Looking for insight on animation programs! (SCAD, etc.)
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    Looking for insight on animation programs! (SCAD, etc.)

    Hey, all! I am a junior in high school on my college search. I am interested in 2D animation, concept art, storyboarding, and stop-motion. Of course CalArts would be at the top of my list, but since their character animation program requires their students to already be exceptional artists, and the program focuses only on how to move that art in an animation (at least I've heard. correct me if I'm wrong.), I really don't think it's something I want to jump into right out of high school, that is if I even stand a chance of getting in with my current skills.

    So obviously I've been looking into other schools with similar programs. So far I've done a lot of research about SCAD. CCA is also on my radar as it looks really promising.

    I'm well aware of the bad reviews about SCAD, and boy are they freaky! I honestly just cannot believe the majority of them, and a few artists I greatly admire have graduated from there and raved about it. I have thought about it objectively and I think that SCAD might be good for me. I don't mind if there are some crappy students there at first because a portfolio is not required (In fact- I'm glad they don't require a portfolio because I can get a sizable scholarship from submitting a good one!). If they're not serious they just won't succeed. I think as a student there I could make great use of all the resources they have, and I am extremely excited about the possibility of attending their campus in Hong Kong.

    Most of the threads I've found about scad have been up to 10 years old. I've had a lot of trouble finding a current one. So if anyone can tell me anything about the animation or sequential design programs (preferably past/present students there) I would really appreciate it. Anything about professors as well.

    Also, if you have any other animation programs you think I should check out (I want to study mainly 2D) feel free to tell me about them, too!

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    hi. Most good animations schools want alot from you before you get there, just part of how they function. Uh, if you' just want to stay in America, you can look at Ringling and SVA.
    If you're considering Canada, Sheridan, Vanarts and VFX are also options.

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    Out of curiosity, why do you lean to 2-d and not 3-d?

    And I don't know too much about many schools, but in general, I think most 4 year animation programs use the first year as a "foundation" year, CalArts included. In that first year, I understand you do a lot of traditional work and figure drawing to allow everyone to "catch up". Schools don't expect you to go in as a pro, but they do want to see that you have the work ethic and drive to stay with the classes and leave the best you can at the end of the 4 years.
    that's how I understand it.

    I've read somewhere, that basically, if an art school doesn't require a portfolio, that you should scrutinize the school heavily. That means that they accept everyone, and though that can be good for those who just need the right out let to learn, it also does mean there are a lot of those who don't know what they are getting into. I also understand this as sometimes meaning schools get by with less than the best teachers, because they have students who need to learn from the ground up. this could be troubling for someone who has some skill already.

    Another thing; and this is to be taken with the smallest grain of salt you can find; about scad- I had a friend who graduated from an animation program at another school, and during crunch periods, he told me he and his classmates would go days without sleep. He said that when he and his colleagues would get burnt out, and didn't know that they could make it another day, they would look at each other and laugh saying "well we could be at SCAD".

    Yet with all of this said, bear in mind the key points given in the "the reality of going to art school..." thread. You get out of school what you put into it. There are those who go to the best schools in the nation, and just do enough to pass, and then they graduate with no real skill to show for it. then there are those who go to the worse schools, if they even go to school at all, and become the best the world has ever seen. In any case be prepared to sweat blood for your craft, and work as hard as you can. If you do all you can to succeed, chances are, no matter where you go you will be fine.

    and though scholarships are a good thing, remember also, that if you leave school only 20k in debt but can't find any good paying job for about 5 years, that has grown greatly, and possibly damaged your credit. On the other hand, if you leave school with a much more sizable 45k in debt, but land a decent paying job, you may be able to tackle that debt in the 5 years that it took to simply find a job from the other education.
    yet this math doesn't account for any other variables that may intervene, so just do whatever suits you best. All I'm saying is unless the education is completely free, even a really good scholarship could leave you with enough debt to haunt you for the rest of your life- and a good education, may just make it so that you don't have to feel the pain of being buried by debt.

    I personally have done more research on 3-d schools than 2d so these schools may or may not apply to you, but try looking up:
    ringling, sva, sheridan, and RISD.

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    Navigating debt is such a tricky subject. I don't know the right answer, all I can say is you need to be willing to give a lot to get anywhere in the art industry. A lot of people say it doesn't matter where you go, its about talent. God, I wish that was true. It's about connections and how much the school pushes you and talent. Becareful where you go, the sound of "portfolio not required" is incredibly suspect, I would definitely look for alternatives. Honestly, it's not just your money, its your time.

    My best suggestions is apply come your senior year, hopefully you get in, if not, take the time off. This rush to go from high school to university is so dangerous, it makes us do stupid things. Take your time, a down year isn't the end of the world.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dunnstar View Post
    Navigating debt is such a tricky subject. I don't know the right answer, all I can say is you need to be willing to give a lot to get anywhere in the art industry. A lot of people say it doesn't matter where you go, its about talent. God, I wish that was true. It's about connections and how much the school pushes you and talent. Becareful where you go, the sound of "portfolio not required" is incredibly suspect, I would definitely look for alternatives. Honestly, it's not just your money, its your time.

    My best suggestions is apply come your senior year, hopefully you get in, if not, take the time off. This rush to go from high school to university is so dangerous, it makes us do stupid things. Take your time, a down year isn't the end of the world.
    This is exactly what I was trying to say.
    I just got into the school of my choice, now 3 years out of HS, and I don't think I would change my choice for the world. Without spending time working mindless 9-5 (or better yet 10-6 (grave shift is sarcastically awesome) jobs, I wouldn't have realized how much doing something fulfilling, is well fulfilling. I'm now much more driven than I would have been right out of high school, And I am now humble enough to learn, something I didn't even realize I wasn't before school.

    taking time off can be a god send in many ways, but if you don't have to, you don't have to; everyone is different.

    But I cannot stress enough, be weary of no portfolio schools. this means that they don't expect you to be able to draw beyond a stick figure upon entrance. They say they will "teach you how" but as just reading on this site should show you, there is way too much to learn to learn it all in only 4 years; from the ground up.
    Even the best schools will leave you with a lot still left to learn after graduation. if a school needs to take almost half of your education teaching you the basics, will you really be professional ready upon graduation?
    Thats honestly why I didn't go directly to the Art Institute after high school; and though now I would have a piece of paper with a my name on it, I fear that, that may have been all i would have left that school with. that and debt. You don't want to wind up doing that.

    My advice; find some alumni blogs and web resumes from all of your prospective schools, and send them emails asking them about their experience. In my own attempts at doing this I have gotten some pretty good and often surprising results. Nothing like getting an email from an industry professional... Eager to tell you about their experience!

    But everyone is different, so one person's story is going to be the same as yours. But any insight you can get, all it can do is help you make a decision.

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    Quote Originally Posted by themegagod View Post
    This is exactly what I was trying to say.
    I just got into the school of my choice, now 3 years out of HS, and I don't think I would change my choice for the world. Without spending time working mindless 9-5 (or better yet 10-6 (grave shift is sarcastically awesome) jobs, I wouldn't have realized how much doing something fulfilling, is well fulfilling. I'm now much more driven than I would have been right out of high school, And I am now humble enough to learn, something I didn't even realize I wasn't before school.

    taking time off can be a god send in many ways, but if you don't have to, you don't have to; everyone is different.

    But I cannot stress enough, be weary of no portfolio schools. this means that they don't expect you to be able to draw beyond a stick figure upon entrance. They say they will "teach you how" but as just reading on this site should show you, there is way too much to learn to learn it all in only 4 years; from the ground up.
    Yeah, taking at least a gap year is something I've been seriously considering. I don't know how my parents would feel about that, but I would use the time to take some Gen-Ed classes, earn some money, and improve my art.

    I could test out of most of the core classes like Art History because of AP credit, and if I take some college courses before applying. I wouldn't have to sit through Drawing I or the math/science requirement...basically I'd start off way ahead of those who come in not knowing the basics. Most of those people I've heard don't make it in SCAD, because a lot of them aren't serious about art. If they were, they'd be a bit more advanced by the time they go to college, don't you think? I've heard of a lot of good artists who get out of the foundation requirements pretty quickly and are able to start their major-specific courses much earlier.

    Part of SCAD's appeal to me is also the scholarships they offer, which I'm pretty sure I can get my hands on. Most other great art schools don't offer as much money, which I DESPERATELY NEED if I'm going to study out of state! I live in Virginia and although VCUarts is a great school, it's just my backup because I'm really looking for strong animation programs like SCAD has.

    I've also found a few alumni I want to contact but haven't gotten around to it.

    About why I'm more interested in 2D: Maybe it's because I grew up with it, and it was 2D animated films that were the spark that started me drawing. I as a kid I was blown away by Hayao Miyazaki. In general I find 2D to feel more artistic, more magical, and like the animators poured their heart and soul into every frame. Of course I'm not saying that 3D doesn't have those things- I've been thrilled with the recent 3D films. I might eventually learn it, because of course that's in demand, but right now I feel like studying 2D would be very fulfilling.

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    Are you looking just in California or anywhere? Parsons in New York has an incredible Design and Technology program, you can develop expertise in game design, animation, motion graphics, interaction design, and other creative technologies, which include mobile media and computer art.

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    I've actually been accepted into SCAD with a 10K scholarship...Right now it's only a backup if I fail to make it into Ringling. There are a TON of negative reviews for the school and the no portfolio thing is a bit suspicious, but the way I see it, only the people who had a terrible time there are going to write bad reviews for the place. Those who went in and were successful have good paying jobs with little time on their hands to write a review, so you won't see many of them.

    As for other locations, I'd say look at Ringling (more of a computer animation school, than 2d, but it's still one of the best), SVA in Manhattan and CCA out in California. These are all pretty decent schools from what I've heard and I'm actually applying to all 3.

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