Do schools sometimes give students false expectations?

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Old 01 January 2010   #31
Originally Posted by switchblade327: I agree with most of what you said; just not this. Foundations are a major portion of the curriculum at one of the bigger diploma factories in the United States (I'm not going to name names) and last I looked, most of their grads were unhirable. Even the few ones with real talent had demo reels done in stop-motion toothpick animation, sand animation or some other artsy fartsy stuff with little commercial relevance.

Foundations are important, that is not up for debate. But in the courseload, I wouldn't consider their presence a major barometer of quality when a certificate from VFS, Animation Mentor or Gnomon indicates much more valuable, marketable training then from certain schools with strong foundation courses that hand out an awful lot of mostly useless AAs and BAs every year.


That is true. Some schools are all about experimental animation and really liberal artsy fartsy stuff, and I think it's easy to spot those schools--their curriculum description, student gallery, and faculty portfolios will all indicate that vibe. For anyone who actually wants to get a typical industry job soon after graduation without having to redo their portfolio with more job-friendly content, practical and useful production courses are just as important as the foundation courses.

And for those who are after a more well-rounded education and becoming an artist in the traditional sense of the word, I think the schools that do care about liberal arts, fine arts, experimentation...etc are a better fit--just as long as they also teach production and practical techniques as well. But I think most students today only care about getting a job instead of becoming a well-rounded "artist."

Last edited by Lunatique : 01 January 2010 at 09:16 AM.
 
Old 01 January 2010   #32
What company in there right mind is going to say something that will make them less money?
 
Old 01 January 2010   #33
Originally Posted by Lunatique: And for those who are after a more well-rounded education and becoming an artist in the traditional sense of the word, I think the schools that do care about liberal arts, fine arts, experimentation...etc are a better fit--just as long as they also teach production and practical techniques as well. But I think most students today only care about getting a job instead of becoming a well-rounded "artist."


Also agreed. My school had foundations and production but crammed into just 2 years. There were a couple of guys who already had art degrees previously and it was immediately obvious in the quality of their work. One is working as a lead animator and the other as an art director last I checked, so it's obviously helped their careers as well as their art.
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Old 01 January 2010   #34
Originally Posted by switchblade327: Also agreed. My school had foundations and production but crammed into just 2 years. There were a couple of guys who already had art degrees previously and it was immediately obvious in the quality of their work. One is working as a lead animator and the other as an art director last I checked, so it's obviously helped their careers as well as their art.


The course I'm doing (starting feb) does 3 years worth of work in one year. We have life drawing classes, and stuff like that - the foundations so to speak. It's a diploma in 3D animation. Very good school/course ... but also very very intense!
 
Old 01 January 2010   #35
Originally Posted by switchblade327: Ironically, the only CG jobs I've seen that absolutely require a BA are teaching gigs at accredited schools.


And that is the hysterical paradox of all art fields, I think. Art and music schools are full of degreed teachers who have produced nothing of note in their careers. But art and music are mostly known for the work of undegreed people who have created the classics we remember.

Some arts became so technical that some schooling was essential to get going. Composing late-Romantic symphonies might be an example. Almost every composer of such things that we remember went thru a music school. But the teachers they had at these schools are usually mere footnotes today.

Interestingly, the students these great composers took on tend to be all footnotes today themselves.

CG is rather technical. I guess schools are necessary. A better system might be apprenticeships at companies in the business, but that suggests a longer, more committed relationship to the student than any company is willing to have with any of it's employees today.
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Old 01 January 2010   #36
Pixar, ILM and Dreamworks (to name a few) all have internship programs, check their websites for information on how to apply. You don't need to be a 3D art student to apply.

In response to the post, as a teacher I personally have never rewarded poor work but don't forget that a D- is still a passing grade. Another reason that a poor student graduates is that most of the animation courses are tought under the art department and only require that the student participate and complete assignments with no judgement as to being done well or not, basically hand it in and you pass.
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Last edited by 3DDave : 01 January 2010 at 08:46 PM.
 
Old 01 January 2010   #37
Originally Posted by Virtualistic: The course I'm doing (starting feb) does 3 years worth of work in one year. We have life drawing classes, and stuff like that - the foundations so to speak. It's a diploma in 3D animation. Very good school/course ... but also very very intense!


Sounds like Media Design School?
Yes, they're good, but they're also guilty of a number of points raised in this thread (which I won't go into publicly - PM me if you like).
 
Old 01 January 2010   #38
Originally Posted by Tryn: Sounds like Media Design School?
Yes, they're good, but they're also guilty of a number of points raised in this thread (which I won't go into publicly - PM me if you like).


Spot on

Hm will do.
 
Old 01 January 2010   #39
The one thing I haven't read anything about is the admission process for these schools, is it common to have on in US art schools?

Here in the Netherlands all art school require some sort of admission, usually an assignment or an interview where you show your portfolio (or both). For relatively popular courses such as 3D animation it's actually quite strict (10~20% get in). They don't expect anyone to know 3D, one of my most talented classmates never touched a 3D app before attending, but they do expect you to at least have something that shows your ability and motivation to create.

That way the teachers will know what to expect and you end up throwing together a slightly smaller group of much more motivated students.

Originally Posted by aesir: back at school we had one animation teacher who just just brutal. It was the advanced storyboarding class and this guy was already a talented director, and he'd just tear into everyone. [...] The fact of the matter is, kids can take whatever you dish out if you treat them like adults.


I totally agree, this also mirrors some of my best experiences at school. Going to class slightly anxious hoping you didn't mess up too badly and ending up getting burned where you did, along with some great constructive critisism to improve your work with.
 
Old 01 January 2010   #40
Originally Posted by SkullboX: The one thing I haven't read anything about is the admission process for these schools, is it common to have on in US art schools?

Here in the Netherlands all art school require some sort of admission, usually an assignment or an interview where you show your portfolio (or both). For relatively popular courses such as 3D animation it's actually quite strict (10~20% get in).


As some of the previous posts have implied, post-secondary education in the US is a largely for-profit endeavor. As far as I understand, most art schools receive no state support and make all of their money off of students. Students who pay tuition that would make many Europeans choke in disbelief for less scrupulous schools, low admission standards just mean more money for the school. Only the most reputable, desirable schools get so many applicants that they could afford to turn away 80% of them.

I've never worked in education though so I welcome any of the teachers here to correct any of this. It's possible I'm missing something.
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Old 01 January 2010   #41
Originally Posted by SkullboX: The one thing I haven't read anything about is the admission process for these schools, is it common to have on in US art schools?


The graduate school program I applied to which is a highly respected program in the industry only admitted 17 students for Fall 2009. I do believe that the admission rate for this particular program is very low and highly competitive. It also isn't one of the art schools and the tuition fee is about $15k a year. There's also chance for funding for students through RA and TA positions.

I've been contacted by the Academy of Art because I spoke to them about graduate studies at SIGGRAPH in 2008. It seems like if I apply that I'll be automatically accepted for their grad program.
 
Old 01 January 2010   #42
Originally Posted by aesir: The fact of the matter is, kids can take whatever you dish out if you treat them like adults.

That has to be the quote of the day for teachers anyway.
First thing I do with my students is show them the best work there is. The sort of stuff that makes their knees shake. When they ask if they can learn to do that on the course they are doing they get a yes and no answer. Yes they can learn the basics, no they cant reach that level of quality without working on their own (a lot). Not one of them is under the misapprehension that a bit of paper will equal a killer folio and loads of networking.

They take the news quite well.
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Old 01 January 2010   #43
I'm a 3D Student in a smallish community college and I can say this thread hits home hard for me. It really feels like the teachers are just paid to push us through and what's worse is we never learn anything of value. I'm already in my second year nearing graduation and we haven't been taught anything about the industry we're getting into. Most of the progress and learning I do do, I do on my own time.

We haven't learned anything about how to artistically do 3D, it's all been technical know how with Sub-D and hard surface modeling. I feel like I've completely exhausted/outgrown the teachers here because they simply aren't teaching and its really frustrating to know I'm squandering my time like this by staying to complete the course, knowing and looking at all this great work that exists, stuff I want to be able to do and work hard to be able to do every day, but it just feels like I'm trying to wade through tar to reach that level of ability.

When I graduate I'm not going to have anything worth showing in my portfolio that I made here and probably zero job aspects, and this is really disheartening. Not that I was so deluded to expect someplace like Pixar to be handing me a job on a silver platter, I just thought that I'd get more then the most basic working knowledge of stuff like 3DS Max and Mudbox taking a course over the last two years.

In the end it all boils down to what you do personally with your time and everyone is absolutely right, 3D is an art and any art requires many many many hours or work before you are good enough to make it your living. While a 3D course can sound promising and inciting, it's really only good as a push in the right direction, learn how to use the tools, you won't learn 1/100th of what you need to know like lighting and style and everything else if you don't work all the time on your own time to get better.

Right now my current mode of operation is to find something I am bad at and focus on that and only that until it's a skill instead of a restriction. Right now lighting and rendering is my bane because we never get a chance to do any in classes, so I'm setting up a small scene and just rendering the hell out of it over and over until I know how/what to do with my lights. That and reading every tutorial I can get my hands on as pointers and direction. Once I'm able to do decent renders finally I'll probably realize that I am a terrible animator and focus on that, and so on and so fourth until I end up with a cohesive piece of work I can be proud to show as a part of my demo reel.

Last edited by madmuffin : 01 January 2010 at 04:21 PM.
 
Old 01 January 2010   #44
Well this thread basically describes my situation. I could show you examples of works produced by students who have just graduated but it's disheartening. We did get a strong emphasis on the fundamentals art history, 2D, figure drawing, but only touch the 3D aspect for the first time in our senior year. So we're going over how to texture a sphere within 8 months of graduating. It's ridiculous. They believe it's more important have 20 required traditional classes and four 3D classes. I understand the need for fundamentals but the balance is just not there. Now I'm trying to play catch up and realizing I'm going to have to probably get job working retail or something just so I can work on my reel.
 
Old 01 January 2010   #45
Not all schools will pass undeserving students

Santoandersen, Your comments sadden me. It is very sad that a professor would applaud a student's work who isn't deserving of the acclaim. It is an affront to everyone in that class! Personally, if this would have happened to me or to my son, I would have sued the school for fraud!

Thankfully, not all schools or classes are run like this. At University of Cincinnati, School of Design, Art , Architecture and Planning, some kids actually flunked classes and were required to go back a year and retake them. Some kids were bluntly told that they needed to "improve their portfolio or they should rethink their major" etc. I think it does depend on the school. At University of Delaware , there is a strong weed-out process among all the design students. Maybe this mostly applies to public schools.

However, I will admit that even at Cincinnati, they generally give a "C" to those that do the work and try hard but don't do quality work. These mediocre kids may pass but At least they won't get top grades. They will also know exactly where they stand professionally too.

In my experience, if a school has more applicants than they can admit and especially if it is public vs. private school, they tend to be more honest about both the grading and the quality of the student's work. I would like to think that academic honesty would be the majority rule. At least I hope it is. For what it's worth, as a former professor myself, I have rarely seen any professor resort to the academic dishonesty that you have mentioned.

If I may asks, what school did you witness this happening? Did you see it in any other classes other than with that one professor?

Last edited by taxguy : 01 January 2010 at 08:15 PM.
 
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