Challenges of the week give artists the opportunity to create new and fantastic art based on a weekly theme set by the challenge moderators. They are also a great place to develop core skills.
Being featured on ConceptArt.org can get your artwork viewed by millions of artists a month including big industry leaders.
|Color and Light||1.1||Do Assignment|
|Color and Light||1.2||Do Assignment||1.3 | 1.4|
|Illusion of Space and Atmosphere||1||Do Assignment|
|Personal Art||1.1||Do Assignment|
Hey everyone, just writing here to fill in on the current status of the University of Advancing Technology. As some of may or may not know, the University of Advancing Technology (UAT) is a private school in Tempe, Arizona (just below Phoenix by 5 minutes). It features Network Security, Robotics, Digital Arts & Animation, Game Programming, Multimedia studies for Film and Audio, Game Art & Animation, and most prominently, Game Design.
Back in my junior year of high school, I'd heard about the University of Advancing Technology through a game magazine. I believe it was GamePro, but I can't remember, as it was too long ago. Anyway, to make a long story short, I decided I wanted to be the next Tetsuya Nomura and pursue education in Game Design. Back then, early on in 2002-2004, there was a major called Game Concept Art & Design, which was revamped to Game Art & Animation in 2005-2006. Game Design had split off into a new major of its own, which now holds 70% of the student population with 50% of that mass dropping out in their first semester. Apparently students don't understand that Game Design does not mean you attend school to play games 24/7. Regardless, such was the case and still is today.
Now, before I continue, let me explain that I had hopes of learning everything it takes to be a concept artist in the games industry. I thought I knew what I was doing and thought that UAT was the place to obtain my goals. I'd done my research and toured every school I could find in terms of Game Art & Design. I'd toured DigiPen, Full Sail, DeVry, and all those false business colleges just to be sure what was true and what wasn't. In the end, as an observant and prospective student who believed he had his head on straight (I was a straight A student from child through high school), I'd found UAT to be the most viable in terms of freedom and costs. In essence, DigiPen would rank out as #1, but the work load and time management is incredibly high, not to mention expensive, while UAT came out 2nd with some personal freedom and ease of mind.
I'd applied to UAT in 2008 and started class in January 2009. The first semester was a lot of fun as the social atmosphere here is really uplifting despite being a huge sausage fest (99% guys). However...I'd quickly found out that I was full of questions. Did I really want to pursue game design? I'm an artist...Why didn't I pursue an art school instead? Am I here for the wrong reason? Am I wasting my money? Negative questions and thoughts proceeded to fill my mind as I took a step back and reevaluated my situation. The fact of the matter is that the art department here at UAT is severely lacking in terms of support and understanding. Dave Bolman, the head honcho of the school, doesn't seem to understand that Game Art is essentially an off-shoot of art as a whole. He believes that the process can be skipped and that everything can be done digitally, or that the iterative processes of art can be bypassed, leaving the students with the rough and dirty skills that he feels are sufficient enough for the gaming and entertainment industries.
There was a glimmer of hope however. You see, my mother was an art teacher, and I'd always drawn since I was a child, but due to the stereotypical parental upbringing, I was always advised that art wasn't a career to uptake. This prevented me from knowing things like CA or the big names that we all know and idolize. Anyway, I was able to meet a small group of dedicated artists here at UAT who shared the same sentiments as me. It was through them that I learned of ConceptArt.Org and Massive Black. I'd learned enough that I'd decided I needed to get my life in order once again and truly learn from the best. My friends and I then sleuthed around and did some talking. We negotiated a bit and got UAT to help fund with our trip to Reverie earlier this year, and to say the least, it was a life-changing experience which I enjoyed to the fullest extent. Along with us came one of two art professors who, like the few of us, believed the art department of UAT needed a serious overhaul.
We came back with a lot to share and a lot to tell. Essentially, as Jason Manley exclaims, there are very few art schools out there that are worth your time and money, and that you get what you put in. As a student hoping to make a difference, I'm trying my hardest to help turn the major here around, and am working privately with the art professors to raise and develop my own personal skill outside of class. Essentially, as of this moment, I'm paying $35,000+ a year to self-teach myself.
Is it worth it? It's hard to say. In terms of art, I'm not going to lie to anyone who's interested...do yourself a favor and attend a school with a good reputation, i.e. Ringling or SCAD or something. I can only do so much here at UAT, but as of this moment, this is not the place to be for learning art. You could say that I'm contradicting myself since I said that you get what effort you put in, but I believe that as a student, it's always good to have some sort of direction on top of the effort, even if it's a faint line of direction, it's good to have something to fall back on.
Now, in terms of Game Design, the school is popular for it. Without a doubt, the gaming industry has exploded with popularity over the past decade, and with it comes the aspiring young minds hoping to make a happy living and adventurous career. As I mentioned earlier, over 70% of the student population here are majoring in Game Design, with over 50% of them dropping out in the first semester. As with any other major, you're going to school to learn, not to fool around. Don't come here and pay $35,000+ a year just to do what you already do at home. I will tell you this right now, if you're going to succeed in any way and pursue your dreams, you need to set that game controller down. You can play every once in a while, but if you're not working hard and studying, you will not do well. As part of my major in Game Art & Animation (or as I call it, 'Art'), I had to take a few Game Design courses. Of over 30 kids in a basic Game 101 course, I was one of two students to obtain an A. I'd come out on top with an A+ at 106%. I'm not saying this to brag in any way, but just mean to show that there are very few students who actually take the courses seriously. The majority of the students play games or put in little effort. But I guess you can say that it applies to almost any other school, huh? Regardless of the negativity, it's simple facts and principles.
To the school's credit though, it's not entirely doom and gloom as I've possibly made it out to sound. One of the professors, David Wessman, has an outstanding resume in making hits such as Saints Row, a plethora of multi-platinum hit Star Wars games, Blood Wake, and several other games such as Death Jr. He's a little loopy, a huge board game addict, but a cool guy. Paul Andrus and Ron Floyd are also great teachers with masters degrees in fine art. These are the men you want to work with and get to know for both art and game design, however, it takes a serious and conscious effort to make the most of your time here.
In terms of other majors, Network Security is outstanding here. I hear it has a 100% job placement rate upon graduation within the field, but I haven't done any research on it, so take it with a grain of salt. For Game Programming, Animation, or Digital Modeling/3D art, there seems to be a decent foundation, but if you're into any of that, you'd probably already know to attend better schools for the fields such as Ringling or a school dedicated to computer science.
Again, just to reiterate, while the Game Design program here is great and thriving, everyone should keep in mind that learning is more important here than enjoyment. As for Game Art...go learn from the best and study at top schools like Ringling, SCAD, or Cleveland Institute of Art. As James Kei told me, "Seek out who you want to learn from, and go study under them." Mr. Greg Manchess, at Reverie, also said, "If you're gonna do it, you gotta do it on your own." With all that in mind, I hope I've been of some help, and wish you all the best of luck with your futures in pursuit of education and higher learning. Some of us had to learn the truth of things the hard way, but we're making it known so that you don't have to make the same mistakes.