CalArts vs Ringling
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Thread: CalArts vs Ringling

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    Exclamation CalArts vs Ringling

    HI EVERYONE

    Ok so my current situation is that my two top choices, CalArts and Ringling, have both accepted me for their animation department. I thought I was going to get in to one or the other or none at all and would have to go to De Anza (community college).

    However now... I don't know which school to pick. Financial Aid isn't coming until after April and that means I'd have to call up Ringling and ask for an extension on their accepting deadline thing.

    I just want to know how the schools are like, especially if you are already a student there.

    I visited CalArts and I like it but I'm kind of worried about the lack of 3d animation in it which seems almost like a requirement to break into the animation world now D: I haven't seen Ringling yet but I know it's top in computer animation but.. it's really far away. I need more facts to persuade me than just this!

    PLEASE HELP ME DECIDE XD


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    Kismet is offline The Chaotic Dreamer Level 3 Gladiator: Catervarii
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    Actually, CalArts is trying to break away from the 2D aspect of Animation (since it is dying), but yeah, it's still pretty 2D based. I can't help you too much with the schools' programs themselves, but I can help you in terms of what surrounds them.

    Ringling is within proximity of a beach. Its buildings are beautifully constructed, and the dorms can be spacious (compared to most other schools/depending on the room). It IS the best in Comp. Ani. and ALL they do is 3D. So if a person wanted the tiniest, itsy-bitsy drop of 2D - they will NOT find it there.

    I know you've visited CalArts, but I'm pretty sure you've noticed that there's nothing much around it. Just some nice hills, a bunch of grass, and like a 40-50 minute walk to a shuttle that goes to a Six Flags down the highway? Or something like that is what I heard. You would have to drive or commute for anything... mainstream. Although I do know this. If you go to CalArts, expect to do more liberal arts than you would at most other art colleges. CalArts loves its math and sciences, especially. That turned me off, so that's one of many reasons why I didn't apply there myself. Lots of people say that they work you to the bone there (which I appreciate), and that you barely have any playtime, so be prepared for it.

    I hoped that helped at all. @_@

    Last edited by Kismet; March 14th, 2009 at 10:49 AM.
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    Lucky! :U CalArts rejected me. xD;

    According to what my dad heard from the admissions office at Ringling, the computer animation major there focuses more on the programming side of it, as opposed to the creative side. If you're in to programming computers to animate scenes, I'd suggest Ringling. I almost got accepted into CA at Ringling, but the major was full so luckily I chose Illustration instead. If you're into the more creative side of animation, such as story development and character design, I'd suggest CalArts.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Kismet View Post
    Ringling is within proximity of a beach. Its buildings are beautifully constructed, and the dorms can be spacious (compared to most other schools/depending on the room). It IS the best in Comp. Ani. and ALL they do is 3D. So if a person wanted the tiniest, itsy-bitsy drop of 2D - they will NOT find it there.
    Um, Ringling requires a full year of traditional animation.

    I'm in a similar dilemma between Ringling and CCA.

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    wow, you guys need to do more research. First of all, Ringling has enough Traditional Animation to go around to get overwhelmed by it.

    Secondly, programming? They don't focus on programming, if any. I know the Game Art kids will have to work with programming. But Ringling is all about the story development and character design. Thats what they like to push alongside animation acting and movement.

    I can't speak for the upperclassmen Computer Animation students, but even at Freshmen level I'm getting a taste of all that.

    Im no "yes" man, so take that into consideration.

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    Kismet is offline The Chaotic Dreamer Level 3 Gladiator: Catervarii
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    Oh, sorry. That's just what some magazine I read before said. I guess they put too much emphasis on Ringling's 3D-ness.

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    im sorry too. I didn't mean to say that so strongly. I'm personally just having an internal struggle with 2d animation. Im not feeling so passionate about it right now, and Ringling basically gives a years worth of learning traditional animation. so gah!

    So it would almost be like taking freshmen year at calarts (although i imagine not quite as intense as calarts, i don't know), then doing 3d animation the next 3 years.

    And as for the character design & story, they have classes just devoted to that topic, all while reinforcing that thinking during the regular animation classes.

    Check out the curriculum, they link the classes to discriptions of it, and you can look around from there (in their catalogue) if you know how. Kinda tricky to navigate at first.

    http://www.ringling.edu/CA-Curriculum.180.0.html



    As a ringling student, thats the best i can put it. I wish I could give info on Calarts too, cuz they were pretty cool when I went there to visit and take figure drawing workshops.

    One plus Calarts have over Ringling is the fact that they give their students their own cubbies. ;S Im envious. hehe.

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    Just chiming in to back up what Meloncov and Crimm have already said. I'm a junior in Ringling's CA program. We don't do a lot of programming... in fact, we have only one MEL scripting class. We animate in Autodesk Maya. First year is traditional animation, second year and on is computer animation. We learn all facets of the work flow: modeling, texturing, animating, lighting, a little rigging, and a little compositing. We have two years of Concept Development (idea generation, acting, and storyboarding), and one year of Drawing for Animators (concept art). The main focus of our curriculum is character animation, with a lot of emphasis on story.

    I'm not sure what else to mention, so if you have some specific questions, please ask!

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    Both Ringling and CalArts are *excellent* animation schools, but are great for different things. Essentially, if you want to work at the beginning of the animation pipeline, go to CalArts. If you are interested in working in the middle/end of the pipeline, go to Ringling.

    CalArts:
    If you are sure you want to draw for animation for a living, go here. Students here are often hired for character design, storyboarding, and from time to time, animation. If you go here, you'll find a job no problem. You could probably find a job working in 2D animation at a small studio or on TV--far from popular belief, 2D isn't dead. It just isn't quite so mainstream. There are students who are hired to work as animators at big studios, but you have to be really good. A job as an animator is tough to get anyway, especially if you haven't had much 3D training. But...it does happen. (And more often than you might think)

    Here are a couple of blogs of current CalArts students/grads...
    http://lorelaybove.blogspot.com (Disney--Visual Development)
    http://zaruhigalstianblog.blogspot.com/ (recent Pixar character design Intern)
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KlXGzUouqjE (Dreamworks animator)

    Ringling:

    I go to Ringling. This is great if you are interested in working toward the middle/end of the animation pipeline. Most students are hired into one of these fields: Modeling, Texturing, Lighting, or Animation. Your first two years at Ringling you will take a traditional animation class, but it is likely not to be anything that will end up in your final demo reel. It's used as a learning tool since Maya is such a complex program. We do have a few drawing classes in all years--Concept Development Sophmore through Junior Year, and Drawing for Animators through Junior Year. You'll do some drawing for the production of your thesis. But really, the focus is NOT on 2D. If you know you want to draw for a living, don't go here. If you want to animate or do anything within 3D, this is an EXCELLENT place. Also know that we do not do much on the technical side...no programming...no special effects.

    But... that being said, there is currently a senior CA student at Ringling who will work in Visual Development. (http://lindseyolivares.blogspot.com <-- past Disney intern))

    A few more current Ringling student blogs....
    http://cathicks.blogspot.com (animation, recent Pixar intern)
    http://lirontopaz.blogspot.com (animation, recent Sony intern)
    http://gregpeltz.blogspot.com (modeling, recent Pixar intern)

    Best of luck with your decision.

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    I strongly believe that classical animation experience in most cases yields better computer animators. I believe that many of the top people at Pixar agree with me. If you want to be a feature film animator, I would suggest Cal Arts, followed by a one year Maya program that specializes in animation. Cal Arts will definitely expose you to great animators and you'll understand the whole animation process.

    In the last analysis, whatever the medium, animating is about acting and timing. There's no better way to learn than by studying classical animation.

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    Great post, Betsy.

    Quote Originally Posted by Maxine Schacker View Post
    I strongly believe that classical animation experience in most cases yields better computer animators. I believe that many of the top people at Pixar agree with me.
    I'm not so sure about that.
    I believe Andrew Gordon asked Brad Bird in one of his splinecasts about what he thought of animators who don't draw. Brad responded by saying that years ago he would probably frown upon the idea of an animator not being a proficient draftsmen, but the fact of the matter is, alot of Pixar's best animators can't, and don't, draw.

    I belive it was in Pete Docter's splinecast where he says he's not one of those guys who draws all the time. He views it as "work" and doesn't enjoy it a whole lot.

    Patience is a virtue, but who wants to be virtuous?
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    Dito to lowercase. The concept that you must be a good draftsman to be a good animator is outdated. The skills are separate. Myself, I'm a pretty good draftsman, but not the best animator. The advantage to being able to draw well is that often, it means you have a good eye for observation, which is VERY important within animation.

    That's why we don't focus a lot on drawing at Ringling--it's a character animation program. If you want to be an animator, you'll be really happy here.

    Last edited by thesinfulsaint; March 14th, 2009 at 06:37 PM.
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    That's all very true, but that doesn't mean that animators shouldn't learn how to draw. Yes, there are animators who aren't draftsmen, but there are also a lot who are. That's why schools such as Ringling and Calarts stress it heavily.

    Who wants to be a one trick pony? From an employment standpoint, a wizz at Flash or Maya who doesn't know how to draw might get employed faster, but as a career progresses and software gets replaced, options within the creative industry will get limited. Short term: software, long term: traditional skills.

    Drawing and observation will always be important skills. Software comes and go (as Mattias Addolfson says, "3D doesn't age well"), but drawing is such a primal artistic foundation that it can never be replaced. It would be a shameful day when animation schools abandon a drawing portfolio for their admissions requirements.

    In this video with Brad Bird and Stanton, they state the importance of drawing and the ever changing landscape of software.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YjSExqtiIyg

    (it's at about the 1 hour 20 mark--yes, it's that long).

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    Haha, ya that video is long. I watched it twice, though, a while back.

    For computer animation, drawing is a means, not an end. Drawing is a means to understanding, or observation as thesinfulsaint noted.
    This is unlike traditional animation, illustration, concept art, etc... where the drawing is the end.


    In the video, you could change the phrase "the importance of drawing" to "the importance of understanding".
    Likewise, you could change the phrase "ever changing landscape of software" to "ever changing end product"... i.e, the fundamentals do not change.

    Animation school portfolios are simply a means to demonstrate understanding. Consequently, the only way they would be replaced is if there came about a better way to demonstrate understanding.

    Anway, I think we are all pretty much in agreement. Although, I'm not quite sure what Mattias Adolfsson means when he says, "3D doesn't age well".

    Patience is a virtue, but who wants to be virtuous?
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    Quote Originally Posted by lowercase View Post
    Anway, I think we are all pretty much in agreement. Although, I'm not quite sure what Mattias Adolfsson means when he says, "3D doesn't age well".
    Well he used to be a 3d artist in the early 90's and he's referring to the primitive look of the stuff he worked on then (awkwardly rendered chess pieces etc).

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    financial aid should come out before then...

    I had this exact same dilemma last year, financial aid only ended up complicating it further, and for a month I was pretty much an indecisive nervous wreck for march/april. I would be completely undecided then dead set on one school one day, the other the next, and then right back to square one. I live in florida and visited ringling for portfolio day and accepted students day and flew out to valencia for accepted students day and some exploring at calarts. I eventually chose ringling for various reasons and I don't regret my decision. To be honest though, I have a feeling that if I had gone to calarts I wouldn't regret it either. If it's any help to you here are the two threads I had going last year on Conceptart and Animatedbuzz.

    They are both great schools, the best in the nation, but they are different. As you know calarts emphasizes 2d and has their students complete a film every year. Since they have such a short time the films often don't end up at a high level of polish, but students do end up with a lot of experience. Also, judging by the work that comes out, it seems like calarts has a lean towards the fields of story and creative development. The goal at calarts is to help students capable filmmakers with independent visions.

    Ringling takes a different approach, teaching traditional and computer animation, and concept classes that build skills to prepare you to create your thesis senior year. Students here produce less in quantity but bring that film up to a complete level finish. At ringling they prepare you to get a job, and they do a damn good job of it too. Of course the downside to this is that it comes off as vocational and slightly less explorative, although generalities such as this come somewhat from student drive too. It's a very structured program but it's very solid and I have learned a lot here so far.

    If you're so worried about 3d and job placement ringling may be for you. It ultimately comes down to what you're looking for. Make sure to google up and link crawl a bunch of student work to see what's going on at and coming out of the schools because it's the truest reflection of them. Also, if you can, I would recommend visiting ringling in addition to calarts. I flew out to visit calarts last year, and it cost a bit, and I didn't even end up going there but I'm so glad I still went there and knew what I really was dealing with in my decision. If you've got more specific questions go ahead and shoot.

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    Check out LCAD before you decide

    I think you are missing a good bet by not considering Laguna College of Art & Design before you decide! They have faculty who have worked at many of the major animation companies. They have graduates now working at small and large animation firms (e.g., Pixar). They start with the fundamentals and 2D animation, but sophomores and seniors take 3D computer animation and juniors get into 3D computer modeling. The college is in a beautiful physical setting, companies like Blizzard are just a few miles inland, and L.A. is an hour away. The focus is on the art and creativity, not programming. May not be for you, but you owe it to yourself to at least be familiar with what that college has to offer.

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    I for

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    I forgot to mention that LCAD has a rolling admission, so one can apply late. February was the early notification time, but I know from personal experience that they even take well-qualified applicants into late spring and summer. Also, tuition is about $10,000 less than other California art colleges and almost everybody gets some kind of institutional grant, usually depending on the quality of their portfolio. Peace.

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    Quote Originally Posted by BubbaGump View Post
    Well he used to be a 3d artist in the early 90's and he's referring to the primitive look of the stuff he worked on then (awkwardly rendered chess pieces etc).
    That's a bit like dismissing Renaissance painting because medieval painting looks awkward. Technically, CG is very nearly perfect, so long as you avoid certain areas (photoreal humans, some special effects).

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    Thumbs up

    Quote Originally Posted by Kismet View Post
    Although I do know this. If you go to CalArts, expect to do more liberal arts than you would at most other art colleges. CalArts loves its math and sciences, especially. That turned me off, so that's one of many reasons why I didn't apply there myself. Lots of people say that they work you to the bone there (which I appreciate), and that you barely have any playtime, so be prepared for it.
    Ewww, liberal arts, thanks for letting me know

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    Most studios prefer people who excell at 2d animation because they are better animators. Also usually each studio has their own program that they use so they train their 3d animators for their particular programs. Id say cal arts is FAR better than ringling. Plus they have so much more connections around the job world

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    Frf0gdude,
    Care to provide any evidence for the bombastic statements you just made claim to?


    Most studios prefer people who excell at 2d animation because they are better animators.
    What an inane, ridiculous statement. Better animators are better animators, period. Whether it's 2D or 3D is irrelevant.

    Id say cal arts is FAR better than ringling.
    Please provide evidence to support your opinion.

    Plus they have so much more connections around the job world.
    So much more? Ridiculous again. Even if Cal Arts did in fact have more connections, I'm not sure it is even relevant considering Ringling alumni are hired at all of the top studios and have around 50 on campus recruiters every year, including:
    Walt Disney Entertainment
    Hallmark
    Nickelodeon
    Carters Childrenswear
    St. Petersburg Times
    CNN
    LucasArts Entertainment
    Metropolitan Museum of Art
    Sony Picture Imageworks
    Warner Bros. Design Center
    Dreamworks, SKG
    Pixar Animation Studios
    ESPN
    Universal Studios

    Patience is a virtue, but who wants to be virtuous?
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