View Full Version : AAU vs. SCAD

04 April 2009, 04:25 AM
Hi, I am currently in my college search. I am looking for animation schools in particular, and in doing so i stumbled upon (if i remember correctly) a 3dworld (or animation magazine) article saying that the top 3 schools for animation are 1; Ringling 2; Academy of Art in SF and 3; Savannah college of art n design.

After looking into all three of these and other ones closer to my area (NY) i found SCAD and AAU to be my top favorites (this being based on the information of their websites as well as open houses in NYC).

I have now visited and applied to both schools (i have been accepted to AAU, and my SCAD application is still lacking a few pieces before its viewed). But i am rather certain that i can be accepted there as well.

But now that it is (hopefully)* coming down to these two schools i have to choose...

Are there any alumni or current students from either school that can share a little about their experience, or people in the field that have seen good work (or animators!) coming out of either school?

Thanks in advance for any comments/replies

* hopefully being that i am accepted to SCAD. Of course if i am not the choice is made for


OH! I forgot to add that i am currently a junior in high school, so i have a pretty long period of time before i need to set anything in stone.

04 April 2009, 05:20 AM
I went to SCAD and it has a very solid program with great professors from the industry. The thing that makes SCAD so awesome is that you get a very good all around art education along with the 3-D and VFX stuff. They have a great career services dept., and if you are good they can help place you very fast after graduation.

I live in SF now and I know quite a bit about AAU as well. It is one of those schools that is successful through the luck of being located here in SF. They have a really good CG/VFX program, and you're going to be taught by professors that have or currently work at all the big studios in the Bay Area, which is a huge +. One thing I've heard from a lot of students is that if you are in any program other than the animation/CG/VFX you're wasting your money. Their foundations program isn't the strongest.

I recommend both schools. They are both located in very interesting cities as well. Either historical southern charm, or west coast freak circus.

04 April 2009, 02:53 PM
Yeah, that is also what i have sort of come up with about AAU. That while its a great animation program, you don't get very much arts foundation.

But also with SCAD, in asking other students/alumni, i found that there are a lot of foundations classes in the fine arts, so much so that you don't really start getting into the animation classes until your junior year.

Did you find this to be true while you where at SCAD?

04 April 2009, 04:42 PM
I currently go to SCAD for VSFX. While it's true that SCAD recommends a course sequence that puts most of your major classes in your junior/senior year, they don't require you to take courses in any particular sequence (besides of course that some classes are prereqs for others). To begin taking Animation classes you'll have to take the Intro to Computer Arts class and the only prereqs are 2D Design and Color Theory, so you could take 2D Design your first quarter, Color Theory 2nd quarter, Intro to CMPA 3rd quarter, and then be doing Animation classes fall of your sophomore year. You may even be able to get the professor for the Computer Arts class to sign a prereq waiver and get it out of the way even earlier.

A lot of the reason that SCAD is structured this way is because a huge percentage of students switch majors their first or second year. Since most programs have similar foundation requirements, this means you aren't forced to take an extra year or classes just because you didn't know what you wanted to do when you first got there.

Many prespective students become annoyed that they have to take so many studio classes compared to some other schools, but if you ask almost any recruiter from a major studio they will tell you that they would rather hire someone with a very strong traditional arts background than someone who has an in depth working knowledge of software right out of school. The software we're learning now will probably be gone in 5 years and who knows how we'll be doing things in 15 years, but someone who has an eye for aesthetics will always have an eye for aesthetics.

Since you're a junior in high school right now, I highly recommend you look and see if a nearby community college or state college has decent quality foundation arts classes. I took Drawing I at community college my senior year in HS and was able to use my assignments as my portfolio and got credit for Drawing I. Also it's 100% worth it to transfer classes like English, Math, and Speech if you can - just contact SCAD and they can review the course you're looking at and approve it for transfer before you even sign up for it. You could very easily graduate SCAD in 2 or 3 years or spend an extra year taking the tons and tons of amazing electives they offer that most students don't have the time/money for.

04 April 2009, 05:45 PM
Did you find this to be true while you where at SCAD?

Yes I did. However, I was in no rush to jump into the 3D stuff right away. For some reason I believed in SCAD's cirriculum. In retrospect they did it correctly, and I couldn't have asked for a better education. All the foundation courses I took before entering my major and minor were absolutely essential to producing good 3D work later on.

If I hadn't taken all the drawing, sculpture, design, color theory, and human and animal anatomy courses. I am sure the quality of my 3D and animation work would have suffered greatly while working on my senior project. I suggest drawing all the time and do some actual sculpture too. I also gained a lot from taking 2 stop motion classes as well, and they were really fun. I also recommend taking a classic 2D animation course, even if you are terrible at drawing. It will really help your timing as an animator. The computer art courses will start around mid Sophomore year. Hope this helps. I wish I knew more about AAU's curriculum.

04 April 2009, 03:08 AM
Wow! Thanks guys, this is pretty much exactly what i was looking for.

04 April 2009, 06:05 PM
I hear alot of good things about SCAD. Kinda wished I went there instead of VT for 3D animation, but then new program here isn't half bad! Anyways Ringling is damn near impossible to get into and is very very expensive. I checked out UCF (universty of Central Florida) thier program is legit and focused, and does offer connections to getting into the job field. Its a good program but a bad town. Wouldn't be a fun place to live. (downtown orlando is very ugly)

04 April 2009, 03:52 AM
If you mean what I am assuming you mean by "very ugly" I think you'd find a lot of the area where SCAD students live meets that criteria. Most of downtown is very sketchy besides the areas closest to River St. Students can't afford to live in these areas typically but need to be able to bike to class so many of them live about 30-40 blocks from River St, still within two miles of all SCAD buildings but in areas that aren't the greatest. Of course many students also live in the dorm or in areas further away from downtown because they have cars and do fine. But tons of people come to Savannah, see the nice areas with the squares and little shops and pretty oak trees and assume all of Savannah looks like that when it is very far from the truth. A large chunk of Savannah could be described as "the bad part" of a city but without the city. That's not to say the areas further out aren't nice, but considering the small size of Savannah a very large portion of it isn't desirable for studens to live in (get renters insurance if you do.)

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