally posted by wgreenlee1
So if going might benefit him in the slightest bit I see why not.


Saying people don't benefit from school after a year isn't the issue. It's quantifying that and putting a price tag to it. I've learned a lot from Dan's Inside Lightwave book, and it's been a benefit, at under $50.

Look from it at a financial view. Take the school tutition, living expenses, software/hardware costs and then look at the total cost. Add 10% for miscalculations. Then take the figure, and figure out how long it would be to pay back that money with after tax income. Also add on interest while you're paying that back. Pretty simple. There are a lot better solutions, especially from people who chose Lightwave because it's the best bang for buck. Why not look with that attitude in life, along with the money you spend. I'm not anti school, but I'm pro life efficiency.

Another option, join the army, do your time and let the army pay for your school when you get out.

wgreenlee1
05-11-2003, 11:24 PM
Kinda off topic here but checkout this link from Gamasutra..... (http://www.gamasutra.com/php-bin/jobs_display.php3)

Here another from 3D Cafe (http://www.3dcafe.com/asp/jobs.asp)

heres a few more and even a few Lightwave mentionedjobs... (http://www.vsearch.com/jobs/artist/index.htm)

Whats up in the UK...they are really looking for game desiners...
UK Work Search (http://www.ukworksearch.com/jobs/3d/modelling)

DigiLusionist
05-12-2003, 02:58 AM
For me, the benefit of going to university is to expand your understanding of life through exposure to varied ideas. Oddly, even the most obscure facts that I have studied have greatly enriched my life and HAVE been put to practical use somewhere along the line.

Being in a critical environment with people with other viewpoints is an exhilarating experience. You are challenged to THINK. And being able to think is first and foremost what an artist must be good at.

It's the ideas that one puts into a reel that make it stand out. I've seen technically superior reels that demonstrate mastery over one's tools while lacking any sense of poetry or drama. They're just... demos. So, one can learn to do CG alone and from a book, but there's more to being a CG artist than that.

What I could create when I didn't have a higher education is nowhere near as interesting as what I could create after going to college. It's a matter of sophistication that comes from absorbing ideas, incorporating them into your thinking, and then informing your work.

A reel with interesting IDEAS is a more impressive reel than one that is lifeless and generic.

The pricetag for education IS high. And I have student loans to repay. But then, I earn a hell of a lot more because of what I've learned. AND, when someone in play or a movie or on TV makes a literary allusion, or quotes from someone or from a text, I have a much greater chance of actually understanding what they're talking about and even if they're misquoting.

If getting a job is all you're thinking about, you can do that without college. Like Larry said, just make a reel and work.

But then, how you're supposed to do that without an ounce of wit and wisdom and contacts is beyond me. And once you do get a job, in the long run, what do you bring to the artistic table if the last thought-provoking endeavor you undertook was in a high school class?

Mangled Poly
05-12-2003, 06:38 AM
Well, I also feel there is a lot more to learn at a college, then an art education. It is a great exposure to the real world, and teaches you how to live with minimal funds in the world, well still under some funding from you parents. Even more it teaches you new methods you may have never been exposed to that can be easily reapplied to everything. Plus just the whole college experience its self will teach many great things that you can not read in books or online tutorials. It gives you a taste of exposure to the real world, which may not seem like much to you guys who have been free of your parents roots for many years, but to some people and families sitting at home for a year, is not an option, or a greatly discouraged one. Every single person I have talked to who has gone to college of any type have said it was such a learning experience outside of the education that it was worth it to leave with loans, as they knew they where walking away with more then an education, and a degree.

My mother is such an avid believer in this that she is making me move out once I choose the college I plan on attending, no she is not paying all of it but she is willing to help to make it a realistic experience which with VFS may be leaving with a 20k student loan, which I would consider not to harsh at all.

private
05-12-2003, 07:31 AM
Since I'm beating a dead horse to a dead horse owner, I might as well pump in one more time, if you don't mind. VFS isn't a college, it's a one year course.

Sure there's socializing, but mostly it's about going to class, working on your stuff. You could do this on your own, and from DVDs and a book.

I have friends with very unhappy experiences from these places. They are paying for it now. Like I said, there are many complaints with VFS that the Better Business Bureau won't recommend the school. Have you looked at other options? Emily Carr is a better option, and is cheaper. You want to be around artsy fartsy people, that's where to go. You'll have a better experience there.

College is a different game, as it's four years, in a different environment. Don't compare college with a one year course. It's a different thing.

Please save this thread and I would like to see your comments about it a year and a half from now. Then, we'll see the before and after comments! :thumbsup:

It's your life. Good luck with whatever you choose.

Mangled Poly
05-12-2003, 08:00 AM
private where on the same track this was the original intent of the post :) that is an answer i was looking for by chance do you have any other colleges that are resonably priced but rated well?

this is considered in on living too...

wgreenlee1
05-12-2003, 08:21 AM
Better business report VFS (http://dell.hurdmanivr.com/van/report.html?compid=111782&national=Y)


Four Schools that PIXAR recommends... (http://animation.about.com/library/weekly/aa072800a.htm?PM=ss13_animation)



AWN's 2002 Animation School Directory is here (http://www.awn.com/village/schools.php3)


animation school review..... (http://www.animationschoolreview.com/)

SplineGod
05-12-2003, 08:47 AM
I also feel the need to chime in yet once again. Ive been to college. Ive spent time out of this country and Ive taught all over the place doing seminars and have taught at some colleges.
College is anything but the real world. Its a a small microcosm of the real world and barely, and I mean barely prepares you for the real world. The pressures of college are nothing compared to the pressures of the outside. College may give you a taste of living on minimum funds but outside of college you cant get grants or student loans to pay bills and buy food. I can tell you now that when I got to my first real job that college did nothing at all to prepare me for what it was really like.
I also got myself into major debt to go to school. If I had to do it over again I would never have taken out student loans. There was nothing I gained from college in any way shape or form that was worth the debt. There is nothing like starting out in life with a ton of debt hanging over your head.
In the end I did learn something from college, that most of what I learned I learned on my own and I could have learned on my own. After I figured that out I went on to teach myself far more then I could have learned at a college. One of my first experiences that taught me this was when I went to work for a place called Sandia National Laboratories doing research on Star Wars weapons (Lasers). During my interview I was told that Sandias policy was to ONLY hire people with a degree. I had no degree and when the person who was interviewing me said that I simply stood up to leave and she quickly said "If I didnt think you had the equivalent knowledge and experience we wouldnt be talking now." I was told that I was the most well rounded person that she had interviewed in a long time and that I knew how to do more things then most of the people coming out of college with Masters degrees knew. She asked me where I learned to do what I knew how to do and I told her that I taught myself at home.
I taught myself how to do computer graphics and animation at home. It was enough to start my own animation company twice, get hired as a lead artist at a game company, do work for the discovery channel, Sony Development, Netter Digital, Foundation Imaging, Amalgamated Pixels and so on. Now I teach this stuff as well.
Ive NEVER had any formal art classes ever. Again, does that mean Im against schools? No. Am I against education? No.
Im against the stigma that you can ONLY get an education at a school. I totally agree 1000% with what Private said about being pro life efficiency. Most people who have been thru the ringer will tell you that the worst thing to do is to get in major debt to become educated. Youll also find that most schools even after 4 or more years typically make you just barely dangerous enough for someone to take the risk of hiring you and TRAINING you to do what they want you to do.
Again, make absolutely certain that you are doing things for the right reasons and do it as smart and efficiently as you can.

DigiLusionist
05-12-2003, 08:50 AM
Private, yes a one year program is not the same as attending a liberal arts college for four years. But, a year is a long time if used wisely.

And guess what? On the whole, the specialized VFX / CG schools have much better equipment and teachers than the universities do. I have been involved in program development and teaching of 3D (LW and Maya) at a number of colleges and VFX schools, and I have spoken with the academic deans of five universities in California that are seeking to create or to improve the 3D animation programs at their schools. But they readily admit they don't know what they're doing or how to do it.

At the university level, the development of training usuallly occurs at least one year prior to the implementation of a program. Committees have to approve this or that, and budgets have to be allocated, and then available resources have to be present to know how to put it all together.

What this means is that the one year tech programs are almost always better equipped, more relevant, and better directed than other educational programs. There are exceptions, I'm sure, but those exceptions are few. However, as more universities offer degrees in CG, there will be more and more grads who come out not only with reels, but with analytical and creative minds that have had the benefit of the educational experience and training.

Not every college grad will be a great artist and be able to create masterpieces. Such talent is primarily innate and such skill takes time to acquire, regardless of how its learned.

But what many a "I-Learned-It-All-On-My-Own artist seems to forget mentioning is that that is also true of those who take their route. Learning CG and creating a reel on your own doesn't mean it'll be good enough to get a job with.

Instead, I keep seeing that hackneyed line quoted again and again: "It's a poor craftsman who blames his tools." As if that eplains why someone is unsuccessul. It could be that that person just plain sucks, regardless of what they're using. Or, if they're aspiring to paint the Sistine Chapel, that they should considering using something a little more refined and practical for the task than food dye, a sponge, and some feathers (in other words, the tools DO matter).

I've never been to VFS, nor do I have friends who say they were unhappy with attending a vfx or cg school, so I cannot speak authoritatively about the experiences of all future students at such places. I have know students who were quite happy with their experiences.

I went to UCLA and then to SDSU. At each place, I knew one or two people there who were unhappy with their experiences and dropped out/failed/or transfered. That doesn't mean those schools sucked.

I'd have to hear directly from former students about exactly what it was that bit the big one before I'd trash a prospective place of education.

The one thing Private said I agree with is perhaps you should consider joining an armed force for four years before going to college in order to gain additional training and to get the opportunity to pay for school easier later on. Plus, you get Vet benefits that may come in handy when you want to buy a house, etc. Just a thought.

Mangled Poly
05-12-2003, 08:50 AM
Yes VFS is a trade school none the less it will dip my feet in all that, im always open to new schools that was my intent for posting this thread...

Let Me list why i choose VFS:
It is the best bang for the buck really, meaning im in and out in a year its an intense year thats what many people may complain about it. But none the less you do get documentation and education from a pretty well known 3d school.

Also there student "thesis" reels are some of the best consitant, reels i have seen come from a school, it isnt like some of the schools i was looking at where theres is some prodigy student that makes them look good.

The enviroment, Vancouver is one of the coolest citys in North America and cheap to live in with the exchange rate which is a great aspect to factor in when going to college.

There alumni is great they keep up with them from there own domain, ( www.myvfs.com ) and it seems like a great list of students and the places they are working.

VFS commitment to there students, they send hundreds of reels to companys and shows, heres is a list of what they achieved in shows last year. (need excel)
http://www.mangledpoly.com/vfs-festresults.xls

And from some of the alumni i have emailed gave positive marks they said it was intense and that turned many students away, it isnt like normal schooling, at vfs you are in school monday through friday 9am-6pm, and then you have homework after that, but the labs are left open 24/7 for you to work on your homework if needed.

As far as negative comments i havent heard any, but there are some about every school, but as always i am open to listen read abut them.

As i said i am open to alot of college choices however this is my reasoning behind VFS, in out and educated!

I do also understand there are some negative points as wgreen pointed out from his found article, about vfs being in drug are, but i look at it as things are what you make them, I live from areas where daily living is like this, yet i dont tangle myself with that culture, this is also true for many 3d schools to such as cogswell i found it to be a old warehouse amoung many in the san jose area.

The bottom line is how much you are willing to put into and get out of the program, that will determine the quality of your reel, and i understand this!

private
05-12-2003, 11:02 AM
Originally posted by DigiLusionist
Not every college grad will be a great artist and be able to create masterpieces. Such talent is primarily innate and such skill takes time to acquire, regardless of how its learned.


If it's innate, how could it take time to acquire? Wouldn't you be born with the talent, ergo innate?

private
05-12-2003, 11:08 AM
Originally posted by Mangled Poly
As i said i am open to alot of college choices however this is my reasoning behind VFS, in out and educated!

Mangled, check out Capilano College, Emily Carr or BCIT. That's it. Don't bother with VFS or CDIS (the artschool) as they are way overpriced for what you will receive.

Again, don't get seduced by a piece of paper, no matter what you mother says. Ideally, you should not even be part a of program. You should hand pick the classes you want to take, like the 3D classes, classical animation and such. Many schools with try to throw in Flash, Director, intro to programming etc into the mix. If you're not looking to be well rounded, why bother. Focus and forget about the piece of paper.

Labs are open 24 hours....that means Jack. Did they mention you're assigned lab time and you have to compete with the other students. They might be open 24 hours but you're lab time block is available on Tuesdays at 3:45am to 5:45am and Thursdays at 1am to 3am and Fridays at 7pm to 9pm etc.

You're right when you say Vancouver is a nice city. Too bad Dan Cloutier is a really bad goalie.

Also, search in the general discussion forum for Full Sail threads and cg schools. Many of the opinions are very bad there as well. You're going to find the same problems from VFS as they have a Full Sail. I remember one person from ILM recommending to people that went there not to put it on their resume and demo reel. I don't think it's to that extent, but it also shows that a piece of paper from a technical CG school isn't the end all and be all.

And since the schools you are thinking about going to either use Maya or XSI primarily, I would consider instead buying all the Gnomon videos. I'm sure you'd learn more from the videos that going to school, and you can replay the lessons over and over. You'll save a bundle compared to school to. I doubt the instructor would be able to match the lessons the Gnomon people put forth. If you want to go the Lightwave route, I'm sure Larry would sell you his cds, and you'll be getting more than a couple semesters worth of instruction, at a fraction of the price of school.

Mangled Poly
05-12-2003, 05:05 PM
Well i dont choose schools that revolve around maya or xsi its just the fact that some of the top schools revolve around those programs.

Second the rep said they have the lab open for all students to come in, it happens though if you dont allocate your time wisely then when the last month comes around and all the students who didnt use there time wisely try to use the lab all at the same time, and then its extremely hard to get a computer.

Can you please tell me where you see all these negative comments on the VFS forum as i dont see them, as well as the bad BBB report, as that didnt turn out to be bad at all.

I looked at BCIT, it looked nice, however when i look at schools i look at companies that support, such as pixars and digital domains mention for VFS. Now, i know pixar is a cheap company to work for but in the end they are an industry leader, which many others look up to.

ZeroNeuro
05-12-2003, 05:24 PM
My view on this subject is this: You want to go to a college, go to a good college, and get a degree in computer science.

You want to train at a training facility, pick one that specializes in the package you want to use. For instance, if you were going the Maya route, you have no other option other than Gnomon. They are really good from what I hear.

I have never heard of VFS until you mentioned them. I wouldn't know how good of a school they are. But the bottom line is talent. Someone just convinced me, that although I do not have a degree, I have talent enough to at least get my reels out there and jump into the fray :)

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