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Sunday, 6 May 2012

Great Schools of Animation: Ringling College of Art and Design (USA)

Ringling College of Art and Design is situated in Sarasota, Florida in 35 acres of mainly pedestrianised campus. The private, independent, four-year visual arts college has some 1100 students including students currently from 40 countries. The Computer Animation course, one of 13 disciplines on offer, is the most popular. A requirement of entry is proficiency in English and the submission of an art portfolio. The university as a whole has an acceptance rate of 74.0%, not surprising given applicants need to be able to afford the high fees. That said, the quality of tuition and the standard of facilities is widely considered state of the art, whilst the Computer Animation major has the most demanding standards for admission. Programs include motion, modeling, sound and lighting. Computer Animation majors take core courses in such topics as drawing and design. The graduate employment is outstanding with Pixar, Disney, Blizzard Entertainment, Dreamworks and Hallmark actively recruiting. Tuition and fees was $32,290 in 2011. The gender ratio last year was 41.5 percent male students and 58.5 percent female students. Freshers are housed within the campus. In terms of alumni one cannot get more contemporary than Brandon Oldenburg, the co-director of the 2012 Oscar winning short, The Fantastic Flying Books of Morris Lessmore. For more detailed information on the college click here.

Ringling is rightly proud to point out that 3D World Magazine has selected it as their top college for computer animation in North America for the past two years. Bear in mind though, computer animation is a loose term; just about every animation I cover uses a computer somewhere in its creation. 3DWM has its own focus so the award is not all embracing. Other schools of animation in Canada or the USA, of course, have their own style, often praised in the Animation Blog. I shall look at their qualities as the series develops. For now, the four films below are chosen at random from the Vimeo presentation site for the 2011 Ringling Thesis Films. I simply looked at the last four posted. They each display an assured mastery of the 3D software (thereby endearing them to the editors of the 3D magazine) and unlike some thesis films from some other schools, they are chiefly by individuals.

Hunted from Gordon Pinkerton has the last of his kind hunted to extinction in a humorous and well made 3D (Maya) short. The production extends to a character voice in what I take to be an English accent though nothing like mine.

Origins from Robert Showalter has a beguiling little tin man, all rust and odds and ends, board a train on a voyage of discovery.

Stephanie Russell's Marshmallows features a dragon exhibiting dog like behaviour in its lust for the squelchy confectionery. Never trust dragons though this one is something of a sweetie. A terrific score from Erez Koskas.


Shadow of Doubt once again is a comic affair, this time tracing the antics of a bungling killer as he attempts to cover up his crime. Eric Chou and Russell Miller show why the big companies are so keen to employ Ringling graduates. They should and hopefully do look at the musicians too because, again, Erez Koskas' contribution is exemplary. He's a star if I've ever heard one.


33 comments:

Anonymous said...

Thank you for the interesting article. There are two bits of information that I haven't had any luck finding. First, what is the acceptance rate for just the animation program? Second, when animation majors graduate, do most find full-time employment, or is it primarily contract work?

Thanks!

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