View Full Version : Gnomon - summer courses?

03-19-2009, 10:10 PM
Hey guys,

Long time no see. It's called work and school I guess.

I want to ask you guys your opinions on Gnomon School of Visual Effects. I am thinking of taking a few courses there this summer, in between my normal semesters. Do any of you have experience with Gnomon? Any comments, good or bad, would be appreciated.

Also appreciated would be tips on housing. I'll probably drive out there, so I don't necessarily have to live close to the school. But still, housing in LA is expensive from what I've seen so far, and I've never lived in anything close to LA's size and complexity.

Thanks guys.

- Gil

03-20-2009, 07:26 AM
I took their 1-week Intro to Maya fast-track in January, and it was really very, very good. Designed for people who're cross-training, rather than non-animators to begin with, it leapt right into the fiddly bits of getting one's head around the interface. One week *incredibly* well spent - since then I've been parallelling my normal paid gigs with trying them in Maya, generally meeting with success.

They did a really good job of leaping straight into the mechanics of working with the software. My tutor was highly knowledgeable and a good communicator, and the course materials were very handy as well. The labs are open 'til very late at night for those who weren't floored with jetlag ;)

The staff were very knowledgable, friendly and accessable. The campus is well equipped. My only gripe is that by the end of the week, I was utterly bored with all the walk-to-able food options (though the philly cheeseteak place on the corner is pretty good).

I stayed at the "Vagabond Inn Executive", which was awfully close - a five minute stroll to class in the morning - but also close to awful. Not very clean. The broadband worked, though, so that's the main thing... ;)

Long story short, I found Gnomon very much worth doing, well worth the money and a superb experience. Also, now I can, you know, Do Stuff in Maya which is pretty much the only yardstick really worth looking at.

03-20-2009, 02:51 PM
I feel it's incumbent on me to say, as a 15-year LightWaver and forum regular though - if you're expecting Maya to solve all your animation woes then you may wish to curb your enthusiasm. It's brilliant for some things - dynamics is a dream in it, and I think it's actually using the PhysX chip in my graphics card. But there are some places it craps itself exactly where LightWave does, and other places where you'll be gawping at it in horror.

Where it's strong, it's really strong. If you can code, or bribe someone to code for you, it's great. But where it's weak, it's kinda pitiful - and there are a lot of the same gotchas as LightWave, to be honest - I was very surprised when it's oh-so-easy-to-setup "flow object to motion path" took a cross-axial dump in exactly the same place Serpent did. *snerk*.

That said, there are an awful lot of jobs for Maya users. That's frankly the only reason I spent money on the training - and I'm glad I spent it on Gnomon. It was darn fine training - just remember that the main reason Maya's so ubiquitous is it's aggressive marketing. Not how wonderful the software is.

Oooooh, that felt good to say...

03-21-2009, 06:17 PM
Thanks man...and you're right about Maya. It's not the end-all but at the moment the only two programs I am proficient in are Lightwave and Modo. I feel that if I want to really be able to hit the market once I'm ready, I need to have a few things under my belt. I was considering the 5-week Basic Film and CGI Production course, if anything to figure out if Gnomon is something that I need to further consider in the future.

Thanks for the tips though. I've found some decent rates for housing so far, especially since Gnomon has some connections with area places, but it's still a hit to the wallet (my wallet at least, poor me).