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What do the pros think?

I'm curious to hear what the old pros think about preparing for animation today. What is the curriculum you would endorse? How have things changed? How long does a program need to be to really give students a solid foundation?
Give us your model for an ideal animation education.

I'm curious to hear what the old pros think about preparing for animation today. What is the curriculum you would endorse? How have things changed? How long does a program need to be to really give students a solid foundation?
Give us your model for an ideal animation education.

My off-the-cuff opinion: maintain emphasis on technical training, but up emphasis on drawing skills ( especially technical drawing such as perspective, composition etc.) and creative issues such as storytelling.

One of the things I have noticed over the years is that student graduate loaded to the gills with the ability to push pixels, or flip paper for animation--but they do not often know what to do with those skills. They cannot ell stories to save their lives, they are clueless about what KINDS of business to put into a scene. Drawing is physical work, but imagining entertainment is mental work.

I'd like to see students given more storytelling emphasis. Drop them into a test script and see what kinds of entertaining stuff they can come up with, and explore the options. Encourage them to THINK, to use their imaginations in savvy, responsible ways.
I'd also use this kind of opportunity to inject some realism into the work, in the sense of giving them a project that isn't going to be some glorious dramatic project, but something that is like what they are more likely to find in the job market--something lame and cutesy, like a preschool show.
The trick is, of course, they have to be prepared to bring as much to the little kiddie fare as they do the stuff they consume as a fan--and THAT is a challenge.
I'd stress students learning more acting, both comedy and drama--to push them out of their shells and get them to appreciate about how a "moment" works, and what makes something funny or poignant.
I'd try to spend more time studying films that both work and do not work, so students understand why choices get made, and how to fix cinematic ideas when they are not strong.
Skills like sculpting, painting, and scriptwriting should be explored. Also, course material that covers the business side: creating invoices, contracts, basic studio management, copyrights, trademarks etc. Stuff that establishes and clarifies creators rights.

I'd also mix into all of this some basic that provide an underlying skillset as a cartoonist/illustrator/ or basic filmmaker. Animation is treated as a specialized craft, coming from a raft of specialties. That's probably not the wisest tact to take, give that the job market for animation can be so competitive.
Emphasis should be made on having students work to become more fully-functional--able to deftly take on different genres, and different kinds of media. Start with the idea of cartooning, plunge thru illustration, and along into cinema.
This is so students have a chance of pursuing options in peripheral areas like concept design, effects, props etc.

To do this, I'd say the program lengths need to be a minimum of 3 years in length. 1 year programs should be restricted to students with SOME prior kind of industry-related experience, or as courses that function as foundation programs for later immersion years.

3 years provides sufficient thinking time for a student to process the material, while giving them time to experiment and self-develop parallel to the course. There not enough time to do that in a 1 year program, I'm afraid.
Add a 4th year to give the student time to develop to "feature" level-skills, as an option.

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

My two cents

Hello.

Very few animation programs get it right. My sense is that schools should be heavy on the art and actual animation training (including storyboarding, character design, several levels of animation instruction, and layout).

When these skills are solid and have a firm demonstration - then and only the computer software should be added on top. The "traditional" skills make people hireable.

I'd say 99 % of the schools have an emphasis on software and not the real skills or they teach what the staff knows instead of what the students need.

A few years ago, computer animation was the sexy favor now it is gaming.

If you look under jobs for animation instruction - all schools want is folks that teach modeling, rigging, software, etc. and have an MFA. (MFA means no professional experience) Few schools seem to be interested in how to actually animate.

When I give one of my seminars on the traditional animation skills - folks are blown away- it's like a whole new portal of information is opened to them...but it's basically the same stuff I learned coming up through the ranks.

Sorry...I am doing stream of consciousness now...

The traditional art skills HAVE to be taught. I left the school where I was teaching because they took drawing out of the core curriculum and made it an effective. I felt I would be unethical to be in a program that did not afford students the right kind of education. I knew that most of the 700 or 800 animation majors were not getting what they needed to survive in the professional world. Every student that I knew in the graduate program was taking Animation Mentor on the side to learn animation.

Animation Mentor is a good program...but they don't teach artistic skills.

Unfortunately, most schools do not teach artistic skills. A few schools, such as Art Center College of Design, teach artistic skills and have no
animation programs and they still have a number of folks in the industry.

Give them artistic skills!

(MBA means no professional experience)

Soooo not true, and too broad a generalization.

Many MFAs (not MBA, which is a business degree) have professional experience, and earned that terminal degree in order to teach full-time and share their PROFESSIONAL experience with a new generation of animation artists. Accredited schools require advanced degrees for their full-time tenure-track faculty in order to retain accreditation.

You may have only run into MFAs who have their degrees and no experience. In my travels, it's been quite the opposite.

to ken I went to school myself I know its simulated. I meant an actual working project. where the owner of the project would give his honest opinion on thier skill level and he could fire them. he wouldnt be paying them in the first place but he could give them what the teacher couldnt. the actual experience. obviously when someone is working on a project they dont have a lot of time.

which is why I said if possible. if they wanted to be singers or dancers they would have to enter into singing and dancing competitions and get some feel of what its really like. animators should get the same treatment. why wait until there finished with school to learn it. it can be cruel but rejection is the best teacher

I'm curious to hear what the old pros think about preparing for animation today. What is the curriculum you would endorse? How have things changed? How long does a program need to be to really give students a solid foundation?
Give us your model for an ideal animation education.

Story Telling:
This is the most essential skill, since most of the students would mistake noise as good storytelling and silence as bad story telling. They miss the gaps that are essential to let the audience enjoy. They should study camera angles and stuff along with this. Making a few live movies should help a lot.

Drawing Skills:
Quite essential for those who'd wish to pursue pre-production. Need to be done in detail.

Character Design:
Most of the passouts need more inputs on Character Design. Getting them into the real challenges of character design would definitely add value to the person. Especially those going for gaming would require this more than animation skills.

Acting:
This is again something that people need more inputs on, since they tend to finish their scenes too fast with letting the character "taste" the scene. Remember the audience is the character, so the audience can only smell and taste what the character can. A rigger also needs good acting skills to make nice blend shapes.

The duration should be essentially 2 years or more and full time if possible.

BTW Maxine, I too asked the same question a year ago at this forum with not very good response. I see from the response that people have become more matured now. Let's keep the discussions and debates alive, so that some real value keeps churning out.

http://www.3danimationtrainingstudio.com I still have not told my story! - Vineet Raj Kapoor

One more thing:
You asked about what has changed. Well, one thing definitely needs to be part of teaching, and that is exposure to Limited Animation. The animator needs to know and creatively design various viable options to attack the problem at hand.

http://www.3danimationtrainingstudio.com I still have not told my story! - Vineet Raj Kapoor

Thank you all or taking the time. I'll copy and paste all of this and send it on to Tina Seemann, our Animation Director. I'm not sure three years is enough time to really teach everything that's necessary....especially when so few people come to us understanding basic visual language.

why not have them do projects and be treated like employees or contractors. for a current project thats being worked on. if possible, that would give them some indication of what its like. dont have them wait until they get out of school to find out what its really like. and dont do it once or twice, it should be a routine experience. have them apply for jobs from day one and live the life of an animator while there in school

The Incubator Studio and more

Hey Maxine,

We just finished an Incubator Studio and ironically the film premieres tomorrow night, Oct 9th in the NYC area. The experience was a once in a lifetime opportunity for students from Bloomfield College to participate in our project entitled PETE"S ODYSSEY.

The Studio is an educational opportunity in vocational training where students learn by working on a "real" project. This transcends the internship process because students are tested to see where their strengths and weaknesses are. They are "taught up" to higher levels while they work on the project. They are traditionally smaller type projects that can be managed to allow for production time, lecture time and development time. All three are mandatory to achieve any kind of as result.
They work in all areas of animation, layout and background.

The results by the way, are not a student project but a professional project guided by professionals in key areas and "crewed" by students.

For PETE, the results for the students have been amazing - across the board. My job as writer, director and animation supervisor (and instructor) was to get them to the point where they could be successful, understand the the process, gain valuable experience and profession level skills. It all worked.

The reviews from the students have been off the charts and they are confident of they skills and have been so enriched by this experience.

For me, the opportunity to watch young talent attain such immediate growth has been humbling and gratifying.

I am convinced that the old models of education need to be revised. Not so much the skills sets - but the application of the instruction of the skill sets. Vocational courses are much closer to the needs than are provided by most colleges and universities .

Of course not all vocational courses are relevant. The ones that herd 100's if not 1,000's of kids through to satisfy an industry's requirements...are not what I consider viable options (except for that industry). Those programs are just creating "factory" workers.

Programs like yours that teach SKILLS are few and far between.
Skills in art fundamentals such as drawing, composition, design, color theory, and animation are essential to the foundation of the industry.

Teaching storytelling can be a trap if the students are not taught to express themselves properly with drawings that communicate. Develop artistic skills and THEN tell a story.

I also say I have to disagree with teaching limited animation. Teach students the high end of animation then they will know how to truncate the process. If you teach just limited animation they have no where to go but down.

...just my thoughts...

I know that many schools in the Asia region are just shams who breed on numbers and financial rewards and not quality instruction....though that can be said of most schools in the States, too.

The process needs to be overhauled.

Thanks.

why not have them do projects and be treated like employees or contractors. for a current project thats being worked on. if possible, that would give them some indication of what its like. dont have them wait until they get out of school to find out what its really like. and dont do it once or twice, it should be a routine experience. have them apply for jobs from day one and live the life of an animator while there in school

A lot of programs treat class assignments that way, and it seldom works from what I have seen. Students know that its "just school, and thus does not count", and so enough of them treat it so casually that the point of it is ruined.
When I was teaching, this was the philosophy we sought in class, but we were hamstrung by how we could deal with the students when they failed to deliver.
You cannot tell a student they are fired, and drop them from the program on the basis of one project, like you can in the industry--and some students simply do not give a shit.
This is a chronic frustration for instructors, because it stymies real-life training ( you train like you work).

One of the things I have tried that works reasonably well is last minute changes to assignments--to reflect and represent the real-life fickleness of paying clients. I'll tell students a day or two before the deadline that " oh, by the way, the client ( meaning me, essentially) changed their mind and wants all the male characters changed to female characters and vice versa. When I'm met with cries of frustration and "its not enough time" I tell the students that this is just like in the real-world, and the job has to get done.
I also would do things ( as when I was teaching comic-book illustration) like having the students letter a page in a foreign language, like Japanese
--just to throw them off their game.
Stressors and pressure-plays like that tend to force a student to adopt a professional mind-set and to "get on with it", because the ones that will succeed embrace the challenge.

One thing that I wanted to do in retrospect , and would do with students if I were to teach again, is to have them submit a faux-invoice with their complete assignment--simply because everywhere I have taught I noticed that students do not receive that kind of business instruction. It would be a good discipline to have a student practice something simple and basic like invoicing with every assignment they do, so it becomes second-nature on the job. Its part of the attention to detail that the craft and business demands, if its to be done properly.

But that sort of approach demands an administration willing to experiment a little bit.

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

I also say I have to disagree with teaching limited animation. Teach students the high end of animation then they will know how to truncate the process. If you teach just limited animation they have no where to go but down.

Yea, I have to agree. Economizing animation isn't hard to teach, once the talent has a good grasp of full animation. The principles that make limited animation work can be taught within a day of instruction, at most.

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

Limited Animation would always be there

Limited Animation as a subject is a requirement since
[LIST]
[*]more than 90% of animation on TV is limited
[*]so more than 90% of animators would not be doing more than limited animation all their life
[*]more than 90% of students are anyway not trainable beyond limited animation
[*]it is as tough to make limited animators out of original ones as it is tough to make commercial artists out of painters
[/LIST]

Please don't confuse this with limited animation as in Madagascar, that is the complete animator doing limited animation. On TV we have real need of limited animators due to budget constraints, which is not the case in Madagascar.

I am thinking of the advantage of those 90% people in animations schools, for whom this would open up an area. I know that some of us may believe in the Darwinian theory, but the fact is that the industry needs some numbers which are unfulfillable without training for this category. Same is the case of game industry, it needs people with a limited skill set as compared to a features animator.

So, some of the so called Asian Training Colleges, I suppose are trying to redraw courses as per industry needs, unaware of the sacrosanct approach of some others.

http://www.3danimationtrainingstudio.com I still have not told my story! - Vineet Raj Kapoor

Limitations and then some

Hello.

First, a correction- my bad...DSB, you are right - I meant MFA. The MFA's I have met teaching animation in schools are all folks that went on to receive their higher degree so that they could teach or try to gain more skills. ALL of the folks with MFA's I have met at several schools I have worked or visited do not have any industry experience. )Most schools are more interested with accreditation that actual experience). If you have had a different experience then great...maybe the tide is turning.

Folks of my generation (us baby boomers) just have decades of experience. An MFA in animation did not exist when we were in school!

* * * * * *

Teaching limited animation is a disservice to those who want to further their careers. It is a factory worker approach! I understand the needs of the TV industry....but, a worker with added skills would be more valuable and have more opportunities in their careers - if they were trained up to begin with...sounds like some teaching schools are creating animation ghettos just to fulfill the current needs of an industry's and the school's economies.

That is a very sad and unethical situation...

I would love to know the costs of the school (probably government funded) as opposed to the salaries (in USD).

If folks are not teaching skills REAL skills shame on them!

Not teaching limited animation would be a bigger disservice to the industry. The colleges are here to cater to the industry and not vice versa.

Probably you did not read the string, before giving your comments, that my pitch was teaching limited animation as an additional subject. Maxine was asking for ideas on what additional subjects to consider for inclusion in the curriculum.

You are free to share the knowledge you have, and must be open to new ideas.

http://www.3danimationtrainingstudio.com I still have not told my story! - Vineet Raj Kapoor

There are 2 paths to learning. One is learning as a path (purist), and another is learning as a means to achieve another end. Since, most people can't afford the journey of purist learning (as a path), we have to touch base with reality that colleges are catering to the industry. It is like some people spend their life learning about God (they become the gurus for others), and others do work so that the world moves.

A college is not whetted by critics but by the industry. So, it doesn't matter beyond a point what the priests of the sacred temples of learning believe. As long as industry needs are served the task is done.

Please don't use the term workers as humiliating and disrespectful to the term work. We should hold workers in high regard. All people can't be stockholders (no disrespect meant to the investors).

And about the student's possibility of learning more. It is taken care of in the course options given by the colleges. So a student has to take the call on which college and course suits his needs and capabilities.

http://www.3danimationtrainingstudio.com I still have not told my story! - Vineet Raj Kapoor

Paths?

I guess, then, we have to disagree. If wanting students to have the skills they need to excel past the job requirements makes me a purist - then I am a purist and proud to be one.

I love seeing students excel and surpass any professional goals they may have. And, I receive emails almost every day thanking me for teaching them to the highest level I can - or even sometimes just being willing to give them a good swift kick if needed.

Why not take the time to teach to the highest standard.

As far as workers are concerned - we are all workers.

The "money" factor will always be a factor...that's a given- the difference is... you are talking jobs...I am talking career....big difference!!!!!

I can agree to disagree.

I know Maxine knows the difference. Her school IS one of the good ones.

Thanks.

Thank you all! Ken and Larry, How I wish we could transport you to Toronto!
I would like to brainstorm on how to get students to make the connection between what they're learning in fine art life drawing and anatomy courses and how to apply it to animation!

How would you teach Drawing for Animation? Would you work with life models? I'm the fine art person and I think I've let the animation department down a bit by not getting this into the curriculum earlier.

How and when should we introduce it? What would the curriculum be?

And how did you find a real project for students to work on? Who funded it? In year 4 we do something similar...but it's in 3D and very short.

PS Our entire faculty is made of up working or retired professionals...except some of the many Eastern Europeans who had academic fine art training in Yugoslavia, Bulgaria or Russia...and Canada doesn't recognize their degrees!
It's been a huge mistake to take art, dance and music into the universities. It inadvertently makes it more expensive to get training (and therefore less democratic) and less likely that the training will be as professional. Now Canada has gotten on the same bandwagon.

Lucky You!

While at Art center, I learned Action Analysis from Ward Kimball. Basically, he still stressed the anatomy element but used an unclothed model to teach animation principles such as weight and weight shifts, posing, torque, center of gravity, spine reversals, staging, motivating forces, etc. Ward would have the model do small movements- maybe just twisting at first from side to side and use these poses as the keys and maybe do one or two breakdown poses to describe the arcs.

As the class progressed the movements were more involved (walks, characters lifting objects, throwing objects, etc.)

We punched our drawing paper and used pegbars to register the drawings.

I have taught the class on numerous occasions. I even taught it in Provence with this great model who was into yoga. She defied weight and became the exception.

To me, Drawing for Animation, is a class where students learn to do weighted drawings to improve their animation and learn how to exaggerate poses and do breakdowns and inbetweens. To design their poses to communicate and make good drawings where the forms and forces were described.

After our premiere, we should chat early next week.

Thanks.

I guess, then, we have to disagree. If wanting students to have the skills they need to excel past the job requirements makes me a purist - then I am a purist and proud to be one.

I love seeing students excel and surpass any professional goals they may have. And, I receive emails almost every day thanking me for teaching them to the highest level I can - or even sometimes just being willing to give them a good swift kick if needed.

Why not take the time to teach to the highest standard.

As far as workers are concerned - we are all workers.

The "money" factor will always be a factor...that's a given- the difference is... you are talking jobs...I am talking career....big difference!!!!!

I can agree to disagree.

I know Maxine knows the difference. Her school IS one of the good ones.

Thanks.

Yea. Larry and I are of the same mind here.
I advocate training students in the craft of animation so they can be a part of the business of animation. India is discovering what North America has known for years prior, that its "easier" to ram students through the schools so they become peons, fit to do a job that a studio wants done, and then discarded afterwards.
So many school dump hopeful grads into the job market, and very, very few of those grads have the ability to actually do the work at the levell the studios need--for any length of time.
The marketing pitches for MANY of these schools is that the training is mostly technical, and can get students into the job market in a minimal amount of time and expense.

That's a disservice to the industry as a whole, and a dishonesty to the students.
If the industry is going to grow in ANY way as a craft, to deliver BETTER products ( as opposed to more banal crap), then fostering genuine talent MUST be the only mandate.
Schools can pump out niche talent into the job markets, but it does nothing to improving the overall level of ability in the talent pool--it just means that the bodies in the talent pool become more dispensable.

Personally, having worked in that kind of system for a couple of decades, I think it sucks.

I also say build careers.
Guide these students towards a skill-set that is not just niche in nature, but fully functional. The pay-off is talent that is better equipped to entertain again and again, better equipped to enhance the cultural legacies of our respective societies, better equipped to genuinely inspire others to follow, truly follow the same path.
That will not happen by breeding mediocre talent meant to do a "job" and then be let go.

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

I would like to brainstorm on how to get students to make the connection between what they're learning in fine art life drawing and anatomy courses and how to apply it to animation!

Maxine--
I have long felt that one of the crucial elements in teaching the craft was relevancy.
The frustrating tendency of students was for them to compartmentalize their lessons, to treat all the knowledge they receive as separate from everything else. The key to breaking it is, I think, understanding and employing a bit of psychology.

Good example: Life drawing. Those quick 30 second gestures that students do as a warm up, for the longer several-minute studies. The students see that as just a hoop meant to jump thru, more of the same kind of stalling BS they get in places like high school--where there's exercises for the sake of exercises.
Its another kind of oddball drawing, that is different from their "regular drawing"

They compartmentalize that exercise, and they do not realize that it applies to animation. When they tackle their animation assignments, they do tight drawings, that take a lot of time and are frustrating.
They do NOT draw ruff gestural keys, that take seconds to draw, they spend hours on a pose, "trying to get it right". The idea of ruffs is not to build a solid drawing, but to just get the timing down. They are meant to do gestural drawings, not beautifully tight ones.
They do not make the connect that drawing those 30 second gestures in life drawing is the precursor to getting the basic idea of timing down in animation.

How does an instructor overcome this kind of inclination?
Apply a stressor assignment to the student.
Show them how these application of skills works, and then give them a limited amount of time to animate a scene--say only an hour or two. Force the students to overcome their ingrained neurology--the physical and mental patterns they have ingrained in themselves over the years.
The focus is on the timing of the action, NOT of the solidity or finished quality of the drawing. Its a skill-set they'll need on the job, because they cannot make a wage doing just a couple of drawings a day--they NEED to produce footage in a productive and professional manner.

This kind of new pattern will upset the old--if done enough--and will show the students that there's a cross-connect happening with the material they are exposed to. It'll show them what to use, how to use it and perhaps most importantly, why to use it.

Things like animation history become relevant when students understand that its not just dates and names, by minds and design philosophies, for example.
Looking at Betty Boop becomes more than just an old cartoon, and in turn becomes a design style that can be revisited, in new ways for new audiences.
Its a built-upon foundation that aspiring talent can use to entertain people, when their time comes.

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

In disagreement lies the essence of debate

I guess, then, we have to disagree.

Great! In disagreement lies the essence of debate! so no problem regarding that. I remember the story of 5 blind men and the elephant. We are all blind and oblivious to the points we can't see, so one can't count it against them.

Let me take you deep into the issues:
- Money is a factor in Asia, and there are a lot of people with less than $1000-2000 in their pocket and dreams in their eyes. You have to find a reality that's good enough for them. Sure you can shoo them away like most of you say. So, there are talented who don't have the money, so they can't even afford a 1 year program, and you can't get them trained in all aspects with those budgets and timelines. So what's your solution?
- The schools can't bring down the costs, since the software cost much more in Asia than in the US. What's your take on that? Unfair? Do you think that the software industry cares 2 pennies about that?
- Nowhere I am pitching that you need to do it the wrong way, but that you need to cater to those budgets and find solutions. Sure, maybe none of those may be able to achieve the heights students in the US dream of, but do they care?

There are very few who can afford the 3-4 year expensive animation education, and most of those who can, may not have the talent and will.

Being a purist and perfectionist was a cross that I too carried for a long time.

http://www.3danimationtrainingstudio.com I still have not told my story! - Vineet Raj Kapoor

Here are my suggested changes for Max the Mutt

Virtualciti notes,Maxine was asking for ideas on what additional subjects to consider for inclusion in the curriculum. "

Response: I have read over the curriculum very carefully at Max the Mutt. I have then asked some folks ,who have been in animation for awhile, about their program. Here are some suggested changes:

Max the Mutt seems very strong for 2d training,which is a good thing. Most people I contacted especially appreciated her emphasis on traditional animation skills and life drawing skills. However, it was suggested by some , that a greater degree of 3d training should begin in the third year of the curriculum. Much of the industry seems to be going towards 3d. It also takes a long time to properly get a handle on Maya and learn the various aspects of the animation pipeline such as rigging, modeling, texturing, skinning, animating, lighting etc. We didn't see much of this in any of the first three years. Even if it were taught in the fourth year, which some were not sure is the case, we didn't see how they can adequately inculcate strong skills in these areas with one year of training. Most professionals that I contacted felt that solid 3d work needs about 2 years, similar to what Gnomon does. Perhaps, she should keep what she does in the first two years and follow the Gnomon approach for years 3-4 and make it a four or even a five year program.

One person even noted that the fifth, optional year or optional semester, can be an independent study period that focuses on specializing in one or two aspects of the animation pipeline.

Bottom line: the general suggestions were to have two and one-half years of the skills that Max the Mutt now teaches with 1.5 years of training in all aspects of the animation pipeline with emphasis on 3d training. Finally, for year 5, a semester or two of independent study to hone a specialized skill.

Sure, I've already given my ideas on the new areas that the curriculum can look at.

Besides that, I believe that the software part needs no more than 1 year of look in.

http://www.3danimationtrainingstudio.com I still have not told my story! - Vineet Raj Kapoor

Thanks, Tax Guy!

Thanks for taking the time to answer my query.

Although our graduates continue to be employed in the industry at a very high rate, we are currently reviewing the program and, while we agree with many of your suggestions, we made the decision long ago to focus on character animation. We do teach the full Maya program, but we are not the right school for those interested in the more technical aspects of 3D.

As Stephen Barnes would say,"animation is animation- it's about acting and timing." That means that drawing for animation and classical skills remain very important for ALL animators.

As you know, we currently offer a 3 year diploma in Classical & Computer Animation Basics, followed by a fourth year of 3D Computer Animation and Production. We agree with you that 3D is something all aspiring animators need to learn, and we are encouraging our students to take year 4.

We are excited about the changes we are implementing: 1) more drawing for animation ( in addition to life drawing), 2) more mime and acting, and 3) more classical animation are being added to the 3 year diploma program.

We are also applying to the government to make it one 4 year program, starting 3d, as you suggest in year 3, and believe it or not, we are planning to add optional months of mentoring to develop students 3d animation skills even further. They could choose modeling at that point if they wanted to, but Max the Mutt's program is specifically for animating.

We are thinking about graduating students, and holding our industry evening, in September rather than May or June (to provide students with the extra time).

By the way, we are not able to simply do what we want to- it has to be approved by the Ontario Ministry of Education. If we can't change animation to one diploma, we'll find a way to achieve our goals another way, keeping it 2 diplomas but adding 3D in year 3 for all students going on to year 4.

We are telling every student applying to animation to plan on 4 years.

I truly believe that classical animation, as well as 2D computer animation, WILL provide careers for many people. However, to be truly educated these days , all animation students should also have 3D!

By the way, I have heard that some major studios have accepted interns with underdeveloped drawing skills because they couldn't find enough people with developed skills! They are having to provide that training. This is heresay. Has anyone else heard about this?

Our greatest challenge as educators and lovers of animation, will be to make sure that animators can draw, understand expressive drawing, animation principles and subtle acting, and are able to apply those skills to their work what ever platform they are working in.

By the way, I have heard that some major studios have accepted interns with underdeveloped drawing skills because they couldn't find enough people with developed skills! They are having to provide that training. This is heresay. Has anyone else heard about this?

Not specifically. I've heard something similar from the head of outreach at DreamWorks. He's said that they find a lot of students coming out of school with a skill set they find lacking, so they're working with schools to help inform the curriculum so that things they feel are important are covered while the student is in school. And while they offer classes in-studio, they aren't specifically to bring sub-par work up to the studio's standard - it's more for ongoing training and cross-training among disciplines.

He's also said - flat out - that they won't consider any candidates that have no 3D background at all. They understand and value the skills that 2D animators bring to the table, but they are now a 3D-only studio and don't have the time to train 2D artists in 3D. The market is flooded with newly-minted graduates who do know 3D, so there's no incentive for them to train good 2D artists in the use of 3D. Some of my 2D-only students are hearing the same thing from their friends in studios.

ALL of the folks with MFA's I have met at several schools I have worked or visited do not have any industry experience...

Folks of my generation (us baby boomers) just have decades of experience. An MFA in animation did not exist when we were in school!

With all due respect, there is no time limit on attending college. There's no reason someone with decades of experience can't earn an advanced degree. They may not have existed then, but they do now, and many with industry experience pursue and earn them.

Yes, apparently my experience is very different than yours. The difference is that I'm not making absolute statements based on my personal experience.

As to your original point, schools that are searching for teachers with modeling and rigging experience are looking to teach specific skills in the modern animation pipeline. Modelers and riggers are a different breed than those who wish to be animators, and while art skills are still a requirement, deep knowledge of animation principles are not. Squash and stretch aren't as important to know as edge flow, point weighting, UV mapping, and various other skills. Faulting schools looking for teachers with these skills for not teaching "animation" is like faulting broadcasting programs for not teaching everyone journalism. The two skill sets are often used by a single individual, but not always.

what the people not working in 3d dont realize is that there are jobs in 3d that dont exist in 2d. rigging is a prime example, keep in mind that 3d programs are technical applications geared towards doing something artistic. but the majority of the users think like architects and not artist.

meaning architects are more concerned with creating something real than something artistic, but there output will be real. so it makes sense for them, too many 3d users think in the same fashion only concerned with real. this hurts 3d overall in my opinion. real is only one facet of doing something artistic not the whole objective. now riggers, more often than not are technical people they can program or just wire something to move like expected but that doesnt mean they are animators just riggers they have the technical knowledge to do the job. but there not always required to be good animators.

this is unheard of in 2d. if you cant draw, you cant animate. its that simple

what the people not working in 3d dont realize is that there are jobs in 3d that dont exist in 2d. rigging is a prime example, keep in mind that 3d programs are technical applications geared towards doing something artistic. but the majority of the users think like architects and not artist.

meaning architects are more concerned with creating something real than something artistic, but there output will be real. so it makes sense for them, too many 3d users think in the same fashion only concerned with real. this hurts 3d overall in my opinion. real is only one facet of doing something artistic not the whole objective. now riggers, more often than not are technical people they can program or just wire something to move like expected but that doesnt mean they are animators just riggers they have the technical knowledge to do the job. but there not always required to be good animators.

this is unheard of in 2d. if you cant draw, you cant animate. its that simple

Rigging is kinda like the new "cel painting"--a tedious task that USED to be a vital step in 2D, and certainly wasn't a upwardly mobile job slot. I guess the modern comparison is doing Flash builds. I mean, hey, if a lot of people want to train as riggers, more power to them, but the real meat and potatoes is in actually CREATING material, and for that drawing is probably always going to remain a requisite.

I mean, who wants to make a career out of doing the tedious job??

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

Rigging is kinda like the new "cel painting"--a tedious task that USED to be a vital step in 2D, and certainly wasn't a upwardly mobile job slot. I guess the modern comparison is doing Flash builds. I mean, hey, if a lot of people want to train as riggers, more power to them, but the real meat and potatoes is in actually CREATING material, and for that drawing is probably always going to remain a requisite.

I mean, who wants to make a career out of doing the tedious job??

Couldn't disagree more. Rigging is nothing at all like cel painting, and there's much more to it than Flash builds. It requires technical knowledge, problem-solving skills, the ability to think outside the box - you know, all the things an animator does on a daily basis. It's no more a dead-end job than being an animator is, as there are levels of rigger/TD just like in the animator's hierarchy.

Remember, a job is only tedious if you don't enjoy doing it. Talk to any rigger who's really good, and you'll find someone who's as passionate about his work as any animator in the studio.

I can give you an example of rigging right now I posted a character in my image post thats just walking, but if you look at the arms. there not moving like normal 3d arms there not stiff at all, neither the hand or the arm are stiff. thats actully a seperate animation system on the arms thats linked to the stiff bipedal arms of the skeleton.

now the stiff bipedal motion of the arms is right as far as the motions that a human arm can do goes. but its not right for animation purposes. where if it was a drawing it would just go from one shape to the next. not from one motion with no flexibility to the next. to get this type of motion to be smooth, because it isnt naturally smooth. means going back and making adjustments to the motion and essentially forcing it to be smooth. which takes away from the main benefit of working in 3d speed.

so its better to use a system that doesnt have those flaws and can do shapes but the bipedal motion is correct for a human motion. so I use it to drive the nonlinear system. now I have the bipedal motion driving flexible system but the flexible system is still flexible.

now this may sound like a lot but all I did was link a loose moving system to a rigid one. wiring by the way is just linking one object to another. to make align and skin it took about 15 minutes

Really good thread, i just may look into one of these schools one day

Do u also have names of few animation studio in london ?

Do u also have names of few animation studio in london ?

Check the AWN home page, there is a link to a list there. I have no idea if that list is current.

Help me, please!

Hi,
I hope you can help me. My name is Hany. I am 24 years old and I am currently a freshman student of Animation and Visual Effects in The Academy of Art Univirsity. I recently heard about Animation Mentor, and how its just 18 month to graduate from with a diploma and enough skills to get you hired in big animation companies(or thats what I read about it). I am currently working as a manager in a supermarket to support myself while studying, and I was thinking of changing some of my plans. I was wondering if its better to finish this summer semester in college then stop for 18 months to take the animation mentor diploma. So In that way I'll be able to work in the animation career faster and I'll be able to support myself better while I am completing my bachelor's afterwards. Is that a good descision or is it better to finish my bachelor's first and then take the animation mentor diploma( if its even neccessary anymore)??
please help me.. I would really appreciate it.

Hany

Hi,
I hope you can help me. My name is Hany. I am 24 years old and I am currently a freshman student of Animation and Visual Effects in The Academy of Art Univirsity. I recently heard about Animation Mentor, and how its just 18 month to graduate from with a diploma and enough skills to get you hired in big animation companies(or thats what I read about it). I am currently working as a manager in a supermarket to support myself while studying, and I was thinking of changing some of my plans. I was wondering if its better to finish this summer semester in college then stop for 18 months to take the animation mentor diploma. So In that way I'll be able to work in the animation career faster and I'll be able to support myself better while I am completing my bachelor's afterwards. Is that a good descision or is it better to finish my bachelor's first and then take the animation mentor diploma( if its even neccessary anymore)??
please help me.. I would really appreciate it.

Hany

I've heard good things about Animation Mentor too, but the focus of that program (as I understand it) is character animation in only the 3D format. It won't give you the foundational drawing or 2D training that you'll need as a well-rounded animator. I think you should probably finish your degree and decide if AM is still necessary.

So, guys, I have a question of my own....

I'm about to start my 5th and final year as an undergrad Fine Arts (painting) major at a small school that doesn't have an animation track. Since I was very young I wanted to be an animator/cartoonist (the Lion King changed my little life), and I still have a passion for it. I have always loved drawing and the more I learn about animation, the more I want to go for it.

I want an animation degree. But the thought of taking another four years as an undergrad student makes me want to shoot myself in the face. Is it possible to add a 2-year postgrad animation degree to my fine arts degree, or will I have to start over and get a BA in animation?

I've heard good things about Animation Mentor too, but the focus of that program (as I understand it) is character animation in only the 3D format. It won't give you the foundational drawing or 2D training that you'll need as a well-rounded animator. I think you should probably finish your degree and decide if AM is still necessary.

So, guys, I have a question of my own....

I'm about to start my 5th and final year as an undergrad Fine Arts (painting) major at a small school that doesn't have an animation track. Since I was very young I wanted to be an animator/cartoonist (the Lion King changed my little life), and I still have a passion for it. I have always loved drawing and the more I learn about animation, the more I want to go for it.

I want an animation degree. But the thought of taking another four years as an undergrad student makes me want to shoot myself in the face. Is it possible to add a 2-year postgrad animation degree to my fine arts degree, or will I have to start over and get a BA in animation?

Thanks for your input des :)

You will already have a degree. Why do you feel you need another?

I want an animation degree. But the thought of taking another four years as an undergrad student makes me want to shoot myself in the face. Is it possible to add a 2-year postgrad animation degree to my fine arts degree, or will I have to start over and get a BA in animation?

Short answer is yes, you can get a post degree in animation with a fine arts undergrad. This is where it should be pointed out, though, that no one ever got a job in animation because they have a degree - you get a job in animation based on your work. If you can get the training you need to put together a reel that will get you hired without a formal degree, go for it. Loads of folks who work in animation don't have animation degrees, including yours truly.

Oh...whew. I didn't consider that. As long as I have passion and discipline, I can still get to where I want to be...and take on less debt in the process :)

Thanks, guys.

Hi!

I am a 2D Senior Animator in Toronto with more than ten years in the Animation Industry. Traditionally trained, I've been working with Flash for more than seven years. I am between jobs right now and I think it's a good opportunity to go to school and improve my skills. I've always wanted to learn 3D Animation.

I might be able to get a scholarship to study a postgraduate course in 3D character animation at a school in Toronto but i really like Animation Mentor. The other school's program is more general, it teaches a bit of everything, modeling, rigging, etc but AM focuses in animation only but I will have to get a student loan for that.

If you were in this situation, would you go for AM or the other school?

Thanks in advance!

Hi Violetta,

I think I've met you and if you're who I think you are, you have family responsibilities, and scheduling problems, AND you are already a professional animator....therefore I think Animation Mentor may be your best solution.

We loved your passion and energy and under different circumstances it would have been great to have you at Max the Mutt, but I've heard great things about Animation Mentor, especially for people like you who already have background. Is there any way they would let you try it out for a month or two before committing to the whole program?

Hi, guys. Been reading through this thread the last couple days, as I'm looking for an animation school myself. I want to thank everyone who's weighed in. It's nice to get the information, opinions and advice.

One thing I thought was worth mentioning for people who, like me, already have a bachelor's degree is that you can in many cases enter as a transfer student. How much of the credit from your previous degree will transfer over can vary widely from school to school, but it is worth keeping in mind, especially since time and money are always an issue. You can check schools' websites, and you can call and ask them about the transfer process. It seems usual for schools to set a minimum of two years out of a four year program to be taken there, and of course schools with a ground-up approach aren't as likely to transfer credits.

For my part, even though I have a degree and a background in art, I really need the focus and experience of physically being on campus. If you're in my position, just remember there are options and you won't necessarily have to go a full four years to get that animation degree, (and more importantly, demo reel.) Also, my personal advice, don't necessarily rule out taking a class again just because it transfers over. I'll leap at the opportunity to get more life drawing, even if I don't need the credit, because it's an extremely useful class. (And for me, after six years out of school, I could definitely stand to take it again.)

4 year diploma ha been approved!

Our dream for many years has been to offer one four year animation diploma,
still based on the old Disney and Warner Bros guidelines, with a strong classical foundation and emphasis on character animation, but encompassing 2D and 3D computer animation, and allowing us to introduce Maya in year 3.
I can barely contain my excitement...we'd already retooled and expanded the classical courses, and now we can also add earlier intro to Maya, advanced drawing for animation, advanced improv for animation and a 4th year simulated studio experience that joins pros and students in a creative animation project. Whoopee! We needed approval from the Ministry of training, Colleges and Universities in Ontario...and we got it!

Thanks to all the professionals who contributed to curriculum development, and to the folks at KeyFrame Digital Productions who reviewed and endorsed the full program.

Plz suggest me..

Hello all,
this is subhash from Bangalore,INDIA.I am into animation since last 3 years now and I am presently working as faculty for multi-media at IBMR and teach basic 2D and 3D animation to MCA students. I have an 3 year correspondence degree in computer application and an art and design foundation diploma of 1 year from Picasso Centennial animation collage,New Delhi and a advance diploma in MAYA from Frameboxx animations.

I got selected for MA_Digital Animation,_Sound_and_Visual_Media at Teesside for Feb 2011 intake. But now after some research i am kind of confused with it, the nature of teaching and graduates are still without jobs. And few on-going students say course is completely project based and they don't teach any new softwares.-http://www.tees.ac.uk/postgraduate_courses/Animation_Games_&_Computer_Gr...

I am looking for an masters or specialization course which can upgrade my animation and VFX skills, as I am done with the basics.In the meantime I found few courses at Bournemouth Uni for Sep intake, but again I am confused with the nature of study for Msc course in Computer Animation and Visual Effects. Is it completely based on programming our we get hands on training on latest technology and software's used in industry.

I feel this is the right place which can guide me to choose the best course, it would be great help if u can suggest from the following

1) Bournemouth Uni- MSc Computer Animation and Visual Effects - http://onlineservices.bournemouth.ac.uk/courses/Course.aspx?course=498&name=Computer+Animation+and+Visual+Effects&colID=161&colname=Animation&collection=pg OR
MA 3D Computer Animation - http://onlineservices.bournemouth.ac.uk/courses/Course.aspx?course=99&name=3D+Computer+Animation&colID=161&colname=Animation&collection=pg

2) Sheridan Uni (Canada)- Post Grad diploma in Computer Animation - http://www.sheridaninstitute.ca/Programs%20and%20Courses/Full-Time%20Programs/Programs%20A-Z%20Index/Computer%20Animation.aspx

3) Teesside Uni - MA Digital Animation, Sound and Visual Media - http://www.tees.ac.uk/postgraduate_courses/Animation_Games_&_Computer_Graphics/MA_Digital_Animation,_Sound_and_Visual_Media.cfm OR
MA Digital Character Animation - http://www.tees.ac.uk/postgraduate_courses/Animation_Games_&_Computer_Graphics/MA_Digital_Character_Animation.cfm

4) Savannah College Of Art & Design (SCAD, USA) - Master of Arts - http://www.scad.edu/animation/ma.cfm#programButtons

5) VFS (Canada) - Diploma in 3D animation and visual effects - http://www.vfs.com/fulltime.php?id=7 ( Preferably last as its way too expensive then my budget)

I know in Animation it completely depends on their skills and hardwork, please help me find the top course with best facilities and outcomes and suits my needs.

Thanks in advance,
Subhash

Subhash, I'm curioius about what you've decided to do. Do let us know!

Subhash, I'm curioius about what you've decided to do. Do let us know!

Ermm, may I ask a few thing if you don't mind?

Does your website have any videos on your graduates' animation work? At least many art schools provide a link or maybe a youtube page for their graduates' works, as it might make me a little nervous without looking at any, sorry :o

if you want to take a look, we're easy enough to find! Check out our website. www.maxthemutt.com. You can also find student films on You Tube. Just type in Max the Mutt.

It seems so many of these BC schools don't care about your talent or success and just want the ridiuculous amounts of money they charge. I moved to BC's Lower Mainland from Edmonton because of a) family-related reasons, and b) I thought there were a lot of good schools that offer animation out here. It seems like Capilano U and Emily Carr are probably the only animation schools here that aren't scams (because they're "real" schools), and I'm told even Emily Carr is really more about the fine arts-y stuff than animating (don't get me wrong, Emily Carr's a great school, very reputable, and keep in mind, I haven't been to any of these schools yet myself). I'm also told it depends entirely on the teachers you get that year, which is a huge gamble if you don't know who's who in the industry already.

I find myself really unimpressed with the majority of animation schools...they're either not offering "real" credentials, and/or they're upwards of $20K a year and people are saying these ones are really just businesses that want your money, and/or you look at the website and the student work is just not up to par. There are a ton of red flags to look out for, I suggest you do your research and don't let people rip you off.

I inquired with VCAD last year, they really tried to skirt the issue of tuition, saying they didn't want that to detract from students making the decision to go there. I don't remember the exact number, but it was pricey and I had to really badger them for it. As someone who's rarely had any significant amount of money in their pocket, tuition is the third thing I look for in school websites, following the student work and then then course outlines. They're also pretty new, which makes it difficult to decide whether to bother with a school or not.

When I first wanted to get into animation (leaning more towards game design at the time), I wanted to get into VanArts, and was all starry-eyed at the prospect of going there despite the $20-someodd-thou tuition, but then I heard all kinds of bad things about them. Same goes for VFS. Private school just doesn't seem to be the way to go for it, unless you're loaded with both money and talent and you just need to surround yourself with people that have a shared interest in making pictures move.

After a couple years of changing my mind on both the program and school I wanted, I'm contemplating Sheridan - all the way over in Ontario - now, either that or just getting a Bachelor of Arts and either majoring in animation if the school offers it or figuring that out after I have a degree under my belt. Perhaps I've just been too cautious and hesitant to make a decision, but I figured I may as well weigh in on this thread, in case the tale of my seemingly unproductive search for a school can help somebody out.

It seems so many of these BC schools don't care about your talent or success and just want the ridiuculous amounts of money they charge. I moved to BC's Lower Mainland from Edmonton because of a) family-related reasons, and b) I thought there were a lot of good schools that offer animation out here. It seems like Capilano U and Emily Carr are probably the only animation schools here that aren't scams (because they're "real" schools), and I'm told even Emily Carr is really more about the fine arts-y stuff than animating (don't get me wrong, Emily Carr's a great school, very reputable, and keep in mind, I haven't been to any of these schools yet myself). I'm also told it depends entirely on the teachers you get that year, which is a huge gamble if you don't know who's who in the industry already.

I find myself really unimpressed with the majority of animation schools...they're either not offering "real" credentials, and/or they're upwards of $20K a year and people are saying these ones are really just businesses that want your money, and/or you look at the website and the student work is just not up to par. There are a ton of red flags to look out for, I suggest you do your research and don't let people rip you off.

I inquired with VCAD last year, they really tried to skirt the issue of tuition, saying they didn't want that to detract from students making the decision to go there. I don't remember the exact number, but it was pricey and I had to really badger them for it. As someone who's rarely had any significant amount of money in their pocket, tuition is the third thing I look for in school websites, following the student work and then then course outlines. They're also pretty new, which makes it difficult to decide whether to bother with a school or not.

When I first wanted to get into animation (leaning more towards game design at the time), I wanted to get into VanArts, and was all starry-eyed at the prospect of going there despite the $20-someodd-thou tuition, but then I heard all kinds of bad things about them. Same goes for VFS. Private school just doesn't seem to be the way to go for it, unless you're loaded with both money and talent and you just need to surround yourself with people that have a shared interest in making pictures move.

After a couple years of changing my mind on both the program and school I wanted, I'm contemplating Sheridan - all the way over in Ontario - now, either that or just getting a Bachelor of Arts and either majoring in animation if the school offers it or figuring that out after I have a degree under my belt. Perhaps I've just been too cautious and hesitant to make a decision, but I figured I may as well weigh in on this thread, in case the tale of my seemingly unproductive search for a school can help somebody out.

I say,you looked like you had a lot of decision-making before you singled our your choice.
I was also kind of like you in the beginning when I wanted to enrol in some of the animation private schools in the US and Canada(I'm an international student). I once considered Calarts, but ever since I came across the tuition fees on their web, I never really wanted to check it again..:( (almost half a million dollars for me!)

Your experience really pinched me in the skin, and to think about it, I guess I have to re-evaluate my options again. Right now, I'm stuck between going to a cheap college in US/Canada or staying back home as there's a good art college in my town(with cheaper fees of course).
I was hoping someone could give me a good opinion and reply:o

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