Best school for an aspiring concept artist?
 
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    Best school for an aspiring concept artist?

    Hi,

    I am a senior in highschool applying for art schools. After seeing the works of successful and talented artsts like Feng Zhu, Doug Chiang , I knew for sure i wanted to be like them.

    So my question is this, what is the second best art school that could prepare me for the field of concept/movie-making art? One that taeches solid drawing and visualization skills, rather than how to design chairs and cups.

    I know that Art Center is the top school for many areas of Art/Design, but realistically, my highschool portfolio does not compare to others who are much older and have taken numerous Saturday/Night classes there. I'd like to start my career in this industry gradually, rather diving head in.

    I am looking at Pratt, RISD, and Carnegie Mellon, looking to major in Product/Industrial Design. Are those good schools?

    Thanks for you time.

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    Well, you could always apply and just see where you stand. Worst case scenario is they tell you you're not good enough and you'll have to go to a community college to brush up on your skills.

    All of the schools you listed are more than reputable; they've been around awhile. I'd still encourage anyone wanting to apply to a particular school to actually visit the campus and see the work on the walls. You should be intimidated somewhat. You want that kind of competition.

    And if you want to attend Doug Chiang's old alma mater, check us out at the College for Creative Studies...

    http://www.ccscad.edu/flashHomepage.cfm

    It's also the place where Marc Gabbana, Ed Natividad & Tani Kunitake attended as well. Our acceptance policy isn't any easier than any other art school but again, try applying and see what happens. You just might show enough promise you could be entered "conditionally"- a sort of probation upon entering.

    Good luck with your choices.

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    Thanks for the great information Storyboard Dave.

    I am definately going to apply where i can, especially CCS now.

    BTW, are you apart of CCS?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tunes
    Thanks for the great information Storyboard Dave.

    I am definately going to apply where i can, especially CCS now.

    BTW, are you apart of CCS?
    Yes, I'm one of the adjunct faculty members in the Illustration department. I would also have you look at OTHER places as well. Why limit yourself? See what else is out there... after all it is about YOUR education.

    If you have any other questions, feel free to ask.

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    =)

    I meant to say i was going to apply everywhere i can. I am also looking into engineering if you were refering to the type of field, rather than colleges.

    Will you be willing to review a prospective student's portfolio?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tunes
    =)

    I meant to say i was going to apply everywhere i can. I am also looking into engineering if you were refering to the type of field, rather than colleges.

    Will you be willing to review a prospective student's portfolio?
    Wow...engineering?! That's a almost too intellectual for me now! Unfortunately I don't know much about schooling for that. But I'd still apply the same curriculum for picking out one of those schools as well. Go there and look at the program first hand and not just rely on catalogs & websites.

    As far as looking at portfolios, sure! I do it all the time! And there are also plenty of other friendly folks here on CA willing to look as well.

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    Hee Hee

    i have an unfinished portfolio in .PDF format. can i email it?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tunes
    Hee Hee

    i have an unfinished portfolio in .PDF format. can i email it?
    By all means. I'd be more than willing to look.

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    Don't go to Pratt. You'll regret it for the rest of your life. Also, if you think you're work may not be good enough for Art Center, think again, they are accepting a lot more people now that the are expanding. There are of course positives and negatives to this, but thats a different conversation. I can say this however even with my limited experiences with college, you will most likely find nothing as hard core as Art Center.

    "Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed, The world in arms is not a way of life at all, in any true sense. Under the cloud of threatening war, it is humanity hanging from an iron cross."

    ...I have a sketchbook?
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    Care to elaborate about Pratt?

    Heh, I was really interested in that school for a minute or two.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Helium Macaroni
    Don't go to Pratt. You'll regret it for the rest of your life. Also, if you think you're work may not be good enough for Art Center, think again, they are accepting a lot more people now that the are expanding. There are of course positives and negatives to this, but thats a different conversation. I can say this however even with my limited experiences with college, you will most likely find nothing as hard core as Art Center.
    I know that obviously Pratt didn't work for you but what if it's right for someone else?? I wouldn't discourage anyone from looking at any particular place- it just might be right for them. Thanks for being honest in saying that it is from your perspective though.

    I guess that's why I'm always touting people look into certain programs for themselves. It's obvious all of these art schools are in business. What works for one person might not work for another. If someone attends a place and they have a horrible experience or find out that it's just not for them, move on. I feel sad for the students that stay at one place and bitch & moan about it- why not move on and stop complaining about how bad it is?? Find what works for you.

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    Apply EVERYWHERE! You may change your mind later on and its always good to have options to choose rather than just having one school to go to. I know you're already taking this path.


    Unless of course you have your heart set on that ONE school (like I did) then by all means apply for just one.

    ********************************
    There are 3 sides to every story. Yours, mine and THE TRUTH.
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    Try this, IM most anyone who has gone to Pratt. Try Mike Corriero here on the forums, or a whole slew of people I went to school with. Pratt is nearly useless. Subpar facilties, bitter instructors, serious lack of foundation training, extreme lack of business connections or employment placement abilities, extremely expensive tuition for very limited returns. I can go on. Not only was it not a good school for me, but considering how much entertainment design is based on foundation skills (accurate drawing, painting, etc) Pratt simply has no edge. It is a much more fine arts based college or editorial based illustration with a New York edge. If you like that, then by all means go there. Their illustration department in that regard his almost unmatched due to the cultural epicenter that it resides in; New York. However, considering the entertainment industry is mostly (generalization) on the West Coast, and NYC is more of a hub for fine art, editorial, or more avant garde (sp?) types of art, it simply isn't equipped to be competative for a career in production art. While at Pratt I simply did not know of any alternative until a teacher clued me in that I was on the wrong coast, but I moved on. I'm at Art Center now. It blows Pratt away in almost every single regard.

    Being more specific, Pratts infastructure is horribly outdated, no department talks to another, nothing is networked, there are very annoying proceedures to go through when dealing with everything from dropping/adding a class to with financial aide. Thier systems are rusty and the people are rude. Long lines are a constant sight around registration time, or survey, or anything else, when at other colleges, those times have the availability of online registration, or other such services. the buildings are delapidated and have been "under refurbishment" for years. Dorms are disgusting and have pest problems, the classes have no A/C and if you know what summer is like in NYC then you know that's a problem. Instructors take a much more conceptual (not related to "concept art") approach to art and in my experience don't even consider teaching anything oriented towards a job in the entertainment industry. What Pratt does have however is easy access to New York, which is what the biggest benifit was for me. I love that city. In the end however, it just comes down to logic. Pratt is an expensive school that is not geared towards the entertainment industry and is not in a location where it can have easy access or contact to those businesses. Art Center is just as expensive but on the other hand is highly professional, highly rigorous, very foundation oriented, has specific entertainment deaign programs, has teachers involved in the entertainment industry, and perhaps most importantly, is located in extreme proximity to the entertainment industry. I don't want to be a cheerleader but that's just the breakdown.

    "Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed, The world in arms is not a way of life at all, in any true sense. Under the cloud of threatening war, it is humanity hanging from an iron cross."

    ...I have a sketchbook?
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    Helium,

    Thanks for taking the time to set the record straight. I hope you understand my POV in making sure that it wasn't just a "bitch for bitching sake" sort of rant. Pointing out factual things like the lack of AC and the curriculum concerns is so much more convincing than just saying you hated the place. Things like that are undeniable even from their administration's persepctive.

    All colleges will have their strong suits and all will have their weaknesses. Thanks for at least noting the weaknesses of Pratt from your experience and not 110% telling people not to attend. It still may very well be the ideal place for some people.

    I'm also glad to see that Art Center is working out for you as well.

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    Helium,

    I think that your point about Art Center costing just as much as Pratt and other art schools has really given me a different view. I can save tons of money by living in state and applying for Cal Grants rather than paying the exorbitant fees to leave out of state. I expected Art Center to costs much more than other schools because it produces such talented and well-known artists. It seems a much more of an obvious choice to me.

    But i will be a student coming out of highschool, still hoping to experience "college life" and the world. So I am hesitant if i would be willing to sacrifice it for 100% work and no play or meetng new people.

    How did some of you choose your paths to your college?

    Or to Art Center poeple, how do you think incoming highschool students feel about going to the school?

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    Here's a quick break down regarding costs of certain art schools if it'll help you decide...

    For a comparison for the upcoming year...tuition + fees/ housing

    CCS- $21,376/ $3100- 3900
    Art Center- $23,450/ NA
    California College of Arts and Crafts- $24,640/ $4620 - 6063
    Cleveland Institute of Art- $24,991/ $4342 - 7070
    Columbus College of Art & Design- $19,320/ $6400
    Maryland Institute College of Art- $25,204/ $5100 - 6500
    Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design- $21,500/ $6748 w/ meals
    Minneapolis College of Art & Design- $23,910/ $2590 - 5290
    Pratt Institute- $25,840/ $4390 - 5800
    RISD- $27,975/ $4040 - 7713
    Ringling School of Art and Design - $21,603/ $3407 - 7713
    School of the Art Institute of Chicago- $25,500/ $6420 - 10,090

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tunes
    But i will be a student coming out of highschool, still hoping to experience "college life" and the world. So I am hesitant if i would be willing to sacrifice it for 100% work and no play or meetng new people.

    How did some of you choose your paths to your college?

    Or to Art Center poeple, how do you think incoming highschool students feel about going to the school?
    Well if you're intertested about "experiencing" college life I know several schools offer summer programs for just that. Here's a link to CCS' Camp Portfolio program where you get to live on campus & attend actual classes for two weeks and get a sense of what it's like.

    http://www.ccscad.edu/textimg.cfm?pageID=69

    Regrading choosing colleges, I went and visited the places I thought would be good for my education. I did the leg work before hand, pretty much what you're doing now by asking questions. I looked at the faculty & staff and made sure that they were connected AND working in the field I wanted to go into.

    Not only is it indicative of Art Center but I think all freshmen are scared, a little tentative & nervous at first about making that transition to collegiate life. It's natural to be a little hesitant because it's all entirely new, but realize you'll be fine. We've all been there.

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    is the glass half empty?

    I graduated from Pratt, I'm currently at Art Center. Not because I can't get a job, I freelanced for a year after graduating and have a huge network in New York,most of my friends who graduated are currently working and doing rather well for themselves. The two schools are simply different animals. However, there won't be any ent industry in new york until they build the film studios in the bklyn navy yard, hence the lack of emphasis in the curriculum. the deal is supposedly being worked out now. Things change .


    If you want a college life, my impression is that art center provides none, I could be wrong.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dionysusnyc
    If you want a college life, my impression is that art center provides none, I could be wrong.
    Nope, you're right!

    Another difference from Pratt is that Art Center's student body is a bit older. Recently however they have been taking in younger students, and many highschoolers. But still the average age is probably 22 or so. Since Art Center has no dorms, and caters to a slightly older crowd there is just about no "college life" such as fraternities, large social events, etc. One of the main reasons for this is the fact that most students don't seem to have much time with the amount of work they receive. One of the things I noticed, and I realize its a generalization, is that there seems to be higher competition and therefore a hightened work ethic inherent in AC students. I can't really think what might attribute to this. It could be the workload, it could be something else, but I notice far fewer "slackers" then I did at Pratt. Again, it's a generalization and might not be true. Also, in a more abstract sense, AC is more of a design school, favoring just that, design, and a more regimented approach. Pratt is more about expression and a fine art approach. It's really about what you want to get out of a school.

    It's very true, they are different animals. But as far as I currently see, Pratt is really no place for anyone interested in production art for film, TV or games.

    "Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed, The world in arms is not a way of life at all, in any true sense. Under the cloud of threatening war, it is humanity hanging from an iron cross."

    ...I have a sketchbook?
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    yep

    good observations. I completely agree

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    It's the main reason I encourage everyone to physically go and visit their prospective art schools. See what's hanging in the hallways. See what the students are doing. Check out the facilities.

    Don't just go off of what the catalog or website.

    You'll be dropping close to $25,000- why not go & see exactly what it is you're getting into?? Ask as many questions as you need to and I'd even break off from the Admissions people and talk to the department heads and students if you could. Get as close to the prospective programs as you can.

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    I will for sure be applying to as many colleges as i can. And now with Art Center as one of my top choices. Not only because of its links with the entertainment industry, but because I love the fact that they are so focused in their particular majors. I am also extremely impress with the sketching/rendering Skills that AC students have and do hope to be just as talented one day... or soon.



    But before i can make any big decisions, I have to soup up my portfolio and get accepted to these school first!

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    AC Undergrad vs. Grad

    I happened to jump online tonight and read over this interesting thread you've all been discussing.

    I've been interested in going back to school for a degree specifically catered towards production art for film/games.

    One thing that caught my eye at AC's website is the Undergrad Degree and Graduate Degrees.

    What are your thoughts on the pluses and minuses of each because i'd be curious to know. Everyone always seems to think that going back to school means that you need to get a Masters... and I think that isn't always necessarily true.

    Your thoughts on this would be helpful in my deliberation

    Nagel

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    Quote Originally Posted by Nagel
    I happened to jump online tonight and read over this interesting thread you've all been discussing.

    I've been interested in going back to school for a degree specifically catered towards production art for film/games.

    One thing that caught my eye at AC's website is the Undergrad Degree and Graduate Degrees.

    What are your thoughts on the pluses and minuses of each because i'd be curious to know. Everyone always seems to think that going back to school means that you need to get a Masters... and I think that isn't always necessarily true.

    Your thoughts on this would be helpful in my deliberation

    Nagel
    Not everyone needs a Masters. While it's a nice accomplishment, it's not necessarily relavant to our field. A lot of what we do is still based upon ability to perform. I've always considered it "additional" education but I've also thought that you could still get just as advantageous, albeit different sort of an education in the real world as well.

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    If you are going to go to Art Center for Entertainment Design, you have to get bachelors, or like me.. ANOTHER bachelors, yeah, it's kinda sad, but that's what the program is. However, being as intense as it is, and the quality of the Art Center education/connections network/location makes it pretty much a masters program in disguise. When I applied I even asked, "Should I go for a masters?" and the advisor said "no, you definitely want the entertainment design track through Illustration. He was mostly right. I however like to supplement my Illustration classes with industrial design classes as well.

    "Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed, The world in arms is not a way of life at all, in any true sense. Under the cloud of threatening war, it is humanity hanging from an iron cross."

    ...I have a sketchbook?
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    im in the same boat as HeMac, it is a grad program in disguise and after all, it all boils down to skill sets, the sheep skin is irrelevant

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    Hello!

    I've kinda followed this disscution. And hope Tunes will get in to Art Center.

    Me myself have been thinking to apply for art center.

    can some of you people who are going there tell me a about the illustration program? I don't have the opertunity to go there and have a look, so I hope sombody can give me a good picture how it is.

    It's a kinda big step to move to US to study, but I feel like it could be a good challenge for me, and a chance to make contacts.

    Thanks!

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    nice thread here, so much good information. the whole costs for colleges was really nice kinda shows all of them. CCAD seems like one of the more definate choices for myself, but it would be really cool to get into the art center. I might just go to a local tech. college for two years in animation. who knows.
    good luck with the decisions on what is right for you, Tunes.

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    For what it's worth, I found the cost of living in the midwest much more reasonable than places on the west coast. I had to factor in those things when I chose a school. My daily food, commuting and entertainment costs came very much into play as my money went towards my education.

    A typical apartment in the midwest by a university campus was much more reasonable than some of the places I looked at in the west and in the New York area.

    Just a thing to ponder.

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    I am currently a Product Design student pursuing the Entertainment track at Art Center. I was illustration but I was looking for a more design based education with very strong foundational skills in design, perspective, lighting, rendering etc so I switched and am focusing mostly on transportation design now. I do think this is probably the best school around for Entertainment, some of the teachers, I.D. teachers in particular are simply outstanding. I was a professional game designer for 7 years before returning to school and even after only a few terms I feel twice as qualified as before to do concept work for the entertainment field.

    I do however feel as necessary as some of the illustration classes are, I think a strong I.D. foundation will do more for you than even 8 terms of illustration, almost every single person I know of working in entertainment in LA that comes from Art Center was an I.D. major. Its rough, impossible amounts of work, long long hours, many sleepless nights and rough critiques but nothing else toughens you up or gives you the skills you need faster in my opinon!

    Look within, not without
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