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Catching up with Game Character Academy

Back in January 2013, we caught up with online school, Game Character Academy to learn more about how the school was founded and what they had planned for the future (read here). Fast forward a few months and we're ready to see what they've got lined up for their current and potential students!

Hi guys, thanks for chatting to us again! Now that our readers know all about Game Character Academy from our previous interview, we want to delve a little deeper into what they can expect from studying with you guys. First up, what's the latest workshop?

Thanks for having us back!

Since the last time we spoke, we've made some significant changes to Game Character Academy. We initially offered two 18 month courses, one for Character Art and another for Character Rigging/Technical Art.

We have since decided to turn the Character Rigging/Technical Art course into a series of modularized 8-12 week workshops as well as introduce a whole series of new workshops that cover things such as lighting, traditional sculpting and facial rigging. This allows people to sign up for a one-off workshop and learn a specific area of production from an industry professional through the lectures and individualized feedback. There is no long term commitment and it's at a more affordable price.

"The Character Art course at GCA is the only curriculum I have seen that provides the focused attention to the skills and foundation required to become a great 3D character artist"- Toby O'Hara

We've still kept our full Character Art 18 month course, because for that particular area and skill, we feel that career development is critical and there is more of a demand for that long term education. We're very excited about this change as it allows us to service and educate a much broader audience. It also gives us much more expandability as a school.

What can students expect to learn from these workshops?

We've started off with a selective list of workshops and every three months we'll be introducing new ones.

Right now we offer Introduction To Python Scripting for Maya, Introduction To Rigging, Maquette Making: From Clay to Digital Sculpting, Digital Lighting and Introduction to Facial Rigging.

Each one of these workshops will range from 8-12 weeks in length, include over 12-15 hours' worth of online lectures, a weekly feedback video from your instructor and a weekly live session with your instructor where you get to ask questions about anything and everything.

We're also constantly checking in with our students to find out what other workshops they'd be interested in, so they also get an opportunity to drive the direction and availability of new content.

"Trained by 'Industry professionals' is a term used vaguely in the VFX education arena these days, but at GCA you are truly being taught by leads from AAA studios such as Blizzard and Naughty Dog to name a few"" Jon Shelley

Once a student has finished a particular workshop is there another one they naturally go onto or are they ready to start creating games on their own accord?

The workshops are going to be focused supplemental knowledge in a specific area of production. So it could be lighting, rigging, traditional sculpting, etc.

As our libraries of workshops grow, they will range from introductory workshops all the way through to advanced workshops. If someone does an introductory workshop, the natural progression will be to move into the more advanced ones, but there is no obligation and they can do this within their own time frame and budget.

You guys only launched the site back in January - how's the response and demand been so far?

We've had a fantastic response so far! We've got a full first term class for the Character Art course and the quality level of students that have been accepted are amazing. We're very excited for the industry to see their work as they progress and create their portfolios.

"It's the kind of education that you can't get from someone who doesn't have oodles of experience at some of the top game studios in the world"- Jonathan Hau-Yoon

We also had a great response to our first batch of workshops and so it's really set the stage for how we want to grow that area in the future. GDC was also a really great opportunity for us to meet with people face to face, and really help us get a good sense for what people were looking for and hoping to get out of the school.

Your courses and workshops are aimed at people wishing to receive an education with the main outcome of getting a job in the gaming industry at the end of it all. How do you ensure your students are ready to pursue their careers?

This is something that the course is a lot more focused on. The course is 18 months long and so the students will go through a vigorous development process to really get them setup to apply for a job and succeed in a production environment.

The workshops are built as stand-alone modules, so we're catering to people who are looking to learn things from the ground up, while at the same time making it accessible to industry professionals who just can't commit to 18 months.

If someone does a whole series of workshops over a longer period of time, they will definitely be equipping themselves with the skills and knowledge required to get a job. We will also do our best to help the workshop students in their careers if it's something they need and communicate to us.

"My favorite part about GCA is the amazing critiques, where they break down your work and give advice on how to improve and show you different ways to solve each problem"- Mark Judkins

The Character Art Course students will be getting this type of direction and guidance all through the curriculum, and after they graduate we will continue to help and support them in landing a job. Also, the access to industry professionals that all students will be privy to is an amazing leg up in terms of getting their careers going or improving their existing ones.

When, where and how is our last question! When can people sign up, where can they find the link and how does the application process work?

People can go to www.gc-academy.net to sign up. They just need to click on the Apply Now button, choose either the Character Art Course or one of the workshops they'd like to sign up for and fill in the application form info. We have a contact form if they have any questions for us too.

In terms of the application process, we have our review committee look at each individual application and decide on their acceptance, but because we are developing people from the ground up, we are really just looking for passionate people that want to learn and are committed to becoming great artists!

Thanks again for this great opportunity and to all those people who took the time to read this. We hope to see you hanging out and learning with us some time soon!

Related links

Game Character Academy website
Game Character Academy Facebook

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