East Tennessee State University (ETSU)

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  07 July 2014
East Tennessee State University (ETSU)

Since I am about to graduate in 2 semesters from East Tennessee State University (ETSU) from the digital media program, I think it would be fair to share my experience so far. As far as cost is concerned, the in-state tuition is roughly 8K per year without scholarships, so it by far the most affordable school in this field. The computers and equipment are just as good as any other school, especially for the price. Every computer has has 8-core Intel Xeon 2687w processors, dual nVidia Quadro k5000 Graphics cards, and 32gb of ram. There are around 70 computers total split among 3.5 computer labs. One computer lab has Cintiq displays (21 ux). There is a lab that has a 14 camera markerless motion capture system and a green screen with lighting. They have all the major software including: Maya, Nuke, Adobe CS, Syntheyes, 3ds Max, Zbrush, Mudbox, etc. All computers are connected to make a 70-CPU render farm. There is also a separate 40 CPU farm with slightly older machines.

As far as the education I received, it may have not been as focused as many other specialized schools, but for a university, it was as good as you could expect. The school requires a lot of individual work outside of class to make a portfolio that is outstanding, but the resources are easily in place for anyone to pump out good work if you try hard enough. There is a wide variety of classes, including, Game Design, Animation, VFX, and Video production. The professor are not the most important industry members, but they are very knowledgeable.

Overall, if I had to give the school an overall rating, I would give it a 4/5 because it is not on the level of SCAD or Ringling, but for the value it is the best deal anywhere.
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