View Full Version : College Focus - Need professional advice!

04 April 2009, 09:26 PM
Hey everyone! I'm currently in college and pursuing a career in computer graphics and I need a little advice from those in the industry. I've been working with Maya for about 6 months and been reading about and toying with Zbrush for a little bit as well and I've fully decided to become a modeler, focusing on characters but working on environments, props, etc. as well. The question I have is what kind of degree should I focus on? Many schools in southern California (where I am from) have generic animation degrees. But would it be more profitable to get a degree in fine art, focused in traditional sculpture or other traditional art? Then attend a more focused school of visual effects to gain more knowledge of the Maya, Zbrush, etc? (Gnomon, trade schools, etc.) I need to make a decision on transferring to a University in fall, so I just wanted to get opinions of people who actually do the hiring or tha work in the CG industry think. Thank you so much! Looking forward to your input!!

04 April 2009, 03:15 AM
Once you get your college degree, you are ready to begin learning your trade. At this point I would suggest getting a smorgasbord of experiences, only generally tilting that balance in the direction of the particular subject-areas that right now interest you most. (That might change. Completely.) When you "get out," your number-one priority will become "landing a job somewhere doing anything," and when that time comes you'll want your college training to have been versatile but not too specialized.

At this point, strange though it may (now...) seem, "you really don't know what you want to be when you grow up," ;) and "nobody can expect you to." It is often better to be a generalist rather than a specialist. Instead of trying to select a specialist-focus now, while you're still in school, I suggest that you prepare yourself in such a way that "the list of jobs you might go for, and just might land" is as large and as diverse as possible. Such a principle will serve you well in almost any field of endeavour.

04 April 2009, 03:26 AM
I appreciate the info sundials. Unfortunately, i'm 25 yrs old about to finish my general education and move on to my specialized school in college, I probably should have mentioned that. I understand there is a good chance I might change what I want to do in the CG field, but I still need to declare a major in the fall of this year, because thats when I apply to my university and begin my specialized education. My question is should I persure a tradional art degree or animation? Which would be more beneficial to me to enhance my skills? I know I don't like animating its too technical, I'm more interested in the artistic creative side. I've been told traditional art skills are more important, but I wanted to get other opinions. I really apreciate your info and will try to keep an open mind and not narrow my skills to much. Thanks! Any one else have suggestions??

04 April 2009, 06:10 PM
realistically a degree in any field has nothing to do with it. There are A LOT of people in the industry who never got a BA or higher. You can get hired without a degree or get hired with a degree in basket-weaving provided you know how to do what's required for the job. Don't get fixated on the peice of paper you get at the end of your learning.

With that said, if you're interested in modeling specifically, it may be a good idea to take classes in human form, sculpture and sketching. I would however try to learn different facets of the whole VFX pipeline to some extent whether through a college or online through places like Gnomon or FXPHD.

04 April 2009, 08:49 PM
Get a degree in traditional art (or study it while in undergrad) and then go to a school such as Gnomon.

Thats what I did and it worked out well.

04 April 2009, 09:32 PM
Thanks for the advice guys! SanjayChand, I think that's what I'm going to do, the majority of people I talk to say that traditional art skills really help set people apart from those who don't have them, with the exception of the naturally talented of course.

CheebaMonkey, I realize I don't really need a degree to be sucessfull, I've talked to others in the industry who have told me that. I don't care about the actual degree, really, but more the skills that are learned while obtaining that degree. I've found that I personally learn better if I have a real instrucor rather than messing around with the programs (or artwork in general) on my own. But thanks for the info! I appreciate you taking the time!

Again, if anyone else has additional input, it would be greatly appreciated! Thanks!

05 May 2009, 09:53 PM
I graduated from Otis College of Art + Design in LA. The first year is a foundation year where you focus on traditional art and learn drawing and composition, life drawing, color theory, etc... The other three years are spent in your major--mine was Digital Media, which is geared towards motion graphics, visual effects, games, etc. Overall it was a good place to learn traditional art as well as CG, but lacked really specific technical classes (For instance, there is no specific class on say, there would be at Gnomon)... it is more on the artistic/design side rather than the technical side, if that is what you're looking for. You spend your last year doing your senior thesis, so you have a lot of freedom to be creative. You can always take specialized classes at Gnomon, etc. or watch tutorials to supplement what you learn at Otis.

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