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View Full Version : MAJOR decision for a War Veteran...please help...


WickedEdges
10-22-2008, 12:30 AM
Ok, so I'm a combat veteran and I WAS planning on attending Art Institute of Pittsburgh for Animation, but now I just heard that my home state (Ohio) is going to give veterans FREE tuition to any state school. Now I'm split between a few decisions and was looking for some insight into the subject.

I could:
a) Attend Bowling Green State University for Digital Arts and lower my standards of education, but go for free.
b) Attend AIP with higher education standards and have to still pay for about $30,000 of my tuition.
c) Attend an Ohio state school and take a good fine arts program, but learn animation in my own time.



AHHHH the decisions! What do I do?! I'm not really asking you guys to decide for me, I just want people's opinions and a different angle of looking at things. Thanks guys!

SanjayChand
10-22-2008, 12:32 AM
Id do the fine arts program, and learn the CG stuff afterward. Many people at Gnomon attended a 4 year college and then enrolled in the Certificate Program, which is what I did.

A solid traditional arts background is key to creating good stuff on the computer.

muzbee3d
10-22-2008, 01:14 AM
As in combat you dont see many OLD folks on the lines. In the CG biz its the same. Burn up the kids and get more. CG and the computer will be a very very different game in the years ahead. Develope your talent and creative thinking, the tools of today are already OLD. Get the best you can for yourself and focus on learning and doing things you'll want to do for the rest of your life that make $.

BEST

M

Brettzies
10-22-2008, 01:40 AM
I could:
a) Attend Bowling Green State University for Digital Arts and lower my standards of education, but go for free.
b) Attend AIP with higher education standards and have to still pay for about $30,000 of my tuition.
c) Attend an Ohio state school and take a good fine arts program, but learn animation in my own time.
Hmmm. I vote for (c) and take Animation Mentor on the side if you just want to learn animation(and not so much other aspects of 3d, though a base helps). Don't know much about a or b's program really. If you do not desire a degree, you could just do A:M and see how you like it.

However, the thing with 3d is many people don't know exactly what they want to do until they've sampled everything a bit. The reason I recommend A:M is because if you're serious about animation, my personal belief is that it really is the best way to go despite being online. With the fine arts degree(c), you'll also get a well rounded background. Doesn't Ohio State have an animation program?

In terms of A:M, not only do I think the knowledge is good, but the networking is also great. Which is hard to get at many schools. I've worked with a good number of the mentors so I know they are good and I've seen several A:M students get hired at various "big" studios during major productions. Probably more then any single school, though some are combo students. SCAD+A:M, Purdue+A:M, etc.

The way the economy is, if you can get your college education for free and avoid large student loans, you might want to take advantage of that, especially since a degree is not the determining factor in whether or not you get hired somewhere, but is still a good thing to have.

twedzel
10-22-2008, 01:55 AM
How are your art skills? If they are poor to mediocre I would spend some time developing them. I would take technical art training like you would find in classical animation, illustration, or figurative art courses.
I would stay away from lame CG courses... even free ones. They'll just suck up your time that can better spent. Once you are feeling decently confident as an artist, then start applying them to the computer.

WickedEdges
10-22-2008, 02:31 AM
Thanks to everyone for all the comments. And yes, Ohio State has an animation program, but it's a graduate program. It's gonna be hard deciding what to do...

Slurry
10-22-2008, 02:48 AM
For me, personally, I'd do the free fine arts degree. I still regret not having that foundation education in fine arts. Maybe someday I'll do it.
If you want character animation tuition...I'd take Animation Mentor. I still plan on doing it someday.
If you want to learn general skills, I'd look into another school or self-tuition.

Good luck!

Art

Dirtystimpy
10-22-2008, 03:14 AM
I agree with the others, get a solid foundation with a real degree.. learn the cg on the side


Also, regarding the service front...
I was a 3D instructor for four years a long time ago.. I had had a handful of students who just got out of the service... 2 former drill instructors, 3 or 4 from various divisions (marines/navy etc)... and they all struggled with the same problem... and that was simply sitting at a computer all day. Most told me they had a hard time adjusting to this type education/job type.

Please keep in mind this school was your Art Institute type school.. overpriced education enticing students that they can get you a job at the big studios.

So with the above statement.. any time you can decide between a foundation/traditional type schooling vs a track program... I would always go the foundation way.. simply put, if you change your mind, your not out $55K with a degree in computer animation.


my 2 cents

AnimationFanBoy
10-22-2008, 04:14 AM
i'd go for the free education in fine arts.
the reason being is that "fine arts" will give you really good foundations; ie., in color theory, figure drawing will help with lighting, line quality, shape and form, painting will help with texture work/composition/lighting, sculpting will help with mass/shape/form etc.
in general, it will make you a better artist in every shape and form.

not only that, but... there is soooo much good dvd training on 3d programs. ie. gnomon, digital tutors, simplymaya, etc.. they are better than alot of teachers out there. the stuff you can learn on dvds are "heavy duty" production knowledge skillsets. these dvds won't give stupid assignments or grade you on attendance or give you attitude because their having a bad day.

you'll also be saving a "est. $65,000" of money that can come in real handy. especially in this economic condition.

go for it!

AnimationFanBoy
10-22-2008, 04:14 AM
double post...
sorry...

Lexalotacus
10-22-2008, 04:29 AM
Hey cool, I was in Iraq with 4th ID... Now I'm out and going to school at the DAC (denver animation center) which is on of the best schools in the country. We just had dreamworks recruiting a couple people friday at a seminar... I digress...

I continue to find that the better I understand form, anatomy, composition, color, light, and value that the better my 3D art is. Understanding form is KEY! Basically, everyone will tell you that you can learn all the technical crap with video tutorials in your spare time (whatever programs like photoshop or maya), but you really need to dedicate yourself to the traditional stuff. I'll even point out some amazing resources for you if you're interested, they've really helped me:

the gnomon workshop
digital tutors
the structure of man (for figure drawing)
vilppu studios (for figure drawing)


Check them out and finally, go with option C (assuming it's free). Trust me on this man, when you don't have to work 2 jobs to pay tuition and rent, you are able to learn more in your spare time and focus on the things you aren't learning at school. You can always go to a school like Vancouver film school or gnomon in hollywood if you still need to study 3D specific stuff after you get your bachelors...


A question for you: Are you disabled at all?
-L

Lexalotacus
10-22-2008, 04:33 AM
Another really important question for you;

What is it you really love doing? Are you sure you want to animate? Maybe modeling? Rigging? etc..?

jeremybirn
10-22-2008, 04:39 AM
A free education is nothing to sneeze at, especially in tough economic times. Academic rankings of schools are not meaningless, but they aren't the only thing to look at in a program either. I'd at least go visit your options, talk directly with different students, and see if the students there seem to be happy with the program, are getting the courses they want, if they are doing work like what you'd like to do, etc.

-jeremy

Michael32766
10-22-2008, 04:58 AM
Hi, Former Tanker myself.
I paid for most of my education with the GI Bill.
Any school you go to is going to give you acess to the equipment.
The majority of learning your going to have to do on your own.
With any kind of an art degree the paper itself isn't worth much. What you have produced while your were in school is. Through out your carrier in Art/CG people will always judge you by what you have made and how it looks. They watch the demo reel then look at the resume.

A lot of of former Military people have a hard time with civilian schools because the classes are so unstructred. The military tells you what you are going to learn in a class, what you are expcted to demostrate and then shows you by the Crawl/Walk/Run method.
Seems most art classes the method of teaching is
"Do whatever you want becuse it's is self expression so it's Ok"
Oddly enough that method dosen't work to well with grenades.

Whatever school you go to ask them if they teach the foundations and give you time to pratice and work on art pieces.

As far as I can tell the best method of traditional art instruction that can help with CG is the Classical Realism school or a Atelier education.
The Atelier method refers to the Old French school where artists learned from a master Painter in a workshop as opposed to a class room.
If you can get a hold of these two books by Juliette Asistides
Classical Drawing Atelier
Classical Painting Atelier

They will help becuse she lists and covers some of the traditional principles of Art.
Then you can look at the school/instructor and see if they are at least covering the subject.
Good luck,
Michael

WickedEdges
10-22-2008, 05:01 AM
Thanks again to everyone who gave information, it really helps.

Lex, I was in 4/25 myself. When did you get out? As for the disabled, I'm currently filing for disability with the VFW/VA. *crosses fingers*

WickedEdges
10-22-2008, 05:04 AM
Oddly enough that method dosen't work to well with grenades.


Lawl. Yyyyyeaahhh not quite.

Thanks for the info, bro.

aesir
10-22-2008, 05:22 AM
visit the schools, go to the one with the nicest campus, the hottest girls, and the friendliest teachers. Everything else will fall into place if you work hard :)

WickedEdges
10-22-2008, 05:31 AM
Errr... I hope that was sarcasm...I'm pretty sure it doesn't work that way...

leigh
10-22-2008, 09:14 AM
Another vote for the fine arts degree.

dunkelzahn
10-22-2008, 12:38 PM
"Do whatever you want because it's self expression so it's Ok"
Oddly enough that method doesn't work too well with grenades.


Nice, that one saved my day :)

Back to the issue. One point that has been left out is taking a look at the school itself (i.e. doing some recon). Sure fine arts are the fundamental skills on which you build your CG skills later on, but if the school is not good, then you will waste your time.

Good luck and (hopefully) have fun ;)

Chris

israelyang
10-22-2008, 04:35 PM
regarding fine art programs, really make sure you take some time to look at the work of the students (past and present) and if given the chance, speak to them. fine art program varies very much from school to school.
A program that has its emphasis on modern art, will give you a VERY different learning experience and understanding than a school that focuses on traditonal art skills.
I went to a school like the former, but I spent all my spare time learning the latter on my own. The art world is pretty split, so make sure you pick a program accrodingly.

Via-Art
10-22-2008, 06:34 PM
Errr... I hope that was sarcasm...I'm pretty sure it doesn't work that way...

And why not? worked for me... nice campus, hot girls, and nice teachers always help with the motivation area lol. Course, I'm also just joking.

Lexalotacus
10-23-2008, 01:00 AM
Thanks again to everyone who gave information, it really helps.

Lex, I was in 4/25 myself. When did you get out? As for the disabled, I'm currently filing for disability with the VFW/VA. *crosses fingers*

Well if you get 10% or more you can apply for Vocational Rehab (which is what I'm on).
I was on the GI Bill but Voc rehab is a million times better. Basically when you are approved, they pay for everything (tuition, books, supplies, ANYTHING required for courses) and even give you a monthly living allowance based on your enrollment. Im 60% disabled so I was able to get on the program with ease. I was able to get a 17" MacBook Pro ($3000) and anything else I need to get things done.

Basically, apply for it, find the best school for you, and get on vocational rehab. It's worth it.
Good luck bro,
L

Henry23
10-23-2008, 03:02 AM
You've got another vote for the fine arts degree. It really does give you an education in skills you wouldn't be able to get otherwise. You can only learn so much in cg courses and on the job. Not to mention, it translates to other areas of professions as well. I went this route and am glad I did.

paintbox
10-23-2008, 07:16 AM
And.....that nobody mentions this.... visit CGTalk often, it's one of the best places in the world to learn :)

If you are into traditional materials+art , I've always found wetcanvas.com (http://www.wetcanvas.com) a great resource, allthough the 2D section of CGTalk is of a very high quality by itself.

Good luck!

jipe
10-23-2008, 02:37 PM
As a recent graduate of your first option, I would not recommend it considering your other available choices. A free fine arts degree from a school that focuses strongly on classical foundation skills (figure drawing, painting, etc.) will be of much value to you as you eventually learn 3d software and attempt to enter the industry as an artist. A free digital arts degree from a school that only offers ONE figure drawing class and offers no digital arts teachers with industry experience... in my opinion, that is a waste of time, if not money. If you'd like to talk further, drop me a personal message.

Rebeccak
10-23-2008, 02:42 PM
I don't think it's a state school, but the Cleveland Institute of Art (http://www.cia.edu/) has a notable alumni in Zack Petroc (http://features.cgsociety.org/story_custom.php?story_id=2646) (a former fine arts major). CIA is not be confused with the Art Institutes, which I would highly recommend you avoid. Ohio seems to have a lot of good art schools, I think mainly because there's not much to do in Ohio. :) Best of luck in making your decision.

WickedEdges
10-23-2008, 06:21 PM
Rebeccak: Yes, you're right Ohio does have a lot of good art schools, but they aren't all state schools, so I can't take advantage of those like a Wal-mart special. :P

Rebeccak
10-23-2008, 06:50 PM
;)

Ah, well, frankly the choice seems obvious to me. Bad economy, unprecedentedly unpredictable future, people going into debt, defaulting on their home loans, and going into credit card debt up the wazoo - a state school is nothing to sneeze at. I'd weather the bad economic times on a free ticket to school, then after the four years are up and the bad economic storm has either dissipated or not, you will have a better sense of whether you want to go deeply into debt for an uncertain industry or not. You won't have lost anything and you'd be smart to take advantage of your chance to go to school for free, imho. Maybe pick up some business minor credits and at the end of the day, you won't have $500 / month of school debt to pay in an economy that doesn't look like it will be that robust for several years, and with unemployment rates likely to rise.

For myself personally, I went to a state school for my masters, and while the reputation of the school was nothing close to that of my private undergraduate school, I didn't have to go into debt for it, for which I am now immensely grateful. (My situation is different than yours in that I was going after my masters to be able to teach, not to be an animator). It depends on how badly you want to be an animator, I guess, and how well you believe your skills will stack up against the kabillions who want it just as badly and are standing in line for those jobs. An utterly personal choice.

If you want a reality check about how many people want to go into animation, stand in line for Cal Arts at a local National Portfolio Day event:

http://www.portfolioday.net/

I think that there are no more events in Ohio until next year, but these are annual events, typically targeted at high school seniors, but anyone is welcome to have their portfolio reviewed by the college reps. I'll tell you right away that any school worth its salt will look for strong figure drawing in your portfolio. I think establishing the basics is going to be important no matter where you decide to study (which is pretty much the consensus from what I've read over the years on this board and hear all the time from college reps, industry people, et al).

Boone
10-23-2008, 06:55 PM
If it were free then I would take fine arts. However, dont neglect your IT skills and keep up to date with the odd college course once in a while.

Best of luck.:thumbsup:

twedzel
10-23-2008, 10:49 PM
Seems most art classes the method of teaching is
"Do whatever you want becuse it's is self expression so it's Ok"
Oddly enough that method dosen't work to well with grenades.

This method was developed after the sixties when conceptual art became the dominate art theory in the artworld. Back then student artists didn't properly learn the fundamental skills and those are the artists now teaching at many of these schools. It really doesn't work well if you want to become a technically strong artist. I wasted a few years on one of these programs waaay back when. That is why I recommend something with more of a technical bend like illustration, figurative art, or classical animation. These programs if they are any good will really teach you to crawl, walk, run with your art skills. "Do what ever you want because it is self expression" is really lame at developing the fundamental skills you need.

Lunatique
10-25-2008, 02:13 AM
Pick the one that is the hardest to learn on your own, and that will be the traditional art foundation you'd learn in the Fine Arts program. CG can be learned relatively easier since today we have so many instructional DVD's, books, online tutorials...etc, and CG is really just learning what buttons to push to operate the software--everything else is all still based on traditional art foundations.

WickedEdges
10-25-2008, 05:18 PM
That's definitely what I'm leaning towards. Now I just have to figure out who has the best fine arts programs and what is it that makes a good fine arts program?

RobertoOrtiz
10-25-2008, 05:30 PM
Pick the one that is the hardest to learn on your own, and that will be the traditional art foundation you'd learn in the Fine Arts program. CG can be learned relatively easier since today we have so many instructional DVD's, books, online tutorials...etc, and CG is really just learning what buttons to push to operate the software--everything else is all still based on traditional art foundations.

I would listen to his advice...
The job market right now is bad and it will turn ugly soon. Go to school and get solid fundamentals. While a school try to get as many Interships as you can. this is somethign that with your background you should have no problems.

And about what makes a good program, I would listen to the adivce from
Rebecca.

I wish you the best.

-R

Rebeccak
10-25-2008, 10:42 PM
Check out:

http://www.portfolioday.net/component/option,com_eventlist/Itemid,47/

Alternately:

http://www.conceptart.org/forums/forumdisplay.php?f=15

Heh, I see you already have a thread there. :)

tfortier
10-25-2008, 11:11 PM
From personnal experience, dont spend any money in school. Get your softwares, sit down and play. Touch everything; particles, modeling, dynamics, bones, texturing, Global Illumination, compositing... and at the start, work on a project (even personnal, like growing a flower... exploding a jet... use depth of field) and everything you will learn will come for a need to finish your animation. It way easier to remember everything that way.

School have been a total waste for me. I get saved when I got my first computer.

Get a base in Photoshop, Illustrator and After Effects. (Videocopilot.net have nice tut)

Do 3 or 4 animation, polish everything in After Effect, Edit the result on a groovy song and when you are satisfy post it here for comments and send it to companies. You will probably be able to find a beginner job in one of the major company in less than a year. The important is not loosing your time. Dont let yourself drag by leasy friends, dont smoke weed before working... show everyone you are the best when you sit down and concentrate! its 90% work and 10% talent, no kidding.

like we say here in japan; KAMBATE!
(good luck, dont give up!)

thierry

danshewan
10-26-2008, 01:04 PM
From personnal experience, dont spend any money in school. Get your softwares, sit down and play. Touch everything; particles, modeling, dynamics, bones, texturing, Global Illumination, compositing...

What works for some may not work for others. As for dabbling in a little of everything, in my personal experience, this is an excellent way to learn very little of very many things. Whilst some may favor this approach (and gain a little understanding of many aspects of production work), I've found it best to identify what it is you want to learn before you even pick up a pencil or sit at your computer, then focus on that aspect until you're confident enough to progress to a related discipline (say, from modeling to rigging).

However, I'd agree with previous posts about the merits of a traditional art education. It can only be a good thing, and your 3D work will improve with a solid art foundation.

Do 3 or 4 animation, polish everything in After Effect, Edit the result on a groovy song and when you are satisfy post it here for comments and send it to companies. You will probably be able to find a beginner job in one of the major company in less than a year.

I think this is probably one of the most potentially misleading things I've seen here in some time. Don't underestimate the quality of the work of artists already working in the field, some of whom are themselves struggling to find work. If you're not as good or better than they are, you probably won't land a gig, let alone inside of a year unless you're exceptionally talented. There's loads of threads that address the issue of specialization versus generalization, and whilst there is a market for generalists, the prevailing consensus of opinion seems to be rock at one thing, as opposed to being okay at several.

I'd definitely agree with tfortier to post WIP's here for critique, but be honest with yourself and the quality of your work. Don't feel pressured into 'landing a gig' - be focused on improving your work.

The important thing is not losing your time.

Quoted for agreement. Good luck with whatever you decide to do.

gundog
10-26-2008, 04:36 PM
just a bit of information. i don't know if it's still the same as when i went to school, but the GI Bill and Montgomery College Fund were paid out in monthly installments. my contract was for $38,000 so i was paid around $790 a month. since i went for a two year degree, there was $19,000 unused and after a time, forfeited.

tfortier
10-27-2008, 01:12 AM
what is better? 4 years at school learning general stuff or 4 years with the softwares? in 4 years you will be specialized. Maybe im biased against school cause I've always been a self learning guy but how do you think 3d teachers learn in CG school? They read the manual. Im from Montreal, the city with 2000 CG schools... its a racket really. 20 000$ a year, you better buy yourself a good Duo2core pc and start working. You need to be generalist first for do a convincing portfolio except if your work only focus on modeling or dynamics, ect...

Anyway, its my point of view as I never needed someone to take my hand.

WickedEdges
10-27-2008, 06:20 PM
just a bit of information. i don't know if it's still the same as when i went to school, but the GI Bill and Montgomery College Fund were paid out in monthly installments. my contract was for $38,000 so i was paid around $790 a month. since i went for a two year degree, there was $19,000 unused and after a time, forfeited.

The new Post 9/11 G.I. Bill will be paid in full to the school you choose, not in monthly installments. But they do give you $1000 a year for supplies and they pay you a monthly housing allowance which in Ohio is going to be $1400 a month.

WickedEdges
10-27-2008, 06:22 PM
what is better? 4 years at school learning general stuff or 4 years with the softwares? in 4 years you will be specialized. Maybe im biased against school cause I've always been a self learning guy but how do you think 3d teachers learn in CG school? They read the manual. Im from Montreal, the city with 2000 CG schools... its a racket really. 20 000$ a year, you better buy yourself a good Duo2core pc and start working. You need to be generalist first for do a convincing portfolio except if your work only focus on modeling or dynamics, ect...

Anyway, its my point of view as I never needed someone to take my hand.


I think you are exaclty right in saying that your opinion is biased. I've heard time and again that focusing on the fundamentals of art will make your models and 3d work in general look much better than the competition. This should be obvious because without proper knowledge of light and composition and color theory, etc. how else are you supposed to improve you work? Anyone can learn a piece of software in many various ways. How does pushing buttons and such make you a better artist?

Lexalotacus
10-27-2008, 10:31 PM
The new Post 9/11 G.I. Bill will be paid in full to the school you choose, not in monthly installments. But they do give you $1000 a year for supplies and they pay you a monthly housing allowance which in Ohio is going to be $1400 a month.

Sounds like they really upgraded the new GI Bill...
When I was on it I only got 1100 a month full time and that was it. I still think if you really want a 4 year degree that you should consider vocational rehab. Man, I'm surprised about the new gi bill though... that's really awesome... talk about enlistment incentive... lol

WickedEdges
10-27-2008, 10:41 PM
Well the monthly allowance is based on your home state, but yeah it's gotten a bit better.

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