Art Institute = Diploma Mill?


#1

http://dynamic.gamespy.com/~polycount/ubb/Forum1/HTML/011144.html?00028

Anybody care to elaborate on this discussion about Art Institutes?

In that thread I talk to Alumnis of AI that pretty much state the school just put them in debt and didn’t prepare them for the job market…anybody wanna elaborate?


#2

Here we go again.


#3

This topic has been coverered so many times on many different forums. You could find a few posts if you did a search here.

The general feeling about AI is that it’s not a great school, because a lot of people who go there should not be there. There are better alternatives. My advice is don’t go there if you are a complete novice. It’s better for more experienced people, I found, even tho 75% of the people there seem to have very little art background. Go to a real art school, I wish I had.


#4

If you suck it doesn’t matter where you go. Just because you go to Ringling or whatever, doesn’t mean you are going to be an ace and walk into a great job. I got accepted into the Maryland Institute of Art(not AI affiliated and requires portfolio submission) with a scholarship and Ringling. Unfortunately, one of my reference letters did not get there in time and poof good bye.

I went the one of the AI schools in Colorado. I thought it was like Maryland and required a portfolio. I got a bait and switch. They promised the fastest computers and latest software. When I visited for my portfolio review, they said don’t worry we’ll help build you a new one. Red Flags go up, but then I was commited. Each class of 50+ only graduated about 15. The others dropped out or changed their study. True, if you have talent and previous experience you fly through faster and are more successful. Everyone of us who graduated(1995-1997) got jobs within the 1st year. Some of us got awesome internships while in school. Mike Brown(sorry Mike. I know we all promised we wouldn’t confess:deal: ) went there and he seems to be doing pretty good. Of course he was already hot. The rest of us learned from him though. I recruited and trained over 20 interns in 2 years and about a 1/4 of them went on to better paying jobs.

People using school names and fame are sadly mistaken. Lawyers who went to Yale or Harvard aren’t always the best. What do you think makes the differnce with animation schools. Don’t use some school as a crutch and excuse for your failure or lack of ambition.

You either have what it takes or don’t. Do you want to graduate and owe $50K or $100K for the same employment and salary? That’s the difference


#5

based off my experience with The Art Institute of Dallas, and not having been to any other AI schools, I’m basing this just off of AID… not sure if it translates to the other AI schools or not…

But anyway, they tell you at college orientation there that the school is what you make of it.

If you decide to work it like a high school, doing just what is required, and nothing more… sure, you might be able to graduate…

but one more thing they constantly say at the school is that graduation means nothing. your portfolio is what sells you, not your diploma - the diploma is just a piece of paper, and based off the previous paragraph, it’s obvious the diploma really means nothing. In fact a diploma from any school means nothing compared to your work.

So sure, you could sit there just working on the assignments, but the people who do this are not self starters. They have no ambition of their own, and are not willing to apply what they learn to their own lives, and practically, even though it’s possible for them to graduate, are just wasting thier time and money there.

What you learn at an AI school are current trends, and technology, and a few principles here and there. It’s entirely up to you how you apply those lessons to what you want to do. There’s students who were at my school cranking out drawing after drawing - it is their passion, and they used the school to hone in on what the industry was looking for, and they sculpted their work and their techniques based off of the trends and principles learned at the school. Hardly surprising, they’ve already got jobs as very respectable conceptual artists, very shortly after graduation.

Then there’s the people who are at the school who have only done what is required. These people are the kinds who don’t even know how to cut edges, divide edges, and create new edges to add detail to a piece of geometry… These are the people who still think every drawing is good if the chick’s boobs are twice the size of her head, and completely neglect any proportions that would come close to making the drawing anatomically correct. These are the people who could not optimize a mesh because they have never cared that their models are all over 1 million faces for something that could be done in 100,000… What’s worse, is that these are usually the people who, upon reaching the class that they actually print their demo reel to tape, they STILL don’t know what track they want to be in.

These are the people who end up in jobs completely unrelated to what they ‘wanted’ while at school…

The structure of classes at AID is built up to expose you to all sorts of stuff, then you decide what you want to do right away based off your skills and what you enjoy, then you work on that. For example, in the third quarter, after the “general” classes are over, you get a 3d modeling course. You create a mechanical model, a low poly character model, a high poly character head, and then you create a scene for that head to be in. So right away, if you just did the coursework, that’s all you’d have. If you were serious about getting a job, you should something like: the mechanical models attempted in class , as well as other models done with simlar techniques, as well as techniques you researched either on the internet or by asking your instructor when you hit a problem with your current models… You should have several reworks of the low poly character for class, as well as low poly models of other characters, and other objects… possibly low polys of the models you’ve done for the mechanical models assignment. You should also have the high poly head, as well as other high poly objects, and perhaps already you should have started a self-portrait or something like that, using similar techniques. Since you now know low and high poly models, you should probably have quite a few environments to put that high poly head in at the end of the quarter. And all that’s just from 11 weeks of a course.

By the time you finish the course about texturing you should have practiced mapping and uvw unwrapping so much that you pretty much know how to tackle any modeling project, and you should be under-way to work on your demo reel.

So yeah, it might seem like a place that doesn’t educate very well, but in reality, at least to my opinion, it’s a place where for self-starting problem solvers thrive. The instructors are always willing to help out with problems that arise, especially if you’re doing stuff above and beyond your class assignments.

In conclusion: the harder you work, the better your results from going to any school, AID included will be. Though I think graduating from places like AID with an impressive portfolio should be particularly impressive because that shows you took the high road through and didn’t fumble your way through… not sure what the minimum to graduate from other schools would be though…


#6

:shrug: [color=white]I was a student at AIPH and am now attending AIPX ( for those who don’t understand the shorthand…Philadelphia and Phoenix). Anyhoot…I’m just repeating what everyone else said. Experience is definatly more important than the degree you earn at the end of you lingering years at any school. Plus the experience to work with a bush load of instructers and people that will help develop you in the later year is also a plus. Personally, I didn’t like the AIPH campus at all, expecially their financial aid department, they really needed to get it together. However, some of my animation teachers really stuck it to me, and because of them right now I’m doing 10 times better than I started. Even now, out here in phoenix, I have a bunch of teacher with alot of experience and know how that is helping me to become a better artist. The thing is,…it won’t mean crap if I don’t put forth the same amount of effort into my profolio like the teachers are doing to try and inspire us. Degrees are just ice cubes in the water that employers take a sip of when looking at your demo reels and profolios. If you aren’t serious about your work…I doubt it matters what school you go to, your work will still be at a stale mate.[/color]


#7

I must add tho that our group of graduating students (in the games programs; programming, design, art) have been very successful so far. All but about 3 (out of like 15) have all gotten jobs (EA, rockstar, Ubi, and various small developers). But then again we were a pretty solid group that actually had the desire to do this for a living and put a lot into our schooltime. It has paid off. However, the group following us have not been so hot, only about 3 got their Work Experience placements (out of like 40 people).

The work experience department at AI has been pretty great at getting internships for those that had even average reels. Too bad they are phasing out that program in the next couple quarters, it was one of the only truly good things about the school. (I went to AI Vancouver)


#8

Yeah…our last 2 portfolio reviews were pretty bad…people lost their animations at the last second, some people didn’t do alot of work at all…and some people had really fantastic stuff…its just I would of liked to have seen some other works besides the same thing repeating over and over again…:sad: We really need to step up the portfolio process a bit more…


#9

Bleh. I hate the process of searching for the ‘right’ college. I’m looking to transfer (currently taking Virtual Technology and Design at the U of I) to a college with a stronger cg animation department. I’m trying to stay on the west coast somewhere (preferably Seattle or San Francisco, to be specific). So far I’ve been looking at AIS (art institute of seattle). But after reading tons of threads on the art institutes here, I’m not so sure… I mean I’m the kind of guy that goes above and beyond the requirements of a class, practicing techniques and developing new ones when I don’t need to, so I think I could definitely take advantage of everything the art institute has to offer…But it still isn’t exactly sounding like the greatest college experience. 0_o


#10

Go to a real art school, I wish I had.
That’s the problem. I live in San Diego, the great void of cultural knowledge, and I’m akin to poor.
Although San Diego may have a few outlets:
http://www.wattsatelier.com/home.html
http://www.extension.ucsd.edu/Schedule/index.cfm?vAction=singleCourse&vCourse=ART-4029

I’ll probably take some classes there and still attend www.gnomon3d.com

However, these schools won’t give me a bachelors degree, but alot of people tell me that the game industry doesn’t look at your degree or education history just your portfolio…for art.


#11

The game industry does not look at education when hiring artists. Your AI diploma won’t help you at all (in fact, where I work now, AI is considered a shoddy institution)


#12

So just image what they would think if your demo coming out of that school smokes demos coming out of the Real art schools like cheap cigars. It means you can overcome adversity and make something good happen in less than ideal situations.


#13

As always, it just boils down to how much work you do. If you hang out w/ your friends, party, and just end up starting projects the night before they are due you will not do well. You need to do what you can, when you can and that time is while your there. Your education is what you make of it. This applies to all colleges. Granted some of the teachers at AIPH could have known alittle bit more… however for novices alot of us learned a heck of a lot. And we didn’t stop learning in class… we took the time and learned on our own. As far as technology goes… nothin but Top notch! Granted computers ran like crap alot of the time because the people using them all used Kazaa and got viruses all over them; but in the beginning of the quarter when the computers were redone and ghost… oh it was nice.


#14

I got to AIP, and for my response I would like to paraphrase an old friend here from cgtalk:

-Tom N.


#15

T BombAs always, it just boils down to how much work you do. If you hang out w/ your friends, party, and just end up starting projects the night before they are due you will not do well. You need to do what you can, when you can and that time is while your there. Your education is what you make of it. This applies to all colleges. Granted some of the teachers at AIPH could have known alittle bit more… however for novices alot of us learned a heck of a lot. And we didn’t stop learning in class… we took the time and learned on our own. As far as technology goes… nothin but Top notch! Granted computers ran like crap alot of the time because the people using them all used Kazaa and got viruses all over them; but in the beginning of the quarter when the computers were redone and ghost… oh it was nice.

First off T-Bomb, thankfully I was never like that at all. I held a 3.8 in AIPH and did great on all my projects and test while having a killer circle of friends that I hung out with.(If you remember Game Day, I was one of the guys that held that event, if you were around then in Student Housing) I liked the work and the school was ok…but their 2D animation department was weak, and thats what sucks about alot of school now. Not one wants to offer 2D animation anymore cause “its not selling”. This is why Japanese Anime is as popular as it is…if we just stop assuming things won’t work, and experiment with new age levels, I bet 2D would sell just as well as it doesn in Japan. But yeah…and the Top notch technology…are you new at AIPH? Cause they had alot of old and outdated stuff last year, and I heard that they just recently updated their equipment for the animation dept.


#16

How could you allow yourself to slip like that?


#17

LMAO!!! Yes, how could you let that slip. You must have had Kudzmas for some class.

As far as the top notch animation stuff goes, I was refering to the 3D animation department computers. Sorry, I didn’t spend too much time on the 6th floor doing 2d other then when I had the 2d animation courses. I was there from Fall of 2000 too the end of Summer 2003… so ofcourse I remember Game Day… and how Reggie cheeped everyone in Tekken4. Anyway back on to the subject at hand. You can’t argue that the computers sucked cause they were actually pretty good. Considering if you went down the street to the Univeristy of the Arts, they had computers from 1998 still in their 3D animation labs… atleast we got new computer in our department like once every 10 months. Supposedly University of the Arts was a better school… well I don’t know… cause they did have the same teachers as us.


#18

http://www.platt.edu/

Makes you feel better, I think Platt college is a bigger Diploma Mill then AI…look at the student work…eeeehhhwwwww.


#19

I don’t think any school could be as much of a SCAM as SCAD (Savannah College of Art and Design)… I work in the game industry, and I have yet to meet anyone from an AI school…but like some other people have said…its all about talent and not about schooling


#20

Whats so bad about it spacemunkey? i heard it was pretty good.