I just don't know where to go, education-wise

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  05 May 2013
I just don't know where to go, education-wise

So, for a week or more now, I've really been just struggling on any solid ground for how to get an education in modeling/animation (specifically but not limited to, the game industry)

Before you can think, great another teenager who things "WOW I WANT TO MAKE DA VIDEOGAMES LIKE COD TOO" and expect it to be all fun and play

I think I can safely say it's not something that I want to do because it's like "COOOL I want to make video games". Well actually, yes and no.
No, because I realize and accept the fact that if I want to go as far as possible, I'll have to put ALOT of time into perfecting my skills. So spending much (or even any) time playing videogames is the last thing on my mind.

Yes, because I love the idea of how everything is formed from scratch,Character-wise (From what I gathered) An idea->Sketch->Concept Art/Design->Modeling(some texturing, rigging, somewhere in there)->Animation. I love the idea of seeing something that starting from a person's thought and ideas, being passed down and being given shape and life. Specifically the modeling process. Being able to look at a 2d reference of something from multiple sides, and forming it into this 3d object, that will go down the line to be given movement, it seems so rewarding in itself. Love the id.ea of being part of storytelling in a more interactive way that film/tv

But atlast, realistically. I am in high-school. One month away from graduating. As a kid, I just never thought the time would come where I would have to decide on what I wanted to do, and how I was going to do it. I looked into a few community colleges (with plans to transfer to a 4 year somehow) but looking at the reels and student work of almost all of them, it really just didn't grab me. I looked at it and thought "Hell. I could probably produce that quality given a month and just half-assing and learning from online tutorials, and whatnot."

My parents are heavily on the impression that the MOST IMPORTANT THING, and in order to move up in the world is getting a degree, nomatter what. While I completely understand where they're coming from, I just cannot agree. Sure I can go to community college, then a 4 year college, obtaining a degree. but I just see myself having a hard time putting out good work, forget about getting a job.
All this path would take me is to 4 years, almost wasted, aleast in the aspect of starting a career, and the cost.

The way I see it, I have 3 general options;
community college>4 year>try my best to learn what I can outside the class(which I imagine will be hard, because I would have to balance it with other class's work) and hope I have the skills needed to get an entry-job somewhere.

(Doubt this one is even realistic.) Expensive, well-reputated school, like gnomon, or calArts, or something. Which will cost near, if not 6 figures... Put just as much hard work to learning outside, and the hardwork and decication will most likely pay-off and I would start off with a well-off job. Then again, getting accepted itself is a whole other thing.

or, Online schools/programs/courses.(a certain one that was in mind was CG Spectrum which I read few, but great things about) The problem here is my Parent's mindset and belief of college degrees, or even that it's not "an official school" I even looked to schools to like animation mentor to try to counter this, willing to giving up modeling for animation.

Some may respond something along of lines asking me if I'm sure this is what I want to do in life. I can only say, I personally don't know how anyone can expect a 17/18 year old to know, for sure what he wants to do with his life. I think it ultimately comes down to a leap of faith, which for me, If I had to do it with anything, the most confident thing I would do it with is modeling/animation.

I've been spending the last 3-4 days, spending litterally every free hour of my time awake at home just trying to come to a decision. I feel bad because it's time I could be spending looking, and getting my feet wet with modeling/animating to a deeper level.

So, I highly doubt there will be any response, even more so one that will satisfy my mind, but there's still some comfort in knowing what people who know what they're talking about have to say.

  05 May 2013
you know deep down what to do. trust your instincts. uasally its the hard decision that makes no sense at the time.

basically you could get any job for a few months and do some online stuff and see how you go. if you are commited enough you could get an entry level job from online work and networking. theres lots of small companies that take people on. think outside the box. degreees are great for alot of industries but for 3d they make no difference and with things beings quite at the mo i would not get into a lot of dept unless i was loaded.

in england its very common for people around your age to take a year off and go travelling before entering into uni. basically you dont have to make a decision now unless your sure. follow you gut/instincts and you will always be happy imo.

do what inspires you.

  05 May 2013
Hey man,

Don't be so down on community college. If you take around 14 credit hours, you'll spend around 25 hours a week on school total. That leaves plenty of time to get some part time work or learn 3D.

As cheap as community college is, its not a bad idea just to take a bunch of gen ed transferable credits. Grab some maths, psychics, foreign language, English composition, chemistry, and check with your preferred 4 year school to see if the credits transfer. I know my local community college in Indiana charges around $120 per credit hour, or around 10 times less than the Art Institutes, Gnomon, or VFS. I wouldn't take any art classes from a community college though. They won't transfer, and an art degree from a CC won't do anything for you.

If you do go to CC, don't mill about. You really need to get straight A's if you hope to transfer to a 4 year school. Especially considering how competitive the public schools in Cali are. You still have to get accepted into the school, so you'll need to show good academic track record.

I really really wanted to do VFX when I was your age, but as I got into my early 20's it kind of wore off. Your psychology and the things you value will change as you get older, so its always a good idea to get a degree to fall back on if you decide in a few years that games aren't for you. Taking 12-14 hours at your local CC and supplementing that with some outside 3D training might not be a bad idea.


Last edited by AJ1 : 05 May 2013 at 05:18 AM.
  05 May 2013
If you don't share your parents' feeling concerning a degree, I would suggest that you look past the degree itself and look at the value of the education behind it. Assuming you choose to own your education most of that value you will establish yourself with hard work, but other inherit values from a four year degree could be the networking the school provides, the networking you create from four years of friendships and other relationships, a broader more well rounded education and hopefully a more well rounded worldview, an opportunity to discover different talents that perhaps you might like more then the animation/vfx fields, and maybe just learning how to learn in a different way. Now a four year education isn't for everyone, and there some that choose the four year degree path and just blow it, while others choose different paths and make the most of it; but consider the inherit benefits of a broader education in the overall picture of your life; though it doesn't seem like it, you are still young and hopefully have a long joyful life in front of you. Whatever you choose, university, community college, trade school, online classes be determined to make the most of it. A famous quote says "What E'er thou art, act well they part"
  06 June 2013
If your parents are fronting the cash for you to get a degree. I'd say go for it, wherever you want and wherever they will allow. Someone willing to pay for you to exist and live is not something to take lightly. Your parents willing to pay for your college is probably the last time you will ever experience another human willing to unconditionally invest a large chunk of money in you just because. 4 years may seem like alot, but it's really not.

However, if what your parents are trying to do is force you to sign papers to take out loans for you to get a degree and pay off the debt yourself. I would tell them to go do something not too nice to themselves.

Nothing creates longer lasting hard feelings than your parents forcing you into something you are half-sure of, but you do it because of their pressure, than 2 years later and $15,000 in debt you decide you can't tolerate it anymore. Leaving you $15k in debt that you have to pay off yourself all under the pretense you did something 'wrong'. I'm speaking from my own experience here BTW. The rabid mindless mantra of 'get a degree, it doesn't matter what or where from, just get a degree' that is so rampant in the last generation I find absolutely and thoroughly obnoxious.

With that said. College can be very good. But it is more ideal to go to a state school, in something more traditional, and applicable, then it is to go an expensive art trade school. If you want to design or program games, getting a degree in mathematics, computer science, or even psychology from a state school with a long established program is probably the best route to go. But thats if you have an interest in getting more into the technical side of things, primarily programming. Which is not ever something to discount. I would personally argue that not being able to program is going to be as serious of a hindrance as not being able to do algebra, or even write and read at a college level. Being able to fully communicate and work with technology is really becoming as base of a necessary skill as is being able to fully communicate and work with other humans. There is this rampant viewpoint that programming is this some 'other' thing that some 'other' weird super smart people do off in boring cubicles and business parks. But this isn't true, speaking the language of computers is really becoming critical.

If you really really just want to do art and you have no interest in anything technical, or anything a traditional STEM related program can do. Well... then you must walk the path of becoming an artist. You will not be able to pay anyone to teach this to you. It is incredibly idiosyncratic. I think no true artist has a paved pathway, because to me the very nature of artistry is the paving of a new path, carving something new out of that which is formless void. The artist sits at the very edge of what is comprehensible turning what may be deemed too 'crazy', 'psychotic' or 'out there' into something tangibly valuable to society. Dare I say it, but in terms of seeking development of artistry, the most valuable thing I did was just wander off into forests, and travel to new cities, or radically new 'places', with a pen and paper tablet in my hand.

Last edited by techmage : 06 June 2013 at 07:20 PM.
  06 June 2013
^^^^ Great advice ^^^^
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