It's finally that time...COLLEGE!

I woke up about a week ago and realized i have no college plans (that was scary indeed!) WHile my parents are pressuring me to go into law or med school or something…my mind keeps wandering back to 3d imagery and the like. My question is, is there somewhere to go to college in the U.S. where my parents won’t think i’m just going to become some ‘poor artistic type’? :-?

This sounds interesting:

Digital Arts Engineering sounds better than “game designer”
They also have a BA in Computer and Video Imaging, but if the Engineering degree is a BS, I think that would give a better paying career track (even if you do about the same thing).

Eew, college :stuck_out_tongue:

hmmm ok here is my logic.

go to university to study somthing you like, but not your strength.

i.e. you already do CG so why pay thousands of dollars per year to do the same thing.

i was wanting to get into 3d stuff at university, however i am already better than most of the graduates at 3d. so why should i pay 16 thousand dollars to leave university witha single qualification.

when i could just do what i love in my spare time and do somthing else i enjoy at university, but somthing that will get me more skills and qualifications.

i do 3d at home in my own time, and do Industrial design at university. the two of them go hand in hand. i am trying to get into prop and set design for film, and will be doing that in my spare time as well as 3d, so a combo of all the skills.

whereas if i did 3d, all i would be doing is 3d, in both my uni time and spare time. IMO thats a bit dangerous.

BTW what country are you in?

In New Zealand, being skilled at many things is very desired, but in the US being an ultra specialist is the norm.

i.e. here, if you want to be a 3d graphics artist, you should be good at everything from modellign to rigging and animating.

but if you are in the states they will normally only want say a texturer or somthing.


Alltaken has some good points. If you want “training” a short course or a 2-year school would probably be better than a regular 4-year degree. A 4-year degree should give you more of the general knowledge, not specific training. If you enjoy the specific 3D work, you will always be “trained” in that. A 4-year degree could give you a better exposure to traditional art, human forms, color, lighting, etc. that is not specific to any 1 software package. If you are leery of the artsy side of a college education, I would broaden it with some programming or computer studies for the reasons Alltaken gave.

Yes, the US tends to look for specialists, but a broader background should improve your chances of that first job. A BS degree means they hire a computer expert that can also do 3D work. A BA degree means they are hiring an artist to use their tools. Same work at first, but I bet the starting salary would be 20-50% higher for the BS degree.

I agree, I have done a 4 year course in physics & computer science and you get taught a whole load of crap you’re never going to use. I think that you should investigate what job you want when you leave.

I know you’re just starting but lets face it, your education is your route to a career. I wish I’d researched it more before I started because I just cherry picked the subjects I liked not the ones required for any specific job.

This sort of thing is sometimes hard. Mixing art with science I mean, because usually university departments force you along one route or the other especially in later years. In my first 2 years, I was juggling Maths, Physics and Computer Science.

I went down the science only route, which I heard is better for animation as it’s a very technical subject but some jobs I have applied for I have been rejected because I don’t have the art qualifications.

In theory perhaps. I still don’t have a job a year after graduating though :(.

ouch. im going to start my junior year in 2 weeks, so ill feel that soon enough… :o

many cg companies much rather prefer someone who has a degree in some type of cg

i would reccomend digipen; institute of technology

I think it would depend on what type of cg job you would be wanting to go into, media (films/games/commercial etc) or a more technical cg job.

Also, I think that getting a BS degree would be “safer,” in general, than a BA. A BA might be a bit better in landing some cg jobs, but if you don’t make it quickly, there’s not much to fall back on. With a BS degree you have your prior cg experience along with anything you picked up during college, but also oppurtunities in another field. It really depends on the person though, don’t take what I said as law or anything.

Good luck with your search (sorry, don’t have any schools to suggest :expressionless: )

Im also getting ready to go to college (entering 12th grade) so I have a lot of decisions to make too :slight_smile:

many cg companies much rather prefer someone who has a degree in some type of cg

i would reccomend digipen; institute of technology[/quote]

I’m finding that too. A lot of companies say they only hire from animation degree programs. Some say they look to see if you have a good showreel but the easiest way to see a whole load of showreels instead of scouring the web is just to go to the training colleges and then pick the best ones.

Then they know that the students will be trained in necessary areas and that they will have used the industry standard tools so they can hit the ground running. If you do it on your own (like I’m doing) it’s harder because you have to be able to motivate yourself (like I’m not doing) and also be able to somehow prove that you know the ins and outs of the software.

The thing I like about not being at university is there are no silly deadlines and rules. Like in my last year they make up that you have to do a 50 page dissortation + a big software project with documentation + a presentation alongside all your other subjects (which may require you to do similar). Now, ok you might get the same sort of thing in a job but at uni you just know that after all your work, all you get is a grade that says how well you did. The projects never mean diddly squat. I’ve seen people with PhDs that get shelved after 4 years of solid work. What’s the point?

If any of you do choose to go to uni, the important thing is to keep doing the animation. Don’t worry about spending all your time making meaningless projects your tutors set (still do them though), make stuff that makes you stand out from the crowd. All the people in your class will be going after the same jobs and there aren’t enough places for everyone.

Most importantly is to get to know people. I failed there too, man I’m such a Try and find contacts who will get you internships (i.e. real world experience) in animation companies. This is called networking and is essential for most jobs.

ps I don’t want to burst anyone’s bubble but colleges aren’t full of horny virginal beauties waiting for you to sweep them off their feet. Educated girls tend very much to be spotty, overweight and/or plain ugly. You might get lucky in the junior years but it usually gets worse later on, so if you find any hotties, get to know (babelfish: nail) them before they drop out. :wink:

i know where your coming from i finally had to suck it up, and choose a major before i started wasting money. youll usually find two sides to this question; the “it would be better if you went to college”, and the " it doesnt really matter as long as your good" side.

i think both are right, college is a must; but not art degrees. now im not saying that you should go straight out to AI or digipen unless you really want to take the risks, nor am i saying that you should go to CSU’s or UC’s (traditionals) unless youd like to take those risks.

but the way i see it is, companies hire talent (artistic abilityand creativity,in this case), artistic ability and creativity can not be taught. period. artists are born not “created”. take Steven Spielberg; dropped out of college and created hit films the way he thought they should be(he went back to CSU Long Beach, but come on! he turned in Schindler’s list for his final!). Could be a one time case, but many others like Robert Rodriguez say “…don’t bother to go to film school or you’ll be making films like everybody else. We want to see your film.” that being said…

If you decide to go to some sort of art school be aware that some offer only certifications not degrees which are worth $#*&. On the plus side the schools pretty much push you straight into an art studio, on the other hand this can also backfire, some talent reel reviewers skip school submissions because they are all the same class projects(read that in a book by someone in the “field”, cant rember the name though). Finally, if for instance almost every art studio went bankrupt, unless you’re SUPER good or lucky, you’d be out of a job. an art degree can only get you a high paying job in… you guessed it, art. Sure you may get the average starting salary of a college alumni but those are usually dead-end jobs to begin with(eg computer programmers now with outsourcing[from what ive heard]).

however, traditional colleges (a non-art degree*) youll have to have a kick ass portfolio(but you should have that to begin with anyway) and youll have to work harder to get your name “out there”, you’ll be competing with the Mc ArtSchool students that seem to be coming out of the woodwork nowadays. The plus side is if you get a flexible degree, and the said artistic cautastrophie happened you’d be able to switch easier and find a better job(hypothetical; it wont be easy, just easier than above). Same thing as the art schools make sure you get what you pay for, check to see if they are accredited colleges in the major you look into and always keep that in mind. another bonus is that you could use your degree in your art job, for example one of the persons who worked on futurama was a Ph.D. in some sort of science, he said in a board discusion at the paley tv/radio fetival that they were trying to figure out what two universes collapsing in on themselves would look like :stuck_out_tongue: .

So keeping that in mind i went to the Cal State sytems chose my major to be business(maybe w/ a minor in art havent decided yet) and instead work on becoming a CG artist outside of school maybe even taking some summer art classes at the community college or something. that way IF anything happens i’m FLEXIBLE, not stuck in one careeer path. the idea is that the next two-four(or more) years are an investment it may pay off big time, it might not. it all depends on what you do with what you got.

*i dont believe in getting an art degree in a four year college, its kind of a waste of money you get taught the same only slower. and it costs more

why do people assume that the only jobs are those that “large companys hire you for”

sorry but i find it funny that people pay all this money, and have all this ambition, just to get a boring arse job in a multinational company.

there are such things as.

Workign in a small bussiness, that will probably NOT go straight to your university.

asking around and creating your own job in a company through selling your talents rather than waiting for them to come to you.

creating your own job by working for yourself or in a company that you share with someone else.

and then freelancing.

IMO i don’t want to go work for a big place (i would do it, but its not my dream nor ambition)


i have to choose this year what i am going to do too. but i still have 1.5 weeks before ill have to go to school so i dont think about it now :D. but i found some media study in rotterdam so ill have to look at that when school begins

I’m glad someone thinks that too, some employers don’t. I got rejected for a job because I didn’t have an art qualification (even though that wasn’t a requirement in the advertisement) so I said I would upload some of my traditional art and the recruitment bitch who was on at the time emailed me telling me that their decision was final. In other words, not interested in the work.

I agree Alltaken, I would rather work on my own because if I went to a big corporation then I’d probably get stuck on some really crappy work down at the bottom doing rotoscoping. Even if I did get a better place, it would likely be the same thing over and over. On my own I can model, texture, animate, lip-sync, light, do whatever I want but in a company you’re totally right, I’d likely be bored off my ass.

The thing is though, that if you have a job with a big corporation, you don’t have to be a salesman too - I’m a terrible salesman. And what if you get turned down on a job after you do a whole bunch of work? At least in a big company you still get a paycheck and no legal mess.

I think working for a small company would be better than a big firm because you don’t have the hassle of looking for work and you won’t be so easily replaced. In a big company, there’s always new talent waiting to steal your job. I bet Pixar and Dreamworks get thousands of applicants a year. Also in a big firm you’re less likely to be able to use Blender.

Amen to that.


I agree that peopel shouldn’t go for one thing in college, in case they get stuck – that’s what happened to my brother. He has a degree in Physics, yet since Bush reduced funding for it, he was reduced to being a Zamboni driver for a while (although, I bet that’d be an awesome job…)
Anyways I think another alternative would be to go to college for what you want to do, but always keep something to fall back on. I was thinking of maybe going to ITT tech for game design or to DMAC for animation, even though my dad said he might be able to get me a job where he works (GE aircraft engines) later on, since I have knowledge of CADD, which is what he uses. Not exactly what I want to do, but at $20-something an hour (plus time-and-a half on sundays, etc.), I’d definitely take it if I couldn’t get a good paying job in my field right out of college. I’ve no problem sitting at a desk! A little patience goes a long way.
I was actually just checking out colleges the other night that offer graphics courses, and stumbled upon this:
Don’t know if it’ll help, but it might. I think it helped me!

artistic ability and creativity can not be taught. period.

This is not true. I’ve seen it with my own eyes - people thought not to have creative ability / being able to draw etc. get taught the right way and they turn into creative geniuses.

We all have a right and a left brain.


Ah college… I was just buying my books the other day.

For my math class, the school bookstore charged $148 (US).
I checked online and the suggested retail price was $103.
So I looked around online for used books and found an Instructers edition for $30. :Z

So, go to to buy your books.

ah, life.

college is almost over and I still ahve no freaking idea what I want to do with my life.

I’m a biolofy major, which generally means I’m unemployable unless I do soemthing post-graduate. Perhaps med-school, hopefully not. perhaps grad school, hopefully not. perhaps law school, hopefully not.

In general I only know things that I don’t want to do - nothing that I do.

But yes, I definitely agree that going into your pre-exisitng strength isn’t ideal. Its better to diversify your knowledge, but keep in mind that at least in the states, self-taught = no qualification from an official standpoint (art is different though.)

So, yhea, I’m very cynical.

WoW. I’ve just been quietly reading all the feedback to this thread…and i have to say, Thank You! I’ve been looking into alot of the links (very helpful :slight_smile: ) and i have to say, i fear being caught knowing only one trade…i mean, i’m good at other things, though it would be in the same pit (i.e. i play guitar, write music, sequence for my animations, but my mom would figure that i’d become a ‘starving musician’ or something which is feasible). I do alot of 2d artwork…but i’m not sure where that could go (though i admit it’s what got me on track to 3d). I feel rather pushed to (as has been said) ‘American Ultra-Specialisation’ but the idea sounds dangerous in a market crunch…If i were to go that direction, it would definitely be more along the lines of animation/films rather than game design and the like…mostly because i’d hate to be cramped by too many big budgets and everything being already set before it even gets to me and chokes out whatever creativity i may have left.

i would reccomend digipen; institute of technology

I’ve heard many good things about this place, and have requested the info for it for the last two years, looking into what they offer…quite impressive, but seemingly formidable…class sizes are very small…and i don’t have that much confidence in my measly portfolio. But i may try anyways. :smiley: I like the fact they have full degree programs, which look (and are) much nicer.

So keeping that in mind i went to the Cal State sytems chose my major to be business(maybe w/ a minor in art havent decided yet) and instead work on becoming a CG artist outside of school maybe even taking some summer art classes at the community college or something. that way IF anything happens i’m FLEXIBLE, not stuck in one careeer path. the idea is that the next two-four(or more) years are an investment it may pay off big time, it might not. it all depends on what you do with what you got.

I need some flexibility in most areas of my life…it was like, when i reached ninth grade, everything set…career, likes, dislikes, future spouse (kidding! sort of…) I’m trying to get into more Physics, and perhaps Math…I’m good at them…But i swear, they are NO FUN!

As it stands, the listings are here:

  1. Digipen
  2. IADT (Tampa)
  3. ITT tech