Monday, December 6, 2010

iAnimate and AnimationMentor Comparison

We're almost done with the first workshop at iAnimate. I've finished the first two semesters at AM as well and I think I've seen enough at iAnimate by now to write a preliminary comparison. We have a few AM alumni at iAnimate and I'm sure they would be more competent to compare the two schools as they have gone through the whole AM program, but until one of them decides to do that I hope some of you will find this information useful. I will try my best to be as neutral as possible in the first part of the post, where I compare the schools directly, but don't expect this to be completely objective. I've made a switch from AM to iAnimate, which means that I had reasons to look elsewhere even before I knew anything about iAnimate and this clearly makes me biased.

I'll start off by saying that AM is a fantastic school and if ianimate didn't open I would've gone through the whole program there. It is leagues ahead of any traditional art program out there when it comes to character animation. iAnimate opening up doesn't take anything away from that, AM is and will be a great place to learn animation. Although the two schools are very similar in many ways there are some differences in their approach. These differences may appeal more or less to certain groups of people which is why I can't argue which school is better. It is all about how it works for you and if you find one environment to be more conductive to learning then the other.

AM was quite a departure compared to traditional schools. iAnimate takes that a little bit further which for some will be a great thing and for others not so much. AM aims to be a school, it is approved by the California's Bureau for Private Postsecondary Education (www.bppe.ca.gov). As a result AM has to adhere to certain standards set by that body which are aimed at protecting the students and assuring a standard level of quality experience. These rules refer to placement rates, refund policies etc. As another result of this approval, AM has to have grades, students have to have a minimum C or better to move on to the next class etc. In other words, to maintain a status of a school AM had to limit it self to how far it can depart from the traditional approach to education. iAnimate was able to go even further because it doesn't have these limitations. iAnimate is trying to distance it self from the "school" concept. It offers online animation workshops, it doesn't have grades and there is no pressure for anyone to move through the school at a certain pace. Neither of these institutions are accredited, and they can never be accredited exactly because they took a different approach and are focused solely on one subject. This is a good thing because if they were not able to do what they are doing we would have to take a ton of unrelated classes and the cost would have gone up significantly. To sum this section up, if you had trouble persuading your parents to join AM instead of a regular university, you'll probably have even more trouble persuading them to join iAnimate. On the other hand, iAnimate should be even more unencumbered by the educational standards and can potentially offer a more advanced experience. My advice to all high school graduates out there that are considering taking up any of the online animation schools instead of a regular university education... don't. If you have a chance to go to college and you can afford it, do it and join these animation schools as an addition or after you finish. You will miss on some of the best experiences of your life and you will miss on a great general education that will serve you well for the rest of your life.

Length (Update 11/2011): When I first wrote this comparison, I didn't feel like the difference in the length of the programs needed to be specially emphasized. However, since the introduction of another workshop at iAnimate I feel that the difference has become considerable enough to talk about it. As everyone knows the whole program at AM consists of six semesters, each 12 weeks in length. With the introduction of a new body mechanics workshop at iA, the whole program consists of seven workshops, each 14 weeks in length. This adds up to quite a lot, so the program at iA has whole six months of instruction more then AM. To my understanding, iA came to the same conclusion as AM at the time (the original AM curriculum was different then the one they have now) and that is to expand the emphasis on body dynamics. Unlike AM, which chose to keep the length of the program the same by eliminating the short film production, at iA they decided to just add another workshop and thus lengthen the whole program. The new Workshop 2 at iA has been inserted between the WS1 and the old WS2 and it is supposed to give a little bit more time for students to develop their body mechanics skills in addition to exposing them to the basics of quadruped animation.

Lectures: At AM we had weekly prerecorded lectures. These were almost always very good and they featured a variety of different professionals. However, they are not available throughout the semester, you can't see the lectures ahead of the week you are in and you can only see them four weeks back. I always found this to be an issue because often the lecture that I was able to open during the current week would've really been useful a week or two earlier. Of course you were never able to see the lectures from the previous semesters either and you were not able to download them. At iAnimate we don't have prerecorded lectures per se. Jason made all his tutorials and his Webinars available to students for free instead. I never had a chance to go through all of it, but I think there is around 80 hours of material there. Most importantly it is all downloadable and you can watch it when and as much as you need. Instead of a prerecorded lecture iAnimate has a weekly, two hour long, live demo session with Jason Ryan himself. These can be in different formats and address a different topic every week. Most of the time they are hands on tutorials where you watch him animate specific shots live, but sometimes he brings someone else in and has it setup as an interview. We are able to post questions and these are recorded and are downloadable for later viewing by everyone, anytime. Also, he's been producing interviews with some of our instructors and people he has brought from outside, separately from the demo sessions, and made them available for download. Sort of like guest lectures.

QnA Sessions: At AM, we had one live event which was a 1 hour long QnA session. It used a little flash application within the AM website where you can see the instructor, you can type your questions and the instructor can pull your camera up and have you speak to the class. The window size is quite small but is adequate for the conversation type event and simple question asking. These are not recorded and you can't access the QnAs of other groups in the school. At iAnimate there is also a live, hour long QnA session once a week but this session is recorded and is available to everyone all the time. iAnimate uses an externally provided application, also flash based, that is much more functional. It is full screen, it allows for all participants' camera feeds to be shown at the same time and most importantly it allows for desktop sharing. This allows for QnAs to take a different form, sometimes the instructor can screen share a specific shot and analyze it with the class or choose to animate something in Maya for all of us to see. An advantage AM has at this point regarding the live QnA is that they are able to find a time slot that is better suited for people living in different time zones. AM has a lot more instructors, some of which live abroad and are able to take on students that live in time zones closer to them. I am one of those, as I currently live in China. My QnA time is fine because it happens in the early evening PST which is the following late morning where I am, but my review sessions currently fall at around 1am. I never had an issue with it, but everyone living outside of US should be aware of it.

Review/eCritiques Sessions: At AM, eCritiques are prerecorded. They are very easy to access for everyone in the school and I was always happy with them. People who never attended any of these schools often think that 10 minutes is not enough for a critique but from my experience it is more then enough. eCritiques at AM, from what I've seen, are rarely more then 8-9 minutes, most of mine were 2-5 and they were completely adequate. At iAnimate weekly review sessions are live and recorded. They take a form of a class gathering that is usually between an hour and hour and a half long, and it allows for some one-on-one discussion between the student and the instructor regarding the assignments. As such, the review sessions at iAnimate simulate the real dailies much more closely. Some instructors allot a time for each student and some just go as long as they have to. It is all flexible in general because everyone gets to ask a few questions and these sessions often go over time. It is worth noting that the platform used for QnAs and review sessions is hosted by a service provider external to iAnimate (Adobe). This has advantages and disadvantages, but most importantly I think it's one of the main reasons why iAnimate is able to keep the costs down, there are no overheads related to software development and hardware purchases and maintenance. We are able to access any of the QnAs and reviews from the past and watch them whenever and as much as we want. However, they are streamed and unlike Jason's weekly demos, there is no option to download them to a local computer. This is pretty much how the whole AM website functions so its not really a difference. There were a few minor glitches with this platform that didn't affect the experience significantly. I am in China after all and I am used to problems like this, I had weeks at AM when I had to miss my QnAs either because of bandwidth or server issues but that didn't stop me. I can't vouch for anyone else's experience.

Instructors: All instructors are working professionals, in both schools. AM is a much larger school and it has more variety, animators from different studios, whereas currently at iAnimate all instructors except one or two are from DreamWorks. However, starting in 11/2011, the students at iAnimate are able to choose their instructors on a first-come-first-served basis. Whether having most of the instructors coming from the same studio is better or not you have to judge for yourself. To me it doesn't matter because they all have extensive experience and most of them have worked in multiple studios in their careers anyway. Speaking of workflows, a common misconception is that the only workflow taught in the school is the Flipbook approach that Jason advocates. This is not the case at all. I for one haven't touched Flipbook so far and that hasn't been an issue at all. As in AM, every instructor has his own way of doing things and every student has the complete freedom to approach the shot any way they think works best for them. The choice of instructors at iAnimate is made when we sign up for a new class. The instructor roster is worked out before hand, they get to choose which workshops they are going to teach in each block and then the list is published along with their review and QnA times. The existing students are given priority, we get to sign up for the classes and instructors a week or two before it gets open for the public. At iAnimate, the class size is capped at 8 students, two groups of four. I apologize but I can't remember whether the cap at AM was 12 or 16, so if anyone can contribute with that information I would really appreciate it.

Rigs: Currently, iAnimate has ten rigs provided by the school, all of a very high quality. A lot of people are using other publicly available or self built rigs as well. We usually get, on the average, a new rig every semester. The variety of rigs is great, cartoony, naturalistic, quadruped, creature etc. Preference between rigs is highly subjective, but I prefer to have a variety because it allows for a variety of shots that I can do, I don't feel pushed into a certain style of animation. I personally lean towards naturalistic characters as I feel that they are closer to what I'll have to work with on a real production in the future.

Cost (Update 11/2011): Determining the cost is actually not that straightforward because if you're accepted at iAnimate at a higher level you may not need to go through and pay for all seven workshops, while at AM you always go through the whole thing. AM offers a 72 week program (6 semesters, 12 weeks each at around $3,200 per semester), while iAnimate offers 98 week program (7 workshops, 14 weeks each at around $2,000 per workshop). The whole program at AM, if paid in installments costs around $19,500 at the time of this update, as opposed to $14,000 at iAnimate. Since the total cost of the program depends on how many workshops you need to take at iAnimate, the most reasonable comparison I think is on the cost per week of instruction, which at the time of this edit puts AM roughly at around $270 per week and iAnimate at around $145 per week.

Impressions and experience, a highly subjective part with my personal opinions which explain why I chose to stay at iAnimate instead of AM:

At iAnimate I feel there is a closer relationship with the instructors. We get more live time with them, the class size is smaller, some one-on-one time as well. The school is less strict about what we can and cannot do. At AM I was discouraged to contact mentors other then my own or to exchange files with them etc. I always felt that there is more of an artificial barrier between the students and the mentors, a lot of things were frowned upon. To manage the size, AM has to impose more strict rules in this regard, it is completely justifiable. At iAnimate we have to be very appreciative of instructors' time of course but if the instructors are OK with something, the school doesn't stand in the way. The classes are smaller which means the instructors get to know us better and that shows during our QnAs and reviews. Our communication doesn't end with the QnA and the reviews though. Some of them post resources for us on the community website all the time, sometimes they even share their Maya files with us.

At iAnimate there are no grades. At AM there is a constant pressure to keep going forward and you are graded each week. In a lot of cases I personally found this to be an obstacle because it forced me to focus more on getting a better grade for that week then having the whole shot in mind. I found my self having to redo a lot of the work from the previous week because I rushed forward when I wasn't ready. At the moment, I believe iAnimate has a more flexible and relaxed approach in terms of assignments. Focus is more on getting better then getting things done at a certain time. Because there is no grading criteria each week, there is no pressure on how to progress through the shot in a certain way. Because of this, if success at AM depended on ones work ethics and self motivation, success at iAnimate does even more so. I would be in favor of having grades if they had appropriate meaning. In my opinion at AM currently they don't, they are not a realistic representation of your skill. All straight A-s at AM don't necessarily mean that your skills are at an employable level. This is a bold statement especially when I can't substantiate it with hard data, but I can extrapolate mine. This is not solely AMs fault, I think this is very hard to accomplish and I don't blame them. It's just something people should be aware of and approach it appropriately, in other words, take the grades with a bit of caution. Also there is no pressure to finish the school in a certain amount of time. If you are not ready to move up to the next workshop, you are able to take the time off. There are no strict limitations aimed at getting you "processed" through the school in the most efficient manner. When you are ready you can send your reel to Jason and he'll let you know if you are ready to continue or not.


Despite being a much younger school, iAnimate already has a lot more learning resources then AM, simply because everything is recorded. At the time I wrote this update (08/2011), there are literally hundreds of hours of lectures, shot analysis, tutorials and interviews recorded and available for viewing. One of the most important practical differences are the rigs. I always felt constrained at AM because the provided rigs were too limited in style and always favored a certain style of animation. At iAnimate the variety of the rigs is fantastic and we are getting new ones all the time. I personally feel this is far more beneficial for the student.

The student websites at the two schools are very different. While AM's website is more streamlined, iAnimate's website fosters a more immersive community. AM's website is more structured and oriented on one's personal area. It is really easy to find people and their work but it takes a lot of effort to stay in the loop sort of speaking, you have to cruise it. iAnimate's website structure is little less comprehensive and it takes a few days to get used to, but it is really easy to see what is going on in the whole community. I found this to be very important because you never feel like you are being "left out". Being a smaller school obviously helps with this as well. Neither is perfect, but they have different qualities that appeal to different people. The attitude of both communities is great and all you could hope for but I feel that my work gets better exposure at iAnimate. At AM I had to constantly stay on my toes and go out to comment on other people's work for them to come back and comment on mine. If I would skip this step only for one week I would often find my section without any comments at all. This is not the case at iAnimate, everyone is aware of who is dong or saying what and where and I find that my work gets seen more regularly and with "no strings attached" sort of speaking.

I think most of the differences come from the size and the fact that the founders are directly involved with school's everyday activities. The whole place has a different vibe when you can see Jason browsing the campus every day and leaving comments for everyone. Even when iAnimate fills up all its workshops, AM will still be around four times as large. I personally hope iAnimate stays smaller because if it grows too much many of the things listed here may change and maybe some of the advantages will be lost. AM is a larger and more established school with dozens of employees but with less flexibility and a more impersonal feel to it compared to iAnimate, although still miles away from most other places. iAnimate is a smaller place with a lot of personality and fewer barriers, from what I hear pretty much the same as it was when AM was just starting out. I think in the long run iAnimate will appeal a lot to the working professionals and already somewhat experienced animators because of its cost and flexibility and because it allows people to join the school at the appropriate level, unlike AM that would force them to start with the fundamentals. I can imagine that having to go through bouncing balls all over again can be a little off-putting for a working animator that wants to polish his acting skills.

Again, these are my personal views and experiences so far. In addition to this post being biased it is probably not entirely fair to AM either. There are a lot of things that iAnimate didn't have to go through yet and a lot of issues they didn't have to deal with. Instructors at iAnimate for example are at this stage all handpicked, they are people that Jason Ryan already worked with and most of them still work together on a daily basis. It is more likely that they will treat iAnimate as their own and less as yet another job, and that can already be felt. Although most mentors at AM are great, because of its size, I don't think it would be fair to expect of AM to have quite the same synergy. Also, some things cannot be compared because iAnimate is too young, like job placement etc. iAnimate turned out to be everything I expected it to be when I decided to give it a go. There is an intangible quality to the school that I believe is a combination of all the little things that I mentioned here. I suppose this is what AM felt like when it was just starting up. There is that extra bit of genuine enthusiasm (and I emphasize genuine) among students and instructors alike that makes me feel like being at the right place at the right time. It is a place that makes more sense for me but that doesn't mean it is the best choice for everyone.


Addendum I (April, 2011):
Elsewhere on the Internet, some people have suggested that I must have not attended AM at all or that I have flanked, implying that I must have wrote this out of some sort of a grudge against AM. I can't offer much in the way of proof to the contrary other then to post my progress reel from AM at the time when I left, so here it is:


To be fair, following are three shots that I have done in my first workshop (WS2) at iA. These should have accompanied this article initially but at the time we weren't showing the rigs yet.



The credit for the Myronman rig goes to Joakim Palmkvist.

54 comments:

  1. Thank you for that post. It is truly informative and helpful. My current mentor works at Dreamworks and doesn't hand out A's so easily... Even though some people don't appreciate the tough love, I feel like I am really learning a thing or two this term. I try not to focus on the grades but it's part of the drive to try even harder the following week--however, like you said, we are not always ready... but I assume that would be the case in a production environment as well.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Believe it or not, after some time off in the Market, I'm curious to try out an iAnimate session. Have you heard any news on that other new school that has a character design and animation path?

    ReplyDelete
  3. "At AM, eCritiques are prerecorded. They are very easy to access for everyone in the school and I was always happy with them. People who never attended any of these schools often think that 10 minutes is not enough for a critique but from my experience it is more then enough. eCritiques at AM, from what I've seen, are rarely more then 8-9 minutes, most of mine were 2-5 and they were completely adequate."

    That's incorrect. Critiques at AM range at range from a few minutes to about 40 minutes for mentors that are nitpicky as hell.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Anonymus: Hi and thank you for reading the post. I don't know if I would use the word incorrect because what you've said is completely in line with what I've said.

    In my six months at AM I watched a lot of eCritiques and like I said before, from what I've seen, they are usually less then 10 minutes. On an occasion they are longer but that's out of the norm. And this is completely fine as the critiques are always as long as they have to be and for most people that's less then ten minutes. The main difference between the schools is that in one they are pre-recorded, which makes it more convenient and efficient for the mentors and in the other they are live and you are able to ask questions right away, which makes them more convenient for the student.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Lew: Hey Lew, thanks for your comments. As far as I understand, and someone please correct me if I am wrong, the grades are a necessary evil as well as having to start everyone at the same level at AM. This is because of the BPPE approval. We had a long thread of discussion about the whole grades issue at AM's student forum.

    I hope no one is thinking that I am implying that A-s are handed out easily at AM. My point was that the grading criteria is not entirely focused on the skill set and as such may not be a true indication of someone's ability. I think tough love is great and I think every animation student should embrace it and really appreciate any instructor that is taking that approach. Working in animation is a constant attack on one's ego and in my opinion that should be part of the animation training.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Lew: About the other school, I think you are referring to Animschool.com. From what I can see they have a good cast of instructors, including Nick Bruno of whom I heard a lot of great things from people at AM. He used to be a mentor there but I don't think he'll be able to continue since he joined Animschool. It looks interesting and I hope they are able to find their niche.

    The only thing I personally have against their animation program, and what happens to be their main differentiation factor, is that they mix in modelling and rigging into it. Knowing now how hard and time consuming character animation is, I would be weary of a program which dilutes it with anything else. That is if someone is aiming for a career as a character animator, for generalists its a different story.

    I've also heard from some people that worked at Blue Sky that Dave Gallagher is an exceptional rigger and I think their character rigging track is a potential hit. As an ex coder, if I had the time and the money, the rigging track would appeal to me greatly.

    About trying an iAnimate session, more then likely you will at some point :) The education never stops and even after we get out of our animation schools there will still be a lot of room for improvement. One of the reasons I think why we have quite a few AM alumni at iAnimate at the moment.

    ReplyDelete
  7. thx for the information.. now if only there's any review for the new animschool..

    ReplyDelete
  8. @rasko.. hey man.. thats a very informative post. Ive always wanted to hear someone compare the two. I had the choice to either go with am or to iA. I was a bit skeptical about iA at first cause, like rasko mentioned, people might have thought that there was only one workflow.. the jr workflow (which is totally not the case). And am creating so many great reels and being so established, one could understand why it may seem kinda foolish to try a new school with close to 0 rep (aside from jason ryan and his tutorials).

    one thing i noticed about the two was that am seems to encourage people to show their work to the public(correct me if im wrong) while iA does the opposite. Jason asked the students to keep the work in-house.

    as for the animSchool, being more generalized isnt entirely correct. animSchool offers courses.. a modeling/rigging, and a dedicated animation path. This seems like a good idea because the animators can constantly get rigs from the modeler/riggers and the modeler/riggers get their work tested out by the animators. thats awesome to have..

    this is definitely a good read for people still undecided and ill refer it to those who ask me..

    /fellow school mate Angelo

    ReplyDelete
  9. Hey Angelo, thanks for the comment. I haven't seen any of Animschool's classes, so all I know is what can be read on their website. They declared their animation path to be having a more "generalist" approach, with 80-20% ratio between animation and other stuff. Actually, I was able to recognize some AM alumni from the screenshots of their online environment, so maybe down the line some of them will be able to shed more light on it.

    As for encouraging people to show their work outside of school, the main reason behind the introduction of Bishop 2 rig at AM was to introduce some variety into the student work. I attended the unveiling session at Siggraph this year where Bobby Beck talked about it a little bit. He mentioned that the main complaint AM got from the recruiters and studios was that all the student work looks sort of the same. Everyone got to the point where they are completely saturated with the style of the AM's flagship rig and it has become hard for them to differentiate good reels. After seeing a coupe of hundred of those they all start to look the same. I think this is the main motivation behind Jason's intent. Once iA reels start hitting studios they will stand out more, they'll be fresh as not a lot of people would've seen them by then and certainly not as much. This of course will change over time as well, which is why I think it's important to have a slow and steady stream of new rigs introduced in the school. I personally feel that having to work with only one rig, which is not required by AM but is encouraged, shoehorns people into a certain style of animation. Variety in the rigs should definitely help with this.

    One other concern that comes up occasionally is that most animators are from Dreamworks. This is slowly changing as we are starting to get some that are not, but in general, I personally don't think this is an issue because most of them have gone through so many different studios before Dreamworks. It's not like Dreamworks has a certain workflow or way of doing things that is drastically different from the rest of the industry. It has meant so much to me to be able to see some of the instructors open up Maya and animate live for us at our QnA sessions or pull up their old shots and dissect them for us. I don't really care where they work.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Hey Rastko, just managed to notice this blog post, really interesting and very useful! Specially for me, because I´ve just recently decided to go for iAnimate full time (I was working while doing iA for the last 3 months), and I really was skeptical about whether I should carry on with it, or do a full AM course, etc..

    I mainly just wanted to convey my gratitude, and also write some other concerns regarding the subject matter. I would like to know more about AM as well.

    I have never done AM so I cannot really state facts when referring to them, but one of the things I sense is that iAnimate really, really focuses on "feature film quality" animation from their students. Do a lot of mentors from AM come from games, or other types of animation background other than film? For me personally this focus on feature film quality animation is ideal since that´s my aim. But others who like to work in games or TV might think otherwise maybe?

    I am probably one of the few who have had some thought about the background of the instructors being from Dreamworks predominantly... not in a bad way though. But I do wonder whether the school of thought between major studios itself can be drastically different (does Pixar have a different mentality and way of understanding animation than Dreamworks does....same for Blue Sky, Disney, Sony Imageworks, etc..). I personally don´t really believe so, but still, as a student learning about these things, I´m still craving for answers myself, as I need to be flexible to adapt to various styles if I ever get to work on high-end feature films (will see ... :P). AM seems to be more aware of this maybe? or maybe not? It gets even more complicated for me when considering animation as from ILM or Weta. Do veteran feature animators hold the same philosophies and views regarding animation as seniors from these VFX companies?

    Finally, another difference I´ve noticed between iA and AM is perhaps the short film project? Seems that iA embraces a more of a community approach to it, so we all maybe get to work on the same project together, being assigned shots by a director/supervisor, who at the same time could even be one of us? Is that right? Is there anything similar to this at AM?

    Once again thanks a bunch for posting this on your blog, and merry christmas + happy new year!!!!!! See you at iA :)

    ReplyDelete
  11. Hi RVG,

    Merry Chrismas to you too.

    In short, the goals of both programs are the same, they both aim for feature production quality. The difference is mainly in some details of how they chose to get there.

    I am not sure how rigorous the selection criteria for mentors at AM is, but I am confident that they do their best to maintain a very high quality. AM has some fantastic mentors as well as IA, the main difference for me is the size of the schools and how it affects the training, as well as the more open and direct relationship between the instructors and students at IA. Whatever background mentors come from, games, VFX or features, is not really an issue in my view. They all are very good at what they do and I wouldn't characterize AM as being less oriented on features. All animators being from DreamWorks is a non issue as well, mainly because all these people have long careers and have been in other studios as well. Also, I don't think there are significant differences in the animation process from studio to studio, at least not enough to pose an issue when choosing a school.

    Your last question about the short film is really interesting. Initially, AM had a short film production as part of their curriculum but after a few years they decided to phase it out. The main reason for this was that the body mechanics skills of the students coming out of the school were not developed enough. AM decided to introduce an additional body mechanics unit to strengthen that part of the curriculum and they got rid of the short film production. I am all for short film production, but given the circumstances, I think this was a really good decision that helped raise the quality of AM alumni. At a first glance it may seem that IA is making the same mistake as AM initially by having the short film production workshop as part of the curriculum. This however is misleading and I believe the two programs cannot be directly compared in this regard. I will try to explain why I think this makes more sense for IA then AM. The most important factor is that the students at AM have a limited amount of time to finish the school. They can only take two leave of absence terms and they either finish the school on time or they drop out. A fairly low expectation of achieving a C average to pass to the next semester is not much of a filtering mechanism either and ensures that people are promoted further while more then likely their skill sets are not developed enough. So basically once you get in the program, you keep moving forward at a certain pace, whether that pace is suitable for you or not. In such a scenario AM had to cram as much body mechanics into the 18 month curriculum as possible and they had to sacrifice short film production to achieve that. At IA there is no time limitation. You can take a body mechanics class and then if your skills are not there yet, take as much time off as you need to get them where they should be. You progress to the next class when you are ready and not when you have to. In such a scenario it makes more sense to have a short film production because people will only get into that class if they have already achieved a required level of skill. At AM you would be enrolled into that class regardless. Arguably, you could fail the previous semesters but achieving a C average to avoid the failure is quite easy. I believe that it will take longer for people to finish IA then AM but it should in theory ensure that the level of quality is more uniformly distributed across the students and that it is at a higher level on average. Another difference is that the short film production was an individual project at AM and it is a collaborative project at IA. Arguably, this is more of a simulation of a real production environment and should be a great learning experience, however, it remains to be seen how this works out in practice.

    ReplyDelete
  12. this is pure gold, thx a lot

    At least for me, money is a incredible important factor, those 500 bucks per month, on my country is like half of my salary so i don't really have a choice, but u really make me feel confortable about taking iA next year, so ty so much for this =)
    btw: Happy new year!

    ReplyDelete
  13. Likewise, Thanks so much for this post. This has been very informational and has helped me greatly in choosing which school is right for me. It seems like that both schools are the best animation education that you can get and that it matters on HOW you prefer to get that education. I have been attending a 4 year public university for last 3 and a half years and it was too big, and wasnt a fan of the whole grading system. So for me, IAnimate seems like the better fit. One question I have is that since I am a total beginner at animating, I dont have any reel which you need when applying to iAnimate. Is there a good website where I can get basic tutorials on how to animate simple things such as ball bouncing using MAYA? Once again thanks for the post.

    ReplyDelete
  14. Hi Hyun-Jae, I think that your conclusion is spot on. I don't think either of the schools is too restrictive on whom they take into their first class, the foundations, if there is space of course. You absolutely need a reel if you plan on skipping any of the workshops at IA but I don't think a reel is a requirement for the entrance into the first one. What is important is your intent, you need to demonstrate your dedication and resolve to become an animator, no one expects you to be great coming in but no one wants to waste any time either, yours and theirs, if it is just a little experiment for you. In other words compose a letter explaining your situation and apply.

    Regardless of the choice of school, a more important issue for you is to be clear about what you want. I don't know what your previous education or life experience is but I will pretentiously assume that you had very little contact with animation and list a few things here that I think are important to know before you decide that animation is the right career choice for you. This is not your typical tap on the back, everything is going to be great type of list, you can get a ton of motivation like that anywhere else. I'll risk looking like an ass here because I think the information could be beneficial to you.

    First and foremost, no one, and I mean no one, gets really good very quickly. It requires a lot of patience and resolve to get good at it. Even the greatest talents of all times (James Baxter and the likes) took a few years before they got really good. So don't expect wonders over night, it is very hard and time consuming.

    Animation is very rough on one's ego. Your current work is the barrometer of your quality all the time. You can't hide behind anything. You have to show your animation and you are constantly reminded exactly where you are compared to other people. It is important to understand and be prepared for this because often you may get the feeling that you are not going anywhere and that everyone else is better then you. Most people have to wrestle with the notion of quitting at some point, or multiple points.

    Lastly, not everyone succedes at animation. Even the professionals leave it at times. It's a evolving medium, the bar is being raised all the time. Finishing the school and getting the first job is not the end of it, you need to keep getting better all the time. I could say, if you are persistent enough you can make it, and sure, you could, but this is much easier said then done and a lot of people think they have that level of persistence but they really don't. People that have the real passion for animation, or are really really stuborn, they can make it as they'll go through everything because they either can't imagine doing anything else or to prove something to themselves.

    It is important to be prepared for these things so when you hit the wall, and you unquestionably will, you can stay calm anf focused and you can handle it.

    I went over the Maya requirements in one of the comments on my other post, http://rastkos.blogspot.com/2010/12/overwhelmed-with-learning-material.html. Just scroll down and look for the list of things you need to know how to do in Maya in order to be able to complete your assignments. This applies to any school not just IA. Where to fins Maya tutorials? Start with the free ones at www.learning-maya.com and area.autodesk.com/tutorials. You can always consider www.digitaltutors.com as well, it is not cheap and I personally pefer Gnomon but I think it is great for people just starting out. Of course, I am pretty sure you can find some on YouTube as well.

    ReplyDelete
  15. ?'s: job placement; how does it work for iA? is there a network? does iA help out?

    i heve never done character animation, is iA for people who are already working animators that need some brushing up or for anyone interested in animation without prior experience?

    Thank you for the comparison. it's awesome to get this info. especially when this much money, time and effort is required for some of us with little of money and time and alot of other resposibilities such as work, family and the like (among other things).

    ReplyDelete
  16. In short, iA is for both types of people. The truth is that there are a lot of experienced animators in the workshops at iA right now. In my current workshop (workshop 3) for example, 6 out of 10 are either working animators or graduates from other animation schools, some of them with 10+ years of experience. I, as someone in a similar situation like you, just starting out, find this to be very stimulating but a bit intimidating at the same time. Whether this is good or not for you depends on your personality and how you would react in a situation like that, it is certainly a hard place to stand out as the overall quality of work of the people around you is generally very high. The main reason for this is that at iA applicants can submit their reel and apply for a place in workshop 2 or 3, they don't have to start from the beginning if their work is above a certain level. This and the fact that you can take breaks and take workshops at your own pace makes it very attractive for experienced people and in general for people who are working and have other obligations. iA doesn't force a specific pace on people. To clarify this, it does once you are in the workshop, but you can take brakes between workshops if you need to let things settle in or if you have other things to do. This was very helpful to me because my money takes me further up on the learning curve. I am not forced to progress to the next class if I am not ready for it and I am not pushed to finish the whole program in a preset period of time, I get to spend the money when it counts the most for me. When I think my obligations wont allow me to have a focused term I don't have to waste my money on attending just because I have to. As a result, in general, I expect people to take a bit longer to finish iA but for the money spent I think the quality will be better then at other places. This is my opinion, which is why I am where I am.

    Having said all this, workshop 1 and 2 are full of people just starting out at animation. The community is supportive and great in general. One huge aspect of online schools in general is the ability to post you work for peer review and reviewing other people's work. However, when you have a bunch of inexperienced people doing this, you have to wonder how valid your all's opinions are and how much do they actually help someone improve their work. Because of this I think it is great to have so many experienced people around whether you are a newbie or not. I personally feel that I am learning a lot from other students' work at iA, although like I said before, at times it's not easy for my ego.

    (continued)

    ReplyDelete
  17. As for the job placement, formally iA doesn't offer any. I know that some of the outreach programs out there are starting to look at iA, but officially iA doesn't organize job fairs etc. I thought about it a lot myself before I made a switch and these are some of my conclusions. First one of those is that job placement claims don't mean much to me. What is a "job" in animation industry anyway when most of the work is project based, freelance, short term etc? The fact that a graduate of a school has a gig or two after their graduation doesn't count as a job placement for me and it's not a valid statistic for anything else other then school promotion. No amount of "job placement" is going to get me anywhere if the quality of my work is not up to par, so that's my first focus. If the recruiters are looking at the students' work they are searching for exceptional talent in a population of a couple of thousand students and alumni. This can work out great for some people, but very few of them. The school won't promote people whose work is not up to par so it comes down to the quality of the reel again. Do I need someone to help me write a cover letter and a CV, I don't think so. Will I get help to compile the best possible reel I can out of my work from any school out there, I'm sure I will. I am not saying that job placement efforts don't help, but for me the most important question was which place will help me achieve the best quality of work, because ultimately it all comes down to that. How all of this will work out in the market is hard to say right now, it's still too early, iA is only in its second term (block).

    This is all from my own perspective, you have to put it into the context of your own circumstances so I am not sure how helpful this is to you. If you have any other questions or concerns please don't hesitate to raise them here.

    ReplyDelete
  18. Hi Rastko, as u mentioned, if we are not ready foor the next workshop for iAnimate(e.g from workshop 1 to workshop 2), we are able to continue working on our shots to the level which are ready to enrol. And during this period when we are not in any workshop, are we still able to get critiques from lecturers at iAnimate?

    ReplyDelete
  19. Hi Rastko,

    I signed up for iAnimate a few weeks ago starting with workshop 1 at the end of August 2011. I cannot wait.
    It great to hear such positive things about iAnimate.

    thanks for posting


    rgds


    Andrew Henson
    Milton Keynes - United Kingdom

    ReplyDelete
  20. This is really helpful! I'm really eager to apply. Although I'v been using Cinema 4d I hope to be able to learn character animation with the use of Maya and great experienced instructors. I'm glad ianimate is more one on one and community based. I'm also glad to know that I don't have to enroll into a four year college and go into more debt to get a good education.
    Thanks so much for taking the time to post this and to answer everyone's questions.

    ReplyDelete
  21. they both great, My question is, if someone like me who can not afford both schools, and he is learning animation by himself, will i ever get the chance to have a job?

    ReplyDelete
  22. You could. The question is where? At Pixar, Dreamworks and other high end studios, not impossible but very unlikely. You would have to be an exceptional talent, beyond exceptional, the like of Sergio Pablos or James Baxter and they both had training. In smaller studios, local studios, sure you could. The main question for you to answer is how important animation is to you and what is your ambition. You have to be completely honest with yourself. If it is very important and you want to pursue it no matter what, then you have to arm yourself with patience and start planning how to educate yourself. When there's a will, real will, there's a way. I worked for five years as an IT manager before I was able to afford taking the time off and paying for these schools. It would take you much longer on your own and you will probably miss many important concepts, but you can definitely reach the level where someone somewhere is willing to hire you. It is entirely up to you and how much hard work you put into it.

    ReplyDelete
  23. I got accepted to AM 5 days ago and today I found out about iA.
    I'm so confused and don't know what to do. How to choose?
    I'm glad you posted this on your blog, but it's really hard decide what to do.
    You wrote every little detail and it's so helpful but hard to choose.
    I've heard about AM from different people. Animators, critique/journalists, friends. AM is a well known school almost everywhere around the world and I have been waiting for 3 years to have the opportunity (sources) to study.
    I have 20 days to decide. Either I proceed with AM or switch to iA.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Just found this site, sadly this post is 2+yrs old but curious to what you decided and your experience.

      Cheers

      Delete
  24. Hi shaghig, unfortunately I don't have any more information that could help you make that decision. One thing you shouldn't worry about is whether you will learn how to animate or not because, if you have any talent for animation, both schools will teach you well.

    Ask yourself these questions:

    How difficult will it be for you to pay for the school and will you be able to put yourself through the whole program? (Consider both the cost and the length of the programs, AM has six 12 week modules, iA has seven 14 week modules. It will take 18 months to complete AM and over two years to complete iA if you don't take any breaks)

    Do you already have some experience and will starting at the level you are at make more sense then starting from scratch?

    Will you need to take a lot of breaks from school? Some people do, maybe because of the money or because they are working and their schedules get really busy or sometimes simply because they need more time to understand what they've covered so far.

    Are your interests in different styles of animation narrow or broad, is one style enough for you or would you like to learn animating different styles with different rigs?

    Do you have to have a "Diploma" at the end or not? (I put Diploma in quotes here because it shouldn't be confused with a real degree that you would get from a university which it is not.)

    Don't feel pressured just because you got accepted. Getting accepted in any of the schools is not a big issue because they both aim to teach beginners. Do as much research as you can and give your self enough time to think about it. Consider everything carefully. Eventually you will feel more comfortable with one school over the other.

    ReplyDelete
  25. Thank you so much, this is really helpful.

    About the diploma, in this case I think the demo real is more important than any degree you get. Since they look at your work while they hire.

    I think I know what I want. I already contacted iA and waiting for more information about the enrollment process.

    Thank you again. Hopefully I made the right decision.

    ReplyDelete
  26. Hi shaghig, think it over carefully, make sure you understand all aspects of the decision before you commit. Most importantly, make sure you really want to commit to animation. Animation is not all milk and honey as some will have you believe. There is a reason why the vast majority of animation graduates, which have gone through years of training, are still not able to attain the level at which they can be considered for positions at good studios. It is very hard and challenging to get good at it and although iA is significantly cheaper then AM, it is still a considerable expense.

    As far as a diploma goes, that's true, everyone will tell you that. One overlooked aspect of having a degree is that if you intend to work abroad it is easier to obtain immigration visas if you are educated in the field. However, this only applies to real degrees issued by accredited universities. Neither AM's diploma or iA's certificate will make it any easier for you, the governments usually don't accept them.

    Good luck!

    ReplyDelete
  27. THIS WAS GREAT BRO! VERY ENCOURAGING. THANK YOU.

    ReplyDelete
  28. hey rastkos, this insight into iAnimate has been really great. i'm like you in a lot of ways (used to work IT, used to attend AM). i didn't get to finish AM though, due to other commitments at the time (i got married, and had kids). but now, jason's accepting me into iAnimate right into Workshop 3. your post here, and all the comments that followed, totally helped me in deciding to join iAnimate in Jan 2012. see you around the iA campus!

    also, i second you on some of the things you wrote, namely:-

    "AM is a larger and more established school with dozens of employees but with less flexibility and a more impersonal feel to it compared to iAnimate, although still miles away from most other places"

    and...

    "Also there is no pressure to finish the school in a certain amount of time. If you are not ready to move up to the next workshop, you are able to take the time off. There are no strict limitations aimed at getting you "processed" through the school in the most efficient manner."

    ReplyDelete
  29. You'll be more then welcome Tahir. You've done this sort of thing before so you know what to expect. You may even find some people that you know from AM since we usually have a few of their alumni at IA. I don't know if you've continued animating since you left AM but my word of advice is, be patient with yourself. A lot of people can't wait to jump in and animate with some of the more naturalistic characters like Skyscraper and Jane, but be warned, it's a lot harder to sell the animation when you're not working with a cartoony character. So just have this in mind and give yourself some breathing space, i.e. don't judge yourself too harshly if the going gets tough initially :)

    ReplyDelete
  30. Hello, thanks for writing this post I've found it really helpful. The comments you have been writing are also extremely insightful.

    Immigration Visas are the one thing holding me back from online courses as I'm in the UK and would like to consider jobs all around the World (especially the US).

    I have a degree from a British Uni in Graphic Communication. When I say that I think most people think graphic design, which I did do there, but I actually specialised in film/animation. I didn't receive extensive training in animation so I want to retrain in a more focussed way.

    When you say "educated in the field" do you have in mind animation specific courses or do you think a general degree like mine could get accepted by a Visa too?

    That's really the only thing making me look back to the traditional schools.

    Many Thanks

    ReplyDelete
  31. Hi David, this long winded response is my personal opinion and I am sure there will be people that strongly disagree with it.

    I am not familiar with how work related visa processing goes in detail. I know the government can be more or less lenient depending on the number of circumstances, including the relationship they have with a studio as well as the current political climate. I do know that the experience counts too, as well as how determined the studio is to bring you in. So, your degree could count depending on the circumstances. This is something only an experienced recruiter would be able to answer accurately.

    The question is which is more important, the skills or a degree. I think every animator should be focused on raising their skill level to the maximum, without it the degree would not matter at all because they wouldn't have a hope of finding a good job. The contentious part of this comment follows. In my view, today, the best animation training happens online. There could be other, traditional, animation programs that are very focused on character animation but I am not aware of any, at least not to the same extent as the online schools are. UK doesn't have anything like Gobelins I believe, which would be great, however unlikely. Places like CalArts are more film schools then animation schools, and most other "Animation" programs are not really character animation focused at all. Over the last year and a half I have met students from most of the digital art schools and they have all joined the online schools for the same reason, to complement their base education which is lacking in the area of character animation.

    If you have a lot of natural talent for animation, you are hard working and fairly young, it may not matter as much because you will get good enough in your own time. If the time and money is more important, the online schools are far more effective.

    There are exceptions to all of this and I have met people that have been able to get good jobs abroad without much in terms of degrees and I've also met great animators that are self taught. In any case, having good contacts is immeasurable. The smaller the school the better at first, because your best contacts at the start of your career are not your classmates (unless they are already working professionals) as much as your instructors. Most of the animator Cinderella stories that you can read online invariably happen as a result, of those people having exceptional talent of course, and someone working for the school recommending them someplace. So ask yourself who in the current industry will you know and would be able to approach for an advice if you go to a traditional program and who if you go to one of the online schools.

    Again, all this has to be biased, I am justifying the choices that I have already made :)

    ReplyDelete
  32. Wonderful article! I'm in the middle of deciding between AM, iAnimate and Sheridan's 1-year postgrad program. I'm 19 and pursuing a New Media Art BFA, but I'd like to augment the degree with more technical animation training.

    Do you think AM would be difficult to complete properly while being a full-time student at another university? Their website says you may have to devote 30-40 hours a week to the course, and I'm not sure if I can balance that with my other classes. Other sources say they only needed about 10 hours a week, which is easily done.

    ReplyDelete
  33. Hi Michelle, it won't be easy, but how hard it gets will depend on what your main objective is and what your current skill level is. I'll tell you right away, no matter what your skill level is, 10 hours a week in any of the online animation schools won't do it except on an odd week here and there and maybe in the first class. On average I would say around 30 hours is more realistic to do solid (probably not stellar) work, it differs for everyone. The issue is not passing the program at AM, that you can do, but you probably won't get much better if you don't put enough time into it. There's a saying that you get out what you put in, but nowhere did I find it to be more true then in animation.

    I don't know much about Sheridan's postgrad program so I can't comment on that. AM is more structured and more strictly scheduled, already being a student it will feel more familiar, so that may work very well for you. iA on the other hand is a lot more flexible and your money will go much further. It also depends on how rigorous your BFA program is.

    Something that will happen quite often, and what you need to consider the most I think, is when the workload for your BFA doesn't allow for enough time to be invested into your animation work on a given week or a month. Will the program be able to adapt to that or will you just have to move on regardless?

    ReplyDelete
  34. Thanks for the prompt reply rastkos! Your blog's been eye-opening. I'm teaching myself traditional animation right now with a stack of animation books, and I took two years of 3D animation in high school. It was a very basic elective program though, nothing professional.

    I'd really like to be an animator, not a rigger or a modeler (I'd love to have been a traditional animator, but I was born in the wrong era.)

    One thing I read that I really like about AM is the opportunity to network with people who can help you survive the field after graduating. They seem to be very well-connected and good at placing their students. I know the individual reel is the most important thing, and I think both iAnimate and AM's reels look impressive, but is iAnimate as helpful with reels and job placement as AM?

    I agree that you need to devote some serious time to the craft, which is why I may have to wait until I graduate. I don't want to be one of those people who sacrifices learning in order to graduate sooner.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hey Michelle, some quick reply, eh? So sorry for the delay. Unlike you I was born in the right era because if it wasn't for computers I could never animate :) Being young and having time to learn things in a more relaxed fashion is a great thing. Getting into animation at a late age of 37 like me is no walk in the park, and sometimes not fun at all.

      In my view both places have advantages when it comes to job search and networking. AM has an established approach to it. They organize occasional job fairs and I am sure studios approach them when they are looking for talent. You also need to think about what placement really means. No school really places you anywhere, unless it's an internship I suppose. It shows your work among hundreds of others to prospective employers who then pick and choose. There's more to it of course, they may help you with your resume and such, but essentially it is about showing your work. Real networking are people that you know personally that can be future job leads. That's where I think iA has an advantage. Because of the way it is set up, iA is full of working animators, some very experienced, some already working in very well known game, fx and animation studios. These are your classmates, the real contacts and connections. I can't think of a way to say this better but iA is less of a business entity, you deal with it on a much personal level, directly with people behind it. There is no separation between the people that do the animation part and people that run the school. These people are your personal connections as well.

      This is all up for a discussion, it's just my opinion. I think joining iA has been one of the best decisions I made in my life so I can't be completely unbiased. The bottom (unbiased!?) line, your last workshop at iA will be focused on polishing your reel. As far as the placement part goes, iA doesn't hold job fairs. Do studios come to look? Yes they do. Do the people from iA help recommend students that are deemed ready for job opportunities? Yes they do. Have people found jobs through their affiliation with iA? Yes they have. Is anything guaranteed? It is not. Not much of a help, I know :)

      Delete
  35. Thank you for your reply. I will look into the visas a little more but after speaking to you and a number of other people I am definitely going for either Animation Mentor or iAnimate. At the moment I am swaying more towards iAnimate as I like the idea of learning a little about animal animation too. The reels also look a more varied in style, which I'm sure the extra character rigs help with. The last iAnimate showcase reel blew me away!

    ReplyDelete
  36. Hi David, it's a move in the right direction. Either of these two will benefit you a lot, put them both in perspective of your own needs and circumstances and pick what feels right. Good luck!

    ReplyDelete
  37. Hello rastiko, thanks a lot for the awesome post. I am working in an IT firm and am planning to shift to animation out of passion. Just as a newbie would be, I am confused about several things, I hope I'll find some answers here.

    1) I am doing a course in Maya and Zbrush in India. I never knew before that one has to completely focus on animation only if I ever were to become good animator. So do I leave the zbrush course right away. I think I will go ahead with the maya course, hoping it will catalyse my further studies in animation either in AM or iA. I need your comments here.

    2) More importantly even though your blog almost shouts out that iA is better 'for me' :P, I am a little semi-worried about the placements. Can you let me know about how placement work in this industry. What I meant was are demoreel and/or contacts everything here. Are there anty more factors that push you ahead of others(like good will of AM/any university may be).

    Please don't take me wrong. I will most likely be leaving my job by this june(which will help me accumulate all the money for iA for sure) and precisely by that time I will be done with the maya course. And considering I am 23 now, I'll be 25 by the time get done with iA/AM. And our family considers a jobless 25 years guy to be a criminal :P

    Thanks a lot in advance and thanks once again for the awesome comparison. And finally sorry for bothering you with such a long post :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Bharadwaj, so sorry for such a late reply. I can't answer your questions with absolute certainty, a lot of it is subjective. Do you need Zbrush for animation? No, you don't. Should you stop learning it? No if that's what you really like. If you are really committed to becoming an animator, and only that, then yes, you should probably focus on Maya now, before you start animating. I wouldn't even worry about Maya too much either, I think what you need to do just animation, is only a fraction of Maya's toolset. Knowing how to light and render can be useful though because it helps you "sell" your shots better.

      As far as a placement in the industry goes, it is not easy. There are two main problems, one is that your work must be of high quality and the other is that you have to get it seen by whomever makes hiring decisions. So to answer your question, yes, I do believe your reel and your contacts are everything. No studio will hire an animator just on a good word by the school if the reel doesn't substantiate it. So your main focus should be to get really good. If you get really good the job will be just a matter of time and may depend on you social skills and yes, a little bit of luck. But even without these in high supply, if your reel is outstanding, the job will come.

      Going down the animation road is risky, like most decisions we make in life, but animation is a little different because you can't just wing it. You can't talk your way out of situations or schmooze your way through bad shots. Your social skills certainly help like in any other line of work, but shots speak for them selves and if they are not good they are not good. The risk comes from not knowing how good you will become. I think almost anyone can become a great animator but I also think a lot of people underestimate really how much work and commitment it requires to get to a certain level. People that eventually drop out of animation are the ones who ran out of patience or strength before they could reach that level. The bottom line is your success entirely depends on the level of your commitment so make sure this is what you really want to do, no matter what, and then it's all or nothing after that. At least that's my philosophy :)

      Delete
  38. Great post, I really appreciate how you've tried to be as objective as possible. I was at AM until class 3, but the financial situation was hard for me to manage and I've already stepped out twice, so they won't let me back in again. (And I should say that these terms were made clear to me by AM, so I'm not complaining). I was looking around for a proper review on iAnimate so I could see if it would be worth attending to continue my learning - it seems it's at least as good as AM so thank you very much for all the info :-)

    ReplyDelete
  39. $3,225.50 (is all I have to say)

    ReplyDelete
  40. Great post. For me, I work a day job and live paycheck to paycheck. I really want to learn a 2nd trade, but this would be very hard for me to pull off financially.

    I've heard that iAnimate (since not a board certified school) isn't applicable for a Salie Mae loan... but AM is... do you know if that's true?

    Either way I'm not sure how I would pull off either school financially.

    ReplyDelete
  41. hi everyone.

    i have question for those who did ia or am.

    what is the level in drawing or 3d to.do it?
    i never worked in art domain or used maya..

    do you think people beginners can start a school.like this?

    ReplyDelete
  42. great, thx for your time to wrote this. Now i have perfect clarity what i wont to do and where to go. Ps. Great animations reel's great filing of waight. Best regards
    Robert

    ReplyDelete
  43. Hey Rastko! I really really really appreciate this post and there's a reason it's still alive (At least as far as I'm concerned :)
    I have a few questions , I guess mainly about geographical issues. Hehehe well actually before I go on, I heard in the new iAnimate podcast that you had been offered a role on Wreck It Ralph so really congratz!
    So you did mention visas and all that down the comments but I was curious about your case/situation I'm terms of working for Disney. You said you were living in China? Can I ask how this worked out for you? :) if you are a dual citizen or something of the sort, would you know of any relevant stories?
    Haha and you also mention that at iAnimate the teachers are both more closer to you (due to class size and all the variables you mentioned) and from Dreamworks. Does this relationship give a more likely chance of being recommended for a role later on and is it maybe even better in that regard to AM if let's say you wanted to get into DreamWorks specifically.
    Thank you Rastko for this post again. I really

    ReplyDelete
  44. Great post, thanks a lot! I've been considering signing up for the character animation program at AM, but now that I've learned about iA, I'm a bit confused. In the end, I guess it all comes down to the same thing. All that really counts is talent, hard work and determination, otherwise you're not gonna get there. I'm wondering if anyone knows of any Germans who've completed the program?!

    ReplyDelete
  45. I´m an AM alumni, as well as started a class at IM. Just to be clear, everything gets recorded at ianimate, but only stuff from James Ryan is available for download. I think this is not clear for everybody. Ecrits at animation mentor were superb, in 5-10 minutes you get tons of things to change for your assignemnt, we will see how crititcal/analytical eCrits at IM will become. But the 2 main rigs from Ianimate are better rigged/designed than AM stuff.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Also, at AM you get a better community feel and i think if i didn´t had the whole AM programm, some information were missing at ianimate, i think bey both complete themselve

      Delete
  46. Great post, thank you for the comparisons and details.

    Just curious, has anything changed since the original posting in 2010, to presently?

    ReplyDelete
  47. Hi all who are still reading this blog post, thanks a lot for this comparison, I am also curious if there are some news, what changed since 2010 at IAnimate. And I'l be grateful to find out someone who actually study there.

    I' spoke lately with my friend/colleague who attended and went trough full AM program this year and he advised me to look on IAnimate and AnimSchool, but definitely said that AM is enormous and great way how to advance yours skills. As I can say for now, thanks to this blog/forum and thanks to fantastic Rastko's review of thees two great schools, my go is at least for now IAnimate

    ReplyDelete
  48. Did both am and ianimate

    As an animator I seek naturalistic animation and not cartoony. So I found ianimate much better for the style i'm passionate about. But if you like cartoony styled anim and want to push that style, go for AM without doubt.

    AM creature course is purely awesome. The best I have ever invested in. It's perfect if you want to work within vfx.

    AM offers ALOT more then ianimate when it comes to rigs, tools, website, community etc. But I prefer the rigs at ianimate and the way they do things on a week to week basis.

    So it all comes down to preference.

    But my short recommendation I always tell people is.

    New to animation - go AM
    Cartoony Animation style - go AM
    Naturalistic and not so pushed anim - go ianimate
    Experienced animator seeks improvement or a new style - go ianimate

    ReplyDelete