1 Year Programs? Concept Design Academy??

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Thread: 1 Year Programs? Concept Design Academy??

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    1 Year Programs? Concept Design Academy??

    Hi everyone,

    Soooooo I am graduating from Concordia University in Montreal this year from the painting and drawing program. I didn't realize that concept art was what I wanted to do until later in my program, and by then it was too late to transfer. Concordia is completely conceptual so I have not learned any technical design/ traditional illustration skills even though I've been practicing my butt off on my own. What I am wondering is if there are any decent 1 year programs out there that focus on the technical stuff. I was considering the Concept Design Academy but I would rather not move from Montreal to LA. Plus I don't own a car...

    Any advice would be greatly appreciated. Or if someone has been to the Concept Design Academy I would love to hear about your experience.

    Thanks,

    Whitney
    www.whitneyclayton.blogspot.com

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    To become a concept artist will take more than one year. This is a profession that requires a high level of traditional representational drawing and painting skills, as well as illustration skills, an understanding of the animator's needs, an ability to understand a script or game idea and create the environment, characters and props that will best express the author's (game designer's) intentions.

    When we decided to offer a diploma program in concept art and researched it, we were unable to come up with a program less than 4 years long!

    Before you sign up for anything, take a look at the requirements listed in the
    job descriptions in the ads on this site. You might call UbiSoft's recruiter, since they're in your city (Montreal) and ask her what they want to see in a portfolio.

    I hope this doesn't discourage you. If this is what you want to do, go for it!

    I hope this is some help to you.

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    I just visited your Blog- which I should have done first!

    You have imagination and a good feeling for color and design. In my personal opinion, you have the potential to develop into a first class concept artist.

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    I went to the concept design academy for one term. It's a great place and your teachers are some of the best industry professionals, I don't think you will find that anywhere else except for a few other places like the conceptart atelier.


    With that said, before going make sure you have the fundamentals down. The better you will be at the fundamentals the more you will get out of it. For example, if you are already really good at figure drawing you can focus completely on designing your characters. You dont want to struggle with anatomy and drawing poses in your character design class.

    Also contact Kevin Chen, the founder of the Academy, he will be happy to help you out or to look at your portfolio to see if you are ready.

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    Maxine that's nice of you to say. That said do you think I'll need a lot more technical education? If you have any technical advice I'd love to hear it.

    Epias, I'm glad to hear good things about the school. I emailed Kevin today and he was very helpful. Did you feel like you needed a car when you were there? Also, I would really like to know if you think it's worth going for one or two semesters..I would be moving from really far away and won't have very much money so I need to be realistic considering a car/apartment/school etc...however, if it really is worth it I would certainly consider everything...

    Thanks guys!

    Last edited by wclayto; October 29th, 2008 at 04:12 PM.
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    You may want to look into Vancouver Film School. They offer lots of one year programs, and it's in the country. The web site can be a little confusing, but if you schedule a phone call with an advisor, they will clear you right up!

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    You need life drawing and anatomy, including hands and feet, heads and features. Your need traditional representational painting courses. If you want a broad based portfolio that will allow you to work for animation and cartoon based games as well as traditional video games, you'll also want cartooning, and character design and maquette building that covers both realisitc as well as cartoon design.

    Your instincts impress me, but understanding structure (working from the inside out) will really help. It will also help to understand the basics of animation, film language, storyboarding, and layout (including level design).

    Photoshop is a major tool, but some knowledge of 3D computer animation will be a plus.

    I don't think you can do all of this in one year. However, you are young and you have your whole life ahead of you! It isn't unusual to spend more time when training for highly skilled careers.

    Before you make any decisions about where you plan to continue your studies, please look at the job descriptions and portfolio requirements for the kinds of jobs you hope to have in the future. Look for programs that will give you the specific training you need.

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    Quote Originally Posted by wclayto View Post
    Maxine that's nice of you to say. That said do you think I'll need a lot more technical education? If you have any technical advice I'd love to hear it.

    Epias, I'm glad to hear good things about the school. I emailed Kevin today and he was very helpful. Did you feel like you needed a car when you were there? Also, I would really like to know if you think it's worth going for one or two semesters..I would be moving from really far away and won't have very much money so I need to be realistic considering a car/apartment/school etc...however, if it really is worth it I would certainly consider everything...

    Thanks guys!
    Depends on where you live. I was lucky to live pretty close to the academy so I bought a bike. Didnt really need a car. BUT a car is damn handy in a city like that trust me, if you need to be somewhere else then in most cases you need a car or public transportation if possible.

    I moved from freaking Belgium for the academy and for one term, so yes it's worth it You'll learn alot, take notes all the time. After I spend a couple of months at the academy I finally knew what it takes to become a professional. Most important lesson I learned was, take as much time as you need to get the fundamentals of art down and then worry about designing stuff.

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    Maxine, thanks! I understand the importance of traditional painting skills so that's what I've set out this year to improve on (along with everything else). I still have one more year hear in Montreal before I graduate, so I'm working hard learn as much as possible before considering future education.. Honestly though, a total of 8 years in undergrad is waaayyy too long. But I would love to see some of the artwork of 4th year students in Concept Art at Max the Mutt. Maybe I wasn't looking hard enough but I didn't come across any on the site.

    Epias, thanks a lot That's great advice and I'm getting more and more excited about the prospect of this school! It's GREAT to know you survived without a car, because I reeaallyyy can't buy one..nore am I that competent of a driver and the idea of driving in LA scares the SH&# out of me! Can I ask how hard was it to find an apartment so close to school? Did you get a place to live before or after arriving? Also, did you get into all of the classes you wanted? The sign up process for classes is a little scary...

    I'm glad to hear it was worth it for you. It seems pretty perfect from all I've read, but in a way that's strange because rarely are places to good to be true..now a days there are so many media arts schools popping up that are desperate to sell themselves it's hard to know what to believe..

    Thanks!

    Whitney

    www.whitneyclayton.blogspot.com

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    Epias, I had one more question - I was just wondering what kind of education you had prior to the concept design academy. Did it prepare you enough?

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    Hi Whitney,

    You couldn't find it because it isn't there!

    Max the Mutt started purely as an animation school with a very strong drawing (traditional representational) fine arts first year, and ongoing training in both figure drawing, animal drawing and animation subjects.

    The Concept Art Diploma program is now in its second year...that's why you didn't see year 4 work! However, there are many courses in CA that were already developed as part of the animation diploma program, so looking at some of that work will give you a good idea of the quality of student work.

    We are so busy that we've been slow getting the '08 gallery on line. It should be live very soon. We will now have a separate gallery page every year for every diploma. For '08, of course, there will only be year one concept art work . Second year, however, is going very well. Students are loving Intro to Concept Art and have each chosen a script to do the concept work for. their instructor, Don Gauthier, was a head background painter for Disney Canada, Art Director and concept artist for Nelvana, and is now doing art direction and concept work for a 3D animation house in Toronto. I think we'll have lots of work to post at the end of this academic year! If your interested in the full curriculum, just take a look- it's posted on the website.

    By the way, second semester, will be my first time teaching in that particular program. I'm teaching Figurative painting (8 hours a week).

    If you visit Toronto, do come by and visit!

    Last edited by Maxine Schacker; October 30th, 2008 at 06:39 PM.
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    if what you mean technical skills for foundation id skills like visual communication , perspective , rendering stuff then no (they do teach you these thing a little bit, and the instructors all know about these stuff but I think they expect you to know most of those things)(for example for the intro character class he do mention some tips about figure drawing and other technique you will need , but he expect you to have certain understanding about figures already so you can focus on character design,same applies to other classes) ...
    concept design academy classes are way advance, they teach you a lot of technique that you will need for the industry but most of their classes have really advance level

    as for illustration , kevin chen do teach analytical figure drawing and adv, figure drawing which teach you tons of technical skills for doing figure drawing .
    and they have different classes on different semester, sometimes they have new classes offer and some old classes off for a semester, you cant find that out untill last few weeks during the semester (will be a few more weeks later if you didnt attend classes before)

    Last edited by fredcheng1987; November 9th, 2008 at 04:29 AM.
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    Whitney, if you were studying to become a doctor, a violinist, a dancer you'd expect it to take much longer than 3 or 4 years!

    You are preparing for a career in a competitive field. Be sure you have a strong foundation.

    Its against protocol for me to say anything in depth about Max the Mutt. If you're interested in knowing more, post on the Max the Mutt thread, or fill out a request for info form on our website.

    Whatever you decide, the best of luck to you.

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    Thanks Fredcheng,

    Maxine, I think you mentioned that already and I don't appreciate being patronized. I never said anything about it taking 3-4 years to become good in something. Obviously you work hard all of your life to be good at what you want. I am graduating from a 4 year painting and drawing program, and am looking to extend my education another 1 or 2 years. NOT 4. I don't think I'm being that unreasonable or ignorant for not wanting to spend 8 years in undergrad art, which is why I'm not considering Max the Mutt.

    Last edited by wclayto; November 10th, 2008 at 11:22 PM.
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    I'm puzzled that you found what I wrote condescending. It certainly wasn't meant that way. You aren't alone in finding that a BFA hasn't given you strong representational painting and drawing skills. I hear it all the time.

    In any case, there is no doubt that you have talent plus a feeling for color and composition. Good luck in finding the right path for pursuing your goals.

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    Hiya,

    I can understand what you're looking for, especially since it really looks like your 4-year program really didn't develop the skill-sets you need to really jump into concept work.

    I took a long look through your blog images that you can do some fine work with handy reference, but the work becomes flat and rubbery without it.

    Concept art, most often, is about making realistic images of places or things that do not, no longer or can't exist. That may seem redundant, but it's better to include that so you can fully understand where I'm headed here. That really means you have to really understand and be able to consistently use perspective, correct anatomy (even if it's alien), light and colour to show to clients and other workers further along the development pipeline.

    ConceptArt Atelier is probably the best venue to get there in two years, as said previously, however, failing that there are methods to do this on your own.

    Find a classical drawing/painting atelier in Montreal -- Google gave me this. If they follow the typical Bargue course, you'll need to supplement it with more free-form life drawing focusing on gesture.

    Develop an understanding of how to draw the figure from your imagination; study Bridgman, Loomis (download), Reilly (via Faragasso's book). Practice perspective until you can draw reasonably complex objects freehand.

    Paint every day -- small, quick paintings with an idea that you'll be learning about light and colour every time. Small still life paintings with simple objects and different colour reactions from light and reflected light would be a good idea.

    The actual software end can be as simple as porting the daily paintings to Photoshop or Painter when you feel comfortable. Somewhere in my studio I have this little book of plein air digital paintings -- so don't think you have to be limited in your approach to painting self-education.

    3D is a little more difficult, you could take a course in Autodesk or try to self-teach (not really recommended), but you have to have an understanding of what the 3D guys are dealing with when you're producing assets. An unpaid internship at a concept or games studio would probably be a good thing to look for to really see things work.

    There's more to learn, too; storyboards, character design and character model sheets, prop and environment design, and so on, but that'd be more advanced stuff to deal with after getting your drawing and painting down.

    Posting here is a good start: do keep doing that. Poke around in the game design studio folder, too.

    Good luck,

    ~R

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    Wow thanks a lot. I really appreciate such a thorough, thought out response. You're totally right about my stuff looking "flat and rubbery." that's a good term for something I've been definitely trying to get away from. I'm taking an intro 3d class so I think I'll have a general basic down by the end of this year. The daily still life painting is also an excellent thing to remind myself to do.

    The links you provided were also VERY helpful! Turns out there is a classical painting school in Montreal that I will definitely contact.

    Again, thanks a lot. All of your advice is greatly appreciated.
    -Whitney
    ps. I took a look at your blog and very much enjoyed the figure sketches

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    Learning art is a life long pursuit. This is not a Business major or a Law degree your studying for. 8 years is nothing in the greater scheme of things. In art you never stop learning.

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    gah. of course you're right. i think i mentioned something very much along those lines. 8 years is nothing in terms of learning, but it's something in terms of paying for tuition/taking out loans, not earning an income, etc. 8 years is a long time in undergrad education. but you're right about art..but that could also go for law and business. it goes for anything you care about right? I'm talking undergrad education here, obviously not learning in general.

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    I've never met a business student who like what he or she does. (Maybe law is a bit different) They maybe good at it and certainly like the cash they are making but I doubt they have a passion for business. Who knows maybe a few do in this crazy world. As an artist you live and breath art. It constantly pops out at you wherever you are. Like a blessing and a curse you just can't stop thinking about it. I know I don't.

    But your right tuition is a pain, have you tried going for scholarships?

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