Gnomon, or Degree -> Gnomon?

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  09 September 2010
Gnomon, or Degree -> Gnomon?

Hey all. I know there's a ton of posts about something like this, and I've read all of them, but I guess I'd still like some input on my particular situation.

I'm 19 years old living in Northern California, and I'm very interested in pursuing a career in visual effects for film, specifically as a lighting artist. I'm also interested in dynamics and compositing, but lighting is my main interest. I've probably read Digital Lighting and Rendering by Jeremy Birn like 4 times.

I've read that the Gnomon School is best for lighting, and vfx in general. However, it only grants certificates. I do know that it's the demo reel that gets the job, not the degree. However, if I want to obtain a work visa or teach, or even switch careers later on for whatever reason, a certificate from Gnomon won't help with that.

I've also read that most Gnomon grads already have a degree anyways.

So now I've got two options, based on that information:

1. Go straight to Gnomon, get out in two years, and start working. More risk, and I rack up 50-80k in loans, with only a certificate for a very specialized industry to show for it. Simply put, if the whole VFX thing doesn't work out for whatever reason (not that I expect it to) I'm saddled with debt for years with nothing transferable to my name. Work visas would be difficult to obtain and job security is lower. But, Gnomon is very respectable and the quality of instruction is very high.

2. Go to a cal state school for next to nothing price-wise for a studio art program and minor in digital arts if possible, THEN go to Gnomon for the 2-year certificate, and get the best of both worlds. The risk here is that I could end up wasting a few years on something that is not required to succeed in the industry. But, I find myself craving the traditional college experience, having fun, and growing as an artist and as an adult. I feel like that's what I should be doing at age 19. Plus there's the added security of having a degree to fall back on, and not closing any doors for my future self, you know?


It seems like SJSU has probably the best state school digital arts program, but I think a studio arts program would help me grow as an artist a little bit.

I've already got a pretty decent CG portfolio for my age, and my traditional stuff is getting better too.

What do you guys think?

Thanks!
Sam
 
  09 September 2010
Bump for interest :P
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Nicholi Conterno - Gnomon Student

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  09 September 2010
Go to a full college first!

There are numerous posts about this if you do a search. I, personally, am a strong believer in getting a college degree. It will provide you with a lot more flexibility during tough times. Gnomon is great AFTER you get your initial degree.

Can you get into the vfx field without a degree? Yes, you can. However, I think that the oppportunites and flixibility afforded by a degree will be worth it.
 
  09 September 2010
Are you even sure you can get into Gnomon at present? From what I've heard, their two year program expects a traditional art foundation comparable to what most art school grads have.
 
  09 September 2010
Originally Posted by samuel9:
2. Go to a cal state school for next to nothing price-wise for a studio art program and minor in digital arts if possible, THEN go to Gnomon for the 2-year certificate, and get the best of both worlds. The risk here is that I could end up wasting a few years on something that is not required to succeed in the industry. But, I find myself craving the traditional college experience, having fun, and growing as an artist and as an adult. I feel like that's what I should be doing at age 19. Plus there's the added security of having a degree to fall back on, and not closing any doors for my future self, you know?




I think you've answered your own question.
A lack of degree does hold you back sometimes- saying this from personal experience.
If anything- at least the degree will be a fall back for you to get a job is another field, if you later decide that Ani/VFX is not your cup of tea.
 
  09 September 2010
The question you are coming up with is a very good one ; Gnomon or Degree ?

Imo the answer is Degree then Master then Gnomon.

There are a few point that are important imo:

--- Gnomon will teach you cutting edge techniques and is well known withing the game - film community, problem is that there is more than the game - film community and job interviewers might simply not know what Gnomon is. A Degree is something that one can show and it's undeniable proof all over the world.

--- The gnomon website repeatedly states that in general degrees are out of focus, meaning that of four courses maybe one is actually relevant. My personal is experience is that is true for 90% of degrees, which leaves a good 10% of relevant degrees.

--- What is imo the best way to find a degree without too many un interesting courses is to select something extremely specific. Go for IT engineering applied to game engines in MMOS instead of picking generic game design for example.

--- If you want to have fun and have the general college experience as in getting drunk from morning to night and joining a frat then college is definetely the way to go, dont expect to learn much tho.
 
  09 September 2010
Hi, I happened across this thread and wanted to leave a note. Definitely agree with the responses here. A degree is going to give a wide base of skill sets that supports the very specific focus you want.

Since you're from Norcal, you may want to check out Expression College. They offer accelerated Bachelor degrees (BAS) which run a straight 2 1/2 years. Obviously any degree granting institution is required to include gen. ed classes, Expression degrees include 12 of them. They are tailored a bit though, so instead of regular old history, you have cultural anthropology. For cores degree, you're looking at about 24 classes plus another 6 cross-degree collaboration classes (so like, 34 classes total). tl;dr the gen ed doesn't water down what you'll learn.

Cost? I'm not familiar with CSU's tuition, but Expression runs about 27K/yr.


The Animation and Visual Effects sounds right up you alley, but there is also the Game Art and Design program - which I just started. But yeah, I've blabbered enough, Just wanted to pass along their name. If interested, I'd have a look-see www.expression.edu
 
  09 September 2010
Gnomons marketing team is my hero.
 
  09 September 2010
Maligma, school rep much?

Being that his account was just created and only has one post, I'd be wary of this poster.
__________________
Nicholi Conterno - Gnomon Student

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

Post of Wisdom
 
  09 September 2010
Originally Posted by Maligma: Cost? I'm not familiar with CSU's tuition, but Expression runs about 27K/yr.


In state tuition for a CSU is about $2,685 a semester. For those out of state, add $372 for each unit.
 
  09 September 2010
MrConterno,

I happened across the board in general through yahoo trying to look for a good tutorial on sculpting hair. I'm playing around in Sculptris atm and having troubles with that. I liked what I found here and started lurking a bit. Eventually saw this thread, which I could contribute to... So I joined. I'm from hobby artist to trying to make a career - as mentioned, I just started my degree program. I'm also very new to the CG (3d-wise at least) and I don't frequent boards really. I been going to youtube to watch videos... I'd never heard of CGSociety. So yeah, this is my first post (now 2nd) post. For a couple of reasons.

Hi everyone

I guess my post kind of does come across as a "reppy". Sorry, I was just trying to relay what I know/have experienced so far. Especially, since I have to make the same sort of decision a bit ago.I assure you, I am just a student here Call them up and ask Renee Cutrell about Tay (me). She is/was my admissions counselor.
 
  09 September 2010
oo, and thank you Gawl.
 
  10 October 2010
Originally Posted by Maligma: MrConterno,

I happened across the board in general through yahoo trying to look for a good tutorial on sculpting hair. I'm playing around in Sculptris atm and having troubles with that. I liked what I found here and started lurking a bit. Eventually saw this thread, which I could contribute to... So I joined. I'm from hobby..........



My apologies, I just hate school reps and your post sounded suspicious. :P Welcome
__________________
Nicholi Conterno - Gnomon Student

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

Post of Wisdom

Last edited by MrConterno : 10 October 2010 at 10:12 PM.
 
  10 October 2010
Originally Posted by Maligma: Hi, I happened across this thread and wanted to leave a note. Definitely agree with the responses here. A degree is going to give a wide base of skill sets that supports the very specific focus you want.

Since you're from Norcal, you may want to check out Expression College. They offer accelerated Bachelor degrees (BAS) which run a straight 2 1/2 years. Obviously any degree granting institution is required to include gen. ed classes, Expression degrees include 12 of them. They are tailored a bit though, so instead of regular old history, you have cultural anthropology. For cores degree, you're looking at about 24 classes plus another 6 cross-degree collaboration classes (so like, 34 classes total). tl;dr the gen ed doesn't water down what you'll learn.

Cost? I'm not familiar with CSU's tuition, but Expression runs about 27K/yr.


The Animation and Visual Effects sounds right up you alley, but there is also the Game Art and Design program - which I just started. But yeah, I've blabbered enough, Just wanted to pass along their name. If interested, I'd have a look-see www.expression.edu



are you kidding me? expression over gnomon?, when i was working at tippett my brother decided he wanted to do CG, we took him to expression, did the tour, and to put it lightly i was extremely shocked by the work i saw from all the students, nowhere near gnomon quality. the facility looks like a money pitt. go to gnomon hands down, a degree is worthless crap in this field. it kinda makes me giggles when i know someone has a bachelors or masters and they work right next to my high school drop out self.

cheers
M
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Miguel Ortega
 
  10 October 2010
Originally Posted by elfufu: it kinda makes me giggles when i know someone has a bachelors or masters and they work right next to my high school drop out self.


Loving that part lol. (I'm also a high school drop out lol)
__________________
Nicholi Conterno - Gnomon Student

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

Post of Wisdom
 
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