Florida-based Full Sail University, thanks to a core program revolving around Autodesk software, offers a real world education in computer animation and gaming.
"We offer prospective 3D artists a complete program of study through a combination of fine art and high technology," said Pete Bandstra, director of computer animation and game art, Full Sail. "When students emerge from Full Sail University, they will be 3D content developers capable of creating content for the film, television, games, architecture, medical and all manner of other industries."
Students work around the clock–no less than 40 contact hours per week– both in the lab and classrooms, where they develop expert skills in fine art, game design and computer programming, tapping the latest technology.
"When we're preparing our students for careers in 3D animation, we want them to develop specific skills that they can take with them wherever they go," Bandstra commented. "From that perspective, they can't do better than Autodesk Maya software."
Students also tap Autodesk's Education Suite for Entertainment Creation on a regular basis, giving them an opportunity to learn the many facets of a modern animation pipeline and work with multiple platforms. In addition to Maya, the suite includes 3ds Max, MotionBuilder, Mudbox, SketchBook Pro and Softimage. Equally important to student success post-graduation is hands-on training and the ability to work in a team environment, and Full Sail's Game Art Program blends a harmony of the two.
"Our game art program is a hybrid," said Bandstra. "Students begin their time here in the more traditional computer animation side of things before splitting off into courses specifically geared to creating game art. They learn more about using polygon modeling, creating compelling characters, building texture maps and so on. They then connect with the Game Development degree students who have learned to program, build game engines and create artificial intelligence command scripts. Together, teams of students actually come up with a fully functioning game from scratch. As a result, our game art students come out of our program not only with an excellent reel to show employers, but also a complete game to show off as well."
Additionally, Full Sail offers the Global Professionalism System (GPS), a reward system based on the university's research into the needs of current employers in the entertainment industry. Students are awarded points for innovation, volunteerism, community service and more. Recently, a team of Full Sail film students created a spot for Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD).
"When students graduate from Full Sail, they do so with both a GPA and a GPS," commented Bandstra. "Employers, in turn, can get a more complete picture of their future animators. The program has been very successful for our graduates, and we couldn't have done it without the help of Autodesk software."
For more information about Autodesk software, visit www.autodesk.com/me.
To learn more about Full Sail University and view the gallery of student work, visit www.fullsail.edu.