I'm in Computer Science, should I minor or double major in Art?

<p>I am currently a second year student at Cal Poly Pomona and has just recently changed my major to Computer Science so that I can pursue my passion in Animation (hopefully to become a Pixar animator in the future). I know for sure that I will have to include Art in my education but I'm not sure whether I should include Art as a minor or as another major. I don't think that having Art as a minor will be a problem for me in terms of scheduling, but because I have no prior experience in the Art field, I am afraid I won't learn as much as I should compared to double majoring in Art. So my question is: Will a major in Computer Science and a minor in Art be enough for me to become a solid competitor in the job field or will a double major be the right way instead? It would also be appreciated if anybody can give me advice on when I should apply for the minor/major. I also wonder if I should pursue Animation in graduate school if I need to obtain more experience? And of course first hand or second hand experiences in this matter is EXTREMELY appreciated.</p>

<p>Sorry for so many questions and Thank you so much in advance!</p>

<p>First off, when you say "animator" do you mean the job position of "animator"? Where you are the actor who brings the digital character to life through movement and acting?
If that's the case, then I'm afraid say that you are probably in the wrong major, and the art department at Cal Poly won't be of much help either. </p>

<p>On the other hand if you just mean the computer animation field in general, then you are probably more on the path towards the more technical side of things, such as effects or shader writing. Sure, a minor in Art my help, a double major won't make too much of a difference and time spent on those courses may be better used on computer graphics electives. You should first determine if the Art department at Cal Poly is any good, one that provides strong traditional training in painting, life drawing, landscape painting, color theory, etc. If it is one of those typical "fine art" majors you find at most state universities then don't waste your time in those classes. </p>

<p>In either case, if you are pursuing the highly technical side of the field - developing pipelines, shaders, simulation/effects engines, renderers, etc and you focus on developing projects in your senior year along those lines, then you should be quite competitive coming out of school.
If you are looking to get into areas such as modeling, animation, texture painting, lighting or effects, you will likely need to pursue more industry oriented training after graduation. Grad school would not be a good option for this, rather look into Gnomon or Animation Mentor. Even then, if your traditional art training in sculpture, drawing, painting is not sufficient, you will be at a disadvantage to the students being pumped out of places like Ringling, et al.</p>

A question from an art teacher. I have a student that can draw and is now in a Blender self study (funded by a large engineering firm). She says she wants to work in video games. I'm trying to steer her toward computer science with a minor in art as I'm perceiving the game field is a tough path to take. Am I wrong to be so practical? I don't want to dash a dream. </p>

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<p>That would depend on if she is more interested in programming the game (game engine, AI, UI, etc), designing the art (concept art/production design) for the game or creating assets (modeling, level design, etc) for the game. </p>

<p>For programming, yes, computer science with a focus on graphics, AI/game theory, or applied math would be best. A minor in art would be a creative outlet. </p>

<p>For concept art/production design which is primarily 2D work, a degree in art (eg. entertainment art/design) is best. Let someone else do the coding unless you are making your own iphone App or something. </p>

<p>For creating assets, it's about a split technical/artistic field. You could lean either way. Something on the more technical side like wrangling assets through the pipeline might require some scripting experience, ability to write snippets of code, plugins, improve current software, etc. Computer science is a bit of an overkill. The more artistic side such as modeling, level design, etc would require more artistic training (to create appealing models) and the technical skill to problem solve (troubleshooting topologies). Traditional art skills such as drawing and painting aren't as relevant and it doesn't matter whether or not the technical artist can draw. The technical artist needs to know what looks good and what doesn't, be versed in common art vocabulary related to composition and color as well as basic photographic/cinematographic concepts. This really depends on the game though (Sims vs Halo for example). The technical artist doesn't need to know how to draw, paint or design and is most often executing in 3d, the 2d art created by concept artists. </p>

<p>Sure the game path can be hard, and as listed above there is more than one destination. And even more paths to each. Her success will depend on her ability to improve her art and skill to a professional level. If that is the aim, a degree in computer science is likely not the most direct step in the right direction. </p>

<p>Is CS a fall back plan? What if she doesn't make it into video games, can she see herself as a database programmer, a web programmer, or working long hours at the next tech startup?</p>

<p>Wonderful reply! As a teacher, I don't have such a selective focus and this message board is a great way to learn about things I don't have such insight on. I will print this off and pass on the information. With college becoming such a deep crevasse of debt and time, I want students to have the most information possible before making the "big leap". </p>

<p>I encounter many former students who are struggling mightily to make their way to little to no avail. They did what they thought was the best path & sometimes that doesn't work out. Re-tool!!</p>