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Hit the Animation and Video Game Design Training School and Excel

With the peaking interest in animation and video game design among budding artists, there is suddenly a host of options as to how to get the best training for these colorful field. However, as with any worthwhile endeavor, the "right" training isn't always the most convenient, or the cheapest.

Sure, some can take the easy route, sign up for a crash course that promises you the necessary know-how in no time, and you probably could get that! You would probably get to short-cut your way to a weakly done demo reel, with which you hit the streets, hoping to land that next great job. However, such training, as with most crash course learning stints, fails to cut the grade. While people who tread this path might get proficient enough with a certain type of software to manipulate it and come up with something that could pass for animation, that's not all it takes. For they would still be totally clueless about the essence of this craft, knowing nothing of the art itself, of the essential factors of lighting, or even about story telling. Majority of the failures happen among these individuals.

If that sounds disheartening to you, it should! You are attempting to break into the very prestigious film and video game industry, one of a million hopefuls. It takes much more than luck.

This is where a really solid education counts. Going to a reputable school (and doing well while you're there) increases your chances of getting your foot in the door for at least an interview. For one thing, recruiters know what is taught in these schools, and can assume you would be well-versed and more experienced with concepts essential to the craft, putting you a notch ahead of most of the competition already.

It's easy to explain the difference between a good education and an adequate one for this purpose. A person trained in cinematology, for instance, will stage their animations differently from those who have no training in this field. This is known as "framing a scene" in such a way that it has maximum impact on the audience. All this is necessary to tell a compelling story. Students from short courses programs, on the other hand, not having benefited from intensive exposure to such a concept, tend to simply borrow ideas from what they've seen before. Unable to recognize what is good and bad about these ideas, their creativity suffers from a lack of discipline. Mimicking may sometimes work, but a thorough knowledge ensures that you will be consciously aware of what you do and why you do them. And that is where the artistry comes in.

There are, of course, no guarantees in this business. The formula of one part talent and two parts luck holds true. And the age old adage "It's not what you know, but who you know" unfortunately still applies. Once you're in, you're over your biggest hurdle. But staying in the industry, and surviving it, means you've got to try and stay in top shape. It's always better to start a few rungs higher than the next guy. Animation companies like ILM, Disney, or Pixar and video game companies like Electronic Arts, Square-Enix and Blizzard only hire the very best.

The decision on where to get good training is the most crucial one you will make, as you do have to consider other factors such as fees. The run of the mill crash course programs in animation and game design can already be a bit costly. Normal fees would be around 6k. But the entry cost to the animation and game design schools that offer the best courses in Animation and Video Game Design are certainly higher. Despite that, though, it would still not be advisable to prefer the crash course programs for all the reasons stated above.

The prestigious schools like Ringling, Sheridan, Fullsail etc. cost a lot more than state run schools (maybe twice as much or even more), and have heavier screening of applicants. But you get what you pay for. These schools pride themselves in producing the top quality graduates that eventually land the better jobs. They're not some diploma mill churning out "X" number of graduates a year. You will therefore note a dramatic increase in the quality of the education in these animation and video game design schools as compared to the others.

Costs shouldn't be a deterrent for you, however. Federal aid and scholarships are always available at most accredited educational institutions, so think well before you choose school "A" over school "B". Also, with the growth in the animation industry and a continued interest in it by students, more and more schools are starting to offer Animation and Game Design programs, which should create better options for everyone.

It remains important that the school you attend is the right one for you, because, considering the initial investment in tuition fees, you most likely won't be able to afford another education.

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