Hi, my name is Alexander Lee and I’m currently a senior in high school in the United States. My career goal is to eventually become the senior artist/owner of a 3D studio that specializes in character animation. I want to both be able to direct a team, and to participate in some of the work myself. I am fully aware that this goal is a long way down the road, and that I will work as a grunt at some point in the meantime.
My primary question is this: how beneficial would a university computer science background be to a 3D character artist and generalist, especially to one who will eventually be the owner of a 3D studio? I know that many program-related issues could be more quickly overcome by someone who understood the basic structure of computer applications. Computer science knowledge would also be useful in the development of studio-specific proprietary software and plug-ins.
I am considering attending a traditional university for a 4-year education, majoring in computer science. Would this be the best usage of my time, if I was also practicing traditional and 3D art on the side? A major negative in this option is the great expense of time and money, especially in light of the fact that software development is in no way a career goal of mine.
Or would I be better off going to a school that trains people in the usage of 3D programs, like VFS, SCAD, or Gnomon? My fear is that in going to one of these schools, I will be limiting myself to a future career in a narrow aspect of 3D, like modeling props, or texturing characters for example. This would be a problem, because I wish to eventually be adequately skilled in all 3D-animation-related disciplines, so that I will have the ability to direct a team of artists. This fear may be completely unfounded, however, so please input based on your experience.
I am also considering going to a traditional art school like AAU or Florence Academy of Art, Italy. Good art schools like these are hard to find, however, so please post here if you know of others.
In order to further consider these options and perhaps find placement in an internship, I am also considering taking a gap year (a year off after graduating high school).
Thanks for reading this somewhat lengthy and confusing post! If you have a suggestion about a better college plan which I have not listed here, please let me know.