Full Sail vs Lost Boys vs Academy of Art

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Old 08 August 2013   #1
Full Sail vs Lost Boys vs Academy of Art

Title says it. These are the three schools I'm most interested in. I'm 16 and will be graduating in 2014 from high school and this is definitely the career path I want to follow. I did a pre-college camp at SVA for Computer Animation and I loved it. I'm pretty sure that composting and visual effects is the path I like the most. Which school out of the three is the best? Will all three be sufficient to get me to where I need to be to get a job in the industry? I'm dedicated and work hard. Is the one year program at Lost Boys or the 2 year program at Full Sail not enough time? Thanks to all that help.,
Old 08 August 2013   #2
Two years is enough for some people, and I have to tell you that after four years, people in the industry have a lot more respect for a two year school plus two years of work experience than for someone who just got out of a four year art school. If you're really into animation, then start focusing early on your drawing skills. I bet you can get into some art courses where you practice figure drawing right now, before you go to college, and if you keep drawing on a daily basis you can get a good start on your illustration and life-drawing skills before you start, which is really valuable.

You want to be very, very careful about how much all of this costs. As you probably know, the visual effects industry is rapidly evaporating from the United States, with more and more films being made in countries that offer kick-backs to the studios, and US VFX companies in bankruptcy or doing lay-offs. You certainly don't want to put yourself tens of thousands of dollars in debt just to get specialized training to enter a shrinking industry, because there's no guarantee you'll be able to earn it back.
Jeremy Birn
Author, Digital Lighting & Rendering, 3rd Edition
Old 08 August 2013   #3
thanks for the help. Do any of these schools have a superior reputation in the industry? Or would they all be good?
Old 08 August 2013   #4
my advice to a younger me especially if i lived in the us.

a: what Jeremy said if you are happy with an artistic approach. try to avoid to much dept mainly.

b: visual effects can be quite techical. do a degree in computer science and specialize in something cg related like AI or fluid sims etc and on weekends/nights instead of drinking learn photography, life drawing and maya. I have noticed anyone with a computer science background that it really benfits them and also when your older and tired of moving all the time the degree might help with change career.

c: if you want to be a compositor. learn photography and life drawing .And enrol into fxphd for a year. theyve awesome courses that teach industry knowledge and the footage is high end reel quality. I know quite a few guys who got jr comp roles from the courses and footage. a year of that is only about 1500. (im not afiliated with them just a past member who can swear by it)

your reel is what will get you the job usually.

just remember alot of people know maya etc. what can you offer to the studio that will make them want to hire you and then keep you on.

Last edited by patrickrowan : 08 August 2013 at 04:40 AM.
Old 08 August 2013   #5
I agree with patrickrowan's advice. On-line training can be a great bargain for specific CG skills, and helps you get them without going too deeply into debt. And yes, if you have it in you to get a CS degree, that gives you better job prospects, and more flexibility about where you can work.

Also, think about your overall education, apart from the CG training issues. Even if it's just a community college, getting some kind of a degree after high school is usually a smart investment. Your general reading/writing/speaking/thinking/math/finance/computer skills are important to any career, and you don't want to replace too much of your education with specialized job training where you only learn specific tasks.
Jeremy Birn
Author, Digital Lighting & Rendering, 3rd Edition
Old 08 August 2013   #6
hai.. im a lighting artist..i hav just finished my diploma in animation..i am thinking of doing BFA (bachelor of fine arts)..im in a dilemma as to what to choose.. the subjects offered are painting, sculpturing, photography, art history..

since im a lighting artist i thought photography will be a great add on to my skill set.. what do u guys think? any suggestions would be helpful
Old 08 August 2013   #7
Photography is a useful skill for a lighting artist, although you can study that and practice it without getting a degree in photography. You can get a camera, take pictures, read about photography, etc. without a degree.

More practice lighting so you make a better portfolio is great for getting lighting jobs, and experience on real productions (even as an intern) is valued more than extra degrees.

If you do get an extra degree, consider computer science so you can get are better at writing scripts, shaders, etc. -- that could help you more than most other degrees could.
Jeremy Birn
Author, Digital Lighting & Rendering, 3rd Edition
Old 08 August 2013   #8
thanks a lot jeremy for ur reply! i really like painting and photography so had thought of doing bfa..and its not a regular course..weekend classes wil be held..so i could concentrate on my lighting and also arts..but i wasnt going to do it for the sake of a degree but for learning purpose..

and could you please share few points about how a lighting show reel should be as a fresher??
Old 08 August 2013   #9
Originally Posted by ngsmitha: and could you please share few points about how a lighting show reel should be as a fresher??

Your showreel should show that you can integrate 3D elements into a live-action environment, and also that you can light fully CG environments.

Composite a 3D creature, character, or vehicle into a live-action environment. Show that you can get the colors, lighting, shadows, and reflections to match between a real environment and something that you have lit in 3D. Demonstrate your range by lighting and rendering a variety of subjects, including some that are reflective, some that are organically textured or translucent, and some that are furry or have hair.

Show that you can light all-3D environments, including interiors and exteriors and hopefully some creatures or characters. The mood of the shot should be reflected in the lighting and colors as well as the content of the scene.

In addition to still images, it is a good idea to include some animation - not to prove that you are an animator, but only because most professional work involves dealing with moving footage. If you don’t have any animated characters, you could animate aspects of your environment such as the time of day, or different weather or seasons. Moving objects such as curtains, tree branches, or doors that cast different shadows and change the lighting during the shot.

Some of the best lighting demonstrations involve studying a single location as the time or weather or mood changes; this shows how much lighting can add to a scene. If you are also interested in an effects TD position, then some effects animation—such as water, fire, or smoke—could be a good addition to your reel as well.

Any way you can re-use the same models multiple times is good. This lets you focus on lighting and rendering instead of modeling all the time, and also anything that shows you know how to light a scene four or five different ways, for different looks matching different moods or times of day or seasons or parts of a story, demonstrates that you're in control of your lighting.

If you have a particular company in mind, or type of company, then try to watch showreels from people who got jobs or internships at that company, as well as the company's own showreel, to get ideas of what might be expected of you -- but again, don't do work that's all copying what you've seen elsewhere, original artwork is better.

Developing something original, unique, or personal will make your showreel more memorable and reflect well on you as an artist, instead of doing fan-art or rip-offs of feature films.

You don't need to show light-by-light breakdowns unless it's something really interesting that people couldn't have guessed. For compositing exercises, showing before/after sometimes shows what you accomplished. Other times running though every light and pass used gets boring pretty quick.
Jeremy Birn
Author, Digital Lighting & Rendering, 3rd Edition
Old 08 August 2013   #10
awesome! thank you so much for your valuable reply Jeremy that is gonna help me a lot!!

i have attached my lighting scene..i know there are plenty of mistakes in it..could you tell me where all i should improve to go up to the next level??

thanks again a tons!!
Attached Images
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Old 08 August 2013   #11
I'd say type "parking garage night" into google image search or flickr.com and gather some reference for that kind of thing first. Usually the inside of the parking garage looks a lot brighter than the outside, so you might end up reversing that aspect of the scene. A lot of what you have set-up in that scene looks good and workable, though, just really focus on colors and tones and matching some reference and that could take it to the next level.
Jeremy Birn
Author, Digital Lighting & Rendering, 3rd Edition
Old 08 August 2013   #12
working on it right away! thanks Jeremy i just love your book! its a life saver
Old 08 August 2013   #13
Smile need help with 3d animation and vfx schools

Hello ,

I would like any suggestion regarding good schools offering 3D animation and VFX. The course length should be max of 2 years. I have found few : VFS, VanArts, Lost Boys, Gnomon, Dave School. Anyone who has or is attending these school can you please tell me how these schools are and is it worth going there. Also regarding the portfolios that should be submitted do we have to include only our creations or any work that will show our skills and abilities ?

Thank you
Old 08 August 2013   #14
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