View Full Version : Online school disaster averted... Where to go now?

01 January 2012, 03:03 AM
First of all, hello... This forum is just the resource I've been looking for.

I've been doing some soul-searching lately, having been fed up with my past few dead-end jobs. I didn't go directly to college from high school (no regrets there... wouldn't have known what I wanted to do anyway), but now I'm 24 and finally getting a sense of what I enjoy spending my time on. The answer is: creative projects with a lot of imagination, but with a big load of technical work... Which seems to sum up 3D animation perfectly. I've dabbled in modeling and animation for game mods and such, enough to know the principles, but want to get my skills to a movie-quality level.

I almost enrolled in online classes at Academy Of Art University in San Francisco. It seemed to be the only decent 2-year online degree out there. As it turns out, the admissions office was very scammy, and though the program itself had decent reviews, they all had the caveat that it wasn't worth the high price. So, I dodged a bullet there.

Anyway, I can't commit to a 4-year degree at this point, especially considering all the irrelevant classes which seem to go along with it. Considering my limited options, I'm wondering what the success rate is for any of you who got into the industry without ever getting your degree, and simply relied on teaching yourself (or taking non-college classes/workshops) and creating a solid demo reel, and what advice you might have. I'm the kind of guy who can excel at something I love doing, but I don't gel with a school setting very well.

All recommendations are appreciated! Thank you all in advance.

01 January 2012, 01:40 AM
Hi there,

Well I can tell you that I learned at home on my own, and i don't have a degree. That has never stopped me from getting a job, and I have worked in 10 films in 4 different countries. Also, aside from a visa point of view, I never stop considering a candidate because of lack of degree.

You reel is the most important thing, focus on that and then is all about getting hands on experience.

Check this place out, it may be what you are looking for:

Any questions please feel free to drop me a line. Best of luck

01 January 2012, 08:40 AM
This is a personal view so it isnt true these are just my thoughts on the subject.

I would give any education dealing with the technical aspects of this vocation a wide birth. In general the instruction is extremely sub par and the way academic institutions are set up they are not capable of providing adequate instruction staff because the requirements are an oxymoron. If you are a teacher you dont know enough about the subject to teach it. Simple as that.

All the technical stuff you can teach yourself though clever use of available instruction material. Much of it free. For the movie quality you seek, traditional art instruction at even a community college level is often outstanding. Traditional fundamental knowledge can be sought in these facilities and through online workshops. Many workshops are provided here on cgtalk and are excellent.


01 January 2012, 02:43 PM
This is really, really good to hear. I only really resorted to college with the expectation of making some job connections, knowing that I'd be able to make good on them if I had a chance to really show what I could do... But from everything I'm hearing, the business seems like it's truly driven by merit, which is amazing. I suppose there's not as much of that "mail carts full of demo reels, dumped straight into the trash" element that seems to be true of screenwriting or certain other jobs in film and TV.

So, thank you guys, I'm going to work my way through some instructional books, learn the software, and then definitely resort to some other online workshops to build my technique when the time comes. This is really turning out to be my kinda business. :D

01 January 2012, 05:47 PM

You must be one of the lucky ones. I've had employers tell me that my reel looks great, but they need someone with a BA degree. Even though I have an AA with additional classes in Multimedia, that didn't matter.

I guess some companies can look past what's on paper and pay attention to whats in a demo reel. But Im having a hard time finding that company.

So now Im looking into getting an online BA. But based off the post on this page, Im not looking into Academy of Art @ San Fran.

01 January 2012, 06:06 PM
I will note that in my research, I've found that there are plenty of online BA programs available from schools much more reputable than Academy of Art University. The thing that constrained me was that I only wanted to commit to an AA.

01 January 2012, 08:17 PM
If the Sr. Effects Technical Director at Framestore in London, one of the best vfx companys in the world tells you its good enough, and gives you a recommendation to a school that sounds more than good enough to me:).

01 January 2012, 09:17 PM
Might be fair to mention Luis runs the place but i am pretty sure it is a good one, just mentioning...

01 January 2012, 09:21 PM
Ah yes true should ahve mentioned that. Then again if you are having the chance to be taught by people that are working on major hollywood movies, and actually work at one of the biggest VFX companys, then why not go for it.

Edit: Sorry reread your intial its not VFX you want to do but animation.
Ok then if thats the case. The 3 best online schools, are probabaly the best schools all round are in no particular order.

01 January 2012, 09:27 PM
I never got a degree, I never finished highshool. And I just teached at a bachelor degree class, how ironic...hehe. And acording to the feedback of the school I outperformed all other teacher that they had before from very well know big company's....

So it's all up to you. I learned just via, gnomon, DT, Fxphd.

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01 January 2012, 09:27 PM
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