Thursday, April 12, 2007

Pics From Ringling

The brand new main building. The first level has a workout room, a cafe, the admissions office, and things I didn't find. Second level is home to the incredibly active career services and financial aid offices. The third level belongs to computer animation complete with one 2d lab, 3 3d labs, classrooms, and three or four video game centers (where new games will be set up for students to tackle).

I didn't expect a school known for its 3D animation to have a 2D lab like this. When they closed the Disney studio in Orlando, all of the drawing tables went to Ringling. Kyle says some of them even had left behind drawings from Brother Bear. There's about 20 tables and five (?) shooting stations.

What amazed me the most had to be the CA labs! HP comps (like the ones used in the industry) with 30" Monitors (puts the TV we had in Dinnaken to shame!) and 6"x8" Wacom tablets. There are three labs each with about 20 stations. I didn't get a chance to see what the actual class rooms are like but this definitely leaves a good impression.

The CA level of the main building is covered with posters of movies/games that Ringling grads have been a part of. Shown here with Kyle. Some of the titles include Mulan, Ants, Shrek, Monster's Inc, Cars, Over the Hedge, etc. It's a pretty impressive walk of fame.
Cafeteria. Food is probably more or less like UDS.
Inside the cafeteria.

On my visit I had the chance to talk with Jim MCampbell the CA program director. We chatted a long time about which school I should go to and which schools I shouldn't go to, un hum! Seriously though, Jim is passionate about the CA program at Ringling and has taken the time to constantly improve it according to changes in the industry.

I was also fortunate enough to be visiting right after the seniors finished their thesis. Everyone was busy applying to the big name studios and game companies. Industrial Light and Magic was interviewing a few of them on my last day. EA games was also on campus reviewing portfolios to decide which students to interview today. One of the Seniors has a phone interview with Dreamworks tomorrow.

One of the EA recruiters was talking with two of the CA teachers. Kyle and I were close by so someone started talking to them about how I'm trying to decide on a school. All three of them started to repeat "Ringling" over and over. It was quit funny. The two teachers seemed really excite and were trying to tell me all the good things about Ringling. Turned out all three of them graduated from Ringling, went on to work at Disney for years, then one went to EA while the other two came back to teach. The two teachers were really friendly and most importantly, very enthusiastic about the program.

Overall here's a list of what I liked about Ringling:
  • High-end technology and amazing labs
  • Enthusiastic Teachers
  • Motivated Students
  • Very organized and aggressive career services office
  • High employment rate after graduations
  • Program interactive with industry needs
  • Many Many recruiters
  • Lower Tuition (If there's room in the sophomore class, I can graduate in three years)
  • Balance of 2d verses 3d (many illustration classes possible for electives)
  • Beautiful Campus, Sarasota seems more happening than Valencia
  • Also, all incoming students will receive a Powerbook Pro thanks to a generous donation

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