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SenseofTouch
03-10-2010, 03:54 AM
Hello,

My name is Joseph Lau. I want an education that will land me a career in 3D Animation & Visual Effects for films and such. I am more interested in the modeling and texturing aspects than animation and visual effects. I am unemployed and dependent on my widowed mother; we do not have a lot of money. Also, I am not already skilled in traditional art, so I am starting right from scratch.

I graduated high school in 2008 and have been attending City College of San Francisco ever since. Not until recently have I started following a guide to transfer from CCSF to Academy of Art University for their BFA program in Animation & Visual Effects. In total, I would be transferring 30 units of Liberal Art courses from CCSF and starting as a sophomore upon transferring there. However, I am looking for cheaper ways to obtain my education.

Under such circumstances, what do you guys suggest I do? Stick to my plan to transfer from CCSF to AAU or do something else? Should I disregard a degree and just go with certificate/diploma/self enrichment courses/programs? Should I build my foundation in traditional art in community college or state universities first and then look for a specific 3D program separately? I need some kind of plan, so help appreciated!

Kanga
03-10-2010, 12:29 PM
Hi Joseph.

In the area of 3d I am self taught and when I started as an industrial designer there
were no computers :). I know very little about the complexities of the education system,
but one thing I know is that your port folio is still the most important aspect in
landing a job. Also in the beginning getting to know people and selling your skills is
also very effective. Read 'Getting a Job in Computer Animation' by Ed Harris.

Also read this from Ben Mathis, it also applies to films:
http://www.poopinmymouth.com/tutorial/formal_art_training.html
http://www.poopinmymouth.com/tutorial/money_mouth.htm

Schools that will teach you what you need to make your port folio stand out (assuming you
are talented) like Gnomon and VFS are around 50,000 dollars a year. Most employers will
only be looking at your Folio, not at your qualifications, unless you are going for a
teaching job.

You can learn all you need to know on your own. Just use the best folios on the web as
your guide and be determined. You will probably need some other job as a source of income
while you are learning.

May the force be with you man.

forsakendreams
03-10-2010, 07:27 PM
Get a bachelor's degree at least.
It sounds like you might lack the funds for the pricier schools like AAU, so check out some cheaper alternatives:
http://www.sjsuai.com/ai/Welcome.html
http://www.deanza.edu/animation/
http://www.gnomonschool.com/ (not quite as cheap)
You have no traditional art skills so you have your work cut out for you. I would highly recommend getting into photography and traditional sculpture and figure drawing if you are interested in modeling and texturing.

right in your backyard:
http://www.freedomofteach.com/workshops/

I would recommend getting traditional art training at local universities then brushing up on 3d via professional training. At least you will have a degree to fall back on should dropping 60K on a certificate not pan out.

SenseofTouch
03-10-2010, 09:10 PM
Hi Joseph.

In the area of 3d I am self taught and when I started as an industrial designer there
were no computers :). I know very little about the complexities of the education system,
but one thing I know is that your port folio is still the most important aspect in
landing a job. Also in the beginning getting to know people and selling your skills is
also very effective. Read 'Getting a Job in Computer Animation' by Ed Harris.

Also read this from Ben Mathis, it also applies to films:
http://www.poopinmymouth.com/tutorial/formal_art_training.html
http://www.poopinmymouth.com/tutorial/money_mouth.htm

Schools that will teach you what you need to make your port folio stand out (assuming you
are talented) like Gnomon and VFS are around 50,000 dollars a year. Most employers will
only be looking at your Folio, not at your qualifications, unless you are going for a
teaching job.

You can learn all you need to know on your own. Just use the best folios on the web as
your guide and be determined. You will probably need some other job as a source of income
while you are learning.

May the force be with you man.
Thanks, Kanga, I will read those.

Get a bachelor's degree at least.
It sounds like you might lack the funds for the pricier schools like AAU, so check out some cheaper alternatives:
http://www.sjsuai.com/ai/Welcome.html
http://www.deanza.edu/animation/
http://www.gnomonschool.com/ (not quite as cheap)
You have no traditional art skills so you have your work cut out for you. I would highly recommend getting into photography and traditional sculpture and figure drawing if you are interested in modeling and texturing.

right in your backyard:
http://www.freedomofteach.com/workshops/

I would recommend getting traditional art training at local universities then brushing up on 3d via professional training. At least you will have a degree to fall back on should dropping 60K on a certificate not pan out.
I've actually been looking a bit into SJSU lately. Suppose I choose SJSU, do I go with the BFA program in Animation/Illustration? If so, upon obtaining that degree, should I then find a program specifying 3D; that is, in pursuit of my career goals?

gawl126
03-10-2010, 09:37 PM
Thanks, Kanga, I will read those.


I've actually been looking a bit into SJSU lately. Suppose I choose SJSU, do I go with the BFA program in Animation/Illustration? If so, upon obtaining that degree, should I then find a program specifying 3D; that is, in pursuit of my career goals?

They do teach a bit of 3D at SJSU, but they'd like their students to have a solid traditional art background first.

Here's work from their 3D modeling class.
http://www.shrunkenheadman.com/illustration/gallery.php?g=38

You should contact either of the program coordinators. They're very nice and could probably answer a few questions. http://www.sjsuai.com/ai/Faculty.html

I didn't attend this program (although I would have liked to) due to scheduling conflicts. My reasons being that double majoring in both computer science and art is very difficult since both disciplines require a ton of work. Now that I look back on it, I wish I did put up with the difficulties and just pursue both.

SenseofTouch
03-10-2010, 09:54 PM
They do teach a bit of 3D at SJSU, but they'd like their students to have a solid traditional art background first.

Here's work from their 3D modeling class.
http://www.shrunkenheadman.com/illustration/gallery.php?g=38
So basically, I don't even need to go to schools that specialize in 3D like Gnomon since SJSU already teaches it? I know it's probably not as strong, but with the foundation they help students build plus the 3D class, I can start developing my skills in 3D modeling and texturing pretty much on my own from there correct? Also, is it just a class in 3D or is there a program involved specializing in 3D?

gawl126
03-10-2010, 10:02 PM
So basically, I don't even need to go to schools that specializes in 3D like Gnomon since SJSU already teaches it? I know it's probably not as strong, but with the foundation they help students build plus the 3D class, I can start developing my skills in 3D modeling and texturing pretty much on my own from there correct? Also, is it just a class in 3D or is there a program involved specializing in 3D?

Programs like Gnomon go beyond what SJSU teaches in 3D. SJSU has a class that will teach you 3D modeling and there are classes that will teach you either 2D or 3D animation. These classes are part of their animation/illustration program and are basically your electives. Electives are classes you choose to take outside the required classes. They're also needed to graduate and they pretty much define what your focus will be within the animation/illustration program. Some people will specialize in 2D animation and will take only 2D animation electives. Others like yourself will be taking 3D related course electives.

You can also start learning anything on your own. The only thing that stands in your way is possibly yourself. There are free resources out there for learning, but some people develop better in a learning environment (like me). There are plenty of books to read, hit up your local library and check them out.

SenseofTouch
03-10-2010, 10:44 PM
Programs like Gnomon go beyond what SJSU teaches in 3D. SJSU has a class that will teach you 3D modeling and there are classes that will teach you either 2D or 3D animation. These classes are part of their animation/illustration program and are basically your electives. Electives are classes you choose to take outside the required classes. They're also needed to graduate and they pretty much define what your focus will be within the animation/illustration program. Some people will specialize in 2D animation and will take only 2D animation electives. Others like yourself will be taking 3D related course electives.

You can also start learning anything on your own. The only thing that stands in your way is possibly yourself. There are free resources out there for learning, but some people develop better in a learning environment (like me). There are plenty of books to read, hit up your local library and check them out.
Thanks, I emailed one of the program coordinators. I'll see how it goes and I'll post back later.

neurobasics
03-15-2010, 10:58 PM
hi
i think if you are broke and your family has no money you should get a few tutorial dvd's and do many free tutorials along with an internship at a studio. try tippett in berkeley or ilm or something of the kind in the bay area. i think college in this instance would be a waste of money with loads of useless prerequisites you need to pay for. if in the future you would like to expand your knowledge/education you can always take classes even slowly get your degree taking a class or two in addition to having a paying job.

SenseofTouch
03-16-2010, 03:46 AM
hi
i think if you are broke and your family has no money you should get a few tutorial dvd's and do many free tutorials along with an internship at a studio. try tippett in berkeley or ilm or something of the kind in the bay area. i think college in this instance would be a waste of money with loads of useless prerequisites you need to pay for. if in the future you would like to expand your knowledge/education you can always take classes even slowly get your degree taking a class or two in addition to having a paying job.

How do you get internships without any education or skills? Don't I have to go to school to get an internship?

Animasta
03-16-2010, 04:04 AM
How do you get internships without any education or skills? Don't I have to go to school to get an internship?

I'm fairly certain you do..

gawl126
03-16-2010, 05:32 AM
How do you get internships without any education or skills? Don't I have to go to school to get an internship?

Yeah, you do need to be enrolled in school to even qualify to apply for an internship and you also need to meet requirements for the position of course. Most people, at least that I know of, don't get an internship until at least after their first year. Even then with limited skills, competition will be rather tough. Once you're at least taking classes, I would keep a close eye on companies around the Bay Area for internships.

While you're in school, also apply for scholarships and cal grants. These things will really help you out. There are tons of people who qualify for cal grants, but never take the time to fill out the forms to get the money. If you keep your grades up, you'll qualify for more scholarships and there's a possibility of you paying your way through college using scholarships, cal grants, and anything you've earned from internships. It's a really optimistic plan, but it is possible.

neurobasics
03-16-2010, 07:39 PM
enrollment in school is not a necessity for an internship from my experience. portfolio is.
you can build one if you are a good self learner.
for example:
http://motionographer.com/jobs/job/1751/internship-at-charlex/
go to the jobs section and search for internships. look at the requirements. maybe it will help you form your own opinion on the subject. everyone had a different experience.

gawl126
03-16-2010, 08:31 PM
enrollment in school is not a necessity for an internship from my experience. portfolio is.
you can build one if you are a good self learner.
for example:
http://motionographer.com/jobs/job/1751/internship-at-charlex/
go to the jobs section and search for internships. look at the requirements. maybe it will help you form your own opinion on the subject. everyone had a different experience.

I know that here are internships out there that will take on those who are not students, but from what I know about the companies around the Bay Area (where he lives) they require you to be a student. If you know of any around his area, please post a link at least to help the guy out.

Lucasfilm:
Who is eligible to apply?

In order to apply you MUST be either an undergraduate junior or graduate student who will return to your academic studies upon completion of the internship. The internship is NOT open to recent graduates.

Pixar:
What are the qualifications to be considered for an internship?

If you are interested in a Technical Director Internship, you must be currently in college working towards your Bachelors, Masters or PhD Degree and returning to school following your internship at Pixar.

For all other internship opportunities you must be in or have completed at least your Junior year of college, be a graduate student, or have graduated the year the internship commences.

International students who are able to show work eligibility in the U.S. can apply. We do not provide internship opportunities for high school students.

DreamWorks Animation:
Want to get started? Then you:

-Are (or will be next semester) a junior or senior enrolled full-time at an accredited college or university.
-Have an academic major related to the position in which you’re interested.

Tippett and ImageMovers Digital doesn't have any internship requirements listed so you might be able to get one here even if you don't go to school, but they don't even have any internships listed so I can't say for sure that school isn't a requirement.

There are video game companies around here that have internships, but the big name ones also require you to be a student. I'm not sure about the smaller studios though.

leigh
03-16-2010, 08:32 PM
Mate, seriously, if you can't afford it - don't do it. There is simply no point in going into heavy debt to get an education when you can go the self-taught route. Sure, self teaching requires discipline and dedication, but there is absolutely nothing stopping you but yourself. I honestly don't understand why people constantly push the "you must get a degree" thing onto people if they cannot afford education easily. Do you really want to end up drowning in debt when you could learn this stuff without going to a college? Think about it. Education is great for those that can comfortably afford it; to everyone else I'd suggest learning on your own. It is true that most studios only take interns from schools, but internships are not the only way to break into the industry. A good portfolio is just as effective.

And for what it's worth, I have no degrees. I originally come from a shitty third world country where there were no decent CG courses. I'm 99% self-taught, I started working in the field six months after opening a 3D package for the first time, and I've worked at some of the top studios in the visual effects industry since then. I'm not saying it's easy, but if you're dedicated enough and you really push yourself, you can do anything you want. And the best part is that I never had to deal with any debt from any massively over-priced courses. Although, funnily enough, I am now preparing to start a degree in a totally unrelated field simply for the hell of it. But I'm paying for it with cash upfront.

gawl126
03-16-2010, 09:38 PM
I agree, if you don't have funds for school then start learning on your own. If you do, you can still learn on your own and/or go to school. I also agree that your portfolio is what will land you the job. I did mention somewhere in the beginning that he can learn these things on his own. I don't think I even mentioned that he has to go to school, but the subject of a certain school did come up so I was only helping out. I only mentioned that he needs to go to school if he wants to qualify for an internship.

Dedication will get you somewhere of course. Heck, look at the creator of Facebook. He's only 25 and he dropped out of college.

leigh
03-16-2010, 09:57 PM
Just to clarify, I wasn't responding to your posts, but rather to a heavily prevalent attitude on these forums. I find it disturbing how quickly people are willing to rush into debt or to convince others to do the same.

SenseofTouch
03-16-2010, 10:39 PM
Thanks for all the advice! But where do I start in learning on my own? Are there any specific books and DVD's you guys suggest for someone who is just starting from scratch?

gawl126
03-16-2010, 11:06 PM
I think leigh's specialty is in texturing? Maybe she can point you in the right direction.

neurobasics
03-16-2010, 11:15 PM
Thanks for all the advice! But where do I start in learning on my own? Are there any specific books and DVD's you guys suggest for someone who is just starting from scratch?

http://www.thegnomonworkshop.com/
and/or
http://www.thegnomonworkshop.com/store/category/171/Free-Tutorials-All

forsakendreams
03-16-2010, 11:31 PM
Gnomon DVD's can be pricey but great for 3D and okay for 2D traditional art training.

Cost was the whole reason I suggested both the best community college and the one of best state schools for Animation/3D in your area.
Your options of $17/unit per class for DeAnza College + misc fees, or $4500/year in-state tuition for SJSU - add some Gnomon DVD's on top of that and you're looking at quite a bargain compared to some of those pricier options out there.

gawl126
03-16-2010, 11:39 PM
Gnomon DVD's can be pricey but great for 3D and okay for 2D traditional art training.

Cost was the whole reason I suggested both the best community college and the one of best state schools for Animation/3D in your area.
Your options of $17/unit per class for DeAnza College + misc fees, or $4500/year in-state tuition for SJSU - add some Gnomon DVD's on top of that and you're looking at quite a bargain compared to some of those pricier options out there.

Combine that with Cal Grants.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cal_Grant

SenseofTouch
03-17-2010, 01:08 AM
Yeah, I'm actually looking for good DVD's on 2D traditional art atm\

EDIT: What do you guys think of these http://www.artacademy.com/Workshops%20Index%20Page.html

Animasta
03-17-2010, 01:38 AM
Gnomon DVD's can be pricey but great for 3D and okay for 2D traditional art training.

Cost was the whole reason I suggested both the best community college and the one of best state schools for Animation/3D in your area.
Your options of $17/unit per class for DeAnza College + misc fees, or $4500/year in-state tuition for SJSU - add some Gnomon DVD's on top of that and you're looking at quite a bargain compared to some of those pricier options out there.

Sorry to go off course here, but when you say $17 per unit, are you talking credits when you say unit?

gawl126
03-17-2010, 01:57 AM
Sorry to go off course here, but when you say $17 per unit, are you talking credits when you say unit?

I'm pretty sure they're the same thing. De Anza's beginning drawing class is 3 units according to their schedule.

Yeah, I'm actually looking for good DVD's on 2D traditional art atm\

EDIT: What do you guys think of these http://www.artacademy.com/Workshops%20Index%20Page.html

I would probably go with a community college class instead of buying those instructional dvds for drawing. It will be a lot cheaper for you.

SenseofTouch
03-17-2010, 02:25 AM
Ok, thanks!

thatoneguy
03-17-2010, 03:20 AM
Many of the most informative classes I took in college were Gnomon DVDs in the comfort of my home.

gawl126
03-17-2010, 03:29 AM
Ok, thanks!

It would be best to get opinions from more people first before deciding and maybe checking previews.

forsakendreams
03-17-2010, 03:59 AM
There is also conceptart.org, an online community of artists working on improving traditional art skills. A lot of free information as well.

GoldenCamel
03-17-2010, 05:45 PM
Mate, seriously, if you can't afford it - don't do it. There is simply no point in going into heavy debt to get an education when you can go the self-taught route. Sure, self teaching requires discipline and dedication, but there is absolutely nothing stopping you but yourself. I honestly don't understand why people constantly push the "you must get a degree" thing onto people if they cannot afford education easily. Do you really want to end up drowning in debt when you could learn this stuff without going to a college? Think about it. Education is great for those that can comfortably afford it; to everyone else I'd suggest learning on your own. It is true that most studios only take interns from schools, but internships are not the only way to break into the industry. A good portfolio is just as effective.

And for what it's worth, I have no degrees. I originally come from a shitty third world country where there were no decent CG courses. I'm 99% self-taught, I started working in the field six months after opening a 3D package for the first time, and I've worked at some of the top studios in the visual effects industry since then. I'm not saying it's easy, but if you're dedicated enough and you really push yourself, you can do anything you want. And the best part is that I never had to deal with any debt from any massively over-priced courses. Although, funnily enough, I am now preparing to start a degree in a totally unrelated field simply for the hell of it. But I'm paying for it with cash upfront.

I should agree with that. I am self tough too, I would have loved to go to school but I couldn't afford it. And you know what, with what I know now, even if I could afford it, I would still choose self learning because of the sheer satisfaction I get from figuring it all out on my own.

On a side note, I don't think South Africa is a shitty third world country, they're hosting the world cup this summer, you know.

leigh
03-17-2010, 05:54 PM
On a side note, I don't think South Africa is a shitty third world country, they're hosting the world cup this summer, you know.

I know, and I'll be genuinely surprised if it isn't at least partially a disaster. A country where someone is murdered every few minutes, where one in four men is a rapist, where little girls are more likely to be raped than to receive an education, where a huge percentage of the population lives in squalor and poverty under a thoroughly corrupt government while racism is still as rife as it was during Apartheid isn't really a country fit to host any international event, as far as I am concerned.

And I think that living there for 25 years entitles me to my opinion of the place ;-)

Sorry for the OT post but I had to reply to that one.

carolinasalino
03-27-2010, 05:56 PM
Have you considered Animation Mentor? My husband also didnīt know were to be taught. After a lot of research on the existing schools he had decided that was perfect for him because it is a short program of study (something like 18 months) and you have classes with talented people from the industry - teachers that work on the main studios. He is starting next week, so I canīt tell you about the experience he had yet, but he met a girl that is an alumni and she told him the details and it feels it is fantastic.

About AAU, I am going to study there to get a MFA degree in illustration (since I already have a bachelors in my country). I chose it because it is a different program. Your classes are not fixed, they set the classes by advisement according to your goals. I donīt know about their reputation for the animation program but I do know that a brazilian alumni is working at Pixar and made several scenes for Up movie.

About studying on your on, it have worked to my husband. He already have a strong basis of animation thanks to that and also thanks to a short period course that he had here in Brazil.

Thatīs it, I hope I could help.

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