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Coming out of High School. Where/What to study? [Sydney Australia]

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rexo12 greentooth
So it's University Application season down under, and I thought I'd just ask for some advice before submitting my preferences.

Reading through the material on this forum, the general consensus seems to be not to go to a University for an "Animation" or "Game Design" course, and instead hone and develop your skills through self-directed research (CGMA, etc.) and practice, alongside some more general tertiary study (or not). This has been my goal - and what I've been doing - for several years now alongside my secondary studies. I do however still have that anxiety that I'll be missing out on the opportunities and industry connections that a university can afford me. So, is this the right choice?

In terms of what I would study at Uni, a course I've been considering is a Media Arts + Computer Science double degree (https://artdesign.unsw.edu.au/future-students/undergraduate-degrees/media-arts-computer-science). I am iffy about the Media Arts degree, particularly how the 3D work is within a broader animation component - alongside 2D - and generally quite a small part of the course anyway, which I'm not terribly enthused by. However I think the Computer Science degree would be quite useful for me - particularly for Technical Art stuff which interests me quite a bit. Can anyone weigh in on how useful Media Arts will be, and whether it is worth my time?

Other than that, If any Australians here can tell me about their own pathways and experiences that would be great, or otherwise just general advice on where to go from here.



  • JunkieKong
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    JunkieKong greentooth
    Hey! When I left highschool I looked at the uni options in Adelaide and wasn't excited by any of them, didn't really want to waste my time with the compulsory, non-relevant stuff they always include in these courses. I ended up going to TAFE as they ran a two year screen & media course specific to game art and I thought it was good because it was almost entirely hands-on, practical learning. I went into it knowing almost nothing about 3D, and 1.5 yrs later had scored a full-time gig as a 3D artist so it was definitely a positive experience. BUT, I will add you'll only get as much out of it as you're willing to put into it, the course really isn't long or thorough enough to teach everything you need to know. Self-teaching is important.
    Anyway I've spoken to many friends who went through uni courses and they are capable 3D artists now, but the general feeling was those first couple years were pretty light-on for actual practical work so it's slow going. Sometimes I'll regret not going to uni just for the piece of paper that makes it much easier to get a work visa for overseas jobs (plenty of discussion about that here on PC), but I've survived.
    Online courses are also an option, I haven't done any, but I absolutely believe everything I learnt in my course I could've learnt online. Missing out on opportunities/networking (gross) would be a definite downside to learning online (I got my first job through my lecturer, and later I recommend a classmate for a position).

    Lots to consider, and no one right way to go about it. Good luck.
  • rexo12
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    rexo12 greentooth
    @JunkieKong hey thanks for the reply, sorry I didn't get back to you quickly.

    That does fill me with more confidence. TAFE or private college is definitely an option, but I would like to go to uni to actually learn something, which is probably why I'm uncomfortable with the game design courses (or TAFE etc) - they seem too specific, I wouldn't feel like i could apply the knowledge to anything other than this industry, so i'd only be doing them for that magic job paper. There is also that anxiety that I'm just not good enough/suited for the industry and so it'd be nice to have some kind of fallback.

    I plan to take a gap year regardless, so maybe I can use that time to power through a bunch of online courses and really bring my quality of work up to scratch.

    Thanks for your help!
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