My advice to all aspiring computer animation students
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    My advice to all aspiring computer animation students

    Here is a little back story on myself. I am currently entering my Junior year at SCAD this fall, where I am majoring in computer animation. To some of you, the choice of my school may validate, or discredit my opinion. Either way, I don't give a damn. The wonderful thing about advice, is that you can choose to listen to it or not.

    I started off writing this thing about schools in general, but I think Iím going to compare two big lightening rods in this forum: SCAD and Ringling. I am picking these schools to not really specifically talk about either one of them, but to hopefully provide a little insight to high school students looking to apply to colleges.

    Let's talk about SCAD first. While SCAD does have a decent reputation among the industry, a lot of people will have you believe that itís a crappy school. This stigma obviously came from somewhere, and it does have some grounding in reality. Any school that accepts people at the rate SCAD does (some crazy number like 70-80%), obviously will have a lot of people that canít draw for their lives. However, there are plenty of elite students here with enough talent to run with the best of any school. With that being said, does a place like Ringling have more talent? Probably. What does that mean though? Not much. I think people see a high concentration of talent coming from a school, and think that itís always a direct result of the education. Thatís really not the case.

    Take a classic university like Harvard. Harvard has an amazing reputation for churning out the best and brightest our nation has to offer, but how much of it is the university itself? A lot of people that study higher learning, generally agree that itís not really that much better of an education than a lot of other schools, they just happen to attract a lot of natural talent. See where I am going with this?

    Ringling is notorious for being pretty selective in admissions to the CA department. As a result, there is always a steady stream of high quality portfolios and demo reals that come out of the department. Averaging everything out, itís probably the best quality work. Iím not debating this. However, how much of this is can be attributed to the talent they let in, and how much of it is the actual school itself?

    I honestly donít think you are going to find much of a difference in the quality of education in what I consider the big 4 of computer animation schools (SVA, Ringling, SCAD, and the Academy of Art). Sure, some of them might turn out work that seems better than others. However, all of them have solid fine art programs, in addition to solid CG programs. Thatís what matters.

    Iíve gone through classes here at SCAD with kids that looked like complete artistic rejects at the beginning, but managed to really soak everything up and turn things around. At the end of college you might look at their portfolio and think, ďItís good. They will probably get a job somewhere, but it isnít amazingĒ. Of course if you were to judge purely on the end result, itís not anything special, but that would be forgetting that the bottom line of any education. That bottom line is that itís not where you end up, but itís how far you have come. Always keep this in mind.

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    Good advice, thanks for taking the time to write this.

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    Great info man, thanks! I've been really interested in SCAD, though I want to go for the sequential art program. I'm always on the look out for new information on the school, and what better source than a current student? The way I see it, I've got a year to get better, so hopefully I'll be able to make it into that 80%.

    Sketchbook

    Quote Originally Posted by Julianna
    Wow, I might as well have said "I am working on a book urging the beating to death of baby whales using the dead bodies of baby seals."
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    That's an excellent point. I'm, admittedly, a Ringling fanatic, but I'm pretty sure I'm going to wind up being faced with choosing between an affordable state school with a decent computer animation program and an expensive school (Ringling) with an excellent reputation. Your argument is very persuasive, and it does make me think. Thanks for your time and thoughts.

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    " how much of this is can be attributed to the talent they let in, and how much of it is the actual school itself?"

    I think its quite a bit, but from what Ive seen, success in CG animation isnt based only on artistic ability.

    As far as letting in good talent, Gobelins is probably doing the best job in that category.

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    As far as letting in good talent, Gobelins is probably doing the best job in that category.
    Oh yeah, by far. I was just referring to the US though.

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