Sheridan, Canada, or Academy of Arts University, San Francisco.

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  1. #1
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    Sheridan, Canada, or Academy of Arts University, San Francisco.

    Hello! Im, more than ever, considering the chance to attend a college, and am debating between these two. I am looking to persue something in concept art, illustration, or the like, and have heard that Sheridan's strong points are in animation, might students, or anyone, for that matter, be able to provide a little insight on either school? Their opinion of the school they attend? Any information at all would be appreciated!

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  3. #2
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    Checking the forum would turn up a lot of information for you, since you're looking for general stuff.

    The Sheridan thread is here: http://www.conceptart.org/forums/showthread.php?t=13760

    A simple search will surely turn up Academy of Arts information.

    Goodluck to you!

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    There WAS a thread with all sorts of Academy of Arts Info. I am not sure what ever happened to it. I am aware of the Sheridan thread, though. Thank you anyway! .

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    Well, at AAU there is no direct concept development degree, but there is one called "Visual Development". While its official, I think, I've heard different things about it being well laid out and giving you what you need and not giving you filler classes? Most people I know in conceptual focus are either in the illustration or 2D animation studies. They take what they have to and then cross the classes they need for conceptual development. Various perspective classes, character dvelopment, layout and design, drawing and design for film, etc etc...

    The illustration department, overall, is different illustrative focus. More in traditional, like book covers, advertising, childern's book and the like. They won't stop you from focusing on conceptual art, but its a focus you would have to look into and work at it. If you need more computer art classes, there isn't that many computer art classes within the illustration dept, like for Ryan Church type of concept. Some of the instructors are great, others are unwilling to have you focus on your thing and force you to follow the school's syllabus. If you have a myspace profile, there is a ratings and listing of class and teachers somewhere in there..

    I'm not entirely sure on the 2D classes, but there is few classes in the conceptual area that can help you. But, not that many... concept art can be done well at AAU, but doing it well will be up to you.

    If you're able to visit, goto the school and they have tours. Currently, the illustration building shares with the 2D animation department. Its worth checking out if you have the time and money to come to San Francisco. The tour is free, of course.

    Opinions and critiques always welcomed!
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    Ok, I am a senior at the Academy of Art, and I am trying to pursue a concept art career, and I have been at times happy, but lately disappointed with my school.
    The visual development program that IcyM referred to is as he says in early stages, and it is part of the animation department, not illustration. I decided to pursue a major in illustration, thinking about just concentrating in technique and art, and I have gotten to a point in which there are no more classes for me to take, and yet I feel there are huge gaps in my education as far as concept art goes.
    The Academy teachers in the illustration department are almost all traditional illustrators: children books, editorial, advertising, etc. A lot of them are very good teachers, but once you have gotten past technique, storytelling, etc, there isn't much about the business aspect that they can teach you. No teacher that I know in the illustration department has actually worked as a concept designer for games or film. Not a one. Some have done storyboarding, and some have participated in animation projects, but that's about as far as it goes. It is a huge gap, and I don't see it being patched any time soon. It is my impression that most teachers quietly think of concept art as a passing fad, and not another opportunity for illustrators that is here to stay.
    A lot of the visual development classes I have looked at are obsolete in the business. Character design teaches the old ways of character sheets, in the old fashioned Disney style for the most part. As far as I know only small indie animation companies in the US still require the services of this type of character designer. Layout for animation is completely outdated, still doing banana-pan type layouts. Most of these things are nowadays done in Taiwan. I remember studying the same things eight years ago at the American Animation Institute in Los Angeles. Then there is inspirational art for animation, and I can't really say much about that one, because I haven't seen much work from it in the past semesters.
    I have had to forge my own major, which hasn't been easy, and it has been a somewhat lonely road. I am pretty much lost in a lot of ways, and I cling onto the few teachers who seem to have more of a clue (two of them). Every semester is a battle with my academic advisor to make her understand the classes I need to take, and a long list of signatures and authorizations. The few students who are doing concept art, and are from the academy, have done for the most part their own thing. It's doable, but it is a whole lot of effort on your part. You have to take the classes, and then mold the assignments to fit your needs (or what you think they are).
    I have friends who have attended Art center in Pasadena, and that school seems to be embracing the concept art route with a lot more enthusiasm. It's an expensive school, but going there opens doors.
    As for positive things about the Academy: The technical instruction is excellent, though rigid. If you want to learn how to draw well, and how to paint well, then I find that this school is fantastic in both aspects. However, overall I think there is a certain close-mindedness towards digital painting and concept art. Also you will be required to spend the first three and a half years of your curriculum painting traditionally, with a variety of mediums, some of which are completely outdatted for concept artists. I actually support learning how to paint with real paint, but at this school they leave you no time to become a master of your medium of choice.
    I hope this isn't all too negative, but as my graduation day approaches I feel more and more like I am missing a lot, especially when I see the quality work that the guys that are working and that post here are producing.
    Good luck, and I hope this wasn't too disheartening.

    Last edited by carotello; July 24th, 2006 at 10:43 PM.
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    I go to Sheridan in animation so i may not be able to give you much information regarding the illustration program but like someone mentioned there's a thread about Sheridan on the same page and i posted there about your request. If you have more general questions i may be able to answer you.

    For example, Sheridan has some extra life drawing sessions every night all year long almost so if you're really into life drawing that's a good choice.. but i know nothing of the illustration teachers/courses.

    Good Luck!

    alx

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    Im in the illustration program at sheridan now, and its not really like concept art based or directed at all, there are some good teachers and good people in it, but its just like anything really, if you put the effort you can take away things youve learnt and apply them to concept art...if that makes sense, like i know people who just complain constantly that they arent teaching them what they want to know and they arent getting better, but like they never go to extra life and always put in the min amount of work.

    The illustration course is based around ideas alot, so there are alot of thinking classes that help you get points across, one called conceptual processs, so i mean there is some ground work there, take what you can and use it. Ofcourse there is alot of drawing and painting classes and the like that you can go to and get practice in.

    I dont know much about the animation course, maybe alxcote can help you more there, but it seems to me more character based, and just more figure and just all round traditional drawing then the illustartion course, not to say there isnt alot of drawing in illustration.

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    Hey Carotello, I was wondering what you did specifically to customize your own major and what exactly you were hoping to achieve in doing this. I'm on my way to AAU under an Illustration Major, but I did want to dabble into some Industrial design classes to bolster my conceptualizing skills. I already have a minor background in character design from taking some basic classes and workshops in Gnomon here in Los Angeles, as well as several years of amateur product design in the footwear business. In a wierd way, I'm doing things backwards in terms of my education by having had a full time job in a creative field for so long, as well as going into college a bit older than most, but in this way, I think that I do have a better sense of what I am lacking.

    Quote Originally Posted by carotello
    I have had to forge my own major, which hasn't been easy, and it has been a somewhat lonely road. I am pretty much lost in a lot of ways, and I cling onto the few teachers who seem to have more of a clue (two of them). Every semester is a battle with my academic advisor to make her understand the classes I need to take, and a long list of signatures and authorizations. The few students who are doing concept art, and are from the academy, have done for the most part their own thing. It's doable, but it is a whole lot of effort on your part. You have to take the classes, and then mold the assignments to fit your needs (or what you think they are).
    I have friends who have attended Art center in Pasadena, and that school seems to be embracing the concept art route with a lot more enthusiasm. It's an expensive school, but going there opens doors.


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    What I did to customize my own major? I pestered the crap out of Chuck Pyle, and other department directors everytime I wanted to swap a class I was "supposed to take" for a class I felt I needed to take. The squeaky wheel gets the grease, basically.
    Then you grab all that paperwork over to your advisors office and basically override his/her every suggestion.
    Of course first you have to prove that you don't need to take the classes you are getting out of, so be ready to show work and do some fast talking.
    If you feel strongly that some industrial design classes would benefit you, then talk to the ID director and then the illustration director and try to get some signatures.

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    Thanks for replying! But what about electives? I believe there are 9 units of electives to get a degree, couldn't I just take 3 ID classes? Forgive my ignorance, I'm not really sure how things work... I guess I could pester my admissions counselor also.
    Also, as a illustration major that wanted an emphasis in concept design, what classes did you swap around and why? Sorry for all the questions...

    Quote Originally Posted by carotello
    What I did to customize my own major? I pestered the crap out of Chuck Pyle, and other department directors everytime I wanted to swap a class I was "supposed to take" for a class I felt I needed to take. The squeaky wheel gets the grease, basically.
    Then you grab all that paperwork over to your advisors office and basically override his/her every suggestion.
    Of course first you have to prove that you don't need to take the classes you are getting out of, so be ready to show work and do some fast talking.
    If you feel strongly that some industrial design classes would benefit you, then talk to the ID director and then the illustration director and try to get some signatures.


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  12. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by jubjubjedi
    Thanks for replying! But what about electives? I believe there are 9 units of electives to get a degree, couldn't I just take 3 ID classes? Forgive my ignorance, I'm not really sure how things work... I guess I could pester my admissions counselor also.
    Also, as a illustration major that wanted an emphasis in concept design, what classes did you swap around and why? Sorry for all the questions...
    Ok, art electives mean you can take any classes you want. I actually at one point considered taking fashion design for film, which is a fashion class. It sounded like a good idea, and i was even signed up for it up until a couple weeks ago, when I found out that they emphasized fashion drawing and that the instructor is a big big big into fashion kinda guy. Since I am looking at things that are useful for my portfolio, I dropped it. Look at it this way: can you use it in your portfolio?, or can you use the knowledge the class offers for a potential job? Those are the important questions you need to ask yourself on your last year and a half at the academy. If the answer is no, you drop it and take something that fullfils your personal requirements. Sounds petty, but you must keep in mind that once you learn the skills, your goal is to become hireable, and to finish with a portfolio that doesn't need a complete revamp. It's one of the most common scenarios for academy illustration grads. I know a few, and I am dating one: they have to take a few months off just to fix or altogether make their portfolio. Ask yourself if you can afford that kind of time. Can you afford six months of unemployment after you graduate, and will you have the time and energy during those months to actually put together a portfolio. In my case the answer was no. I want a portfolio done and ready, as ready as possible, right when I graduate, so I can mail it out right away, and not starve.
    I'd rather not tell you the classes I didn't take. I don't know what kind of skills you have, and ultimately this should be a personal thing that should be discussed between Chuck and you, after looking at your work.
    I can only tell you that of the required classes that are outlined for the final semesters in the degree breakdown, I only took one of five classes that were supposedly required. Even with that, there were a couple classes that were a waste of my time, but I'd rather not look back.
    If you are on top of things, and you can prove you don't need these classes, your director will sign you off them and have them replaced with additional art electives. This can give you a total of seven or eight art electives, which is pretty good.
    Hope this helps. And again, if you are super serious, and good, and on top of your game, the school will definitely bend over backwards to try to provide you with the opportunities you need. It's just that the whole visual dev thing isn't too sharpened up in the illustration and animation department.
    Also, don't start thinking too much about it until you are through the basic classes, which can seem like a long time. If you are thinking about dropping out of one of the clothed figure drawings, or heads and hands, or anatomy classes, forget it. They are set in stone, and I think it's a good thing. I definitely needed them, and most of us can definitely use them, always.
    So, if you want to take ID classes, go for it, but make sure you do your research before you sign up for them. Ask students who have taken the class. Talk to the director of that department. Talk to teachers if you can. Remember too that after the first week of class, you can drop the class without financial penalty. The first week is a freebie, and a lot of times that first class is enough to figure out whether this class will be to your benefit or not.
    To increase your marketability, I also suggest a Maya class or two. I have found it to be useful when trying to get a job in games.

    Last edited by carotello; August 17th, 2006 at 02:56 AM.
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