Ok how many of you are thinking of going to art school? Lets start a conversation


The title of the thread says it all.



Well I just finished my A.S. In Animation and Game Arts. I’m a little older than the regular college student, I’m 31, so I’m thinking of whether I should attempt to find a good job already or continue on into my bachelor’s. I would love to head to S.C.A.D. or Ringling as those are the closest ones to where I live. So yeah I would love to if I had the money for it.


I’ve been thinking about re-attending the Arts Academy for the last 5 or so years. I went too early to work, so I skipped a lot. What held me is age, as I’m over 30, and students are in their 20’s. Also, I understood how much time it takes, but the output is questionable.
But I went to private lessons for anatomy there, never regretted. Also you can attend a lot of lectures for free, if no-one notices.

I then came to conclusion our academy doesn’t really teach what’s needed in 3d-industry. Sure it gives you the basis, but this basis is very questionable in terms of modern implementation.
I like anatomy classes, basic drawing, but a lot is unnecessary or overloaded with still nature drawing and portraits. Perhaps in London the situation is better, but I suspect there’s still this problem that art institutions stick to their “classic” approach, which lacks modern innovations.
The elitism is in the air there, with looking down on digital art.
I think the best in terms of composition comes not from paintings, but from photography and cinematography.
Animation will teach you more about illustration than classic approach as well.
I think they should add Zbrush as a tool for any artist to experiment with form.
CG color is far more precise and broad than any watercolor or oil painting can achieve.
State art school… yes, it teaches you the basics, like color, form etc. But it also wastes a lot of students time, if you attend it for 7 years. Nothing bad about it, if you are a kid. But if you’re over 30, maybe it’s better to attend evening classes, or courses of those, who teach you rather than provide hobbyist classes.
The base is certainly shoud be put via advisory tuition. But then you can learn more via masterclasses from those who actually work in your field.
Mastrclasses can teach you how to design robots, character heroes, weaponry, and other stuff applied to our industry needs.

Beware full-time tuition takes a lot of time, and often wastes, if your goal is not to paint oil paintings or watercolors.
I still think anyone should learn how to draw well with a pencil, and try watercolors. I just think it’s a bit overkill for 3d-artists to attend full-time classic education. But if you can afford such time investments and enjoy it, why not.


I often think about going back to school, but feel like I’d make a terrible teacher and just hurt everyone’s feelings with condescension and scorn.

:)But no, seriously. There are two types of art: commercial, and good art. One pays, the other really doesn’t. In these scenarios we’re talking about receiving an education and certificates to create saleable, commercial art and design. So when those uppity snoots turn up their noses at us while using hand-tools, they have every right to. But they’re also stuck in college teaching us douchebags, so we can see how far their snootiness got them. I admire and respect such artwork, in both worlds really, but that doesn’t mean we have to admire or respect the artists. You can love someone’s art and still think they’re a scumbag.

It’s for that reason I’d never go to art school, even if I could go back in time. I’m now in my 40s and the schooling wouldn’t have helped at all, for my arch/viz field. I knew more about it than they did (mostly thanks to everyone here at CGTalk!) than the teachers did, anyway. What I would have liked to learn, and the point of this comment:


Teach us more marketing, to capitalize on our skills better. Those are the classes we should be taking, in addition to personal studies or regular digital art curriculum. Help us sell more, or sell better, or sell higher. Too often I still shoot myself in the foot, quoting way too low, but only find out later when someone mentions my bid was half or a third of the other guy’s. That margin should be a great deal narrower, if not zero. My fault.


Do to my past ignorance I almost did a few years ago and then I did a lot of research into the economic factors, the behind the scenes sociopolitical influences and other varying factors and decided that it would have been a waste of time and quite an expense. I learned to be more aware and responsible since then and realized that most of not all can be learned without having to go onto debt and being surrounded by people whom I would not agree with both politically and socially. That would have created an awkward and stressful situation. The market is to unstable and the need to adjust to the on-going changes is too much stress and unwarranted workloads and of course I do not want to have any debt on me weather it is a credit card or a four year liberal arts degree. I think the vast majority of those art schools are a joke and since the government has been involved made things very bad all across the board.

Exactly how are these students going to pay there debts? Forgive them, bad idea. On the tax payers backs? It is a created problem that should have never occurred from the start much like easy home lending, never should have happened. I would be better served learning at home, going to a trade/vocational school or being taught on the job, schooling is not what it used to be. It seems to be more the responsible thing to do based on my experience from several years ago.

Now I am not saying do not go to a school but consider the future costs involved and plan carefully ahead and make damn certain you can pay all of your debts, keep away from the political rhetoric or consider the facts and reason before being thrown into that fire and please do not hurt yourself otherwise try other alternatives. You can still work hard but work smart and work ethically. Do not allow it to run your entire life, especially if you want to get married and raise a family in a good values and responsible stable environment. I say this for anyone thinking about such a life decision, not just based on what I had experienced. You have to make that choice and face the consequences of that choice.

Choose wisely.


Kind of agree with what PA00 says. People will rant and rave about the “evils” of “for profit” colleges, but that’s an irresponsible smoke screen in my opinion. At least in the U.S., there’s no such thing as a “non-profit college”. Someone is making money from you going to school. Over the years I’ve seen people on this board recommend the likes of SCAD, Art Center, CMU, etc etc., but I’m not sure how those are much better when their kids are graduating with six figure debt. To put it in perspective, there are DOCTORS who leave school with less debt. In fact, at my last job, we had a concept artist who had a bachelors from an Art Institute and a Masters from SCAD. He told us that if he had to do it all again, he’d skip SCAD entirely. One school taught him how to render a can of coke so that people would pay money for it. The other spent all their time arguing whether or not that can of Coke was “art”. No surprise that he felt his time was better spent at one school more so than the other …

If what you want is a job in games or film, be aware that you do not need a degree for the majority of those jobs. You just need a strong portfolio and an equally strong work ethic. Think very hard before you take on all that debt. That said, a degree can be a good fall-back. I have an Industrial Design degree. It’s been invaluable for those times when film/game work was hard to get. In that aspect, it’s been worth it. That being said, I was able to do college largely on scholarships and grants. I graduated with minimal loan debt. I can’t imagine willingly taking on what some kids are taking on these days. Especially not if your one and only goal is film and games. Just knuckle down and hit the net real hard for a few years. You’ll be fine.


I get the impression that some of the posts here have a pretty inaccurate idea of what art school is. Unless you’re specializing specifically in something like animation or game design, normally around half the work is history and theory, the other half is practical coursework is a graded (depending on the school) a balance between concept and execution - which these days is just as likely to be digital as physical. Your average BFA in Visual or Fine Arts has little to do with sitting around for hours doing watercolours or chipping away at blocks of Carrara marble, and a lot more to do with criticism and research.

The most successful private sector art school grads I can think of went into startups, cultural forecasting, or became actual artists. If we’re talking about actual art school and not an industry targeted professional program then what we’re talking about has little to do with the actual CG professions at all.


Today, there are so many excellent online workshops on subjects related to video game and film and animation, and the instructors are all professionals working in the industry (which isn’t always true with some art schools). So if you want to get an education in those specific areas (matte painting, modeling, rigging, particle effects, texturing, environments, characters, concept art, illustration, comics, storyboarding, visual development, etc.), you might be better off taking online workshops. However, some people need the routine and peer pressure and in-person presence of brick and mortar schools, because they lack the discipline when they’re totally on their own.

Neither choice is a guarantee because ultimately it’s all down to how hard you are willing to work, what you’re willing to sacrifice, and how much discipline you have. I have taught far too many students who like to tell everyone they meet how badly they want to become artists and work on video games and movies, but when it comes to putting the nose to the grindstone and actually paying their dues, only a tiny percentage of them even bothers to try hard. Most just stop trying as soon as they realize just how far out of their comfort zone they need to go and how much they’d have to sacrifice. They like the idea of becoming good artists, but don’t actually enjoy the amount of work they have to do to get there.


I’m at school right now. For personal reasons, a 9-5 job has been hard to attend so I took the opportunity to study. I’m doing a mix of academic schooling (design, art and image science) and online studies (schoolism, skillshare, YouTube, forums) Attending University is free so my concern is making money to pay the rent. (No student loan, nothing left as I’ve studied before). I see it this way; I’ve always been a student, I will remain a student. Where I learn may be varying. I’ve noticed that online assets are great but if you really want to learn something in depth, a couple of mentors are needed. Someone to take a look at your process and commercial thinking and nudge you in the right direction.