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View Full Version : Game colleges - Are they worth it?


Moon-Dog
05-12-2009, 06:58 PM
Well, I'd be needing to make a decision pretty soon, but anyways, I'd just like to know from professionals out there whether those 'game design' courses are worth undertaking. I'm highly interested in game art, but I find that learning the software side of things on my own is not too hard. Where I feel I do lack quite a bit and one which would empower me a lot is 2D illustration/concept art. I'm interested in both, concept design as well as transferring this to 3D. And again, I feel that some of the other stuff such as working with restrictions, design documents, game play elements and of course the process of making a game itself are things I could learn on my own and gain by doing small projects (and a lot of this information is already available on the internet).

So, what would some of you recommend? Taking a 'game design' course or somewhere along the lines of say, illustration (or industrial design?!) and practicing hard on the software of my choice away from class? Or should I just go all out on my own?! I'm finding that learning to draw/paint on my own and approaching digital painting as a beginner a bit of a daunting task. Putting in the time and effort is not much of a problem here and I don't care about a degree either. Thanks for reading.

danlefeb
05-12-2009, 07:28 PM
No one can choose whats best for you except yourself, but you may get some good recommendations by others by searching these forums.

That said, by 'game college' are you talking about a place like ITT Tech (http://itt-tech.edu/teach/list/degd.cfm), or a place like The DAVE School (http://www.daveschool.com/)? Those are just example schools I picked off the top of my head. I haven't gone through any training by either, but I'd be more likely to think you'd get a better education from a place that specializes in game-related things like The DAVE School than a place that generalizes things more like ITT Tech.

AshleyMarie
05-17-2009, 03:20 AM
I saw this and just had to put in my two cents here. Im very new to this site but hopefully I can be of some help. I went to the Ai in Schaumburg, Il and was majoring in Game art and Design. For and overview we were taught a bit of everything, from photoshop, 3dsmax, life drawing, storyboarding, sculpting, ect...Just enough to get your feet wet so to speak. It seemed most students that chose that major failed terribly(this includes the animation major as well as the vfx major) if they didnt already have alot of basic background knowlege of drawing, lighting, proportions, ect. As well as the art classes we did have the basics that included math, psych, english....These I found to be no more difficult than my jr or sr highschool classes but are required as part of the major. *big yawn* Most of the teachers at my school were ok, I can still only remember two being great and really knowledgeable. As I got into my second yr I HATED the game major, I was terrible at the 3d aspect and it just wasnt for me. I switched to animation, where I felt more comfortable and truely excelled. Despite a few things I really enjoyed my time there however I never finished either major (4qtrs left if I ever return)!

Looking back I wish someone would have given me the advice I'm about to give you. Going to school isnt for everyone. What I spent for college (roughly 50k) I could have bought an uber computer, the softwear, book, dvd tutorials and supplies I needed. Look a boat load of life drawing classes at the community college and taught myself what I needed. Little did I know then the stupid piece of paper is not by any means required to get where you what to be. You can drive yourself just as much as droping the cash for classes and teachers can. I just wish I would have known practicing everyday and seaking out information on my own would be more useful to me than anything.

So thats where I'm at now. I work full time and have a kid. Besides that I devote a many late nights to teaching myself and I love every minute of it. I get to go at my own pace! By no means am I trying to talk you out of going to school, its just I've found learning on my own more rewarding and cheaper.

Oh and as far as learning photoshop, I've found if you have some prior background knowledge in painting (oils or what have you) learning photoshop or painter is extreamly easy, its just like learning another medium. Good luck to you in whatever you choose!

Kanga
05-17-2009, 02:26 PM
http://www.poopinmymouth.com/tutorial/formal_art_training.html

http://www.poopinmymouth.com/tutorial/money_mouth.htm

Moon-Dog
05-18-2009, 10:03 AM
I saw this and just had to put in my two cents here. Im very new to this site but hopefully I can be of some help. I went to the Ai in Schaumburg, Il and was majoring in Game art and Design. For and overview we were taught a bit of everything, from photoshop, 3dsmax, life drawing, storyboarding, sculpting, ect...Just enough to get your feet wet so to speak. It seemed most students that chose that major failed terribly(this includes the animation major as well as the vfx major) if they didnt already have alot of basic background knowlege of drawing, lighting, proportions, ect. As well as the art classes we did have the basics that included math, psych, english....These I found to be no more difficult than my jr or sr highschool classes but are required as part of the major. *big yawn* Most of the teachers at my school were ok, I can still only remember two being great and really knowledgeable. As I got into my second yr I HATED the game major, I was terrible at the 3d aspect and it just wasnt for me. I switched to animation, where I felt more comfortable and truely excelled. Despite a few things I really enjoyed my time there however I never finished either major (4qtrs left if I ever return)!

Looking back I wish someone would have given me the advice I'm about to give you. Going to school isnt for everyone. What I spent for college (roughly 50k) I could have bought an uber computer, the softwear, book, dvd tutorials and supplies I needed. Look a boat load of life drawing classes at the community college and taught myself what I needed. Little did I know then the stupid piece of paper is not by any means required to get where you what to be. You can drive yourself just as much as droping the cash for classes and teachers can. I just wish I would have known practicing everyday and seaking out information on my own would be more useful to me than anything.

So thats where I'm at now. I work full time and have a kid. Besides that I devote a many late nights to teaching myself and I love every minute of it. I get to go at my own pace! By no means am I trying to talk you out of going to school, its just I've found learning on my own more rewarding and cheaper.

Oh and as far as learning photoshop, I've found if you have some prior background knowledge in painting (oils or what have you) learning photoshop or painter is extreamly easy, its just like learning another medium. Good luck to you in whatever you choose!
Hi

Thanks for the useful insight! This is exactly the fear I have atm, that these game art courses might not stress the importance of traditional skills and would just end up skimming them slightly. I'm not telling every course might be like this, but a lot of stuff like software/game elements/design documents/pipeline etc. are things I've easily learned a lot on my own and I'm concerned more about the art itself. I just don't require a formal training for maya or photoshop or unreal engine or whatever it is (I'm assuming that a lot of time will be taken up to teach this stuff...feel free to correct me if I'm wrong ).

http://www.poopinmymouth.com/tutorial/formal_art_training.html

http://www.poopinmymouth.com/tutorial/money_mouth.htm
Thanks for these links too. It is the same path I'm following right now. Only thing is that from previous experience, I've found that 'a college environment' isn't for me. Learning on my own seems to work better, as I'm not distracted by a lot of other stuff. The only concern is that I might be missing out on something, but I guess with so many books, dvds and of course the internet available, there's no excuse at all. I might not have that person (i.e. a mentor) whom I could rely on to ask all the silly questions, but hey, I guess I could just ask them here :D.

russellwilkins
05-20-2009, 06:15 PM
Hey Moon-Dog,

This is a touchy subject, but one definitely worth confronting before you invest so much of yourself. I'm finishing up my animation degree at the Art Institute of Portland this month and in hindsight, the investment wasn't worthwhile. The main argument for going to a school is the degree and networking. Networking is essential to develop future relationships and build your reputation within the industry. While I was going to school, I attended all the animation events around town, met people, took people out to lunch/beer, and got my name around. All of these things I did without the schools input. If you are going to teach yourself, find an online community (like CGtalk) and post updates, get feedback, and go out and network with people in your community.

The other thing is quality assurance. The problem with going to a school where literally anyone can enroll is that the teachers are forced into 'dumbing down' their lectures for the lowest common denominator, which is fine for a public school. However, before I started any 3d class I would watch the related Gnomon training and I would find that in an 8 hour sit-down with the DVD, I learned as much as 3 months of classroom lecture. But it is good to have a teacher there to look at your work, critique it, and challenge you to do better.

A friend of mine dropped out of school with a year left before getting his degree and enrolled in Animation Mentor. I don't want to sound like an ad for them, but the system they have set up is perfect for the person who wants to get better at principles (at their own speedy pace) while still having the community of a college.

And to quote Will Hunting, "You dropped a hundred and fifty grand on an education you coulda' picked up for a dollar fifty in late charges at the Public Library."
Good luck with this Moondog. You'll do great if you just keep pushing yourself.

darthviper107
05-21-2009, 11:34 AM
There's only a few places that actually offer something useful as a Game degree, really there isn't much need for a specific degree in creating games because you're only going to be doing one type of job in a game and you should focus on that, like 3D modeling, which you can learn without a specific gaming degree.

Honestly, the best thing you can do is have a good portfolio and demo reel, what you do in college isn't all that important because you can't learn what you need to know from there anyway (there just isn't enough time in classes). A lot of places want you to have a degree, but really it's more of a check-off that you did it rather than really needing it, they pay more attention to your reel.

For me I'm finishing my degree but the 4 years gives me time to work on getting a lot of portfolio work without being on a lot of pressure.

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