I got in to both and I'm stuck (character animation @ calarts and computer animation @ ringling. I don't want to create a "verses" thread on this. I'm just looking for your guy's thoughts/opinions/experiences/etc with these schools.
I do know how to work the google on the many internets and have done research but I'd like to hear what you all think. And please, include all the good, the bad, and the ugly. I can't attend both schools so what ever honest information on them you can share is really appreciated.
A friend and I were discussing CalArts vs. Ringling a couple of weeks ago. I'm a freshman at Ringling, and she's a sophomore. Basically, the conclusion that we came to is this:
Software is just a tool. You can always pick up Maya later. At CalArts, you would probably become a great animator. However, at Ringling, you are prepared for a career. (That's not to say you won't become a good animator at Ringling!) From day 1, it's about becoming a better artist so that you can get a job. Both produce high quality artists, but I am confident that the Ringling student is better prepared for the "real world."
Not only that, but look at how many Ringling films vs. CalArts films are being featured in festivals. I guarantee that there are far more Ringling films. We've had films featured at Siggraph for quite a few consecutive years now, and I believe for the past 2-3 years there's been a student Academy Award Winner.
But wait! There's more! This past month, these are some of the recruiters who have been visiting Ringling and interviewing students: Pixar, Dreamworks, Blue Sky, Sony, Reel FX... Just to name a few.
Last edited by thesinfulsaint; April 10th, 2008 at 01:36 AM.
I was also accepted into both Ringling's Computer Animation program and CalArts's Character Animation program.
I know both of the campuses and am familiar with the instructors, students, program structure and required work ethic for each. Sadly, I do not have the time to visit this board frequently enough to hold the type of conversation that I think this subject requires.
Cat would know much more about Cal Arts then I would, but I spent a few YEARS researching animation and art schools during my search.
From what I found, for the type of careerer I want to have, Ringling is the best equipped to give you a very strong character animation background using computer animation. I would go as far as to say it is the best Character Animation (for Computer Animation) school out there. The equipment we use is better then most actual studios. The school keeps us on the cutting edge to make sure we are ready to step right into the workplace and we can start on day one. The computer is just a tool to animate with, but it's nice having shiny new tools to use, especially during render time when you need that power to be able to check your animation and work quicker and more efficiently. The faculty is an amazing cohesive group that shares and collaborates on how the department is run and is always meeting about what the students need. Many students favorite part is that not just during crunch time, but all semester long you can email a teacher as late as 2 or 3am and you will get your answer with in minutes if not with in the hour. They don't sleep...EVER. As a bonus the best animation studios come to us to recruit students right out of school every year. They have guest lecturers come every year to talk to us about the industry and then they come and help critique our work. Most of the time they say that the way we do things here is exactly the way they do it in the "real world" and that impresses them a lot. Overall you will be pushed to your breaking point in this department. You will work longer harder days then you can even imagine right now. You will watch many other students leave the program the first 3 years and then your senior year you are left with a battle ready tight knit group that you will know the rest of your career. Just like with any school though, you will get out what you put in. You have to do the work. There is no magic animation button...(none that I found yet...still looking though..) quoting one of our teachers ..."ANIMATION IS HARD!"
Ringling will not focus on helping you become an FX animator so don't even think that you will be different if you want that. There are very talented and hard working people that do learn a very limited number of FX on their own and have faculty help them when possible, but they are the exception not the rule. Ringling only gives you 2 semesters of traditional animation, but the name of the department is COMPUTER ANIMATION so don't come expecting to do traditional all day. Another thing is that people come here and didn't realize that they would be sitting in front of a COMPUTER most of the time....once again...IT'S IN THE NAME OF THE DEPARTMENT! and by most of the time I mean 8:30am - Midnight 6+ days a week (jr and senior year) but you get to have lunch. You get to be very friendly with those people in the labs next to you.
Ringling is a great campus and Sarasota is nice, but after sophomore year you won't seeing it much. You also won't be seeing the sun much. All your friends from freshman and sophomore year in other majors will be going to the beach on one of the gorgeous sunny days we have here all year round and you will tell them you have to work. They will all go to the movies... and you will have to work. You will basically stop hanging out with them and drift apart. You will feel guilty about taking a night off to watch a whole entire hour of TV and you will feel you need to get back to work. It's four very intense years of your life, but if you work your butt off you will be ready to get a job when you graduate.
Now...I have wasted enough time here at concept art, I need to get back to animating. It never stops!