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stevenpalomino
12-20-2010, 09:55 PM
I know there's probably several graduates or teachers here and I was just wondering what your experience was like at the Dave school.. I was going to full sail online but it was not for me..

Dexter2999
12-20-2010, 11:46 PM
I've toured their facilities. I was impressed. I just can't afford to chuck my job and start all over at this point in my life.

I still think that the 80%/20% rule applies. 20% of a class bust @$$ and excel. The other 80% do enough to get by or fail.

Have you gone to their website?
First I'd recommend looking at some of the projects. They cover a range of disciplines.
I have commented before that their strength is also one of the weaknesses. You work on a project as a team. That project may be something like the NASA Seals or the Mech project. Or it might be one of the LEGO films.

Now, there is no shame in doing a LEGO film. But if you are paying the same tuition and this project is what will go on your reel, I think the project that showcases photoreal renders, compositing, and particle effects is going to have a bigger "wow factor" on your reel than LEGOs. That final project seems kind of "luck of the draw".

Also, if you are on a team with people who make up that 80% be prepared to pull your weight and some of theirs if you want to make your piece something to be proud of.

This experience of teamwork though is based on the real world work standards. You learn what the real world pipeline workflow is all about and collaboration as well good file management habits so you can work as a team. These are all valuable things.

After you watch some of the short films they have done find the online reels hosted for graduates. Some are pretty impressive. Figure these are the ones for people still looking for employment. The best grads probably already have jobs and aren't posted there. The rest of the reels...well, these are the 80% I was talking about.

Bottom line is you are talking about a large amount of money to get a non accredited program. And no guarantee of employment in an industry which is shrinking in the US.

If I was a young man and doing things over again I might still go to DAVE School. I'm not trying to talk you out of it. I just think it is important to take the good with the bad and make an informed decision. If you weigh out the pro's and con's and still think it is what is best for you, then go for it, Sir! And give it everything you've got! Make it count.

Take this for what it is worth. I am neither a graduate nor instructor from DAVE School.

stevenpalomino
12-21-2010, 08:55 AM
I wasn't aware that vfx were shrinking in the US I thought it was growing!? I thought all marketing and advertisement was moving toasted 3d no?

Dexter2999
12-21-2010, 09:22 AM
http://newtek.com/forums/showthread.php?t=114380
http://newtek.com/forums/showthread.php?t=114250

These two threads in particular discuss the downturn of the visual fx industry in the US.
On the second link, if you don't read the whole thread, be sure and look at the info Robertortiz posted on the last page. The names of facilities that have closed since 2002.

Titus
12-21-2010, 09:23 AM
I wasn't aware that vfx were shrinking in the US I thought it was growing!? I thought all marketing and advertisement was moving toasted 3d no?

No, VFX it's growing in UK.

Greenlaw
12-21-2010, 12:17 PM
Yes, I think the vfx business is getting smaller in the U.S. It's much smaller in Los Angeles now anyway. I've been here since '96 and have seen a lot of shops, big and small, shut down or move away since then.

Siggraph is a good indicator...it seems to get smaller and smaller every year. I don't even bother going anymore.

Quite a few artists I know left 'Hollywood' to work in Australia, Canada, or India. And then there are some who quit the business entirely because they got fed up with it. (The hours are long and it can be pretty stressful, especially if you have a family.)

That said, Rhythm and Hues (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rhythm_and_Hues) here in L.A. (where I work) has done fairly well in its 20 plus years. (Knock on wood.) I think it helps that R+H is a private company and hasn't been gobbled up by a conglomerate like so many others have. It's also a good place to work. :)

G.

Greenlaw
12-21-2010, 12:37 PM
Oh, and to keep this on-topic, quite a few DAVE alumni have passed through the Box and they've been great guys to work with. I'm not sure I've worked with anyone from Full Sail, not that that means anything.

I've also worked with many artists who are completely self taught. (I fall in that group myself.) The main thing is to show a strong demo reel; most places really aren't that interested in where you went to school.

G.

Edit: I didn't mean to sound like I was slamming schools. I will say that it's very important to get real production experience. Some schools may be able to simulate that, but you can also get the same experience by actually working in the industry and getting paid for it. There's no easy path though...developing your skills to achieve 'production quality' work can take many years either way.

Ivan D. Young
12-21-2010, 12:43 PM
Make sure to say Hi to Pop. yeah I know some DAVErs have made it thru the Box over the years.

OnlineRender
12-21-2010, 12:44 PM
No, VFX it's growing in UK.

yeah it's going super , that well infact realtime went tits-up .


I have spoken with people from Dave school in general chit-chat , and this may mean nothing , but every single person, was sound as a pound .

OnlineRender
12-21-2010, 12:48 PM
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/newsbysector/mediatechnologyandtelecoms/electronics/8188063/Britains-booming-video-games-industry-risks-a-brain-drain.html

While it reported that the games industry had seen 145 new start-ups, 131 businesses closed in the same period. There had also been a shift in focus from retail to online gaming; 80 per cent of the new gaming companies were focused on digital distrubution rather than producing high-end, triple A blockbuster retail titles.

INDIE FTW

Skinner3D
12-21-2010, 01:09 PM
I can't speak for the industry as to whether or not it is going up or down overall, but I can speak for the DAVE School itself. :D

I am just finishing up Block 1. I went into the school having 8 years of self taught experience and I still learned quite a bit. ZBrush in particular was something that I hadn't ever touched before coming here.
Granted everything you learn at the DAVE school you could potentially teach yourself without spending the money, but the people I have met isn't something that you could otherwise get.
The teachers here are really good to. If you want to learn they will do their best to help you.

Dexter has some good points. The final project is rather random and can even end up being outside movie projects where the students do the special effects.
Certain people in my class are already showing signs of passing the buck and shrugging off work, but its to be expected in any group setting.
As for the accredidation, that part isn't true. DAVE school got the credentials it needed the week after I started :D

You do pay a lot of money to come here, so it is on your shoulders to make what you can of it, but it is definately well worth it. :)

Dexter2999
12-21-2010, 01:14 PM
Good to know they are now accredited.

Kionel
12-21-2010, 01:22 PM
I attended the DAVE School back in 2008. Like Dexter, I debated heading down there, as I was far older than the average student. In the end, I decided that life was too short to wonder "What if?", and I relocated to Florida for the training.

Even for somebody like me -- (Air Force Veteran, Project Manager, and indie filmmaker to boot) -- DAVE School was tough. The deadlines were tight, the assignments challenging, and the pace relentless. If you were serious about the craft, this was not a place to party.

I won't re-hash the "Block" structure of the school; That information is freely available. Besides, the structure of the blocks has changed quite a bit since my day. Regardless of the details, the school does take you through learning to model, animate, composite, and finally through a production pipeline project. If you're serious about the effort, when you finally graduate you'll be able be a contributing member to any VFX team.

Dexter's comments about the final block project are, honestly true. Some projects are far better reel-stuffers than others. What most people may not, know, though, is that, if you graduate the program, you're free to work on any of the Block 4 projects following your graduation. Heck, some of my 2008 classmates worked on the "Solo Adventures" "Star Wars" short. Sure, it means committing more time, but given that it doesn't cost anything else, I consider that a bargain.

I'm very happy I spent the time and money to attend in 2008. The skills I learned there led right to paying work. (In my case, as a freelancer.)

Things have improved a great deal at the school since my time. Off the top of my head:

1. It's in a brand new facility on the Universal Backlot.
2. The school is accredited.
3. ZBrush is now a part of the curriculum.

That all being said, with the VFX field in the state it's in today, I have to admit that making a career in the field seems like a more challenging proposition every day. But if you want to make the leap without extraneous classes, and a minimal investment of time, the DAVE School is very much worth the investment.

Feel free to PM me with any other questions.

Dexter2999
12-21-2010, 01:28 PM
Did they add NUKE as the compositing package they teach? I remember Jeff Sheetz(sp?) mentioning they were working on that when I had my tour.

Steve Warner
12-21-2010, 10:29 PM
The best grads probably already have jobs and aren't posted there. The rest of the reels...well, these are the 80% I was talking about.

Bottom line is you are talking about a large amount of money to get a non accredited program. And no guarantee of employment in an industry which is shrinking in the US.
LOL, well, seeing as I'm the Executive Director of the DAVE School, and I work as a professional 3D artist, I probably can speak to some of these points. I'm replying to Dexter's quote above, but hopefully this will touch on Steven's original questions.

1. The program currently costs $33,500. It's not cheap, but compare that to the tuition price at FullSail, Gnomon School, VFS, Ringling, etc. We are one of the lowest priced VFX schools out there.

2. We are accredited by ACICS.

3. We currently do not have an online program (although we have plans to lauch one in 2011). We do offer housing, though, to help make the transition to Florida a bit easier.

3. We currently train students in the following applications: LightWave, ZBrush, Motion Builder, Maya, Photoshop, Premiere, After Effects, Fusion, Nuke, Boujou, Mocha and Ocula.

4. We are the world's leading school for stereoscopic visual effects training and have been told repeatedly by large companies and stereoscopic experts that DAVE School graduates are their top picks when recruiting.

5. The actual percent of students doing the work in any class is about 80%. The top 20% are the superstars who take everything seriously and are here 15 hours a day. They're easily hired upon graduation. Then there's 60% who work hard, but don't put in as much time as they should. They can get a job, but might have to take a more entry-level position. Then there's the 20% who struggle or don't take things seriously. That's true for any school, not just the DAVE School. They can and do get jobs, but it typically takes longer. What makes us different is that if you succeed and graduate, you can take any class over again at any time at no cost to improve your skills. I've had graduates come back years later to update their skills or take a new part of our program (such as Nuke, ZBrush and Maya). We don't charge for that.

6. Our placement rate is currently at 80% for 2009. That's far above the industry standard. (I expect our 2010 placement rate to be even higher.)

7. This past week, we've had more than a half-dozen high profile VFX companies asking to set up interviews with our students.

8. I currently have more employers looking for DAVE School graduates than I have students to give them.


Steven, the best way to find out if the DAVE School is for you is to talk to come by, see the facility and talk to our existing students. And of course, I'm happy to answer any questions you might have. So feel free to give me a shout if you'd like to chat. 407-224-3283.

Cheers!

Steve Warner

Dexter2999
12-21-2010, 10:52 PM
Steve-

Good to hear you weigh in. I hope the negative things in my post don't rub the wrong way. I just try to be fair and realistic. I really am a big fan of the program. And I recommend it over FullSail every time someone asks about FullSail.

Glad to hear the school has gained accreditation and added both NUKE and FUSION (my tour was a nearly two years ago.)

The Dommo
12-21-2010, 11:53 PM
Realtime UK have gone??

OnlineRender
12-22-2010, 12:26 AM
Realtime UK have gone??

should have said :
RealtimeWorlds .

RealtimeUk are looking for character animator atm .

stevenpalomino
12-22-2010, 08:47 AM
I was hoping that they'd get an online program!! That's the only reason I'm really considering full sail! I can't really relocate so it'd be so much better to have it online although you lose the advantage of a person-to-person learning experience!

Kionel
12-22-2010, 11:07 AM
3. We currently train students in the following applications: LightWave, ZBrush, Motion Builder, Maya, Photoshop, Premiere, After Effects, Fusion, Nuke, Boujou, Mocha and Ocula.


Darn it, Steve, you're making me want to come back down there again! (Me and ZBrush aren't really on speaking terms, see. MudBox? Sure! ZBrush? No, it stays in the corner...)

Seriously, fantastic news about placement! Good to hear.

Dexter2999
12-22-2010, 11:13 AM
DAVE School teaches more than just the software. It is that working as part of team that I think is so important if you want to work in the industry.

If you aren't willing to relocate, I'd suggest you look at http://fxphd.com/
It's not a degree program but it looks like top notch training.
Again not degree programs but if you specifically want to be an animator look at
http://www.ianimate.net/
http://www.animationmentor.com/

Kionel
12-22-2010, 11:20 AM
DAVE School teaches more than just the software. It is that working as part of team that I think is so important if you want to work in the industry.


THIS.

If there is something I miss working as a one-man freelancer is the interaction with other artists. Not to offload work, but to share ideas and workflows. I learned as much from my classmates as I did from my instructors.

Really, all in all, a great experience.

dandeentremont
12-22-2010, 02:11 PM
Oh, and to keep this on-topic, quite a few DAVE alumni have passed through the Box and they've been great guys to work with. I'm not sure I've worked with anyone from Full Sail, not that that means anything.

Oh, Mr. Greenlaw, you have worked with at least one Full Sailer. His name starts with "P" and ends with "at."
:->

I am also from the DAVE school. I had a ton of fun there and greatly enjoyed the experience. Unless I am mistaken, they have now placed maya in the curriculum with lightwave, which they didn't have several years back.

Knowing 2 softwares would give you a great advantage. Then again, if you are posting on the Newtek forums and you are also taking Full Sail classes, you might already be versed in both :)

Cageman
12-22-2010, 04:54 PM
That said, Rhythm and Hues (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rhythm_and_Hues) here in L.A. (where I work) has done fairly well in its 20 plus years. (Knock on wood.) I think it helps that R+H is a private company and hasn't been gobbled up by a conglomerate like so many others have. It's also a good place to work. :)

G.

But initially, R&H was very much like ILM and WETA, mainly doing highend vfx without the proper pipeline to do fast turnaround work. But as time went on, John-Mark founded The Box, with a generalist approach to get smaller jobs with fast turnarounds into the studio.

So... how much of that was correct?

:)

btw... I think it is time for NT to do a studio profile on R&H - The Box. You guys are doing some really cool stuff on very short time.

Greenlaw
12-22-2010, 05:27 PM
Oh, Mr. Greenlaw, you have worked with at least one Full Sailer. His name starts with "P" and ends with "at."
:->
Ah! I did not know that. I guess I should expand our conversations to something other than geeking out over how awesome the latest episode of One Piece was. (Finally caught up to episode 479 last week!) :)

Greenlaw
12-22-2010, 05:34 PM
But initially, R&H was very much like ILM and WETA, mainly doing highend vfx without the proper pipeline to do fast turnaround work. But as time went on, John-Mark founded The Box, with a generalist approach to get smaller jobs with fast turnarounds into the studio.

So... how much of that was correct?

:)

btw... I think it is time for NT to do a studio profile on R&H - The Box. You guys are doing some really cool stuff on very short time.
Some productions are better suited for one pipeline or the other, so R+H has both.

R+H is primarily a film studio, and it develops its own animation. rendering, and compositing software. The typical crew on an R+H project can involve hundreds of employees when running at full steam. (I think we peaked at about 800 or 900 people not long ago. And I think that was just here in L.A.)

The Box is an alternative pipeline at R+H. We tend to work as a smaller team (typically 5 to 8, but sometimes as 'large' as 25,) and we use off-the-shelf software almost exclusively. (We also use a lot of in-house tools, but not nearly to the degree of Features.) We started out mainly doing commercials but now we do a lot more game cinematics and game trailers.

G.

Steve Warner
12-23-2010, 01:13 AM
Good to hear you weigh in. I hope the negative things in my post don't rub the wrong way.
Not at all! I just wanted to clarify on a few points since things tend to change rather quickly and I'd hate for someone to labor under a false impression. Even someone who graduated a year ago would find tremendous changes to the program, class structure, etc. Cheers! :)



Darn it, Steve, you're making me want to come back down there again! (Me and ZBrush aren't really on speaking terms, see. MudBox? Sure! ZBrush? No, it stays in the corner...)
You ought to come back! I've written an extremely comprehensive ZBrush curriculum based on the work I did testing ZBrush 4. (http://www.zbrushcentral.com/showthread.php?t=91827) We're seeing amazing results in a matter of days. Really great stuff. :)



I was hoping that they'd get an online program!! That's the only reason I'm really considering full sail! I can't really relocate so it'd be so much better to have it online although you lose the advantage of a person-to-person learning experience!
You can do amazing things with an online program, but it's much harder to network. One of the things that's amazing about the DAVE School is the tight-knit graduate community. It's not uncommon for a graduate to recommend a student to their employer, only to see that student get a job. That comes from living together, working together, and going through the fire together. It's a bonding experience that makes being here very special.

I may not be able to help with relocation, but I might be able to help with housing. If you're interested, give me a shout. No pressure. You'll find that I'm a call-it-like-I-see-it kind of guy and won't BS you.

Cheers!

Steve

OnlineRender
12-23-2010, 01:28 AM
You can do amazing things with an online program, but it's much harder to network. One of the things that's amazing about the DAVE School is the tight-knit graduate community.


Steve

Set up your own Dave School Social Network : 'if you would like an example I will pm you mine(W.I.P) ;

agreed but , although I enjoy online training, there is so much material online that it makes it redundant 'your spoiled for choice' . I would rather be face to face with a lecturer any day of the week ,bouncing ideas and workflows ,I think the key issue is interaction with other pupils and peers ', that's worth more than the certificate at the end of the year 'just my opinion '.


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

I would love to see NT ,AD and other apps sponsor an artist , paying for tuition and living cost .

Portnoy
12-23-2010, 09:48 AM
Quote from Kionel:
I attended the DAVE School back in 2008. Like Dexter, I debated heading down there, as I was far older than the average student. In the end, I decided that life was too short to wonder "What if?", and I relocated to Florida for the training.

Even for somebody like me -- (Air Force Veteran, Project Manager, and indie filmmaker to boot) -- DAVE School was tough. The deadlines were tight, the assignments challenging, and the pace relentless. If you were serious about the craft, this was not a place to party.

This has been a very interesting post with a lot of great responses. I'm kinda a Johnny come lately to this animation party and have been working in print graphics for years, so I was a little concerned about going into an industry that's so dominated by young, albeit talented, newcomers coming out and the age difference. I know it realistically boils down to your reel and what your talents are but like any profession you wonder if age will be a factor in hiring for a position.

That being said, I looked into the Dave School and seriously thought about it. But wasn't sure of the relocating. I even had a chance to tour the campus when my nephew expressed interest in animation and we went to Florida for a visit. I loved the campus and the production environment and thought it would be a good choice for my nephew. He ended up changing his major to music production but Full Sail was one of the schools he looked into for that. I have to say I wasn't much impressed with Full Sail.

Like some have posted because of my situation, I have been seriously considering online schooling, although like it's been said, you miss that personal connection that's made by attending a school. I have been seriously looking into Animation Mentor or iAnimate, they look like great schools with great connections that can be made. iAnimate's a little more affordable and better payment options. If anyone can elaborate more on these schools that'd be great. Sorry for the long post.

Don

Dexter2999
12-23-2010, 09:59 AM
I know there are few AM students and iAnimate students on the forum. I don't think it likely they will respond to your specific question because the thread is titled DAVE School so they may not be following this discussion.

You would probably get better results starting a new thread or doing a forum search as I think this topic has come up before.

Portnoy
12-23-2010, 10:57 AM
Quote from Dexter2999:
I know there are few AM students and iAnimate students on the forum. I don't think it likely they will respond to your specific question because the thread is titled DAVE School so they may not be following this discussion.

You would probably get better results starting a new thread or doing a forum search as I think this topic has come up before.

Thanks Dexter, i think I will. I know a few people that are attending AM and so far they like it but would be interested on hearing others.