View Full Version : Accredited on line schools/USA

11 November 2009, 02:18 PM
Hi All...
I have been considering starting over with a career move into Animation/VFX and have been researching on line schools. I am particularly intrigued with matte painting, compositing and realistic creature animation. I am in my late 40's and have studied unrelated fields (industrial design, theatre arts, fine arts) and have been employed as a scenic artist/designer in theatre. HOWEVER...I do not have any computer background with the exception of some self-taught cut and paste work in photoshop; oh...I am also a MAC and have NO PC experience.

At this stage of my life I feel that if I were to return to school, I should be working toward an MFA but possibly that is an unrealistic desire considering the complexity of CGI. I have been in contact with the Academy of Art University in SF concerning their MFA in Animation and Visual Effects but I found their price of tuition to be OBSCENE, although they do offer a BFA.

I have also investigated the ART Institute of Pittsburgh but was not overly impressed; plus they took issue with the Mac.

Gnomon's website is impressive but I find it hard to believe that what few courses they offer on line would be sufficient to produce thorough training in the field.

What other on line programs are available and how do they rank as far as accreditation and quality of graduate? With my art and design background should I circumvent the more traditional degreed programs and opt for certificate courses? What program produces the most sought after graduate?

Any and all recommendations will be greatly appreciated!

11 November 2009, 05:47 AM
I am having similar issues finding an online degree granting program that isn't overpriced and is reputable. I am investigating Full Sail.... their Bachelors is about $54k vs $85k for AIP and a whopping $97k + for AAU (two that you mentioned). I found out about Art Institute of Pittsburgh the hard way... their online learning interface is terrible and their staff support is too! I was enrolled only a month before I decided to not go any further with this school. So I can't speak on the quality of the instructors for the actual animation and VFX courses.

Back to Full Sail. I am curious how it would benefit me since I have lots of experience with After Effects and a pretty good working knowledge of general multimedia design (web and video). I believe that they have a reputation of cutting corners... but I am self motivated and may be able to fill in the gaps as I go. I wouldn't expect employers to do cartwheels for one having a degree through them... what I am after is the ability to put together a good reel with my combined existing work experience as an Interactive Producer for 8 years and what I learn there. And to say that I finally have a real degree...

Oh... and the are Mac friendly =) (I am all Mac too)

Gnoman looks okay... but Grants and federal loans don't cover stuff like that!

I would love to here what some of the professionals out there have to say about this... especially the ones who do hiring and judges partially on where a degree comes from.

Best of Luck =)

11 November 2009, 02:15 AM
I'm in the same boat looked at a few of these online schools ie full sail and art institute but was floored by the cost. It's fairly outrageous. I agree it would be nice to know how hiring goes in the field. I'm interested in game character design (3d modeling). I've heard the portfolio means more than any school. However, I'm still looking into online training.

11 November 2009, 02:10 PM
I went to school at AIP several years ago for their Industrial Design program, I wanted to get into animatronics, and was EXTREMELY disappointed...wound up transferring and earning a degree in theatre, as a all comes down to pulse and money. AIP is just another factory, churning out students as quickly as they can; portfolio or level of ability doesn't seem to matter much at all, resulting in their less then stellar reputation. For one fleeting moment I actually considered AIP for the Animation and FX program, they are the least expensive, I believe...but was quickly reminded why I left all those years ago...and as for AAU, their tuition is prohibitive. I actually had one of the admission reps tell me that their fees are REASONABLE! (funny, that wasn't the descriptive that popped into my mind)

I am really out of my element in regards to Animation and VFX, yet find it all rather intriguing and am still considering AAU's 15 credit courses or maybe Gnomon's 10 week options...but without financial aid both are impossible at the moment.

I keep reading that MAYA is the industry standard for FX, is there anyone reading this post that can confirm this? I am interested in matte painting as well as realistic creature animation and compositing...can all that be done through MAYA? Is MAYA Mac compatible? Is it possible to teach oneself or are courses the only way to go?

05 May 2010, 08:25 PM
paintgirl Yeah, you can do all that in Maya, and it is indeed one of the "industry standard" tools. It does work on both PC and Mac and even Linux.

If you are considering making a career out of it, go with Maya. If it's just an interest of yours, perhaps tools such as blender bundled with couple of online trainings from cgcookie will be enough to get you started.

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05 May 2010, 08:25 PM
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