Path to Pixar

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  06 June 2010
Path to Pixar

Hey,

I'm currently 17 years old and studying Graphic Design in The Netherlands, I started working with Photoshop when I was quite young so I pretty much know a lot about it (much more than Illustator).

I've also discovered that the school I'm currently studying at (Media College Amserdam) pretty much start from the basics which makes me think I'm just wasting my time and money here. I'm also going to quit with that school.

I would love to work at Pixar one day (yes probably a lot of people say this haha, but to be honest any other movie company is cool as-well or even games only at this moment I'm liking Pixar the most of course). Only I have actually no idea what my options are, can I stay at 2D and be a digital painter for them (if so which sort of skills do I need to master) or do you have to study 3D Animations before even getting considered? Also like I said I'm 17 years old now and I was wondering which schools are good for me to follow, and where. I would love them in The Netherlands of course but well if there aren't any here then I might have to move out.

I would love to stay at 2D and learn how to digital paint properly (I heard Gnomon school was pretty good for that, right?) and work at Pixar with those skills, but if 3D animation knowledge is necessary than I probably will learn them.

So I actually need some more info about it all and I would really appreciate it if you could help me out a bit.

Thanks in advice,
Leon van Zijl
 
  06 June 2010
Do you just want to stay in Holland?
Because then there aren't that many options available to you other then what you are already doing.

If you are willing to move, the Vancouver film school in Canada is excellent.
Not your only option, but an excellent school.
It will also open your eyes alot to move out of 'het kikkerlandje' and experience the world.

(One warning: Dutch humor is very specific for Dutch people, do no try to use it on Canadians )

It will cost you a lot of money though, because you will be self funding your entire education (Holland will not fund your education in Canada and Canada will not fund your education because you are not Canadian).

There are a few 'Dutchies' who've went to the Vancouver Film School and had success at finding cool jobs in film after (Though I do not know if anybody went to Pixar specifically).


Good luck! I've been in your shoes and it can be a challenge to figure out what to do next!
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-Kees
 
  06 June 2010
Can't help much with animation studio information. Below are a few really good schools for animation in North America.

Ringling (arguably the best animation school in the world)
Vancouver Film School (aka VFS)
SCAD
CalArts
Animation Mentor (online)

Nice thing to take a looksy at.
http://www.3dworldmag.com/page/3dwo..._world_98_s_cgi
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Nicholi Conterno - Gnomon Student

Time To Answer A Question: 15 Minutes
Time To Thank Someone For An Answer: 30 Seconds

Post of Wisdom
 
  06 June 2010
If you just want a list of schools:

Academy of Art University (106)
University of California, Berkeley (98)
California Institute of the Arts (57)
University of California, Los Angeles (53)
San Francisco State University (42)
Stanford University (38)
Texas A&M University (37)
Art Center College of Design (34)
Ringling School of Art and Design (32)
Savannah College of Art and Design (31)

The number next to the school indicates how many people from that school now work at Pixar. Now what I didn't show would be the jobs and what degree earned from these schools. This kind of information is very easy to find. I am missing schools, but this is the majority.
 
  06 June 2010
Fixating on pixar is setting yourself up for disappointment. Worry about being the best artist you can be, don't focus your efforts towards one studio. You definitely don't want to put your choice of studio above what type of work you want to do, as you seem to be doing (though yes, there are jobs in Pixar's art department that would just require digital painting and not involve 3d).

Though I do feel obligated to mention that my school (CCA) almost certainty has the highest percentage of graduates hired by Pixar of any animation program in the world. Granted, a tiny body of animation department alumni (eight, I believe) helps rather a lot there, but more than half of our faculty works or has worked at Pixar, so we do have a closer connection than most.
 
  06 June 2010
Ok thanks a lot guys only I'm wondering if I even would get accepted into those school, first off I'm only 17 and secondly I haven't really got a lot of experience with 3D nor Animation. I do with 2D and I probably can learn it pretty fast, because I've used the programs before and I like using them.

Only I'm still wondering if I even would get considered. Plus like I said I'm 17 and I'm not sure if there are any criq for age.
 
  06 June 2010
if you have a strong 2d background you should be fine. The interfaces are more simple than they look. As far as age in the US I *THINK* you have to be 18 if you aren't American. For Canada you need to be 18 or have a High School diploma or equivalent.
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Nicholi Conterno - Gnomon Student

Time To Answer A Question: 15 Minutes
Time To Thank Someone For An Answer: 30 Seconds

Post of Wisdom
 
  06 June 2010
I just skimmed this real fast and looked possibly useful. I'm sure most of the processes transfer to other US schools.

http://www.gnomonschool.com/student...al_students.php
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Nicholi Conterno - Gnomon Student

Time To Answer A Question: 15 Minutes
Time To Thank Someone For An Answer: 30 Seconds

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  06 June 2010
Originally Posted by gawl126: The number next to the school indicates how many people from that school now work at Pixar.


{{citation needed}}

-jeremy
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Jeremy Birn
Author, Digital Lighting & Rendering, 3rd Edition
 
  06 June 2010
Originally Posted by jeremybirn: {{citation needed}}

-jeremy


It's from linkedin. If you select current company and you scroll down to schools. It shows the school name with a number in the parenthesis. If you check the box, then it only shows employees who graduated from that particular school. It doesn't show all the schools and I don't claim its accuracy.

Link below for the search I used, but the numbers are different than the ones I posted (I don't claim its accuracy ).
linkedin

Last edited by gawl126 : 06 June 2010 at 09:03 PM.
 
  06 June 2010
You are right about the school you are at now. Students coming from those schools are, with all do respect, awful. I was one of them (Grafisch Lyceum Utrecht). After graduating I worked for a couple of years, getting some experience in the field. Afterwards I see how bad these specific institutions are.

I don't know exactly what it is you want to learn, maybe you need to figure that out for yourself before you can make a good decision, but the HKU or the NFTA in the Netherlands are pretty decent schools and can be pretty good if you put some effort in yourself. But for these schools you might be a bit to young and to unexperienced. Your options outside the Netherlands are pretty expensive but will be an adventure on itself.

'Everybody' wants to, at some time, work for Pixar, but don't think it's animation heaven (although I'd like to think it is , it isn't ).
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  06 June 2010
Originally Posted by Rickmeister: You are right about the school you are at now. Students coming from those schools are, with all do respect, awful. I was one of them (Grafisch Lyceum Utrecht). After graduating I worked for a couple of years, getting some experience in the field. Afterwards I see how bad these specific institutions are.

I don't know exactly what it is you want to learn, maybe you need to figure that out for yourself before you can make a good decision, but the HKU or the NFTA in the Netherlands are pretty decent schools and can be pretty good if you put some effort in yourself. But for these schools you might be a bit to young and to unexperienced. Your options outside the Netherlands are pretty expensive but will be an adventure on itself.

'Everybody' wants to, at some time, work for Pixar, but don't think it's animation heaven (although I'd like to think it is , it isn't ).


Yes, you're right. Currently I'm not sure if I wanna continue Graphics Design or going into 3D and Animation. I might even just go to work for 1 year and try to figure it all out.
 
  07 July 2010
Hey Leon.

I'm a third year student at the HKU (Utrecht School of Arts) and studying 3D Computer Animation and Visual Effects. I was 17 when I applied for this school too, and now being in the third year of the education I feel I've missed out a lot on what I could have learned (about design and building my portfolio) as the school is quite free on what you can do (looking back afterwards I felt I was a little bit childish at first). I've always felt everyone at the school is to do what they enjoy to do and create the most out of it. For me, in the first one and a half year this came out mostly as experimenting with the possibilities of 3D whereas I created mostly weird little things for school assignments (not even great at all, looking back at it afterwards).

Though other people in the education have focussed on totally other kind of things. I know about a girl who's too obsessed with working at Pixar. She's been in contact with some guys at Pixar since she applied for work (if I remember correctly), that's when they said for her to complete this education first and she would have to try and re-apply afterwards. They were interested.

I was mainly inspired by Pixar at first too, but as I learned about 3D and what's all there already around I've learned to like different things and though I still like Pixar. I'd love starting my own company with a couple of classmates. As we feel, that working in a team complementing each others skills, we could make a lovely contribution to 3D animations and creating these.

Oh yeah, I'm having a great time at the school and will be going for my Master Degree next year! Woohoo!

You could check out this page for more info:
3D Computer Animation and Visual Effects at the Utrecht School of Arts (HKU)

One recommendation though is to keep in mind, that from the start you'll have to work hard to get through the first two years as there'll be a lot of time going in to the different school assignments it will be hard to create something 'awesome' right from the start. But don't forget that everything you create must at least be awesome and clean enough to put in a demoreel, which for instance. I don't really have, except for a couple of first year and second year school assignments edited together after each other. Asking myself, where's all the cool stuff?

And, yes.. in the first year they do teach you photoshop for the first half of the year, and going through the basics at first (and everyone in our class hated this because everybody was already quite advanced with photoshop. We got the teacher to skip the basics and take us through some fun techniques instead.)

It's a lot of random talk here from me, but I hope it's worthy anyway.

Roy
 
  07 July 2010
Never Give Up ! Never Surrender !

Greetz from one of the Dutchies at Pixar ...
 
  08 August 2010
or if you want you can get a shool somewhat closer in Belgium.
www.digitalartsandentertainment.com it is more aimed towards game design
but also a lot of animation and character design are involved.
 
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