Education at the AIE

I am currently a year 12 student, and am considering studying at the AIE next year specifically in the course 3D anmation for film & TV. Just wondering if there is anyone out there who has studyed at the AIE, specifically at canberra, and what there opinion was on the place, and if it is a good place to learn.
A few questions that may seem blunt and straight forward, but lets get to the point/

How much does it cost to study? I have seen a few figures but they seem a little overpriced, so i am not sure.

What are the career oppurtunities like after completing the course?

What is involved in the course?

IS there anything else i should know?

Chris's picture

I'm currently in my 2nd year at the AIE (and doing 2 courses). While I am not doing the film course I do have friends in there and all the AIE students keep each other well informed of what they are studying/doing.

About a week ago the film students showed off an 8 minute film that they had just submitted to a competition and it was very impressive. They spent the first term (roughly) learning specific film techniques for art (the 1st year is a combined class of game and film students so you don't get all of what you need in that time) which they then used to plan a big film project.

That lead to the 8 minute film which took about 2 terms (a bit less actually) to make and was very impressive. Now, for the last few months left in their course, they are doing portfolio work. That basically means they are all doing their own short film(s) to stick in their portfolio and hopefully get a job at the end of the year. The students also did a short CIT course about films (not sure of the details) but this was an extra cost ontop of the course (I think it was a 10 week course and cost about $500). They are also about to start a composting course (again about 10 weeks and about $600). This is simply to round their skills off and introduce them to other film techniques (not just 3d stuff).

As for costs, CIT subsidies the film course so for memory, if you pay upfront, it's about $5,000 for the 1st year and $4000 for the 2nd. If you take fee help (Hecs/Studying loan) then you pay about $20-24,000 (can't quite remember the exact amount). Your allowed up to $85,000 for fee help and you only start paying it off once you earn over $45,000 (and it goes up in a linear fashion). This applies to all higher education courses with fee help.

As for job opportunities. AIE has film grads in TV studios in all of the capital cities, there are one or two grads in Animal Logic and other film studios. I know of at least 5 ex AIE students who have gone to study further in Canada and land jobs in some nice studios overseas. Also there is plenty of incentive and support at the AIE to help get indie studios up and running.

One last thing I will say about AIE, it's not perfect (nothing ever is). You will get a decent eduction BUT you will get much more out of it if you do extra work at home (portfolio work) and jump on any opportunities that arise (short film competitions, 11 second animation club... etc). So long as you keep pushing yourself and keep expanding and improving your skills you should be able to land a job eventually (it may take some time but keep persisting).

The best thing you can do is come to an AIE open day (or even just drop by) and speak to students/teachers about the course.

spae's picture

Hi Timmy,

I'm a first year in Canberra this year, in the games course. I've been really disappointed by the school, but I hear the first year art students will be getting a much more awesome teacher next year, so lucky them!

- What Chris said on the price. With CIT payments, you can pay all in one hit or in monthly/weekly instalments. That's mostly managed through CIT, and it's quick and painless :)
If you're going for the games course for second year, keep in mind that CIT *doesn't* subsidise second year, so you'll be paying FEE HELP regardless for that.

- You get free education licenses for 3DS MAX and Maya as part of the course. This year the first year assignments were animation, character modelling, a little bit of texturing and environment modelling. We did one teamwork game level design assignment using Maya and UT Editor, and right now we're in the middle of a bunch of team animation assignments - I say animation, but we're doing modelling and texturing for that as well.
We also got a single-item booklist which includes a textbook on Maya, but you don't ever actually use it over the year. There aren't any readers or textbooks for the course itself, though there were very handy design briefs for assignments at the start of the year (the teachers seem to have forgotten about these come June though :( ). Also, like QANTM, a bunch of the written teaching materials are PDFs on the sharedrive that you can find online anyway, although occasionally you'll find one written by an AIE teacher.

AIE is very much a technical school, and the focus is on 3D. It is not an art school, and I've found that you will learn what the assignment requires of you and not much else. You should learn enough to get a basic understanding of 3D, even from first year.

Chris - on the pushing yourself - that's really true of any field. :P