Futureworks Manchester?

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  03 March 2010
Futureworks Manchester?

Does anyone know anything about Futureworks or have heard anything about it?

It looks good to me but I can't see any work done by students there and have already made a mistake of doing something that just sounds good without looking into it.

I was looking at doing this in particular, a foundation in Game Art http://www.futureworks.co.uk/foundation-game-art.asp

Then maybe going on to do this http://www.futureworks.co.uk/3D-animation-course.asp

Thing is, one is just a teaching course and one is a diploma, the diploma cost 5500 for the year which is quite a lot, question is though, will this teach me enough for me to look for jobs after or are their still really good higher education courses I could do to further increase my talent like a Masters Degree course?

I wanna apply to this or a foundation course in Bournemouth in Modeling and Animation, to then go on and do an extra year to make it a degree and maybe do a masters if possible. I think it's just that, Futureworks sounds really good.

I've found out a hell of a lot looking through this forum and reading what people who are currently in the industry have had to say so basically I would be grateful just to have a few opinions on the matter.


Oh also, I swear there was a thread that listed the top 3D art universities/colleges around the world but I can't seem to find it so if anyone knows where it is I would appreciate it,lol.
  03 March 2010
I don't know anything about Futureworks so I can't offer any help there, but seeing as there isn't any artwork by their students on the site I would advise asking them if you can see a selection of work before you consider giving them money, but that is sensible advice for any course regardless of what level it is aimed at.

The diploma doesn't say what it is in and it's very expensive for a diploma, assuming they mean National Diploma, but I've never heard of one that can be taken in one year... That course is almost twice the cost of a year's tuition at degree level at university! That's certainly the most expensive Diploma in the UK!

You can't study a Master's degree until you have an undergraduate degree (unless you are a mature student with considerable experience in the relevant field).

I would advise against Foundation degrees, their standards are generally extremely low (note I haven't seen any work from that particular college, but I have interviewed students who have completed foundation courses and hoped to enter Hertfordshire at level 3 - their courses have only made them skilled enough to get entry to level 1 with us). You will be able to get onto many animation courses at level 3 with a Foundation degree, but not necessarily the ones you would like to get onto. Why not apply for a full degree if you intend to do one anyway? The Foundation Degree is not recognised outside of the UK, but a full degree is.
http://uhanimation.co.uk/ - Digital Animation Programme at the University of Hertfordshire - 3D, 2D, Games Art and VFX
  03 March 2010
Thanks a lot for the reply. Hmm.. yea it is very expensive... So maybe stay away from foundation degrees, under all circumstances in your opinion? Only thing is, I'm not the most skilled in the department. I have all the software I need here at home, and have been attempting to teach myself but, I just don't know where to start to be honest. I have so many ideas that I want to attempt but I know I'm trying to run before I can walk.

Would you still say I should avoid a foundation course despite this? The reason why I thought it was just to get my basic skills up, then once I have I'll be able to work towards the diploma and eventually degree as well as teaching myself which would be easier once i get a foothold in knowledge and ability of the softwares.

If I could get straight onto a full animaton course, I definitely would.
  03 March 2010
It's very difficult for me to offer any advice without seeing your artwork, but seeing as you are talking about learning software rather than art skills I'm wondering whether you realise that the software skills are a second place subject in terms of importance to becoming a 3D artist (perhaps with a few technical exceptions). If you are considering a final route towards the games industry as a games artist you would be better off spending a year doing traditional life drawing and perspective drawing classes and teaching yourself some 3D on the side. That would give you a portfolio that (as long as you had put in enough effort on it) would give you a better chance of getting in to a degree course, and would be far cheaper than a software training course. It's much easier to make good work in 3D if you already have good traditional art skills.

In terms of where to start with software, start with the tutorials that came with the software - all the three major 3D programs come with good introductory lectures that enable you to make things and learn the interface and what the functions do / mean. Once you done those, then start to think about making your own work because you'll have a better chance of being able to complete it.

Regarding Foundation degrees - there might be a few good ones hidden somewhere (there are a lot of them in the UK) but they require less quality to pass than a degree does, so unless you are lucky to study at one where the lecturers are all from the animation industry and are happy to push you to work far harder than a foundation degree requires (this is highly unlikely), you'll get great grades for mediocre work and will only discover what that means when you apply elsewhere at level 3.

I'm not saying don't do Futureworks course, that's up to you, but even the short course is expensive, the contact time is small, so unless you get very small classes and a very knowledgeable teacher, I would say teach yourself - it's so easy to learn the basics of 3D these days, the web is full of free tutorials and you can ask for help on forums like this! I would only pay for software training if it was very advanced level training that you can't get elsewhere.
http://uhanimation.co.uk/ - Digital Animation Programme at the University of Hertfordshire - 3D, 2D, Games Art and VFX
  03 March 2010
Yea you're right, I always put the importance of traditional art skills in the back of my head. I had a quick search for some good life drawing classes but couldn't see much, are their any well known classes or just general resources to use?

Its just quite annoying because I've spent 2 years pretty much wasting my time on a rubbish course and it's a little bit daunting looking to spend another 4 years studying where I'll be 24 and jobless by the end of everything, or maybe even 25 if I do a masters...

I'm definitely taking your advice on board and will look to do some Art classes, but would love to do them alongside something as well. You seem to be the most knowledgeable person here regarding animation courses and university, if you could, as a matter of an eliminating process, how does this work look for a foundation course? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BYUQz-kDntk

A foundation course (as well as art classes) just seems like the best route for me right now, I would love to just work on my own for a year with art classes as well but I can't imagine knowing more than I would from a year on a foundation degree.
  03 March 2010
I don't know of any respected life drawing courses personally; my students study life drawing in the university as part of their curriculum. In terms of resources if you google something like Andrew Loomis PDF you might find some very useful books on figure drawing / perspective drawing.

What course have you done? Is it a BTEC or ND? The majority of them in this country are quite awful... Don't look to study on a course if you think you will be jobless at the end of it - you'll be jobless and owe a hell of a lot of money. You don't need a Masters to get a job in animation - you don't need a degree either, what you need are excellent skills and a great showreel / portfolio (a friendly personality is a major plus too). However most people need a three year degree course to develop those skills to an employable level. Having said that, don't bother going to a course that doesn't impress you with the quality of the student's work - there is no point. You need to look for a course that surrounds you with other people to be impressed by and to learn from.

I wouldn't say I'm necessarily the most knowledgeable person here for courses/university information, I just happen to be the person who replied However I do interview a lot of students and have taught at five different universities and colleges. Looking at that video I would say that by Foundation degree standards there is some very good work there, but I see very little that is employable. I suppose if you are happy to just make some 'good 3D by the standards of UK education' then that course will be fine... it depends on whether you want a job as well.

I'm surprised that you feel you can't teach yourself software on your own - it's ludicrously easy to do so these days. I taught myself 3D software without the benefit of tutorials (hardly existed in those days), the internet (which barely existed and I didn't have access to), or any books on the software bar the actual manual that came with it (and that was not designed to help artists). I had never even used a computer in my life until I decided that 3D was what I needed to do - I had been completely anti technology, a dedicated fine art student until one of my friends showed me some 3D animation videos and I realised that was what I had to do. These days there are thousands of free tutorials for every piece of software that exists, you can buy amazing DVDs by industry professionals that can give you access to knowledge that took them years to acquire and there are forums like CGTalk where you can ask for help and meet others in similar situations. I'd still go the art foundation course route to develop your art skills (but do make sure they actually teach drawing, I have interviewed students recently who have studied for foundation art and have not been taught how to draw) and practice the 3D on the side. Do well at both and you will be able to choose a good degree to go to.
http://uhanimation.co.uk/ - Digital Animation Programme at the University of Hertfordshire - 3D, 2D, Games Art and VFX
  03 March 2010
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