View Full Version : Foundation?

02 February 2011, 12:41 PM
I am still at school but am interested in working in animation/games design. I find I am more interested in the 'arty' side of things than just raw programming. I would like to study a foundation to explore the roles of the industry in more detail before deciding upon a BA. Can anyone recommend a good foundation course (UK or worldwide) in which you can explore a good range of roles within the industry? Would a standard Art Foundation work? Or would that be too unrelated?

UK based universities seem to offer a huge range of very specific roles within the games/animation field which is a bit overwhelming. I understand that this a very opinion based question, but is there a university that is considered 'best'. Bournemouth seems to be mentioned a lot as well as VFS in Canada.

I have been exploring Maya, Mudbox and UDK a lot myself and have found a lot of motivation in using these kinds of programs and would want to study in a course where I could explore them further if possible.

Any comments would be very helpful.


02 February 2011, 10:41 PM
I'm not sure if you'll find an Art Foundation course that will directly link to animation / games art - they are much more general in scope than that. What they are good for (the good ones that is) is teaching a lot of traditional art skills like composition, colour theory, anatomy, proportion, perspective etc - all the stuff that most students tend to avoid in favour of getting lots of software knowledge. That said, I have advised some students who wish to attend an animation degree and are at A-level / BTEC education and do not yet have the art skills to do so, to take a year out, attend private life drawing classes instead of the foundation, subscribe to one of the many good online software training companies for tutorial videos and see if you can get private traditional art teaching regarding areas like colour theory and composition if you can't learn that yourself. The reason I've advised some students against a foundation course is because many of them are not that good (lots don't even teach life drawing anymore, which is a crime in my opinion), and much of what is taught is not necessarily valid for animation (although may be perfectly valid for all the other expressive /creative arts). It will depend a lot on the course and your personality -I loved Art Foundation when I did it twenty years ago, but I didn't know at that moment in time what I wanted my future career to be and it gave me a year to try lots of different forms of art that were not available to me at A-levels.

I'm not so sure about what you about UK universities offering very specific roles in the industry as actual degrees - this would seem to be against the principle of the degree system which should allow you to study a wide range of roles in the area, then during later years of study, focus those down to the areas you wish to specialise in. Certainly all the places I've taught at have had that ethos, and I doubt many universities would have the staff to provide a very focused degree on a single job role.

There isn't a single university that is considered best, especially if you are considering a worldwide market for education, and also there may well be a huge split animation and games art - many of the best animation courses in the world do not have a games art degree.

I would imagine Maya, Mudbox and UDK to be common tools to be taught to students interested in games art (they certainly are at my university) - if you are unsure, ask the lecturers on the course what they teach. However do not neglect the value of the traditional skills - these are what helps your work stand out amongst others, even more so once you've learned a lot of tips and tricks in software, after a while there's only so far you can go without knowing colour theory and composition for example. The traditional skills give you the edge over the students who are digital only learners.

Good luck with your future education

02 February 2011, 08:00 PM
Thank you moidphotos,

I think i will take a foundation degree as well as try and do many of the things like life drawing etc. At the moment i have only taught myself the very basics of anatomy for drawing, but what you say has really opened my eyes to what i also need to learn.

Thank you i will really start focussing on traditional art, do you know of any online courses like on deviant art that could provide a very good understanding of the area as well as books? I will of course look around myself as well as ask teachers at my school.

Thanks again,

03 March 2011, 10:39 PM
Be careful not to mix up a Foundation degree (two year mostly worthless course) with an Art Foundation (1 year potentially very useful traditional art course). That's my biased opinion on course, but I've often had to interview students who have spent two years in a foundation degree course that the government considers equal to the first year of a degree so theoretically they can transfer to the second year of a degree and get a full degree at the end of the next two year study period, but in reality they don't know enough and need to go back to the first year (at least at my university anyway)... which potentially means the government won't lend the money for their final year of study.

In terms of other traditional courses, try joining the Life Drawing Society and finding the nearest course to where you live and join up! Great way to improve your skills and portfolio. It might be worth looking at the forum for other online advice.

For perspective/anatomy skills you might do a search for Andrew Loomis PDF on google :)

Books like Vanishing Point by Jason Cheeseman-Meyer and Perspective for Artists by Rex Vicat Cole are good (the Vicat Cole is seriously hard core though, start with Loomis or Cheeseman). Anatomy books by George Bridgeman are also good. For character design, The Skillful Huntsman has a lot of good ideas. I'd recommend Hans Bacher's Dream Worlds for environment design.

03 March 2011, 09:28 PM

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