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Edinboro University vs. R.I.T.

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Edinboro University vs. R.I.T.

I am a senior in H.S. and have been accepted into the animation program at Edinboro University in Pennsylvania and the School of Film and Animation at Rochester Institue of Technology. From my visits to the schools I got the impression that Edinboro's program is more art based as opposed to R.I.T.'s, which is more film based. Is anyone familiar with these programs and do you have any recommendations which program might be stronger. I am unsure of which school to attend. I want to do traditional character animation but I realize that the field is going more 3-D with computers, so I want to get a strong backround in all facets of the field. Any feedback would be appreciated. :confused:


Amazingly enough, those are the two schools I looked into when I was applying to college.

Which one to chose depends on what you want from your college. RIT is a technology school. They tend to focus more on the computer side of animation and, from what I've heard, less on the fundementals. They do give you the option of animating traditionally or using stop-motion (as the creators of "Celebrity Deathmatch" went to RIT) but they are still mostly computer-based. I forget whether they use Lightwave or Maya, but it's been a couple years.

Ultimately, I chose Edinboro. For many reasons. I wanted to continue studying Spanish (RIT doesn't offer foreign languages--or at least it didn't when I was looking). I also wanted a more liberal arts education versus a fine arts education. Edinboro does require that you take a bunch of fine arts classes (drawing, painting, sculpture, etc.) which is a good base for your animation. But they also require math, history, English, etc. so you get a more well-rounded education. It also gives you something to fall back on if you cannot get a job in animation right off the bat.

At the moment, Edinboro focuses more on traditional animation but is making the transition to more computer-based animation. They do not offer classes in Flash, but after taking beginning animation you can remain in traditional classes or move to the computer. I personally feel one should take at least one intermediate class before attempting to start the computer, but that's just my opinion.

Edinboro uses Lightwave for animation, which is not as good at animating as Maya, but it still gives you a good basis to start with for using Maya if need be. I'd highly recommend taking at least one computer animation class, even if you want to be a traditional animator. I made the mistake of not taking a computer class and now need to learn it on my own.

The professors at Edinboro have industry experience as well. Mike Genz worked at Disney and Steve Carpenter worked for Wil Vinton. Cathy Joritz worked as an experimental animator in Germany. I know they got a new professor as well, although that was after I graduated.

If you have any further questions about Edinboro, feel free to ask. ;) You can also check out the Forum of the EUP Animation Club here: (scroll to the bottom and click on Animation Club) I know they'd be willing to answer questions for you as well.

2-D animation will never die. The invention of photography did not kill painting. Why would animation be any different?
Dancing Cavy Productions

I also attended Edinboro, and one of my closest friends is in the animation program there. Yes they use Lightwave, which isn't too bright considering the major, but in all honesty while a lot of studios are using proprietary Maya builds if you understand Lightwave the biggest deal for the employer will be can you knock their socks off, not how long will it take for you to adapt what you learned in this other program to the one we use...

If DC says RIT is technology-based, and more importantly says they ignore fundamentals, it's a waste of time and money. If it's between those schools and those schools only, go to Edinboro. My concerns deal largely with the administration there -- I was only there long enough to do the core classes and those liberal arts. I hate to admit it, but they were pretty solid. It's about half and half. For the good half, straight out of high school it seemed most people found things a challenge, but created better work in all departments as a result. For the other half, there were teachers whose syllabi actually said they would never give an A (with counselors that didn't see a problem with it...) and students that just didn't wanna be there. But losers and time-wasters and your-future-messer-uppers can be at any school.

Edinboro is COLD as the Earth is round though! HOLY YEESH! Even in October it was snowy. Then in 'actual winter' there'd be feet of snow, a layer of ice on that snow, and then a layer of dusty snow sunblinding you on top of that. Raining when it's 36 degrees and foggy the next morning when it's 40, with windchill that makes those temperatures seem tropical. Its climate was a running joke between my friend and I...But you're not killing yourself to go there, certainly if they offer so many opportunities to practice traditional work. When we went in 2002 they didn't have any student work to show (able to present I mean, they DID have some) and the brochure didn't really impress me in retrospect as far as hiring rates. But if you go to Edinboro, buck the trend. Take the classes, learn what you have to, but don't listen to the rumor mills and the BS and do not parrot around everything you hear. Show up, do the work, go home/have fun. The best things you'll learn about life and even the industry will be outside that campus. A guy at the hotel we stayed at for orientation, the people that run the main street's art store, the independent video guy. All invaluable info compared to the kids (and sometime the teachers) who don't know what they're talking about animation-biz wise but like to become experts like the insta-meteorologists down here in Florida come hurricane season =)

Good luck and enjoy yourself.

ScatteredLogical is right, the weather is atrocioius. And school never gets cancelled. Closed early on occasion, but never cancelled.

I know when I was applying to Edinboro, they did have some student work to show. I'm sure they have more now. One thing I've noticed is that there are some STELLAR students at the Boro. And then there's everyone else. The stellar students seem to have little to no trouble getting jobs right out of college. We have graduates at DNA, Blue Sky, and the like. However, if you're an average student (with decent talent) you're likely to have trouble finding work. Ask me, I'll tell you.

The 'lack of fundementals at RIT' comment I overheard from one of my professors. I don't remember much about the students works I saw at RIT (and at the time, I lacked the proper training to identify good animation) to know first hand whether or not they do teach the fundementals. However, if they don't, like ScatteredLogical, I'd advise you to stay away!!

I was fairly happy with my education at Edinboro. I wish the equipment had been better and more reliable (don't get me started) and I wish they had more job opportunities and internships. I had to find an internship on my own--and it still hasn't helped me get a job in the field.

2-D animation will never die. The invention of photography did not kill painting. Why would animation be any different?
Dancing Cavy Productions

I think it's at the point where career centers can make or break a decision like that. One of the reasons Ringling is so interesting to look at. From student experiences and talking with the school, they have a mindset to familiarize you with the business of animation and tailoring your education and presentation of self in order to get you a job -- because that's what you're there for.

The state school system in PA works in mysterious ways. There are 14 institutions, and they essentially rotate who has the high standards for acceptance and also the majors they concentrate on. Edinboro was beginning to slide out of the peak of their "we're the animation school!" mentality when I got out of there, and because they cater to so many majors they probably couldn't really afford the time and effort to dedicate themselves in any special ways to animation students. Ringling's over twice the cost of a state school there, but if it's the difference between me being awesome and getting noticed or me being awesome and not having the opportunities or resources to even be considered, in my mind there's not a decision. You take the hit because that's a place that know you're there with one focus, and helps you out with it. (Just using examples, by the way, this isn't a comparison or even a public/private was just a lead-in for why what they have available might not be up to your expectations).

What DC said also is something that applies everywhere. From all the info available to students, if you don't bust your arse something awful there are a hundred people ahead of you that did that much more that are before you in line. You must keep making the best informed decisions to stay at the head of the pack. You can run circles around your pals in talent, even be the best at the school, but suppose all the other schools' bests make you look pitiful? Then where are you? So just go to a place, do your best, and earn what you get. And for your own sake, never lose touch with the real world of animation. Ever.