I gather that this is probably the wrong forum entirely for a question like mine, but I'm a long-time lurker here and I really don't know where else to ask about this sort of thing. If you think this shouldn't be here, please tell me where to take it and I'll be glad to, but most of the other places I can find don't have very promising forums.
I've been trying to learn how to draw for years. I can get basic sketches of my ideas down, but I've had to face the fact that I'll never be as good as it takes to do what I really wanted to do: traditional animation. Despite all the books I've gone through, I've never gotten past the point of sketches. I don't have any "finished" artwork.
So, moving on, the next best course to pursue seems to be 3D graphics and animation. But I don't know how the 3D programs at the various schools stack up against each other. I'll just tell you what I'm after, and maybe you can suggest a school somewhere.
What I don't want is to be one of those people who makes ugly, lazy, cheap 3D. I want to make something better than the sort of stuff you see on the average TV show or video game. I want to be able to make my own short projects that look just as good as anything at the cinema, and I'll go anywhere in the world to find a school that will help me get there. I've had friends who went to bad schools and they're stuck going from one crap advertisement to another, or doing knock-off movies for sale at dollar stores. I don't want the "Full Sail" experience, where in the end I haven't learned anything that I couldn't have done with tutorials off the web. I want to have a chance at making real art.
I've got some Gnomon DVDs, and they're excellent so far as they go. But when I checked on their actual school, it turns out that you need a portfolio to get in. I haven't any such thing. What schools are there that will teach me what I want to learn, without having such portfolio requirements that it would be hopeless for me to apply?
To be clear, I don't want to learn just how to animate, or just how to model or rig, or just how to do texturing or effects. I want to learn everything there is to know about making a finished, professional quality 3D animation - except for motion capture stuff, which I'm not interested in. I want to be able to fill any role in a studio, and to see my own personal projects through from start to finish.
Where should I apply? Which school is the best that would have me?