Guidance for my studies

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  08 August 2010
Guidance for my studies

I am considering to do my undergrad BFA studies in the US (in 2-3 years from now). I want to become a character animator. I also know that the demo reel and portfolio is all that really matters and no school is going to help me unless I put in the effort and challenge myself. I currently have a diploma in film animation, but was really just taught how to use software programs such as maya, zbrush, max, photoshop, etc.

What I really need is the artistic skills, but I lack the discipline to do it at home.

I am strongly considering to go to community college to get the art/general ed/Liberal Arts out of the way and transfer to an art school.

I'm not sure which program is right for me animation or illustration?

These are some of the schools I have looked into:

Laguna College of Art and Design
SJSU (not quite familiar with their program)

Also, are there any grads form LCAD that could give some insight about their program as it is quite new.

I know the the ultimate decision is mine, but your opinions will be greatly appreciated!

Practice your craft with a spirit of excellence!
My Blog

Last edited by RogerRyan : 08 August 2010 at 04:56 AM. Reason: add/error
  08 August 2010
personally, i would say if you want to become a character animator, have you considered online learning? if you know you are going to a good school, its ok, but just be careful, its possible to spend a lot more at a real school or university and get an inferior education.

in terms of building up art skills, i would say that studying animation actually helps to build up art skills itself,

it is different depending on what type of animation you are into..(ie creature effects, more cartoony stuff etc), but it is possible to kind of gradually build up knowledge both in specific character animation and also build up a wider knowledge of artistic theory which if you practice aswell can grow organically, becuase the scope of animation theory crosses many boundaries.

what i would suggest is important is that you dont think if you study art in general at first, it will neccessairly help that much at first. it doesnt neccessairly flip a creativity switich and make you 'artstic' and therefore more likely to be good at character animation.

that said, it is definalty worth studying an art course.. and it would be helpful, but only if its a good one! if you are thinking of doing character animation in the long run, then out of animation and illustration, then animation should be much better.. i studied illuustration before studying animation, it wasnt really helpful, in general illustration is less about the structure of what you are doing and more about finding your own style, from my experince, ie, is less about understanding say what make a good pose..(and hench a good drawing, as you would in animation) and often more to do with devloping a style first, without as much real understanding. so in this sense from what i have seen pure animation study is more pure from a technical artistic point of view than illustartion, more structured, more princimples, just more ways of really understanding before the style gets added. so for sure, go for animation.

in this sense dont go on an animation course that is more about style than substance, ie, dont go on a course that incourages your 'individuality' and style too early and more than a fundamental awareness of more basic elements. all that this generally does is creates a generation of artists with what they think is a cool individual new style, but is actually just without much understanding underneath, (ie, think of all the 'trendy' straight edge graphic like character design around now, a lot of it is kind of dead feeling and structurless and a lot of it lacks real understanding.) so you need to find something that just teaches proper principles, before style.. style isnt a bad thing, but its bad when it comes too early, so any course that is more about expression that fundamentals, rule it out if you want to do character animation.

but yes, as i said, a lot of art understanding will come with animation if you study it properly.. another option would be some kind of traditional drawing and painting course...

as this would teach you things about observation, color theory, coposition, studying poses and balance etc.. all of which play a part in animation..

so i would look into traditional drawing and paiting, or animation as a set up , not illustration. but really, be sure it is a good course, some will just pretend to teach you, and you and probably they wont really know otherwise, some courses can just get lost in their own stucture..

i would be surprised if any course or anywhere else online could teach you as much as this place..

start with the 'Preston Blair Lessons: Fundamentals of Animation Drawing' and go from there, but in general, have a browse through that, see the topics he covers, and then when looking for a course.. look for such topics..
  09 September 2010
feekback BFA

Thank for your thoughts and the very useful link. Since money is an issue I also considering state universities. My hometown is California. If anyone knows about San Jose state university or any other low cost quality private or state colleges it will be greatly welcomed.

Practice your craft with a spirit of excellence!
My Blog

Last edited by RogerRyan : 09 September 2010 at 04:35 AM. Reason: edit
  09 September 2010
"i would say if you want to become a character animator, have you considered online learning?"

Try checking out Animation Mentor if your into Character Animation
  09 September 2010
Thank you I will look into them. It's just that I want to develop strong traditional art skills and feel the spending four years in college + gnomon DVD or animation mentor will help me. I also love to be a character/concept artist. I would like to get trained in both animation and designing so I work independently as well in a team.
Practice your craft with a spirit of excellence!
My Blog

Last edited by RogerRyan : 09 September 2010 at 01:04 PM. Reason: change
  09 September 2010
Originally Posted by Roninfang: "i would say if you want to become a character animator, have you considered online learning?"

Try checking out Animation Mentor if your into Character Animation

AM is way overpriced,but you can make some good connections. I attended and found it overrated.
  09 September 2010
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