Poll: Is art school worth it for concept art?
This poll is closed.
Yes
0%
0 0%
No
12.50%
1 12.50%
Depends on current funds
25.00%
2 25.00%
Depends on the art school
62.50%
5 62.50%
Total 8 vote(s) 100%
* You voted for this item. [Show Results]

Your opinions on Art schools
#1
Looking more specifically at the top ones for concept art (FZD and Artcentre), whats your opinion of them? Are they to much money for what you get? Are there better options if so what do you think is the better educational path?

If I where to say I was thinking of attending one would you:
1. Encourage me
2. Discourage me
3. Yell abuse
4. Shrug and move on
5. Suggest other options

It seems to be quite the controversial case which is why I was curious as to what this forum thinks on the matter.
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#2
I think it depends on the school. In my opinion you would save a ton of money from rent etc. if you take online classes.
Although Art Center is still considered the best school, its incredibly expensive and even top tear concept artists work for many years to pay it off. I heard a lot of instructors from Art center moved to Concept Design Academy and many Art Center students drop out to transfer there as well.

I think online classes from https://www.conceptartworkshop.com/ or http://www.brainstormschool.com/courses/ are great way to learn the same stuff you are gonna study in a top tear uni.

I don't think its worth it to go to uni if you don't have the money or live too far away (lets say Europe). You can make almost the same curriculum on your own with online classes. However if you have the money I would recommend Concept design academy. If I could i would totally go there, because I think its more inspiring and motivational to hang out with people who study the same stuff and have the same ambitions rather than chatting with them online.

Anyways if you choose a school, contact some people you find on fb who went there and ask them about student life and their review on the school

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#3
Said most of anything I would say on this here: http://m0nkeybread.deviantart.com/journa...-418188933

TLDR : it depends. If you are the kind of person that is independant, capable of learning without being shown everything step by step, then self teaching is good, you can always add online courses which are genrally much more cost effective as you need and have the money for.
If you struggly with discipline, need rigid structure and some hand holding, and more importantly have money to burn, then go to formal education.

The only true factor for "success" that matters regardless of which route you go, is your own dedication and work ethic.

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#4
(03-15-2017, 05:21 PM)Mariyan-Hristov Wrote: I think it depends on the school. In my opinion you would save a ton of money from rent etc. if you take online classes.
Although Art Center is still considered the best school, its incredibly expensive and even top tear concept artists work for many years to pay it off.  I heard a lot of instructors from Art center moved to Concept Design Academy and many Art Center students drop out to transfer there as well.

I  think online classes from  https://www.conceptartworkshop.com/   or http://www.brainstormschool.com/courses/ are great way to learn the same stuff you are gonna study in a top tear uni.

I don't think its worth it to go to uni if you don't have the money or live too far away (lets say Europe).  You can make almost the same curriculum on your own with online classes. However if you have the money I would recommend Concept design academy. If I could i would totally go there, because I think its more inspiring and motivational to hang out with people who study the same stuff and have the same ambitions rather than chatting with them online.

Anyways if you choose a school, contact some people you find on fb who went there and ask them about student life and their review on the school
To be honest the only schools I'm considering are FZD and Syn studios. Concept design academy looks very good for the much smaller price tag when compared to other, however I am from europe, I'd need an accredited course to stay in the country, which CDA is not.
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#5
Why do you want to go to school tho ? This is the most important question .

Is it because you want to learn from the best teachers/school?

Is it because you want to have an environment where learning feels more collective and you would have peers with whom you can study , challenge each other and have some friendly competition ?

Is it because you like to travel, want to go to someplace new and have a nice memories of your student years ?

Is it because on those concept design schools graduations, a big company might hire some of the students ?

Like what are your motives ?
If it is learning from the best. You can get online courses with feedback from instructors and connections to the other students for the price of 800$ for 8 weeks, which is a bit less of the price for your rent and bills for 1 month (if you go to uni) .

If its for the memories,friendly competition, possible hire from a big company etc. Are you prepared
for the big loan you would have to pay for the upcoming years? Because big studios might seem like they pay very good , but usually there are in places where everything is very expensive as well. Also does the schools you are planning to apply teach techniques which are contemporary for the demands of big studios ?
 I'm saying this because a lot of schools teach the fundamentals of 2D and how to do 3D block meshes. A studio which might pay enough for your loan how ever, might need you to make more complex 3d models + painting and photobashing to make the piece look like a AAA game.

My point is that the answer depends on your expectations and reasons to go to such school.

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#6
Keep in mind that joining a school will basically make you practice the same things that you can have access to by yourself. The key isn't the knowledge, it's that a school will make you practice what YOU need to do and give you small individual feedback based on problems YOU have, even if it's a few minutes a day, to work on your problems.

If you go to a school where indoors don't offer much feedback, then you might as well study on your own. If you get responsible instructors who are passionate about teaching, then they will tell you what they see you doing wrong every time they pass by your shoulder. And what they tell you will be different from the person next to you. The learning experience is much more personalized, compared to learning from static videos.

The key, however, is just practice more. Just done personal anecdotal experience: at the school in studying at, I barely learnt any theory. However, I've improved more in a few months than I have in years. In my shelf, I have all the famous anatomy and perspective books, all the must reads in color, composition, design, mindset, etc. But I still couldn't do much after years of reading them. I just didn't practice much, which is harder than just taking in knowledge any experimenting it critical thinking. During my first year at the school I'm studying in, I felt like crap, because everyone is improving so fast, yet I wasn't doing very well. Turns out all the instructors were working on undoing bad habits I picked up over the years from reading things I couldn't really understand yet. Simple things here and there make a huge difference, and it's the negative ones that were engraved into my muscle memory. This is singing I never would have gotten from learning online, as nobody will spend hours every day watching me draw in real time behind me.

Every classmate learns differently, and good instructors will pick that up. You can get something similar online if you can have someone really invest in your progress and see how you are doing, but it is harder as when you go to a school, the instructor is paid professionally to do that anyways, and not everyone online will dedicate many hours a day just for teaching. But it is very possible thanks to the Internet.

In the other hand, I've also went to a terrible art program and wasted 2 years of my life in at classes that yielded no results, so the best thing I can say is do your research. I was honestly surprised by my current teachers' behavior at first as I was expecting long lectures and demos, not drawing in class all day, which I could have done at home.

Both good and bad schools can be equally expensive and you may discover halfway that you might not really want to do what you are studying.

Talk to the students of schools you are interested in, ask their opinions on the work they do and try to ask as many people as you can. That's all I can say I guess?

Currently just studying, so I stand corrected on everything I said.
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#7
(03-15-2017, 07:27 PM)Amit Dutta Wrote: Said most of anything I would say on this here: http://m0nkeybread.deviantart.com/journa...-418188933

TLDR : it depends. If you are the kind of person that is independant, capable of learning without being shown everything step by step, then self teaching is good, you can always add online courses which are generally much more cost effective as you need and have the money for.
If you struggly with discipline, need rigid structure and some hand holding, and more importantly have money to burn, then go to formal education.

The only true factor for "success" that matters regardless of which route you go, is your own dedication and work ethic.
Its interesting to hear it from the side of someone who is actually self-teaching, since lots of what you hear is simply people bitching about art school. Although most the negative comments on art school are particularly valid, not everyone gives there experience on doing self-taught and having to juggle art and day jobs.
I'd say I'm very much capable of teaching myself, however I'm an impatient guy. I kinda want to improve as fast as I can, and a fast paced,quality course will always push more art out of me then teaching myself, no matter how determined I am. I'm lucky enough to not be to tight on funds so thats not so much an issue.
But I'm aware that even with a £1 pencil and some paper you can become a professional from there. But if I have additional tools to help accelerate the process, then why not?
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#8
Totally man, getting, and more importantly, applying good quality advice when you are learning is crucial. So it will come down to what the others said, do your due diligence and research the heck out of the schools you are considering.

One thing that maybe needs not to be said is, no matter what, you will exponentially benefit from a good solid foundation on the fundamentals first if you are after efficiency of your learning. I see too many just paying lip service to it, but not putting in the required work or half assing it in some way (I have been very guilty of this myself) and not seeing how much it affects their skills whatever it is they are trying to achieve. Don't be one of em and you'll improve in leaps and bounds.So make sure the school you choose has a good foundational program. Shortcuts that gloss over this and go straight to photobashing or 3d or whatever should be viewed suspiciously.

If you're not going to go into years of debt just to go to a school, then they can become a better option, but yeah, 50k a year for 4 years at ArtCentre is still steep and takes the piss a little bit. Fzd has the benefit of brevity for around the same annual cost if you keep in mind that you will be heavily pushed past any healthy way of living for that year and from what i have seen of the student work tends to have all very similar vibes even if stylistically different.
I know a dude that just finished at fzd last year if you like I'll hook you guys up on fb. Just add me and say hey. Orange Pekoe up there is at syn studios now. Outing the bugger now :)

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#9
(03-18-2017, 10:25 AM)Amit Dutta Wrote: Totally man, getting, and more importantly, applying good quality advice when you are learning is crucial. So it will come down to what the others said, do your due diligence and research the heck out of the schools you are considering.

One thing that maybe needs not to be said is, no matter what, you will exponentially benefit from a good solid foundation on the fundamentals first if you are after efficiency of your learning.  I see too many just paying lip service to it, but not putting in the required work or half assing it in some way, and not seeing how much it affects their skills whatever it is they are trying to achieve. Don't be one of em and you'll improve in leaps and bounds.So make sure the school you choose has a good foundational program. Shortcuts that gloss over this and go straight to photobashing or 3d or whatever should be viewed suspiciously.

If you're not going to go into years of debt just to go to a school, then they can become a better option, but yeah, 50k a year for 4 years at ArtCentre is still steep and takes the piss a little bit. Fzd has the benefit of brevity for around the same annual cost if you keep in mind that you will be heavily pushed past any healthy way of living for that year and from what i have seen of the student work tends to have all very similar vibes even if stylistically different.
I know a dude that just finished at fzd last year if you like I'll hook you guys up on fb. Just add me and say hey. Orange Pekoe up there is at syn studios now. Outing the bugger now :)

Ye man another opinion from someone who went to FZD would be great. Tbh it sounds the right kinda course, the only thing concerning me is the stories of bad business/teaching practises there. Syn studios also sounds great but it seems like a place aimed at people already close to professional level. So ye Orange I'd love to hear about syn studios if you care to share! 

As mentioned I "can" do self taught, but If possibly I'd really like a descent formal education at least for a short while.
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#10
(03-20-2017, 01:46 AM)someguy216 Wrote: Ye man another opinion from someone who went to FZD would be great. Tbh it sounds the right kinda course, the only thing concerning me is the stories of bad business/teaching practises there. Syn studios also sounds great but it seems like a place aimed at people already close to professional level. So ye Orange I'd love to hear about syn studios if you care to share! 

As mentioned I "can" do self taught, but If possibly I'd really like a descent formal education at least for a short while.

Hey Amit, stop outing me! I thought we were friends!!! QAQ

-------------------------

I also know some people who went to FZD after studying at Syn, so maybe I can ask them some questions on differences, though they are pretty busy at the moment. Also know some people who came from other schools with similar positions in their respective fields (film schools, animation schools, etc.) to Syn.

At Syn there are 3 types of students: part-time students, full-time students and diploma students. Syn has 2 options: one is you choose your own courses, the other is a complete diploma course.

The teachers for the courses that you can choose yourself come on and off depending on their schedule, so one course may be offered one semester and not the next. These courses start from the absolute basics, aka what is a horizontal line, what is a vertical line, what is a shape, negative space, what is a pencil and eraser, etc., to advanced courses that focuses heavily on theory and workflows. You can choose to be a full time student, basically you take 5 courses of your choice, and the classes are usually not that big (never over 20). You can also select individual courses under 5 and be a part time student. Full time students do have access to some stuff, such as using spare classrooms to paint in, as well as attending the bi-weekly figure drawing workshops, couching workshops from invited pros and art jams for free.

-----------------------------

The foundation courses (drawing the human form, anatomy, perspective, constructive drawing classes, etc.) barely have any theory. If you buy Scott Robertson't book on perspective and read the first section, you already know much more theory than the entire perspective course. Listening to one or two episodes Feng Zhu's podcast will give you much more industry insight than all the foundation courses combined. The thing you are doing in foundation courses at Syn is draw draw draw. That's it. You can do it at home, but there will be a teacher staring at you and making sure you are on track even when your head is about to explode with pain. It's funny, because for years, I've been trying to read about theory and techniques, as well as how to work in the industry, yet in two months, I have seen more improvement with instructors that can't even speak English, because I am constantly drawing, and the teachers are always checking up on my process while I draw. If you have the discipline and the right connections, you have all you need to cover a year's worth of classes I took. However, that discipline is very hard to acquire and you need someone to make sure every stroke you do is correct and efficient. I personally had to deal with many frustrations for months because I wasn't directly learning anything new. I was unlearning bad habits, muscle memory, and inefficient workflows, all small details that kept messing up my work.

So about your doubts on who Syn Studio is targeting: no, the school is not just for professionals. Yes, I have a few classmates who are literally art directors in companies they founded themselves (common in advanced courses), but the basic courses are for people just starting out. All you do is draw, and you may feel that you are wasting your money at first because you can do that stuff at home. You can, and there are many people who did so, becoming very successful through self teaching. You also need to be very lucky in this case because everything you learn on your own must not conflict with each other and develop bad habits. Every person teaches differently, and every system of teaching is designed to work together as a whole. If you take different parts of different systems, it is easy to go with what you like (the most simple, lazy solutions), and not practice things that are hard, but are crucial to completing the system that a person is trying to teach you.

------------------------------

The advanced courses are where things start to shine and you really feel like you are learning stuff. It's all theory and knowledge, and it opens up whole worlds that you never knew existed. However, you should not take these courses unless you drew countless hours and is very familiar with drawing everything both traditionally and digitally. If you can't keep up and express directly your ideas in these advanced courses, you are wasting a lot of practice opportunities and the instructors cannot really give you much feedback aside from...well, work on your understanding of anatomy and perspective first.

Then there is the Diploma program. It is a 18 month full curriculum designed to take a person from a fairly amateur level to a semi-pro that can start working in companies right after they finish the program. Unlike the full time intensive program, the courses and teachers are set and they instructors are paid to be there. As a result, it is extremely intensive and expensive. If you choose to take it, you will have no life. This is a serious decision. If you want to take this course, you cannot work part time. You cannot have other time consuming hobbies or hang out with people often. If you have off time, you do homework. That's it. You can choose to not do it, but it shows and you will get kicked out after a few times (2 times of not doing homework, I think? Not sure). Accidents will happen, your computer will break down and it is not your fault (happened to people I know!). You have to get the work done anyways, and if you don't, you are wasting the teacher's time as quite a few quite a few left their jobs to teach full time at the school. Your health will drop at the end. The program is fairly new and so far they only accepted 20 students (they tried to accept 10 max, before, but they decided to bump it up to 20). I've already seen people break down after the first few months (but I think they are doing better now). I intentionally chose not to join that program because there are still other stuff I do in life that I don't want to give up. I don't mind going slower, and I think this is the case with most people, as art isn't the very definition of life for the average person. The very few who do want to make a break for it are the ones that this program targets.

------------------------------------------

That's pretty much it. This is a small school (basically the guys rented a floor in an old building in Montreal and people teach there. I think there was a time the founder had the school in his home, where people will teach  in his rooms and he will hide/work in his closet but I am not sure? XD ). Not fancy, the tables fall apart while you are working on them all the time, the floor creaks, there are AC problems in the hot summer and if you use more than one appliance in the kitchen, the whole place will blow up if you don't turn them off fast as the wiring has issues, resulting in the plugs not actually rated to power more than one appliance at the same time. It's not a high-tech place with fancy tools. The computers used for lectures crash all the time and USB ports on them get fried often in the past due to static. Don't expect the school to impress you visually. It's a place for people to come in and learn/teach. That is all.

The basic courses pretty much just make you draw, something you can do at home. teachers that talk a lot in long lectures on foundations (unless you are taking the gesture drawing class, cartooning class or comic class. That teacher is a whole other beast with sharing knowledge).

The difference from working by yourself is that the courses are 3 hours long (except for the most basic one, which is only 2 hours), meaning you will be drawing for 2 to 3 hours per course, and they slowly build you up to draw about 3 to 8 hours for the homework. If you take 5 courses, after a year, expect to draw about 6+ hours for school, as well as just drawing for fun in your own time. These courses are usually taught by the older, more experienced teachers and they watch over you (kinda depends on the teacher. Trying to keep up with every student is an extremely difficult skill and although all teachers try to do this, only one teacher I know here, someone who can't speak English all that well, really does it best and it feels very liberating taking his courses) the entire way.

The advanced courses focus a lot more in things like design, theory, techniques storytelling elements, etc. These teachers often are a bit younger in nature and work in the specific industry. For example, the teachers teaching anatomy and perspective may be illustrators and fine artists but not concept artists. For the storytelling course, the teacher is a storyboard artist, comic artist, and film director. The teacher for visual development for games is an art director for games. They tend to talk a lot more and the courses are paced faster as by now, students should be comfortable with visually expressing their ideas so that has less priority.

The diploma program is a structured course for people willing to have no life and/or have their back against the wall for whatever reason they have (I know someone who is like this in the program).

I personally love the school and am willing to study in it for another year or two. Maybe in the future, say 5 to 10 years after I work, I will choose to retake some of the courses as some of them have so much to offer and I can only grasp so little.

Something I tried to fight at first but now accept as a strength of learning in good schools is that every teacher is different and teach differently. One may add a perspective that you never thought of before, or make you do some exercise that simply "clicks" things in place. Even if the teacher makes you do stuff you hate, do it.  That's something you will most likely not do by yourself and that is where you will learn the most, as it is taught for a reason, and being uncomfortable means you have more to learn about it.

Sorry for long post. Hopefully it wasn't too confusing and there aren't too many typos.
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#11
Quote:Hey Amit, stop outing me! I thought we were friends!!! QAQ

Forced pay it forward thas all :) . Figured he could do with some direct input on SynStudios. Awesome in depth reply doe. The internet future thanks you.  I won't out you again. But here's a thought. If you wrote up a general review of your experiences in Syn Studio and post it as a blog or series of posts somewhere, you could just link people to it, and get some internet profile gainz to boot; I'm sure there are a lot of people who would want to read it.

@someguy add me on fb https://www.facebook.com/amit.dutta.52035 so I can message both of you together for the intro. I asked him if he would be ok with chatting with you first, just to be sure...so just waiting on his reply. Pretty sure he'd be ok with it.
This is his art station. https://www.artstation.com/artist/xavierward

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#12
I actually know two classmates who have their own blog and keep updates on their experience...sort of. Really nice, but I'm but sure if I am ready to integrate a blog into my life just yet. I have a few other plans that I'm working on at the moment and getting them together is already a bit overwhelming and this will last for a few months. Adding a blog means I'll need to dedicate time to reflect and refine what I post, which simply is too time consuming, sadly, especially if I'm going to post in depth blogs that are meaningful and answer questions.

I'll consider a blog in the future though, so their for the suggestion. Never thought about it before. All I need is a new portfolio and living less of an night owl life so I can pretend that my life is together in one piece!

This classmate has two very short posts on Syn. She is also a mother with a little child so of course she is much busier than me. ^_^

https://tatitung.com/2017/03/13/learning-watercolor-finally/

The other classmate hasn't updated his blog in a long time and it currently doesn't have anything related to Syn at the moment.

I wanted to host a hangout every Wednesday as I have that day off... Until next school term, which will start in April. Unfortunately my internet keeps breaking up and during my few weeks of experimenting, it is absolutely unusable. I'm getting some WiFi extenders to see if the problem will be solved. If it works, then you may catch me online streaming so I am more than happy to talk about these things.

-------------------------

   Amit Dutta
   from what i have seen of the student work tends to have all very similar vibes even if stylistically different.


Having followed people who graduated from FZD years ago, it isn't actually that hard to see them start to vary very quickly once they are on their own. Some of them have developed very nice, iconic styles and presentation outside the typical "FZD format" that you often see students do.

I think it's just because for a full year, the students are cramming to do the exact same exercises, to learn the exact same tools, as quick as possible. As a result, because the pressure doesn't give them much room to add variety to things that are not as visually important in terms of presenting a basic design (for students that may have only drawn seriously for a year). I kinda have the same problem right now, where a teacher I had for 4 classes basically drilled a very boring, static way of rendering with cross-hatching. Very fast and effective, I just hate the look and many classmates have mentioned the same. Because of the muscle memory, doing otherwise requires that I fight my arms a bit and slows me down considerably and messes up with precision. However, it is so fast in indicating quick forms, and in this teacher's class, speed is a major requirement as you need to draw so much. Some off time to refine one's tools to suit themselves is a definite requirement!

For some examples of this "style" that the teacher taught us to draw in, you can look at David Levine's works. Now, I have such a hard time drawing curved cross-contour lines for rendering even though I desperately need to vary my lines for illustrative purposes... ;w;
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#13
Yeah what i meant was the folio they build during FZD, not necessarily the work afterwards, which should develop and change as they do. All I'm saying is the immediate output is very obviously recognisable as an fzd aesthetic. Makes sense given the condensed time period and crazy work hours that there will be less time to develop one's own aesthetic and presentation format. Whether that's good or bad depends on the individual's goals and isn't a judgement i can make. Depends also how far people experiment and do their own thing as they develop.

The year undoubtedly gets them all kinds of technical gainzzz. All kindzzzz.

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#14
(03-20-2017, 08:39 AM)Orange Pekoe Wrote:
(03-20-2017, 01:46 AM)someguy216 Wrote: Ye man another opinion from someone who went to FZD would be great. Tbh it sounds the right kinda course, the only thing concerning me is the stories of bad business/teaching practises there. Syn studios also sounds great but it seems like a place aimed at people already close to professional level. So ye Orange I'd love to hear about syn studios if you care to share! 

As mentioned I "can" do self taught, but If possibly I'd really like a descent formal education at least for a short while.

Hey Amit, stop outing me! I thought we were friends!!! QAQ

-------------------------

I also know some people who went to FZD after studying at Syn, so maybe I can ask them some questions on differences, though they are pretty busy at the moment. Also know some people who came from other schools with similar positions in their respective fields (film schools, animation schools, etc.) to Syn.

At Syn there are 3 types of students: part-time students, full-time students and diploma students. Syn has 2 options: one is you choose your own courses, the other is a complete diploma course.

The teachers for the courses that you can choose yourself come on and off depending on their schedule, so one course may be offered one semester and not the next. These courses start from the absolute basics, aka what is a horizontal line, what is a vertical line, what is a shape, negative space, what is a pencil and eraser, etc., to advanced courses that focuses heavily on theory and workflows. You can choose to be a full time student, basically you take 5 courses of your choice, and the classes are usually not that big (never over 20). You can also select individual courses under 5 and be a part time student. Full time students do have access to some stuff, such as using spare classrooms to paint in, as well as attending the bi-weekly figure drawing workshops, couching workshops from invited pros and art jams for free.

-----------------------------

The foundation courses (drawing the human form, anatomy, perspective, constructive drawing classes, etc.) barely have any theory. If you buy Scott Robertson't book on perspective and read the first section, you already know much more theory than the entire perspective course. Listening to one or two episodes Feng Zhu's podcast will give you much more industry insight than all the foundation courses combined. The thing you are doing in foundation courses at Syn is draw draw draw. That's it. You can do it at home, but there will be a teacher staring at you and making sure you are on track even when your head is about to explode with pain. It's funny, because for years, I've been trying to read about theory and techniques, as well as how to work in the industry, yet in two months, I have seen more improvement with instructors that can't even speak English, because I am constantly drawing, and the teachers are always checking up on my process while I draw. If you have the discipline and the right connections, you have all you need to cover a year's worth of classes I took. However, that discipline is very hard to acquire and you need someone to make sure every stroke you do is correct and efficient. I personally had to deal with many frustrations for months because I wasn't directly learning anything new. I was unlearning bad habits, muscle memory, and inefficient workflows, all small details that kept messing up my work.

So about your doubts on who Syn Studio is targeting: no, the school is not just for professionals. Yes, I have a few classmates who are literally art directors in companies they founded themselves (common in advanced courses), but the basic courses are for people just starting out. All you do is draw, and you may feel that you are wasting your money at first because you can do that stuff at home. You can, and there are many people who did so, becoming very successful through self teaching. You also need to be very lucky in this case because everything you learn on your own must not conflict with each other and develop bad habits. Every person teaches differently, and every system of teaching is designed to work together as a whole. If you take different parts of different systems, it is easy to go with what you like (the most simple, lazy solutions), and not practice things that are hard, but are crucial to completing the system that a person is trying to teach you.

------------------------------

The advanced courses are where things start to shine and you really feel like you are learning stuff. It's all theory and knowledge, and it opens up whole worlds that you never knew existed. However, you should not take these courses unless you drew countless hours and is very familiar with drawing everything both traditionally and digitally. If you can't keep up and express directly your ideas in these advanced courses, you are wasting a lot of practice opportunities and the instructors cannot really give you much feedback aside from...well, work on your understanding of anatomy and perspective first.

Then there is the Diploma program. It is a 18 month full curriculum designed to take a person from a fairly amateur level to a semi-pro that can start working in companies right after they finish the program. Unlike the full time intensive program, the courses and teachers are set and they instructors are paid to be there. As a result, it is extremely intensive and expensive. If you choose to take it, you will have no life. This is a serious decision. If you want to take this course, you cannot work part time. You cannot have other time consuming hobbies or hang out with people often. If you have off time, you do homework. That's it. You can choose to not do it, but it shows and you will get kicked out after a few times (2 times of not doing homework, I think? Not sure). Accidents will happen, your computer will break down and it is not your fault (happened to people I know!). You have to get the work done anyways, and if you don't, you are wasting the teacher's time as quite a few quite a few left their jobs to teach full time at the school. Your health will drop at the end. The program is fairly new and so far they only accepted 20 students (they tried to accept 10 max, before, but they decided to bump it up to 20). I've already seen people break down after the first few months (but I think they are doing better now). I intentionally chose not to join that program because there are still other stuff I do in life that I don't want to give up. I don't mind going slower, and I think this is the case with most people, as art isn't the very definition of life for the average person. The very few who do want to make a break for it are the ones that this program targets.

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That's pretty much it. This is a small school (basically the guys rented a floor in an old building in Montreal and people teach there. I think there was a time the founder had the school in his home, where people will teach  in his rooms and he will hide/work in his closet but I am not sure? XD ). Not fancy, the tables fall apart while you are working on them all the time, the floor creaks, there are AC problems in the hot summer and if you use more than one appliance in the kitchen, the whole place will blow up if you don't turn them off fast as the wiring has issues, resulting in the plugs not actually rated to power more than one appliance at the same time. It's not a high-tech place with fancy tools. The computers used for lectures crash all the time and USB ports on them get fried often in the past due to static. Don't expect the school to impress you visually. It's a place for people to come in and learn/teach. That is all.

The basic courses pretty much just make you draw, something you can do at home. teachers that talk a lot in long lectures on foundations (unless you are taking the gesture drawing class, cartooning class or comic class. That teacher is a whole other beast with sharing knowledge).

The difference from working by yourself is that the courses are 3 hours long (except for the most basic one, which is only 2 hours), meaning you will be drawing for 2 to 3 hours per course, and they slowly build you up to draw about 3 to 8 hours for the homework. If you take 5 courses, after a year, expect to draw about 6+ hours for school, as well as just drawing for fun in your own time. These courses are usually taught by the older, more experienced teachers and they watch over you (kinda depends on the teacher. Trying to keep up with every student is an extremely difficult skill and although all teachers try to do this, only one teacher I know here, someone who can't speak English all that well, really does it best and it feels very liberating taking his courses) the entire way.

The advanced courses focus a lot more in things like design, theory, techniques storytelling elements, etc. These teachers often are a bit younger in nature and work in the specific industry. For example, the teachers teaching anatomy and perspective may be illustrators and fine artists but not concept artists. For the storytelling course, the teacher is a storyboard artist, comic artist, and film director. The teacher for visual development for games is an art director for games. They tend to talk a lot more and the courses are paced faster as by now, students should be comfortable with visually expressing their ideas so that has less priority.

The diploma program is a structured course for people willing to have no life and/or have their back against the wall for whatever reason they have (I know someone who is like this in the program).

I personally love the school and am willing to study in it for another year or two. Maybe in the future, say 5 to 10 years after I work, I will choose to retake some of the courses as some of them have so much to offer and I can only grasp so little.

Something I tried to fight at first but now accept as a strength of learning in good schools is that every teacher is different and teach differently. One may add a perspective that you never thought of before, or make you do some exercise that simply "clicks" things in place. Even if the teacher makes you do stuff you hate, do it.  That's something you will most likely not do by yourself and that is where you will learn the most, as it is taught for a reason, and being uncomfortable means you have more to learn about it.

Sorry for long post. Hopefully it wasn't too confusing and there aren't too many typos.

Hey thanks for the in-depth experience of syn! Amit's right, there isn't many student experiences of syn studios out there, being such a new studio and all. But it's very impressive that such a small studio has quickly started to be compared with FZD. Overall Syn studios sounds perfect for me! The full time diploma would be ideal, I'm ready to sacrifice health and life in general if the teaching quality is good. Unfortunately the next intake is not till next year in October, which is too long to wait for. Of course If possible I'd love a student's experience of the intensive diploma.
However for now, I was considering the full time program, However how does it work? I'm a international student so would it be sensible for me to go there for a year? It does sounds like a great place to study though. I want to go full at doing concept art, which I can't get from self study, since I'd have to take a day job which will slow me down a lot. 

Otherwise there's not many other good concept art options, artcentre ofc looks solid but I don't shit money :p. CDA is non accredited. The other options are simply staying in my country (UK) and going to an atelier, but atelier's really only teach muscle memory.

Or of course there's FZD, but what puts me of that is the rumours. Lots of people are saying about bad teaching/business practises coming from that school. Teachers not actually offering much input, visa's being withheld, and high-school drama. As far as I know the only confirmed thing is that there was in fact a spat between long and Feng as well as Feng and Ben Mauro; but who knows which side was in the right or if it was a simple misunderstanding. For my mind set, the course sounds great, but its VERY expensive and alot of hard work; I don't want to sacrifice all that to find out its actually a rather inefficient school. So if you do know any students I'd love to have a chat with them if possible, that would be fantastic (I've talked to one guy but that's a small sample size).

Otherwise all this feedback you guys are giving is fantastic, I've been juggling education options for a while and ideally want it sorted soon; don't wanna end up staying another year at my current uni (The course is pretty awful). In the mean time I'm doing lots of self teaching so If you guys are starting any art hangouts please lemme know, wouldn't mind a chat and to do some art!
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#15
(03-20-2017, 08:53 PM)someguy216 Wrote: Hey thanks for the in-depth experience of syn! Amit's right, there isn't many student experiences of syn studios out there, being such a new studio and all. But it's very impressive that such a small studio has quickly started to be compared with FZD. Overall Syn studios sounds perfect for me! The full time diploma would be ideal, I'm ready to sacrifice health and life in general if the teaching quality is good. Unfortunately the next intake is not till next year in October, which is too long to wait for. Of course If possible I'd love a student's experience of the intensive diploma.
However for now, I was considering the full time program, However how does it work? I'm a international student so would it be sensible for me to go there for a year? It does sounds like a great place to study though. I want to go full at doing concept art, which I can't get from self study, since I'd have to take a day job which will slow me down a lot. 

Otherwise there's not many other good concept art options, artcentre ofc looks solid but I don't shit money :p. CDA is non accredited. The other options are simply staying in my country (UK) and going to an atelier, but atelier's really only teach muscle memory.

Or of course there's FZD, but what puts me of that is the rumours. Lots of people are saying about bad teaching/business practises coming from that school. Teachers not actually offering much input, visa's being withheld, and high-school drama. As far as I know the only confirmed thing is that there was in fact a spat between long and Feng as well as Feng and Ben Mauro; but who knows which side was in the right or if it was a simple misunderstanding. For my mind set, the course sounds great, but its VERY expensive and alot of hard work; I don't want to sacrifice all that to find out its actually a rather inefficient school. So if you do know any students I'd love to have a chat with them if possible, that would be fantastic (I've talked to one guy but that's a small sample size).

Otherwise all this feedback you guys are giving is fantastic, I've been juggling education options for a while and ideally want it sorted soon; don't wanna end up staying another year at my current uni (The course is pretty awful). In the mean time I'm doing lots of self teaching so If you guys are starting any art hangouts please lemme know, wouldn't mind a chat and to do some art!

Sometimes my classmates host a hangout on Sundays. Depends on if the person hosting is busy or not. I'll go ask him about his schedules for this week when I have time. He no longer studies at Syn and is currently working, so the group revolves around his work schedule. Not many people join as many students have Sunday classes they need to attend at Syn.

I'd love to chat on Hangouts with you, but my internet is absolute crap at the moment and is unusable on Hangouts. I'll see if I can get it fixed in a week or a month. :P

Syn hits a rather niched market here in the city I live in. Usually I do not recommend going to art schools like these unless you really have everything planned out and set up, especially as an international student, which alone is already a lot to deal with. I'll post in details later when I have time.
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#16
(03-21-2017, 06:08 AM)Orange Pekoe Wrote:
(03-20-2017, 08:53 PM)someguy216 Wrote: Hey thanks for the in-depth experience of syn! Amit's right, there isn't many student experiences of syn studios out there, being such a new studio and all. But it's very impressive that such a small studio has quickly started to be compared with FZD. Overall Syn studios sounds perfect for me! The full time diploma would be ideal, I'm ready to sacrifice health and life in general if the teaching quality is good. Unfortunately the next intake is not till next year in October, which is too long to wait for. Of course If possible I'd love a student's experience of the intensive diploma.
However for now, I was considering the full time program, However how does it work? I'm a international student so would it be sensible for me to go there for a year? It does sounds like a great place to study though. I want to go full at doing concept art, which I can't get from self study, since I'd have to take a day job which will slow me down a lot. 

Otherwise there's not many other good concept art options, artcentre ofc looks solid but I don't shit money :p. CDA is non accredited. The other options are simply staying in my country (UK) and going to an atelier, but atelier's really only teach muscle memory.

Or of course there's FZD, but what puts me of that is the rumours. Lots of people are saying about bad teaching/business practises coming from that school. Teachers not actually offering much input, visa's being withheld, and high-school drama. As far as I know the only confirmed thing is that there was in fact a spat between long and Feng as well as Feng and Ben Mauro; but who knows which side was in the right or if it was a simple misunderstanding. For my mind set, the course sounds great, but its VERY expensive and alot of hard work; I don't want to sacrifice all that to find out its actually a rather inefficient school. So if you do know any students I'd love to have a chat with them if possible, that would be fantastic (I've talked to one guy but that's a small sample size).

Otherwise all this feedback you guys are giving is fantastic, I've been juggling education options for a while and ideally want it sorted soon; don't wanna end up staying another year at my current uni (The course is pretty awful). In the mean time I'm doing lots of self teaching so If you guys are starting any art hangouts please lemme know, wouldn't mind a chat and to do some art!

Sometimes my classmates host a hangout on Sundays. Depends on if the person hosting is busy or not. I'll go ask him about his schedules for this week when I have time. He no longer studies at Syn and is currently working, so the group revolves around his work schedule. Not many people join as many students have Sunday classes they need to attend at Syn.

I'd love to chat on Hangouts with you, but my internet is absolute crap at the moment and is unusable on Hangouts. I'll see if I can get it fixed in a week or a month. :P

Syn hits a rather niched market here in the city I live in. Usually I do not recommend going to art schools like these unless you really have everything planned out and set up, especially as an international student, which alone is already a lot to deal with. I'll post in details later when I have time.

Ye if you can give me more opinions on syn that would be great, specifically why you think its not necessarily great for an overseas student. I'm also curious as to how much hours the diploma program demands of you each day.

Also if you know anyone who's been to art centre, brainstorm or concept design academy that would be great as there the next best options.
Reply
#17
(03-25-2017, 05:48 AM)someguy216 Wrote: Ye if you can give me more opinions on syn that would be great, specifically why you think its not necessarily great for an overseas student. I'm also curious as to how much hours the diploma program demands of you each day.

Also if you know anyone who's been to art centre, brainstorm or concept design academy that would be great as there the next best options.

Hey, sorry for the late response. Been away for a while.

Anyways, to follow up, one of the main reasons I would advise coming to Syn for people from other countries is, well, because you are coming from a different country. That in and of itself is a lot of work and planning. If you can find a local school, preferably a community college with a great program, I recommend staying there because it is a MAJOR investment to study in another country. There are many amazing programs in local community colleges, and there are many online courses. Only move to a different country if you are certain you are that committed! You don't want to spend all that time and effort just to realize you don't end up liking the program Syn offers, or that you can actually learn all or most of all that Syn offers locally, at barely any cost. I know there are many courses here in this city that offer amazing art courses for years, for free. I've kinda looked through them and decided the one at Syn suits me the best, but there are courses at local colleges, including the one that I graduated at (and still sneak into every day), that are amazing. Many people coming from other famous schools end up committing to these programs in the end so again, I urge you to do the research on easily accessible resources. 

Fun fact, Sakimichan graduated from the college I study at. One of the instructors I still chat with at the college on a near weekly basis actually had her as a student. All in a free public program! :D

Which brings up the issue with funds. Many people I know who are not Canadian residents in the full time program do not work as it takes up a lot of time. If you do start working, then you need to go through other paperwork as well as deal with tax issues. One person I talked to simply chooses not to work at all because after paying up with taxes, the amount one earns is little, so you need to work a considerable amount of hours for it to be worth it. For the diploma program, the school simply does not recommend you to get a job at all as it is just too much to handle. Also, if you don't speak French here and is just a student, good luck getting a job. It's possible and if you can, great. A few people I know have, but luck plays a noticeable role. Then there is finding a place to stay, paying the rent and paying for food for however long you stay. Depending on your courses, materials may also be expensive.

Then there is the weather. Get suitable clothing. That's the biggest one. Once you get used to transportation, it shouldn't be too much of an issue, but be aware that it gets very cold during the winter, even if it is only one week out of an entire year (been the case like this for the past few years). Talk to locals in your class to help you get around and learn the shortcuts. The school is at a fairly easy to access place but it is also very busy so you may get lost. Best of course is to befriend a person with a car so they can give you a lift during rare snowstorms. Transportation and clothing costs money too, including stuff you may need to get during emergencies. Keep that in mind.

Since I mentioned materials, I'll just go over it quickly. Quite straight forward when it comes to them: traditional painting courses cost money if you don't have the materials and you need to constantly buy canvases, paper and paint if you want to keep practicing. Watercolour courses at the school cost the most. Digital courses just need a laptop and a tablet.

For me, I love the school and it's local. Was a bit of  a shock realizing just how much I could have done at home anyways at first, but in the end, I think the program I'm in is very suited for me and I'll continue studying here. I do have classmates who realize that they may be more suited for other stuff, such as animation, illustration, etc. and that isn't really the focus of the school. Financial concerns don't really exist at the moment (sort off), so I'm good with that. Just make sure that you know you truly want to commit to it before making any decisions.

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Here's something a friend of mine who finished studying at Syn sent me when I asked her to sum up her experience. Recently she just got a job at Cybernaut Games.

"personally Syn helped me a lot with sorting out the basics and how to think about learning art as a craft; the only barier I can think of is money; outside of that, the ETA allows the holder entrance for 6 months, then you need to leave for a day or less, and then you can stay another 6 months. I'm not the best person to ask about how hard the move was, it wasn't my first nor my last. It's like moving anywhere really, figuring out the lay of the land, finding new friends. Can you learn what Syn is teaching alone? Probably, but it might take more time.  I also keep using the connections I got there for feedback, which is nice. Just make sure your friend understands that getting work in Canada without a work permit is about as likely as winning the lottery.

but yeah, for me it was worth the trouble
for sure"

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Another person who's still a student:

"Financial is a problem, yes. Figuring out how much it will cost is important: rent, metro card, food,... so you dont run out of money and starve. For healthcare I have my insurance when enrolled for university, but a visitor might have different insurance. Culture change is important, I've pissed off so many people because I'm slow to adjust to how humour works here lol. French is not a problem, you can slither everywhere here with basic English. Montreal is a great city"

"Oh, and you need to bring winter clothes. Yes. Very vital."
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#18
There's a reason you will see a great deal of improvement in artists who go into art/game classes-- Particularly those willing to put in the time to work in classes, and outside them.

The reason for this, I think, is that you're constantly surrounded by the things you want to do in the industry. You're surrounded (hopefully), by teachers who have been there, and know what you're getting into. You're surrounded by students just like you, who are learning, and who can give you their opinion. You can build, and bounce feedback off of each other. You get your resources handed to you, and in turn, you can use those resources more easily, without getting lazy.

Having art all around you makes it easier to do art. Yes.

But, you need a good program, good teachers. It's not always easy to tell... I think I chose something perfect for me, but we'll see. In my case, the program's been up for about 6 or 7 years, so it's already hopefully worked through the kinks. The artists/professors produce stunning work, and have experience in the games industry. I looked at the curriculum, and it has everything that I'm looking for-- The facets of game art pipeline to learn and explore. Plus, life drawing, perspective, the important stuff. It also offers job placement at the end half of the final semester-- A foot in the door. We'll see what this means.

Self-teaching is absolutely an option though-- But, it takes more work, and effort. The beauty of it is, you plan your own curriculum, you get your own resources, you find your own teachers and can be selective (books, videos, whatever), it's usually a great deal cheaper. But, it means you have to make yourself do it, 8 hours a day, maybe more, every day, just like you would in school. You have to get up, and want to do the work. It's painful, to force yourself on the bad days. It's very difficult. But, no path to greatness is ever easy.

Self-teaching is for strong, focused individuals who can plan it out and put in the effort. :P I went on a self-teaching path for awhile, but realized that I need that atmosphere to pull me out of my comfort zone. And put me into a sort of comfort zone at the same time. I find it easier to learn with other people around me. I'm an extrovert. :P

Everyone has their own style.

Sketchblag

 Join our Study Group: The Velvet Revolvers!  Let's work hard together!
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