Monday, April 2, 2012

CalArts vs Ringling

So this post is a few years old and is likely outdated.  I still see people visiting here, so take with a grain of salt & be sure to ask around for yourself!

So lately I've been caught in the middle of deciding between Ringling & CalArts.  Even though that throughout the past year I've been writing how badly I've been wanting to study at Ringling, getting accepted into CalArts threw me through a real loop because 1) I wasn't expecting to get in, and 2) CalArts is just as golden an opportunity that I shouldn't disregard, especially for the sake of having my heart set on Ringling for so long.

After lurking around the net, it seems like deciding between these two schools leaves many prospective students running into quite the brick wall.  From what I've gathered, it's not just about what you want to learn, but also how you're wired to learn as an artist. 

After doing research, I've compiled a bullet list that compares some of their differences and similarities.  Though I've included things that I have been told from faculty, admissions counselors, and students + alumni from both schools, please note that a majority of these are opinions based upon my impressions as nothing more than a humble, prospective student.

  • Swaps technical focus for creative concept skills and innovation - student films tend to be more diverse as a result
  • Intention is to train students to become future directors and tv show creators, not positions that are grunts of the animation world (e.g. inbetweener)
  • Make one student film a year - will graduate with more shorts and a more diverse portfolio
  • Offers the best connections due to the large amount of alumni and its closer proximity to major studios
  • Strong focus in character animation and story
  • Best place to go if you want to work in the beginning of the animation pipeline
  • Students have a larger chance of finding a job/internship before graduating
  • Diverse in animation concentrations (TV animation, hardcore Disney, etc)
  • Animation facilities open 24/7
  • All character animation students get their own cubicle
  • Students own the shorts they make at CalArts

  • Balance of teaching technical and creative concept skills
  • More financially affordable
  • Strongest computer animation education - particularly for feature film
  • Thesis film gives you experience in the entire animation pipeline
  • Thesis film will teach you how to make an animated short at a professional and polished level
  • Industry folks from places like Pixar and DreamWorks come in to critique and provide feedback on your thesis while you are developing it
  • Best place to go if you want to work towards the end of the animation pipeline
  • Freshman are required to watch a culturally/cinematically important film once a week during first semester
  • Dirt cheap figure drawing club (FEWS)
  • Digital Painting Club (DIPSY)
  • Free MacBook Pro for every CA
  • Professional studio-like environment
  • Overall offers a more generalist education

    • Strong foundation of animation principles
    • Driven communities
    • Offers strong focuses on feature film animation
    • Strongly reputable
    • Strong and consistent line up of monthly guest speakers
    • Many alumni have jobs working in the industry


    1. Nyuk nyuk nyuk, good luck on your decision! :D :D :D BTW! We should totally go to a figurative illustration workshop thingy in chicago!! I totally want to go O.O

    2. Hi hi. I am very interested to know. Um. Well. Its so confusing. I want to be and Concept,Character designer, and storyboard artist. and. For sure want to have cool 3D animation basis. But. Well. My all passion wants to go in Ringling so badly! But maybe says i need go CalArts. And its so wierd. I have no idea. If i want to work in Disney at begin of pipeline, with story, concept and etc, I must go Calarts and if Complete finished animation from begin to end in Ringling?