MAJOR decision for a War Veteran...please help...

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  10 October 2008
MAJOR decision for a War Veteran...please help...

Ok, so I'm a combat veteran and I WAS planning on attending Art Institute of Pittsburgh for Animation, but now I just heard that my home state (Ohio) is going to give veterans FREE tuition to any state school. Now I'm split between a few decisions and was looking for some insight into the subject.

I could:
a) Attend Bowling Green State University for Digital Arts and lower my standards of education, but go for free.
b) Attend AIP with higher education standards and have to still pay for about $30,000 of my tuition.
c) Attend an Ohio state school and take a good fine arts program, but learn animation in my own time.

AHHHH the decisions! What do I do?! I'm not really asking you guys to decide for me, I just want people's opinions and a different angle of looking at things. Thanks guys!
  10 October 2008
Id do the fine arts program, and learn the CG stuff afterward. Many people at Gnomon attended a 4 year college and then enrolled in the Certificate Program, which is what I did.

A solid traditional arts background is key to creating good stuff on the computer.
Previously "Aryafx"

Website and Demo Reel:
  10 October 2008
As in combat you dont see many OLD folks on the lines. In the CG biz its the same. Burn up the kids and get more. CG and the computer will be a very very different game in the years ahead. Develope your talent and creative thinking, the tools of today are already OLD. Get the best you can for yourself and focus on learning and doing things you'll want to do for the rest of your life that make $.


  10 October 2008
Originally Posted by WickedEdges: I could:
a) Attend Bowling Green State University for Digital Arts and lower my standards of education, but go for free.
b) Attend AIP with higher education standards and have to still pay for about $30,000 of my tuition.
c) Attend an Ohio state school and take a good fine arts program, but learn animation in my own time.

Hmmm. I vote for (c) and take Animation Mentor on the side if you just want to learn animation(and not so much other aspects of 3d, though a base helps). Don't know much about a or b's program really. If you do not desire a degree, you could just do A:M and see how you like it.

However, the thing with 3d is many people don't know exactly what they want to do until they've sampled everything a bit. The reason I recommend A:M is because if you're serious about animation, my personal belief is that it really is the best way to go despite being online. With the fine arts degree(c), you'll also get a well rounded background. Doesn't Ohio State have an animation program?

In terms of A:M, not only do I think the knowledge is good, but the networking is also great. Which is hard to get at many schools. I've worked with a good number of the mentors so I know they are good and I've seen several A:M students get hired at various "big" studios during major productions. Probably more then any single school, though some are combo students. SCAD+A:M, Purdue+A:M, etc.

The way the economy is, if you can get your college education for free and avoid large student loans, you might want to take advantage of that, especially since a degree is not the determining factor in whether or not you get hired somewhere, but is still a good thing to have.
  10 October 2008
How are your art skills? If they are poor to mediocre I would spend some time developing them. I would take technical art training like you would find in classical animation, illustration, or figurative art courses.
I would stay away from lame CG courses... even free ones. They'll just suck up your time that can better spent. Once you are feeling decently confident as an artist, then start applying them to the computer.
  10 October 2008
Thanks to everyone for all the comments. And yes, Ohio State has an animation program, but it's a graduate program. It's gonna be hard deciding what to do...
  10 October 2008

For me, personally, I'd do the free fine arts degree. I still regret not having that foundation education in fine arts. Maybe someday I'll do it.
If you want character animation tuition...I'd take Animation Mentor. I still plan on doing it someday.
If you want to learn general skills, I'd look into another school or self-tuition.

Good luck!

character animator
Watch my short film: Pen' Pals
  10 October 2008
I agree with the others, get a solid foundation with a real degree.. learn the cg on the side

Also, regarding the service front...
I was a 3D instructor for four years a long time ago.. I had had a handful of students who just got out of the service... 2 former drill instructors, 3 or 4 from various divisions (marines/navy etc)... and they all struggled with the same problem... and that was simply sitting at a computer all day. Most told me they had a hard time adjusting to this type education/job type.

Please keep in mind this school was your Art Institute type school.. overpriced education enticing students that they can get you a job at the big studios.

So with the above statement.. any time you can decide between a foundation/traditional type schooling vs a track program... I would always go the foundation way.. simply put, if you change your mind, your not out $55K with a degree in computer animation.

my 2 cents
  10 October 2008
my thoughts...

i'd go for the free education in fine arts.
the reason being is that "fine arts" will give you really good foundations; ie., in color theory, figure drawing will help with lighting, line quality, shape and form, painting will help with texture work/composition/lighting, sculpting will help with mass/shape/form etc.
in general, it will make you a better artist in every shape and form.

not only that, but... there is soooo much good dvd training on 3d programs. ie. gnomon, digital tutors, simplymaya, etc.. they are better than alot of teachers out there. the stuff you can learn on dvds are "heavy duty" production knowledge skillsets. these dvds won't give stupid assignments or grade you on attendance or give you attitude because their having a bad day.

you'll also be saving a "est. $65,000" of money that can come in real handy. especially in this economic condition.

go for it!
  10 October 2008
my thoughts...

double post...

Last edited by AnimationFanBoy : 10 October 2008 at 04:17 AM. Reason: double post..
  10 October 2008
Hey cool, I was in Iraq with 4th ID... Now I'm out and going to school at the DAC (denver animation center) which is on of the best schools in the country. We just had dreamworks recruiting a couple people friday at a seminar... I digress...

I continue to find that the better I understand form, anatomy, composition, color, light, and value that the better my 3D art is. Understanding form is KEY! Basically, everyone will tell you that you can learn all the technical crap with video tutorials in your spare time (whatever programs like photoshop or maya), but you really need to dedicate yourself to the traditional stuff. I'll even point out some amazing resources for you if you're interested, they've really helped me:

the gnomon workshop
digital tutors
the structure of man (for figure drawing)
vilppu studios (for figure drawing)

Check them out and finally, go with option C (assuming it's free). Trust me on this man, when you don't have to work 2 jobs to pay tuition and rent, you are able to learn more in your spare time and focus on the things you aren't learning at school. You can always go to a school like Vancouver film school or gnomon in hollywood if you still need to study 3D specific stuff after you get your bachelors...

A question for you: Are you disabled at all?
  10 October 2008
Another really important question for you;

What is it you really love doing? Are you sure you want to animate? Maybe modeling? Rigging? etc..?
  10 October 2008
A free education is nothing to sneeze at, especially in tough economic times. Academic rankings of schools are not meaningless, but they aren't the only thing to look at in a program either. I'd at least go visit your options, talk directly with different students, and see if the students there seem to be happy with the program, are getting the courses they want, if they are doing work like what you'd like to do, etc.

Jeremy Birn
Author, Digital Lighting & Rendering, 3rd Edition
  10 October 2008
Hi, Former Tanker myself.
I paid for most of my education with the GI Bill.
Any school you go to is going to give you acess to the equipment.
The majority of learning your going to have to do on your own.
With any kind of an art degree the paper itself isn't worth much. What you have produced while your were in school is. Through out your carrier in Art/CG people will always judge you by what you have made and how it looks. They watch the demo reel then look at the resume.

A lot of of former Military people have a hard time with civilian schools because the classes are so unstructred. The military tells you what you are going to learn in a class, what you are expcted to demostrate and then shows you by the Crawl/Walk/Run method.
Seems most art classes the method of teaching is
"Do whatever you want becuse it's is self expression so it's Ok"
Oddly enough that method dosen't work to well with grenades.

Whatever school you go to ask them if they teach the foundations and give you time to pratice and work on art pieces.

As far as I can tell the best method of traditional art instruction that can help with CG is the Classical Realism school or a Atelier education.
The Atelier method refers to the Old French school where artists learned from a master Painter in a workshop as opposed to a class room.
If you can get a hold of these two books by Juliette Asistides
Classical Drawing Atelier
Classical Painting Atelier

They will help becuse she lists and covers some of the traditional principles of Art.
Then you can look at the school/instructor and see if they are at least covering the subject.
Good luck,
  10 October 2008
Thanks again to everyone who gave information, it really helps.

Lex, I was in 4/25 myself. When did you get out? As for the disabled, I'm currently filing for disability with the VFW/VA. *crosses fingers*
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