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does the art institutes offer a good animation program?

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does the art institutes offer a good animation program?

My dream is to break my way into animation, eventually Japanese animation, even if it is years down the road. But since I was three the air I breathe has been animation. To be honest, at this point my skills are not honed to the point that I could get into say Calarts, and the art institutes seems to be a good school. However it seems a bit easy to get into which makes me question the quality education I will be receiving for $80,000, excluding room and board. Some of the student work doesn't seem to be that great, but perhaps it's the effort the student puts in rather than what the school is offering. Could someone please give me some advice about this school, or other schools I might have a good shot at getting into? Please help me. The school seems impressive but is it too good to be true? It seems like it might be rejects from other schools who took what they could get but maybe I'm wrong. Thanks for the advice. Remember, I hope to get into 2d, although training in 3d at most schools is required.

I felt the same way when I toured an Art Insitute school. They seem too quick to get you sign up an pay the admissions fee and the facilities weren't that great. The school did not impress me at all. I was fortunate to discover that local State University(Cal State Fulleron) had an excellent animation program which I am attending right now and loving it. Their main focus is 2D but they do offer a wealth of 3D classes using Maya that cover everything from modeling to rigging and dynamics. Personally I would go with Animation Mentor(which I will also be doing soon) and if you want to improve your drawing skills take classes at a nearby community college or try to get into a good BFA program at a local state university.

EDIT: Just curious but where do you live?

Software: TVPaint Pro, Harmony Standalone, Storyboard Pro, Maya, Modo, Arnold, V-Ray, Maxwell, NukeX, Hiero, Mari, RealFlow, Avid, Adobe CS6
Hardware: (2) HP Z820 Workstations + 144-core Linux Render Farm + Cintiq 24HD Touch

I live in Rhode Island but plan to move as far away for college as possible. SCAD doesn't seem to hard to get into, hmmm.

Go to the school you feel meets your needs. If you have a bad feeling about the school thats usually a good indicator that its not right for you!

Software: TVPaint Pro, Harmony Standalone, Storyboard Pro, Maya, Modo, Arnold, V-Ray, Maxwell, NukeX, Hiero, Mari, RealFlow, Avid, Adobe CS6
Hardware: (2) HP Z820 Workstations + 144-core Linux Render Farm + Cintiq 24HD Touch

If you want to uncover how good a school is, look at its alumni--the students that have graduated and hopefully gone on to industry.
The more students from the school you want to apply to, that are working now in the biz, the better that school's programs are likely to be.

The secondary, though less reliable indicator, is the staff qualifications. If the staff have extensive experience and are currently, or have recently been working in industry then that too is an indicator. Be careful with the info you get. Someone that claims to have worked on "The Incredibles" but doesnt specify what they did could have been a production assistant rather than a animator.
Likewise, if NONE of the staff show a predilection towards the styles you like ( anime) then they might not be as receptive to it during instruction.

Also, make sure to ask HOW LONG the programs have been running. Anything less than 1 ( or 2) year and you'll probably want to give it a pass, as it likely still working its bugs out

I taught at AI Vancouver, in both their campus and in the 2D/3D/ and Gaming programs.
AI has slick ads, with attractive faces and a glib line.......but the school itself--to be candid, was somewhat unorganized. I cannot speak of any other location, but i found at this one that they had a kind of "catch-all" approach with instructors. My working experience is primarily 2d, with a a bit of 3D and a very small amount of Gaming industry exposure. When teaching in the later two programs I felt very out of place, and did not feel I served my students adequately. That's common, from what I understand.

That just ONE of their franchises........and they are all different and offer different programs.

AI is a "meatshop" as far as schools go. They are a franchise business, intended to process a certain number of students each term throughout the year. The idea is to get the student through the programs and into industry ( re: Out the door) so the courses have VERY LITTLE think processing time.
You'll have time to do the assignments, but likely next to no time for self-exploration within those assignments. Hence the meatshop term, you might understand how cattle feel.....

One thing to really keep in mind: Community colleges and all kinds of fly-by-night "schools" are offering programs in animation and the like. Its the nex "sexy" field of study for students. Consequently, schools will set up programs and hire staff that might look good on paper, but are hollow when it comes to actually offering anything.
If you are taking MAYA, ask if they are going to cover animation in any depth. Things like character expressions, emotions, gestures and such. Effects animation and that sort of thing as well. My exposure to alot of these schools is that they just teach the software........which is the lesser part of this. You can learn Maya via the Maya PLE software you can download in the can do this on your own. DOING SOMETHING with said software is what'll get you work in the biz.......and not a lot of schools cover that beyond the very basic lessons like the bouncing ball or a walk cycle.

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

Any program should be judged by the success of its students and the benefits it offers, and not necessarily by where it's offered. For example, the program offered by De Anza, a community college in Cupertino CA, has produced two student Academy Award winners and many graduates who have gone on to long, successful careers in the industry, including guys like Joe Murray (Rocko's Modern Life, Camp Lazlo) and Nick Jennings (longtime Nick background supervisor). They routinely bring in guest speakers like Yuri Norstein.

Overlooking a program like De Anza's because it's at a JC would be a big mistake.

I went to the Art Institute and graduated from the animation program. It wasn't worth the money: The faculty didn't seem too into it, and the facilities were falling apart. Sure, I learned how to animate, and a student's gets what he puts into it, but definitely do more research.