What school did you go to!? Did they provide you with any VFX for games courses?
I went to Playgroundsquad in Sweden, a 2 year game dev school on the artist course. They didn’t have a VFX course. On the game projects you could make some effects but you had to learn by yourself. Was a really great school though and I learned a lot about 3d graphics.
Pfft. PSQers. SOFE for life!
I went to School Of Future Entertainment. A 2 year vocational school for digital graphics. Didn’t finish though (landed a job the third semester).
SOFE is dead now, but in my day there was some nice friendly competition between SOFE, PSQ and one other swedish school I forgot the name of.
They didn’t provide any vfx courses. We got to try unreal engine and we had some maya dynamics classes but that was pretty much it. The specializing was all out of ones own interest.
Haute Ecole Albert Jacquard, Belgium (Namur). A very cheap, yet very good graphic design school that offers a video game section. Unfortunately, there’s no VFX lessons (yet?). Learned how to make characters, environments, texturing, rigging, animation, scripting and basic drawing. A bit of everything. You’re supposed to specialize in the last year (and do an internship in a company) and build your own video game with a group of other students.
I really recommend it if you’re in Europe, since it was really cheap (about 300-400 euros per year), and offered decent courses taught by professionals.
Edit: Classes are in french.
Ringling College of Art and Design! Love it, I really really do. The teachers are really amazing, but of course you get out what you put in. I wouldn’t be where I am without Ringling, so as $$$ as it was, to me it was well worth it
They don’t teach VFX specifically, but you learn all areas of art with your first year dedicated to a solid arts foundation. 4 year degree with a bachelors in arts.
Another swedish playground squad’er here! I graduated 2014!
Their learning method is mostly pre-made assignments, In the end:
“you get out what you put in.” // @ShannonBerke
It has no VFX related courses, when I studied.
I was interested in learning FX but teachers told me to learn 3D basics first and the advance later into FX. I noticed how little I knew about 3D so I focused just getting those skills up, forgot a bit about FX with all this 3D learning frenzy and then got myself a internship, started showed interest in doing FX again and been doing it for quite sometime
Games & animation course in Rotterdam about 14 years ago.
Didnt learn anything about animation, nor games. (was their first year offering said course)
actually… looking at the debt I still owe…
I dont want to talk about it anymore
California State University - Chico. When I started the program it was Applied Computer Graphics, but when I finished they had changed it to Computer Animation and Game design. I started as modeling generalist, focused on character art, and then my final year decided to pursue rtvfx. There is no FX program, but there were courses that I got credit for, for pursuing and learning VFX, and there were other people who started studying things other than what was offered.
I have a double edged feeling towards the program since I started during a transitional period for the major. As (of right now) the 3 full time professors mainly went from school and straight into teaching at the school. The program is now more heavily focused on animation and has a makeshift mocap studio, but there are classes for almost every aspect of game production (modeling, rigging, lighting). My school also had it’s own game studio where the students work without anything but executive-level supervision from the professors and work on making games. It’s a 4 year program, but because it’s a division of the college of engineering, the degree is a bachelor’s of science and not art, so that’s versatile. It’s much cheaper than an art school, but the program is a “you get out what you put in” style program, so unfortunately you are working on modeling a character the same time you have a 10 page political science paper due the that week.
TL;DR - Much cheaper than an art school, more diverse curriculum than an art school, BS instead of a BA, less industry experience (with exception of the part time animation teacher from Weta), class credits for self learning a focus not taught, more social/ typical college experience in a college town.
For me it started at grade 10-12 (Swedish Gymnasium). I went to a very different type school. This school (Fryshuset, Stockholm) features something they call Passions. When I went there, 9 hours a week was on the curriculum and dedicated to the Passion. My Passion was Gamer (now called Gamedesign). We were taught programming basics in Java, Python, C++, PHP to name a few courses. This has proven to be really useful for me to have a solid programming foundation. Fryshuset offered many different type Passions when I went there (Basketball, Skateboard, Soccer, Dance, Rap, Ice-hockey, Swimming, Creative writing, Music producing, Theater). All classes were mixed with a few from each so there was a great variety of people to hang out with during regular classes. Awesome school. This is where I was first put together in a group of people where everyone shared the same common interest in games and computers and I loved it
Then I went to the same 2-year vocational as @Partikel, School of Future Entertainment, where I graduated 2008.
We got to try a bit of everything. I enjoyed tech-art courses the most (rigging, scripting, dynamics)
This was true for SOFE as well
I went at Fryshuset also! Those programming classes have been supringsly helpful in my career! Crazy how small this world.
Ice-hockey, what the hell
This sounds like a fantastic school, and I wish schools in the US were more like this. Too many kids get drowned in grades and test scores and I think most never find something the love to do
“back in my day” we didn’t these courses that provide VFX classes. We were lucky enough to have each other to learn from. We had the option of Power Animator, Raydream for our 3d needs. You guys have it easy these days
/End Grandpa voice
I went to UCLA and majored in Film (and then Art when the Chancellor changed Film to a Masters-only program). But I spent almost all my free time in the Animation Workshop studying under the great Dan McLaughlin. Back then only Graduate Students got to use the computers (This was a long time ago, the graphics workstations at UCLA were an IRIS, which was Silicon Graphics’ first computer, and a CUBICOMP running Picturemaker… ask your dad about these dinosaurs), so I had to teach myself computer rendering and animation on my Atari ST, then Amiga, then VGA PC. If I had it to do over again I probably would have gone to Art Center in Pasadena. They do a great job preparing their students for the artistic demands of the real world and everyone I have worked with coming out of there really knows how to harness their talent in addition to creating amazing stuff.
I went to Ferris State University in Grand Rapids, Michigan.
Its a really good school that has a degree in Digital Animation and Game Design. They classes were decent sized, but the professors gave a lot of 1 on 1 attention. They really stress carving your own path in what you want to do. They participate in a lot of game jams and even hold a yearly program wide competition. I learned a lot of modeling, animation, programming and a (little) bit of VFX there. They are well connected in the industry and as you progress in the program, they have more industry networking opportunities to take advantage of. The professors are the best part about Ferris. They push students to come out of their comfort zones and find what their passion is. Its a nice little gem
BCIT - Diploma in Electronics + 3 1/2 years of part-time electronics courses. Focus was on design/test of hardware and interfacing hardware to computer control systems, writing C++ and assembly programs, technical writing, etc. This is where I learned a lot of my programming skills. I’m also a journeyman electrician and completed my education for that at BCIT.
Vancouver Film School - this was a year off from work so I could learn the basics of CG
My BFA in Computer Animation is from the Colorado Institute of Art. It’s part of the Art Institutes International but doesn’t include the Art Institute of Chicago (for their sake I’m compelled to mention this).
That said, my opinion on art schools is in opposition with itself. Read on if you’re interested in some unnecessary bantering …
For a few people it might help them focus. Which is invaluable if they can’t do it on their own (I’ll quickly add that this is nothing to be ashamed of). If a school helps you focus on accomplishing a finished reel/folio, then by all means it’s worth the tuition.
However, if you’re simply looking for knowledge then I’d recommend a combination of online courses (free and otherwise) and simply rolling up your sleeves and making something then posting it for critique. Even with all the haters out there you’ll soon recognize worthwhile patterns of constructive criticism. With all the available free software and online tutorials, there isn’t much else required but some self-discipline and self-motivation. No doubt this is the toughest aspect of being an artist so caveat emptor.
Personally speaking I’m very impressed with level of craftsmanship that graduates of Art Center in Pasadena, California and FZD School in Singapore exhibit. I don’t mean to offend alumnus of other schools, but these schools are worth mentioning since they have an overwhelming number of highly successful artists in their alumni. Although in the end, there isn’t anything learned—even in these hallowed halls—that can’t be learned elsewhere, but one simply can’t ignore the networking potential provided in places like this. Furthermore it doesn’t hurt to rub elbows and be surrounded with kickass artists that inspire as well as educate, adulate and prod.
We’re all products of our environments, so choose wisely.
I agree with @CyberGolem, in that I believe a huge chunk of CG curriculum can be learned much, much cheaper from buying tuts and watching videos online. Especially for things like modeling and texturing, Polycount and the feedback and advice you get there can get you very good, if you ask the right questions.
If I had to change anything about my education, it would be that I learned software and strong foundations in stuff like 2d painting, modeling and animation at home on my own, and then went to school after I was confident in my skills. In school, you’ll either be able to get advanced tips and workflow advice, or you will just be able to challenge the class and get credit for it without dedicating a whole semester to it.
Gnomon School of Visual Effects! I loved the program, including teachers, classes, and peers. Really crazy talented people surround me and inspired me to push myself which was key in the overall experience there. Was in their 2 year CG Generalist track. I was lucky to have taken a couple basic maya particle and fluid classes, and finally my last term I took an elective for VFX in UE4. At this point I realized how much I really didn’t enjoy building out entire environments and that’s when the FX bug bit! ^^
I grew up and studied in South Africa, so it’s unlikely that anybody would know where I studied, but whatever. I studied a BSC in computational and applied maths at Wits, and an art diploma at The Open Window.
I don’t regret studying, but I was lucky in that very early on I recognised the weaknesses in my lecturers’ knowledge, and instead turned to online communities to supplement my learning. I did really well at school anyway, but my goal there was not to get good marks, so much as to make my learning relevant. I complained loudly when I felt the course was diverging from what I needed to know in the industry, and the art school was happy to hire more relevant staff to teach us. I would only have known whether what they were teaching was relevant because of my reaching out to people working in the game industry and cold-mailing them with questions, and lurking on forums like Polycount.
When I’ve spoken with other graduates who’ve made it pretty big in South Africa, all of us say that they learnt 99+% of what they know themselves. I know I’ve learnt most of what I know online and on-the-job. I’m personally pretty disillusioned with formal education, and believe it’s best to go straight to the best people you can find to learn a particular skill. (Luckily, for game vfx, it looks like it’d be communities like this one.)
Gnomon school of Visual Effects in Los Angeles, and still there currently. Talented bunch of people in both the teachers and fellow students there. I knew pretty early on that I wanted to make explosions and pretty lights, only till later I fell in love with real-time vfx. I was lucky enough to get two classes specifically for VFX for games.