Animation at Hertfordshire Watch

ClockworkPaws
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Went to an open day recently hoping seeing the campus would finally convince me this was the place for me, but it's left me more uncertain

The course looks great, though I have a few concerns..

It was made VERY clear the course is very intense, which I already knew going in, but my concern is that how does anyone ever have any time to have fun (other than the fun of animating!)
I have a habit of working on art for days on end, to the point it's damaged my health in the past, and I've been told I need to break this work ethic and make time to take care of myself and have fun doing other things, especially after becoming ill. I heard on here this course even skips freshers?
I'm serious about my work, and I know they're warning people to put off those who aren't serious about their degree and want to spend every night clubbing, but isn't part of university going out and having fun with new friends? I don't want to get smashed every night, but is there time for movie nights or trips to Asda at 3am?
Another thing that concerns me is the lack of art facilities for animation - but I was only shown two rooms, so I have no idea what the rest of their facilities are like! If anyone can give any information on them I would be most appreciative.
I get the impression that the course focuses more on the technical, almost mathematical side of animation and much less on the creative/art side. Coming from an arts specific university, I'm unsure of this. Again, I'd love any insight!
I adore animation and I love the look of this course - it looks like it can actually help me grow as an artist in comparison to quite a few other courses in the UK, but as a disabled student + somebody who just spent a year bedridden, I want to know if I'll have the time to truly enjoy university outside of the computer lab!

The campus and area as a whole is.. not my cup of tea to say the least. But if the course IS the best in the country then I'll have to compromise on something.
Can anyone tell me what living on College Lane campus is like?? I have one friend who goes there who literally just sits in her room most of the time..
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(Original post by ClockworkPaws)
Went to an open day recently hoping seeing the campus would finally convince me this was the place for me, but it's left me more uncertain

The course looks great, though I have a few concerns..

It was made VERY clear the course is very intense, which I already knew going in, but my concern is that how does anyone ever have any time to have fun (other than the fun of animating!)
I have a habit of working on art for days on end, to the point it's damaged my health in the past, and I've been told I need to break this work ethic and make time to take care of myself and have fun doing other things, especially after becoming ill. I heard on here this course even skips freshers?
I'm serious about my work, and I know they're warning people to put off those who aren't serious about their degree and want to spend every night clubbing, but isn't part of university going out and having fun with new friends? I don't want to get smashed every night, but is there time for movie nights or trips to Asda at 3am?
Another thing that concerns me is the lack of art facilities for animation - but I was only shown two rooms, so I have no idea what the rest of their facilities are like! If anyone can give any information on them I would be most appreciative.
I get the impression that the course focuses more on the technical, almost mathematical side of animation and much less on the creative/art side. Coming from an arts specific university, I'm unsure of this. Again, I'd love any insight!
I adore animation and I love the look of this course - it looks like it can actually help me grow as an artist in comparison to quite a few other courses in the UK, but as a disabled student + somebody who just spent a year bedridden, I want to know if I'll have the time to truly enjoy university outside of the computer lab!

The campus and area as a whole is.. not my cup of tea to say the least. But if the course IS the best in the country then I'll have to compromise on something.
Can anyone tell me what living on College Lane campus is like?? I have one friend who goes there who literally just sits in her room most of the time..
Hi @ClockworkPaws

It's great you came along to an open day

It is an intense course however there would definitely be time for you to have a social life too. Most courses do not have lectures on a Wednesday afternoon so this is when lots of students take part in sports and societies etc.

Would you like me to see if I can put you in touch with one of our animation students so they can let you know how they found the workload and the facilities?

Don't forget we have a wellbeing team who you are welcome to get in contact with before you start your studies - https://www.herts.ac.uk/life/student...dent-wellbeing

Our student rep here @Michelle Bieger can let you know more about what it's like to study and live in Hatfield.

Thanks,
Heather
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(Original post by ClockworkPaws)
Went to an open day recently hoping seeing the campus would finally convince me this was the place for me, but it's left me more uncertain

The course looks great, though I have a few concerns..

It was made VERY clear the course is very intense, which I already knew going in, but my concern is that how does anyone ever have any time to have fun (other than the fun of animating!)
I have a habit of working on art for days on end, to the point it's damaged my health in the past, and I've been told I need to break this work ethic and make time to take care of myself and have fun doing other things, especially after becoming ill. I heard on here this course even skips freshers?
I'm serious about my work, and I know they're warning people to put off those who aren't serious about their degree and want to spend every night clubbing, but isn't part of university going out and having fun with new friends? I don't want to get smashed every night, but is there time for movie nights or trips to Asda at 3am?
Another thing that concerns me is the lack of art facilities for animation - but I was only shown two rooms, so I have no idea what the rest of their facilities are like! If anyone can give any information on them I would be most appreciative.
I get the impression that the course focuses more on the technical, almost mathematical side of animation and much less on the creative/art side. Coming from an arts specific university, I'm unsure of this. Again, I'd love any insight!
I adore animation and I love the look of this course - it looks like it can actually help me grow as an artist in comparison to quite a few other courses in the UK, but as a disabled student + somebody who just spent a year bedridden, I want to know if I'll have the time to truly enjoy university outside of the computer lab!

The campus and area as a whole is.. not my cup of tea to say the least. But if the course IS the best in the country then I'll have to compromise on something.
Can anyone tell me what living on College Lane campus is like?? I have one friend who goes there who literally just sits in her room most of the time..
Heya! So I don't study animation (though it sounds fascinating!), but I've been studying at UH for four years for an MPhys and I'm happy to give you a student life perspective if you like.

(Also, side note: I think I too received the emphasis that it is an intense course--but I have definitely always been able to fit in time for hanging out with friends, going on trips to London, going back home, etc!)

Personally, I've always felt there's plenty to do on and off campus. Even if you're super sporty and don't want to join the Athletic Union, I always really enjoy the Active Students programme--they have free classes, such as Zumba, throughout the day, as well as bigger events (also for free) throughout the year (I love the summer pool parties and roller disco--no prior experience with roller skating needed ) Throughout the year there's also plenty of events--street food days where tons of street food moves in to campus, SU Christmas market and events, free movie nights, society events and awards nights.

There's lots of different nights out--I think our biggest night is Wednesday--that are themed differently and also aren't always just about clubbing; my favorite night of this year has been Bingo Lingo. With our student pub Elehouse on campus and a Spoons by Aldi, there's also opportunity to have a lot of casual nights out at the pub.

If you move on to campus, each building also has a common room--I don't live on campus anymore (and when I did we didn't have them) but during the year it's obvious there's events and parties that go on there, as well.

When there's truly nothing to your taste going on at a given moment, I know that lots of people explore the local area and do trips in to London. A night out in St. Albans is always good--there's so many pubs, the area is lovely and lively, and an Uber is pretty cheap especially with a large group. Watford and London are also limitless areas of entertainment, and also so quick and easy to get to in twenty minutes or so!

If you have any more specific questions or questions in general about the student life, just let me know!
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ClockworkPaws
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Hi @ClockworkPaws

It's great you came along to an open day

It is an intense course however there would definitely be time for you to have a social life too. Most courses do not have lectures on a Wednesday afternoon so this is when lots of students take part in sports and societies etc.

Would you like me to see if I can put you in touch with one of our animation students so they can let you know how they found the workload and the facilities?

Don't forget we have a wellbeing team who you are welcome to get in contact with before you start your studies - https://www.herts.ac.uk/life/student...dent-wellbeing

Our student rep here @Michelle Bieger can let you know more about what it's like to study and live in Hatfield.

Thanks,
Heather
Hello, thank you for your response! That would definitely be useful as it's hard to imagine how anybody has time on the course to have fun and explore. We asked a staff member how, with all the workload, students find time to get part-time jobs. They said a few manage it, but they have no idea how apparently!
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(Original post by ClockworkPaws)
Hello, thank you for your response! That would definitely be useful as it's hard to imagine how anybody has time on the course to have fun and explore. We asked a staff member how, with all the workload, students find time to get part-time jobs. They said a few manage it, but they have no idea how apparently!
No problem at at all, our Animation student George will set up an account so he can have a chat to you on here.
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ClockworkPaws
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Heya! So I don't study animation (though it sounds fascinating!), but I've been studying at UH for four years for an MPhys and I'm happy to give you a student life perspective if you like.

(Also, side note: I think I too received the emphasis that it is an intense course--but I have definitely always been able to fit in time for hanging out with friends, going on trips to London, going back home, etc!)

Personally, I've always felt there's plenty to do on and off campus. Even if you're super sporty and don't want to join the Athletic Union, I always really enjoy the Active Students programme--they have free classes, such as Zumba, throughout the day, as well as bigger events (also for free) throughout the year (I love the summer pool parties and roller disco--no prior experience with roller skating needed ) Throughout the year there's also plenty of events--street food days where tons of street food moves in to campus, SU Christmas market and events, free movie nights, society events and awards nights.

There's lots of different nights out--I think our biggest night is Wednesday--that are themed differently and also aren't always just about clubbing; my favorite night of this year has been Bingo Lingo. With our student pub Elehouse on campus and a Spoons by Aldi, there's also opportunity to have a lot of casual nights out at the pub.

If you move on to campus, each building also has a common room--I don't live on campus anymore (and when I did we didn't have them) but during the year it's obvious there's events and parties that go on there, as well.

When there's truly nothing to your taste going on at a given moment, I know that lots of people explore the local area and do trips in to London. A night out in St. Albans is always good--there's so many pubs, the area is lovely and lively, and an Uber is pretty cheap especially with a large group. Watford and London are also limitless areas of entertainment, and also so quick and easy to get to in twenty minutes or so!

If you have any more specific questions or questions in general about the student life, just let me know!
Hello! Thank you so much for your reply!
I've spoken to a couple of current students and they hadn't mentioned any events like street food days or roller discos? How often do these happen?

I found the campus surprisingly small/a little bit barren, especially aroun the accommodation area, so any and all activities and events interest me! I was told there are a lot of places of natural beauty to go walking in but I didn't get a chance to look around Hatfield and the surrounding area (parents were desperate to leave early to beat traffic!).
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(Original post by ClockworkPaws)
Hello! Thank you so much for your reply!
I've spoken to a couple of current students and they hadn't mentioned any events like street food days or roller discos? How often do these happen?

I found the campus surprisingly small/a little bit barren, especially aroun the accommodation area, so any and all activities and events interest me! I was told there are a lot of places of natural beauty to go walking in but I didn't get a chance to look around Hatfield and the surrounding area (parents were desperate to leave early to beat traffic!).
Oh that's curious, I think they happen quite regularly in my opinion during term time! Active Students tend to put on a major event like roller disco parties once a month and I'd say street food days also happen maybe once a month! But there's stuff that goes on constant basis in between these events--such as the Active Students classes, society events, etc. So even though those are once a month, it does feel like there is a constant stream of stuff/activities to do as a student. You can look at the Active Student's events page on Facebook to get an idea of their events. You could also look at the events page of maybe the Herts Freshers Facebook pages.

It might have depended on the weather/time of year you went that campus felt barren. You said recently--so if it's after May that would be because most people will have gone home as it's post-term time. During April/May especially if the weather is good, most students that live on-campus will be out on the greens, playing ping pong on the tables, having games of footy every where, BBQs, etc. During term time, if you're walking out and about in the evening you can see house parties in the accommodation and so on.

As for natural green spaces, I can definitely vouch for these! I walk around the area a lot and have found tons of cute little areas tucked away. The key is just to explore--there's a few obvious places (like the Hatfield House grounds, which are massive and so gorgeous, and the on-campus forests), but there's areas like in South Hatfield and tucked behind deHav where you could walk and wander and explore for hours if you wanted (in my favorite area, behind the Park and Ride, there's horses that you can pet and hang around with!).
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Actually looking at the Active Student's Facebook page, there's quite more than an event a month going on in the year! Some months there are three or so big events in between all their constant offerings (presumably during the times that there is less coursework, etc. due!).

I think some people just might find it difficult to get "in the know" about events. It is helpful to use Facebook, as you can follow these sorts of pages and know when such events are being held. Also helpful to get on-campus (if you're never showing up in lectures and talking to people, or even never checking in to Studynet and scrolling through the homepage, you can't really hear about word-of-mouth things or things posted on Studynet). For example, there was one time I was hanging out in my office on campus and heard from people who were coming back from having lunch that there was a Red Bull event going on. From that word of mouth I checked it out, and they had built an entire cool little two-story beach hut next to Ele, and were handing out free mocktails. My friends and I took the afternoon off and we had an afternoon at Ele with these free mocktails and a really cool vibe as more and more people were joining. So--you can't only rely on Facebook and things like that, you do need to get out on-campus and not squirrel away at home.

That reminds me--Elehouse also do events regularly. Comedy nights, drag nights, open mike nights, and quiz nights where the most you have to pay for entry is maybe a pound.
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No problem at at all, our Animation student George will set up an account so he can have a chat to you on here.

Thank you, I appreciate the help!
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Prepare for many a paragraph.


Hello! My name’s George and I am (or I guess was, the space between final submission and gradutating is a funny one) a 3rd Year Student on the Games Art Course here. Apologies in advance about this super late response to your question. I took my time (maybe too much?) to make sure that my answers to your concerns are accurate and worded in a way that’ll hopefully make sense? Anyway, shall we get started?

“It was made VERY clear the course is very intense, which I already knew going in, but my concern is that how does anyone ever have any time to have fun (other than the fun of animating!)”

My short answer to this is simply; Yes. Even though a lot of your time will be spent working on your briefs taking a break and having fun isn’t just something that you’ll have time for (especially if your time management skills are on point), but something that is highly recommended especially on a course like this. I should also add that even though you get a lot of briefs in the 1st year, looking back I personally feel that a lot of the intensity came from the amount of new software/techniques we were taught and not necessarily from what was being asked from us.

But that aside there’s something else that I want to touch on…

“I have a habit of working on art for days on end, to the point it's damaged my health in the past and I've been told I need to break this work ethic and make time to take care of myself and have fun doing other things, especially after becoming ill.”

I’ll be honest with you as one artist to another, this is super unhealthy. I know the dream of creating artwork on par with those you look up to is an alluring one, but it’ll all be for nothing if you end up burning out, or breaking yourself because of it. I know some in my year would (for the most part) Work from 9am to around 5- 6pm (obviously taking breaks in-between that) and then after that spend the rest of the evening relaxing, preparing things for the next day etc.

Now as a first year student you won’t have that much freedom yet. Your timetables will be pretty packed and they’ll be a lot for you to do even after the day’s lectures end (especially when you’re close to deadlines), But even so I cannot stress enough the importance of properly pacing yourself and taking breaks. First year to many is a fair shock, but perfectly achievable providing you work hard and don’t over exert yourself.

“…this course even skips freshers?”

Really this only applies for Third year students. Second year Students (at least when I was in Second year) practically get the week off outside of maybe one or two briefings. First Year students get a pretty fun introductory week before things start proper the week after (But I won’t tell you what you’ll be doing because that’d ruin the surprise ;D)



“I know they're warning people to put off those who aren't serious about their degree and want to spend every night clubbing, but isn't part of university going out and having fun with new friends? I don't want to get smashed every night, but is there time for movie nights or trips to Asda at 3am?”

Well, firstly you’ll hopefully be making a ton of new friends both from within the course, and of those you live with (if you stay in campus accommodation). If late night socials are more your thing, to reiterate what I said earlier, of course you’ll have time for the occasional late night movie-thon. And as someone who in their second year made far too many 2am ASDA runs because I may or may not had become nocturnal for a short time – they are entirely possible too. But while you do all this, don’t forget to keep on top of work okay?



“… the lack of art facilities for animation….. so I have no idea what the rest of their facilities are like!”

There’s actually a variety of facilities for Animation Students to take advantage of both within and outside of the FMM (The building that’s our loving home.) For starters we have all the software you will ever love (and probably some you’ll hate) on all the PCs that we use, in addition to graphic tablets connected to each one and 4 Cintiqs in 1B03 – the 2D room. 1B07, a room mostly used for some of the larger talks/ lectures, doubles as a motion capture studio that Students making animated films use every year. Outside of the FMM we have the Loan Store where you can access professional-tier cameras and audio equipment. It’s also where you’ll find the recording studios for all your voice over needs.

Oh and I almost forgot in 1B03 we do have equipment for more traditional 2D Animating, though we mostly stick to digital.

“I get the impression that the course focuses more on the technical, almost mathematical side of animation and much less on the creative/art side.”

It’s actually quite the opposite. Kind of. Unless you’re more of a rigger/coder, pretty much all you’ll be focusing on is the creative side of animation/games. If you want to be more of a technical artist then you can – if not then no worries. Now there is some technical info you’ll be taught along the way – that’s just the nature of the industry – but you’ll spend the majority your years modelling (unless you apply for 2D in which you only have to do that for a few months), painting, designing, animating, storyboarding etc.

“but as a disabled student + somebody who just spent a year bedridden, I want to know if I'll have the time to truly enjoy university outside of the computer lab!”



Speaking for myself a little here, that all depends on what about University you want to enjoy the most. Me, I’m not a huge party animal (more of a party…..something that’s usually solitary) and prefer hanging out with people and so spent most of year working in the labs with my team mate and other friends, going to the occasional party whenever I felt like it/had the time to.

I do have be honest with you by saying the Labs is where you’ll spend most of your time – at least in 1st year – but the people you’ll meet in your year and the years above will make it sooo much more enjoyable.

So I hope that answers your concerns. If not, or if you have more questions (and questions upon those questions) then I promise I’ll be much speedier in replying to them.
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moid
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(Original post by ClockworkPaws)
Went to an open day recently hoping seeing the campus would finally convince me this was the place for me, but it's left me more uncertain

The course looks great, though I have a few concerns..

It was made VERY clear the course is very intense, which I already knew going in, but my concern is that how does anyone ever have any time to have fun (other than the fun of animating!)
I have a habit of working on art for days on end, to the point it's damaged my health in the past, and I've been told I need to break this work ethic and make time to take care of myself and have fun doing other things, especially after becoming ill. I heard on here this course even skips freshers?
I'm serious about my work, and I know they're warning people to put off those who aren't serious about their degree and want to spend every night clubbing, but isn't part of university going out and having fun with new friends? I don't want to get smashed every night, but is there time for movie nights or trips to Asda at 3am?
Another thing that concerns me is the lack of art facilities for animation - but I was only shown two rooms, so I have no idea what the rest of their facilities are like! If anyone can give any information on them I would be most appreciative.
I get the impression that the course focuses more on the technical, almost mathematical side of animation and much less on the creative/art side. Coming from an arts specific university, I'm unsure of this. Again, I'd love any insight!
I adore animation and I love the look of this course - it looks like it can actually help me grow as an artist in comparison to quite a few other courses in the UK, but as a disabled student + somebody who just spent a year bedridden, I want to know if I'll have the time to truly enjoy university outside of the computer lab!

The campus and area as a whole is.. not my cup of tea to say the least. But if the course IS the best in the country then I'll have to compromise on something.
Can anyone tell me what living on College Lane campus is like?? I have one friend who goes there who literally just sits in her room most of the time..
Hello ClockworkPaws

The animation course does not skip Freshers week - we run loads of activities that week to get you to all meet each other and to get to know each other - that is a vital part of the course; everyone needs support from each other - it's how our students work. There is time for fun as long as you manage your time so that you keep on top of the workload. Students who are poor at time management find the course very hard - it all comes down to being organised or not. Regarding facilities we have five labs of computers because the course is digital and animation does require a lot of software training but we also teach traditional and digital art skills alongside this - there are other large rooms in campus in different buildings where a lot of this takes place. In the first year, 50% of the classes are based around traditional art skills (often taught digitally) - life drawing, character design, perspective drawing, environment design, clay sculpting - that sort of thing. Those traditional skills are incredibly important for influencing what you do with the digital work and animation - without them you would just be learning a technical skill with no creative input which is the complete opposite of what the course trains students to be - the industry (mostly) does not want people who can only do one task repetitively - they need animators with creative vision and ideas, which is why our graduates are so sought after. We teach a lot of technical skills because if you don't have them you cannot realise the visions / ideas you have for your work. You can have the best idea for animation in the world, but if you don't know how to create it in the software you can't do anything with it.

Hatfield is Hatfield I can't fix that - but we are only 20 minutes from central London by train - if you can't find something interesting to do in London then I don't think you'll be happy anywhere in the world!

Regarding sitting in a room all day - we encourage our students to work in the labs alongside the other students. That's a far more beneficial way to learn faster and also have a better time socially than locking yourself away, but that's what some people prefer to do... it doesn't usually seem to help them, but it's their choice after all - we aren't a school, and students are adults and must make their own decisions (whether good or bad) for themselves. A big chunk of university life is learning to become an adult and work out how you want to live and behave.
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ClockworkPaws
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Hello ClockworkPaws

The animation course does not skip Freshers week - we run loads of activities that week to get you to all meet each other and to get to know each other - that is a vital part of the course; everyone needs support from each other - it's how our students work. There is time for fun as long as you manage your time so that you keep on top of the workload. Students who are poor at time management find the course very hard - it all comes down to being organised or not. Regarding facilities we have five labs of computers because the course is digital and animation does require a lot of sfotware training but we also teach traditional and digital art skills alongside this - there are other large rooms in campus in different buildings where a lot of this takes place. In the first year, 50% of the classes are based around traditional art skills (often taught digitally) - life drawing, character design, perspective drawing, environment design, clay sculpting - that sort of thing. Those traditional skills are incredibly important for influencing what you do with the digital work and animation - without them you would just be learning a technical skill with no creative input which is the complete opposite of what the course trains students to be - the industry (mostly) does not want people who can only do one task repetitively - they need animators with creative vision and ideas, which is why our gradautes are so sought after. We teach a lot of technical skills because if you don't have them you cannot realise the visions / ideas you have for your work. You can have the best idea for animation in the world, but if you don't know how to create it in the software you can't do anything with it.

Hatfield is Hatfield I can't fix that - but we are only 20 minutes from central London by train - if you can't find something interesting to do in London then I don't think you'll be happy anywhere in the world!

Regarding sitting in a room all day - we encourage our students to work in the labs alongside the other students. That's a far more beneficial way to learn faster and also have a better time socially than locking yourself away, but that's what some people prefer to do... it doesn't usually seem to help them, but it's their choice after all - we aren't a school, and students are adults and must make their own decisions (whether good or bad) for themselves. A big chunk of university life is learning to become an adult and work out how you want to live and behave.
Hello, thanks for getting back to me, and apologies for taking an absolute eon to respond!

This was a very helpful read and reassured me a lot regarding Freshers' Week and things to do outside of the course. I had heard not many people do find the time to pop up to London, but if it's mostly about time management hopefully I'll end up with a weekend free to visit home or the capital!

I've been told that a lot of the difficulty stems from being bombarded with a lot of new, very difficult software and having to learn the ropes in a short space of time. I was wondering if trying to learn some of this software ahead of time would be beneficial? I unfortunately cannot get the student version of Maya, as I am currently not a student.
I know a lot of animation courses still have room for traditional media work, but as the Hertfordshire courses are digital-based I'm assuming there's not a lot of room (or time!) for that.

Thank you once again for your response, it really cleared things up for me!
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moid
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Yes learn as much software beforehand as you can - that way you can ask questions about complex issues and not easy ones that everyone has when they start. Obviously I can't tell you to download the student version of Maya because you aren't a student yet... but Autodesk have no way of checking this so I'll let you ponder any moral dilemma yourself

We do some traditional media work (about one day a week of it) but the industry you want to work in is a digital one; almost all the artwork, even the concept artwork is created digitally. If you want a job, you'll convert your traditional skills to digital ones.
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Katieforeman2799
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Hi is this for the 2d animation course of the 3D? Also how much do the animation courses cross with illustration? As I really love the idea of book illustration also.
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Hi Katieforeman2799

We offer both 2D and 3D animation courses You can check them out here, along with the flickr gallery of our students incredible work! We don't offer a cross with illustration but if you like the sound of both areas, I'd recommend checking all of the courses out and having a think about what you might enjoy the most.

If you'd like more guidance, come along to our Open Day on Friday 14th June - you'll be able to chat to our academics and hear more about the programmes via our talks. You'll also have the chance to explore our facilities!

Hope this helps,
Juliette
(Original post by Katieforeman2799)
Hi is this for the 2d animation course of the 3D? Also how much do the animation courses cross with illustration? As I really love the idea of book illustration also.
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