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moon2thesun

The Art Institute of Portland Question?

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Hey everybody, I am a new member here. I have been referred to this site and have been researching this topic but couldn't find to much information.

 

My question to anybody that has experience or knowledge of the art institute of Portland, SCAD, and any other colleges that may be relevant.

 

I want to get into visual effects and motion graphics. I would like to learn everything that there is in this field.

 

I have not yet paid for my classes at The Art Institute of Portland, and since I will be spending so much money on college...maybe there is a better option out there. I understand if you work hard at something you can become great at it...but I am more interested in knowing the best educational route.

 

I am 23 years old, and have now decided this is a field I would love. I have already gotten all of my General Education credits out of the way.

 

Should I stay Locally at The Art Institute of Portland, or relocate to Atlanta to go to SCAD? Either way I will need to pay for Room/Board/Working/Paying for School. I am from Portland so it wouldn't be a big change staying here and I think ultimately be cheaper.

 

Here is a link to The Portland Art Institutes's program curriculum, and also a link to SCAD program curriculum.

 

Thanks for any help anybody can give...I could use it.

 

p.s. I saw a posting the other day about people bouldering...I love bouldering.

p.s.s. I have researched a lot, and really i think I just need to ask this question directly because the curriculum is different at every Art Institute, and so is the director.

 

http://www.artinstitutes.edu/portland/pdf/Catalog.pdf Please scroll down to the Visual Effects and Motion Graphics Program and for a description of the courses go all the way down to the end

http://www.artinstitutes.edu/portland/media-arts/visual-effects-and-motion-graphics-bfa-7512.aspx how much it will cost

 

http://www.scad.edu/visual-effects/bfa.cfm#programButtons The curriculum

http://www.scad.edu/visual-effects/courses.cfm#programButtons The courses descriptions

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I grew up in portland, and was looking to get into design at about 23, with a bachelor's degree already under my belt, so this may have some bearing.... Don't choose something local just because it's local. If for some reason you're in love with the curriculum of The Art Institute franchises, then by all means, go for it. But it sounds like you're still fishing for information, so I'll mention that the Art Institute schools appear to be DeVry or ITT Tech-level trade schools, which will train you minimally for a production career. If production is what you're interested in, you might be able to get a relatively fast and cheap start at it this way. If you're looking for a career path that leads you toward design, or a more authorial role in projects, you'll need to go to a school that teaches art, as opposed to one that teaches trade.

 

I can't say from experience whether the Art Institute schools are as trade-oriented as the grapevine suggests, but i can tell you that I've never personally met anyone who went there and wasn't extremely mediocre in their field. I can tell you that I've met people who regretted going there, though. So, take that as a strong indication. SCAD seems to be developing a reputation for what I'm guessing is its motion media design curriculum. There seems to be confidence in the talent coming out of that program, but I can't cite anyone in specific.

 

The problem is that pretty much anyone who goes to one of these programs JUST goes through that one program. So no one really has the benefit of being able to compare the experiences. But understand that there's probably no BEST school out there, and that figuring out what appeals to YOU is probably more important, as long as you're looking at decent schools. So like, do you want a design education, an art education, or something more applied like a VFX program, or motion graphics blah blah? There are good art and design schools out there like Rhode Island School of Design or the School of Visual Arts, and there are amazing animation schools in europe like Gobelins, Annecy, etc. I'm sure people here can pitch in some other top rated schools. But you're still going to have to do the bulk of the research to figure out which program appeals to you the most. I went through the CalArts graphic design program, which was pretty good. But it focused on a progressive art-based approach to formmaking, as opposed to Art Center where apparently the focus was more on commercial viability, etc. I don't know if one might have been better for me, but I figure I would have gotten a pretty good start either way.

 

And don't worry too much about getting everything all at once. Art is a long term education. You may start out in animation and cross into VFX through photography, or start in design and work your way to filmmaking, or whatever. The best artists usually have a really deep understanding of several fields, which they use to great advantage in their work, and then also have a broader education in many aspects of life, which makes their work more relevant. Right now you're embarking on a study of the fundamentals, from whatever angle you're interested in. Remember to try out lots of things along the way.

Edited by Binky

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Thank you so much for your response. I will take what you said into consideration. For the Record I do not have a bachelors degree yet, only my general ed classes + everything else that I have studied along the way that won't transfer.

 

About what I would like to do, I would like to be a great vfx artist. Graphic design would probably hold me off until I get that great paying VFX job with some movie... of course this is in the future...and yes this is a dream at the moment...but definitely attainable.

 

Any other responses would help out greatly, as I am new to this whole thing.

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i would like to chime in regarding art institutes in general. i don't want to dissuade you from pursuing your dream but myself and many others consider art institutes to be a big joke...and i almost attended one myself right after high school before seeing what a four year university degree had to offer. also, anyone who sends us resumes that graduated from art institutes are immediately filed in the special bin (ie. garbage can). unless your talent and skill set is phenomenal attending any art institute is a red flag to most people i've worked with.

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I went to AiPD and it was a total joke back then. I was young and naive, and concerned with the importance of getting my degree so I saw it through to the end. Now I have a pretty piece of paper saying that I have my B.S....

 

I am one of the handful of people I know who have come out of their program and enjoyed any success, but it is in large part to my own ability and perseverance. For the most part, the instructors ranged from the those who can't teach-types to flat out ignorant. There were a few decent instructors, but not many. The initial few years were actually solid education, with classes in design, art history, typography, etc. But the last few 'specialized' years were a joke.

 

I graduated 6+ years ago, so things may have changed, but when I was there, it was in no way worth the time and money.

 

And I'm not a grudge-bearing, down-and-out, unemployed individual. I have a very good job, that pays well, with good hours, benefits and pay. But I don't feel that I owe much of any of it to AiPD. I taught myself the software, created my own contacts, and worked myself into and up the industry. When I walked out of that school, they hadn't aptly prepared me for my career.

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Hmmmm... as for the Art Institute thing, that is hard to say. Myself and my business partner both attended the Art Institute in CO and I would like to think that our work is above mediocre (www.freed-motion.com). I also know personally 7-8 others students from there that are successful at studios in Denver, NY, and LA.

 

However, I also know 30 times that amount that are not working in their field or creating work that they do not want to be making. Like anything it is a "what you put in you get out situation" but even more so with the AI programs. Depending on the school, some of the teachers are very technically proficient and have a good eye for design.... while some of them are just plain terrible and a waste of time. If you are looking for a design program, this is not it. You get about half a years worth of design and layout fundamentals and then it is up to you to push yourself and grow. Doing the minimum to even better than demanded there will not get you what you need for that kind of job you want. That said it is possible to learn and make good work there. I know and have worked with people from all different educational backgrounds. I dont think its about where you go as much as what you do.

 

As for the resume... shit, I have not even had someone ask for that since my first job in the industry, so I would not worry about that too much.

 

If I were to do it over--- I would have gone to SCAD or Otis in LA but regardless I am here working, with my own business and fun clients.

 

Good luck

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I'm also from Portland, lived in SF for the last decade or so and I miss Portland terribly, sometimes you don't know what you have until it's gone.

 

Might I suggest that you attend PNCA? As I understand it they have great programs and they'll probably be heavier on the fundamentals (read: valuable, hard to learn stuff that you can't get from a manual) than a chain trade school like the Art Institutes International, that will probably focus mostly on software and production skills.

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Yeah, so some things to highlight are:

1) Don't jump headlong into expensive schooling until you've given your education a bit of a test run. Try watching some tutorials on things that interest you, listening to interviews with people in the industry, creating some projects for yourself to see if you really enjoy it but need the structured environment of school to progress. Involve yourself a bit in the online forums dedicated to the industry. Maybe try CGTalk or something.

 

2) Yes, your own effort will be 90% of the reason you succeed or fail. This is why an extraordinary passion for the work is usually what defines successful individuals. Because it takes quite an obsession to drive someone to work at something that hard.

 

3) Don't think that the diploma means anything. The paper is not what you're working toward, obviously, but even more important is the idea that likely no one will ever ask to see it, or care that you have it. They will care about the work in your portfolio and what it implies about the work you can do for them.

 

4) Remember that an education is not comprised of learning software. Apps are tools. A layman can no more build a house with a fancy hammer than with a basic hammer. A five-star craftsperson can build a castle with no more than his hands. Don't get sucked into wasting your money on a lot of software training. It certainly helps, but it will not make you good at what you do.

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Thanks everybody for the posts, this is really helping.

 

I guess my overall question now is,

 

Will this school offer me what I need to be successfull in this field? For example the equipment they have to offer (based off of the curriculum), or would I be better off at a school like SCAD?

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Here's the straightforward answer: Don't go to an Art Institute of Anything, they are clearly sources of regret, and will waste the time you could be spending at a real art school. Go find some interviews with VFX guys who you think are really good. Find out what they studied and where. Track down short films or features with VFX that blow your mind and look at the credits to find these people and/or the companies they work with. Vimeo might be a place to start. Your dvd collection is another.

 

If you're into VFX, start digging into VFX forums like http://www.cgsociety.org. Just figure out who's good and find out what they did to get that way.

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I did a two-year media program at a community college, totalling $8k in tuition over two years. I know lots of people who did something similar. I work with some people who have no media-related education at all. One of the best guys here has a physics degree. And I also work with people who shelled out $40k to go to "media arts" schools (it's worth noting that this is Canada, and 40k for education is absolutely absurdly insanely high -- University is under $4k / year here).

 

Honestly? Everyone enters the workforce at the same level, regardless of whether you paid $2k for your education or $80k. Most of your education happens on the job -- you'll learn more in your first month in the workforce or in a decent internship than you'll learn in your entire program. A lot of the really expensive media arts schools make it sound like you'll be an expert by the time you graduate, but with rare exceptions you'll find that the extra money doesn't pay off. I've never once regretted attending a $8k community college instead of a $40k media arts school.

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well let me reintroduce a new question. It seems that the Art Institute will not be a good idea...

 

So on that note some recommendations on other options?

 

gnomon? SCAD? and any others? Also do you think I can get good enough training say Gnomon online?

 

Great responses and thanks for the help. I'm glad I am asking these questions at this board.

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Some really great suggestions have been made here, ones that might more quickly answer your questions - if applied.

I think that the big key here is first you want to find "the hoops", the goals you're shooting for. Once you have this info handy start shooting, start applying that info A- LOT.

 

1) art & design fundamentals, gotta have em! (plus you can start playing with that now free, almost)

a) come up with a concept/idea (you can frame it in a style or format you currently enjoy, starting smaller is better at the beginiing),

B) sketch it out, mash up some photos, colors, and some fun fonts (dafont.com :) )

c) expand the "feelings" your getting from your mash up, by repeating elements, scaling, brightening, darkening, shifting hues, saturating, desaturating, & ask yourself what does this say to me?

d) once you have some imagery that says something to you ask yourself how you'd like to present it: a still, an animation, (you could go stop-motion, 3D, cel style, etc..)

e) make a f$#$@ plan, trust me you'll need it when your start sweating the whole. " how do I finish the @#$@# thing."

budget appropriate time for the whole process (usually more than you think)

f) get cracking, & do this over & over & over, .........hopefully keeping an eye out for things you enjoy or that could improve your whole workflow.

2) as for the techniques, yeah most are readily available on the internet.

 

I like Gnomon for "masterclass" style training, iow it's assumed you have a basic understanding of the tools/techniques in use. FXPHD is great for beginners on up. BUT don't forget it's ultimately about the WOW of a design/concept,.... or sometimes what your paying customer thinks is a cool :blink: .

 

the best part about design is you can start practicing now for free, practically.

I really dig these books, maybe you'll find them useful.

sorry if this seems rantish... need coffe NOW. :ph34r:

 

http://vimeo.com/32944253

 

http://www.amazon.co...23807478&sr=1-1

http://www.amazon.co...23806484&sr=8-1

Edited by xllr8

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For example the equipment they have to offer (based off of the curriculum), or would I be better off at a school like SCAD?

 

You could start your own studio and buy all the necessary software and hardware and then some for the amount it costs to go to the art institute, so don't listen to their hardware software facilities pitch, it's total bullsh!t.

 

There may have been some truth to that back in the days when SGI was the standard, or if you really want to learn how to use Flame or Inferno, otherwise it's a scam.

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So on that note some recommendations on other options?

 

gnomon? SCAD? and any others? Also do you think I can get good enough training say Gnomon online?

 

 

I'm telling you man, check out PNCA, it's local and it's a good school, and you'll make connections in the local media/art scene.

Edited by jporter313

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ok! Lol, thank you everybody for your feedback. It looks like this is what I am deciding...

 

There is a ton of resources online right now, I will get a good solid understanding of software...I can do this, I don't believe I need a class as long as I have tutorials. As for Fundamentals of design, I believe this will come with some practice and later If I need I'll take some classes.

 

But for now, I will study at home...I have a strong passion for this stuff anyways so it come easily.

 

Now onto another question... I'll just post a new post.

 

Thanks Everybody for the great input, and now I can save my money for the time being, and not jump into debt :)

 

Peace

 

p.s. I'll check out PNCA for designing fundamentals and such.

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p.s. I'll check out PNCA for designing fundamentals and such.

 

I know it's a cliche, but one of the other things that's helpful about school is making connections. I've gotten most of my jobs through people I know, many of them from my time in art school. And of course the more successful people that come out of school with you, the higher the chance that you'll get a call asking if you want to work on something cool someday.

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I know it's a cliche, but one of the other things that's helpful about school is making connections. I've gotten most of my jobs through people I know, many of them from my time in art school. And of course the more successful people that come out of school with you, the higher the chance that you'll get a call asking if you want to work on something cool someday.

 

I agree 100% with this. Most schools have job boards that have postings from alumni who work in the industry or school specific postings on college central

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in addition to the networking, i believe school does have a value in the assignments they give you and the critiques that come from those. you'll see how other people approach similar problems, which means you also learn from their mistakes. thats difficult to get when teaching yourself from tutorials online.

 

it might help to have some kind of idea of what you want to do in this field when you get out. its a real broad field and only expanding. each school has their strengths and the more you know about what you want to get out of, the more you're gonna get out of it.

 

(SORRY TO END IN CAPS... RENDERING)

IF YOU WANT TO DO MORE STUFF WITH TYPE AND DESIGN, YOU MIGHT OPT FOR SCAD.

WHEREAS IF YOU WANT TO DO MORE CHARACTER DESIGN, IT MIGHT BE GNOMON OR VANCOUVER FILM SCHOOL.

OR IF YOU'RE MORE INTO MORE ILLUSTRATIVE STYLING, SOMEWHERE LIKE OTIS OR CALARTS COULD BE BETTER.

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Another issue that I have not seen brought up yet is where the school you are interested in is located. A huge part of this industry is networking and surrounding yourself with life-minded people. If school is the route for you look into school that have a great mograph community outside of campus where you can get together with working professionals and see what the industry is like. You can always do this after graduation but if you can find a good school that also has a great mograph community outside of campus you can start networking and making connections now as opposed to waiting 4 years.

 

Also, if you are dead set on going to school, especially a private art school, enroll in a local community college for two years and get all the gen eds out of the way then transfer in. At art school you will be paying 10x and up per credit hour for classes you could have taken for a fraction of the cost at a community college that are not directly degree related. That right there will cut your cost of attendance in half. Another benefit to this is that by the time you do make it to the art school level you are more focuses, hopefully more passionate and can take only studio classes and fully emerce yourself in your medium of choice.

 

Lastly, like others have said before experiment with this medium and make sure it is right for you and try to identify your weak points prior to enrolling in a fancy art school. I was in a similar situation a few years ago. I had been playing with after effects and final cut for awhile and knew it was something I was passionate about but my stuff always sucked. I soon found out I had no understanding of design or what made anything look good and why. I was enrolled in the local community college and eventually transfered into a fancy expensive art school, The School of the Art Institute of Chicago. I am about to finish up my last full-time semester here and do not regret this decision what so ever. My experience with going to art school has been amazing. I kew what I needed to focus on and have been taking almost entirely traditional design courses. Already my ability to understand design has grown tremendously. But it wasn't just a prestigious art school that did it. It was the commitment to learn, understanding my weaknesses and fully amercing myself in an inspiring atmosphere that is conducive to learning (going from a small town in Florida to Chicago will do that to you). School is definitely not the answer to everyone but I personally have loved my experience at art school but it also took me a longtime to make the decision to go.

 

There are a lot of opinions about going to school and like many have said many of the best are completely self taught. Look at your own personal goals and what you want to do and it might be the answer for you or it might not. Identify your weakness, grow some thick skin and learn to take criticisms and start focusing on the why as opposed to the how and you will already be on the right track. Just know that regardless of how good or bad the school is it is all about your commitment and evolvement in your studies nothing else.

Edited by joedonaldson

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I instruct at two separate art colleges in San Francisco. I instruct motion graphics in a new media/web design graduate program, and an animation department at one school, and in a graphic design program in the other school. Both of the schools have differing policies and takes on design training, curriculum, and enrollment policies. Additionally, the culture of the two school are pretty different.

 

Essentially, one is focused on job skills that make graduates attractive to employers, while the other school has a long history based in theory, fine art, and traditional craftsmanship. However, the strict compartmentalization of vocational institute and traditional liberal arts tertiary education has increasingly disintegrated throughout the last few years.

 

Some students who graduate from typical UC's have little marketable skills. Students who attend technical institutes can be more attractive initially in a specific job market, but can have trouble progressing, adapting, and sometimes go through a painful period of knowledge broadening.

 

Furthermore, my MFA work (I never finished due to finances and I'm a Dad now) was from an incredibly theoretical and academic art institution that had much in the way of history and pride in the intellectual rigor of the students who attended, with a focus not at all on employment and purely on producing students who engage in the dialogue of contemporary art practice, and are encouraged and coached to produce challenging and sometimes radical work.

 

So, here are three separate but valid emphasis of studies by three institutions that have very different cultures. I find them all to have benefits and drawbacks. What's kind of funny is that all three of these Institutions have almost the same name. From an outsiders perspective, they could easily confuse the schools. I'm blind itemizing the places because I work there.

 

There are 40,000 design students in California- many of them will not be art directors, luminaries, or established gallery artists (although some will!). Many simply intend to join the ranks of white collar professionals.

 

My personal feeling toward the matter is that the amount of time and dedication needed to learn the skills to compete in the marketplace of design disciplines is almost independent of school. Every designer I know, no matter their age, area of specificity, or education, is always learning.

 

School, however, provides several useful things for students of design.

 

• Regular Deadlines. For me personally, I can't produce anything without an emergency. Every job I've worked on is completed when we run out of time or money. Producing to a regular deadline is essentially a fitness program for your skill set.

 

• The Critique Process. Regular, substantive crit will always improve the quality of your work. Peer and professional board reviews will push students into new avenues they have not considered, and will question their concepts, technique, and effort.

 

• Networks. My students always being the semester thinking they are learning software and I feel this is a huge misnomer. I usually say something akin to ,"You think you are paying for instruction, but you are paying for each other". After a small, informal survey of my industry professional friends, I'd say the vast majority of them get their opportunities through networks, rather then pure aptitude.

 

• Broad knowledge sets. What happens when you don't want to keyframe or typeset? I know it may sound strange, and many students complain about their general education studies outside of the discipline they are pursuing, but I find that after a few years of checking in on them, the ones with broad knowledge are far more satisfied. Many of them are simply smart and nimble thinkers that can design across mediums and not for specific executions, and the way they approach problems is far more advanced, because they've been trained how to analyze and asses situations as opposed to learning specific tricks or techniques.

 

The main thing is that you don't rush it. I've known unhappy students, bitter students, kind students, hard working students, some who have found much success after school, some who sleepwalked through their studies, some who dropped out, some who became professors, some who dropped out so they could work professionally, some who are forced to go home because they are internationals and lose visa status, some who contribute to the field, and some who are so blindingly brilliant and full of energy, I can't believe it.

 

The one thing they all have in common is that they have, in one way or another, paid tuition. Make sure you have done your research on what kind of work you want to do, what kind of experience you want to have, how you will financially cope for specific colleges. The value of a college degree certainly has not proven itself an unwise investment, but unlike buying a car or a house, a degree is non-transferable and can not be gifted to someone, unlike almost any other major expense in your life. There is no agreed upon market value for your specific experiences.

Edited by Colin@movecraft

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I grew up in portland, and was looking to get into design at about 23, with a bachelor's degree already under my belt, so this may have some bearing.... Don't choose something local just because it's local. If for some reason you're in love with the curriculum of The Art Institute franchises, then by all means, go for it. But it sounds like you're still fishing for information, so I'll mention that the Art Institute schools appear to be DeVry or ITT Tech-level trade schools, which will train you minimally for a production career. If production is what you're interested in, you might be able to get a relatively fast and cheap start at it this way. If you're looking for a career path that leads you toward design, or a more authorial role in projects, you'll need to go to a school that teaches art, as opposed to one that teaches trade.

 

I can't say from experience whether the Art Institute schools are as trade-oriented as the grapevine suggests, but i can tell you that I've never personally met anyone who went there and wasn't extremely mediocre in their field. I can tell you that I've met people who regretted going there, though. So, take that as a strong indication. SCAD seems to be developing a reputation for what I'm guessing is its motion media design curriculum. There seems to be confidence in the talent coming out of that program, but I can't cite anyone in specific.

 

The problem is that pretty much anyone who goes to one of these programs JUST goes through that one program. So no one really has the benefit of being able to compare the experiences. But understand that there's probably no BEST school out there, and that figuring out what appeals to YOU is probably more important, as long as you're looking at decent schools. So like, do you want a design education, an art education, or something more applied like a VFX program, or motion graphics blah blah? There are good art and design schools out there like Rhode Island School of Design or the School of Visual Arts, and there are amazing animation schools in europe like Gobelins, Annecy, etc. I'm sure people here can pitch in some other top rated schools. But you're still going to have to do the bulk of the research to figure out which program appeals to you the most. I went through the CalArts graphic design program, which was pretty good. But it focused on a progressive art-based approach to formmaking, as opposed to Art Center where apparently the focus was more on commercial viability, etc. I don't know if one might have been better for me, but I figure I would have gotten a pretty good start either way.

 

And don't worry too much about getting everything all at once. Art is a long term education. You may start out in animation and cross into VFX through photography, or start in design and work your way to filmmaking, or whatever. The best artists usually have a really deep understanding of several fields, which they use to great advantage in their work, and then also have a broader education in many aspects of life, which makes their work more relevant. Right now you're embarking on a study of the fundamentals, from whatever angle you're interested in. Remember to try out lots of things along the way.

 

I will say that instructors across different institutions do sometimes network with each other and discuss the points of their various lesson plans and curriculum, so sometimes you can do some comparing. Depending on the culture and emphasis of the school, this could be encouraged or considered a breach of contract. Probably all of us want to know what is in the water at Goeblins. If you want to get a feeling for the shear breadth and just plain weirdness of how many different types of courses are called "motion design" check out Teaching Motion Design http://www.amazon.com/Teaching-Motion-Design-Offerings-Undergraduate/dp/1581155042

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I would look into RISD far before SCAD if you are willing to relocate and pay that sort of money. Vancouver Film School is also very good, and closer to Portland.

 

If you are going to try to be disciplined and focused enough on your own (VFX internet homeschooling?) I would first go to http://motionographer.com/ and http://designspiration.net/ every single day from now on. Than I would set some serious goals, and post them on here for accountability.

 

Use this resource to hone in on something specific, one skillset at a time. For example: 3D Character Animation, find what free rigs are available and some example works http://www.animationmentor.com/ is a good start.

 

or; After Effects Animation, head over to http://greyscalegorilla.com/blog/ and use his beginner AE tuts to get started.

 

The biggest things you will be missing are the history of animation, and the networking. Some heavy research and reading will allow you to understand the business of today better.

 

I went to my local University in Maryland (UMBC). They had a tiny Visual Arts program. I created the first student animation job at the University, and by the time I was a senior, they had created a special studies program for people who were interested in up-and-coming software packages like Zbrush and Cinema 4D. When I started we were going from 3D Studio Max to Maya.

 

I funded almost all of my education on my own, took me approx 5 years to complete and I had a job in the industry on the West Coast lined up the day I graduated. I currently work for Microsoft's Xbox in Motion Graphics and User Interface.

 

I fought with professors, wrote angry e-mails to the president of the Visual Arts department, demanded the University employ more artists for part time positions and studied my ass off in things that "didn't matter" like Statistics, Biology, Spanish.

 

It was totally worth it.

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