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I've an artist friend...

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She wants to do game art, something along the lines of doing design sketches and I believe 3d modeling from said sketches. Would you all reccomend her going to a local community college and geting an Associates in Art before going to a gamedev school? I was reccomended here to get an Associates in Computer Science before going into game programming, and was wondering if the same principals apply.

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She should go to an art school, or an art program in a regular university, and get her BFA. I'm definately not a fan of game development schools for artists in particular. A large chunk of people change majors in college, and even if she doesn't, Game Schools still lack the diversified education of other normal universities. The reason I stress art especially, is because good art isn't particular to games, like game design or graphics programming is. If you can produce good art in traditional mediums, and good art on the computer, then you can produce good game art.

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She's pretty talented as is. The local community college I think would give a good pathway onto a higher degree.

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definitely get a BFA before going into a game design school. Education is NEVER a liability, but putting down the foundation is defintely the right way to go

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If she has a portfolio she should start building up as many internships as she possibly can. Personally I think having a few solid studio internships under her belt will benefit her much more than a game-design school - for her skills and her resume.

Where does this girl live? Perhaps we can help look for prospects.

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The most cost-effective way to attend an art school is to get the non-art classes out of the way somewhere much cheaper - like community college - then transfer to art school and finish up a BFA in ~2 years. That way you only pay heavy prices for actual art instruction, and not for them to teach you Algebra 101 all over again.

As for what school she should go to, thats up to her - but I'll say this right now: Don't get caught up exclusivly in the idea of 'game art' schools. Most colleges with 'game art' courses are just marketing a lucrative field to young people, and have horribly underdeveloped curriculum and professors teaching them. They have plenty of people that will teach you the 'how', but nobody to teach you the 'why'. They'll just take your money, teach you the UI to Maya/Max (no better than any of the numerous self-instruction books out on the market), and send you on your way with a degree. Hell, some of them will just have you *buy* one of those books and go through it yourself, having an instructor there just to answer occasional questions (if they can).

Research, research, research. Find out what professors they have teaching there, and what their backgrounds are. Go in and visit, or sit through some of their classes if you can. If they don't have well-established industry vets teaching all the courses you want - you might as well get your degree at the local community college.

If theres nobody in your area that fits the bill, and you don't want to travel, look into traditional art programs at local universities. In the end, 3D tools are just that - tools, no different than a pencil or paint brush. Its your artistic skills you want to polish, and any traditional program at a decent university can do that. Life Drawing, Color Theory, and painting / photography courses will teach you all you need to know about design, composition, and form - and those principals transfer directly to 3D. Highly talented professors are also much more available in those fields, and no doubt have been teaching them longer.

Basically, use your head - and don't trust some advertisement. 3D art is easy to sell, and has huge appeal nowadays due to the gaming market. Colleges are buisnesses afterall, and they'll con and swindle people into buying their 'product' just like any other industry.

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"The most cost-effective way to attend an art school is to get the non-art classes out of the way somewhere much cheaper - like community college - then transfer to art school and finish up a BFA in ~2 years. That way you only pay heavy prices for actual art instruction, and not for them to teach you Algebra 101 all over again."

Cost effective, yes, but I would just like to reiterate that the education from a community college liberal arts program and art school iberal arts program will be different. Not that the professors will neccessarily be better, but without any other stimulation, you will develop the 'working inside of a box' syndrome alot of 3D artists get. If the only courses you are taking is 3D modelling, motion dynamics, and character animation, you will miss the experience of working in those classes with the influence of your liberal arts classes. Its something I have found to be very strong and important during my time at school... even if I didn't like a particular libarts class, I always found it influenced my work in some way, and always to make it more interesting, and better. True, without the liberal arts you can get more work done, but often-times its more removed... there is normally a clear distinction between people's work who work in studio and get feedback and socialization from peers vs. people who work by themselves at home.

And normally, most art schools will give sizeable scholarships. I go/went to a $30,000/year school, but pay less than $2000 between scholarships and financial aid. I'd say about 30% of the students receive $15000/year, the largest scholarship they offer. Your friend sounds pretty talented, if she is, I'm sure it'd be no problem getting into a good art school with a large sum of money.

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