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Info on Calarts experimental animation

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Info on Calarts experimental animation

I have searched far and wide on the web and I cannot find a single piece of outside information for California Institute of the Art's experimental Animation program- I have heard alot of how good/powerful/omnipotent/god-like the character animation program is at Calarts but what about the experimental animation program? Can anyone who went there offer their comments? Thanks!!

I've been in the experimental animation program for the first semester. Experimental has some definate advantages to character animation. I had a really hard time deciding between the two because I want to make 2d animation, but I don't want to be a cog in a production. After consulting with different experimental animation students, character animation students, professors, mentors and such I decided to stay in experimental animation.

You should know that if you pick character animation, you can still transfer to experimental and vice versa. The earlier you do it the better. I knew a girl who transferred from experimental to character in her 3rd year, and lost 2 years worth of credit. I wanted to transfer from experimental to character after 1 semester and I would have lost about a semester. If you do switch try to do it soon, and try to take courses in both programs to get a feel for things. They will let you into character courses if you are experimental and vice versa.

-character animators are required to take more courses, that means you have less choice over what courses you would like to take. There are alot of intresting film, art, music, etc classes you woudn't be able to take.

-character animation courses are usaully half the credits of experimental's

-experimental moves through traditional animation faster, ie after the first year we aren't required any courses in it, and we make a short in our first semester where character animation finishes thier short the end of the second semester

-all the stop motion animation is in experimental animation, if you are into that

-it's less competitive. There is just plain much less people to compete with for scholarships. We have 9 people in our class, character animation has about 60.

-the first 3 weeks back from winter break, experimental animation students ,graphic designers, music students, and fine art students , take "practicum" which is an intensive school sponsored workshop of your choice.

-because this program was originally designed for MFA's it dosn't fit into the rest of the school's BFA requirements so smoothly. Changes are being made all the time for the better, but it can be frustrating with all the last minute changes.

-lack of information from the institute makes it hard to plan your education. I didn't get my course catalogue until the day before class sign ups (which are in person by the way, not over the internet, it's a real mess/riot that day, but you do get to meet your professors)for example: I ended up signing up for 3 character animation courses that, unbeknowest to me were full year courses, and conflict which my second semester requirements.

CHARACTER ANIMATION COURSES TEND TO RUN ALL YEAR, make sure your find out before signing up, if you enter experimental animation they might neglect telling you, and it's not written down in the catalougue.

-the maya, and mx flash courses are in character animation too, btw

-photoshop, premire, and after effetcs are in experimental's first semester, I'm pretty sure character has a similar course plus a maya course.

About the studios:
Experimental animation's headquarters is new, and there is rumors of even more new equipment. We have animation desks and lightboxes. The room is very quiet and clean. Character animation's headquarters is over 4 times the size and consists of an older cube system. But, it has more room for student creativity with the space, and more equipment. You can't really paint or get too crazy in the brand new experimental room, cuz they will take your deposit. You can pretty much live in the character animation cubes, but they are dirty, old, and loud.

Most character animatiors tend to be shut-ins, if you like focusing on your work and chugging along on endless homework assignments it will work for you.A degree from calarts in character animation is supposed to be the best.

If you want to try different things (and remember the industry of animation is constantly changing)
As for calarts as a whole; it is a really great school. I learn just as much from the diverse student body as I do the professors. It's a really free and experimental enviroment. If you are thinking about coming in or transferring here I'll give your a tour, of the "calarts experience". Just let me know when you are visiting.

Excellent description, Rigel.

Speaking from the Character side, I think that what Rigel says is pretty spot on about characters. We really just work all the time, or talk about working, or complain about how much work we get, and how life would be much better once we actually get paid (hopefully) to work. Work, work, work. It gets really tiring at times.

The character animation cubes can get quite loud at times, because people tend to stay in their workspaces even if they want to take a break, or party.

I know a number of Character students who have transferred in from experimental. Transferring from Character to Experimental is not as common, but does happen. Character has a lot more structure (especially the first two years) but Experimental has more varied facilities, and more space (which is really nice if you like to paint or do stop motion).

However, both programs have a lot of crossover. Just because you're in one doesn't mean you're shut off from the other. I hear experimental is a little easier to get into, if that's an issue for you, but this may be hearsay.

Each program has great faculty and teachers. Character teachers tend to be Disney or similar people and Experimental have been all over the place. However, both programs (for the most part) encourage your type of vision, whether that follows the traditional vision or not.

The character animation department has about 160 students total, and I think experimental has around fifty (including MFA) or less.