Best CG school?

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  02 February 2013
CG schooling?

I get high school students visiting me every once and a while. They want to make a living doing art. I'm an editorial illustrator. I have nothing to do with gaming or the entertainment industry ( I feel doing storyboards for ads doesn't count as entertainment).
I try and steer them away from what I do because it's mostly a dead industry and way over saturated. I might say to just do an internet search but that really doesn't tell whats the best school?
Back when I started there were a lot of school but only 2 that were the best, Rode island and CA. That was the 70's and 80's. Now I have no clue. Is it still the same schools or are there better ones for what this site is mostly about?

I tend to play them this video:
side note,I do like seeing Hussar in it.

Last edited by rownd : 02 February 2013 at 02:56 PM.
  02 February 2013
Edit: If this helps with my question. Is there one school that stands out more then others these days?
  02 February 2013
Also if this helps the students I come across have strong drawing skills. So I guess that means concept art and character development? I do understand that in the end it's the portfolio that gets the job not the resume. Thats how I got into my field.

I just want to help point these kids in the right direction
  02 February 2013
Hey man,

This is kind of a tough one to answer. I would recommend you steer your students away from the various Art Institutes. Tuition has sky-rocketed, and its simply not worth the price any more.

I think CalArts is still very well regarded.

  02 February 2013
Thanks for the input. Came across this place.


Last edited by rownd : 02 February 2013 at 01:32 PM.
  02 February 2013
I don't know, I'm currently attending Vancouver Film School and I'm having a blast. I'm currently doing there Entertainment Business Management course and sure, nothing is perfect, but I really enjoy it. It's great instructors who are from the industry them self and are also great in teaching to the students. The school is all about business, but they want to keep there reputation, which means they are listening to there students, if a instructors comes in and he is no good, he disappears within 2-4months time.

I have a lot of friends who are attending there 3D animation and visual effects course, same thing there, the instructors are from the industry and/or they know people from the industry and have high standards.

A warning! The 3D course is VFS popularity course and is one of the most expensive one as well. But! the school is a business, use the school, talk to people and start building connections, that's how you get your connections and that's how you make your intuition worth the time to pay it back. And god damn it, it's only one year, if you have someone giving you a hard time, family or friends, tell them to back of, since you paid A LOT of money to create your future and you don't want someone pushing you down.

AND you are paying for VFS reputation, what I hear at some places here in Vancouver that all the people from VFS ends on top of the pile of people searching for a job.

and if you are interesting in 3D, not specific Visual Effects, then consider Think Tank

Small classes, great location, good instructors, they work more as an family and really take care of there students. Even had an instructor from VFS telling that Think Tank is a good school. It cost less then VFS, specially for me who is from Sweden

this both schools are located in Vancouver, Canada. VFS also have a Digital Design course and a classical animation (thought about story boarding) if you have any questions regarding any of VFS course, I can usually answer them or I find someone to answer them for you =)
  02 February 2013
It depends on what you want

Honestly there are a LOT of strongVFX programs,;however, they have a different emphases.
For example, Gnoman, which is quite good, specialized in modeling; however, this is a trade school. You don't get a degree.

SCAD has a two strong interconnected program in sequential art and 2d or 3d, VFX and even sound design that is given in both BS and MFA programs.

School of Visual Arts have strong 2d and 3d offerings given in both BS and MFA

Ringling has a very strong 3d program as a BS only

CalArts is very well known for its BS in animation , which is primarily 2d, although they are offering more 3d offerings. CalArts offers undergrad in character animation and experimental animation. They have a MFA in experimental only

USC and UCLA has both a BS and MFA in animation and is modeled after that of CalArts

Leguna College of Art and Design has only an undergraduate program in animation,but they have strong liberal arts too.

MICA has purportedly a strong undergrad animation program ,which is primarily 2d.
RISD has a strong 2d animation undergraduate only program.

RIT has both undergrad and grad programs in both 2d and 3d animation.

Acadamy of Art University in Sanfrancisco,which has both undergrad and grad programs in 2d and 3d animation.
Moreover, this isn't a complete list. You have Rowan university, Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, NY, Columbus College of Art and Design, California College of Art (CCA), DePaul University, Rennsselaer Polytachnic Institute ( which is very technical), Emerson College,which has an undergrad program only, Ohio State ( don't know much about their program), Parson, The New School of Design, FIT ( even though known for fashion, they have a good animation program as an undergrad), NYU Tisch School for undergrad only, Minneapolis College of Art and Design undergrad only, Carnegie Melon grad program in entertrainment design, Digipen in Seattle, etc

Also, the geography of the school determines their emphases. Generally west coast schools have making movies in mind. East coast schools, especially those in Manhattan, have commercials and advertising agency work as their emphasis

If you want to emphasize concept art, you might want to look at majoring in illustration with additional training in animation or 3d. Thus, you really do have a lot of options here in the US.

Last edited by taxguy : 02 February 2013 at 06:21 PM.
  02 February 2013
Thanks guys!
I know working as a creative person your degree doesn't mean that much. BUT! This statement carries a lot of weight.

"AND you are paying for VFS reputation, what I hear at some places here in Vancouver that all the people from VFS ends on top of the pile of people searching for a job."

I also believe finding one place thats has a better quality of teachers (which I would describe highly respected people in there field) is where I want to point these kids to. Therein lies my problem I don't know who they are in the CG world.

Example, I know the Illustration teacher at Ringling. Nice guy but he would not be my first pick when comes to Illustration.

Maybe the "one" place way of thinking is wrong and you need to attend a few? I'm just thinking convenience.

Thanks for the links.
  02 February 2013
It's really too vague a question as CG encompasses so much. Even if you make a split, like the theme of last year's SIGGRAPH, of creative and technical you still can further split each of those down further and further like Russian matryoshka dolls.

I do have to disagree with the previous comment that east coast schools focus on commercial work. I assure you we don't at Drexel, which is in Philadelphia. Our Digital Media program has separate programs concentrating on Game Art & Production, Interactive Design and Animation & VFX.

Ultimately it comes down to one's portfolio, but the connections one has can help facilitate an opportunity and some schools help more than others in establishing those connections. Maybe a school has a relationship with a studio or studios. Maybe their faculty have such connections. Maybe there's a strong alumni network for that. Speaking with recruiters, the school where you came from doesn't carry all that much weight alone, however if they're familiar with faculty there and/or have hired good people from there before, than that could carry weight but what really does is having someone recommend you. We have faculty with studio experience but our alumni network is pretty strong.

Anyway, there are still places for the traditional artists, too. Look at any "Art of..." book for any CG feature film, for example, so there's that.

I understand you want to have all the answers for your students. We all do, but it's a big topic so I'd first try and have them focus more on what they may want to do and then go from there. Ultimately, they need to do some research for themselves. The more they do, the better off they'll probably be. Too many posts here and elsewhere from kids disappointed with their choice of schools.

Departing advice: You can advise them too look for examples of student AND faculty work. You can have them inquire about where the graduates are. You can also have them inquire about what courses the full-time faculty teach and of course, look at the curriculum. Lastly, there's facilities (ie - class sizes, what hardware/software is available for student use, how many computers and licenses, what days and times are access available, etc).
  02 February 2013
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