Grad School or Animation Certificate?

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  04 April 2014
Grad School or Animation Certificate?

I'm currently a sophomore at Southern Oregon University getting a BA in art- at the end of high school I didn't want to go to an art-specified school bc I felt I needed that all around education, and also I'm a lot more dedicated and advanced/confident than I was two years ago (not to say I don't have an extremely long ways to go omg). But the point is, I draw all the time, I'm really passionate about it, and I have a very strong work ethic.

So starting last school year, I began to look into graduate programs- it seems like they're rather hard to find for animation? But I also noticed there were certificate programs too...

I was wondering if anyone had any advice on which to do? I know, of course, it depends on your portfolio and demo reel, not where you go to school, but I think being surrounded in a completely animation-oriented environment would do a lot for me.

I don't necessarily want to animate, I would love to do anything in the field.
  04 April 2014
Quote: I don't necessarily want to animate, I would love to do anything in the field.

you need to figure out what it is that you really enjoy doing...this is going to be your job that will pay your bills and make a living. you wouldn't want to find out later on that you don't like it, then have to start over towards another path. better pick one that appeals to you and give it your best.

since you already enjoy drawing, why not find related jobs that require that? concept artist, texture painter, environment designer, 2d animator? idk. good luck.
  05 May 2014
Masters in Animation

There arent alot of masters programs because most people in animation just dont get them. Unless you want to teach eventually, masters wont help you to get a job.

BUT, if you wanna do graduate school, I have friends attending San Francisco Art Academy, which they really like and feel like they are getting their money's worth.

Otherwise, if you just want to further your education, there are alot of workshops you can find around, depending on where you are located. Also, a TON of options online to continue your education.
Texture Artist
  06 June 2014
Personally if I graduated with an art degree from a university and was looking to breaking into the animation business, i would look into Gnomon or similar reputable trade school. A good trade school will be able to both give you the core skills you will need, while also allowing you the ability to network with instructors and fellow students. If you learn well from fully online, individually paced programs, then iAnimate or Animation Mentor might be reasonable choices as well.
Jeffrey Baker
Department Chair, Animation
College of the Canyons
Santa Clarita, CA
  07 July 2014
Here is my take...

After watching my daughter get a grad degree in animation/ computer art , and asking a lot of questions, I have learned quite a bit about the animation business.

First, most people think that to break into the industry, they need to learn or be good at character animation. This IS NOT TRUE! There is a whole pipeline that goes into making an animated movie, game or commercial. Certainly , character animation is a major component;however, other specialists are needed such as lighters, skinners, concept artists, special effects artists, particles and dynamics experts ( which intern have subspecialties such has hair, fur, water, fire etc.), story boarders, riggers, background artists and more. Since most people who want to go into the animation business major in character animation, there are more of them than that found in any other specialty,which makes for more competition among character animators.

My point is that you really need to know which area of the animation pipeline you will be good at and would like. Going to a broad based curriculum that will expose you to all these areas in my opinion would be critical. It will help you filter out what you want and will give you an understanding of the whole pipeline so that you can both understand and work with other specialists.

With all this said, you have a couple of options, you can go to a trade school like Gnomon that will expose you to many areas of the pipeline. You can go to a grad or undergrad program that would do the same thing. The advantage of a grad program is that if you understand which area of the pipeline appeals to you, you can develop a strong specialization in it with courses and independent study, which may or may not be available to you in places like Gnomon.

Places like Animation Mentor would be great if you only want to master character animation.

Bottom line: Getting exposed to all areas of the animation pipeline would in my opinion be the first crucial step that all future animators should take. Finding which area of the pipeline that would be most appealing to them would be the next crucial step. Finally, getting some in depth instruction in the area of specialization would be the final crucial step.Your education , regardless of whether it was gotten through a grad degree or certificate program, should be geared with these goals in mind, in my opinion.

One final point, some of these programs have faculty that are well connected in the industry. This is particularly true for places like USC, Gnomon, School of Visual Arts, Pratt etc. These are just a few examples and are not meant to be necessarily highlighted over other places.

Picking a school in the area that you want to work can also help you find jobs in that area. Lets face it, you won't get as many connections from Gnomon if you want to work on the east coast as you would from SVA or Pratt. The reverse would be true of you wanted to work in the west coast. I think the geographic location of the school should also be taken into account especially if you aren't a "go-getter."

Last edited by taxguy : 07 July 2014 at 03:17 PM.
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