Should You Go to College to Study 3D (3DS Max Houdini Maya)?

The big question I get asked a lot is “What’s the best 3D school?” or “Should I go to college to study 3D?” I’ve asked a lot of people both in the industry, as well as teachers at VFX schools that I trust about what their opinions are on this. Because I have my beliefs around this but I wanted to get others takes on this as well.

Now I wanted to dive into the PROS and CONS of these 3 options:

1) Go to 3D College to study Visual Effects

2) Study online on your own – using free content

3) Study online doing paid courses

I am excited for this episode! I’m keeping an open mind and an unbiased opinion about all 3, as well as sharing my own experiences. As I personally invest tens of thousands of dollars every year into learning and studying myself. There are some great options out there from Gnomon Workshop, FXPHD, Digital Tutors, Lost Boys, Vancouver Film School (VFS), Sheridan College, Full-Sail University, SCAD and others. Just as there are great options online ranging from CG Spectrum, Gnomon, and dozens of courses on Gumroad and more.

I, of course, have my FXTD Mentorship which is open once a year. And that has given me a lot of insights into what works in studying online, as well as the struggles some people have as well. Like I said I want to keep this completely unbiased and I think I’ve successfully done that in this video.

Questions also come down to whether you’re studying 3DS Max, Maya, Houdini, Blender or Cinema 4D, After Effects, Photoshop, Nuke, Fusion or many others. Or whether you want to be an FX Technical Director, Character Animator, 3D Modeler, Character TD or so much more. So what do you do!?

I’m excited to answer that in this video – so let’s dive in!

Youtube comments:

Max Fkh
Hey ! The livestream was really nice, I'm gonna watch that video now :) again, thanks a lot for everything you're doing for us Allan ! 😁
Gabriele Stefanelli
this is what i've been searching for! AWESOME MATE
Xuan Ngoc Nguyen
hi, i would like to go to virtural college of art and design[vcda] is this a good college for virtual effect
Sergio Diaz
What does “dema real” mean(i think thats how you spell it)? You said it in 23:20 part of the video
Kyrylo Khomenko
Can you recommend paid VFX courses , please?
Amruth Desaraju
How to make a mini Render Farm out of a Dell Workstation?
I am 34 and just started learning particle systems in my spare time. I will learn it by myself - online tutorials, maybe a paid course, time will tell. At this stage I just want to learn and not to speculate if I could live off it. p.s. What software & plug in is a good combo to start with? What is the standard. I am using 3ds max and fume fx.
Really appreciate all the information! Thank you. I’ve been considering going with an online course. I’m very new to 3D. Is there any course you would personally recommend? I’ve been planning on starting with animation mentor, and move on from there. Thanks again!
stuart Bunkell
I live in scotland, university is free. But the courses arent as good as the best but.. i look at it in the way it gives me a few years to work on my craft every day.... :D i could be living at home but in the end this course will give me a degree hopefully helping in visa applications. I dunno still noob :D
Hi i have a question, some times to work to Canada for example, they require you have a degree to stay and work there, it's easy for Americans to work there for the American Visa i suppose, but, for people who are in other countries the reel it's not the guarantee pass to work there, or what you can do instead? You have a great reel but not a degree.
Yes yes..!
Hey! Love from India. That really helped. Watched completely 56 minutes and found it really worth. Keep making more coz no one is gonna tell us all this information the way you did. Really appreciate all the efforts from your side. Thanks.
M Francisco
yeah gnomon is like $180,000.00 with room and board now that is super crazy to me holy shit lol. just like 10 years ago i think it was around 50k but the price of school is insane now . I kinda feel bad for younger kids getting into college now . there are a lot of great online courses now though so that is a good thing if you are starting out and dont have a lot of money you can still learn a bit of it online. To me though I would not pay 180 k for a school unless i was going into the medical field because most artist dont make over 60 k a year in the usa.
Andrew P
Pls prefer best college... Is it is best college to study in van arts Canada
Maxim Ostromogilsky
Hey Allan, thank you for the enlightenment, very insightful! You mentioned a few online resources that you deem to be very good. Could you mention them here or in a future video? I would really love to find out what resources are so that i may learn from the best. Thank you for your time!
Marno Franck
I'm from South Africa, I really want to go study VFX and game development but South Africa isn't the place to do so. I've talk to people that go to collage to study VFX and they say the first 2 years is a waste of time. So I'm learning VFX on Youtube and I'm still struggling to model a vehicle after doing 7 years of VFX..
Wargraven Builds
I went to Fullsail University Online for Computer Animation to get into a VFX job. 3 and a half years I went through the program, wasted all of my G.I. Bill and I couldn't get through the benchmark courses and wasted all that time just to get an associate degree that I can do nothing with. Even now, I am trying to teach myself 3DS Max, Unreal Engine and Houdini. So, even if I have a super good demo reel, I don't think that's enough to get me an interview. Right now, if I were to send out a reel of my work, I'd be laughed at. I know I'm not ready, I still have much to learn and in my opinion Fullsail really only taught me the basics of the program (Maya). Like you said in this video, Self motivation should be paramount and staying hungry to learn is a very good key to being a successful VFX producer. Thank you for the video, very good information!
Tarang Pandya
what are the types of book behind you ? are all related with VFX ? suggest us as well . btw brilliant work as usual .
Matthias Backmann
Thanks for these informations. I can endorse a lot of what you said. Nevertheless, speaking as a former graduate in Germany (international filmschool cologne), the main issue is a little less pressing here: Money. My school wasn't free, but the whole bachelor was ~2.000€/term - so 14.000 all in all. And we could take interest-free loans to cover this (or even get a scholarship). And a few good filmschools are even inside the public system like Filmakademie Ludwigsburg or HFF Munich and are therefore nearly free. Even for non-EU-Students, the prices are moderate. This takes a lot of pressure of the students and you can really express your artistic side inside a "3-4-year-sandbox". But as you said, you have to be aware, that your Diploma/Bachelor/Master isn't worth a lot, what counts is the reel you could built with the projects you did and the network you established with your fellow students and tutors. For me that really paid of, because my prof took great care to show us this important part of our career.
What's up Allan, i'm totally agree with your point of view about college but i would add "you can't go to college to learn ART" cause Art is the "job" where you do not do same thing everytime Regards, Newlc (3D modeler) PS: if you are visiting Paris, i 'll glide to meet you