Student in need of much-appreciated advice...

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Old 04 April 2012   #1
Student in need of much-appreciated advice...

Hi, I am a student currently interested in animation and modeling; I invest a lot of my time drawing, and in using software such as Maya, Blender & ZBrush. I'm in need of help from a CG community such as this in deciding how to go about a future in 3DMA -- more specifically, helping me find a school + major.

To give a bit of background information: I enjoy 3d environment modeling and 3d character animation the most; honestly though, I equally enjoy all the other aspects of 3DMA, from texturing and lighting to rigging and sculpting. Knowing this I would like to expose myself to *many* different specializations of 3DMA, as my focus & interests within 3DMA could very well potentially shift within the next few years. In other words, I don't want to limit myself to just one specialization for my future. I understand that schools like Animation Mentor, Gnomon & iAnimate are widely well-received programs, however I would prefer to go to an institution that isn't primarily based online and is more broad; I realize that I can go to these sites later after I have more carefully chosen my 3d discipline.

I live in the San Francisco bay area. As such, any schools located in Northern CA or CA are preferable, however I'm not geographically-restrained.
The schools that I'm currently looking into are:

* Cogswell
* Academy of Art University
* Expression College
* CalArts
* Ringling
* Pratt
* Chapman
* Sheridan College
* Laguna College
* Carnegie Melon
* Van Arts
* Vancouver Film School
* Parsons
* I'm open to anymore suggestions...

Answer as many or as little of my questions below:

**Question One:** Which school, overall, do you believe is the best for 3DMA? Why?

**Question Two:** Which school(s) would best and most thoroughly expose me to all of the specializations of 3DMA?

**Question Three:** Which school(s) has the most potential for gaining contacts in the work-field? Alternatively, which school(s) has the best reputation in the industry?

**Question Four:** If I wanted to go into ArchViz or medical visualizations/animations, which school(s) would be my best option, in terms of offering the studies necessary for these fields of work? Also, if I wanted to go into one of these fields, is it better to major in (for example) architecture, then learn the 3DMA afterwards?... or to major in 3DMA then learn (for example) architecture afterwards?

**Question Five:** I understand that 3DMA is very competitive and the job market isn't the best, but which industry has the most potential for growth + jobs?: film, video-games, architecture visualization, medical visualization, commercial, etc...?

Thanks again, and I appreciate any responses!
Old 05 May 2012   #2
i can only tell you about CCA because that's were i graduated from. i went to calArts fro a brief moment and i loved the school but don't know much about it.

unfortunately they started offering animation right after i graduated or else i would of stayed in the school for another year or 2 so i can't say what the specific department is like.

overall the school if very Process focused, specially the design departments and not so much the visualization aspect. meaning that the final design product is not as important as your experimentation getting there. basically you aren't gonna spend your time perfecting the lighting or textures on your 3d models, in fact if that is how you spend your time you are gonna get a really bad review. the idea is that you spend your time conceptualizing your work till the very end.

architecture is very intense and at cca and it's a 5 year professional degree not a 4 year BA. the focus of your classes will be Design, History, Theory, Structures, Systems etc, not fancy renderings. so this may not be what you are looking for. there is plenty of opportunity to learn those things and in your first year they teach you basic drafting and 3d, but really you are expected to learn those things mostly on your own. your final presentations will be expected to look professional and informative, but studio time is generally not dedicated towards that.

i don't think that's what you are looking for, but then again, you might not know that's not what your looking for yet.

that's kind of a vague description i know.

calArts is a way more fun school than CCA but i only did fine arts there. the approach seemed very similar to cca. i have friends that graduated in animation from there and they are doing very well for themselves. the school is well connected to animation studios in the area.

i know i didn't answer your questions very well if at all, but i can only speak from experience
Old 05 May 2012   #3
For animation / modeling, rule out the following in my opinion:

* Cogswell
* Pratt
* Chapman
* Sheridan College
* Laguna College
* Carnegie Melon
* Parsons

I'm biased because I teach at Otis (but mostly traditional topics) but I think they have a well rounded Digital Media program, though Modeling / Animation are less prominent there than Motion Graphics. It's not a finishing school, but it gives you a good foundation and then the past few years of Seniors who have graduated have come out with some impressive work. It's also in LA which is a big plus.

Lots of personal questions (and sorry, I won't be back to answer any follow ups) but keep researching on forums like these, also has an Education Forum with lots of good threads.

My general observation is that you should not choose a specialty school (such as VFS) until you have tried other things because you are probably too young to know exactly what you want, which is normal. So go to a school that allows you to try things and then later, if you are able to afford a specialty school, then go to one of those as a finishing school. If you can only afford a finishing school, then go to one of those, and get your foundations (drawing, painting, color, etc.) on the cheap in community colleges and the like.

Best of luck

Korpus School of Art + Gallery
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Last edited by Rebeccak : 05 May 2012 at 07:21 AM.
Old 05 May 2012   #4
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