I have been going to AI Vancouver - Burnaby (formerly Center for Digital Imaging and Sound) since last October. I am in the GAAP (game art and animation production) program, and thought I would share some info in case anyone is planning on attending this school.
First, the bad
If you have no real art skill and are hoping to learn everything you need taking the GAAP program, then you would be wasting your time coming here. Many people think that they will immediately get a job after graduation, even if they don't have real talent to begin with. They are sadly mistaken. I think part of the problem lies with the large number of students who are just not serious about art. It is like they are in higschool, and seem to not want to be there. There is no requirement to get in, only your $500 deposit and of course the tuition cheque. This really hurts a lot of people, well, mostly the ones who actually care. You have several students who just don't belong there, they keep interrupting the instructor with inane questions many times over, slowing down the rest of the lesson.
This program seems to cater to complete and utter newbies. I have not seen any very talented people around yet. Most are average, a few are pretty good, and several are just hopeless. I really wonder how some of these people expect to get employed. Most don't ever draw on their own, and they are in an ART program. A lot expect everything to be taught in class, they dont' realize that most of what they need to learn has to be learned on their own.
Anyway, the first semester was overall fairly good. We learned a lot, even tho the pace was still somewhat slow. Everything could have been covered in half the time. The 2nd and 3rd semesters have really slowed down, especially the 3rd. Only 1 class was of any use to me, the others had either nothing to do with our program or they just went over the stuff we already knew. Big dissapointment. I think it is because this program is pretty new, and they aren't really sure what to do with it.
There are big gaps in the education. For instance, up to this point, we had minimal 3d animation instruction, we had to figure it out ourselves. Also, there was no thorough teaching on creating textures or proper UV mapping for games (it was covered, but not enough detail). Although I already know how to make textures fairly well and properly layout UV's, others in the class do not.
There are good things about this place. It is fairly small and you really get to know the teachers and other students. The equipment is average, however there is only one computer lab that everyone likes to work in because it has the nicest machines, and because of that it is almost always full. The teachers are Okay. A few are very talented (very very few) and one or two have no business teaching.
Part of our program requires us to make a game. It has been a good experience so far, working with designers and programmers, on a tight schedule, just like in a real company. I think the best part of the program (although i haven't gotten there yet so i can't be sure) is the work experience. One semester is devoted to work experience, which the school helps you in securing. It is a good way to make some contacts in the industry if you can land yourself a good place.
Overall there are more bad things than good. There are a lot of complaints not only from the Art people in the game program, but also the designers and programmers. Everyone says they are not getting enough education, and most of the classes are a waste of time and money. If you are an artist with lots of talent, you should probably come here. You could probably challenge most of the classes in the first semester, or even the whole foundation year if you have some kind of portfolio. You could then skip directly ahead to the 2nd part of the program and start working on your game with the programmers and designers. However, if you have little artistic skill, I would not recommend this place. You would be better off taking some art courses elsewhere, or practice for a year or two. This is not the place where you come to learn to draw.
Looking back I should have probably gone to some 4 year institution instead, and gotten a more rounded out education.
Wow, I know what you mean. I went to that school for GAD and I left befor the two years were up. I felt alot of the same things you pointed out in your post...and I agree fully.
I started going the same time you did to, heck we might know each other.
Lets be clear about a few things... all these comments could easily be applied to any school, the big and the small, the famous and the ridiculed.
First and foremost, college IS NOT a trade school. A trade school teaches you a skill... be it hairstylist, automotive mechanic, dental technician, you name it. College teaches you about the sciences, arts, and humanities. It has professional curriculums yes, but those curriculumns are not job specific, they are career specific... generalized courses. For example, you go to college to be an engineer, there are classes that are foundation courses for all fields in engineering and then there are specific courses geared towards specific fields in engineering. Even those are general courses, meaning that they are not teaching you how to be an engineer, they are teaching you how to think like an engineer. You could graduate with a degree in engineering and be totally unsuited to the job as a career because you cannot translate book knowledge to real world problems. That is the MAJOR difference between a college and a trade school, college prepares you for life, a trade school teaches you a skill.
Don't go to college and expect to be taught everything you need to know about your field. It doesn't work that way. It wasn't designed to work that way. Expect to learn how to think on your feet and apply knowledge beyond that of classroom exercises... because that is what college is all about, getting you to think. Think about it people, you can go to any college, no one is going to sit there with a stick and beat you over the head to make you learn. Its all you baby. Doesn't matter if you are studying art or quantum physics... the same rules apply. Just because you have a degree or a portfolio doesn't mean you are going to be guaranteed a job. Plenty of losers and winners alike are unemployed or employed due to nothing more than timing.
Omgosh. You left Adawen? No wonder why I don't see you around anymore. Are you back in the States? Did Clinton leave as well? Oh ya, if you don't remember who I am, I was in your Fundamental and Design class. We spoke briefly on Deviantart as well.Originally Posted by Adawen
Anyways, I hate to say this but I pretty much agree with Glitch's post. I had "those" feelings right after the 1st semester. At first, I was really pumped and pysche to be going to this school but I quickly noticed that many of the my classmates barely had any drawing skills! I believe in the saying " to be good at something, you must surround yourself with with people great at it". I'm not that great of a drawer but I am probably in the top half of my classmates and it's really frustrating sometimes because you don't get much of a challenge and thus, don't get any better. That's why I like to visit this forum and CGtalk and see what the art standards are.
To be fair though, it all boils down to you. Like what many of the professors here have been saying, if you don't do any extra work, you will not find a job. I really believe that.
I'm in my 4th quarter right now and will graduate Spring of next year. I pray I will find a job soon after graduation because I'm going to be buried in debts. XD
Yep! I left the school, Clinton did as well. And no im not back in the states, I still live in Vancouver.
And the thing about this school was I signed up for the CDIS not the AI they changed it over and told us in a manner that we couldent really do anything about it untill it was to late.
Ahh Clinton left as well eh? That's really sad when you hear classmates dropping out. I hope you two are doing ok. To be honest, I've thought of dropping out many times but I've invested way too much money and time to just quit now. So what are you up to now? If you don't feel like replying here, you can pm if you want.