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Old 09-23-2012, 04:40 AM   #1
Andrewty07
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Andrew Prewett
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Lessons learned and suggestions

Without going too in depth, I am going to be starting an animation degree through AAU in February. This is essentially to buy me time to hone skills and really focus on improving myself, I have been self trained after learning the basics 4 years ago. So my reason for posting is:

what would you want to change if you went back in time to the start of your career or education whether self taught of at a school?

What should I do to best utilize my time while there such as immediately working on a demo reel and website while attending?

Any regrets with past career decisions or suggestions for a newcomer?
 
Old 09-23-2012, 05:40 AM   #2
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Old 09-23-2012, 06:57 AM   #3
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As far as learning, I didn't get that much out of school, if I could go back I would skip college and instead work part time and stay at home and work on my skills and learn on my own.
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Old 09-23-2012, 08:55 AM   #4
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I graduated from AAU. If I can go back in time, I would have taken ALL my drawing/painting classes at San Francisco community collage (which was $30 a unit back at my time) and only go to AAU for the VFX/3D classes.

Don't get me wrong tho, AAU has excellent traditional art teachers. I especially loved Henry Yan and Chuck Piles (sorry if I misspell their names) but it's the price that's really crazy. You can still learn from all the great drawing/painting teachers by attending their workshops, which is free for all AAU students and the teachers are very welcome and willing to teach in those workshops.
 
Old 09-23-2012, 12:47 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Panupat
You can still learn from all the great drawing/painting teachers by attending their workshops, which is free for all AAU students and the teachers are very welcome and willing to teach in those workshops.


I definitely agree with the workshops. And also the extra-curricular workshops made to help with the classes you're taking each semester. Sort of like getting extra 3 hours of help for that class for the week. Not only were the teachers supervising the workshops more than willing to help but there were often more advanced students there who could give crits and directions as well.

There are sometimes lectures/presentations help by companies, artists etc. during the semester. These are great for inspiration.

I went to AAU after being only selftaught (Illustration major) and learned so much in the short time I was there.
 
Old 09-23-2012, 02:51 PM   #6
Andrewty07
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Panupat
I graduated from AAU. If I can go back in time, I would have taken ALL my drawing/painting classes at San Francisco community collage (which was $30 a unit back at my time) and only go to AAU for the VFX/3D classes.


Luckily for me I don't have to worry as much about the financial aspect, I am getting out of the military and using the post 9/11 G.I. bill to pay for tuition and AAU also has the yellow ribbon program to boost funding as well. Great advice though I have heard that recommended for just about every animation school.

Quote:
Originally Posted by evakristjans
I definitely agree with the workshops. And also the extra-curricular workshops made to help with the classes you're taking each semester. Sort of like getting extra 3 hours of help for that class for the week. Not only were the teachers supervising the workshops more than willing to help but there were often more advanced students there who could give crits and directions as well.


Thanks for the post, since my whole purpose in the next 4 years will be getting as ready as possible to hit the industry hard I will certainly take advantage of ever bit of nourishment for my skills as possible.
 
Old 09-23-2012, 06:30 PM   #7
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Learn programming.

If you went to france for a year would you learn French?

Well if you're planning on using a computer for more then a year I'd suggest learning some computer language too. Guaranteed to save you time, head aches and add to the fun.
 
Old 09-23-2012, 07:25 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gauranga108
Learn programming.

If you went to france for a year would you learn French?

Well if you're planning on using a computer for more then a year I'd suggest learning some computer language too. Guaranteed to save you time, head aches and add to the fun.


Hmm? While I'd agree that nothing learned is ever a waste, surely he has more important things to focus on? In the 27 years I've been using computers, not once have I ever said to myself "damn, I wish I could program".
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Old 09-24-2012, 07:06 AM   #9
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- Use face to face time wisely. I chose to study CG at a cheap school so I could get face time with a teacher. You can always teach yourself, but you can save hours/days by asking one or two questions to a teacher.

- Following from above, at the end of the day, it's you and how much time you are willing to put in. Most ppl who did well in our class did a LOT of work/learning on their own outside of class.

- You know what you want to do so that is a positive. Focus. A lot of people faff about the first time they do post-high school study because they are free for the first time in their lives. That's a lot of money to potentially piss away.

- Networking. Do it. Attend events if you can, preferably with a DVD or thumb drive of some good finished work. Get some business cards and a website with a proper email address, not DA3MONNF*KKAH69@gmail.com.

- While you may not want (need) to program as an animator, knowing coding like Python scripting for lighting/comping/rigging can be a real boon. I would suggest at least having SOME working knowledge of the pipeline either side of you. So if you are an animator, know basic modelling techniques and what makes a good mesh for animating and know how to do basic rigging so you have an idea of what riggers are talking about. If you can talk to your modelers/riggers in "their language" it is a lot easier. If you are a compositor and you can light/texture/render basic stuff you can cut down back and forth and just do it yourself.

- Networking. Seriously. Most jobs arise from knowing people and being cool to work with even if you aren't necessarily the best. When crunch time is on and they ask people "Do you know any animators looking for work" you want friends to say "Yeah, Andrew is a decent animator who gets his work done and is not a complete ass-hat. He also showers regularly, uses deodorant and can hold a basic-level conversation."
 
Old 09-24-2012, 01:13 PM   #10
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One more thing I'd like to mention. Full time enrollment at AAU is 4 classes per semester, and usually it's set up as 3 art classes and 1 liberal arts class.

It's common that the students take the liberal arts class online, so they have more time to focus on the art classes, not to mention being able to study for the liberal arts class when they themselves have the energy and focus to. Taking eg. an Art History class online allows you to review the material at any time you like, and revisit it as you please.
 
Old 09-26-2012, 05:30 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by leigh
Hmm? While I'd agree that nothing learned is ever a waste, surely he has more important things to focus on? In the 27 years I've been using computers, not once have I ever said to myself "damn, I wish I could program".


Maybe there are more important things, maybe not.

What is in the animation course he's taken?
 
Old 09-26-2012, 05:30 AM   #12
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