Tuesday, April 03, 2007

CalArts vs. Ringling

Which one which one?!

I've talked with industry professionals, graduates from both schools, plus others and I'm getting things like:

"If you got into CalArts, why would you even think of any other school?"--MCAD Senior

"Ringling is the number one 3D animation school in the nation!"--Ringling Freshman

"CalArts focuses on more content than Ringling"--Pixar Director

"70% of my graduating class was hired before graduation...i've come across way more ringling grads than i have cal arts grads out in the field. "--Ringling Graduate

"Ringling is a rising star, especially specializing in 3D.
You know enough in 2d design and animation now and you can learn a lot more new things, IF you think that you would like working with computerized environment.

And Calarts is..
Well, was....based on 2d training with 3D on the side. I am not sure how they function now.

For sure, they go with more art school approach.
It all depends on what you want to learn."
--CalArts Graduate

"It now depends on what you want to study and where???"--CalArts Instructor

"Calarts would be a great experience for you, I'm sure! If you think
you'd like to focus on doing things all digitally (with Maya and such) and get training for what you would do on a feature film
type project, Ringling would be better, I think."--CalArts Graduate

And the list goes on. Both schools are great, it just depends on if I want to focus on character animation or 3D animation. Ringling is the best for 3D animation and CalArts is the best for character animation. So where does that leave me? What would be the best choice for finding a job in the future? The tuition is $22k/ year for Ringling and $31k for CalArts. Is the CalArts reputation worth the $9,000 on tuition alone?

The truth is I really want to go to CalArts but the facts are saying Ringling is just as good if not better than CalArts in terms of education, reputation, and cost.


Well I'll be down in Sarasota next week from Monday to Wednesday to see it for myself. Fortunately for me, the seniors are turning in their thesis right before I get there which means Kyle has time to show me around and introduce me to some other seniors. Should be fun.


Jennifer said...

Hello Yezi,

Thought I'd write back here to your comment. Thank you very much for the congratulations. A big congrats to you also on getting into your top two choices! I can understand how difficult this decision must be for you.

For me personally, I really want to study animation with traditional means(paper and pencil) and really push the character side of animation so Cal Arts seemed like the ideal choice for me. I've also visited the school twice and just love the enviroment. There's also the history and alumni that caught my attention as well, but it was mostly just my personal interest in traditional animation and telling fun stories. I haven't looked into Ringling a whole lot because I wanted to stay on the west coast for my education(closer to home). I don't know if Ringling or USC does this, but Cal Arts pushes for every student to make a short film every year and has the producer's show so that really appealed to me and was one of the reason(aside from the others) I chose Cal Arts. Of course the cost can play a huge part and I'm currently finding ways to pay, but I feel it'll be worth it. Again, I haven't looked into Ringling or USC either because of location or just my personal pursuits when it comes to learning animation. I wish you the best of luck and encourage you to pick the school that best fits your personal interests when it comes to your animation career/goals. Hope this all makes sense, if you have any other questions I'd be more than happy to answer them(as best to my ability as I can). Thanks again for the comment and congrats again! =)


EnJu Lin said...

This is EnJu from Taiwan,I'm just wondering why you didn't consider about the USC's MFA??Due to my age,I'm 25 now,though I want to get into CalArts,but I think my age doesn't allow me to have another 4-year education, so now I'm just considering about MFA in animation,so could you tell me the reason you don't choose USC,and have you ever heard about UCLA animation workshop(MFA)??Do you have any comment about this school
??I would like to hear back from you,and congrats on your huge success with application!!!

yezix said...

Hi Enju,
I'm not considering USC's program because of three reasons. First the program seems very broad. USC's MFA offers a variety of classes that covers many different aspect of animation. Which could be a good thing; you have the freedom to experiment and find out what you really want to do. But I was just afraid that like many masters degrees offered by universities, much of the learning is left to yourself. I was afraid that I wouldn't get the education I'd be paying for.

Another concern of mine was that I haven't really heard much about USC from industry professionals in the forums. The program's website also didn't show a lot of the student work.

The last reason why I decided against the USC program is the tuition. I think a full time MFA student 's tuition is about $35k per year, which is more than CalArts or Ringling.

Now that's just my personal preference. For the amount of tuition I'd be paying I want to go to a school that's well known in the industry and has the connection to broaden my chances of getting a job after graduation.

My opinion of UCLA is about the same. One advantage of UCLA is that if you are a legal resident of the US, you can become a California resident after one year of living there. Since UCLA is a public school, your tuition will be lowered considerably. You wouldn't be able to do the same for USC. If you are an international student, this wouldn't really matter to you.

If you are looking for a MFA in animation, you might want to consider the Art Academy of San Francisco as well. I think they were voted the number two 3d animation school in the US (after Ringling) by 3D World magazine. The academy has teachers from Pixar and a handful of students are allowed into those classes. I just went to visit Ringling and they were saying good things about the Academy as well.

Anyway, the above is only my impression and opinion. I hope it helps, good luck!


Edward Juan said...

Calarts kicks Ringling's ass any day any time! We've got power with disney and the rich fine art kids.

Edward Juan said...

And congrad on your entry to Calarts. I hope you'll enjoy it as much as I did. paying tons of money to draw cartoon.

PAOLO said...

Hmm i dont know i heard a lot more on Ringling i would go for that. Plus Ringling is very good at 3d (which is whats biggest in the industry anyways) and also does 2D, which means you can broaden you 2d if you really want.

Lillian said...

Hi Yezi,

I came across your blog and I also want to congratulate you, so which art institute did you choice after all? I just visited CalArts yesterday and I'm also looking into their MFA program, except for film. I have a question I want to ask you, I'm also very interested in animation, but my biggest down fall is I can't draw too well, but I'm very computer savvy. Do you have to be a good drawer to go into animation?

yezix said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
yezix said...

Hi Lilian!
I ended up deciding on Ringling. Fortunately I was able to be transfered as a sophomore.

I don't know much about the film MFA at CalArts but I know that if you are interested in animation, you do need to draw pretty well--especially at CalArts. Ringling's program is a bit more technical but draftsmanship is still essential. You need good understanding of design, color and most of all, you need to be able to draw to develop ideas and communicate them to others. We do tons of drawing for my traditional animation, concept development, and even computer animation classes. A pretty high level of draftsmanship is expected at Ringling. Your drawing skills are put to work right away in sophomore year. You are expected to be ready to design and create; any draftsman skill improvement will have to be pursued personally.

Will Kim said...

CalArts =art school, one person one film, but students also work as group projects, art and film come before just animating, just storyboarding, or just art direction, char anim program differs from exper anim program. char anim only has BFA , experimental anim has offers both BFA and MFA, in terms of both industry and independent art or film making, no other schools can be any near CalArts, respect each student's own characteristics and styles no matter what department you belong to. instructors are great. They are from both strong industry and art background. no limitation on mediums you choose to use for your own animation, has a huge emphasis on drawing and painting besides becoming a director.
calarts support students to be directors, meaning the students get to be in all the positions of animted film making.

UCLA animation workshop
= similar method to calarts, one person one film
only offers MFA
figure drawing class there is almost a trading school. draw with a student's own style? then the student gets left out and get referred as doing A WEIRD DRAWING , the class has a strong direction in terms of where the instructor wants the students go, but it is too much and always refers the class to the animation studio, NOT AN ART SCHOOL OR A FILM SCHOOL, this doesn't bug that many students for some reason..
most of the classes are great
they respect your own styles and directions
in all of the animation and story board classes.
Maya, CGI animation is emphasized
but also as an MFA1 student, the student must complete a traditional hand drawn animted film.
school is much cheaper than calarts if you are legal california regidence since it's a public school.
equipments are not super but getting better and better everytime
instructors and staffs are very nice and kind
one thing for sure i like so much about this school is that everybody has different styles in animted film making,
has a nice industry and independent animation connection as well as calarts does.
the school has a longer history of the animation program than calarts

unemployed animator said...

ringling: rising star, good training all around

calarts: just catching up in 3D, core very focused on 2D. many alumni with top industry connections, and top working professionals teaching classes. access to strong traditional art courses, but character animation courses tough to get into if you are not in the dept. after a film each year, bfa character animation degree culminates in a thesis film that has to be taken as far as the pencil test/line drawing stage. excellent program for character animators hoping to break into top studios in the industry.

ucla: free to explore any medium, although lags behind in both 3D and 2D. no access to any strong traditional art courses, but good access to top live action courses and professors with industry experience. mfa degree requires 3 films taken to fully colored and finished stage with sound, with at least one going out to 16mm film. few industry connections and virtually no working professionals, but strong ties to independent animators. good place for the independent starving artist film maker.

usc: a more expensive and well equipped version of ucla.

sf acadeny of art: a more expensive version of calarts. they seem to spend all their dollars on tv advertising and printing fancy catalogs. strong industry connections in every field, with top notch instructors and access to very strong traditional art courses. not as strong in 3D, but hey, pixar is right across the bay.

Abby said...

Good luck! I went to CalArts (Character Animation) and know some Ringling grads. From what I understand, CalArts has a nicer environment and more focus on making films. I'm not sure that's worth the tuition difference.