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  1. #1
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    OCAD vs. Concordia vs. Sheridan vs…

    Okay, so, I have a lot of schools I'm interested in and I want to pear it down.

    I've been in the animation program at Algonquin College for two years now. I dropped out about halfway through fourth semester (a month or two ago) after realising I hate animation. There was also a lot of petty, vague group politics that I found hard to tolerate within the program and I wasn't the only person bothered by it. Or, maybe I just lost interest?

    Anyway, I still love to draw! And I don't know what school will offer me what I need in order to get what I want. The two schools I've been looking at most are OCAD and Concordia in Montréal, but also Sheridan for their illustration program. I'm looking to sharpen my drawing skills, learn how to paint and use color theory, to sculpt (as I'd gotten a lot of encouraged from my art teacher and classmates in high school for my sculptures, and always enjoyed doing it but got frustrated when I stopped for so long) and… I don't know what else. I used to want to be a filmmaker, and I'd probably want to take some sort of film course, maybe as a minor. I'm sort of confused. I'll let an emoticon convey this:

    As for what I'd like to use all these skills for… I dunno. The one thing I enjoyed the most in animation was character design. I've been thinking about working in the video game industry, comics, storyboarding, and stuff like that. Design and sequential art? I'd also been interesting in concept art, naturally, but the idea sounds so ethereal. It seems really difficult to find any resources outside this site that deal with concept art in general.

    I'd like to hear anybody's experiences with these schools (especially Concordia, as I haven't been able to find much mention of it on CA at all) and any other schools in the Ontario-Québec area, although I probably shouldn't limit myself geographically.

    Enough babbling, please help!


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  3. #2
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    Max the Mutt in Toronto offers a diploma in Illustration for Sequential Arts and is in the process of applying for a new diploma pogram in Concept Art. Check out the web site, www.maxthemutt.com. If you see concept art as a goal, wherever you go be sure you'll get strong traditional representational art skills. End of year shows should be starting now! Go and visit the schools that interest you and take a look at the work their students are producing. That's your best source of info. Also, see if you can contact current students and grads.Ask questions.
    Last edited by Maxine Schacker; April 26th, 2007 at 08:34 PM.

  4. #3
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    I just got out of Sheridan's Art Fundamentals program and will be starting Animation in September, so here's all I know about that so far (I had a really hard time decided whether to take Animation or Illustration and ended up doing a ton of research on both, so hopefully something will be helpful):

    -Sheridan's animation program is very geared towards the film, television and gaming industry. I've met a few Sheridan animators who HATE animating, but they stick with the program because despite the name, they prepare you for more than being the guy who sits and draws the same thing over and over. In fact, aside from the one class, the rest of it seems to fit your description of what you want to do: Storyboarding, painting, color theory, character design, concept art, (possibly sculpture), strong drawing component, storytelling, etc- as well as your career goals (practically everyone I know wanting to take Sheridan's animation program has the same ambitions as you listed!). I think film studies make up a bit of the program as well.

    -However, if you've decided you still don't want to touch animation with a ten-foot pencil, Sheridan's Illustration program does a TON of pre-production, conceptual type stuff. Lots of visualization and communication work with a strong focus on different media, so you'll be doing a lot of painting. In second year you can choose whether to take Interpretive Illustration or Technical; Interpretive is more along the lines of expressive art, suitable for editorial work, advertising or children's books. Technical is usually what people who want to get into concept art take, because you have to be able to draw things extremely accurately and with the concept of FUNCTION in mind.

    -Check out Sheridan's student art- I have links if you're interested. If what you see in a school's student work is the kind of thing you'd like to do, give it a consideration. I highly reccomend comparing the schools in this light. Sheridan's animators blew me away with their non-animated work, and the illustrators do some amazing work as well. I hear OCAD's Illustration is more fine arts-oriented than Sheridan, but I don't know about that.

    -One thing you might want to think about is the portfolio. The Sheridan portfolio has a notorious reputation, particularly for the Animation program, and you want to start preparing for it ahead of time. I don't know about other schools, but if you do decide to go to Sheridan, getting help from people who did it already can make a big difference. I'm pretty sure I never would have gotten in if I hadn't already been taking Art Fundamentals there; you might get lucky, but it's best not to take chances if you really want to come here.

    Other alternatives you might want to check out is Sheridan's new Visual and Creative Arts program, which is flexible, but of unknown quality as of now. I would take Maxine's advice and visit these schools, look at the student work and try to find out where the grads went. Sheridan has some impressive alumni, but it's not the whole story. I'm enjoying myself and am looking forward to September, however.

    Obviously I don't know anything about the other schools you mentioned, so if someone else wants to take the mike...

  5. #4
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    Momus- Sheridan's open house is on, I believe, right now! I'm not sure about OCAD. Max the Mutt's first year show is on - and its worth seeing. Graduate show isn't until the first weekend in June. You really need to get to all these shows. It's an important part of your research. I'm interested in knowing where you decide to apply - and why.

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    Hey Momus,

    I have to say Sheridan Animation seems to be suited to your interests. I'm currently in the program now, just finished first year.

    You say you want to do storyboarding? Concept art? etc, well all of these things require you to be able to draw PEOPLE and draw them well. I have to be frank, the animation students at Sheridan are MUCH better at lifedrawing (people drawing) than any other school in Ontario/Quebec. (And I'm not just spewing out my bias, this is just a fact). I've seen work from OCAD, Seneca, etc, and many of them in their later years, are only par with first years at Sheridan.

    In animation we deal with the body ALOT. Because when animating, you are always dealing with a character, a body. So unlike illustration, which focuses on "messages" and deeper meanings, as well as drawing OTHER THINGS besides bodies, in animation we do hardcore anatomy (bones, muscles, ligaments, character). We also learn how to do what they do in illustration, only we have a more solid foundation in structure and gesture.

    Basically, I'm trying to say Animation will teach you the tools that enable you to draw anything and prepare you for much much more than just flipping pages.

    PS. It's funny that you would drop out of Algonquin, there is a guy in my class that did the same. What's going on there?? lol
    "The reason for doing animation is caricature." - Brad Bird

  7. #6
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    I would say that, if you can, visit each of the schools, view the students work and decide for yourself ultimately. Do your research!

    One point 5frames I will disagree with is your line where you said animators can do what illustrators can. The sheridan animation program is highly focussed on anatomy and figurative drawing, this is true, but I don't believe that in the right context it is fair to say you can do what illustrators do but with better gesture and anatomy! This all depends on what you mean...

    I thought I would point this out. Of course it is all relative. From an animators point of view, you can do "it all" but from an illustrators point of view is quite different from this. In the end illustrators will obviously have a bias as much as the animators have in their own work so I can see what you mean though.

  8. #7
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    Id also like to chime in and state that you essentially have a year and a half before you could go to sheridan for animation or illustration, so you have that much time atleast to do your research on all schools that interest you. Sheridan itself is pretty awesome, but like any school its all relative to how much YOU put into it. You wont get anything out of it if you just sit back and expect everything to come to you.


    As for comparing illustrators to animators, I would personally say being in animation, that we can do things better than illustrators, and they can do things better than us. I have yet to see an animator draw something as technically complex or as precise as anything the tech illustrators do, and so many animators have such terrible terrible colour skills (myself included) and lack skills in many mediums besides goauche, pencil, and watercolour. Also, very few animators are good at graphic design. Also, I would like to point out that few animators can tell a good story either, as its not really a huge focus in the animation program.

    Then again, youll find that in every year there are a small group of really exceptional students who CAN do it all, in BOTH programs, and this is mainly because they are so dedicated to what they want to do and never stop drawing, painting, and learning.

    As for schools, well man, it all comes down to which one feels right FOR YOU. Take into consideration all factors, and try to visit all facilities, and go to the one that feels like you belong there. My choice was sheridan, although i did visit ocad, algonquin and seneca, but never had a chance to see concordia (but montreal ROCKS)

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    It's amusing to hear everyone insist that his/her program is best ( even within the same school)- but at least the folks writing like their programs! I'm glad to hear that there's lots of drawing at Sheridan as well as at Max the Mutt. However, YOU have to look for yourself and judge for yourself. You will also hear negative feedback on all these programs. Go to the year end shows...and let us know your impressions. Also, ask questions. Talk to graduates as well as current students. Ask the industry. You're in Ottawa- call some of the companies and ask them which schools they'd recommend (Copernicus, for example).

    Amazing Action Ape, I gather you've never visited Max the Mutt. Do come by this year! We have a very deep program- lots of drawing and anatomy, as well as the whole Disney/Warner Bros pre -computer suggested curriculum. We've added computer, but not until 3rd and fourth year.Last year we had 90% employment in the industry within two weeks of graduation. We've recently been fortunate to have Stephen Barnes (Toy Story 2, Monsters Inc, A Bug's Life), and Goran Delic , well known concept artist , join our faculty. Canada needs all the good animators we can get, so we're happy to hear that things are going well at Sheridan too!
    Last edited by Maxine Schacker; April 29th, 2007 at 08:59 AM.

  10. #9
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    Hi Maxine. I think that we were just comparing the differences from animation and illustration. Obviously if I'm in Illustration I have some feeling it is what I enjoy doing, not that it is necessarily "better" then animation.

    That being said there are other options, and your school I am sure has many good courses for people who wish to look at other schools as an alternative to Sheridan. I am not familiar with max the mutt as it is a fairly new school to me but I am excited to see where it goes in the future!

    Ape, you put it pretty well I would say. Righto!

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    Endregan, the future is here. We have graduates now who are animation directors, character designers for major companies, animators with major companies. We've been around for 10 years, and all of us are seasoned professionals. Why don't you visit our open house the first week in June?If you come and I'm around please say hello.
    Last edited by Maxine Schacker; May 2nd, 2007 at 04:49 PM.

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    Sheridan is a great school as far as i hear, when it comes to film video games ect ect. i am here at OCAD though, i guess if i could say anything about ocad is that it really curves its students into doing thier thing. from my 1st year i gather that if you study and you talk to the profs they can be a great help and you will learn allot. some of them teach in both sheridan and ocad anyways. over all i am surprised to say that its not that bad here. if you are willing to work extra hard to make up for the fact that ocad doesn't stride towards perfection in terms of technical skills this school is quite decent. but consider that its the student that makes the school not vice versa. there are plenty of souses here at conceptart and all over the net to get in touch with people. i am sure a fellow artist who works in the industry wouldn't mind sharing a tip or 2 with anyone if approached politely.
    radiance spreading through the darkness, like answers spilling from an urn of secrets.

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  13. #12
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    More and more I'm leaning toward Sheridan but I'll keep my options open and take a closer look at every school I can. I'll probably get a chance later this month to visit OCAD and Sheridan, actually. Thanks to everyone for their feedback!

    Just out of curiosity, though it is pretty important I realise now, how do my marks and the credits I've earned factor into my potential admission? I kept some of the courses I was interested in through to the end of fourth semester (life drawing, design, and storyboarding while I dropped animation and computers; thereby pruning everything about animation from my schedule) and was wondering how schools might look at this and my grades.

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    Momus,

    While I obviously don't know the innerworkings of the admission system, I'm pretty sure at Sheridan they aren't heavily concerned with your academic track record. Just have a strong portfolio and that is all they will care about. Our teachers even tell us that marks aren't important, but the learning is. Infact, my teacher on his blog just posted this quote:

    "Don't let school get in the way of your education."

    Good luck to you man.
    "The reason for doing animation is caricature." - Brad Bird

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    5frames i beg to differ, last year when i applied i got a really high folio grade but i didn't get accepted because of their academic criteria. as long as you have a senior English and 5 OAC courses (if you are on the old educational system), or the senior courses on the new one (personally i don't know nor care how it works) i think its fairly easy to fulfill that requirement. bottom lines is that you have to have their min grade requirement and a strong portfolio.

    but i do completely agree with what 5frames said about "Don't let school get in the way of your education." its how hard you work that makes you good not where you go.

    oh and ps, Bring your sketch book. they want to see good work and most importantly how you made it.
    radiance spreading through the darkness, like answers spilling from an urn of secrets.

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  16. #15
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    Max the Mutt is based entirely on portfolio, interview and character reference.I hope all of you will be visiting our open house for graduating students which begins June 2. Some first and second year work will also be on display. I hope you are all curious and interested about the work that is being done at all Toronto schools.We encourage our students to attend all the end of terms shows. They need to know what's happening at other schools - and so do you!





    Curiosity is a critical part of intelligence.

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