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View Full Version : 'big time' VFX schools (GNOMON)....worth it?


Jonathanrod928
06-02-2010, 12:51 AM
Hey guys im sure we've all heard this one before, but i just wanna get some fresh feedback from working and/or knowledgeable people in the industry.

Im an artist in AZ that wants to learn vfx. It has been my dream and passion since I was young, but dont know where to start. I have researched schools that can teach vfx, and narrowed it down to a couple. At the top of my list: Gnomon in LA (Theres others i know but i really liked this one in particular cuz of the location and connections) The facilities and the teachers are probably the best this industry has, and no joke, the reels coming out of there are INSANE. :eek:

I want to go to Gnomon, but... (and heres my dilemma)
estimated tuition cost: around 50k for 2 yrs. (80k for the 3 yr program!! :O

So what i want to know, is

IS IT WORTH THE MONEY TO HAVE A GOOD EDUCATION IN THIS INDUSTRY (AKA: AM I COMPLETELY CRAZY TO GO TO A SCHOOL THIS EXPENSIVE BEING A MIDDLE-CLASS GUY.)


The reason i ask, is cuz i wouldn't have a problem taking out a loan to pay school off if i knew itd pay back the same way (idealy speaking ofcourse).

Any thoughts? ideas? suggestions? ANYTHING?

(no lame comments either pleaaase haha this is a honest question)

thanks.

MrConterno
06-03-2010, 01:55 AM
I'm not qualified enough to answer this one.

there you go :)

Jonathanrod928
06-03-2010, 08:30 AM
maybe a little too direct i guess... just lookin for the 'average' lol my bad. if not here then where else you know? i took it off

Zerflag
06-03-2010, 09:39 AM
would you be working while going to school?

you have to take in to account that cost you listed is only tuition. then you have cost of living, which is significantly higher in los angeles than it is in phoenix. loans taken out for that too. loans for course materials, loans for software, loans loans loans.

probably you'd be looking at more like 70k for 2 years.

lots of people that go to art schools have those kind of crazy loans, though, so you wouldn't be alone.

as for the reels coming out of the school, any school, they're only going to showcase their best student work (obviously).

gnomon has good instructors, yes, but good instructors are only going to be as useful to you as you are to yourself, by that i mean... will you really apply yourself if given the proper motivation?

i mean, otherwise, you're just putting yourself in huge amounts of debt.

meleseDESIGN
06-03-2010, 10:30 AM
As long as someone is still very young and at the beginning of his/her worklife, I will mostly tell them to go to school if it doesn't cost a fortune. I have a hard time recommending schools like at Gnomon for younger ppl. Gnomon is a great place for ppl who work already in the industry and just wants to improve their skills in a specific field. Most of them have a job and can also afford it without to worry that much.

It's not a wise route to go to such an place if you mostly need to worry about how you get the money together for your daily living, it's just putting yourself stones in the way of the process to learn in a good atmospheare. You need a free head to get the most out of those courses. To have to deal with money issues can cause a big problem to get the most out of those courses.

I think, to get your feet into this business, you should try it as following:

1. build a few really good artworks for your portfolio.
2. try to get an internship.
3. make use of competitions such as here in the specific forums.
4. improve your skills and keep going this way, till the day you have enough experiences, a strong portfolio, quite a few contacts in your pocket and the rest will follow on its own.

PS: If you ask yourself about salarys. It's not a secrete, just search the web or this forum for tags like salary+wagges+vfx and you will get quite a good understanding about this topic.

:)

MrConterno
06-03-2010, 03:56 PM
maybe a little too direct i guess... just lookin for the 'average' lol my bad. if not here then where else you know? i took it off

personally I hate that rule just because most places on the web are not even close to correct. check ur PMs though.

dnashj33
06-04-2010, 12:44 AM
Hey guys im sure we've all heard this one before, but i just wanna get some fresh feedback from working and/or knowledgeable people in the industry.

Im an artist in AZ that wants to learn vfx. It has been my dream and passion since I was young, but dont know where to start. I have researched schools that can teach vfx, and narrowed it down to a couple. At the top of my list: Gnomon in LA (Theres others i know but i really liked this one in particular cuz of the location and connections) The facilities and the teachers are probably the best this industry has, and no joke, the reels coming out of there are INSANE. :eek:

I want to go to Gnomon, but... (and heres my dilemma)
estimated tuition cost: around 50k for 2 yrs. (80k for the 3 yr program!! :O

So what i want to know, is

IS IT WORTH THE MONEY TO HAVE A GOOD EDUCATION IN THIS INDUSTRY (AKA: AM I COMPLETELY CRAZY TO GO TO A SCHOOL THIS EXPENSIVE BEING A MIDDLE-CLASS GUY.)


The reason i ask, is cuz i wouldn't have a problem taking out a loan to pay school off if i knew itd pay back the same way (idealy speaking ofcourse).

Any thoughts? ideas? suggestions? ANYTHING?

(no lame comments either pleaaase haha this is a honest question)

thanks.Through my own experience, and in my opinion, it most certainly is NOT...worth it. Those schools are generally for fools (who take on a debt load they will struggle to handle if not collapse under) or folks with rich parents paying the way. These private schools are in business to turn a profit, and that's the bottom line. It's easy to forget that when they are indeed offering an education. But the fact that their chief concern is making a profit means they are not concerned how the student will pay for it.

It's a supply and demand issue, at the end of the day. They know that many "Creative Types" have rich parents, who are willing to dish out the 100+ G's, and that is who the colleges are aimed at.
Anyone even remotely concerned with the cost, has no business going in the first place. It's like a Beverly Hills boutique salesperson might say..."If you have to ask 'How Much'...you can't afford it."

If they want their tuition to be out of the reach of the average student...so be it. Don't benefit them further and put yourself between a rock and a hard place, financially...not when there are plenty of good alternatives available.

Jonathanrod928
06-04-2010, 01:18 AM
Ok ok so I'm getting some really negative views on the whole 'school' idea from lots of other people too... I might be a little over my head here lol From what people are saying though, it seems like paying 80k for an education is retarded (in this industry at least.) ... Even though (if i did attend Gnomon) i would work my ass off, some people STILL say its not worth it. that I can just learn the stuff i need on my own...............

...... :shrug:

That being the case, where can i start then? I have nooooo idea what programs or what type of other education is out there that can help me get started. Any good books on vfx? like a vfx bible or something? haha

gawl126
06-04-2010, 01:47 AM
I think Gnomon is more of a continuing school for those with industry experience and a pretty substantial background.

What exactly do you want to do in vfx? Modeling? Animation? Effects?

dnashj33
06-04-2010, 01:49 AM
Ok ok so I'm getting some really negative views on the whole 'school' idea from lots of other people too... I might be a little over my head here lol From what people are saying though, it seems like paying 80k for an education is retarded (in this industry at least.) ... Even though (if i did attend Gnomon) i would work my ass off, some people STILL say its not worth it. that I can just learn the stuff i need on my own...............

...... :shrug:

That being the case, where can i start then? I have nooooo idea what programs or what type of other education is out there that can help me get started. Any good books on vfx? like a vfx bible or something? hahaYou can research some public colleges that have Animation degrees, with a thorough CG curriculum...
http://schools.awn.com/

I would highly suggest starting at a Community/Junior college to get all the Gen. Ed classes out of the way and take whatever drawing/sculpting classes they may have...some will have CG degrees in varying measures...so you can get Photoshop, color theory, etc. classes taken care of while you are there. While there, you can get free 13month licenses of Autodesk software at their site...www.students.autodesk.com (http://www.students.autodesk.com)

This will allow you to self-train with the motherload of training material available online.

For what it's worth, there are some Junior Colleges with Animation programs (AAS degrees), such as Mt. San Antonio College, near LA. You could transfer elsewhere, thereafter...Cal State-Fullerton just down the road from it, for example. Point is, if you can travel to go to Gnomon, you have plentiful supply of affordable options.

Jonathanrod928
06-04-2010, 02:33 AM
What exactly do you want to do in vfx? Modeling? Animation? Effects?


Well honestly, I love everything about fx. i kinda wanna be a generalist, but if i had to narrow it down, definitely Effects, Animation, and modeling. lighting, texture, and the rest ehh ... not so much lol and if we had to narrow it FURTHER....

=ANIMATION,

Jonathanrod928
06-04-2010, 02:38 AM
Any Gnomon, VFS, or Ringling grads around that could comment on this? I'd really love to hear their point of view on this matter.

No offense meant to the previous posters.


ya man for sure i wanna here from those cats cuz SOME of them, were in my situation so ive heard.... i wonder if grads like them can check this stuff out. lol

MrConterno
06-04-2010, 02:42 AM
Any Gnomon, VFS, or Ringling grads around that could comment on this? I'd really love to hear their point of view on this matter.

No offense meant to the previous posters.

Zerflag
06-04-2010, 04:22 AM
get a real degree first. you know, in case this whole art thing blows up. then you won't be left high and dry. while getting your real degree, learn art stuff and 3d stuff and animation stuff. if in 4 years you're amazing and think you need more amazing training, then consider art school.
just doing art school seems like such a ridiculous gamble to me that i don't know why anyone would consider it.

Jonathanrod928
06-04-2010, 06:47 AM
soooo study for 4 more yrs THEN consider vfx? idk man but doesnt that mean Im already counting on failure if im already considering a 'backup' plan? Like, I get what your saying, but id rather work my butt off and succeed.. FAILURE IS NOT AN OPTION. hahaha in the words of master Yoda, "Do, or do not. There is no try."


From what im seein though, everybody is pretty much split on opinion. Some say its a waste, others say its good. Like i said b4, i think the only voices missing in here are actual alumni out of schools like Gnomon or VFS. Cuz im pretty sure no one on here has actually attended either.. I mean, im not saying your opinions dont matter, no no no. they are actually making me think twice... which is good, but i think all of us would benefit from an actual presently working alumni.... yes? .. except, i have no idea how i would get one of them to read this... haha

but by all means KEEP IT GOIN! :buttrock: i wanna hear more opinions!! :beer:

KEEP TALKIN! thnks guys your feedback is awesome

gawl126
06-04-2010, 07:06 AM
soooo study for 4 more yrs THEN consider vfx? idk man but doesnt that mean Im already counting on failure if im already considering a 'backup' plan? Like, I get what your saying, but id rather work my butt off and succeed.. FAILURE IS NOT AN OPTION. hahaha in the words of master Yoda, "Do, or do not. There is no try."


From what im seein though, everybody is pretty much split on opinion. Some say its a waste, others say its good. Like i said b4, i think the only voices missing in here are actual alumni out of schools like Gnomon or VFS. Cuz im pretty sure no one on here has actually attended either.. I mean, im not saying your opinions dont matter, no no no. they are actually making me think twice... which is good, but i think all of us would benefit from an actual presently working alumni.... yes? .. except, i have no idea how i would get one of them to read this... haha

but by all means KEEP IT GOIN! :buttrock: i wanna hear more opinions!! :beer:

KEEP TALKIN! thnks guys your feedback is awesome

People who have graduated from Gnomon have mentioned in previous threads that they recommend going there after finishing a degree.

Jonathanrod928
06-04-2010, 07:47 AM
People who have graduated from Gnomon have mentioned in previous threads that they recommend going there after finishing a degree.


can you get me that link?

meleseDESIGN
06-04-2010, 08:23 AM
What answers do you actually expect from graduated Gnomon students?
Sure, they will definitely tell you that they had a great time at Gnomon, for a 50K program you can at least expect it!

Anyway, in your other thread you said you don't know where to start.

Question:

- where do you stay right now?
- are you in school, when will you finish school?

Please tell us what you are doing right now and let's see if we can help you.
On the other hand, you have received many comments already with lots of good information.
Maybe you know what you want, but it's rather just an issue to choose the right decission.

:)

Jonathanrod928
06-04-2010, 09:04 AM
Please tell us what you are doing right now and let's see if we can help you.

:)

yeah for sure man. Ill give you a little autobiography haha

Well I live in AZ right now which is about 6 hours from LA. I love drawing and have a natural talent for detail and cinematography (no formal classes though). When i was 4 or 5 i saw Jurassic park for the first time and was hooked on movie magic. from that day on i loved watching behind the scenes videos more than the movies themselves! What im trying to say, is that ive been wanting to do this since forever!

Living in AZ, hardly any creative people were around me and there wasnt the artistic atmosphere common in CA. So having no knowledge of how on earth to learn vfx, I wanted to project my creativity in another type of degree that I could vent my skills. I decided to go for an architecture degree at ASU. the program ended up sucking BIGTIME and it was wayyy far from what I expected. 4 yrs for a degree that only worked in AZ and 7 to 8 yrs for a masters that didnt even guarantee a job for the next 10 yrs in this market... not with a decent pay at least....I got some basic 2d and 3d art fundamentals out of it, taught by student teachers... =also sucked.


SO... i decided to finally 'go for it' and just DO VFX! what i had always wanted. So, ASU had a "3D imaging" program.. I tried it out for a yr and talked to ALOT of the graduates. bottom line, the program was actually encouraging to DEFER from 'hollywood' and commercial animation.. so it was vvveeerrrry concept based and very basic. 4 yrs for a degree that would get me into a museum gallery? hell no....


SO!.. I started my search for actual ART/VFX schools and here I am!....but..... little did I know.... that these schools cost over 60K!! :OOOOO i am middle class and this scares the crap outta me!


I just need advice haha

leigh
06-04-2010, 12:24 PM
So, ASU had a "3D imaging" program.. I tried it out for a yr and talked to ALOT of the graduates. bottom line, the program was actually encouraging to DEFER from 'hollywood' and commercial animation.. so it was vvveeerrrry concept based and very basic. 4 yrs for a degree that would get me into a museum gallery? hell no....

Jonathan, you can't rely on a degree to get you a job. Likewise, a degree in one thing doesn't automatically mean you can't work doing something else. In fact, many people opt for getting degrees in other fields as a back up in case their CG plans don't materialise. Considering most studios generally don't give a crap about your qualifications, it's really up to you to study whatever you want. If you want to study something that you feel will help you in CG, go for it. But if the course feels like it might be off your planned course somewhat, don't immediately discount it. Nothing learned is ever really a waste. Hell, considering how awful so many CG courses are these days, a degree in traditional art is actually a great option for people who want to break into CG, even though it might seem far off the mark.

Regardless of what you end up studying, it's up to you to develop your skills if you want to work in VFX, because it'll be your reel that gets you a job and nothing else.

Jonathanrod928
06-04-2010, 07:11 PM
Regardless of what you end up studying, it's up to you to develop your skills if you want to work in VFX, because it'll be your reel that gets you a job and nothing else.

Yeah I understand what youre saying. The reason I left, to be honest, was because the teachers there weren't teaching anything that i already didn't know how to do you know? so I just felt it was a big waste of time walking into class everyday and the teacher was pretty much teaching himself as he taught us..

But i understand what you are saying though. Any degree is better than no degree..
Im set on learning vfx with or without school though! Thats why i posted this thread to see if Gnomon was worth the risk or if there was any other effective alternatives

leigh
06-04-2010, 10:04 PM
Well my point is that there are alternatives. If the thought of Gnomon's fees make you go weak at the knees, then perhaps they're not the best option for you. Frankly, I think the fees that are charged by many of these places are absolutely and totally and utterly outrageous. Going into debt for years and years for an education is not worth it, in my opinion, it really, really isn't. Go study art somewhere, develop your CG skills in your own time and then combine your artistic knowledge with your CG toolset and use that to apply at studios. There's really nothing stopping you.

gawl126
06-04-2010, 11:43 PM
can you get me that link?

I actually can't find it, maybe my mind just made it up. But this post by a Gnomon graduate might interest you a bit:

http://forums.cgsociety.org/showpost.php?p=6387402&postcount=14

Doesn't exactly say that you should get a degree before going to Gnomon, but he does say that most people in his graduating class already had a degree. Also check out Linkedin if you haven't already and flip through the Gnomon graduates to find out what kind of degrees Gnomon graduates had.

I don't think you can go wrong with either decision, but I think that you can find good alternatives to Gnomon if you look hard enough.

smalone3d
06-05-2010, 05:05 AM
Well my point is that there are alternatives. If the thought of Gnomon's fees make you go weak at the knees, then perhaps they're not the best option for you. Frankly, I think the fees that are charged by many of these places are absolutely and totally and utterly outrageous. Going into debt for years and years for an education is not worth it, in my opinion, it really, really isn't. Go study art somewhere, develop your CG skills in your own time and then combine your artistic knowledge with your CG toolset and use that to apply at studios. There's really nothing stopping you.

This is true, but I think there's something to be said about the connections you can make at CG art schools, such as Gnomon. Your teacher(s), that you would probably never meet otherwise, could be the guy to give you your first break in the industry.

Obviously, school is what you make of it. You could learn most, if not all, of the techniques and skills you gain at Gnomon/VFS/Whatever, on your own. However, the kind of one-on-one crits and feedback on your work and the connections you make CAN make it worth plunging yourself into debt. It's up to you to make it worth the money.

MrConterno
06-05-2010, 07:38 AM
It's up to you to make it worth the money.

Personally I think this sentence sums up what has been said here.

meleseDESIGN
06-05-2010, 08:06 AM
This rule is true for many other industries, but really NOT for VFX.
Again, what counts is your portfolio, NOT your degree!
A degree doesn't automaticly get you a job, but your portfolio will.

Work hard on your portfolio, that's the one and only most effective alternative!
Get yourself a few Gnomon DVDs, as mentioned already by others, here are my favorites to start with:

0. Intro to Maya/3DS Max/Zbrush/Photoshop/Mental Ray
1. Digital Sculpting Human Anatomy - Zbrush-to-Maya workflow with Zack Petroc
2. The Making of "Jester" with Alex Alvarez
3. Lighting Digital Sets Bundle with Jeff Patton
4. Dynamic Figure Drawing Bundle with David Finch
5. Intro to Animal Anatomy with Marshall Vandruff
6. Color Theorie
7. BTS (Behind The Scene) Serie
8. The Making of White Swan
9. Original in Design
10. ...and many more


And there is a lot more and even free learning material available. Check out the sub-forums here at CGTalk. In the "help with textures" forum there is a good free hard surface texturing tutorial.

:)



Any degree is better than no degree..
Im set on learning vfx with or without school though! Thats why i posted this thread to see if Gnomon was worth the risk or if there was any other effective alternatives

leigh
06-05-2010, 01:54 PM
This is true, but I think there's something to be said about the connections you can make at CG art schools, such as Gnomon. Your teacher(s), that you would probably never meet otherwise, could be the guy to give you your first break in the industry.

That's true but with the internet these days, you can make contacts in the industry and get your work shown around too.

lucaswschmidt
06-07-2010, 08:28 PM
@johnathanrod I'm in a similar situation at the moment. I have a general art degree but nowhere the skills to actually get a job doing cg work and I'm looking for some sort of next step. Right now I'm using digital tutors to learn a lot of the skills I need on my own when I'm not working and while I'm learning an incredible amount, it's taking too long.

The biggest thing that's drawing me to something like Digipen or Gnomon is that it will be full time. Instead of working 40 hours a week and spending my entire weekend in front of the computer I would be spending 40 hours a week receiving instruction and working on art and either working part time or actually having a life on the weekends.

As for the money, yes it's terrifying to think of going that far in debt but keep in mind that you have the rest of your life to pay it off. Also the 2 and 3 year programs at Gnomon seem to have much more of a Grad school thing going on and 70k for a grad program isn't actually that bad. My sister went 200k in debt for hers.

Zerflag
06-08-2010, 12:48 AM
but keep in mind that you have the rest of your life to pay it off. Also the 2 and 3 year programs at Gnomon seem to have much more of a Grad school thing going on and 70k for a grad program isn't actually that bad. My sister went 200k in debt for hers.

grad program = graduate degree, masters, phd, whatever.... gnomon doesn't offer those, so it doesn't have the same financial impact on wages. no company is going to pay you more because you have what basically amounts to an associate's degree from gnomon.

to each their own when it comes to educational debt, but less is probably better.

leigh
06-08-2010, 01:02 AM
no company is going to pay you more because you have what basically amounts to an associate's degree from gnomon.

Most studios don't pay you anything extra for any education, regardless of what type of degree or certification it is.

Zerflag
06-08-2010, 01:20 AM
Most studios don't pay you anything extra for any education, regardless of what type of degree or certification it is.

sort of my point... however, certain positions even in our industry require real degrees.

main point here: going to gnomon is probably good training, but the similar results can be achieved on one's own given enough motivation.

meleseDESIGN
06-08-2010, 01:48 AM
That's already a bad deccision - DT is so stupid, cuz it's 0815, imo.

Right now I'm using digital tutors to learn a lot of the skills I need on my own when I'm not working and while I'm learning an incredible amount, it's taking too long.

How will you know if it will pay you off? You never worked in that business yet.
It could good be that you don't get any job after graduating from Gnomon and then you have wasted 70K for something you could easiely (hardly :-) learn on your own. 70K for something like this is insane, 200K is even more insane - can't even imagine someone is so stupid to pay that, but you're right.


As for the money, yes it's terrifying to think of going that far in debt but keep in mind that you have the rest of your life to pay it off. Also the 2 and 3 year programs at Gnomon seem to have much more of a Grad school thing going on and 70k for a grad program isn't actually that bad. My sister went 200k in debt for hers.

thatoneguy
06-08-2010, 01:56 AM
6 years ago this would have been a debate. Now it's simple. If you want to learn VFX and get into the VFX industry: Take FX Guide courses and save yourself $80k. (You can send your referral checks to Guy Paquin. :) )

If you want a degree in "Something" in order to have gone to college, you want to do the "college thing" and learn some Art in the process go to college. Take drawing classes. Take photography classes. Take philosophy classes. View it all as an experience and as a general eduction in the liberal arts and sciences. Take the classes from the best teachers regardless of their subject. That Arthurian Mythology class from an amazing instructor will be far more valuable in life than a lousy drawing class from someone who can't teach.

A school full of amazing teachers is worth the $80k. But in my experience you'll only find one or two. For $10k I bet you could convince some random talented FX artist to spend a few hours a week devoted to answering your questions and critiquing your work and save a ton of money. ;)

Programs which are at colleges but not purely devoted to FX/Animation are imo mostly useless, they're going to be trying to move through people who barely know how to hold a mouse. 95% of the students who go in come out completely unemployable (50% simply aren't very good and never will be good enough and 45% completed the courses but the courses weren't advanced enough to properly prepare them for employment). 4% probably went in better qualified than they thought they were and could have skipped school all together and 1% were naturally talented enough (far above average) and spent an absurd amount of time on self study and actually learned enough to go from 0 -> Hireable.

The exception to this rule is if you want to go into tools development and IT. Then you'll need a Masters or even PhD in computer science.

OddBall85
06-11-2010, 12:55 AM
I did not come from gnomer though I thought of going there my self like you. What has been said in this post is one reason why my self I have not done this and probably will never. The world of 3D art is heavly based on "put up or shut up" mentality which I love. Just because you have a dagree dose not mean you will get a job so screw the name of were you went to college on your resuma and prove to them you can do what you say you can in 3 min on a demo real.

I graduated in 2007 with a degree in Game Art and Design from westwood college and am now $60k in debt... I have been working in IT because I am natural good at it for the past 2 years of my life and working on all the things that Westwood did NOT teach me on the side. I would love to say a tone of negative things about this school but the fact is they did not fail me I failed them. I failed my self. And I will be damned if I give up now.

What I want to get across to you from this post is that in the end it comes down to you and there are 100's and 10000's of recources out there to help you along the way. Take some communicty college courses in art and fine studdy to bust up your absicks. Take a Sculpting class, color theory class, drawing class, and theology class. Push your self to be better every moment of every day and keep your dreams infront of you. If there is one thing about art is that it demands disapline from you 100% of the time. If you want to make it then do it. If you want to sucseed then make it. I told my self when I got this job that I would not look for another job less it was a 3D Job. I will work at Northrom Grumman doing IT work that pays the bills and at night I will work on my 3D to become better every day.

Dont think college will get you the job because it wont. Networking, Focus, and Personal disopline will. Go now and do what you love because if you cant wake up every day excited to go to work doing what you love then your doing it wrong.

lucaswschmidt
06-12-2010, 10:22 PM
That's already a bad deccision - DT is so stupid, cuz it's 0815, imo.

How will you know if it will pay you off? You never worked in that business yet.
It could good be that you don't get any job after graduating from Gnomon and then you have wasted 70K for something you could easiely (hardly :-) learn on your own. 70K for something like this is insane, 200K is even more insane - can't even imagine someone is so stupid to pay that, but you're right.

re: DT not quite sure what 0815 means but i've been learning an incredibly amount from digital tutors and find the courses extremely valuable.

re: 200k masters program I'm not sure what you're assuming my sister's degree was in but you're wrong. I was talking about masters level education in general (which is what some of the gnomon programs look like to me.)

re: self learning yes, I could spend the next 5 years learning all of this in my free time through various online resources but I would only be doing this a few days a week and I would be giving up virtually ALL of my free time to do it. A structured program like Gnomon would mean spending 40+ hours a week receiving high level instruction for 2 years. The end result might be the same but going to school, any school, means that you can focus on art and put in the effort required to get the skills needed to succeed.

This is why I'm on the fence.

Zerflag
06-12-2010, 11:02 PM
re: 200k masters program I'm not sure what you're assuming my sister's degree was in but you're wrong. I was talking about masters level education in general (which is what some of the gnomon programs look like to me.)

like i said, a masters degree gets you a higher starting salary than someone who doesn't have a masters, but really has the same abilities and resume otherwise. a certificate from gnomon does not have this effect. making this comparison is misleading.

what you will get at gnomon is a structured environment, knowledgeable instructors, and most likely useful contacts. these can all be difficult to come by on your own, unless you're very motivated and a self starter. but you'll need those qualities to do well at gnomon and in this business anyway... hmm...

surlymonkey
06-12-2010, 11:17 PM
Always a tough subject.

I've hired the majority of the 3d artist at a large studio in LA. I can honestly say that where someone went to school had no bearing whatsoever on my decision to hire. If you know this line I've interviewed you: "Work ethic, attitude and artistic ability. In that order." I, look at reels, check references, and interview people. I judge what i think you can do. Then if you get hired we try you out. If you do well we keep you if you do not do well, we don't keep you. I can say the same probably goes for most places.

MrConterno
06-13-2010, 12:06 AM
I agree DT is a great place to learn. And "meleseDESIGN" if you such a self teach activist why are you giving him grief for self teaching? Next you will start giving grief for watching Gnomon dvds. I will say DT is best for new artists and more experienced artists won't find the information as useful.

@lucaswschmidt: you won't have much free time at Gnomon either, but I get where you are coming from. I'd say just do what you feel is correct. Everyone will tell you their way is the best choice. Self taught and school taught both have pros and cons, it's the individual that changes which is better.

meleseDESIGN
06-13-2010, 12:13 AM
I wouldn't say extremely valuable, but sure they are in some point.

0815 means you will learn really just some basics (not even all), also the more "advanced" called tutorials from DT actually wont teach you "advanced" technics, they only teach you the missing more advanced basics. If you watch some of the advanced tutorials from Gnomon, then you will really find advanced technics in them, and not only advanced basics. 0815 means also NOT original, I would call DT extremely boring and not in any way they have advanced material.

Anyway, back to topic.

If you want to become a master, then learn from the masters - lifelong.
It's as easy (hard) as it sounds.

I can't even believe that ppl nowadays believe they will become an master after graduating some fundamental programms. And no, spending 200K doesn't mean that everyone will call you a master.




re: DT not quite sure what 0815 means but i've been learning an incredibly amount from digital tutors and find the courses extremely valuable.

re: 200k masters program I'm not sure what you're assuming my sister's degree was in but you're wrong. I was talking about masters level education in general (which is what some of the gnomon programs look like to me.)

re: self learning yes, I could spend the next 5 years learning all of this in my free time through various online resources but I would only be doing this a few days a week and I would be giving up virtually ALL of my free time to do it. A structured program like Gnomon would mean spending 40+ hours a week receiving high level instruction for 2 years. The end result might be the same but going to school, any school, means that you can focus on art and put in the effort required to get the skills needed to succeed.

This is why I'm on the fence.

Jonathanrod928
06-17-2010, 04:39 AM
I can't even believe that ppl nowadays believe they will become an master after graduating some fundamental programms. And no, spending 200K doesn't mean that everyone will call you a master.


The prgram in question is only about 80k (60k for the regular 2 yr) Gnomon doesnt give out a degree persay... more like tons of connections through the teachers and jobs straight out of school.... hmmmm..i'd say its worth it! I wouldnt mind paying the debt for a couple of yrs

Zerflag
06-17-2010, 05:04 AM
The prgram in question is only about 80k (60k for the regular 2 yr) Gnomon doesnt give out a degree persay... more like tons of connections through the teachers and jobs straight out of school.... hmmmm..i'd say its worth it! I wouldnt mind paying the debt for a couple of yrs

you mean a couple of decades, right? how do you play to pay off 80,000 dollars tuition + loans on living expenses and materials in a couple of years?

i'd also like to remind you that you started the thread asking for the advice of people who are experienced and working in the industry. i think generally everyone who fit that bill told you that it probably isn't worth it to get that in debt by going to a school like gnomon. the people who have been in favor of going to a school like gnomon have been:
1: someone who is going to gnomon
2: someone in a situation similar to yourself

Jonathanrod928
06-17-2010, 05:09 AM
you mean a couple of decades, right? how do you play to pay off 80,000 dollars tuition + loans on living expenses and materials in a couple of years?


ya i'd say about 10 to 15 yrs... decades?? nah man not really. I talked to this animator from digital domain who supports a family of 6 in LA on his salary. you just gotta work hard and itll pay off!

Zerflag
06-17-2010, 05:14 AM
well, it's good to have that kind of attitude. but with that kind of attitude, you can just work hard and skip the gnomon 80,000 dollars and it'll pay off. maybe get involved in local user groups and so forth instead to build contacts. heck, you can start a user group if one doesn't exist already.

there are other ways to apply that "work hard and it'll pay off attitude" than to "i'll be able to pay off my 100,000 dollars of debt after interest is compounded" is all i'm saying.

Jonathanrod928
06-17-2010, 05:26 AM
well, it's good to have that kind of attitude. but with that kind of attitude, you can just work hard and skip the gnomon 80,000 dollars and it'll pay off. maybe get involved in local user groups and so forth instead to build contacts. heck, you can start a user group if one doesn't exist already.

there are other ways to apply that "work hard and it'll pay off attitude" than to "i'll be able to pay off my 100,000 dollars of debt after interest is compounded" is all i'm saying.


Ya i get ya. the thing is there are sooo many suggestions on how to do it on your own, that I really dont know where to even begin or which way is best. Some say Gnomon online, others say screw it do fxphd, others say books... so like, Im kind of a traditional type of guy when it comes to education. I can do anything, but i just kinda need that first nudge of direction you know? (hence school lol) but ya i get what were saying... still thinking about it.. haha its people like YOU that make me ponder even more!! lol (in a good way though.)

lucaswschmidt
06-17-2010, 06:00 AM
@johnathan I've been using Digital Tutors for a while now and find their tutorials extremely helpful. They're a good starting point and cover a decent amount of material. After that the gnomon dvd's are probably a good thing to look into, they seem to do much higher caliber projects. The answer is to use all these resources, books are good, websites are good, online communities are good too. An actual school is probably pretty good too.

Try a few different self teaching methods and see which one you like the best.

meleseDESIGN
06-17-2010, 08:52 AM
Sure, you could land a job after 2yr Gnomon Fundamental Training, but 1. there is no guarantee it will happen, 2. you need to be able (good) to work in a proffesionel production environment, 3. you might have to deal with very low salarys cuz you only learned the basic skills at Gnomon 2yr programm.

If you really want to improve your skills then the best way is to do it by your own. Sometimes sitting in a class room can stretch time so much, kinda like laying in a hospital for some reason.

Teachers and Environment beside, for 80K you could probably organize a very good 2yr self teaching programm, stay at home beeing with your family, friends, dog, cat and so on. Maybe for a little loan you could even find a proffesionel near you who will give you some advices/insides where to start and how do you improve your skills the most efficient.

Again, Gnomon is a good station, but it's NOT the Holy Grail!

The prgram in question is only about 80k (60k for the regular 2 yr) Gnomon doesnt give out a degree persay... more like tons of connections through the teachers and jobs straight out of school.... hmmmm..i'd say its worth it! I wouldnt mind paying the debt for a couple of yrs

leigh
06-17-2010, 10:09 AM
If you really want to improve your skills then the best way is to do it by your own.

I don't agree with this at all. Sure, many people do thrive on their own (I'm one of those). But there are many who instead benefit from a classroom environment. One isn't necessarily better than the other because it really comes down to what kind of person you are and how you prefer to learn.

meleseDESIGN
06-17-2010, 01:55 PM
OK, but isn't the learning process a self teaching process in general?
I mean, sitting in a class room and following the instructions of the teacher is pretty similar as sitting at home and following instructions of a book, Training DVDs or online courses.
Everyone in a class has its own desktop and has to fight with the instructional material given by the teacher. In general you try to figure out how to solve the given instructional material by your own (either at home or in a classroom environment), if you stuck then maybe you will ask the techer for help, not so much your class mates.


I don't agree with this at all. Sure, many people do thrive on their own (I'm one of those). But there are many who instead benefit from a classroom environment. One isn't necessarily better than the other because it really comes down to what kind of person you are and how you prefer to learn.

leigh
06-17-2010, 02:30 PM
meleseDESIGN, it sounds to me like you didn't have any education or you had a very bad one.

A teacher isn't just there to "give instructional material", they're there to mentor their students. And in a good learning environment, the students will learn a lot from each other too.

To be really honest, I find it very odd that you post in a lot of threads, posting your opinions as fact as if you're somehow an authority on them, when by all appearances, you are not a CG artist yourself, or, at least, not a very experienced one. Methinks you could do with a bit more learning and listening, and a bit less telling people what to do all the time. Just remember that posting some ill advice can have long term consequences to those who are listening and may take it to heart, so please think twice next time before you post something that's purely your opinion, and present it as fact.

meleseDESIGN
06-17-2010, 03:29 PM
That was really not fair!

I have a education - a good one as well - and I'm in the industrie for quite a while now, but I'm also still learning something more or new every day, even here at CGT.

I agree with most what you say, leigh, including your last post:

A teacher isn't just there to "give instructional material", they're there to mentor their students. And in a good learning environment, the students will learn a lot from each other too.

But I made my point, for me it isn't worth $80K.
And yes, it's my opinion only what I wrote above, but there is also much truth included!

leigh
06-17-2010, 03:57 PM
I have a education - a good one as well

Then why are you posting comments against education, and saying things like "the best way to learn is on your own"? I know plenty of people who did very good courses who feel that was the best way for them to learn. To put it very bluntly, to me your posts give the distinct impression of someone who doesn't really know what they're talking about, and is instead just trying to push their own ideas and opinions as fact instead.

and I'm in the industrie for quite a while now

I wouldn't have gotten that impression from your portfolio and I can't find anything by searching Google using your real name. I'm not saying you're a liar; if you've got the experience then you could show it - I think it helps a lot to see people's backgrounds and work when reading their thoughts about things. The point is that you post in a lot of these threads and speak as if you're an authority on the industry and issues related to it like education, when by all appearances, you're not. I am not trying to attack you here, so please don't misinterpret my posts, but I'm trying to get some context. I think it's very harmful to go around telling people "facts" as if you're speaking from experience, when in fact it's quite possible that you're not speaking from experience at all. Do you see what I mean? The problem is that someone contemplating their future options might read your posts and take them very seriously.

And for what it's worth, I'm very, very hesitant to recommend these expensive CG courses to people too, but I'd never go around telling people that "the best way to learn is on your own" because that's simply not true. It's not even an opinion. It's simply false, because it's far too broad a statement to make about so many people. As I said, everyone is different and many people do indeed benefit greatly from a formal education, whether it's some fancy expensive course or a cheap one at a community college. Other people, including myself and I guess you too, prefer to learn on our own. But that doesn't mean I am going to tell everyone that what I personally prefer is absolutely the best route at all. It's ultimately a personal decision that everyone needs to make for themselves.

spindraft
06-17-2010, 04:04 PM
get a real degree first. you know, in case this whole art thing blows up. then you won't be left high and dry. while getting your real degree, learn art stuff and 3d stuff and animation stuff. if in 4 years you're amazing and think you need more amazing training, then consider art school.
just doing art school seems like such a ridiculous gamble to me that i don't know why anyone would consider it.

I really have to totally disagree with this. I pretty much did precisely what you suggest after hearing relative after relative saying "you won't make good money doing that stuff". I went and got the 'compromise' job, started making money, and started making bills like most of society does. 12 years later, you know what I would do if I was 18 again? I would do what 'I' wanted to do, and ignore what other people thought I should do. If you enjoy what you're doing, and making a 'fair' living while doing it, 'making money' beyond that is irrelevant. Additionally, changing gears becomes more difficult as you grow up and acquire obligations/responsibilities. If you're 22 and find you're not cutting it......it's not a big deal to start fresh on something else.

I wouldn't suggest spending massive cash you can't afford to get there, but do not compromise what 'you want to do', certainly not at such a young age. If you do you're likely to one day find yourself driving home from work in your fancy car, paid for by a job you hate, and realize you're miserable....in a fancy car.

lucaswschmidt
06-17-2010, 05:39 PM
I don't agree with this at all. Sure, many people do thrive on their own (I'm one of those). But there are many who instead benefit from a classroom environment. One isn't necessarily better than the other because it really comes down to what kind of person you are and how you prefer to learn.

There have been soo many times when I've been working on my own, looking through tutorials, trying everything I can to find a solution to a problem, and ended up just tearing my hair out and going to bed. Having an instructor or other students around to bounce questions off of is an incredibly valuable resource in situations like these.

and yes, I know you can just post issues online in forums but that takes time and you might never get a response. Actually being able to show someone your problem and talk to them about possible solutions in real time is incredibly helpful.

meleseDESIGN
06-17-2010, 07:06 PM
Thanks leigh.

Just to clarify, I'm NOT against education. Sorry if it came out like this.
I'm also NOT against expansive educations in general, but I think those programs should be taken with a grain of salt, independently if they are good or bad, especially when younger students (or parents) with just a little budget are interested in those programs.

Someone here said he/she thinks to become a master when visiting Gnomon, another one thought he/she would land a job through the connection of their teachers, another one has in mind he/she will earn a lot of money after graduating from Gnomon aso.
I don't know where they got this information from or how they come to this conclusion, maybe it's marketing thing, inexperience or plain hope?

As I wrote "the best way to learn is on your own" I wasn't thinking enough. Yes, it's the way I learn nowadays and I enjoy the most, because there are so many possibilities to learn than 10 years back, that it actually isn't implicit essential anymore to visit a classroom at all. But that's my opinion and there are many roads lead to Rome.

PS, I know what you mean, Leigh. Im planing to give away experiences and to work on my online-folio as well, thatfor I paid the membership. I hope in the future it will help to put my thoughts in a better context. :)


Then why are you posting comments against education, and saying things like "the best way to learn is on your own"? I know plenty of people who did very good courses who feel that was the best way for them to learn. To put it very bluntly, to me your posts give the distinct impression of someone who doesn't really know what they're talking about, and is instead just trying to push their own ideas and opinions as fact instead.



I wouldn't have gotten that impression from your portfolio and I can't find anything by searching Google using your real name. I'm not saying you're a liar; if you've got the experience then you could show it - I think it helps a lot to see people's backgrounds and work when reading their thoughts about things. The point is that you post in a lot of these threads and speak as if you're an authority on the industry and issues related to it like education, when by all appearances, you're not. I am not trying to attack you here, so please don't misinterpret my posts, but I'm trying to get some context. I think it's very harmful to go around telling people "facts" as if you're speaking from experience, when in fact it's quite possible that you're not speaking from experience at all. Do you see what I mean? The problem is that someone contemplating their future options might read your posts and take them very seriously.

And for what it's worth, I'm very, very hesitant to recommend these expensive CG courses to people too, but I'd never go around telling people that "the best way to learn is on your own" because that's simply not true. It's not even an opinion. It's simply false, because it's far too broad a statement to make about so many people. As I said, everyone is different and many people do indeed benefit greatly from a formal education, whether it's some fancy expensive course or a cheap one at a community college. Other people, including myself and I guess you too, prefer to learn on our own. But that doesn't mean I am going to tell everyone that what I personally prefer is absolutely the best route at all. It's ultimately a personal decision that everyone needs to make for themselves.

trancerobot
06-17-2010, 10:30 PM
Wow, I learned a lot from reading this thread. Some of you may remember the CalArts thread from a few months ago. Good thing I pulled my registration... dodged a bullet there. I guess all I needed was what I thought I hated - good old cheap local college. I'm still 20+k in debt though... but then that's my fault. :cry:

Jonathanrod928
06-18-2010, 12:55 AM
The only reason why i said so much about the employment placement rate, Salary, and other stuff is becuz i actually talked to some alumni (about 7 kids) and one teacher... The cool thing about the school is that the stuff they teach (atleast to me [after attending a couple of open houses and talking to people]) is no bs. like, they really arent wasting your time with useless classes ( unless youre a specific thing.) but for a generalist, Gnomon looks really nice.. I had the privilege of seeing the creator of the 'iron man movie' suit walking along in the campus... i mean, thats pretty damn good connections. hahaha

Then again, the original question always goes back to the financial side of things... really interesting thread.

meleseDESIGN
06-18-2010, 03:31 PM
Yes, it comes back to the financial question and like Leigh said it's ultimately a personal decision. It's nice to meat teachers in a campus who worked on big projects such as Iron Man, but it's also nice to have the privilege of seeing your friends and parents ones in a while during you're studying. I'm just mention it because I left my friends and parents too when I was studying and sometimes I had really painfull evenings beeing so far away from them, something I wasn't aware before I made the decision to move, but it also was the only way to choose if I wanted to study industrial design, because there wasn't any specialised education institute near me at this time.

It is a personal decision!


Then again, the original question always goes back to the financial side of things... really interesting thread.

Fess1001
07-18-2010, 02:00 AM
For what's it worth, my opinion:

(I went to a 1 year professional school in Vancouver doing Game Art and Design course and am more than half way through a 4 year art/CG degree right now.I had been doing free-lance type of work for a year before going to Vancouver, with a total of a 3 years of CG/3d modeling experience before starting my education in that field.)

Don't go to any school to learn CG if you have no experience with it and/or "just" to learn CG. You wouldn't get the most out of your time there, and those places are expensive.

If I were to do it all over again (the first 3 years I learned things through books, internet and trial/error), I would go to an art school and get a degree first. Focus mostly on traditional art: figure drawing/painting/perspective/color theory, some sculpture, etc. If they have animation classes then take some, but only the ones you think would be the most useful. All the time while going to the art school/college have a subscription to Digital Tutors and learn CG after classes. Later on get a subscription to Gnomon and learn from their DVDs (if your school doesn't have them in a library or something). By the time you come out you should be good enough to get a job. If not, you ll just need some time to work on your portfolio and you could either do it on your own time or go to a dedicated school if you still don't feel confident.

That's what I would do, anyways.

arusnak
07-28-2010, 07:29 PM
To be honest, it all depends on who are as a person. Some people learn better in a class environment , some work better teaching it themselves. I personally learn better in a school. It helped push me and I was surrounded by knowledgeable teachers and supportive classmates. If I ever got stuck I had a network of people at my fingertips.

The "Big Time" Schools, Like GNOMON and Full Sail are "Big" and expensive for a reason. They have a higher quality of education. These schools have their Alumni all over the industry.

Companies now a days are starting to look for that Degree on your resume. Your Portfolio is still very, VERY important. I'm not saying you won't get hired if you don't a degree but if you have one and an awesome portfolio, it doubles your chances at success.

Getting to that hire-able Portfolio is the key. Whether or not you can make one with or without a school completely depends on you.

Was going into debt worth it for me? Yes :D.

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