What could highschool students do?


Ty for all the help. Thank you, leigh, for the comment. I am much obliged by it.

Well, I think I would like to concentrate more on the artistry of game design and less on the engineering or coding (though those guys are awesome too!). But it seems so scrunched right now, such as taking extra classes because I’m a junior and I’ll have to apply to colleges and universities next school year. I am taking a 2 week class for Maya modeling and 2 weeks of outdoor stuff, and that kind of complicates any steady taking of college classes in high school (The two happen closely together.)

I think I would appreciate that maturation time of becoming an adult in a 4 year college or university. I still don’t have that traditional 2-D training though, so how can I learn enough to get some professional college applicable portfolio going or should I enter a college or university on another major?

I heard computer science (or programming language) is literally learning a whole new language. At ,y school, they tend to give out a lot of hour intensive work and I do some other extra cirricular activities. Would taking a computer science class in a city college be a time consuming venture like real school?


Are you good at math? do you have a structured mind? if you don’t, think again about Computer Science. At CS they teach you more than just programming languages, there’s a lot of theory behind and you have to spend a couple of years before you even write some code. At my former school CS students learn how to program a basic OS or a compiler at the third year, a raytracer at the fourth.


I made my first 3D animation when I was in year 12 (final year highschool in Australia), and that led to all kinds of opportunities that got me where I am today. I think people appreciate youthful enthusiasm.

That said, it isn’t the easiest industry :wink: But you know, better than being a sub-prime mortgage lender.

(btw: i went to Uni for 4 years, not sure I learnt that much. Probably would have done a technical course in hindsight (like Gnomon). But might have just been my uni.)


@ Leigh: rofl hai thar :wavey: lol

Anyway, I wrote a really long reply to this but then Firefox crashed :argh:. So here’s the short, short version.

I’m pretty much in the same situation as you, same grade, except in Australia. My strategy is to pump out as much creative juice as I can before graduation, then shove it down all available throats until I get a placement. So far I have not received any art or CG education outside of school, and (at least I think so) done alright teaching myself.

Also high school is the formative and fun years of your life so don’t stress and just enjoy the ride (and party hard).


I doubt most universities are going to be really selective on the students they pick, that’s more of a private/trade/art school kind of thing. But you really should get started working on your traditional art, its something that takes a lot of work.


If you want to be a 3d artist, my advice is to just buy some sketchbooks and draw everything you see. this will hone your observational skills. If you are a keen observer who can draw, your will start to excel your freshman year. Also, do not underestimate the fruits of working REALLY hard. If you really love it, you will be able to invest yourself in it.


you basically are asking the question, “what do I want to be when I grow up?”

If you could postpone college for one year, plan a trip to travel abroad or what-not; and if you came to LA for the summer after high school with the intention of being a PA or even receptionist or office-helper-boy at a vfx studio or production facility; you would be able to learn more than you would learn in a lot of class room hours…ez.

I realize that kind of talk might be blasphemy with your parents. I recently chatted with my mom about how I wasn’t ready to go to college, for chemical engineering (?!?) when I did. I completed the course, and worked after college, but I was in the wrong “place”. I joined the US Army, and really enjoyed that for almost 9 years, then I went to art school.

The point is that me and my mom agreed that maybe I should have done something for a year to help me figure these things out before college; we both agreed that there were a lot of societal pressures, I felt like there was no alternatives for me besides college.

Good luck with your big decisions ahead, but in the end you have to do what you want to do. You need to be the one who moves your own feet.


If you are wanting to do artistry of game design for a career, then I’m not sure why you are even thinking about computer science. You would be better off taking some figure drawing, painting, and sculpture courses and dabblin in a 3D package for the time being. There should be some local art schools where you can take some cheap art classes in the evenings. This will get you far further than any other method.


Hey let me tell ya what I did when I found a HUGE passion for CG in High School (I went to a tiny little private college prep school, so extra curriculars were hard to come by outside the standard band art drama) Anyways I founded the animation club at my school and membership triples almost every year. I started out teaching alot of animation others, but eventualy it became a collaborative deal where we teach and help each other and hold a gallery deal at the end of the year.

You’d be surprised how much intrested you can get with animation we worked with all kinds of programs Flash, blender, maya, game maker. etc.

Im currently a sopohmore in college now but i hear the club is still doing well. Trying starting something like that at your school and make it happen!


Is it a bad idea if I take it as a minor so I get a feel for the engineering side at least? Well rounded?


It’s probably not worth your time. The only exception I can think of is if you are interested in working for a very small studio, where their aren’t enough people to specialize.


Would it hurt if I did take minors in say history or comp sci along with the major I want to do?


It won’t hurt per se, but it will take time away from your primary focus. If you have a passion for art history or computer science, go ahead and take the minor; their are certainly jobs where either one would be useful. However, you shouldn’t feel obligated to do so.


Ya I have this inbred academic lust that is in me. I think ever since I was a child, it was “do well in school” and it really meant “do well” Getting As, getting on Honor programs, getting into a better highschool. I think I missed out on a lot of opportunity to attend art schools or classes like some of my peers.

Would that be deterimental to me? It seems the majority of my highschool career was just to look good to colleges without any sense of doing what I wanted to do, meaning that I didn’t take large steps toward art, etc, and kept it as a hobby.


Hey Brian,
No, I do not believe that would be detrimental to you. It is never detrimental to do well in school. In fact, all of your studies and hard work will only benefit you even more. :wink:
Trust me … you are still young and have plenty of time to devote to your artistic skills.
I speak from experience on this one…

Instead of wanting to develop art for games I knew early on that I wanted to work on animated feature films. I was not entirely sure what part of the process I wanted to go into at first. I loved all of it. I took a couple art classes in high school, but not many (I doodled in every single class). Sophomore year I joined the video production club and participated heavily in it for the next 3 years. I explored story boarding and video editing quite a bit before I realized my true passion was animation. My senior year of high school my senior project was teaching myself animation and that’s when I began to realize and wish I had taken more art classes. Like you I had focused on my academics, taking many AP and honor courses, while keeping up my GPA. I discovered a little too late that the colleges I wished to attend cared more about the art portfolio than the grades.

To remedy this I spent one whole year at the local community college, which had a fantastic fine art program. I devoted every waking moment to working on my art. I took 5 courses in figure drawing, experimental drawing, design and color, fundamentals of drawing, ancient medieval art history, and installation art. I was then able to explore the school’s I wanted to attend with a portfolio in hand.

Funny thing is… after many campus visits I actually decided upon a school that did not require a portfolio, however, to this day I am still happy I spent that year learning the basic foundation of art. I would not do it any other way.
I attended Animation Mentor for 18 months and focused solely on character animation. Upon graduating last January I went on to work on my first feature film.

So, I just wanted to let you know that everything will work out and I can already tell you’re a determined person… and that determination is what will drive you to success.
Whenever I find myself wishing I would have started learning animation or art even earlier… I just remember to consider myself lucky.
It’s a rare thing to discover your true passion at such a young age.
Many people don’t realize what they want to do until after college or they have a career in something else…
You have plenty of time and will make it! :wink:
Good luck and Best wishes!


Thank you for the words. Much obliged. I think my current plan is to go take extracirricular classes in traditional art and relearn my basics and learn some things I beleive I can’t do on my own. I think I’m more of a teacher/mentor teaching kind of person


Hey, I actually go to carnegie mellon right now! In fact, i transferred into the BCSA program from art last year. The computer science program here is excellent! You will be very happy with how robust the graphics department is.

Be warned though, the art school here does not stress formal training. Instead, it focuses on fine art/conceptual art(NOT TO BE CONFUSED WITH CONCEPT ART). That’s the weird modern art stuff you see in museums nowadays. The school does not even have a color theory or illustration class! It’s all just running around doing crazy stuff and calling it art. I would go somewhere else if you were serious about doing game art.


SWEET! Razor, would you mind if I could PM some questions about Carnigie Mellon? Its in one of my lists for potential dream schools.


sure panderan, go ahead.


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