View Full Version : Gaming animation schools...

06 June 2010, 05:49 PM
I have been in and out of conversation with FullSail University recently and was curious if any of you guys would recommend it. I would like to become an animator for console games and was wondering if you guys had any thoughts.
I absolutely love video games, and would love to work in the industry. I have a good artistic talent on paper but thats about it. I know someone currently working for Treyarch and he led me to this site. I know absolutely nothing about rendering and animation and figured I would start here. I know that schools would teach me how to do the things I need but now that I'm hearing that school isn't entirely necessary, I'm wondering if I could save the 75k and learn about it myself?

Any thoughts on the direction I should head in?

Oh and whoever created that Iron Baby preview, you are AMAZING!!! VERY well done!!

06 June 2010, 10:57 PM
I don't have any opinions on Full Sail University, but I've read a few bad comments about the school here. If you have a friend working at Treyarch, you should figure out what you want to do specifically and have your friend ask around his work on suggestions for schools. You also don't need to attend expensive art schools to work in the video game industry nor do you need a degree relevant to that job. If you have the talent and you have the work/reel to prove it, then you should be able to get a job.

06 June 2010, 05:59 PM

First off I think we should start with this, be sure animation is the road you wish to take. There are many other areas needed for games. I HIGHLY suggest you start self teaching, just so you get to the point that you have an ok feel on what exactly animation is. When I first got into this whole cg stuff I wanted to be an animator, now I can't stand animation lol. I wasn't informed enough to make the choices I was making, because I hadn't even done it yet. That choice could have cost me over 120k (or w/e Ringlings cost is these days). I have heard many many people with similar stories, go in wanting one specialization, come out loving a different one.

The way I suggest going about doing this is get a free trial for Maya:
It's a 30 day trial.

Next get a 1 month subscription to Digital Tutors:
It's $45 but well worth the money.

After that I suggest taking the Intro to Maya 2011. It's just over 11 hours and is just an awesome video for it's purpose. It will introduce you to most major aspects of the interface and will also introduce you to the major areas of CG. Modeling, Texturing, Animation, Dynamics, Scripting, and Rendering. In the end you will have atleast an idea of what each of these areas is about and a finished product to show off to your family and friends.

After that there are several other animation videos on Digital Tutors, take as many as you can. Remember this software expires in 30 days, if you wish to buy a non-commercial use license it can be pricey.

This will at least give you a chance to see the reality of what goes into animation. You may love it, you may change your mind.

Next Full Sail

-Please Note-
These are my personal feelings guided by videos, word of mouth, and personal experience.
They in no way reflect the views of CGTalk.

Got some staff member at Full Sail get pissy with me so have to be sure I put that now. *rolls eyes*

Basic version - don't chance it.

First off, I have looked into most schools in the U.S. worth a glance. When looking at these schools I tried to think what is it they want to take my attention away from. I imagine you have been to Full Sails website. I give them kudos, it is a great piece of advertising, but perspective students need to remember that is all it is. They are looking for young people with big dreams and know how to hook them. They want this to look fun and exciting and that Full Sail is your stepping stone to your success.

This school upfront screams warning signs. One being the lack of needing a portfolio. This is an art field, the computer is just another tool like a pencil. You will need artistic talent to go places in this field. If they don't ask for a portfolio they are giving students false hope, and shows their main concern, money money money.

Their school tour deserves it's own paragraph. Full Sail is only about an hour and 1/2 away from where I currently live. I figured why not go look, just for the sake of knowing. Their tour consisted of "back stage passes", a welcome speech on a set of a local tv show, a short tour of the facilities, a rock band, and then food. Along with the food they of course had booths of merchandise and booths to sign up for the school. I give this to them, they really do know how to advertise. During my tour I only saw one student, being that they make students stay off campus during tour times (hmm wonder why). For comparisons sake, I'll tell you Ringling's tour. A student guides you around the facilities (full of students mind you), shows you their on campus living, and talks about their time at Ringling. Ringling seemed to have nothing to hide, because they are confident in their school and students. Full Sail needs a rock band.

Small note on the "Free Laptop", yeah check your tuition pamphlet, it's included in your tuition and majorly over priced. Think it cost around 4k; send me 4k and I can build you a computer that is industry standard if not better, and give you all the programs you will need, and you will still have money left over.

So enough about the school it self what about graduates. Yes some do go places, keep in mind the accept students every month. A few students are bound to go somewhere. I have talked with some of the ones that went places and they claim their classes sucked and almost everything they learned came from self study. Do note anywhere you go, you will do studying on the side.

Yes there is a small chance this school will put you where you want to go, but personally for 70k I want more than a small chance. Gnomon has a 3 year program for 82k and their quality of education is MUCH better.

Personally I hate this school for one reason, they prey on the dreams of young people, take their money, and most of them are now in crazy debt that could ruin their life and aren't even in the industry. I find this just disgusting. Of course every school just wants your money, but these guys know their quality is utter shit, they have no excuse.

But don't just turn down a school because of my research make sure you do your own too.

Below is a list of schools that most people would agree are some of the best in North America.

Ringling, Sarasota Florida
SCAD, somewhere in Canada can't remember.
CalArts, California

Gnomon, LA California
Animation Mentor, Online
Vancouver Film School (aka VFS), Vancouver BC Canada

You can also go the self taught road. I don't recommend most people do this though. It is considerably cheaper but has some major cons. I would say this is an option better for adults (talking 30+) or people who just can't afford school. I feel most young adults don't have enough self discipline for this road.

The self taught road requires much more dedication and time. Also you will be loosing out on major networking, which is vital in this industry. With the internet around now, it is easier, but nothing beats actually knowing people. You also miss out on the healthy competition and drive to beat your class mates. In school you also have almost daily contact with industry professionals, these guys know what their doing and can show you all kinds of tricks.

There are many people who say self taught all the way, there are others like my self that say nothing compares to a classroom. This is really up to you, you will have endless amounts of different opinions. Each have their cons, it's your personal situation that changes what is better for you.

Do remember, a degree means almost nothing in this industry. Everything is riding on your demo reel.

Do be sure to read the "Post of Wisdom" in my signature. Make sure you keep up the research. It's that little bit of extra initiative that makes the difference.

feel free to contact me if you need any help.

06 June 2010, 06:29 AM

Ok, so here's some advice about full sail university from someone currently attending full sail university. It seems that most people that have negative feelings towards them never even attended the school for computer animation, and I'm not saying that there opinion doesn't count. I'm just saying if your going go to the school, know what its really about, and don't make assumptions based on what people have heard about it.

First off, like what was previously said full sail is really really really good at advertising there school. Enough about that.

Second its true that full sail does not require a portfolio to get accepted. This causes most people to think a.) Sweet I can go there and not have any previous art abilities or b.) This school is just a joke. If you chose A. you'll probably find out pretty quick that this industry is not for you, and full sail hammers that into your right away since most of the beginning classes are "weeder courses." So i highly recommend you have some kind of art background if your serious about this degree. My case was that I answered B. I thought what is this school trying to do? So I decided to look at different schools, and my other main choice was Ringling since its in my hometown and is very highly regarded among the industry. I felt confident that I would get accepted with my portfolio after seeing some of my friends get accepted with theirs. I come from a traditional background. My mom is a professional artist so I've pretty much grown up my whole life with art. I took the tour around the campus, and really liked what I saw. But for some reason i didnt really feel connected to the school. So i decided to go back and look at Full Sail. I did the tour and all that, talked to some of the students, and in the end I decided that i wanted to go to Full Sail instead. Some people think I'm crazy for going to Full Sail instead of Ringling, like my mom, but I did what I wanted to do and thats what counts.

Now that I'm there I really enjoy every minute of it. Choosing to go into this degree was probably one of the best choices of my life. But i cant say that about my some of my other classmates. A lot of them are finding out that this probably isn't the degree for them, so this shows in there work. The teachers at Full Sail also aren't scared to tell you it sucks either, since a lot of classes have a decent failure rate. I also find that most of the students that say bad things about Full Sail are those kids who are usually lazy, undetermined, and not artistic. So then they go onto sites like these complaining why they cant find a job and that its all Full Sail's fault. Full Sail gives you a lot of information, and will teach you a lot of stuff. They are constantly updating their curriculum to stay current with the industry. So those students saying that they learned nothing from their classes is beyond me. The most important thing is what you take out of it, and what you do with what is given to you. I do a lot of studying outside of class, i watch gnomon videos, digital tutors, and various other tutorials all the time. I am constantly sitting down with my teachers for one on one time, which they are all willing to go out of there way to do. All of this shows in my work, and when compared to someone who is just doing it cause they like to play video games or watch movies, there's just no competition.

So basically Full Sail is a good school despite what people say. It will teach you a lot of stuff, and has everything you need to be successful. But you need to be extremely dedicated to what your doing and do lots of studying on your own. Dont just go into it cause you like to play video games or watch movies. This is an industry for artist, so do your research and decided if this is really for you. If you do all this stuff, I will personally guarantee you that you'll go somewhere. Also Be open to different areas that computer animation has to offer. I also thought i wanted to do animation as my specialty, now there's no way that I would ever want to do animation haha. As far as the demo reels being produced by full sail students, please don't look at the ones on there website. This is nowhere near the level that's being produced right now, or to come.

06 June 2010, 06:34 AM
oh and if you have any questions about full sail, feel free to send me an email at I will gladly answer your questions

06 June 2010, 11:57 PM
Personally I think if you are going to spend the 75k on tuition, just get the extra 7k and go to Gnomon's 3 year program.

06 June 2010, 12:24 AM
@ MrConterno (

Thats a good point, full sail is good, but gnomon is probably a better choice for the money.

07 July 2010, 07:42 PM
Thank you all for your information and time! You guys really put some work into your replies and I appreciate it. I think what I'm going to do, is learn Maya on my own for now. I'm about to end my current job and use the time to get to know this program. I might take a few local courses for now just to see if I can extend my knowledge further past self teaching.
I'm going to start with that, create a website with my demo reels and put them on my business cards. I think that if I move to the areas close to the companies that I would like to work for and keep trying, with a good web page and a demo reel, I think I could get in.

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07 July 2010, 07:42 PM
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