Hello! I'm an illustration major, so I'll try to answer your questions as best I can. CA majors, please correct me if I'm wrong.
In the CA major, you learn the program Autodesk Maya in your second year. While it helps to know Maya beforehand (just as it would help to know a bit about anything you are going to learn), CA teaches you everything you need to know. Freshman year, you stick to traditional animation. So, to answer your question, no, it is not required to know Maya.
As for time, well, CA will mean a lot of sleepless nights. However, if you manage your time well, it won't be all work and no play :)
As for grocery stores, both Publix and Win Dixie are right down the street (in opposite directions). They're within walking distance, but it's best to buddy up. Also, for cheap things like toilet paper, toothbrushes, etc., there's a Dollar General near, as well as both a CVS and a Walgreens for any prescription medications.
APs are tricky: I'm not sure about AP arts (I was never in any, but I highly doubt they count. Ringling really wants you to go through their CORE program), but my AP English and US History credits took care of three of my liberal arts courses.
Hope this helps! And good luck!
Just be sure that your traditional drawing portfolio is in good shape and has a wide range of work - CA is our most competitive field. While learning Photoshop is usually a good idea regardless of your major - it's not a requirement.
Other than that, I think the previous commenter had everything spot-on. I'm not a CA major either, so hopefully so did I. :)
Hi there! I'll be entering my Junior Year as a CA this fall. :)
Technical knowledge: No. Problem solving skills: YES.
When I came in, I had played around in Maya's interface a bit..just getting familiar with the menus and such, but I had never done anything serious in the program. I had never even used Windows seriously There were some people who were a bit farther ahead in the beginning because they had taken classes in high school, but in the end, I think we all evened out.
I would recommend learning some Photoshop because they really don't teach you that before concept classes. It's pretty easy. You should be able to pick up the drawing tools on our own.
Work is...insane. Sophomore year on, anyway. Really. Don't plan on free time. Sometimes I go out on Fridays for 3-4 hours with my friends and maybe watching a movie once a week, but that's really all the time I have. The good news is that by working in the labs, you're already with your good friends all of the time. So that helps. :) The stress does get overwhelming at the beginning of sophomore year, but you get used to the workflow and everything gets better in time. Also keep in mind that you're here for a reason, and that's to work in CG. You're getting your money's worth by working all the time!
Grocery stores nearby: Winn Dixie is closest, but kind of gross. There's a Publix a bit farther away. You COULD walk there, but I would suggest either biking or getting a ride. There's a Whole Foods downtown if you have a care/cash to buy food there.
APS... I think pretty much everything except for Physics. That's the only one I've heard of not transferring. Maths will transfer as electives, same as AP art. I think you need at least a 4 on either of the English APs for them to transfer.
But really, the best advice I can offer is just DRAW DRAW DRAW. You need to be able to draw well to be successful in CA, even though the majority of the work is 3D. You won't be taught how to draw much better once in the program, so learn now! Especially pay attention to character design. http://characterdesign.blogspot.com
is a good place to start.
Sorry! A few typos.
"There's a Whole Foods downtown if ou have a *car*/cash to buy food there."
I obviously can't type tonight... if *you*
I graduated in '08 as a CA major and I hate to say this, but if you don't want to stress yourself out too much, you'd better brace yourelf. Computer animation is hard-effing-core, more work than I'd ever imagined it would be. If you survive, it's one of the most rewarding feelings in the world, completely worth it - but it is a HELL of a lot of work.
also: I had no experience with Maya coming in, and it wasn't much of a problem. I would definitely recommend familiarizing yourself with Photoshop at the very least, because while we spend time learning Maya the same can't be said for PS.
I'm going to be a senior in the CA program so I think I can help:
You used to be able to download the Maya Personal Learning Edition, but it looks like Autodesk replaced that with a 30-day trial edition instead:http://usa.autodesk.com/adsk/servlet/mform?siteID=123112&id=12035483
It's not essential to practice with it, but as always, getting ahead of the game is good. If you have the time, I'd suggest trying it out and familiarizing yourself with the basic functions. There's plenty of tutorials out there.
As for other programs, I'd suggest getting used to a Wacom tablet if you can and trying out Photoshop and/or Corel Painter. They're used heavily, but I think the biggest thing is being comfortable drawing with a tablet.
Most of the other programs aren't essential to know yet, but maybe look at Adobe Premiere too, if you can. You'll use it first in concept, but if you're familiar with another video editing program, then you're probably ahead of the curve in that area already.
Be prepared for A LOT of work. Sophomore year is tough, but Junior year is brutal. It's all about time-management, as others have said. If you're used to sleeping in late and staying out at night, try to change your habits to waking up earlier. I have a friend who manages to get all his work done and still get 8 hours of sleep a night, with free time as well, all by doing computer work earlier, rather than staying until the labs close. So it's definitely possible, but you have to be really committed to a responsible schedule, and you have to be able to focus on your work.
Perhaps first and foremost, make sure you're very clear on what you want and why you're here. Also remember that it's all cartoons and you get to go to school to do 'em! Having those thoughts right from the beginning can simultaneously drive you and keep you sane.
Oh and get feedback on your work. Best to get used to critiques now. You'll need that backbone.
Oh! And if you have the opportunity to take acting or improv classes, go for it! It'll help your animations and loosen you up.
There's so much more, but feel free to ask more questions!. Good luck!
Oooh... You're Nick! I always wondered who you were. :DDDDDD
Of course, this means I have to kill you now...
But now that I peeked at your journal, I see that you're Betsy! Erm, I don't think I've ever properly introduced myself, much to my chagrin. But even so, thanks for the blog invite. I'm a-thinkin' about those cowboys and I hope to put something up soon.