Hey all...I'm currently going into my 2nd year at a Junior college in the Bay Area. I am looking for a University of California or California State University that has a respectable reputation as far as tutelage in 3d/animation studies. If anyone can point me in a nice direction to start looking, I'd SINCERELY appreciate it.
I can summarize my life story in context of story telling. I am a character, you are the others. Someone else wrote the beginning. We both write the plot we take together and when alone I control the storyline. However, I am the master of my destiny and I shall write the end of every chapter my life concludes.
Go thru that database, but most schools in UC/State system seem to emphasize experimental animation. I'm trying to find a school that makes traditional Disney/Saturday Morning Cartoon animation....something that looks good in a portfolio........far as I'm concerned, if it doesn't look like industry quality, it don't look good.
Not everyone who does this stuff for a living can teach it... if you're looking to listen to stories all day long, that's one thing, but if you are looking for real instruction, look not at their resume or portfolio but rather at how they teach. Some of the best instructors are not always the industry professionals that you seek. In many cases, the ones that you learn the most from are sitting right next to you. Remember, your real education begins on your first job... working with that poor sap who got stuck with mentoring you. They know they can get the job done faster if they just do it themselves, but they are responsible for training you, so they have to help you to figure it out. These are not the stars of the company, they are people just like you who only a year or two earlier were the recent new hires. Amazing how much you can learn from people who don't make six figure salaries or have a credit list a mile long. Everyone who you admire today all started out learning from people who were not much more knowledgeable than you are now. There is no short cut to greatness, everyone has to do their time in the trenches first.
OK, I know this thread is essentially dead, but I want to respond to this question for posterity's sake, for anyone who Googles, "What is the best animation program in California," or something to that degree. I previously went to Santa Monica College, and am currently going to San Jose State University, so I can speak very specifically to my experience at both those schools.
First off: Santa Monica College offers a decent 3D animation education and is one of the few community colleges out there that offer any kind of animation program. However, the instruction is very weak and it relies heavily on the dedication of the student to progress in skill level. Someone who produces shit work can still make A's along side someone who produces phenomenal work. Each person is graded individually on their effort. But this does not mean that you will come out well equipped to get a job in the industry. It's a good way to get your feet wet before you transfer to a more serious program, or its also a good place to sharpen your skills if you already have a lot of experience. Ultimately, the professors encourage to re-take their classes multiple times (max of 3 times).
San Jose State University on the other hand: SJSU will KICK YOUR ASS. They have the best animation program in the CalState system, and the level of education is on par with art schools like Art Center and Cal Arts. Trouble is, it is a 5 year program, and even if you have a two or four year degree, you will probably have to start over from scratch. Things are changing however, and the administration is trying to push people through the program, but the articulated classes just don't match up to the ones at SJSU. For better or worse it is heavily a foundation based program. You spend you first 2-3 years painting color swatches, rendering cubes and other basic forms, as well as drawing from life. This is where I have trouble in the program, because I am just dying to draw more interesting subjects and I feel like my creativity is being stifled. The other downside is that its a state school in San Jose. I personally hate this city. Its run down and their are homeless and petty criminals all over the place. It is also a "commuter school," so the student life is completely different from a UC. In fact it doesn't feel like a university, it feel like a very grown up version of community college. But you will have never worked as hard in your life as you'll work at SJSU.
Lastly: The strongest thing about the program at SJSU is the Shrunkenhead Men. That is the name for our animation society. We have monthly meetings and speakers from Pixar, Disney, Blizzard, etc. come and talk, and scout here all the time. This is the strongest asset that SJSU has to provide. Also, the style encouraged here in the program is heavy on the Disney/Pixar look with a strong emphasis on character, story, and animation. It is very lacking in the technical aspect and has no classes on texturing, lighting, or rigging. Its all about animation, story, and visual development.
On a final note: I really wish I could transfer to a UC, because I want more of the college life experience, but I'm afraid that none of their programs can shine a light to SJSU. I hope this helps anyone else who Googles this topic in the future.