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Old 03-19-2011, 02:27 PM   #16
Thearetical
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This is all such fantastic information, thank you so much!

My main concern is about finding a job when I graduate...I know that the videos From AM and the former students all say that they're getting recruited even before they graduate, and make it sound as if studios are clamoring to get AM students...but realistically most of these testimonials are from a few years ago. There are a lot more graduates now, and there's a lot more competition.

So are students still being hired at such a fantastic rate? Mirkoj and aboullous, do you mind sharing if you were able to find work right away after graduating?

Semi-related, have you ever heard of a studio being willing to help a new hire move to their location? I live in the middle of nowhere right now, which is why AM appeals to me...but where my family moves will probably be predicated on where I find work. I worry about being able to pick up and move fast enough to keep a potential job offer rather than letting it go to someone else...but then maybe I'm just being unecessarily worrisome right now about things like that.
 
Old 03-19-2011, 04:26 PM   #17
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Oh, and another practical question: I know you can get the student edition of Maya through AM, but what does that mean? Do you have to pay anything? Is the student version of the software limited in any way compared to the commercial edition?
 
Old 03-19-2011, 07:43 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Thearetical
Oh, and another practical question: I know you can get the student edition of Maya through AM, but what does that mean? Do you have to pay anything? Is the student version of the software limited in any way compared to the commercial edition?


The only difference I've noticed is this annoying little message at the beginning that says "This file was created by a student and cannot be used for anything but educational purposes"or something along those lines, but you just click okay and its no real problem. There are two versions of maya for a student. There's the one you can buy through places like academicsuperstore.com and that's about $300, if you get a student email or something from AM (I'm not a student there), then you can get a free license for a year through their student edition site: http://students.autodesk.com/?nd=home

I'm a student at iAnimate.net, which is an online training program, sort of similar to Animation Mentor but different in some key ways. I highly recommended animation training if you plan to go into animation instead of being self-taught because its much quicker and there are somethings that you may never see or notice if not pointed out to you.
 
Old 03-19-2011, 10:46 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Thearetical
Semi-related, have you ever heard of a studio being willing to help a new hire move to their location?


Yep. Studios do that all the time. Usually they'll put you in a hotel or some kind of company arranged housing for a period of time while you're looking for an apartment/house. There's also relocation reimbursement of a certain amount that might vary from company to company. The only difficulty might be if it's a per project contract and they need an animator to start right away. I'm not sure if they would arrange a temp housing in that case (never had that experience). But I don't see why they couldn't.

Hope that helps.
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Old 03-20-2011, 08:54 AM   #20
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I am also interested in AM. While I have seen two colleagues graduate from it and land jobs, I take their successes with a grain of salt. While one came into the program having fairly extensive knowledge of modelling and animating, the other had no experience with 3d. The one with no prior experience landed a job immediately while the one who had prior experience landed a job at a studio he had previously interned at. I guess what I want to show is that if you're dedicated to the program, you can get the most out of it. My experience has been that animation is very demanding of your time , but especially as you "polish" your scenes. This is compounded by the length of the scene. I've heard it said that you'll spend 10% of your time on getting your poses and basic blocking right, and 90% "taking it to curves" or putting on the final polish. That has been my experience thus far. Im interested in AM because the school I graduated from had an animation program, but realistically, it was a program dedicated to generalists. I see AM as a way to specialize my training as a character animator. And for me, the price tag is the biggest concern, as already having a 4 year degree makes me ineligible for most grants and non-loan financial aid. In the meantime, anyone interested in animation should learn the vocabulary associated with it. Learn about squash and stretch, follow thru, overlap, timing, spacing, etc. Hope that helps.
 
Old 03-20-2011, 06:34 PM   #21
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I'm a student at iAnimate.net, which is an online training program, sort of similar to Animation Mentor but different in some key ways. I highly

i have done research on both schools and found that ianimate is smaller so you get more one on one time with the teachers. I also heard that at ianimate you can view the lectures over and over again as long as you are enrolled whereas at AM that period of time is somewhat limited. Torr, could you tell us about how you feel about ianimate? Do you feel like you will be able to create a reel that could land you a job?
 
Old 03-20-2011, 06:46 PM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Thearetical
So are students still being hired at such a fantastic rate? Mirkoj and aboullous, do you mind sharing if you were able to find work right away after graduating?

Semi-related, have you ever heard of a studio being willing to help a new hire move to their location?

I don't know if students have ever been hired at a "fantastic rate". Inexperience costs productions time and money, there's really no way of getting around it. AM has a number of benefits, but I know (and have worked with) a number of AM grads that have had long, winding paths into the industry, just like the rest of us.

As far as relocation expenses, it depends on the job and the company. A full-time gig with a larger studio will probably cover moving costs and maybe even temp housing, but a lot of contract gigs either require you to be local or expect that you'll make yourself local. Junior animators have very little leverage because studios can't expect the same level of output (in quantity or quality) as they would with more experienced animators. You have to be willing to move for work, and it isn't a bad idea to be prepared to move even without landing work. Breaking in (and staying afloat) in this industry is not easy. Your reel matters, who you know matters, and location is important. Just try applying to all the LA contract positions on Motionographer and tell them you're not in the area. You won't hear back.

Last edited by jipe : 03-20-2011 at 06:48 PM.
 
Old 03-21-2011, 01:59 AM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jae1234
i have done research on both schools and found that ianimate is smaller so you get more one on one time with the teachers. I also heard that at ianimate you can view the lectures over and over again as long as you are enrolled whereas at AM that period of time is somewhat limited. Torr, could you tell us about how you feel about ianimate? Do you feel like you will be able to create a reel that could land you a job?



There used to be a thread for ianimate, but I don't know what happened to it, it may have gotten pushed back for not being posted in for a while. I really like iAnimate and I think that it is the place for me, weather or not its the place for someone else, I don't know. I have not attended Animation Mentor, but my classmate Rastko did and he wrote a pretty extensive comparison, which can be found here if you're interested: http://rastkos.blogspot.com/2010/12...comparison.html

The lectures you can view repeatidly, I don't know for how long, but definitely for the whole workshop you're in, you can see other classes also. I have one of the links saved and it still works from the previous block. They use an adobe program for the lectures, and crits, which makes it easy to go back and watch, so long as you're online, but not easy to download. There are some people, though, who go through and record them and put them on a private vimeo account for iAnimate students to watch/download easier. All of Jason's weekly demos, however, are all available for download.

I feel like iAnimate has given me all the tools to make a great demo reel and succeed. Though I'm really not saying that iAnimate is better than Animation Mentor, its just different. I think all the online animation schools are ahead of traditional art colleges.
 
Old 06-14-2011, 05:56 PM   #24
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Thearetical,

Married with a young kid here. Finished the program back in March. Had a full time job for 17 of the 18 months of AM.

It was hard once the kid arrived, but doable. 2-3 hours M-Th, and then a marathon session from Friday evening til whenever I get done, but still feeding/changing the baby. And I try to finish everything on Saturday so I can spend Sunday with my family. I/we pretty much had to sacrifice Friday and Saturday. Sometimes Sunday too if I have stuff to do around the house. Fortunately, my wife has been super supportive during all this, and I'm a night owl, so I work well late in the evenings after I give my son a bath and put him to bed.

Job openings come in waves. It's hard to say how many of my classmates got jobs, because they don't really announce that on AM. Of the handful of classmates that I became good friends with, I'd say 50% got hired within a couple of months of finishing the program. But I'm sure this will vary.

Some students got jobs before they finish the program, but the vast majority of people finish the program.

I just landed a contract job with a small studio in Texas (by choice), but I was slow to update my final reel on the AM site. I didn't apply to the company; they got my name somehow and looked at my reel, which was not 100% complete. Once you become an alumnus, you can post your reel on the AM site where the recruiters can look through.

So for me, it's been a challenging ride, especially classes 5-6, but one that was well worth it. And I could not have done it without my wife's support. I realize being a mother of a young child is different from being a father, but if your husband is encouraging you to, give it a try. The first couple of classes aren't bad at all.
 
Old 06-14-2011, 06:04 PM   #25
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I will add that it is a difficult/intensive program, and you really have to be proactive to get the most out of it. No one's going to hold your hand through it.

I probably spent 30% of my time watching other people's work and critiquing them. This is not just so that they leave you feedbacks in return, but so that you learn from their workflow adn what their mentors (instructors) think of their work.

Best wishes!
 
Old 07-01-2011, 09:28 PM   #26
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First of all I think the information posted here has been extremely helpful. I too am considering attending AM in the not to distant future. I have a couple of questions and I was hoping some of the AM alumni could help answer, or anyone else for that matter.

1.) Is Animation Mentor a good choice if my interest lies with character animation within the gaming industry?

- Seems like the majority of individuals from AM work at or have worked at Pixar and ILM.

2.) I have no experience with Maya or any other sort of 3d Software, will this be a hinderance, or will I be able to pick up the software fairly quickly?

Thanks for your help.
 
Old 07-03-2011, 05:26 PM   #27
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pacucho
1.) Is Animation Mentor a good choice if my interest lies with character animation within the gaming industry?

- Seems like the majority of individuals from AM work at or have worked at Pixar and ILM.


Not really, those are just the ones who tend to get profiled on their site There's been a ton of folks from Blue Sky, Disney, and Dreamworks as well as tons of smaller studios and a few game companies. If you have an interest in gaming you might alter the focus of what goes on your reel slightly but the education isn't much different.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Pacucho
2.) I have no experience with Maya or any other sort of 3d Software, will this be a hinderance, or will I be able to pick up the software fairly quickly?


Having been in both AM and iAnimate (where I am currently), you really need to have at least a basic handle on the software before getting into the courses.

I took the AM Jumpstart course in Maya and that helped me a ton but if you were to do Digital Tutors for a month or two, lynda.com, or even dig into a really good Maya book you'd probably be ok. You don't need an indepth understanding of the software but you need to be able to get around, set and manipulate keys, use the graph editor, playblast, and understand the relationship of the outliner and other windows to animation.
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Last edited by fig : 07-03-2011 at 05:30 PM.
 
Old 07-11-2011, 09:12 AM   #28
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Hello,

Im an animationmentor graduate from spring 2009, although the school is very good I would recomend people see it as more of a crash course for those who already have some experiance animating (professionaly or as a student)

the fact is for every strong creature/character reel I see coming from the school I see about 5 bad ones, just becouse someone graduates the course doesnt mean there work is able to hit the mark.

that said if your passionate about animation, not looking to or unable to move to a school like Goblins/Cal Arts, AnimationMentor.com is great, and the fact remains you get your worked critiqued by some of the best in the buisness.

but as stated, the school isnt a magic pill., there are alot of graduates with low level reels.
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Old 07-12-2011, 05:30 PM   #29
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fig and Elcristoph thank you very much for the information.

Elcristoph, I was just wondering, in your post you stated,
Quote:
the fact is for every strong creature/character reel I see coming from the school I see about 5 bad ones, just becouse someone graduates the course doesnt mean there work is able to hit the mark.


What do you think sets individuals apart? Is it their work ethic, talent, or both? Basically, what I am wondering is if you put forth the effort, do you think anyone can graduate from animation mentor with an amazing demo reel? Or would some education previous to attending Animation Mentor, be required to get the full benefit from AM?
 
Old 09-01-2011, 01:21 AM   #30
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Hey Pacucho!

I'm an Animation Mentor student and I have to agree with Elcristoph. Just because someone graduated from AnimationMentor doesn't mean that He/She did become a good animated.

I think its a huge advantage when you already have some basic animation skills which you can easily obtain by going through some free online animation tutorials. And you definitely should be really comfortable with working in Maya or atleast take the Maya Spring Board Class at AnimationMentor before actually moving to class 1. I often see Students who are still struggling with Maya when they are in class 2 or 3 and they don't do themself any favor, because of that they miss on important stuff they could learn at AM.

You really don't need to be an Maya expert or already a great animator but as soon as you know that you have been accepted as a student at Animation Mentor you should start preparing yourself. AM does have an Admission Campus for the people who are accepted to the program, to meet up before their class starts, where you can already get help from other former students to develope some very basic skills.

AM is really hard work, but as long you are willing to work hard and give your best to get better you wont regret it. AM has a really great Community and awesome Mentors and Staff, who will all help you to become a great animator ... you just need the passion for animation and a lot of coffee

Cheers!
Steff
 
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