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  1. #1
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    The Art Institutes Game Art and Design Program

    Is there anyone here taking this curriculum, and if so how do you like thus far. I am pondering attending the AI of Pittsburgh and I am curious to know if its worth my money or time. Thanks in advance to whoever responds.

    GaItKeEpAh

    FATHER!!! THE SLEEPER HAS AWAKENED!
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    Hi Gaitkeepah, you should check this thread out regarding the Art Institute schools

    http://www.conceptart.org/forums/sho...&threadid=7273

    apparantly, people seem to be quite unhappy with it

    Wanted: 30 chinamen and a zeppelin for an elaborate practical joke... can you help?
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    DO NOT GO TO AIP! My wife and I graduated from that school and the only good that came out of it was we met each other. I graduated in Graphic Design and she graduated in Photography. The classes I took at the local community college were better and gave me more information than AIP ever did. All they were interested in was getting your money every session, I had a total of 2 good instructors while I was there and they even told us we should get out and go to a REAL school.

    To be nobody-but-yourself -- in a world which is doing its best, night and day, to make you everybody else -- means to fight the hardest battle which any human being can fight; and never stop fighting.
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    Thanks for responding. I'm still researching the best school for me, I'm looking at Pratt or the San Francisco Art academy.
    I Haven't totally eliminated the AIP yet, but I will take into consideration the opinions of those here and at AWN when I ultimately make my decision.

    GaItKeEpAh:chug:

    FATHER!!! THE SLEEPER HAS AWAKENED!
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    the Game Art and Design program at AiCDIS in Burnaby, BC, Canada totally rocks.
    I'm in the CAP program there...not the EGAD or GAAF or the other game related program they have.....but I'm tempted to switch over.

    ....this school can certainly boast some of the best instructors around IMHO.
    ...I mean in my program alone I have 2 teachers that work full time at Mainframe.....in fact, the one was hired by the other.....he told him exactly what he had to have on his demo reel for the submissions people to take notice.

    ...from what I hear, the gaming programs here have instructors with 10 years of experience in the industry and more....
    ...they certainly know their stuff.....and you get to work closely with all the related fields-teaming up on projects with the programmers & animators and whatnot.

    ...and they cater to you to a degree that one would think you could only dream of. Crappy teachers are replaced at the drop of a hat, programs are re-planned to suit current industry standards, and they do everything they can to not only develop your skills, but to hone those skills into something that employers are looking for.

    ...it's way more than just training, it's an entire education. it totally rocks.

    -Rob

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  7. #6
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    The GAAD program rocks at AIOC! Although this is its first year, I've not heard any complaints so far! I'm double majoring in media arts and animation and GAAD. I haven't taken any of the GAAD classes yet, I'm going to get my animation out of the way first. Once that's done I'll letcha know!

    FAP FAP FAP
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    Now Im not going to come on and say Full Sail is a great school. I attend 3 of the degree courses there. Film, Digital Media, and Computer Animation. I went to this school in hopes it would take my current knowledge and apply it to new standards. I have to say I was dissapointed. There are some great instructors there, Mark Pinski of Mutlimedia Audio, is one of the best instructors in my opinion at the school. He really is the only teacher I know that gives full Lectures where you actually learn something. But I note that this is a precoarse class, and when you get to your degree program things do start going down hill. Most of the graduates I know end up going back home to live with their parents while trying to find another school to invest in, or are flipping burgers waiting for that perfect job to come to them. I honestly say if you want a school where you work hard and its only 14 months. Which most of the time goes pretty quickly then go to Full Sail. If you are wanting to learn something from the ground up, attend a 4 year school.

    NOTE:
    Placement at Fullsail was given 8 positions available from EA Tiburon in Maitland Florida. The team who develops Madden. THey wanted 4 Computer Animation students, and 4 Digital Media students. They ended up hiring 8 digital media students. Because they have a broader knowledge that people in the industry look for. So get your full 4 years worth I wish I did. I wouldnt have wasted 70 thousand dollars of my money. Also I note that the credits at Full Sail are not transferable to any other school than fullsail. So if you get your AA, you cant go for a BA at another school. Using Full Sail Credits.


    This is a tough decision. I wish you luck.

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    I'm going to AI in Burnaby, formerly CDIS. Finishing 3rd semester of the GAAP program. It is not so hot. This whole semester was a huge dissapointment.

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    Lil Qoh- I'd have to agree with you on that one. AiOC has great instructors for the GAAD program. I guess its all those blizzard guys, and the infamous Mr.Jung. But let me tell you it wasnt always so.... i've been at the school since its humble beginnings. And it has come a long way, still a long way from perfect, but alot better than b4.

    "Someone once told me you never finish a drawing, you just decide when to give up."
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    AI SUCKS ASS,DONT LISTEN.....HEAR!!!!!!INVESTIGATE YOUR FUTURE!!!!!!!!!!!!! THEY WANT MONEY NOT TALENT!!!!!!

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    I dont know about the other schools but I am going to AICALA right now...I think it is up to the student on what you get out of the school...If you think that if you just can pay alot of money and the knowledge and skills will be implanted in your brain your gona have and attitude like hatee:nopity: because you have to work your ass off to get good...We have some amazing instructors that are really in the game industry and know what the hell they are talking about...We just got a brand new mocap set up downstairs for animation.....I have an intership right next door at activison in the art department...Epic got involved with our program now so we will be working on creating a couple of fully developed levels in Unreal by the time we graduate for our demo reel....

    I have heard from lots of people that we have the best program because of our location...Lots of talent around the area so we have top notch instructors...

    But I do hear some people comlain about it to and alot of people could not hang with the program because they thought it was to difficult...But if you just crack on this stuff and soak it up, you will be a very well rounded game artist...

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    By the way...check out www.videogameartist.com ..This is run by one of our teachers, Nick Marks...He is lead texture artist at luxoflux who just finished up true crimes; streets of LA...Defently one of the best instructors at the school...

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    i went to the Art Institute of Los Angeles for a short time. I tested out of high school two years early and started at AI when I was 16. I didnt like the school, primarily because I had been working so much with everything I was doing there for so long already that it was boring.

    They do have some great proffesors though, and for anyone new to a lot of the different classes you have to take to advance in the programs it could be great.

    Did you have Vu at all Shade? My fundamentals of drawing proffesor was one of the coolest people I have met in my life, and I definately wouldnt be drawing like I am today without him. My work improved dramatically in his class, I had always drawn before, but he opened my eyes to so much, it was great. Best art teacher I have had. But obviously that isn't enough to keep me in a program I am spending so much money on and am so unhappy with.

    However, I did feel uncomfortable at that school for a number of reasons, a large one being my age. At 16 I was constantly confused about what was going on with my loans, registration etc. And a lot of the students did treat me differently when they found out I was 16. I really didnt like it. So I decided to leave and just work on my companies.

    TheShade, if you haven't had Vu, do what you can to get into one of his classes at some point. Hes great.

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    @ ai you get a real B.S. degree

    The one in San Diego sucks. Here's why.

    I interviewed w/ the admissions guy, showed him my portfolio.

    The Watts Atelier guys said I really needed improvement and my skill at fundamentals needed some work.

    The AI guy said it wasn't the best, but it was certainly in 2nd tier professional. I wonder if he'd said that instead of yeah it's really good. Only because I slipped up and said 'yah I need to improve.'

    He also said you really needed a degree in the industry and in his long experience at working for Devrage (they do underground contract work for all the major animation companies like editing and scene clean up he'd said lots of guys with amazing talent, and the potential employer really liked their stuff, weren't hired because they didn't have a degree. He said a degree shows you have committment, and lots of places turn down high talent w/out a degreee because they're afraid of hiring a gal and watching her leave six months later during a project.

    I took marketing at SDSU, and it doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure if someone likes something, they will buy (talent or otherwise)

    AI doesn't concentrate on life drawing. They offer only two drawing and two paining classes.

    They had NO grad student demos. No examples of undergrad student work. The guy didn't have anything from the instructors he could show me.

    NO list of companies they were working with to place grads. Except the national list, and I didn't see many gaming companies (I saw Sony, but they do other stuff too).

    No list of names of professors and their professional accomplishments except generalities like 'Our staff, one of the members worked for Sony.'

    They had internships but No list of companies they work with. I saw lots of students doing stuff like reception or manning the cafe . . .

    All they had was this canned advetisement CD.

    Also lots of the students didn't know their stuff. Like color theory for them was making sure it "matches". One of them said he thought the school was better before they joined up and I should move out of San Diego and go to LA for a school. Another girl said it was a great school, and it was good deal. But she had a Mercedes key though . . .
    Another girl said everything was too easy, and there was a guy in her major that barely showed up and turned in anything, yet somehow he still was in the school and she still had him for some of her 2nd year classes.


    I asked if my schooling at AI was transferrable and the guy took a long alligator X 3 second to say 'Yes it is accredited' but he didn't say if it was transferrable.

    They don't offer discounts on art or animation software. All they use are Macintoshes, saying that's the best in the industry. But places like Pixar use proprietary software, and have custome machines built. And dual AMD PC's w/ the right video card can fly rings around Macs . ..

    Oh well. My brother went to ITT and he knows places that cap on that and how poor the education for the money is. He said AI is the art version of ITT tech.

    What got me was that they said they are the SD center for all art related grads. Especially for gaming and 3d multimedia. Well SD only has two schools, Platt and AI.

    Platt was even worse. It's all the same except they have a finely honed sales lady with a neat marketing edge. If it weren't for here and awn forums, I'd fallen for that too.

    But the truth can break all false edges. Mmm Guiness (sp?) :beer:

    Last edited by hoku; October 1st, 2003 at 11:10 PM.
    There is some truth in your fiction and some fiction in your truth. To know the truth you must to risk everything
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    I would say AI was that bad, it could be a great art school if any of the students gave a shit. But they dont, and thats the biggest problem. I hate being one of the only 3 people in a class who are actualy trying to accomplish anything.

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    damn grinn...I couldnt agree with you more...It is all about how much the students are willing to put in...I really wanted to learn to draw well so I ended up taking a class from feng zhu up at gnomons as well...He probably taught me the most as far as concept art is concerned...I havent had Vu at AI, but I hear from everyone who takes him that he has taught them so much...I sat in once or twice and he seemed like a really good teacher...I had Marjon for most of my drawing classes...she is an amazing teacher...defently a character, but she is damn cool once you get to know her...I hear that she use to party with Andy Warhoal...hehe....I wouldnt be suprised...

    Hearing all these testomnials about other AI schools I am defently thinking that LA is the best...The first half of the game art program is dedicated to learning how to draw then you get into the 3d stuff then its back to traditional stuff again toward the end of the program...

    I started with about 30 people who were gona be graduating with me as the first game art students, but it is now down to about 7...I expect more to drop from that soon as well...So it is by no means easy...If you are really serious about a carreer in games, I think that AILA is a good choice...But you defently have to work your ass off to make it work for you...If your not willing to do that, save your self the time and money...

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    okay okay, lots of negative stuff about art institute schools. i notice no one even bothered to mention the game art/design program in replies. i may not be the most objective source for info on the program, i'm a year in at AI Phoenix.

    anyway, yeah. lots of negative stuff about art intitutes, even at art intitutes. i can't speak for the people here, so i will not. those i've run into at school are most often upset over grades and unwilling to shoulder the blame, so they pass it off on the teachers and the school. the first year i was out here, it was just like high school. everyone thinks they're top dog, and when a teacher tells them otherwise, they get mad. those people don't last.

    i've never been overly concerned if a teacher has industry experience. if they're teaching, they have a degree, so they know what they're talking about. i don't know the specifics of AI Pittsburg. at AIPX, we have a few teachers that admit to having industry experience... illustrators, game modelers, graphic designers, and there's one that's worked in tv, but i can't remember what he did specifically for the life of me, story boards and special effects maybe.

    the list brings me to the point. the game art program gets you a broad skill set that's got a few grads pretty sweet jobs. make sure it's what you want though, like it's been said, it's around $65K. if you work at it and take hard crits in stride, you'll do well. i hope it somehow helps that not everyone thinks the schools suck.

    *edit* i manage to actually hit the topic, then miss the question.

    i've had ups and downs in the program. some bad shit happened back home, i got a little depressed, and my grades took a hit. i'm getting past it, and my grades are getting back to normal. so i can't say it's been a bed of roses being here. school itself has not been bad. there have been some rough classes, but i haven't overly hated any of my teachers, and some of them have been downright cool. the program itself seems to start off slow, but your results may vary. that is, schedules vary wildly between students. you get the same classes, but you might get them earlier or later than most. for me, it's started a little slow. i've gotten plenty of fundamental classes in, but not a lot of 3d or game theory. that'll be picking up soon enough though. you'll want to get the opinion of a few more people actually in the program, if you ask me.

    it is a bit exciting when you see what you can pull off in 3d. some teachers will push you (hard) to use mediums you haven't ever touched, particularly in the illustration class.

    now i'm rambling. hope that mess of text helps you out.

    Last edited by malicious; October 12th, 2003 at 11:14 PM.
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  19. #18
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    I also attend the Art Institute of Phoenix as a Game Art and Design student. I have about one year left, and I have generally been pleased. I too was very skeptical before attending, and made up my mind at the last minute.

    Here are a couple of considerations to keep in mind:

    1. I am not familiar with most of the AI schools, but as a generalisation Phoenix and Los Angeles are by many accounts very strong production art schools.

    2. If you are coming out of high school, you can apply for scholarships (at least at Phx) that will knock off half your tuition. Additionally, if you can demonstrate competency in particular technical disciplines prior to taking any class (3DS Max modeling, Director, Flash, etc.) you can present a portfolio of work to the directors in order to demonstrate competency and forego a course. They also (leniently) accept and apply transfer credits from community college etc. In this respect, one can potentially knock his tuition down to as little as 25k if he goes through all of the proper channels.

    3. Phoenix has a professional teaching staff. Many instructors have several years of experience in education as well as their respective disciplines. Some instructors come from backgrounds including game and level design, game art and animation, television and film animation and effects, as well as traditional animation and illustration. However, as will be the case with any school, there will be one or two bad teachers for every great one you come across. The trick is to just find out with whom you can best interface, and actively seek them out for advice, critiques, etc.

    4. The few local studios in the area are in good standing with the school (Rainbow, Realm, etc.) and have actively sought interns. Some of the part-time instructors are also full-time at these studios and are great about helping students. They provide insight into their work, help students establish connections, and bring student work with them when visiting other studios and conferences.

    5. So far (I believe it has been a little over one year since AIPX's first GAD gradution) students have gotten jobs at Vicious Cycle, Far Sight, Pandemic, Realm, NeverSoft, Sierra, ArenaNet, and Terminal Reality that I know of as artists, animators, level designers, etc. based on the disciplines upon which they chose to focus.

    6. Most of the Art Institutes are corporately-owned. In this respect, their foremost concern is making money. This will manifest itself in a number of interdependent ways. They sometimes pass people who really do not deserve it in the interest of maintaining their tuition money. There are some people whom instructors do not actively challenge, but this could be because a teacher views these individuals a lost cause. (I am not saying you will not get help when you need it. However, if students show little interest beyond simply playing games, and they are not spending the necessary time on their work, a teacher will not go out of his way to give them objective critiques.) This has a flip side of keeping your tuition down though . On the other hand, they cannot permit people to graduate who have utter crap in their portfolio. That is bad for the school's publicity and means less money.

    7. The Phoenix branch is nationally accredited. This does not necessarily put your credits into the same pile as a state-owned university, but it does mean you have the security of an accredited degree. If you try to transfer out credits you get here or anywhere else for that matter, it will ultimately be up to the discretion of the university in receipt of the credits. If particular courses do not fit curriculums at a recipient institution, they have the right to deny any accredited programs. In my opinion, it is going to be best to find a place that you know you will want to finish, but I know this is not always possible, so it is another thing to keep in mind.

    8. Phoenix's GAD program has been around for a bit over 4 years now, and is the most established of the Art Institutes. I cannot vouch for many of the other schools, as most of their programs have only been adopted within the last year.

    In the end, I feel that no art school will make you a better artist. It is really a combination of dedication, focus, and continual communication with communities such as this. Getting advice from peers, instructors, professionals, and other artists is really very important. The students here who have been successful are the ones working maybe 60 or more hours a week drawing, painting, and working on the computer. I feel pleased with the quality of information I have received at AIPX thus far, and have appreciated the instructors' willingness to accomodate my needs.

    I wish you the best of luck in finding a school that can meet your needs

    Last edited by adam_mechtley; October 13th, 2003 at 12:52 AM.
    Adam Mechtley
    Animator, Rainbow Studios
    Coordinator, Phoenix IGDA

    "When you read something new, if it rhymes it must be true."
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  20. #19
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    Just wanted to throw in my 2 cents on this AI thing. I'm currently a 6th quarter Game Art major at AILA, and my opinion has changed about the school drastically since I started.

    I used to hate it. The classes were mediocre and uninteresting, the instrutors seemed really strong in their fields, but the classes and assignments left MUCH to be desired. (there were definitely exceptions to this, but whatever) I also had this overwhelming feeling that they were letting in random idiots off the street that had no prior art experience. Well, it was more than a feeling, they most definitely were.

    However, once 3rd-4th quarter rolled around, I started to feel a distinct change in the class structures, and the students. I was looking around my classes, and realizing that just about everybody who had started the same time as me was gone (about 75% gone). All the no-talent and lazy ones were dropping like flies, and what was left was a really talented group of people. The classes were also laid out much better, and I felt that the quarter system was actually causing the profs to push us harder to succeed because of the reduced class time.

    I've talked to a lot of students who have transferred from other AI's, and over and over I hear about how they were either too laid back and not helpful, or just plain bad. I have friends who live in San Diego and transferred from that AI to here, and commute from San Diego each day. To me, that says alot about the LA branch. The majority of the teachers here are amazing (Marjan, Clayton, Vu, Long, Hayze), and I'm really enjoying myself and learning a lot. Just my 2cents.

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    hey guys, hmm interesting, i too been planning to go to AILA ina few years, doing game program of course. i like games but mostly for their art, drool. so dr6gon how many students you have left with the whole game program class? over all that is. to me it seems like not many ppl would be interested in those things. btw, did you go to AILA right after highschool? i know i should just call them and ask but what are the general requirments to get into AILA?

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    Originally posted by LadyLioness
    hey guys, hmm interesting, i too been planning to go to AILA ina few years, doing game program of course. i like games but mostly for their art, drool. so dr6gon how many students you have left with the whole game program class? over all that is. to me it seems like not many ppl would be interested in those things. btw, did you go to AILA right after highschool? i know i should just call them and ask but what are the general requirments to get into AILA?
    As far as I can tell, I would guestimate around 30 are left that started when I did. I'm sure new ones have entered the program, but 30 down from at least 100 in 1.5 years is pretty extreme. I'm sure this is do to their low entrance requirements, because a lot of the classes are very "sink or swim", and most prople just weren't cutting it. I didn't go right after high school, I worked in the internet industry for several years, and now I'm back at school (i'm 24). And since a new quarter just started two weeks ago, I can give my impressions of this round of classes (sculpting, 3d modeling, compositing, concept drawing, and game design). I'm getting more impressed with the program each quarter. All the projects will definitely have a real world application, and the instructors REALLY know their stuff. (our concept drawing teacher worked on Beauty and the Beast). Good stuff. As far as requirements, pretty much as long as you show up with some work you've done, you'll get in. But just because it's easy to get in doesn't mean it's easy to stay in.

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    alright cool thanks dra6gon :chug:

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    The problem I found at AILA was that there were barely any talented students at all dra6on. You may disagree, and try to push me off as one of those students who had no talent and tried to take it out on the rest of the school or what have you. But I wasn't. There were only 1 or 2 other people in each one of my classes that had any talent at all, or at least cared enough to do some decent work. And I know at least 1 of the guys I am thinking of also dropped. It was like working by myself all the time, so I figured I might as well work by myself anyways.

    Its hard to justify taking a year and a half of classes before they get interesting, and even harder for me to justify spending the money for them when I can take almost identical classes at other schools seperately without spending $1500 on each one...even the ones I don't want to take.

    Vu was a great instructor, definately. I wish I could ask him for help every now and then, but I cant. Not because he wouldn't help me, but because I don't have any way of contacting him.

    If there had been a decent number of real art students at the school when I went, people for me to connect with and understand then I would probably still be at the school today. I think the school is definately right for some people. But it wasnt for me, and I advise everyone considering going to really take a good look at the school and classes before they dish out the money.

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    Actually, I totally agree with you grinn. Many people there aren't that talented, but at least for me, that hasn't really been much of an issue, since the classes I've had aren't hardly ever team driven, and I've latched onto people that are 10th-12th quarter that really are talented that can keep me working hard. As far as the classes, I should clarify that I didn't find that first 1.5 years uninteresting, it's just that since I'm game art, the classes didn't seem really relevant to my degree until now. Not that the more fundamental classes didn't help, but I just wanted to get into the 3d modeling and animation immediately, but I can see why they do it the way they do. Had it not been for Marjan and her anatomy classes, I wouldn't be half the artist I am. Like I said before, I wouldn't be going here had it not been for the Game Art program, so yes, everybody thnking about going here should definitely think long and hard if it's a good fit for THEM.

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    Yes I was in the Game Art program as well. The photoshop and illustrator classes are really what destroyed me. I couldnt take it. I had been working with photoshop and illustrator for years and years. It was terrible. But like I said in an earlier post, the drawing class under Vu made it all worth it. I just didnt want to get myself so far in that I couldnt afford to stay in, or get out. So I made a decision to leave and I did. I am pretty happy with the decision, but thats not to say I wouldnt have enjoyed staying as well. that just wasn't how it looked at the time.

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    LOL! Yeah those classes were tough. I was working as a graphic artist/web designer for years before I went to school, and those classes were almost impossible to sit through.

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    I'm looking at the AILA for next year. What kind of student do you think it's is good for? I only got into art two years ago, and am taking my second high school art class. I get all A's in art, and got some pretty positive reviews at Portfolio Day, but I still have a lot to learn and have experience in a very limited number of mediums. (What is the plural of 'medium' anyway?)

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    good info, btw what other schools known for game art? i know another alternative is illustration or industrial art which could be taken at art center. though i havent seen other schools with game programs around the southern cali area.

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    ladylioness:
    you could try aipx, but we've got the same problems as the LA campus, nevermind that it's phoenix, not southern cali. it will be the same cirriculum, so really basic drawing, photoshop, and illustrator classes. i'll have to check my sources, but i believe aipx has one of the older game art programs. seems like they've sprung up everywhere since i started here. anyway, i can't say anything that adam mechtley hasn't already. i guess this is just a gentle prod reminding you that there are alternatives on this side of the country (not that it mattered for me, i'm from indiana. 3 day drive = bad)

    beaumaines:
    same thing, don't be afraid to consider moving to go to school. as for what kind of students AI's cirriculum may or may not be good for... you need dedication and time management. (i'm horrible about time management, so i get stress. yay!) grades from high school aren't necessarily a very good indication as to how you'll do in a college. i'm finding that classes at AIPX are quite a bit more demanding than my high school classes, art or otherwise. i agree with what adam said, "no art school will make you a better artist", that is, only you can make yourself better. elaborating on that thought, i feel that my experience at AIPX has helped me grow as an artist by forcing me to do things i normally would not do. if you take the assignments that fall outside your comfort-zone in stride, you will get a lot out of it.


    no matter where you go, you're going to get classes you don't like, classes you might even consider beneath your ability. these classes are where you should shine the most, as you already know the material. sure it'll be boring, but when has school not been?

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    Whats up Dra6on...I am currently in my 10th quarter...I have to say I am damn pleased with this program...I was laughing when I read that the 100 students you started with fell to about 30 by now...By the time you are in the final project classes that number will be close to 7...That is what we have now...I think that so many people come into this program thinking that they will get to play video games all day or somthing...hehehe...It couldnt be further from the truth...They work your ass so hard that you actually will have less time for games...But I have been given so many oppritunitys to meet very talented people...I will be working at Spark soon on Call of Duty for PS2 because of some contacts that I made at Activision during my internship. I really have only good things to say about the program now...I have worked my ass off though the whole time I was here...I defently notice a trend of those who do not put forth the effort, are always the ones who have the most complaints about the school...

    LadyLioness, I would recommend getting a list of classes from AI on the game art program and then enrolling in a City Collage and smash out as much of the stuff as you can there...If you get rid of all those fundemental classes you will have a much cheaper bill in the end and the semesters you spend on learning how to draw at a city collage will be better for you then trying to learn how to draw in just a few quarters...If you want to be a concept artist then Art Center is a good choice(expenseve too!!) but another good school that I have gone to was Gnomon...Take the production design classes with Feng Zhu...I hope this was a help to some people....

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