Any opinions on FAMU animation program? Or other schools?

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  12 December 2013
Any opinions on FAMU animation program? Or other schools?

Hey, so I am a high school student, and I will be graduating from it in summer 2015 and I need to pick where I want to study next. FAMU (Film and TV school of the academy of performing arts in Prague) is a school thats very good for me financially, and one of the only ones. They have an animation program, but I have heard very little outside opinions about it. Is it good? What am I exactly going to learn there? Is it going to prepare me for a career in CG? Any info about the school and the program would be very appreciated.

Recommendations of any other schools is welcome as well, I am interested in general CG mostly, but wouldnt turn down a more specific program either. However, schools in EU would be preferred, as I cant exactly cover tuition in any NA school and as an EU citizen I often get benefits, like tuition being partially of even fully (Denmark, Sweden) covered by the government.

So yeah, thanks in advance for any help with choosing a school.

P.S.: Just registered on the forums, but Ive been reading it for a while, and already seen a lot of useful info
  01 January 2014
I don't know FAMU, but if you are considering Denmark they have an amazing animation school called the Animation Workshop. Definitely worth a look.
__________________ - Digital Animation Programme at the University of Hertfordshire - 3D, 2D, Games Art and VFX
  01 January 2014
Thanks for the suggestion, I have heard of that school before. They seem to only have Bachelor's degree courses though. Still, I am taking it into consideration.

On another note though, I have been looking into the University of Hertfordshire, and since you are a lecturer there according to your profile, it seems like a good opportunity to ask 2 little questions. I hope it's not bothering too much.
1. What are the major differences between the VFX course and 3D digital animation? Those 2 are the ones that attract me the most and they seem a bit similar too.
2. What are you generally looking for in a portfolio and is quantity important? A lot of schools want drawings, which I consider to be a very weak point of mine, I do however have experience doing short machinima films, is that kind of a thing valued at all if I put it on my portfolio?
  01 January 2014
From your comment about the Animation Workshop, are you not looking for a degree (Bachelors) then? The University of Hertfordshire doesn't have a post graduate VFX course, only an undergraduate (Bachelors) one, so I'm answering your questions assuming they relate to undergraduate courses only.

1. Major differences between the 3D and VFX course. The 3D course focuses on narrative, character animation, modelling, lighting and compositing, often with a stylised visual appearance and tends to create students who are either animators or generalists. The VFX course teaches roto, tracking, matchmove, photorealism, particles, simulations (soft body / hard body), integrating CG elements with film footage, set extension, compositing, python/MEL ... yes there are areas of overlap (as with all types of CG) but the students from the VFX course usually go towards more technically focused roles like TDs, riggers, particles work, compositing etc.

2. A portfolio - this will vary depending on which course you apply for. For 3D, yes I would want to see drawings - life drawings, perspective, paintings in colour (digital or traditional), some 3D modelling, character designs, environment designs, any form of animation (2D or 3D), photography, realistic sculpture is also a bonus.

For VFX I would want to see photography with strong composition / lighting. 3D models. Attempts at integrating 3D model renders with film backplates. Any effects work on top of footage. Evidence of using a compositor. Short films that you directed / edited. Some drawings as well, we make all students draw to increase their artistic skills, so it would be hard to pass our first year without drawing skills.

Machinima - if you made the 3D models in it, then yes we want to see it. If you are making films with other people's assets, and you have one that shows very strong editing and shot composition we would still watch it to see how you are thinking in terms of storytelling and guiding the audience around the image.
__________________ - Digital Animation Programme at the University of Hertfordshire - 3D, 2D, Games Art and VFX
  01 January 2014
The thing is that I would like to study postgradute too after I get my bachelors and if I studied at the Animation Workshop, I would have to move to a different school, which could cause difficulties, but for example at the University of Hertfordshire, while there is no VFX or 3D Postgraduate course, there are what seems like related courses, such as animation or games art.

Anyway, thanks for your answers, I guess I can only try my best and hope it is enough to get accepted into a decent school.
  01 January 2014
Ah, now I understand. In that case the MA in animation allows students to work in 2D / 3D / VFX / anything animated, but it isn't a dedicated VFX only course; if you felt you needed that at that moment in time you would probably want to look elsewhere. Personally I would worry about a degree first and see how different a person you are at the end of that experience; you will almost certainly find that some of your goals will change over that period of time.
__________________ - Digital Animation Programme at the University of Hertfordshire - 3D, 2D, Games Art and VFX
  01 January 2014
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