04-09-2009, 11:10 AM
I'm not sure if anyone will come in that's attended Digipen, but I do have it on the new North American college's list, with plenty of information. I thought their student gallery was nice. They are certainly on the high end of expense for a bachelor's however.
08-28-2009, 05:33 PM
I realize this is a little late for the original post, but I graduated from Digipen with a BFA in 2008 and wanted to share my experience with anyone considering attending this school. There was SO MUCH unnecessary drama and stress along the way that I could not possibly recommend the school to anyone. I did have a few very talented teachers who really cared about passing down their knowledge and I do have a good job now in animation. But, these teachers were few and far between, and like I said, there was WAY TOO MUCH BULLS*** for it to be worth the money.
Let me give you an example: Sophomore year, we had too many classes (everyone had the same schedule). We were told it was set up like that on purpose so we could learn how to pick and choose our battles, BUT WE STILL HAD TO PAY FOR THE CLASSES WE COULDN'T LEARN FROM BECAUSE WE WERE SO BUSY. This was brought to the attention of everyone running the school, and no one changed a thing. Not a single student could keep up with the workload, it was beyond just being hard or challenging, it really was physically impossible. Both the teachers and students were severely overworked. Three of the best teachers left after this year, and many students did as well.
I was considering leaving for greener pastures at this point, but on the schedule for the next year I had an environment painting class, and the scheduled teacher was a former environment painter for Disney who did amazing work. I love painting, so that seemed worth it to stay. DIRTY BAIT AND SWITCH!!! the ex-Disney painter was never actually going to teach the class, we wound up with some chump that had never painted before in his life and didn't know the first thing about background/matte painting!!! The Disney painter was on the schedule all the way through the first week of classes, and NO ONE knew that we would have this random guy instead. He knew how to do ActionScripting in Flash! WTF!! Several students were furious as you could imagine! We were discussing this (fairly respectfully considering the circumstances) when the dean of the Art Dept overheard and blew up and SCREAMED AT THE TOP OF HIS LUNGS in anger in students faces for not liking this teacher, telling them to leave the school if they didn't like it, veins builging and everything. WTF WTF WTF! I did wind up staying, but only because we got a new 3d teacher fresh out of Arch Vis, so he taught lots of good rendering tricks, and some good non-organic modelling skills. Another RIDICULOUSLY STRESSFUL year (I barely scratched the surface, trust me). The dean was fired for being such a jerk and mismanaging the teachers, but his replacement was no better.
His replacement called us all in after the spring semester to introduce himself. So far so good. But he then proceeds to tell us that our junior animation projects were trash (not true first of all there were some great shorts, second there were many UNECESSARY OBSTACLES put in our way by the school that prevented the projects from being better. Without going into any more detail, I can say that every student produced the best animation possible under the circumstances). And he then said THAT WE WERE ALL REQUIRED TO COME IN AND REDO OUR PROJECTS OVER THE SUMMER OR WE COULDN'T GRADUATE!!! This was not only an extremely disrespectful demand, it DIRECTLY contradicted the standards of accredidation. So I didn't do it. I got an 'A' in my project and I was damn proud of it. I wanted to get a job in medical animation, so I made a demo reel of two short medical-themed animations. For the summer REDO, the school had ZERO suggestions to help me better reach my goal, and instead insisted that I redo it with more 'character' and a 'funny gag'. NO!! THE PROJECT WAS APPROVED before I began and adding these things would ruin it for the inteded purpose!! And it was good enough to get me a job!! See it here and judge for yourself: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xXbyJNRwjlg
I was harassed in person and through several e-mails for the ENTIRE summer for not going in to school every single week and butchering my project that I worked on for many, many late nights. But, of course, they had NO grounds to ACTUALLY require it of me. Alas, at this point in time I was so far in that I wanted to just finish my degree and get out of school entirely. It was one more year of this circus or a minimum of 2 years if I finished my degree somewhere else. So I stayed. Our senior year was better on the workload (it was actually a feasible amount and we could get some sleep) but much of the same useless drama remained. To give you an example of how Digipen Institute of Technology FAILED with providing adequate technology, consider this: they wanted us to render our senior porjects in HD (720 x 1280). There were >900 students at the school and only 1 TB of network storage for everyone, including the teachers folders for the classes! As you could imagine, this was 95% full before the year even started, so we completely ran out of room before anyone even started rendering. I called their attention to this fact many times before it actually happened. So what was their solution? Buy more storage (which is ridiculously cheap these days)? Nope. Once again, they blamed it on the students. The art students were using too much space they said. We should all have only 5-6 Gb of files each they said. WHAT?? And also render multiple passes in HD?? With several scene files and all the work from our other classes?? IMPOSSIBLE!! I pointed out that the technology fees from just 8 students (of 900) would triple the network storage, but to no avail. Somehow we made it to the end of the year, with the IT department scrambling to delete old files faster than we were saving new ones. Also, while the Arch Vis 3d teacher was still there to help with rendering, there WAS NO OTHER TEACHER to help with the 3d!!! Most of the faculty at this point taught traditional art, so if I had any technical question I just had to figure it out for myself!! What was I paying all that money for again??
Digipen's reputation is based on it's programming department, which is stellar as far as I can tell. But their art department is horribly mismanaged. In their defense, my class was the very first BFA, so some shakiness is expected. They have made some improvements, like lowering the workload, buying more network storage, and offering at least a couple electives. New faculty has been brought in as well. I will add that the traditional art teaching (which is all you will be doing the first year) is actually VERY good, and the first year there was my best. It all started going downhill from there. However, the positives do NOT excuse the excessive problems and I could never in good conscience suggest that anyone subject themselves to this type of treatment. Unless you know that substantial changes have been made, save yourself a headache and go somewhere else.
08-29-2009, 07:57 PM
well, I suppose it's good i read this, seeing as digipen is on my list. :\ And it looks like you're doing exactly the same thing I'd be doing. Hmmm...*indecision*
08-29-2009, 07:57 PM
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