Looking into Art Universities: Highschool senior

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  08 August 2009
Question Looking into Art Universities: Highschool senior

Are there any colleges or universities I should look into and/or apply to for college applications?

From the rundown, after about 5 years of studying and going to school, seemingly bulking up for what seemed to be a path on the math and sciences, last year i decided to act upon my life long hobby in art. From Junior summer until now, I invested into doing amateur digital illustrations in photoshop, attending iD Gaming Academy for Modeling with Maya at Stanford University, and learning in a private art studio/academy in drawing and painting and graphic design (typography, etc.) Any significant portfolio making process began at the near beginning of this summer.

A lot of what is happening seems rushed, and I regret for not starting sooner, but I'm doing what I can. From the get go, I grew up in an environment of academic competitiveness, grabbing the A's, getting 5's, and scoring a 2400 on the SAT. I'm sure there are many kids like me across the world, but I think this sort of sets me up in a wrong direction when thinking about the world of "art." After my junior year, it felt like I had a lot of time to invest into non-academically concentrated extra cirriculars. Now, it seems like I'm rushing to make a portfolio, something that seems like I should have worked on for the past couple years at least. I'm starting 2-D art at my school this year.

When I originally, and maybe even now, think about college and universities, what pops into my mind is mostly USC, Carnegie Mellon, the Universities of California (UCLA, etc.), Full Sail University, Ivies, Dartmouth, and other major names. Its a strange list, and I understand it would be in my interest to expand it. So now all of a sudden, I have to research into art universities or colleges and figure out which one is the right one to go to (both in terms of best fit and "good")

My official transcript contains as follows (generally)

-3.92 GPA unweighted
-2190 SAT I composite
-32 ACT (probably have to send in just one)
-3 AP tests (5)
-activities and such.

Concerning art, I found myself interested in 3D modeling, a little bit of 3D Animation, digital illustration. Graphic Design is a very thin interest for me, unfortunately, even if I do respect the cool stuff they do. I wouldn't mind doing abstract things but if its overly done or super concentrated one, I will find it extremely boring. (Modern art,etc. not that that isn't legitamate or cool, but it is just not me.) I think I personally view art as yes, a great thematic and symbolic medium we can work on, but I find myself more interested in aesthetically pleasing pieces and/or straight to the point, not super abstract pieces. Its hard to put into words how this exactly turns out to be. I don't attribute much super subtle or underlying reasons to my art, like the Great Gatsby.

At the art studio that I'm going to, it seems the whole place is mostly concerned with getting a portfolio done rather than learning better skills, something I regret. Kind of feels like a factory, but at the same time it feels like its better than doing nothing. On top of that, I'm getting random suggestions of good art schools or programs to go to from the studio's teacher (who are Korean, which I am, but there's a language barrier to a point where I can't pick up any subtleties while speaking Korean, only the gist, and when they speak English, its enough to get the word across, but not enough for fluency.), like the Pasadena Art School, Brown university. It's rather confusing because I'm getting no real explanation about the program, because I can imagine the college of fine arts, or any art program, varies in multiple areas and what they do specifically. I'm looking into the USC's Interactive Media school under the School of Cinematic Arts, and on top of the regular admissions process, they ask for a creative portfolio, but the nature of the program I do not know what it is exactly (especially from an artist's, not a game designer or programmer) and what the creative portfolio should contain.

For career goals, I'd like to work as an artist (3D or 2D) in the games industry and/or film.

And I have questions regarding the portfolio, the basic set up for the undergraduate, what needs to be i there any subtleties, because no one has explained to me in fluent English what it is about.

I have some amateur pieces done from the iD Gaming Academy Modeling with Maya summer camp, several animations and models, but very amateur and simple.

So in general, with the lengthy description of me and my situation, does anyone have any suggestions and explanation, personal experiences, regarding good art programs at universities, colleges, and an indepth explanation of what a portfolio should mean for a highschool senior for an amateur?

I've talked to Jay Vales and Will Howard concerning this, and they did help, but I would love to learn more. (I hope its okay if I revealed their names.)

Thank you for your time and God Bless.
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Etchings on Bamboo Leaves - Sketchbook/Journal

Brian Choi's Portfolio - Currently looking for art internships!

Last edited by Pandaren117 : 08 August 2009 at 09:16 AM.
 
  08 August 2009
If you're an academically oriented person, look into Brown / RISD. I think you would be academically / mentally bored at a pure art school (I was).

Brown in notoriously difficult to get into, as is RISD. You'd probably stand a better chance of getting into Brown than RISD, depending on what your portfolio looks like right now. But if you are accepted to either school, I believe they have a program that allows you to take courses at the other school. (Bear in mind RISD doesn't have much of a computer graphics focus so far as I know...but I think they'd give you a good foundation).

I think you might be the kind of person that needs to be fed both academically, and, for the time being, artistically on the traditional side of things. You might also be drawn toward programming and the like which makes having some connection to a university more logical than going to a pure art school, where nothing of the sort will be on offer.

Given your age and academic focus, and relatively new starting point with respect to art, I'd suggest going to a university that has a decent art program for fundamentals - such as Boston University, or the University of Michigan. I believe Stanford has a good art program, about which you would know more than I at this point since you have taken summer coursework there. Sadly there are few universities that have a focus within their art programs on the basics / fundamentals. You might also check into UCLA or USC.

Art Center is the wrong school for someone coming out of high school. And in recent years, they have drastically declined in terms of the quality of their foundation program, which is what you probably need most. ACCD is more about finish. You need to be in your mid twenties before you consider it.

Bottom line is, you need to visit the schools in which you are interested. You can't tell everything you need to know about a school without doing so.

Also be sure to attend this:

http://www.portfolioday.net/content/view/100/51/

There's a mix of pure art schools and universities which have art programs represented.
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Last edited by Rebeccak : 08 August 2009 at 03:43 PM.
 
  08 August 2009
I think you need to decide whether you want to join an art program at an art college and get a BFA. Or if you want to join a regular college that has art, and get a BA.
 
  08 August 2009
Considering that it seems that, in the job field, the portfolio becomes a critical piece of the puzzle, do the subtleties and nuances between a BA or a BFA become critical depending if I go to a regular 4 year university with an art program or a school with just an art program?

I would love to hear more suggestions of what schools I should look into, or universities with programs.
__________________
Etchings on Bamboo Leaves - Sketchbook/Journal

Brian Choi's Portfolio - Currently looking for art internships!
 
  08 August 2009
Portfolio basically becomes 99% of the puzzle. The rest is probably personality.

If you decide to go get a BA you will most likely focus on academics over a portfolio regardless of the program.

In a BFA, you take 1/3 the amount of humanities as you do in a BA. The rest is filed with studio classes focusing on technique and creating a portfolio.

In the end, school does not matter when applying for the jobs you want in this field. Its what you know and how well you do it.

Last edited by KrzysztofFus : 08 August 2009 at 08:52 PM.
 
  08 August 2009
So any college or universities to start looking into?
__________________
Etchings on Bamboo Leaves - Sketchbook/Journal

Brian Choi's Portfolio - Currently looking for art internships!
 
  08 August 2009
The ones I would recommend that are "Prestigious" art schools and have a reputation of getting students into this industry are

SCAD
SVA
NYU's CADA
RINGLING

Some good "tech schools"

Fullsail
Gnomon
DAVE School
VFS

SCAD RINGLING and SVA will require you to submit a portfolio.
Fullsail Gnomon VFS and The DAVE School will take anyone with the money.

I personally suggest you pick a school out of SVA, SCAD, NYU's CADA and RINGLING. They are a good mix of art and academics. SVA has a fantastic internship program. I'm entering my third year, I was lead modeler ona few commercials and now I work for a game company. You get what you put into the school. You seem like the type of person who's gonna work his butt off.
 
  08 August 2009
Hey Brian,

let me throw a wrench into all this for you.
First off you should attempt to make an honest assessment at how good your current art skills are, what your potential for art is and how interested or passionate you are about really going through the tough process of solidifying your foundational skills.

Ignore how skilled you think you are at rendering/finishing, or color, or photoshop and take a look at how good you are at perspective, sketching still life, judging value, edges, and draftsmanship. If you set up a bunch of objects on a table, how accurate are you at sketching/drawing/painting that still life, how good are you at rendering circles, cylinders and curves in perspective. And then there's figure drawing from life (live models not photographs), same thing as still life objects but more complex. How quickly can you grasp new foundational concepts, and are you willing to keep erasing and redoing for hours until you get it right? How good is your eye basically when you draw from life.. we all go, aw shit, that looks nothing like what I was looking at.. but how shitty is it.

If you decide to pursue art school, they will be most interested in your foundational skills, the strength in your accuracy of translating the shapes and values of what you see to what you draw with your hand. Life drawing done well (beyond most typical high school abilities) is always an added plus. Beyond that, use and understanding of color, composition and your creativity and imagination. Probably no elves, dragons and warrior princesses.. what everyone at that age often loves to draw. Unless they're are draw as well as top spectrum illustrators.. but it really depends on the program you are looking at.

But that is art school, BFA and all that, only token exposure to liberal arts, and unlikely to offer many other subjects if you have a wide variety of interests. You will likely find the required math, English and science classes a ridiculous waste of time and hardly challenging. But you're likely to waive out of those anyway with your AP scores, unless the schools really want your money bad =)

Then there are the UC's which would offer a wider and more rounded selection of courses which would challenge and stimulate you intellectually in every aspect, but I would highly recommend you avoid their art programs. Their foundational training would severely cripple you in respect to your peers going to most art schools, and while you will come out with a wide range of exposure to drawing, metalworking, sculpture, jewelry, clay, etc, their programs focus primarily on self-expression and "installations". Check out their senior/student exhibits on the campus galleries at any UC to get an idea of what I'm talking about.

The final consideration I would put forward is that of more technical path. I don't know what your original intentions were regarding math and science, if it's just the typical path desired by most Asian parents (UC's and Stanford being the primary aim), or if you have a strong interest and skill in those areas as well. Depending on your interests, a computer graphics specialization in computer science may be a good option, and there are a few top universities with excellent connections to the industry. Stanford, UC Berkeley, Brown, Carnegie Mellon, RIT and Texas A&M all have fairly strong graphic programs that are connected to the industry. If you're interested in research into graphics and next generation vfx, new techniques and pipelines for what basically forms the technical backbone of the industry, this would be a good choice.

You say you're interested in 3D modeling, and there are many, many modellers out there. To set yourself apart from the other modellers, get a strong grounding in sculpture, anatomy, life and animal drawing. If you are so inclined, cadaver and disection labs would be great as well.
To set yourself apart even more, obtain a more technical background (eg. computer programming/graphics) and you may find yourself indispensible to a studio with your procedural modeling skills. In essence you would be coding the procedual algorithms to create whatever is needed, hundreds of buildlings for a city (everyone different and procedurally generated), jungles of vegetation, an entire population of alien creatures to populate that jungle, etc. Things that would take an army of modellers month to create can be simplified into a program that takes common shared parts and permutates them into hundreds of unique models.
These are the types of technical artists that are highly desired by studios and are often at the forefront of vfx/cg techniques.

Of course if you are interested in modeling lead creatures then buff up on those anatomy and sculpture skills. Modelling can be a very technical area so your technical background will only aid you.

If you find yourself much more interested in 2D art, then definitely only consider art schools if you are serious. The vast, vast majority of 4 years universities (from UCs to Ivys) will not give you the adequate training you will need to succeed in the ever more competitive field. Also keep in mind that you may very well have to supplement your education with additional vocational training from some place like Gnomon.

Lastly, some of those portfolio generating art studios for high schoolers can be quite the money sink ($1000+ / month) so make sure you are getting the pieces that art schools are looking for. Many kids post their portfolios online these days, so be sure to check out the ones of those who got in to give you a better idea of the schools you are aiming for.
 
  08 August 2009
Who and where are these kids, and how do I know they are using those particular pieces for the application portfolio?

And regarding math and sciences, I like keeping things rounded off academically so I don't seem ignorant and I keep knowledgable as a scholar, but I don't really plan on say going to more advanced math classes or science classes past GEs.
__________________
Etchings on Bamboo Leaves - Sketchbook/Journal

Brian Choi's Portfolio - Currently looking for art internships!

Last edited by Pandaren117 : 08 August 2009 at 11:47 PM.
 
  08 August 2009
Originally Posted by Rebeccak: If you're an academically oriented person, look into Brown / RISD. I think you would be academically / mentally bored at a pure art school (I was).


I was considering that, until I looked at the animations coming out of RISD. They are, to put it nicely, very conceptual. To put it more bluntly, they really suck.

I come from a fairly similar background, and will be attending California College of the Arts next year. They have a somewhat stronger academic focus than most art schools (50 liberal arts and science credits to seventy five studio credits; eighty/forty is more common), and an animation faculty drawn almost exclusively from Pixar. They also tend to be vary generous with scholarships for those with good grades and test scores.

If you want to combine an artistic and technical focus, CMU and (I think) Yale are both worth looking at. They combine excellent technical training with good art programs, and and have at least some classes focused on combining the two.
 
  08 August 2009
Originally Posted by Pandaren117: Who and where are these kids, and how do I know they are using those particular pieces for the application portfolio?


You'll have to do a bit of digging, but the best repositories I know of are at ca:
accepted portfolios: http://www.conceptart.org/forums/sh...ad.php?t=128605
ringling: http://www.conceptart.org/forums/sh...ad.php?t=134784
http://www.conceptart.org/forums/sh...ad.php?t=102409
art center: http://www.conceptart.org/forums/showthread.php?t=24843
ccad: http://www.conceptart.org/forums/showthread.php?t=45792

Just search for portfolio at ca, and you will turn up hundreds of thread such as these: http://www.conceptart.org/forums/sh...ad.php?t=153633

Google the name of your school of choice + portfolio and there are many, many blogs out there that post work of both students who did and did not get in.

You should be able to get a good idea of what your competition will be like
 
  08 August 2009
Originally Posted by forsakendreams: You'll have to do a bit of digging, but the best repositories I know of are at ca:
accepted portfolios: http://www.conceptart.org/forums/sh...ad.php?t=128605
ringling: http://www.conceptart.org/forums/sh...ad.php?t=134784
http://www.conceptart.org/forums/sh...ad.php?t=102409
art center: http://www.conceptart.org/forums/showthread.php?t=24843
ccad: http://www.conceptart.org/forums/showthread.php?t=45792

Just search for portfolio at ca, and you will turn up hundreds of thread such as these: http://www.conceptart.org/forums/sh...ad.php?t=153633

Google the name of your school of choice + portfolio and there are many, many blogs out there that post work of both students who did and did not get in.

You should be able to get a good idea of what your competition will be like


While those are good recourses (and I'm not just saying that because I started one of them), they can be excessively intimidating. Generally speaking, the people who post on CA.org are among the best applicants to a school. This year, every single person who posted a portfolio on CA was accepted.

So, if your portfolio isn't quite up to the level of those posted on CA.org, I wouldn't despair; you still have a very decent chance of getting in, especially with your grades. Still, it's a good mark to aim for.

Last edited by Meloncov : 08 August 2009 at 02:13 AM.
 
  08 August 2009
Originally Posted by Meloncov: I was considering that, until I looked at the animations coming out of RISD. They are, to put it nicely, very conceptual. To put it more bluntly, they really suck.
I would agree that RISD is not a top choice school for 3D related subject matter - it is, however, a good place for foundations, which the OP might need to establish. It's always hard to decide on the perfect school - in point of fact, one doesn't exist.

LA is a good place to be because there are so many options for schooling here. In the end it's down to a personal choice.
__________________

Korpus School of Art + Gallery
Website:
www.korpus-la.com
Facebook Page | Blog
korpus.info@gmail.com
Downtown Los Angeles






 
  08 August 2009
The Southern Cali, or LA area would bea good choice for me since I live there. Any suggestions and explanation of the local schools?

I heard from razorbc that Carnegie's CFA was a lot of abstract, not what I;m looking for kind of art. I don't know what that exactly entails. It looks like ag ood school though, and I'm thinking about joining the bagpipe program there.

Any thoughts on USC? I'm really interested in their Interactive Media section, but still unclear as to what it is really. It alked to an alumni who's from my highschool and from the USC's Interactive Media and he said its good, but he went there in its infancy.

And am I wasting my time learning Graphic Design? (Package designs, buisness card designs, logos, etc.)
__________________
Etchings on Bamboo Leaves - Sketchbook/Journal

Brian Choi's Portfolio - Currently looking for art internships!

Last edited by Pandaren117 : 08 August 2009 at 05:04 AM.
 
  08 August 2009
There are many threads with discussions that are similar to this one - I'd recommend trying a search using Google:

site:conceptart.org + Ringling (for example)
site:conceptart.org + Savannah College of Art (for example)
site:conceptart.org + USC

site:cgsociety.org + Ringling(for example)
site:cgsociety.org + Savannah College of Art (for example)
site:cgsociety.org + USC

I'd recommend using this search method in general but in this case there are many, many threads with school related questions and you can glean a ton of information by running some simple searches.
__________________

Korpus School of Art + Gallery
Website:
www.korpus-la.com
Facebook Page | Blog
korpus.info@gmail.com
Downtown Los Angeles






 
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