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jpleonard
04-03-2008, 08:46 PM
I bought Lightwave April 2007 and have been using is constantly ever since. I've made enough money to get by and pay the bills making logos, simple animations and print graphics. I find jobs on freelance sites, website leads, and locals. I just sold my house and I have enough money to take off work and really learn Lightwave for two years or so, and keep working freelance, or I have been seriously thinking about giving half of my money to DAVE School?
I live in a very rural area and there really isn't any competition in graphic design or 3D animation around here. What should I do? I've read a lot of threads about this, and it seems that there are mixed opinions about it. Is DAVE School really worth the money, or is it better to just take a few months, or a year, to learn a little more on my own and make a great demo reel to submit to companies to get a job?
:bangwall:

SP00
04-03-2008, 09:16 PM
I plan to go to DAVE school in Sept/Oct Class. I kinda in the same shoes as you in terms of doing 3D with more of a focus on Arch Viz rendering. However, if you want the complete picture and a way to work in a pipeline that gives you the complete picture, I think DAVE school will give you that opportunity.

Remember that DAVE school is not only 3D, it is compositing, networking, and working with a team to create the best production in a tight deadline environment. I'm also sure the demo reel you create will go a long way to getting you higher paying clients.

AbnRanger
04-03-2008, 09:58 PM
Hate to sound cliche, but there are pros and cons to each choice. I'd say that if the cost isn't terribly prohibitive, you'd likely get a much more thorough education and in a much smaller window of time with the DAVE school than by self-learning alone. The other thing to consider too is that even with good dvd training and what not, you often times hit snags in doing your own projects and having an instructor right there to help you immediately helps you plow through instead of getting frustrated when you have to figure everything out on your own. These forums help, but it's not the same as having someone like Proton there in the classroom or lab.

SplineGod
04-03-2008, 10:24 PM
Heres what Ive run into. Ive been involved with a school before, Foundation Institute which was part of Foundation Imaging and 3D Exchange. It doesnt make sense to me to drop a ton of money into something that MOST professionals Ive worked with learned on their own. You end up with a lot of debt with no promise of any sort of return.
Out here in LA being a recent grad from a school doesnt get you any more money then someone who is self taught and good at it. Unfortunately as soon as many employers see that youre a student or recent grad they use it to leverage you into working for less money. Ive seen it time and again and I know others at other studios who have said the same thing.

With the economy that way it is I dont think youll end up doing the same thing in your area but now with a huge amount of debt. Youre looking at 25k and months of living expenses. In the end its always up to the student to take what theyre taught and run with it regardless if the information comes from a school, friend, book or video.

Things were very different now. Its far easier to find information online, resources and help and just networking with people in forums, user groups, trade shows etc.

Alot of ppl I know out here in LA take classes in their spare time that are from professionals teaching on the side and for a reasonable price. There are people teaching just about anything you can think of and there are local places to take classes in person that again, are quite reasonable. If I were totally serious about getting into this business much deeper and already had enough skills to make money freelancing I would move out to someplace where theres demand for this type of work, find a job or get more freelance work and take classes on the side.

It doesnt have to be an either/or situation you can be self taught with a lot of supplements from various sources. This will allow you to keep expenses low, get work and make good contacts right where its happening. :)

jpleonard
04-03-2008, 10:41 PM
Thanks for the feedback. I'm contemplating moving somewhere, LA, NY, or somewhere where there is a decent population to gather work from. I live in a very small town, Pontotoc Mississippi, population around 8,000, and the nearest town, Tupelo boast a full 30,000. However, Memphis, TN is only about 80 miles, and I have had a few jobs come from there. My wife encourages school, she doesn't get the idea that someone would hire without college or trade school. I personally want to open a business, perhaps in Memphis, TN or Jackson, MS, but that idea is a little scary to her. She's been very supportive the last year. I haven't had to work a regular punch the clock job in over 10 months, not to mention the competition around here is nearly nonexistent.

SP00
04-04-2008, 07:53 AM
Thanks for the feedback. I'm contemplating moving somewhere, LA, NY, or somewhere where there is a decent population to gather work from. I live in a very small town, Pontotoc Mississippi, population around 8,000, and the nearest town, Tupelo boast a full 30,000. However, Memphis, TN is only about 80 miles, and I have had a few jobs come from there. My wife encourages school, she doesn't get the idea that someone would hire without college or trade school. I personally want to open a business, perhaps in Memphis, TN or Jackson, MS, but that idea is a little scary to her. She's been very supportive the last year. I haven't had to work a regular punch the clock job in over 10 months, not to mention the competition around here is nearly nonexistent.

Being self motivated and self taught takes a lot of work, but if you are good with that, than you don't need Dave School. However, if you are going to open up your own business and working on projects with a team of people, then I think DAVE school can help you get that experience. The only other way to get there is to work for a 3D company to get the team dynamics. I also think it is much easier to ask dumb questions to a teacher than to ask the same questions to your employer and risk looking like an idiot :)

Either way, you should ask yourself, if you can get the same education in 1 year by yourself instead of school? And if it does take you more than 1 year, is it worth taking the extra time to teach yourself?

SplineGod
04-04-2008, 08:10 AM
Im all for education and to stay competitive you cant get away from it. There are many avenues of getting educated without incurring large amounts of debt. As SPOO said, being self motivated and self taught takes a lot of work but in my experience those are traits you MUST have in order to succeed anyway. Most of the learning we do is away from school anyway.
It sounds to me like youre pretty motivated already. I would agree with your wife that most mainstream sort of businesses do look at school. The purpose being to get a piece of paper to show a potential employer that you at least put in the time and effort to learn your trade. However, in this business Ive never once been asked to show a degree from a school nor do I know anyone else whos been asked. Getting work in this business boils down to industry contacts and your demo reel. That demo reel goes a lot further in showing someone what you can do far better then a degree.
Another thing... Ive seen people from schools posting the exact same student work online and in their reels which is a bad mistake IMO. In the end you would still need to spend a considerable amount of time AFTER finishing school to do your own reel.

I would suggest determining which aspect of this you really want to get into...be it modeling, texturing, animating etc. and focus on learning to do that. Youre not starting out from scratch and you already sound like you have a lot of experience already.

WilliamVaughan
04-05-2008, 09:02 PM
No matter what you decide to do both routes will need you to be dedicated and passionate about this type of work. Those that are passionate and dedicated have gone on to do amazing things with and without school.

I would like to add that I have seen students from the school go on to work at places that usually would be hard to get into after only one year of training. Some of these places include:

Digital Domain
Cafe FX
Zoic
Light Storm
Flash Film Works
ILM
Eden FX
Rhythm and Hues
Paradigm Production
Galactica
Time Gate
Radical
DNA
MeniThings
EA
Dilated Pixels
Amalgamated Pixels
Branit VFX
......and more


School (any School) offers things that books, videos, magazines, etc just don't offer IMHO. Having someone in the same room just cant be beat. Instant feedback from someone with experience speeds up the learning curve and can save lots of headaches IMHO.

Anyone that knows me will tell you that I'm all for online communities, books, videos, magazines, etc, but if there was a school that I could have gone to back in the day I'd have gone that route. I get to watch students produce work in the first three months that I didnt in the first 3 years of teaching myself. It's exciting to see how fast they advance thru the various applications.

My suggestion is to do exactly what your doing now, which is getting feedback from as many people as possible. Investigate the various schools and talk with graduates from those schools. I'd also suggest visiting the schools before making a decision.


At the end of the day....no school, book, video, etc will be a magic key to working at a studio....you will need to work your *** off....

Feel free to email me with any questions or if you'd like me to put you in touch with some of the grads working in the industry. [email protected]

Good luck with whatever route you decide and I look forward to seeing your work!

-William

dandod
04-05-2008, 09:34 PM
An advantage of going to the DAVE School is the connections that are made there. Not just with other students, but through all the people the instructors know as well as through various opportunities. If you show that you have the skills and the personality and the drive to work in the industry, the school's staff and alumni are very accommodating to "hook you up" with interviews and jobs.

nickolasstevens
04-05-2008, 09:46 PM
I know I tried to learn lightwave and 3d on my own for about a year with some success but I didn't want to spend 3 - 4 years to learn enough to get a job. So I decided to attend the DAVE School. Pretty much from day 1 I was learning new things. Sure a lot of things I learned were things I had learned on my own earlier, however I learned those principles more firmly and became a much better artist.

I was fortunate to have great teachers including William Vaughan and Lee Stringer and my education is one of my most prized possessions. I was also able to work on the animated short Tofu the Vegan Zombie: Zombie Dearest in which I experienced a real production environment. The production environment at the school translates nearly perfectly to a real world studio.

After school I landed a great job at Branit VFX working for Bruce Branit who is known throughout the VFX community for his years as a Supervisor on several Star Trek series and his award winning short '405'.

As to the cost of the school its totally worth it if you really are dedicated to the craft. If you aren't truly passionate and can't dedicate an entire year then don't do it. However if you can dedicate the time and energy required you'll be amazed at how much value you can squeeze out of that year.

I personally wouldn't do anything differently in my career path. Sure I could have become the same artist on my own but it would have taken me longer to get the skill level I'm at now and much longer to land a great job.

bakercell
04-05-2008, 10:10 PM
hey JP,

i recently graduated from the DAVE school and have got to say it was definitely a rewarding experience. it's true that you can get some of the same information through tutorials online but at the same time I found it even better learning from the teachers and having the tutorials at my disposal than just having the one. The school does also teach a lot of information on how to present yourself in the industry , how to discipline yourself on making deadlines for clients and how to work with others on a team project. It is also a good resource of making contacts with those who already are in the industry (like other past grads for example) .So the school is more than just the basics of how to work in 3d.

jpleonard
04-05-2008, 10:24 PM
Thanks again for all the feedback. I know this has been covered on the forums here several times. I really was fishing for some advice from students that had attended DAVE School (or other shcools). I know that William always has great advice for everyone. I've am almost certain that I will go to DAVE School, but I think it will be 6 months or so before I commit. I'm not rich by any means, and this is the first time in my life I've had 70K+ in the bank. I'm enjoying just looking at the account balance right now.:D:D:D:D
I am now finding it hard to part with the $$$$.
It's a lot of money for the area I live in where the median income is around 18K a year. In this area one could easily survive 4 years without worry of bills. I would like to visit DAVE School, perhaps in May.
I know that there are several benefits that I can't really get on my own, such as using green screen, motion capture suits, not to mention all the 3D gurus that have decades of experince to share and help. I also gather from looking at the placement pages of the shcools site, that many grads go on to secure really cool jobs at places such as Dreamworks, Sony, and so on. I don't imagine that I could get my foot in the door of a organization like that without the education, at least not for five, six, oh who am I kidding, probably ten years of self teaching which would still leave me lacking the experience of working in a real production team environment.
The more I read and talk about it, the more certain I am that I will go. Once again, thanks for all the great advice.

IMI
04-05-2008, 10:24 PM
I wish I could go to the DAVE school. I live only about 45 minutes away from it (when the turnpike cooperates that is). There's just no way possible to do it without taking a year off work, obviously not an option. :D

I really wish y'all would consider regular full day seminars, on Saturdays. You don't really need any time off, do you William? ;)

Boris
04-05-2008, 11:55 PM
this is the first time in my life I've had 70K+ in the bank. I'm enjoying just looking at the account balance right now.:D:D:D:D
I am now finding it hard to part with the $$$$.

One thing I think we can all agree on:

If you have $70K + in the bank DO NOT finance through Sallie Mae!

Oh, and DAVE School rocks!

ArwingXL
04-06-2008, 12:50 AM
Go to the school. The curriculum is good and they teach you everything you need to know about effects in 3d and from the compositing point of view. It's built like any other educational system. If you're serious about it, you'll get a job right away and be up and out in the industry quickly. If you slack off, well, it's your money. :-D

Derek Serra
04-06-2008, 01:13 AM
As long as you can afford it, DAVE School is well worth the time and money.

You mentioned that you bought Lightwave in April 2007. At that time, I had already put in 3 months at DAVE, and had a great understanding of modeling & texturing. I graduated nine months later and landed a job soon after that. Now, I'm rigging every day at work and loving it.

If you are serious about doing any aspect of CG work, DAVE is the path to go.

Konidias
04-06-2008, 06:47 AM
Also a recent grad from DAVE here. :) As these guys have said, it's well worth the money. (if you can afford to spend it) You'll earn it back in no time, and if you don't have to take out loans then that is even better.

As far as the school goes... it's a great school and you learn so much in 1 year that when you graduate you'll be amazed at what you know. Then of course you have William and the other teachers there who will help you with whatever you're stuck on.

Also I wanted to mention that after you graduate, you can still come up to the school if you need help with anything and the teachers will be totally willing to help you, and it's free of charge. Along with all the school has to offer, they also present plenty of free opportunities to sit in on guest lectures from people in the industry.

The most important thing that I think the school offers is that it actually gets you motivated to learn and work on projects. I'm a big fan of self-teaching, but trying to teach yourself all you need to know about this field can be frustrating and it's really easy to just slack off on your learning.

With DAVE school they practically spoon feed you everything you need to know. You've just gotta show up and be willing to learn. :thumbsup:

UnCommonGrafx
04-06-2008, 07:01 AM
Go to school AND Educate yourself at home
It STILL isn't about the route as much as it is about what you put into it.

There isn't really a question here, as I see it. Education occurs 80% out of the class. At home, who do you socialize with that also will speak LW-ese? Wouldn't it be best if you immersed yourself in an environment that eats sleeps and breaths LW-ese?
But they, a school, always gives you copious amounts of ... homework... to better your skills and craft. So why go to school if I can do it at home... Ugly trap of thought.

If you have the means, go to school.

Brian Arndt
04-06-2008, 07:40 AM
I left working at NewTek to go to the DAVE School. I worked a 40 hour a week job and attended the school every night. It was a rough year but I think I learned way more than I could have ever learned on my own. I also have a large network of people I know in the industry now that I didn't before. That alone is very useful in finding a job and networking.

Funky Monkey
04-06-2008, 08:15 AM
As one of the old time ( or close too it ) grads of the Dave School, I graduated in 2003, I can attest and basically agree to everything that has been said here so far.
-yes...you can teach your self...but it's going to be a much much longer path.

The benefits of attending the school have already been said and I must agree.
-Having an expert over your shoulder and accessable at all times is absolutely priceless

-having instant feedback is priceless

-You will always continue learning, school or not...but the school is a deffinate fast track to success. It's not the piece of paper that will enable you to succeed, but your dedication and drive, interaction, participation, and relationships you form along the way, as well as work...will put you on the right path.

-Dave school has a private forum...and this forum alone is priceless in the ways of networking, job hunting, a good laugh, and most importantly...continued learning on almost any subject....even building your own computer. Got a question about how to do something....it will be answered in no time.

The school has evolved into a fine tuned machine compared to when I went. The addition of new instructors since I went have made the school soooo much better. If I had the time and money....I would do it again knowing I'D learn something.

I've worked at 3 of the companies that Proton listed. Digital Domain, Paradigm, and currently Electronic Arts. I had never even opened up Photoshop let alone a 3-D program when I started Dave School. There is only one thing to say for that..."it was worth it!" for me. Obviously they did their job as a learning institution. Now that the school is even better than when I attended...I see block one students doing work on a quality that I was just starting to obtain on block 3.

Your call....but if you can afford it...by all means...it will be worth your time and money. Just don't go through Sallie Mae for your loans....they are pure evil!

Kajico
04-06-2008, 10:08 AM
One thing I'd like to mention that hasn't been brought up yet, is that the school not only builds experience but it builds confidence.

It builds confidence into making people believe that they can (and they indeed can) create almost anything once they have finished the course. No project is intimidating when you have gained the skills needed.

JBT27
04-06-2008, 11:03 AM
I can't regret not going to cgi school or whatever you want to call it.....because there weren't any back when I was at school and college :)

The one thing I do regret, big-time, is never having worked with anyone, in a team, in the industry - so I'm completely self-taught.....to be honest the learning is going to continue beyond school anyway, or it should do.

So for all the networking and teamwork reasons, I'd also say go to the DAVE school or wherever - I looked through the website ages ago, winced at the cost, but if you can comfortably run to that and have good anticipation of staying with it and earning that money back, then go for it.

I would.

Julian.

jpleonard
04-06-2008, 12:53 PM
Okay, I have to say I am convinced that shcool would be a priceless experience, and that the benefits far outweigh the cost. If I go, I'm still not sure that I would want to hire out to one of the bigger companies, even though they do awesome work. I love Digital Domain's work. I do like working for myself and running my own business is something that I've done for a long time, and I think that is what I would want to do even after graduation from a shcool. I have a few big contacts that I do work for from time to time, and I enjoy the working relationships that I have developed. My main client when it comes to work is CS Design Works in NY, NY. I've worked for them for over a year on a when needed basis, and I really would hate to loose the work that I get from them, as well as a few others. I suppose that I could probably work those side jobs and go to school at the same time depending on the work load from shcool, and homework? I'm more or less looking at DAVE School as a way to further my education in the field, not really for the job possibilities. Thanks everyone for the feedback, it has been really helpful.

drano
04-07-2008, 08:40 AM
Well - maybe I can shed a little light on the situation, JP

I took a course in LW at a local college, was self-educated a little afterwards, and then committed to DAVE. The results were fantastic (for me) - becuase while I could learn the same technical skills that I learned in school through book-learning or DVDs, I found I learned it better, and faster in the "classroom" environment. I work for a small production company - and not one of the big movie studios - and I like it for the most part. It's probably a case of "big fish little pond syndrome," but I still like being able to do some of everything as opposed to a lot of one thing.

"You get what you pay for", most of the time, and DAVE is no exception. Sure, it costs money for the education, but you learn FAST. The program is fast-paced and quite thorough. It covers a lot of aspects of the industry. You learn from industry pros. And possibly one of hte biggest benefits to the classroom learning style - you learn from your peers too. You work with others who are learning the same stuff you are. And while you could arguably do that in an online forum, there's nothing like being there with the people. Plus - while you may have an idea of how you want to work after graduation, there's NO reason that you couldn't expand your network of industry peers. You never know when the job you have will dissolve, and making contacts through the other students and instructors is a nice safety net to fall back on. Furthermore - you can bounce ideas off those people even if you're working in a "solo" environment.

If you're at a place in your life where you can go to school - put in the year (yup, only a year at this technical school) and take advantage of the learning environment - I think you'll give yourself an amazing boost in your knowledge and skill set. You never stop learning after graduation - you can continue your self-education (and should) forever after. But the classroom - and the people - are assets in your education that (in my opinion) should not be ignored.

Best wishes!

jpleonard
04-07-2008, 09:41 AM
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
I posted this yesterday, but it seems to have been hidden.

Okay, I have to say I am convinced that shcool would be a priceless experience, and that the benefits far outweigh the cost. If I go, I'm still not sure that I would want to hire out to one of the bigger companies, even though they do awesome work. I love Digital Domain's work. I do like working for myself and running my own business is something that I've done for a long time, and I think that is what I would want to do even after graduation from a shcool. I have a few big contacts that I do work for from time to time, and I enjoy the working relationships that I have developed. My main client when it comes to work is CS Design Works in NY, NY. I've worked for them for over a year on a when needed basis, and I really would hate to loose the work that I get from them, as well as a few others. I suppose that I could probably work those side jobs and go to school at the same time depending on the work load from shcool, and homework? I'm more or less looking at DAVE School as a way to further my education in the field, not really for the job possibilities. Thanks everyone for the feedback, it has been really helpful.
__________________
James

WinVista32 AMD Athlon 64 X2 5600+ 2GB Ram Verto 8600 GTS

Kionel
04-09-2008, 01:57 PM
Just don't go through Sallie Mae for your loans....they are pure evil!

That's the second time I've seen that comment. What's so bad about SallieMae, if you don't mind my asking?

Thanks!

FarrahWelch
04-09-2008, 02:08 PM
You can still work on those jobs on the side and attend the school at the same time. Just be prepared to balance your time. The school will teach you what you need to know and you can learn even more from all of the others around you. What you get out of it is dependant on the time and effort you are willing to put into it. If you are willing to put in 100%, you will find it very rewarding. I think you'll also find that the contacts you make will be priceless. Your current clients won't be around forever, and you'll want more in the future. In the end, it doesn't just come down to what you know but who you know.

phorne_tca
04-12-2008, 11:05 AM
Sallie Mae: evil.

Dave School: Good.

If you've got the money and the time to do it, then why would you even question it? If you have $70k in the bank (which most people don't) and don't have to rely on student loans and you have the time to build up both a phenomenal demo reel and an awesome education, then there should be no question in your mind as to whether or not Dave School is right for you.

There's many other schools out there, yes. I chose DAVE simply for the fact that when I visited them, they completely blew me away with their facilities. Where else are you EVER going to be able to just learn Motion Capture UNLESS you're lucky enough to work for a company for several years that's willing to train you on it and move you into that department? Probably never.

My point is this: you leave the school much better prepared for every aspect of the industry, not just modeling or compositing or animation, but in ALL aspects. THAT'S why people get jobs from the school (and because of massive amounts of hard work). Also, having a PRODUCTION level deadline during your education is priceless.

My opinion is to visit the school and see if it's right for you personally. You're the only one who can tell you it's worth it. We can just tell you what WE got out of it.

jpleonard
04-12-2008, 11:34 AM
I'm going, not a doubt about that anymore. I'm going to try to get down there and visit the shcool in May and perhaps sign up for the next class after that. I wish I had a green screen studio, motion capture equipment and a render farm to do my work with. I wouldn't mind having a couple of experts to talk to from time to time either. Well, I got to get back to doing 4 business card designs for a guy in Brooklyn. You all have a great day.

SP00
04-13-2008, 11:24 AM
I'm going, not a doubt about that anymore. I'm going to try to get down there and visit the shcool in May and perhaps sign up for the next class after that. I wish I had a green screen studio, motion capture equipment and a render farm to do my work with. I wouldn't mind having a couple of experts to talk to from time to time either. Well, I got to get back to doing 4 business card designs for a guy in Brooklyn. You all have a great day.

Great, if you go in September, I'll see ya there :)

geothefaust
04-13-2008, 11:39 AM
My question is, how is DAVE vs Vancouver Film School? This thread has been invaluable, for DAVE info. Are there any other people here that know a lot about VFS or have gone?

SP00
04-13-2008, 11:45 AM
My question is, how is DAVE vs Vancouver Film School? This thread has been invaluable, for DAVE info. Are there any other people here that know a lot about VFS or have gone?

I've check out some comments about both school on the 3D Society website. I think the general idea is that DAVE school is better. The Vancouver Film School pump out great looking work, but it is mainly because of the student body and not the professors. They are also in the middle of nowhere so most people spend a lot of time on their 3D models. At DAVE School, you get quality professors, not sure about the student body, but they are probably too busy to help out due to the tight 1 year schedule.

Mr Rid
04-13-2008, 06:01 PM
...

I would like to add that I have seen students from the school go on to work at places that usually would be hard to get into after only one year of training. Some of these places include:

Digital Domain
Cafe FX
Zoic
Light Storm
Flash Film Works
ILM
Eden FX
Rhythm and Hues
Paradigm Production
Galactica
Time Gate
Radical
DNA
MeniThings
EA
Dilated Pixels
Amalgamated Pixels
Branit VFX
......and more


And these places are mostly filled with artists who were self-taught. All of the best artists Ive worked with were self-taught.



School (any School) offers things that books, videos, magazines, etc just don't offer IMHO.

And in teaching/working for yourself you will learn things that you never would have in school.

I think it comes down to your own confidence. If you are a self-motivated type, put the tuition money toward your own gear and start teaching yourself from Mr Vaughan's tutorial cornucopia. I self-crash-coursed entirely from the Best of Lightwave Pro tutorial book (no internet to speak of then), and started getting freelance gigs in only 2 months... in 6 months I quit my day job... at 1 year I was doing VFX for low budget features... Make a cool demo, and doors will open.

You dont need school for this. But if you want to go to school, then go. That can work too. It still comes down to the drive behind each individual.

I find that houses are looking to Dave School because experienced, available LW artists are getting scarce. And as mentioned, you dont have to pay them as much. The few Dave School and Gnomon grads Ive worked around still had a lot to learn that you will only get from working on real jobs.

Ironye
04-14-2008, 09:37 PM
I have been watching the DAVE School on and off for about 5 years now and am saving money in the hope that I may attend one of these years.

I heard they changed their tuition fee last year I believe. Can anyone please post the current tuition amount or send me a PM.

Thanks.

drano
04-14-2008, 10:46 PM
DAVE vs Vancouver...

Florida vs Canada...

How do you like your climate? Arguably, if you're hitting the books and comps hard, then it won't matter ;)

That said... I looked at both schools before I ended up at DAVE, and one of hte strong selling points (for me) was the 1-year tech-school atmosphere of DAVE. Vancouver is pretty well-known in the industry as being a good school too, but that shorter-term, concentrated learning was very appealing to me.

*********

Someone mentioned self-teaching. "My" experience was that while I could slog through books, DVDs, and message boards on my own, I wasn't sure WHICH books, DVDs and boards to use. If you ask a hundred people on a dozen message boards, you'll likely get a variety of answers on which learning materials are good. I learned the hard way that some are NOT as good as others. My time was spent... and while I learned a few tidbits fomr every source, the quality resources I got through my connections at DAVE were pretty good. PLUS... after going through the school's program, those resources made a WHOLE lot more sense. And after school, I needed to learn a different software package, which was much easier after I'd already learned the fundamentals in the classroom.

One matter that tends to get brushed over is that "work experience" - DAVE's program uses the 4th term (or "block") to do a real-world (mostly) "work" experience. Your 4th quarter grade is based on a number of factors, but they include:
- Working on a team
- Meeting deadlines
- Finishing the product
- Showing up to "work" on time, and regularly

That's not every factor, but they ARE in there. I know from MY experience (I stress that, because mileage may vary), our final block's project was for Marvel Comics. We learned about storyboarding, we used those storyboards to produce an animatic which went to Marvel. While we waited for their response, we developed our assets and animations. Then, we got a HUGE list of changes from Marvel that made us go back to the drawing board. Still under deadline, our class had to produce the movie (a 9 minute short) in half the time because the block was already half over. Many students (who could) put in insane hours to "get the job done". And the final product is included as a free DVD in a package of Minimates toys.

If that's not "real world" enough - for a STUDENT - then I'm not sure what is. :) Granted, we were paying the school to put ourselves through hell, but it was so worth it.

http://gifts.barnesandnoble.com/search/product.asp?r=1&ean=9781593964504

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I'm sure that current tuition numbers can be obtained by contacting the school itself:
www.daveschool.com