Schools for CG and VFX in Chicago.

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  07 July 2009
Cool Schools for CG and VFX in Chicago.

I'm looking at some schools and can't get my head around it I want to do 3d modeling and animation. but I keep hearing if u have experience in fine arts your Modeling( Organic Modeling) will be better. any tips and helpful hints on schools?
  07 July 2009
I went to the American Academy of Art. Their fine arts program has to be one of the best. They give you a good foundation before you start into the computer end of it, but the schools 3D program is seriously lacking.
  07 July 2009
I second that, I too got a degree from the American Academy of art prior to persuing a degree in Architecture.

Their fine arts program is very good.

IMHO though, I think you could just go straight into a 3d school. I for one am very impressed with Flashpoint.

  07 July 2009

Yea but flashpoint is expensive and they are not credited school yet. I think it's 2500 for a semester correct me if I'm wrong. and it's a private school, The guy told me if i have a good portfolio it would boost my chance's of getting in. I could give it a try but I don't even know where to start when it come's to a Portfolio.
  07 July 2009
I'm not trying to knock any schools that are accredited, but what's the advantage of going to a school that is, vs. one that is not? I went to school for architecture and understand that you cannot become a licensed architect without going to an accredited school. It definitely makes sense for that field. I'm not sure how that would translate into the 3D world.

  07 July 2009

In my opinion it doesn't mean much (in creative field) unless you're going for further education or teaching. Let's say you went to an art school that wasn't accredited and you took all your academic (math, english, etc) there. Then you say either don't like the school or art is not for me. Depending on the new school the credits may not transfer. That's alot of time and money wasted. I think it matters more to people who are changing majors (careers). It may not pertain to art institution too much, but in others it matters. I remember a while back it was on the news about people going into a nursing school and they said it was accredited. People graduated and tried to get their license or what, but they were denied because the institution wasn't accredited. Also from a school prespective, it means they are a real institution with real teachers and not only in it to get your money. It's almost like an reputation thing.


I don't know about that. There are people who never went to school for fine arts and they can model really well. I've seen people who can't draw squat, but when it came to modelling they sure knew how to make something. Also as far as school goes yeah, usually those that want a portfolio ie The Art Institute Of Chicago (not AI), American Academy will have the better fine arts programs.

If you really want to hone your skills traditionally, look at your local community college. Sometimes their art programs are really good. They teach all the fundamentals of design, art, anatomy (Very helpful for characters). Which in my opinion alot of the schools don't teach enough of.
  07 July 2009

so would school even matter than? what's the difference from watching a Dvd and creating your own learning path Vs going to school? I want do animate and make character model's.. I heard a lot about school's being weak. Except Gnomon and Vancouver.

I live in Chicago and Can't really travel out the state (Personal Reasons)for school.
  07 July 2009
I think it depends on how you learn. Although there are some people out there who can do amazing work with little or no outside help, most of us need the instruction and competition that exists in a school environment. I think fine arts degrees don't necessarily teach you all about "How to use this program or that program" which is essentially what DVD's and other online tutorials will give you. A good fine arts degree will teach you how to think differently and really extract the artistic abilities. Plus, the notion of deadlines, group projects, doing something you might not really want to do, and competition are much more difficult to learn on your own.

But like I said, there are some people who don't need the formal training; the naturals of the world. For the rest of us, school can be extremely useful and worth the $$$$.

  07 July 2009
I think you're going away of what you first asked. If you're not sure, I say take a tour of the schools in/and around Chicago (if you haven't done so). See their program, what kind of classes you're going to take, how does the school make you feel, look at current student work, ask about graduates, etc. How far are they willing to help upon graduating and after? Remember different people have different experiences in the same school. One might say they like it the other might not.

As far as schooling and self taught, Peakfreak said it right. It's been asked many times before. I thought there was a sticky about it too. It always starts with one asking which school to go to, then it ends up to why even bother. Check these thread out here and here. They make some really good valid points.
  07 July 2009
Schools the Dilemma, Is a degree worth it, accredited or not

It is always difficult to decide on what school to attend. As a word of wisdom, let me just say that you should go to whichever school that meets your curriculum requirement. You are the customer, so if the school does not meet your needs then don't attend. Like Ronin stated, tour the school, they will be happy to show you the facilites and the type of curriculum that they provide.

In the case of degrees from a school, the question is always should I get an accredited degree or not. You only want an accredited degree if it is a requirement for a license that is issued by a state or federal government. In the case of my architecture degree, I went to an accredited program so that I could take the state of Illinois licensing exam.

I always recommend to people that they should pursue a college education. At the end of it, yeahh you get a piece of paper stating that you are smart, however a college education is more about the experience, your classes are not just limited to in your case 3D digital design, you would also have access to liberal arts classes such as art history, English Lit, English Componsition, all of which would be of added value as you persued your career. It is also a place to meet like minded individuals who will be an invaluable networking source as you persue your career.

Although there are positions out there stating that a degree is not required, in most cases employers prefer that you have something more then a high school diploma/GED. It demonstrates to them your dedication in order to accomplish a goal. It also demonstrates your well roundedness in education.

Don't get me wrong, I have met people who are just plain talented and are very successful in their 3D jobs, and they never attended an institution of higher learning, however these individuals are very rare and far in between.

Whatever you decide to do, stack the chips in your favor, get a degree. You will find that it is more advantageous to you then the cons associated with tuition.

--Just My Two Cents
Marcus Kim, AIGA
  07 July 2009
I have to plant myself in the Get A Degree camp. Not because you *need* one but because it keeps options open. 10 or 15 years from now you might want to switch career directions for any number of reasons and if you have a degree you are not starting from scratch. And yes, employers do prefer it in general.

Now, that said, you don't have to go to a fancy school. A lot of state schools or community colleges have some 3D modeling classes. You'd have to work your butt off to go above and beyond what your teachers ask of you-- but you have to do that *anywhere.* I believe you can build a good portfolio if you go to any school that provides the software, hardware, and a good instructor.

Likewise, you can give tons of money to the fanciest school on the planet and if you do the minimal amount of work you will not find a job later. In the end, it's all about your portfolio. If your work looks like expert work in your field, you'll get a job.

If you do choose one of the fancier schools, in my opinion you should treat it like a trade school. Find out what percentage of graduates land jobs in their fields. Find out what kind of internships are available to students. Find out the backgrounds of their instructors. In other words, make sure you get your money's worth.
Rachel Nador
  08 August 2009
Talking You Guys Rock!!

Seriously Thank u for all of your opinions about the situation I really don't have nobody to ask.. so I appreciate it a lot really.

  08 August 2009
Just as a side thought, Rachel brings up a very good point. Check out if the school has an internship/co-op program available. Those programs are extremely helpful for landing a job after you graduate. As most anyone can tell you out there, your portfolio won't give an employer the whole picture. How you work (dedication/working with others/interaction with clients) and your personality can go a long way. You can't show that on a resume, and if you've already had an internship with a good company it may get a big foot in the door.

  08 August 2009
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