Search form

Art and Animation Schools

616 posts / 0 new
Last post

Hi Rasputin:
Generally/ (and I don't know if this is true at SCAD) but the usual "take" on the difference between the BFA and the MFA seems that the MFA would be most useful if you'd had animation/CGI experience already...and wished to teach. It's the appropriate terminal degree for an academic career, but usually (depending on the school) implies a degree of self direction, independent work, etc. You know what you're doing/ you take advanced classes, but are refining your knowledge and skills...not doing the basic work.
With the BFA it seems to be the assumption that you would need concentrated teaching/learning experience...introduction to the area for study. If you've had no animation/effects experience, then the BFA is probably for you (though if you want to teach, had animation experience...the reverse would be so.) I know RCAD has somewhat accelerated placement if you have a BFA already/ (i.e. bypassing Core requirements.) I would assume SCAD does as well. Hope this helps.

I'm sorry to hear you had a bad time of it at your school. However, I think it's very unfair to say that "all private schools" are like this! There are good and bad programs at universities, colleges and private career colleges. It's important for potential students to really do their homework! Visit the schools, speak to current students and graduates, look into what percentage of graduates end up in the industry. When you look at the work of graduates, look at ALL the work. If the general level is high, it indicates a good program with atention given to everyone.

I've taught in several programs and I now direct Max the Mutt in Toronto. The instructors at Max the Mutt pay attention to every student. We are a small school and we have a vested interest in the success of every student. If anything, I'd say that the quality and amount of instruction our students receive is better than what I saw at other (not private) institutions.

That is a good point. As an analogy I am looking for a place to live up north of here for going back to school, so this week we'll be staying at a hotel. This one hotel has a mostly positive user rating, and then you inspect the dates and every review before January is glorious as if it's the best thing to ever happen to mankind. Past that point people have felt motivated to put up signs and hire crews to keep people out like there's a plague inside.

Change of ownership.

If you do go by a list, make sure the things that got it on the list are still there!

Personally, I graduated from Sonoma State University about 12 years ago, before I realized I wanted to draw--thus, a degree in English.

However, as a teacher I get to see presentations from a good many schools, including a terrific presentation last year from Expression. They appear to be pretty tied into the industry and have some terrific collaboration oriented projects. In fact, I have a couple of their promo CDs in my desk drawer that show some 2D, some 3D, as well as some sound design elements working together pretty strongly.

Looked like a solid program.

Thank you very much for the info !
I heard as well that De Anza is a pretty good school, but, after looking at their website, it seems like they do not offer Bachelor / Master degrees ...

Expression, Academy of Art, De Anza, Cal Arts ... Uneasy to choose. Maybe do you know which one of these four if the most renowned in the US/world ? It should play a big part in the resume then.


What Matters-


All that really matters is the degree to which each program is successful. The question- how do we measure that? For me, it is the quality of the work, and the resulting success of the recent graduate trying to get started in the industry.

Although SCAD has had student films placed in Siggraph's Animation Theater, they have NEVER had anything in the Electronic Theater. Ringling students have had as many as 4 in Electronic Theater at a time. How about student Academy Awards? Ringling students have won multiple times. I don't recall ever seeing a SCAD student place there.

Job opportunities-
At this point, every school out there has SOME grads at the each major studio (even if they didn't get there right out of school). All that really matters is how many you can place in the industry TODAY. So... let's play up up or shut up. I'll post the Ringling grad info from the class of 2005 (since the class of 2006 is not out yet) and someone who has access to the official info from SCAD can post theirs to compare. Here we go-

The Ringling class of 2005 had 33 graduates. Out of the 33, 28 had jobs in the industry (signed contracts) BEFORE graduation, and 1 immediately after:

Activision- 5 graduates
Electronic Arts Tiburon- 9 graduates
Electronic Arts Redwood Shores- 4 graduates
Sony Pictures Imageworks- 5 graduates
Dreamworks- 3 graduates
Blue Sky Studios- 1 graduate
ReelFX- 1 graduate
General Motors 1 graduate

That was the most RECENT graduating class. 29 out of the 33 placed at big-name studios. Still think the program is in decline? SCAD, please put up your 2005 grads ('05 only) and let's see who has the higher percentage when it comes to success rate.



Schools can teach you how to draw.

I'm one of the founders of Max the Mutt Animation School in Toronto and have been drawing all my adult life. I agree that drawing must be part of any first rate animation program, and I know from experience that drawing can be well taught if there are instructors who know how to draw themselves, have a love of drawing, and have the teaching gene.

However, drawing cannot be taught in one or two classes. It is in itself an art form, and , in the end, good drawing comes when a number of different skills come together: perspective and structural drawing, eye training including the ability to see positive and negative shape, judge "point to point" relationships, the development of sensitive line, a sense for gesture and weight, a knowledge of anatomy for artists leading to the ability to imagine the pose in 3D and an ability to draw it from another point of view, all have to get into the subconscious. We need to use all our senses and at the same time have a real grasp of the intellectual basis of representational art. That's a lot to learn. It doesn't happen over night and requires a series of courses and ongoing interest beyond graduation.

Cartooning, character design, storyboarding, background and prop design, layout and storyboarding all require (and develop) drawing skills. Experience with classical animation, which really is necessary for first rate computer
animation, is dependent on drawing skills. How can any first rate animation school not teach these things?

Thanks Maxine and Ken

Thanks Maxine and Ken - its nice to have some support -sometimes I feel like a voice in a void.

The pebble is dropped and you never hear it land...

Thanks again...

I didn't say "all" I said "most." And yes, that's a generalization. It all really depends on the tuition costs. Don't gamble more than you can afford to loose.

A very important piece of research is to get a copy of anything you're going to have to sign. Take it to a lawyer, and have them translate the legalese. I did this way too late.

Does the contract explicitly spell out your financial obligations, while the school's obligations to you are vague and evasive? They can quote percentages of students who get jobs in the industry, but unless the contract says something specific about job placement, don't expect much. Judges don't know anything about animation schools. They need something tangible that represents obligations that have or have not been fulfilled.

Talk to graduates from the school who are working in animation. Do they make enough to keep up with the cost of living where they live AND keep up with their student loans? Or are they making a crap wage and getting laid off when their job gets outsourced? Have they ever had to file for bankruptcy or come close?

If the tuition is more than you can afford to loose, always think in terms of the absolute worst case scenario. I'm not saying anyone's Evil, or even that they are intentionally out to rip people off, but if it happens, very few will be willing or able to do anything to make it right. My own blind optimism has had a crippling effect on my life, and this really seems to be more the rule than the exception, lately.

Always glad to spread a little sunshine! :)

A lot has been made of the supposed segregation of traditional skills and computer generated work. I think this is based mostly on the disconnect between more experienced industry professionals and the speed in which new technologies have become available (Particularly in the late 90's). However squash and stretch is squash and stretch wither the bouncing ball is 3D or 2D. Green and red are complimentary colors wither you paint in Photoshop or with gouache. The eyes are placed in the middle of the head get it. Computers have changed how we do things but they have not changed what it is we are doing. Traditional skills, for lack of a better term, are at the core of all successful computer animation. For the student animators to have the success we want, we must stop separating skill bases and see it really as the same pursuit

Maybe that pebble should be a boulder....

There's people out there right now, reading this, or threads just like this......and they are thinking........and WE CAN SEE YOU....thinking this:

"Hey, I'm aiming my career at the 3D end of things. I'm not gonna do anything with pencils and paper, I'm gonna do all my work on the computer.
Why should I learn how to draw?? Why should it be such a big deal for someone like me?"

Yea, we CAN see you.......see right into your lazy minds.....

Drawing skills are fundamental skills.
Its training the hand and eye and mind to work in concert together.
The pencil and paper are just tools, just the end means to the methods and the mindset.

Pencil and paper are used because they are the simplest, most readily available materials.
They represent a "constant" factor in this, because a set level of aptitude in using them is considered to be an across-the-board gauge of ability.
There are immediate, intuitive biomechanical responses you can get from using a pencil and paper that you cannot achieve any other way.
Yes, you can forge the imagery on a computer, but you cannot forge the same intuitive neurology by using a computer.
In fact, you'd have to do MORE work using the computer to achieve the same easy results you can get with some pencil and paper drawings.

This is why using pencil and paper is more effective in training an artist.
The very basis of artistic expression begins with these tools, and from these beginnings all the other forms and media build outward.

Developing skills in self-expression via drawing propagate skills with other media--because the mental and physical associations are honed in drawing.

The "few" critics of this approach cite that "you can get a job without being able to draw"--and this is true.
But its just "a job".
Not a career, just a job, that has that person limited as to the kinds of jobs they can take on

This is a industry where its very easy to pigeon-hole talent as being able to do only one kind of task.
Pushing drawing ability increases the opportunties a aspirant has, by giving them a foundation that gives them the skillset to explore more avenues.
You will ALWAYS have the advantage with good drawing skills under your belt.

Yea, you can get a paycheque just wiggling a mouse around a bit, but that's all you'll probably do if you don't have a skillset that can expand beyond that.
This is what's being talked about here--why Larry, Maxine and people like me hit other people over the head with this time and again.
Its not a "pencil mafia" at work here parroting some tired old line, its a legitimate understanding of the value of these skills in the workplace.

Why set yourselves up to be pigeon-holed alongside all the other timid niche-talents that are out there?

"We all grow older, we do not have to grow up"--Archie Goodwin ( 1937-1998)

Ringling & SCAD

Thanks for that response Jim. I know that you can't tell yet about this year's graduates from Ringling...but has the response so far been positive? Are the recruiters as optimistic? I looked at the url Ed sent and the work looks just amazing!!!

Thank you very much for the info !
I heard as well that De Anza is a pretty good school, but, after looking at their website, it seems like they do not offer Bachelor / Master degrees ...

DeAnza is a community college. The highest degree they offer is Associate degrees, and I'm not sure if they even offer that in animation.

I'll be combining this into the Art and Animation school sticky on monday. So to find this, just check there.

the Ape

...we must all face a choice, between what is right... and what is easy."

Expression, Academy of Art, De Anza, Cal Arts ... Uneasy to choose. Maybe do you know which one of these four if the most renowned in the US/world ? It should play a big part in the resume then.

Cal Arts is by far the most well regarded school of that bunch.

It depends what you are looking for Mleen. If you want an all around art education then go with Cal Arts or Academy of Art. I think, but I'm not sure, Expression is more of a tech school and teaches more animation, but doesn't have drawing or painting classes.

the Ape

...we must all face a choice, between what is right... and what is easy."

So, I just read through the 49 pages of this thread, ok, I skimmed a few posts but I pretty much read the entire thing. You guys all have plenty of opinions about SCAD, Ringling, and Gobliens, and created an insightful discussion about them. Now I'm interested to hear what you guys, especially those with experience in the industry, think about CalArts for character animation (expecially in recent years) and how good of a job does their handful of computer animation electives do in teaching 3D.

fyi, I've been admited but I was also admitted elsewhere so insight on this topic is greatly appreciated.

lol why is that u guys are just talkin abt SCAD and ringling? hw abt Rochester institute of technologys art and design schoold or academy of arts university ?? cna any one tell me is academyofarts university in san fransico is a gud animation college?


Hi everyone!

I'm back from Sheridan. Really worth the visit! The tour, the energy, and the
level of work was great. Definitely at the top of my list for east coast schools. Now if I can get in? I have to draw, draw, and draw.

I call the visit of all these schools my " inspirational tour ". Very motivating...
and exciting. What was most surprising was how different they all are.
Thank you all for the wealth of information in this thread.


grad school

I've also read through all 49 pages but I wanted to get some suggestions about school after graduating with my Bachelor's. I'm majoring in Film and minoring in Art - taking a drawing class, a 2d animation class, a class on 3d animation, two "studio fundamentals" courses and two classes on Photoshop/Illustrator and Flash. I hope to have a decent portfolio upon graduating.

I've read on these forums that having an awesome reel surpasses having an MFA but I'm not sure which school, as a 33 year old just breaking into the field with minimal art background, would be best. I've talked to people at Rochester Institute of Technology, have gotten in touch with Max the Mutt and have catalogs/admission packets from SCAD and School of Visual Arts in NYC. What are some other realistic options? I'm willing to leave the US and even North America if I have to - I'd like to look into Gobelins since I love Paris but my French is less than decent and won't be any better by the time I graduate.

Thanks for that response Jim. I know that you can't tell yet about this year's graduates from Ringling...but has the response so far been positive? Are the recruiters as optimistic? I looked at the url Ed sent and the work looks just amazing!!!

Yes... the response has been great.
We will put up this year's work (class of '06) in a few weeks.
It looks amazing!


Hi all,

I've just been accepted to Calarts' Character Ani program and will start in the fall. I'm from England so it's gonna be a big step for me, but one i've been looking forward to for a while. Just working with all the costs now which should be fun!!

Anyone got any advice on people/companies to contact in regards to scholarships and what not. I just applied for the Warners Bros. Animation Scholarship, and will here about that soon - but apart from that, it's pretty sparce out there. I've entered a few comps here and there, but other than that, finaid is a very rare thing for animation (well, privatley anyway). Everyone at the school just kinda waits till they're there, and deal with it then. They say its easier that way - once in, to start establishing finaid links. But i've always thought its best to come prepared, or atleast to your best degree.

This thread is an interesting read, especially for someone in my position. Seems there's a fair share of negative feedback from college expereince in animation, so it seems the advice generally is 'you really do have to work hard to get the absolute most outta your money'. For me aswell, being an international, its also about making connections that i'd never be able to establish from the South-west of england, and hopefully work hard, and get my way in to where i wanna be - kinda using James Baxter as an example/aspiration! (who was also from the SW of England!) haha, well - i can atleast dream, its a start!!

________________________________Perpetual Motion________________________________

Thank you very much DSG. That does help :)

"One of the major difficulties Trillian experienced in her relationship with Zaphod was learning to distinguish between him pretending to be stupid just to get people off their guard, pretending to be stupid because he couldn't be bothered to think and wanted someone else to do it for him, pretending to be outrageously stupid to hide the fact that he actually didn't understand what was going on, and really being genuinely stupid." ~Douglas Adams, Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy

ringling & scad

I can't wait.....Ringling seems to be in an amazing Renaissance of talent and great work.

animation schools


I forgot to mention that I visited the Gobelins school in Paris last year. The student work is by far the best I have seen!!
There is an entrance exam for admission. In my opinion it's impossible to
pass this exam straight out of High School. You really need some undergraduate experience first.( unless you are an animating genius ). I think it's more realistic to apply after the BA......and yes, you have to speak French.


I'd just like to add that although we are a very small school with very small graduating classes, almost everyone who has graduated is employed and continues to be employed in the industry! Even students who didn't make it through to graduation are working, and thanking us for two things: drawing skills before computer, and the emphasis on professionalism. You are preparing for a career! Take the time to prepare well.

another great school that i think a lot of people seem to not know about is School of Visual Arts. i'm going to be a sophomore there in the fall. the school is located in manhattan, not too far from times square/42nd street @ east 23rd and 3 ave. if u wana check it out! :)

Hello Again.

To answer a few questions...

SCAD gives folks a chance that they would not have at other schools. We don't have a portfolio requirement except for scholarships. So it gives more than a few "diamonds on the rough" the opportunity to make something of themselves.

I probably am the toughest grader in animation at SCAD and I try to keep the standards high- very high - several former students work at the higest levels of the industry. I do my bit... several hundred former students in the industry.

By thr way...those really good 2D students are working at many levels of 2D and 3D.

Remember, 3D studios don't have time nor are they disposed to teach art and animation but they DO teach 3D- they have to deal with updates and new software/hardware issues.

The latest Pixar job announcement says...."3D experience preferred but necessary...."

They will be here this week...

By the way, Glenn Vilppu is back at SCAD for another full quarter of teaching...niceeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!


I haven't heard anything positive about the SVA, and a couple negative things, but the source of the negativity was from a less than serious source on every occasion, and I have to say the description the school has about the particulars of what goes on there is very exciting.

It was actually a choice I had to make in the past, between them and the University of the Arts in Philadelphia (never to be confused with the Art Institute there).......I moved to Florida before a decision could be made.

Check it out though.

I agree with all of this it's like you have no options for legitimate schools except for one school on this continent. There's only one school.

lol why is that u guys are just talkin abt SCAD and ringling? hw abt Rochester institute of technologys art and design schoold or academy of arts university ?? cna any one tell me is academyofarts university in san fransico is a gud animation college?

I hear a lot of good things about that school, I'm actually setting up everything to fly out there and see...
I'm also looking at Ex'pression college just over the bay area near that school.

No school can guarantee jobs! I remember when there were no jobs for lawyers. Right now in Ontario there are no jobs for art teachers, and when i was younger there were no jobs for elementary school teachers. Things can go in cycles. Last year all the animation companies were desperate for 2D computer animators. Our school was visited by recruiters from Vancouver, Ottawa and the east coast! We are in Toronto. I'll let you know what happens this year.

You have a legitimate gripe if you were assured there would be a good job with a big salary. No one can guarantee that! There are also questions to ask about curriculum, class size, length of the program, and faculty.

Our tuition is very affordable (our mandate is to be available to talented individuals), so the amount of debt is much less than at most top schools. Our curriculum is very deep,the number of students employed has been very high (because the industry has been flourishing) and we prepare students for the real world. However, there will still be people who don't find jobs.

I haven't seen your portfolio or demo reel. I know nothing about your professionalism. All of these factors come into play. Right now you need to accept your situation, figure out what you need to work on to get a better demo reel and portfolio together, and try again.

Years ago (at another school) I had a student who didn't get any offers from top companies. His girl friend got 3 offers, and the two of them took off for California. About a year later I received a fax from him. He'd studied more, redone his demo reel and portfolio, and was offered more than one job at a top company. I appreciated his taking the trouble to let me know.

I hope things get better for you.

I'm hoping VFS's two year program will reduce the art school BS.

Oh, VFS is a two year program now. I remember hearing about it being a one year program. A 6 month crash course on art & animation fundamentals and 6 months to put a student film together for the industry. Needless to say, many people found it rough.

A two year program sounds much more viable. (btw, I went through a 3 year program a found it to be just right, office and/or financial politics aside ;) ).

Order my book Jesus Needs Help on Amazon or download on Kindle.

You can also read the first 18 pages of my next book for free at this link: The Hap Hap Happy Happenstance of Fanny Punongtiti

cna any one tell me is academyofarts university in san fransico is a gud animation college?

Hahahaha, I read it as 'academy o farts'!!

I graduated from the Academy of Art. While I was there they had a really strong Illustration department and their Computer animation department was really starting to grow. There were some amazing instructors and classes there. Just in the studio I work at, six of my class mates have worked as animators.

On a side note, several of the founders of Animation Mentor were instructors at AAU and left to start their own animation school. I just graduated from Animation Mentor, and they are a great school to expand and refine your animation skills.

the Ape

...we must all face a choice, between what is right... and what is easy."

Industrial Design Centre, IIT Bombay
Powai, Mumbai 400076
Phone: 91-22-576 7801
Fax: 91-22-576 7803
e-mail: Office[at]

MAEER's MIT Institute of Design, Pune
"Rajbaug", Loni-Kalbhor,
Pune-412201, Maharastra, India
Phone: +91 - 20 39210183/ 91 20 39210122, 9850994211/9822462155
Contact: design[at]

Srishti School of Design, Bangalore
Srishti School of Art, Design and Technology
P.O. Box No. 6430, Yelahanka New Town,
Doddabalapur Road, Opp. Wheel & Axle plant
Bangalore-560 064, India
Phone: 91.80.28462506/07/08, 28560238.
TeleFax: 91.80.28560240
Contact: admissions[at]

Graphiti School of Animation, Mumbai
Graphiti School of Animation
404, Udyog Mandir no 2, Mogul Lane, Mahim West, Mumbai - 400016.
Phone: 022 24440107 / 32448544
Mobile: 09833841580
Contact: training[at}

Toonz Animation Acsademy, Trivandrum, Mumbai, New Delhi, Nagpur, Hyderabad, Ahmedabad and Indore
731-739 Nila, Technopark Campus
Trivandrum, Kerala 695 581
Phone: 0471- 6451415, 17, 18
e-mail: info[at]

Toonz Webel Academy, Kolkata
Block BP, Plot 5, Sector V
Bidhan Nagar, Salt Lake,
Kolkata 700091, India
Phone : 91-33 23577768 / 23674872
Fax : 91-33 23571708
email: webel[at] / academic[at]

I'm the Director of Max the Mutt, so I'm definitely not entirely objective. However, the structure of the school lends itself to a more professional environment. The age range is greater than at most schools. The quality of instruction is excellent. The class size is small, and the employment stats of our graduates into the animation industry has been around 90% the last three years. Tuition is very, very affordable as compared to US rates.

If you are close enough, I suggest visiting.

P.S. The web site is, telephone- 1-877-486-MUTT.

NYU Tisch Asia Animation Program: Application Deadline Extension

Hi Everyone,

Some of you may be interested to learn that NYU Tisch School of the Arts has opened a new branch campus in Singapore. The school offers MFA programs in Dramatic Writing, Film Production, and Animation and Digital Arts (applications will now be accepted through 1 February 2008).

If you'd like to learn more info, please visit our website!

I hope this info is helpful!

Hi Larry,

Yes, Pixar will be at Ringling this week too. Several of the studios lump visits
to our schools in the same trip. I wonder how long it has been since any of
the major studios have hired someone as an animator that didn't have 3D
experience? Years ago they certainly did, but now... if they are looking at two
candidates whose demo reels are equally strong... one is 3D and the other is
strictly traditional, who do you think they will hire?

They will hire the 3D person. The reason- the studios know that training a
traditional animator to go totally 3D has about a 50% success rate, and takes months of training. (I suspect you know that since you were from Disney).
On the other hand, the 3D hire would represent no risk as far as adapting to
the technology, and would quite possibly be productive from day one. Which
makes the most business sense?

Do you have the recruiting stats from SCAD's class of '05? How many traditional students went to the big studios from last year's graduating class?

That's great that Glenn is there for a quarter. We have had him here several
times for extended workshops and he is awesome! Is he working as an
adjunct instructor, or doing workshops?


Guest (not verified)
Guest's picture

I graduated from AAU back in 1999. Back then, they had a very strong Illustration department as well as a Computer Animation department. When I started in 1995 their Traditional Animation department was non-existent. That turned around about 1997 and they were developing a pretty solid traditional course by the time I left.

I'm not sure how the program is now. I hear it's good and has a strong Computer Animation department.

My suggestion, and this is for all art schools, is to talk to the talented upper classmen in your department who's work is the top. Find out which teachers they feel are really good. Take their classes whether they are tough, bitches or what ever. If they are good you will learn the most from them. So change your class schedual around so you can take the best classes with the best teachers. If you have to stay in school a few semesters longer, do it. It will be worth it.

Also take advantage of the free drawing, painting, and sculpture workshops. They have work shops almost every night.

AAU is an open enrollment school. So this means if your check clears, you're in the school. This is why you need to talk to your classmates to find what are the best classes with the best teachers. They will sever you better than your advisers. A good tip is if students complain that a certain teacher is hard or gives lots of homework. Odds are you want to take their class.

Good luck.

Thanks for the advice in dealing with the school. I'll keep them in mind, if I am to go there.

RTB, congratulations on the CalArts acceptance. I hope God blesses me with a similar opportunity.

Advice Appreciated

Hello, I am going to be applying to schools in half a year, and I would really appreciate any advice on my situation.

I currently live near Toronto, and I'm interested in applying to a University/College for Animation. I have no boundaries on what country I am going to study in, I am just looking for a nice school where I will be satisfied.
I am actually more interested in 2D animation than 3D, but I really want to be very well rounded in both areas. (Interested mostly in working with animated series, comics and games mostly.) I saw the debate on Ringling vs. SCAD, but I am still unsure. From what I was getting, Ringling seems to have a friendlier atmosphere, but more reliant on use of CG? Is there another school I should be checking out? Sheridan seems interesting, but I really don't know what to do.

I also believe I need to do A LOTof work before applying. I'm pretty much one dimensional at the moment, and even the 2D art I do is fairly amateurish. I'm also pretty horrible at real life drawings. I was thinking of taking classes online or in person, but I'm not sure if it's worth it either. I'm also worried about getting accepted. I have considerably high marks, but I'm pretty sure it's mostly the drawing that counts.


Hi there. seems most of what I was going to say has been said already :). I'm a Ringling freshman right now in the CA program. So, I may be a bit biased towards it :) (plus I don't know too much about SCAD).

It's true that school is only what you make of it. Ringling may be able to help get your foot in the door, but you have to be able to perform. I won't be able to give as much insight as the seniors here can.

Hmm...I'm trying to think of something that hasn't been said so far. I guess I can give you a list of pros and cons about the school from my point of view.

1. Closeknit community - At least in your major. You will most likely know everyone who's in your class and major. There's about 90 freshmen or so which is pretty tiny compared to what I'm used to (500 student lecture halls). I really like how the school has small classes. It really does help to get individual attention.
2. Up-to-date technology - Every two years, the computers in the CA program are upgraded to keep up with the need for more power.
3. New facilities - There's a new building being constructed right now and the CA dept will have an entire floor to themselves. It's gonna be awesome.
4. Location - We're really close to the gulf coast shore, so if you're a beach bum you'll love Sarasota. I really don't like going too much :).
5. Dedicated students - There's a lot of people here who are extremely talented and they want to be an animator. It's like it's in their bones. You'll see these people in the labs all the time, working their brains out. Course with a gigantic loan looming over your head, you gotta work all the time :P
6. Faculty - From what little experience I've had with Ringling teachers, so far it has been really positive. There are some really knowledgeable teachers here who are working professionals so they really do know their stuff.
7. Career services - They fight tooth and nail to get you a job. Teachers have been known to go out of their way to talk to potential employers too about certain students. If you work hard here and get noticed, you will get hired somewhere.

1. Commons food - Yeah...a lot of people complain about it. It doesn't have the most variety around. For the most part, it'll be typical "American" cuisine. Burgers,hot dogs, salads, wraps, sandwiches and a different entree a day. It just gets boring after a while. Plus, the quality is not too good.
2. Food in the general area - I'm a fan of ethnic food. I like authenticity in my cuisine especially Chinese. I just miss having the real thing. There are very few restaurants around with authentic ethnic foods. And in places where they do have stuff that is close, most of the menu is americanized. While I can deal with it, I just miss the comforts of home.
3. Water - I drink bottled water only. The water here is pretty nasty straight from the tap. Even when filtered, it feels a bit slimy and tastes flat.
haha noticing a trend here? :P
4. Cost - Yes, the cost is fairly high if you don't have some form of financial aid. But, I guess college is an investment. It would be a whole lot better if we didn't have debt going out into the real world, but for some of us who can't really learn using a book and lots of free time, we need a school-like environment to grow and learn.

Hope that helps some. :)

It seems I caught this tread a little late, and yes, most arguments have already been voiced. However:

I graduated from SCAD in 04. From my experiences there, it seemed that SCAD was more "technical" in nature, meaning beautiful rendered 3D-but many times lifeless in acting. SCAD seemed to push the technical aspect of 3D and FX more than storytelling. Ringling's student work many times seemed to be more compelling, more full of life--as if their curriculum stressed story a little more than the coding and scripting of a skeletal foot rig.

But, as said many times here, it definitely IS what you put in that you will get out of a college. And the professors are top notch, especially Lary whose Layout class gave me the skills to rise up to key player status at the studio where I am currently working. So, thank you, Larry.

Max the Mutt Animation School, Toronto

We have our year end show on right now! I suggest that you book a tour, or just drop in. Student films are on view in the theatre, and third and fourth year grad work is on display, as well as quite a lot of second year work. Check out our web site, We offer a very deep traditional program based on Disney and Warner Bros guidelines, plus an excellent fourth year advanced diploma in 3D Computer Animation and Production. Our instructors are all first rate working professionals, and our class size is small.You owe it to yourself to take a good look.

PS We offer a one month intensive in July that includes life drawing every day for 3 hours, two weeks of 3 hour perspective instruction, and two weeks of three hour classes using still life to teach basic drawing principles. From what you have written, it sounds as if this exactly what you need! We keep classes small , so if you're interested look into it soon.

Other Animation Schools:

Otis College of Art & Design
Los Angeles, CA USA

Art Center College of Design
Pasadena, CA USA

What would scooby do?

Best Schools on this Continent

Here are my best schools on this Continent- in no particular order:

San Francisco Academy of the Arts
Max and Mutt
Vancouver Film School
Columbus College of Art and Design - Ohio
Art Center College of Design - Pasadena ( no animation major- just GREAT ART TRAINING)
De Anza College- San Jose
Sheridan College


We not done scaring people?


The butt-clenching terror keeps coming!

My opinion: I think there's probably about 2 dozen really good animation schools out there in North America.
Schools that just squeak over the line into providing a really good to great background in the craft for prospective animators.
There's a few that could be added to Larry's list above--a mix of private and public facilities.

Here's the butt clenching:
What Maxine cites about her school is rare from what I understand--and likely a product of having a small student population.
From my limited experience at just under a half dozen schools, and from talking with instructors at others I've learned a sobering reality that porspective students need to know:

The average percentage of students that graduate from a programme and go out to work in the industry in the trade of their training ( in this case; animation) is about 10%.

Let's repeat that: 1 in 10 students go on to make a career out of what they study in post-secondary school.
The average varies fromm 5- 20% most of the time, with the occasional rise to as high as 75% going on to industry.
Yea, obviously y'all wanna be in THAT class!
Years ago, I laid this out for one of my classes, and they thought I was in a pissy mood--I wasn't. I was just giving a painful lesson based on some info I'd gotten/learned not long before--and I thought they deserved to know it.

Take a graduating class of 20 students--right off the bat, 50% ( 10 students) of them might graduate with enough skills to gain some kind of work in the industry. It'd be at entry level jobs, more than likely doing something less glamourous like digital colouring, FLASH builds or clean-up on 'boards, designs or layouts.
By attrition, after a year 50% of that number (5 grads) will remain on the job--the remainder moving on to other things because the work is sporadic, pay is lower than expected, or life-issues intervene in some way.

After 2 years, 50% again ( 2-3 grads) will remain--again, for the same reasons, and also because those remaining grads will have learned enough stuff on the job to proceed to the criticial point: about 3 years in the biz.
After that point, their skillsets have been honed and their experiences such that they can, by choice, work indefinitely in the industry as long as they like.

They've "paid their dues" and can take what they now have and climb the ladder to unlimited heights, if they haven't begun to already.

2 students, out of 20.

Now, this comes about because pretty much all schools have a academic evaluation that allows a student to graduate by meeting a academic standard, and not necessarily a professional one.
You can complete a programme, graduate with a certificate (or a degree even) and STILL have skills that fall short of what the industry demands for employment.
I have seen this happen many times.
I've had classes where almost everyone was hired right out of school, and classes where no-one was, and they remain out of the industry to this day.

Now the big qualification here is ability.
You can have all kinds of lessons under your belt: walk cycles, flag-flaps, water droplets, camera pans, reading a dope sheet-- you name it, what-have-you.

Its not a lot of use if your drawing is weak and unappealing.
The butt-clenching lurches to a sinking feeling by now.............right?

Look, that's the "stick" part of the "carrot and the stick"
Here's the carrot: its a classic process of ongoing evaluation that has you handed the worst case-scenario, and scrutinized as to what you do with it.

Some folks reading this might well think they should give up.

And they are right.

Some folks might read this and say to themselves that their resolve has never been stronger.

And they are right, too.
The reasoning here being that if you can handle the down-side in anything, the upside tends to take care of itself.
The one thing that takes all the above stuff and renders it into hash is persistence/perseverance.
The odd student out that is weak at stuff, but who simply does not give up--no matter how painful the journey is, usually makes it.

I know dozens of people that fall into that category and every last one of them is self-made.
But they are just dozens, out of hundreds of students I have personally encountered.

I don't teach anymore, by choice, but I still talent-watch to this day. There's nothing in the business/education equation that has changed--not from the time I first started out in cartooning, up to today.

"We all grow older, we do not have to grow up"--Archie Goodwin ( 1937-1998)

hi animated ape am frm INDIA and am considering to join either SCAD or AAU after my bachelors is it true that AAU admits 100 % the students who apply for masters programme? i mean dont they look into ur academic score or the high school scores?
2ndly is the tution fee for masters in animation $18000? well i found that to be lil cheaper when compared to 24k and 36k of SCAD and RIT :-| . could u just temme is accomadation a big problem in SF? since am frm india i have no idea abt the cost of living in SF , i see that they have dormitories which cost $3600 per quarter ! which is jus 22222222 much can we share the dormitory with 3 ppl?

and lastly i dont have strong drawing skills i mean i cant really draw that well is it goin to be a barrier ??

Maybe Even Lower For Some

One place I taught has/had almost 750 undergrads in animation and another 125 or so grad students - I know of only two people from this school who are working on features. - as animators.


I animated on Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter, Ironman... Now I'm mentoring students. Check out my site! ==>

Oh okay, simple miscommunication. I understand.

1 Timothy 4:12 - "Don't let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in life, in love, in faith and in purity."

Saigon, lack of drawing skills is going to be a barrier for you going into any art school. It's a huge barrier if you want to go into animation. But that is why you're going to school. If you were a drawing expert, you'd be working at a studio already. :D

I'm not sure about the master's program at the Academy of Art, but I went there for the BFA program, and they had an open enrollment. Meaning, if your check cleared, you're accepted. Also I'd suggest going in to the BFA program instead of the masters. At least for American citizens, it's cheaper than the master's program and it's pretty much the same classes. The only thing you really need a masters degree is if you want to teach at a college level.

Cost of living is quite high in San Francisco. Probably one of the highest in all of California. Their dorms are pretty good and they are right in down town, so you are in the middle of everything and close to the school buildings. Once you're there for a year and get to know other students and the area, I'd suggest moving out. You can find cheaper apartments in the area, esspecially if you have a room mate.

I hope that helps you out some. Good luck.

the Ape

...we must all face a choice, between what is right... and what is easy."

Thanks for posting all the details of art and animation schools here on one thread...
All the schools and their information at one place is quiet helpful for those looking for animation schools...
Keep posting