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Best Animation School in the America+Canada?

terminusterminus Registered User Posts: 25 New Member
edited November 2011 in Visual Arts and Film Majors
Well I've been looking at a couple Arts Schools: RISD, MICA, Pratt, etc. and now I'm in the pre-college RISD program. My RISD animation teacher and peers all have different opinions on the best animation school in the North America? So what college do you people think is the best in the America and Canada?

-RISD?, Sheridan?, CalArts? Ringling? etc.

p.s. Also does anyone know if there is a college that "Pixar" prefers to pick employees from?

Post edited by terminus on

Replies to: Best Animation School in the America+Canada?

  • musicamusicamusicamusica Registered User Posts: 6,468 Senior Member
    I know that Pixar directors John Lasseter and Brad Bird went to Calarts. I also know of more than one student who went to CSSSA Innerspark and later to Calarts and who are now doing internships at Pixar.
  • StitchInTimeStitchInTime Registered User Posts: 1,289 Senior Member
    Carnegie Mellon...even has guaranteed positions at Disney for interns.
  • alwaysamomalwaysamom Registered User Posts: 11,570 Senior Member
    We have two friends who work/worked in the business, one at Disney and one at Pixar. Both believe that the two top schools in North American are Cal Arts and Sheridan. Both would recommend Sheridan because of the lesser cost of attendance.
  • matusmatus Registered User Posts: 104 Junior Member
    If you're looking not exactly looking to be an experimental animator, Cal Arts is the way to go. A LOT of important people in the orthodox animation industry (Pixar, Disney, etc.) are alumni, and the school has great connections. It's REALLY hard to get into their character animation program, however.
  • OdyismOdyism Registered User Posts: 22 New Member
    CalArts, Ringling, and Sheridan are all great choices for Animation majors.

    I can't say alot about other schools, but I know there are quite a few Ringling alumni working with Pixar.
  • digmediadigmedia Registered User Posts: 3,309 Senior Member
    Here's Pixar's opinion:
    We do not judge potential candidates on the basis of the school they attended (or didn’t) and therefore do not recommend any particular school(s). As much as we would like to keep on the forefront of universities offering animation and/or computer visualization programs, we do not know the details of all programs. We have listed schools that offer courses in animation but please know that this is simply a list. If your school is not on our list, this does not mean that you are unqualified to apply to Pixar.

    We look at your work first, typically in the form of a videotaped reel. If the reel shows mastery or great potential in the area(s) of animation, lighting, modeling, or writing shaders, we then look at the resume to see your background and experience.

    In choosing an animation related school, look for one that focuses on traditional skills, drawing, painting, sculpture, cinematography. Ask the school how they will help you build an effective portfolio of your work: not merely a collection of your assignments, but a well developed presentation of your unique point of view, and your technical skills. Also ask the school how well integrated their theatre and film departments are with their 2D and 3D art departments.

    Learn enough about computer graphics to know how they work in general. Look for a school that has not substituted electronic arts for traditional (or vice versa). Ask them about how they balance the two. Avoid just learning packages of software. Today’s packages will be replaced several times during your school career, and many studios use proprietary software that you cannot learn in school anyway. Learn enough to know you can learn it, but concentrate on the more expressive traditional skills.
  • paying3tuitionspaying3tuitions Registered User Posts: 13,330 Senior Member
    ^^I truly appreciate reading something from the industry that indicates how to evaluate a school, and their professional guidance to consider the content of what is offered according to their employment needs.

    Digmedia, did you have a public source for the above helpful excerpt? Is it from Pixar's website? I wonder if other companies offer similar reflections on how to look over a school. Pixar's was nuanced and intelligent, IMHO.

    It's a very thoughtful posting. It adds a new dimension to the other posts which indicated alumni, anecdotes, and stats about school programs.

    The idea is to work in these fields, so it's helpful to consider what the industry seeks among applicants. Ah, someday!

    --Moderator P3T
  • digmediadigmedia Registered User Posts: 3,309 Senior Member

    I remembered that being on Pixar's web site from a couple of years ago and went back and looked it up. Go to pixar.com, then it's the FAQ under the employment page. Excellent, excellent advace, imho.

    But some more advice for students: If you ask a question, a little research may yield the answer. If you are REALLY interested in XYZ as an employer or ABC as a potential school, then why aren't you SCOURING their websites?
  • nanlinanli Registered User Posts: 1 New Member
    hello ..im looking for a free animation school in canada ( free means with no money just like in france) please help me what must i do??
  • Sean LeeSean Lee Registered User Posts: 2 New Member

    AAU has connection with Pixar. so, AAU offers Pixar classes. Pixar animators teach at AAU directly.
  • evanjonesevanjones Registered User Posts: 36 Junior Member
    I have a son studying Character Animation At CalArts. He was admitted to a bunch of animation programs in a wide variety of settings... conservatory, industrial, traditional university.

    During his early exploration into a career in animation he was fortunate enough to find himself visiting Pixar. It was there that he got about the best advice I have heard anyone tell him. One of the feature animators told him that there is no defined path into the industry. He told him to concentrate on finding his artistic voice... draw, draw draw! That would accomplish several things:

    --He could figure out if he really loved working long hours drawing tedious projects - He told my son that there are a lot of people who think they will love animation, but soon realize that 16 hour days in production are horrible.

    --He could find out who he is as an artist - putting all of this effort in before college would help him figure out his artistic voice – thus where he would be able to prosper in college.

    He did say that some schools can offer an advantage to students in getting exposure to the industry giants, but ultimately the only one who is going to get a student hired is the student. He said an outstanding animator is an outstanding animator, regardless of what school they attended. The school was important in that it facilitated the animators honing their skills and finding their artist style. For some that happens at a conservatory, others at an industrial school or a traditional university.
  • rk242rk242 Registered User Posts: 1 New Member
    Is any one familar with the Centre for Art and Technology in British Columbia? It has a 3D Game Animation progam. I am finding it difficult to locate any reviews of this school.
  • AL34AL34 Registered User Posts: 1,993 Senior Member
    Check out DePaul CIM, we went on a visit there a few weeks back and were very impressed. One of only a handful (like 8) involved in the Sony ImageWorks IPAX program (info on Imageworks site), along with CMU, MIT, Ringling and some others. We were amazed to find this resource in our own backyard.
  • polytikipolytiki Registered User Posts: 7 New Member
    Hi terminus,
    our daughter attends Ringling for 3D Computer Animation. Absolutely loves it! Yes, lots of hard work. In a nut shell, I would advise attending a school who's program focuses on the studio /drawing foundation as well as the technoligical program part of the major. Basically, anyone can learn to draw if they put the effort into it. Some yes, have natural ability that give them an edge, but it can be learned. Anyone can be taught the computer programs. However, the student /job seeker that has been trained in BOTH will have the edge over the student only trained in one or the other. "Animate" means "to bring to life", Having the foundation drawing skills, figure, context, color...all are a darn good idea to have to understand how to apply the maya programs etc. in the technical side.
    The only downside we see of Ringling is the cost. That's it. Teachers are /or have worked in the field in just about every aspect you can think of. Connections at the school are some of the best out there. Career services are outstanding and comapnies like the ease of working with Ringling. Ringling program is brutal for a reason, so you are ready to have a realistic idea of what you will be up against with competition, deadlines, stress etc.
    By the way, another Ringling student was hired by Pixar this month, and she graduates in May. Remember, there are many positions ath animation students can be qualified for, rigging, concept, background...character animation is usually something one works up to..but to answer you question of who does Pixar hire from? Well, any company is going to interview the top 2-5 students from many schools. I would think your objective is to be one of the top students of wherever you attend. Keep in mind only about 75 or so students from around the world are accepted into Ringling's Animation and Game Art programs, so drawing from life now is something you should be doing for your portfolio submission. Cut off for portfolio admission has passed for this year, it was Jan 15th, so you have until about that same time next year to apply for 2010.
    Good luck!
  • MomPhDMomPhD Registered User Posts: 313 Member
    Polytiki, How many kids apply to Ringling's animation program and what % are accepted?
This discussion has been closed.