View Full Version : Learning Animation - Does it really matter what school you go to?
November 8th, 2008, 08:30 PM
I'm not quite sure whether to put this in the education forum or this one because it deals with both. But to be honest I'd rather have CURRENT animators and animations students answer this rather than future students such as myself.
So here's a question for all you animation gurus out there: Is it the animation school or the animator? Does it really matter what school you go to? (Because personally I'm stuck between RISD and SVA animation courses. A lot of great people have come out of RISD but I've also heard some crappy comments about their program. Same goes for SVA.)
November 8th, 2008, 09:27 PM
We're in the internet age. It doesn't matter what art school you go to, period.
You can glean more information from the internet - this forum alone - than any one school could teach you. Not saying that art schools are useless, it is still a good experience.
It comes down to how much effort you're willing to put in.
Will you be the student who comes late, sleeps in class and goes home to play video games, or will you be the student who works late into the late?
November 8th, 2008, 09:32 PM
Well since I already lose sleep over homework and art projects (i haven't touched a game controller in 8 months) I suppose I would end up as the latter =w=; I don't plan on sleeping much the next 4 years.
But even then when one is applying for jobs can a 4-year college degree make a difference or is it all in the demo reel?
November 9th, 2008, 12:49 AM
It's absolutely all about your demo reel and portfolio.
No one's gonna care about a certificate if you can't draw.
November 9th, 2008, 12:52 AM
former 3d animation student here,
GODDD no its does>nt matter.Only you make the difference.Everbody can tell you where to click. Its what you do with it that count..I suggest you to take the one with the more art class in it.Those class are the most important.I quitted because being a animator is too thenical. Its a repetive work like traditionnal animation.Well if you re not really passionated REALLY passionnated do someting esle.Passionted about doing animation not waching carton sunday morning.Its really not a joke ONLY THE BETTERS FIND A JOB.
and its a crazy job with carzys peoples :)
hope its help
November 9th, 2008, 05:58 AM
I wouldnt dismiss the quality of teaching from a good school though. But ultimately it is down to what you put into the program as well. You can go to a little known school and put the efforts in and come out great. But a good school does help to be around other students as dedicated as you are, or maybe they could be more experienced, the projects might be more relevant to what your doing... In the end you have to choose a school that is suited to you and what you want to do.
November 9th, 2008, 07:19 AM
It seems like the final answer is pretty clear xD
Thanks for putting your two cents in guys :>
November 9th, 2008, 06:54 PM
In the end, all that really matters is how much effort you put in. But it's a lot easier to work hard when surrounded by other dedicated people and inspiring professors.
November 12th, 2008, 01:51 PM
Well it depends what kind of education you receive.
Hmm HunterKiller, what you say works only if the education available to the student is a decent one.
Not all schools are created equal, nor are students. But for the N student to go without any formal training, especially for something as specialised as animation is professional suicide. The trick is finding a GOOD school (landmine field) with good instructors. They might put you through hell to toughen you up but the important thing is to be trained properly and give it your all.
Spydygo: we’re not ALL that bad. EeheEHEEHaaHAAAAAA
November 19th, 2008, 11:23 PM
I would say a school of note in a major city is pretty reliable because believe it or not alumni status and affiliation does matter. Not only for your sake but also as a magnet for descent animation instructors. The Art Institutes, although well equipped are a bit sterile and feel like a continuation of high school. A good school will let you mature as a person as well as an artist. Also, no matter what people say about the powers of internet training, for something as tactile as animating, you need to be in a room with a bunch of other egiosts! :)
November 20th, 2008, 01:17 AM
Wow, months ago I was stuck in the same situation as you, choosing between SVA and RISD for animation. While SVA throws you right into animation, RISD teaches the basics first, something some people find to be the most important; they aren't called foundation studies for nothing.
Anyways, I chose RISD in the end, and I can't wait to start animating next year. It's been a dream all my life, and the fact that I can go to school and study MY PASSION is exhilarating. Now, you may not need to go to art school, you may be good enough as it is to just make demo, send it in as a pitch, and get your own popular children's cartoon with an order for 3 seasons (what we all secretly want), but going to art school gives you something more; a respectable and recognizable name behind your work. I'm practically guaranteed a job in my field after graduating, that's how RISD rolls.
November 20th, 2008, 02:26 AM
Wow. So much ignorance in one room. Please, for your sake DO NOT LISTEN TO THEM!
A school is not just about teaching you what buttons to click. You can learn that on your own. A great college will give you a more rounded education than just that. Before attending an art college, I was just going in thinking "I want to learn to animate" and never realized that I was also a painter... a sculptor... and I never would be where I am 40 pages into writing my first ... cookbook? Before the mandatory art history class required freshman year I though I hated history. After accidentally taking the hardest teacher, I found I really enjoyed it and took all 4 classes that she taught while I was there including a couple about Greek history. I am now writing a Greek cookbook from ancient practices to modern ones and comparing the two styles.
A great school will help to shape you into a more rounded person.
Another HUGE thing is the environment that hungry for knowledge atmosphere creates. I learned more staying in the labs every evening than I did in the classes. Students figure stuff out on their own and teach each other. Sometimes you are the student, sometimes the teacher.
Now. Dealing with getting a job. There is something to a school's name. While attending Ringling I heard a lot about what was going on in the film and game industries because of the relationship the college had with the top companies. Pixar, Dreamworks, ILM, Sony, EA... you name it they were there. The demos those companies put on were not only informative, but it was also like taking a huge shot of motivation and inspiration right in the face.
A school does not only give you an education, it gives you connections. There is a really old saying "it's not what you know, it's who you know"... but I still think what you know helps.
When I looked into schools, I went out and looked at the student's galleries. That is the way I judge schools. By the thesis projects of the students.
Yes. Choosing the right school matters.
December 3rd, 2008, 04:13 PM
I have to back up Bai Fan on the importance of a good well rounded education. A good school is a learning environment that you become a part of.
The feedback you get in a critiques session is another of the great learning tools. You can post your work online and let people give you feedback, but do you know the qualifications of those giving feedback. If they don’t really have an understanding of art or animation, how valuable is their feedback.
I had a debate the other day on if all education could go over the internet and it doesn’t offer the true feedback and interaction I think that is important. You can go live, web cam etc. but as you are starting out, it’s the level of quality of instruction that can help you develop, which you find in a good school.
Drawing from my experience interviewing designers for potential positions, there is a difference between a designer and a keyboard jockey which also translate into animation.
There is no quick route, you have to work at it in a good environment and when you embrace art you may find more interest then just animation.
But that’s just my view from experience.
December 3rd, 2008, 08:06 PM
Another thing to add to the critique comment, I type fast, but I talk faster. When critiquing on here, I will leave things out and just type what I think the most prominent issues are hoping that they will fix them and come back for more. When critiquing in real life, I can hit more issues because not only can we see the full piece without camera/scanner issues, but we can interact faster and go over more in less time.
This forum is great because of the high quality of artists who can help, but not as great as dealing with high quality artists in real life.
December 5th, 2008, 09:28 AM
the last two comments didnt account for classes that are being taught online where the teachers are well informed. but everything is done online this works better for some people and is often the only option
December 5th, 2008, 06:33 PM
I don't think online schools are the same as traditional schools. I think they have their value, but do not come close to comparing to the collegiate environment found by being surrounded with people wanting to learn.
December 9th, 2008, 04:06 AM
Yes and no. It depends on what you want to get out of a formal education in Animation.
I've often been very depressed over the fact that I didnt go to CalArts or something because I wanted my animation to become my life. They offer so many more opportunities there than where I currently go to school (in the middle of Texas with an animation degree that actually was created a year after I was enrolled).
January 22nd, 2009, 08:06 PM
Honestly, It really is a yes and no answer. You CAN learn animation without going to a great school. Heck, you can learn animation without going to school at all. HOWEVER- going to a school and going to a GOOD school has the HUMONGOUS (spelling error included) bonus of getting the immaculate wisdom of artists who are in the field and KNOWN in the field. The advice, critiques, and driving passion of these people is the BEST thing you will ever experience. I too have felt the "why didnt I go to Calarts" twinge- BUT I would never put down the school I am graduating from (Uarts in Philly) because I researched the schools first- and I knew they were good before going. Online schools for animation arent the best- However I totally reccommend TheAnimationMentor.com because it is perfect for animators, as it is taught by animators and is a good place to learn 3D animation. This being said, it is my (as well as many many other's) opinion that you learn to draw in the traditional, 2D animation way. Learning Keyframes and squashing and stretching and etc while enforcing "modeled" drawings/forms in your frames will only HELP you in 3D animation immensely. Pixar themselves even says having good drawing skills/ understanding of form is the best thing an animator could ever have.
Not everyone, is commercial-however. Even if you are going the independent route, I would suggest going to an animation school that is decently known. Actually, it is not an "even" thing- it is an ESPECIALLY if you are trying to be an independent filmmaker. You'll need to understand the basics of shot-by-shot flow, composition, and continuity, and etc etc etc etc. There are alot of things that go into making a film, and it is virtually impossible to be successful without the help of many, many brains. =)
And I ramble.