Good School for a MA in 3D Animation

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  1. #1
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    Good School for a MA in 3D Animation

    Greetings:

    Hi my name is Alex. I am currently considering several schools to get my Masters in 3D Animation. The school were I got my BFA wasnot very good in my concentration, so I pretty much had to teach myself and others, including professors how to use 3D software. Needless to say it was a pain in the butt.

    I'm looking for a school that has a good job placement program, has professors that know the game industry well, and will offer insight on how I can improve my work. I am currently a freelance 3D Artist, yeah starving... Right now the school that seems to be the most promising is SCAD, but I really want to know more. Good and Bad. Thanks you for your time

    Sincerely

    Alex
    3D Artist
    www.apsentertainment.com

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  3. #2
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    WWW.GNOMON3D.COM CHECK THEM OUT

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    Hi aps26,

    Im a sophmore going on junior year at Ringling School of Art and Design. www.rsad.edu

    I think Ringling has a great CA program, and excellent faculty. It's a little pricy but you get your monies worth.


    Don't take my word for it, go to the website and check out the Computer animation gallery, if it looks good to ya then do it.

    Good Luck on your search

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  5. #4
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    Hey I just graduated BFA from SCAD in computer art. I haev to say that I'm in the same situation you are. I felt like I didn't learn all that much. The game design program is a joke in my opinion. There's only one game design class. It's also the only class there that teaches 3d Studio max. Actual quote from class:

    Student: Hey, there was supposed to be a lecture on animal forms today, why aren't you lecturing?

    Teacher: Oh, I just put that syllabus together becuase the college requires it (chuckle). Oh, did you want me to talk about animal forms? I could maybe make something up. (chuckle).


    He didn't even make something up. It's not a terrible school. There's great facilities and stuff. Some of the teachers are good, but some are bad. Out of curiosity, what school did you go to?

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  6. #5
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    Greetings:

    Thanks for all the replys. Jeff I went to the University of Masachusetts Lowell. The professors were nice and the students were cool, but I went to school I went to learn, not just sit around like I was in a cafe. I spent a lot of money on crappy software from metacreations since the school used it at first, instead of buying industry standards like max or lightwave. I bought, Infini-D then Raydream, Bryce and Poser. I so happy when I found out the damn things didn't talk to each other. I thought it was common sense to be able to import Raydream files into Infini-D or Bryce... But NOOO. In short I wasted 900 dollars on useless crap. Boy was I happy. It seems that when I learn, I do it the really hard way. I didn't know anything about 3D when I went to school...

    I had professors that thought that teaching how to use software was like going to a vocational school... He saw it as a negative thing. The truth was he did not really know the software or the industry, and most of what he taught he learned from students, me included. LOL. The computer art classes didn't really show the basics of the software, etc. The school facilities did improve after I graduated since there was a small group of 3D Artist who really wanted to get something out of school. I was the last member of those misfits to graduate, so I sort of saw the fruits of our battles. I never kept my mouth shut either. LOL. Now the school has Maya, lightwave and top of the line dual processor Macs. Not sure if they have the faculty to make proper use of this, but I think it's a students responsibility to learn, especially if the professor isn't teaching jack. I really didn't have good hardware at school to output video, make animation, etc. Those came in after I graduated.

    I have a couple of questions...

    Does Ringling have a Masters in CA program? I checked out their site and really didn't like it. The site didn't say, so I'm assuming they only offers a BA in CA,

    What kind of access do students have to the computer labs? Is it only through class time or are they open to accomodate students hectic schedules. I had to work over 20 hrs to get through school so the silly 12 to 5:30 lab hours on Sat. and Sun. didn't cut it. The way I got around this was becoming the lab tech for the weekends. Then I was able to to keep the lab open until 12 pm to 12 am, although I got paid only for 8 hrs. LOL I had to get permission from the chair man to do it. His idea was the lab had to close, mine was that the lab had to open so students could get their work done especially for finals week.

    I'm also looking for a school where the faculty doesn't look down on Game Artists as a joke and help students prepare to get into the industry.

    Later

    Alex

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  7. #6
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    Originally posted by aps26_perez
    I have a couple of questions...

    Does Ringling have a Masters in CA program? I checked out their site and really didn't like it. The site didn't say, so I'm assuming they only offers a BA in CA,

    Hey Alex,
    To answer your question, no, Ringling doesn't currently have a MA program for computer animation. Right now they only offer an undergraduate bachelors degree.

    What kind of access do students have to the computer labs? Is it only through class time or are they open to accomodate students hectic schedules. I had to work over 20 hrs to get through school so the silly 12 to 5:30 lab hours on Sat. and Sun. didn't cut it. The way I got around this was becoming the lab tech for the weekends. Then I was able to to keep the lab open until 12 pm to 12 am, although I got paid only for 8 hrs. LOL I had to get permission from the chair man to do it. His idea was the lab had to close, mine was that the lab had to open so students could get their work done especially for finals week.

    Lab time at Ringling is almost never a problem. The way we work it is at the beginning of each semester, the sophmore, junior, and senior Computer Animation majors sign up for lab time. You're allowed to use the labs at any time (provided there isn't a class in there). The lab time signup is basically their so that there is a list to refer to if all the computers are full (which they rarely are across the 3 computer animation labs we have). The regular (non-holiday) lab hours are 8am to midnight 7 days a week.

    As far as courseload goes, it's Ringling's policy that for every 3 hour class period there should be 6 hours of ourside class work done in the labs. With two 3 hour animation classes per week that adds up to 12 hours of lab time outside of class that you're supposed to be working on your projects. Thats an underestimate. I'm a senior now, and coming from experience the computer animators spend upwards of 25+ hours in the lab per week working on their stuff. There is a reason that the school has the reputation it has - it's students work harder than anywhere else, and I'm sure a lot of us take great pride in the accomplishments we've made so far.

    I'm also looking for a school where the faculty doesn't look down on Game Artists as a joke and help students prepare to get into the industry.

    Game art isn't a joke. The video game industry is more lucrative on a per year basis than feature films. Ringling has great relationships with EA and many other game studios.

    We all have Playstations. No one will look down on you.

    Hope this helped.

    jeremy
    jcollins@ringling.edu

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  8. #7
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    the degree isnt going to do shite for you...if i were you Id go to GNOMON and get it over with..at least the faculty there work in the field...kchen is a great example of that. there are no schools in mass with a good connection to the games industry...not even close.

    cali is where it is at...plain and simple. otherwise you might as well self teach thru cgtalk.com


    j

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    not to step on any toes, but who the hell is Kchen. She's not part of the CA faculty. Maybe she is a core teacher.

    CA is more then just connections. It's very hard to self teach yourself through CGtalk. I know, I tried too, by downloading every tut I could find. I won't lie, I learned a lot this way, but I tought myself a lot of bad habits that I had to break later. I can tell you decisively, that to learn CA well, and fast, thier is no substitute for a well versed expert in the field to teach you, and a lab full of friends, when you get stuck.

    The teachers are from the industry, a couple from Disney, a few from blue sky and a couple from smaller studios, and yes some of them did go to ringling as well.

    I live in California, and choose, to go to ringling 3000 miles a way, because I thought it is a great place to learn what I want to do.

    I got into many art schools, but choose ringling over all of them.

    (bit of trivia, Californians don't call California "Cali", well at least not in Southern California)

    It's true that the school doesn't make the artist, but a good school might point you in the right direction.

    Good luck to all those young lost artists out there, I remember how much it sucked.

    Ringling doesn't offer a masters in CA but then who does. You, don't get paid any more for a masters degree. Or hired any easier. It's all about the Reel.

    I hope this post was useful, I don't like to post much

    PS. To all my CA peeps, catch all of you at siggraph at the ringling booth later next week

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    Ca

    Quote Originally Posted by Aegis

    (bit of trivia, Californians don't call California "Cali", well at least not in Southern California)

    erm I live in nor*cal
    >_> (yeah yeah I know... a bunch of rivalry... so dumb)
    But over here we say Cali or California... just depends on who you talk to

    -_- sorry if that was off topic...
    to bring myself more on topic...


    CA is a great place to go for animation since this is the home of Pixar, and because we are considered the state of technology (San Jose XDDD.... Silicon Valley, etc.)

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    Well, I graduated with Jeff from Scad not long ago. I agree that the school itself wasn't really worth the money. But at the same time, it could be a lot worse. The kinds of people that were going there at the same time were very knowledgable, and feeding off each others ideas and ispiring one another was priceless. Met my best bud Sammy there, as well as many more very cool and talented people. The cirriculum sucked in terms of what the teachers were teaching you, and their (and I can only really speak on teachers that I had) apparent lack of ability. It was more of a situation where an assignment was given, and eventually graded, but learning everything required to satisfy the assignment was all up to you.

    I think the most important thing is your own desire to become good at something. With strong self motivation, and an environment of peers that you can learn and be inspired with, the faults of the curriculum are almost insignificant. I didn't even touch a 3D program until late in my sophomore year, but still managed to get a job not long after graduating. In terms of that good "environment", I would say SCAD has got it. Tons of money to pour into new machines, and the computer facilities there are really good (unlike some other stories I have heard about other schools.)

    Also, i would recommend looking into SMU in texas. My roomates brother works as a professor there, and I haven't done any personal looking into the school, but from what I hear, they have some really great gaming stuff going on. They even have their own motion capture studio (sweet!)

    Hope I helped. But gotta agree with what Jason said. In this art field, scholarship is completely irrelevant. If you only saw some of the senior projects out of my class, and know how hopeless some of these 3D art guys were at a future in the industry, you would easily see why in general the industry doesnt consider a scholarship too important.

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    Thinking that getting into the 'graphics industry', being it game or movie or whatever, is a merit system is just plain wrong.

    If you get a Masters in Art, that does not guarantee employment, unless it's based on a technical degree, like computers or engineering.

    When I mean guarantee employment, I mean within the industry not academia. You'll probably be guaranteed employment in teaching, but I don't believe it'll guarantee employment in the industry.

    The 'industry' forces you to be social as well as artistic. So not only do you have to practise your artistic ability, but be a social butterfly as well, and present yourself as good natured. Alot of people get hired simply because they're well liked, not because they were better then the other guy......it's kinda clicky.

    Of course the alternative is to prove you've mastered the 'arts', but a degree just proves you've accomplished a 'system', not an ability.

    Last edited by NoSeRider; May 30th, 2005 at 09:01 AM. Reason: Doh! I can't spell.....
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    Quote Originally Posted by Aegis
    not to step on any toes, but who the hell is Kchen. She's not part of the CA faculty. Maybe she is a core teacher.
    Kchen is a he not a she. Kevin Chen is a teacher over at GNOMON and also taught at Art Center and as Jason Manley mentioned it a good example of a teacher who works in the industry.

    Aegis if you want to work in the entertainment industry I recommend that you do some research on who are some of the people in the industry because Kevin might be the one interviewing you someday...you never know.

    Last edited by wazabi; May 30th, 2005 at 05:15 PM.
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  14. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by NoSeRider
    The 'industry' forces you to be social as well as artistic. So not only do you have to practise your artistic ability, but be a social butterfly as well, and present yourself as good natured. Alot of people get hired simply because they're well liked, not because they were better then the other guy......it's kinda clicky.
    I wouldnt say the industry is clicky so much. The social aspect of things that you are talking about is simple human nature. Especially within the art fields, there is a lot of ego and pretentiousness, and it is something that most people don't really want to be working with on a 9-5 (or more!) basis. When someone is stubborn, and full of themselves, it can be destructive to the mental health of those around him, draggin the whole team down. At that point, it doesn't really matter how good someone is, they are being a detriment to the project as a whole. People are not robots, so it is impossible to seperate the human side of things even inside the industry. Most people would much rather work with someone who is not quite as good, but carries a positive attitude, and a personality that promotes a positive social atmosphere in the workplace than a really good artistic asshole.

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  15. #14
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    I thought this thread was dead. LOL

    It's been sometime since I started this thread. I will get a masters in Animation at some point in my life but I want to focus on other things first. I have been doing some contract work here and there, freebies and just building up my reel. I would get a masters just to have the option to teach at university level and to meet other artist in my field. I just got a nice job finally and if everything goes well I'll be make to make my first CG film and maybe also get a game under my belt.

    As for school I still have doubts about a lot of them but it seems in time they will get it right, but time will tell. Thanks for all the feedback.

    Alex
    Freelance 3D Artist
    Sage from Polycount
    www.apsentertainment.com

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    blub

    wussup ppl, im new to this forum but i just gotta say wat i gotta say cuz i need someones opinion. I was going to go to dmac(digital media arts college) in boca raton FL to work on my BA for computer animation. I wasnt able to go becuz of financial reasons (mostly becuz the school isnt accredited and doesnt have any federal loan programs). but then i started doing more research and decided to go to ringling for CA. wat do you guys think? do you guys think this is the right decision? I heard ringling is a great school but...I dont kno. ppl talk crap you kno? so...someone, speak up!

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