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  • Entering Art School

    - Samuel Crowe

  •  Final Direction

    Ok, now for the part you're probably looking for... You want to animate?

    • Find a school that has been teaching animation for at least 10 or more years.
    • They should offer classes in traditional and digital animation.
    • The school should have a regular session of guest speakers
    • The school should offer some type career help or placement opportunity for graduates
    • The program should not be longer than 2 years (technology changes too fast and anything more than 2 years will be a waste).

    You want to make art for games?

    • Study fine art
    • Study sculpting
    • Take classes on 3D modeling, both low and high poly.
    • Take classes on both traditional and digital animation (many games today still use 2D based animation).
    • Take story telling if it's offered. Or creative writing.
    • Take any classes that will offer you new tools for time management as well as people management.
    • Play as many games as you can, even the ones that do not interest you.
    • Learn how to research properly and how to record what you research.
    • Painting and drawing courses.
    • Basic design and color theory.

    You want to make visual effects for movies? Take everything from the "you want to make art for games" section and add the following:

    • Any class that offers compositing and lighting.
    • Any class that allows you to use a motion camera.
    • Any class that offers the history of film making and or effects.
    • Any class that involves working with live footage and editing it.

    Do not get stuck on using a specific brand of software or hardware.

    Do not limit yourself; explore everything that is available to you.

    Make many friends, they may get hired before you do and they maybe your way into your first job.

    Stay focused as much as possible, but have fun too.

    Learn from your mistakes and keep making progress. Do not rework the same image over and over, each time you do, you're less likely to learn something as compared to starting a new one.

    Your teachers will be "idiots, close minded fools and full of crap" until you graduate. Then you'll understand them and praise them every day after you graduate and start working as a professional.

    Remember where you came from because someone, just like you, will be asking for advice. Always try to share your knowledge with others. You can learn a great deal and improve your skill set by helping others.

    Grades are great for grants and nifty award letters, but in the end it's your portfolio or demo that counts the most.

    Learn to appreciate other types of art. You may not like it, but there is always something to be learned from it or something that you can apply to your own art.

    Don't just be a game artist.

    You're an adult now and it is expected that you act like one. Sitting in a full class yelling ‘laser tag, laser tag' while others are trying to work only makes you look like a grade school child. The entire class does not want to hear about your weekend. Just be mature, save the outburst and silliness for somewhere else.

    The best schools to go to are ones that offer you want you are most interested in. If you study in a specific major or area that interests you, you will excel, and it will show when you graduate. No degree or certificate can match that.

    On the other hand, having a 4 year degree can open up more opportunities for you if you decide to pursue a different career after school.

    Samuel Crowe's career as an artist has spanned at least 12 years, ranging from graphic design, illustration and video games. After earning his Bachelor of Fine Arts from East Tennessee State University, Samuel was hired as a Lead Artist for Sunstorm Interactive. After Sunstorm became inactive he was hired as an Artist at Vicarious Visions and quickly moved into the role of Lead Artist. Samuel is now working on his Masters in Fine Arts.


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