laggyg


quality posts: 7 Private Messages laggyg

I originally posted this over in the Everything But Woot section, but was advised that it would be ok to post it here as well, so here's a good ol' C&P for ya =P


Ok...so I've been thinking about going back to school...I did the whole college thing for about a year and a half, and it really was NOT for me. I stopped going to school and started working and just sort of stuck with that for a while. I've worked many different jobs over the past several years. Right now I work as a Veterinary Technician...I'm learning alot on the job as I go, but have had no formal schooling in the field. I love working with animals, but I'm having second thoughts about this field...I had alot more fun as a dog trainer and pet sitter, but the money just wasn't there (unless you own your own business, which is a-whole-nother can o' worms). Being a Tech is a very physically demanding and mentally stressful job, but it also pays better and I still get to work with my four-legged friends.

My mom has been on my ass the past few months to get my life together and go back to school. Part of me really does want to learn more and "increase my earning potential" and "make myself more marketable" and all those stupid, annoying, industry catch-phrases. Part of me says I work full time, sometimes 50-60 hour weeks, and I don't have time for school...but even if I DID have the time for it I'm not sure about going into animal medicine and getting licenced as a Vet Tech.

When I DID go to college all those years ago, one of my true passions was art. I know I've never submitted a design here - even though I've toyed with the idea...just don't seem to find the time to follow through - but I think I'm a fairly good artist. I'm thinking about going back to school for some kind of art related degree, but I have NO IDEA where to begin. I'd probably end up going for some sort of web design or advertising type of study, I guess, but I was really hoping for some suggestions/insider info/etc.

To those in some kind of art related profession...do you have any advice? Like what to focus on, and what is not so important in the business side of art? Where did you go to school and what kind of degree did you get?

Above all, I'm looking for a program that can realistically be completed in 2 years, and perhaps offers an online study program so I can keep my current job and living arrangments as-is.


Thanks in advance for taking the time to read my (highly abridged) life story, and for any helpful advice you may have =)


edit:
PS I live in NY...Westchester specifically...so if you know of anything local to here don't hesitate to mention! I could also probably arrange moving back to Long Island, where I was from up until about a year ago...and would not be totally opposed to relocating elsewhere, I'd jsut rather not have to if it can be avoided at this time.

bassanimation


quality posts: 98 Private Messages bassanimation
laggyg wrote:
Above all, I'm looking for a program that can realistically be completed in 2 years, and perhaps offers an online study program so I can keep my current job and living arrangments as-is.[/b]

Thanks in advance for taking the time to read my (highly abridged) life story, and for any helpful advice you may have =)




Hi there,

First of all, I really applaud you for your desire to delve into your passion . It's kind of daunting to go back and 'relearn' after you've already done the school thing. Takes a lot of courage and determination!

I went to and graduated from one of the Art Institutes in 1999 or so. I did the two year program for Computer Animation. What I know of most two year programs is that they are only there to offer the bare minimum to get you started. They even directly told my animation class this fact. What this means is that the programs are condensed, and only teach you enough to get your feet wet. The real learning begins in the industry.

I would recommend doing some serious research into two year programs in your area. Also think about how specialized you want to be. Part of the downfall to some of the well-known two year programs is that they tend to be very scattered in their curriculum. For example, if you want to be a concept artist, you would be best served at a school specializing in concept art training. If you want to be a 3D modeler, try and find a place that focuses on that as much as possible.

For what it's worth, you might research online art classes. I've signed up for a couple myself at Schoolism. They are pricey, but I've heard great things. There's also multiple big name artists that contribute to their classes. Also Gnomon Workshop, which gears art more towards a Hollywood or triple A game style.

I think the best advice I can give is ask around about the quality of education received at the places you are interested in. You can also converse with artists at places like CGhub and Conceptart.org. Those guys are superstars and very helpful.

Best of luck!!!

specsmachine


quality posts: 31 Private Messages specsmachine

This is a subject very near and dear to my heart. I sent you a pm with my views on the whole thing. No matter what you decide, you have my best wishes.

laggyg


quality posts: 7 Private Messages laggyg
bassanimation wrote:Hi there,

First of all, I really applaud you for your desire to delve into your passion . It's kind of daunting to go back and 'relearn' after you've already done the school thing. Takes a lot of courage and determination!

I went to and graduated from one of the Art Institutes in 1999 or so. I did the two year program for Computer Animation. What I know of most two year programs is that they are only there to offer the bare minimum to get you started. They even directly told my animation class this fact. What this means is that the programs are condensed, and only teach you enough to get your feet wet. The real learning begins in the industry.

I would recommend doing some serious research into two year programs in your area. Also think about how specialized you want to be. Part of the downfall to some of the well-known two year programs is that they tend to be very scattered in their curriculum. For example, if you want to be a concept artist, you would be best served at a school specializing in concept art training. If you want to be a 3D modeler, try and find a place that focuses on that as much as possible.

For what it's worth, you might research online art classes. I've signed up for a couple myself at Schoolism. They are pricey, but I've heard great things. There's also multiple big name artists that contribute to their classes. Also Gnomon Workshop, which gears art more towards a Hollywood or triple A game style.

I think the best advice I can give is ask around about the quality of education received at the places you are interested in. You can also converse with artists at places like CGhub and Conceptart.org. Those guys are superstars and very helpful.

Best of luck!!!



I've always been more of a do-it-myselfer anyway, so what you described of the 2 year programs doesn't sound too terrible. I'm sure even if I was taught EVERYTHING in class there would still be alot of on-the-job learning...especially in a computer art field as there's (I imagine, anyway) a constant flow of new programs and things to learn about.

I sorta like the idea of a more scattered program to begin with, then deciding on more specialization in the future...but I did have a ton of fun teaching myself how to use GMax (3DSMax's free little cousin) alot of years ago, and making some custom skins (including reflective layers and stuff like that) for 3D models in 2 PC games I played around that time, so that might be where I should focus...

You say to ask around about the quality of places I'm interested in...the problem for me right now is that I don't know where to be interested in in the first place lol...but I will pop over to those forums you mentioned and try to get some info there as well. And also check out the 2 educational sites you linked, too...but part of the issue is that mom is REALLY pushing for a degree and I don't think she'd be contented with just a few online courses...

Whatever I end up doing in the long run, you've been incredibly helpful Bass...thanks a ton for the advice! =D I'll be sure to keep you posted when I figure out where EXACTLY it leads me =P haha


specsmachine wrote:This is a subject very near and dear to my heart. I sent you a pm with my views on the whole thing. No matter what you decide, you have my best wishes.



Thanks for the good wishes either way! =)
*runs off to check PMs and respond there*


From the original topic, which has been subsequently hijacked

KtCallista wrote:Not an artist, but I'll throw in my $.02. If you want a marketable art degree and are thinking of web design as an option, most of the jobs I see for that require a marketing (or very closely related) degree. Most graphic design courses do not qualify as this (at least here - on the opposite coast, as I have a friend with one and she's stuck).

Personally, I know there is no way I would survive a marketing class, so I've never pursued this idea any further even though I do some web development and design. I'm more on the programming side though. If you really know what you want to do and you don't see the exact program you are looking for, but what you want would be combining two different disciplines, you should look into the feesability of doing that before you sign any papers and get started.

Hope some of that helps.



My true dream would be some kind of video game development related art, but I was trying to be realistic...I imagine it's a pretty competitive field, not that web design isn't but in my fantasy imagination land it's easier to find a job in some kind of advertising-type field versus videogames or hollywood special effects or something. I could very well be totally wrong and shooting myself in the foot with backwards logic or something though.

I was even toying with the idea of going back to school for a business degree, learning a little web design on the side, then starting my own dog training and pet sitting company and designing my own site from the ground up, instead of having to pay someone else to do it.

God I wish I wasn't so damned indecisive =/

Anyway, thanks for the thoughtful advice on the subject!

KtCallista


quality posts: 33 Private Messages KtCallista
laggyg wrote:My true dream would be some kind of video game development related art, but I was trying to be realistic...I imagine it's a pretty competitive field, not that web design isn't but in my fantasy imagination land it's easier to find a job in some kind of advertising-type field versus videogames or hollywood special effects or something. I could very well be totally wrong and shooting myself in the foot with backwards logic or something though.

I was even toying with the idea of going back to school for a business degree, learning a little web design on the side, then starting my own dog training and pet sitting company and designing my own site from the ground up, instead of having to pay someone else to do it.

God I wish I wasn't so damned indecisive =/

Anyway, thanks for the thoughtful advice on the subject!



Ok, you dragged me over here. I'm glad you appriciated my feeble advice. Working on video game graphics is not impossible. My husband is working part-time on video game story/items/overall design (the writing not the programming) with a bit of graphic finish work (after their designer does a basic image). He got the job, not because he has an IT degree or any training, but because he started doing free work for a game he was an active participant and moderator for.

There are loads of video game degree programs out there, I don't know if any of them are any good, but I can easily see a 2 year in game art design paired with a more traditional 2 year design degree (might even be able to do them in the same 2 years) or a side of marketing as I suggested earlier. I'm actually going to be learning more about getting into the mainstream game world at a con in a couple weeks (there are three panels just about working in video games).

I know free can be a pain, but if you want to test out your chops, it's a good way to get known, try a small online game that you like, it's easier to get noticed in a small pool. I'm going back to the EBW now, if you want to find me, I'll be down there, or you can PM me.

___________________________________________________________________
Paper Napkins on the Edge of Insanity

You can call me Goddess, that's fine.

Lagbert


quality posts: 1 Private Messages Lagbert

I'd advise you stay away from for-profit universities like the Art Institute. Although many of the instructors honestly care about their students, the administration exists to get as much money out of you as possible even if it means putting you deep in debt with student loans. It is important to remember student loans are not erased by bankruptcy.

My girlfriend went to AI and feels she was totally ripped off.

Find a public university or a non-profit privately endowed university. Make sure that the credits you will earn there can be transferred to other "real" universities so that you don't pay twice for what you already know if you decide to switch curriculums.

Best of Luck

laggyg


quality posts: 7 Private Messages laggyg

KtCallista, I sent you a PM

Lagbert wrote:I'd advise you stay away from for-profit universities like the Art Institute. Although many of the instructors honestly care about their students, the administration exists to get as much money out of you as possible even if it means putting you deep in debt with student loans. It is important to remember student loans are not erased by bankruptcy.

My girlfriend went to AI and feels she was totally ripped off.

Find a public university or a non-profit privately endowed university. Make sure that the credits you will earn there can be transferred to other "real" universities so that you don't pay twice for what you already know if you decide to switch curriculums.

Best of Luck



Thanks for the advice! I had looked at some places like AI (but NOT AI) in the past and read alot of bad reviews...FullSail comes to mind in particular...and decided to shy away from those types of organizations in favor of a more established *ahem* "real" colleges. I think I'd like to try out an online program, which seems to be more abundantly offered by places like AI and FullSail, but many "real" colleges are jumping on the bandwagon now too so I guess I just have to investigate some more and find a good one...or say the hell with it and just go to a local college in person. At least that would geographically limit my possibilities and make thigns a little easier to narrow down for my oh-so-indecisive mind =/

j5


quality posts: 63 Private Messages j5

For a proper degree, you will need base courses (english, math, history, etc.) may as well get those at your local learning institution.

move along

bassanimation


quality posts: 98 Private Messages bassanimation
Lagbert wrote:I'd advise you stay away from for-profit universities like the Art Institute.

My girlfriend went to AI and feels she was totally ripped off.

Find a public university or a non-profit privately endowed university. Make sure that the credits you will earn there can be transferred to other "real" universities so that you don't pay twice for what you already know if you decide to switch curriculums.

Best of Luck



^ This, for sure. I would not recommend the AI for this reason. My fiance went to an area community college and got a far better artistic education that I did at AI. Its actually amazing how good his program was, for far less cash.


Anyways, the best of luck. It sounds like you know what you want, you just need to locate the right place to obtain it ^^. Also, I think I failed to mention it, but I've worked in the video game industry for about 10 years now. My fiance for about twice that long. Its insanely competitive, but it's also a very widespread industry. So many styles/platforms out there, everyone has a chance to make their mark


bassanimation


quality posts: 98 Private Messages bassanimation
laggyg wrote:..FullSail comes to mind in particular...and decided to shy away from those types of organizations in favor of a more established *ahem* "real" colleges.



Ive heard similar. Many studios here avoid FullSail students because they're just not getting the skills they need from that school.

There are some crazy good schools here in Austin, but they're expensive. I like these guys because they offer a much more focused curriculum. If I had the massive cash, and time, I'd definitely hit one of these.

TAD

Gemini

ochopika


quality posts: 25 Private Messages ochopika

Staff

Laggy, I didn't know you wanted to do art stuff! Now I expect a more elaborate bag-shirt from you.

I went to the Maine College of Art, which is small and non-famous. I went to community college in Maryland (my home-state) to get my core classes done less expensively. I graduated in 2008 with my BFA in Illustration.

I had a good experience and learned a lot in college. Some people didn't. They blamed the institution, but it's really what you make of it. You won't be handed everything you need without effort on your part. That's because art and design are so subjective to the learner. There's no perfect program for everyone, you have to customize it yourself as you go.

Networking and socializing with professionals in the field is very important in art education. The opportunity to network and explore the field is what sets an art school apart from a weekly art class at your community center. I probably didn't do enough networking and such; I had trouble focusing on one thing in school as well.

I know a couple of illustrators from my class who went into character design and were offered jobs by Blizzard Entertainment. I also know Graphic Design majors who are now working for design firms without any marketing degree. I guess it depends on what you're looking for.

OKAY, now that I said all the stuff I know about art school, you really must check out this site: http://conceptart.org/

Maybe you know of this site? They have online classes and critiques and famous artists who post there. It's great for people who want to do character design and game-related stuff...as well as just sharpening your art skills.

superstargoddess


quality posts: 2 Private Messages superstargoddess

I don't have specific answers of where to go, but I will give you some advice.

Depending on how old you are, make up your mind pretty fast and get it started. I have been to college for VERY short periods of time twice. And now I'm 34 years old and am disabled with some "issues", so I know that I won't be trying again for at least 2-3 more years.

Due to the fact that I want a Masters or PhD, I'm going to end up being quite old-ish by the time I get it done. So please make sure you get it started before too much times goes by. <3

I am looking to buy "Life Choices", any size, send me a message!

So fuhqued up.

laggyg


quality posts: 7 Private Messages laggyg
j5 wrote:For a proper degree, you will need base courses (english, math, history, etc.) may as well get those at your local learning institution.



I'm actually trying as hard as possible to AVOID "core" crap like that. Those core-type classes are the reason I never finished going to college in the 1st place. I got A's in all my art and writing classes, but did crappy in things like history or statistics. Also, from what I've been reading around (thanks for those links, Bass!), it seems the general consensus is that education pales in insignificance to ability...it's all about the portfolio in the end. The whole "degree thing" is more my mom's idea than mine. But it WILL help me get back into some kind of routine, and teach me some basics on programs I've never used. It will appease mom, and help kick-start me in the right direction to more self-teaching too.


bassanimation wrote:...a whole bunch of stuff in 2 different posts... =P



Thanks for being upfront about your experience with AI, and thanks even more for all the encouraging words and helpful links!

I'm not quite sure I'm ready to move to Texas for schooling...but then again I don't have much holding me where I am now other than a steady job. I'm also nowhere near rich, in fact it's the exact opposite of that lol so I couldn't afford a move like that even if I wanted to...let alone school on top of it! Mom's willing to help a little and float me a loan for school, but I'm not sure she would fund a relocation to Texas =P

That TAD place looks like something I could do but it's a little expensive for my broke ass. Also not sure if they offer a degree or what...have to go back a look harder when my brain isn't so mushy...it's been a LOOONG past few days =/ but thanks for the suggestion to check out!


ochopika wrote: ...alot...



I tried the whole college thing before and yeah, I did get out of it what I put into it...that's why I'm thinking about a more focused type of program without any of the BS core type classes. And there are plenty of other ways to network, such as the interwebz. If you look carefully, you'll see me networking with Bass now so I can get a job with her or her hubby (or would it be "and" hubby? you work at the same place?) after I complete my training =P

And speaking of Bass...she also sneakily spoke of that site you mentioned (without an actual link) in an earlier post, and I did some reading over there and at another site she spoke of called CGHub, too. Hence my "general consensus" statement earlier in this post!

Lastly, about the bag-shirt, or shirt-bag or whatever...I'm a horrible, horrible person. I had a ton of bills to pay when I finally got paid, and couldn't order one of your prints like I said I would because I was too broke after bill-paying =( so I haven't gotten a new bag yet...and at this rate it may be a little while. But you are still so totally on the hook once I do finally get one! =P


superstargoddess wrote:I don't have specific answers of where to go, but I will give you some advice...



I'm 27, but I'm also not looking for something crazy like a PHD...I'm totally fine with a 2 year degree of some sort...but I've been postponing for a while now and I'm not sure how much longer I can keep the dogs at bay at this point anyway. Whatever ends up happening in the long run, for better or for worse, will happen soon...

j5


quality posts: 63 Private Messages j5
laggyg wrote:The whole "degree thing" is more my mom's idea than mine.



With all due respect, and no offense intended, but F what your mom wants. Do what's best for you.

move along

crazydoglady


quality posts: 4 Private Messages crazydoglady
laggyg wrote:I'm 27, but I'm also not looking for something crazy like a PHD...I'm totally fine with a 2 year degree of some sort...but I've been postponing for a while now and I'm not sure how much longer I can keep the dogs at bay at this point anyway. Whatever ends up happening in the long run, for better or for worse, will happen soon...



I know you asked for input from artists (I am not), but - what do you mean "keep the dogs at bay?" It sounds like you feel pressured to do SOMETHING and you are trying to pick something that you won't hate... but you don't sound excited about it.
Education is always good, but until you're committed to a plan you could start slowly. I just googled "Community College in Westchester NY" - and Westchester CC has an arts program with multiple areas and options. I suggest that you take advantage of that resource... If you apply now you should be able to start in January - take ONE basic course. It will keep the dogs at bay, it will give you the opportunity to see if your scholastic capabilities have changed since your last go-round (you may surprise yourself), it will allow you to get your feet wet with minimal financial outlay and disruption to your life, and you will have the chance to meet and network with a lot of folks who are in the same boat you are and who may have leads to local resources.
Good luck!

laggyg


quality posts: 7 Private Messages laggyg

While the angst-ridden, "F-the-man!" teenager screaming in the back of my brain wants to concur with your sentiment about my mom, j5, the logical semi-adult part of my brain knows I need to do something to make a change in my life. I'm not feeling particularly enthused about being coerced into going for a degree when I don't really want to (yes crazydoglady, you nailed that one on the head) but at the same time I do want to take myself down a different path than I am currently headed. I am willing to admit getting a degree might be for the better in the long run, though I certainly don't feel that way right now.

The problem is that it has now become a "do as we say or GTFO" situation (yes, I live at home currently, though that was not always the case). I think my biggest issue with this whole mess is that my mom and stepdad are convinced that a degree in something is the magic answer to all my problems and my salary will automatically triple once that piece of paper is in my hand. Not to mention they seem to think that it is actually possible to go to school full-time AND work full-time and get that pay-tripling piece of paper about 2 years from now. They are OMGOMGOMGPONIESOMG PONIES!!ing bat- The Day the Ponies Come Back (2000) crazy.

I DO want to get back into art, I too many cookies [edit: woot filter of "do.not.want" FTW haha] to deal with the same BS liberal arts classes I flunked out with the first go around because I didn't give a damn about them then and I certainly don't give a damn about them now. I hate being forced into things (even if deep down I might realize it is for my own good in some way), and ever since I moved back in less than a year ago that's all they have done...

laggyg


quality posts: 7 Private Messages laggyg

Forgot to say, crazydoglady, I've thought about the program at WCC and I will probably just settle for that in the end and try to pursue TAD classes (or something similar) on the side if time/funds allow it. I'm just worried the whole liberal arts thing at WCC will blow up in my face once again like it did in the past because I simply don't care about it and won't have the desire/motivation to put in any effort if I'm not interested.

ochopika


quality posts: 25 Private Messages ochopika

Staff

hyuk, sorry to be repetitive, laggy! I just had to jump at the opportunity to talk about art school and sound helpful and smart :P

*edit* I just made this shorter 'cuz I think everything was said already, now that I look more carefully. Anywhos, I think that you working with Bass is a great step in the right direction. Feel free to show me some of your work and I can try to help as well

*edit again* ...it's okay that you couldn't buy my shirt. Wasn't pink enough for you anyway.