Though relatively young as a campus, The Art Institute of California — San Francisco is part of a growing group of institutions that offer video game-based education in the United States. Many of the school's graduates have gone on to work at popular game development and film effects studios such as ArenaNet, Electronic Arts, Industrial Light & Magic, and Perpetual Entertainment.
Three buildings make up the AICA-SF campus; the main building is located at 1170 Market Street, and houses most of the lab facilities as well as the administrative offices for the school. The 9th floor of 1145 Market houses the career services program, as well as general education courses. The third building located on UN Plaza's 2nd floor is home to 2D animation labs, as well as the campus library.
The Art Institute of California — San Francisco is part of a growing number of established video game educational institutes spawning across the United States.
The institution offers degree programs at three levels; associates, bachelors, and masters level.
Education runs the gamut from topics dealing with the video game industry, or special effects within film to Fashion, web design, and advertising. The student-faculty ratio is a manageable 19 to 1. Many instructors are noted in their field for their accomplishments in games and film and work full-time at companies such as Pixar, UbiSoft, and Electronic Arts.
AICA-SF began offering a Master's Degree in Animation beginning in the Fall 2006.
|Program||# of Graduates||# of Graduates Employed||% Employed in Field||Avg. Salary|
|Media Arts & Animation||15||13||86.7%||$37,326|
|Multimedia & Web Design||3||3||100.0%||$35,357|
Advertising — The Bachelor’s level degree program is designed to provide graduates with the skills needed to work in the field of advertising, art direction, copywriting, and account supervision. A solid art foundation combined with hands-on advertising curricula, prepares students for entry-level positions with advertising agencies and departments, art studios and departments, marketing companies and departments, and production companies.
Computer Animation — This program will enroll its first students for the Fall 2006 quarter.
Fashion Design — The Fashion Design program offers creative opportunities to transform design ideas into garments and accessories. Students are introduced to basic skills of construction in sewing, tailoring, flat pattern drafting, and draping to provide a solid foundation in the fundamentals of apparel engineering.
Fashion Marketing — The Fashion Marketing program teaches students how to use textiles, color, and design to create visual merchandising campaigns. Business courses teach students how to develop, analyze, and implement effective sales strategies. They learn how to use computers for cost analysis, inventory control, and other store operations, and are instructed in the basics of merchandise economics, leadership skills, manufacturing, and store planning.
Game Art and Design — The bachelor's program in Game Art & Design offers a broad range of work-ready design and technology competencies focused on career paths in the specialty of game art. Students will acquire a combination of skills in drawing, perspective, anatomy, color theory, rigging, texturing, low and high polygonal modeling, normal maps, specular highlights, specular reflections, and animation. They will study lighting and scene setup, color theory, anatomy and gesture, character design, level design and game prototyping.
Graphics Design — The Associate of Science degree in Graphic Design is a seven-quarter program containing 112 credit hours. Program classes include Survey of Media & Design, Art & Design Concepts, Typography for Digital Media, Electronic Design and Print Production. Students use software such as Adobe PhotoShop, Adobe Illustrator and QuarkXpress.
Interactive Media Design — The Associate of Science degree in Interactive Media Design is a seven-quarter program containing 112 credit hours. Program classes include Audio/Video Techniques, Interactive Authoring and Programming for the Artist. Software includes Adobe Photoshop, Vegas for Audio, DHTML, Macromedia Flash and Director. A twelve-quarter program is also available where the students are working towards their Bachelor's degree. Students who enroll in this program expand on the curriculum offered to those seeking an Associates, and offers a more in depth look at web programming.
Interior Design — In the Interior Design program, students will develop abilities in all aspects of the design of three-dimensional residential and commercial spaces. Students start with courses in drawing, perspective, proportion, color theory, basic design and other fundamentals. The program also incorporates courses in 2-D and 3-D computer-aided design, history of interior design and cultural contexts, furniture design, materials, textiles, environmental systems, architectural detailing, lighting design, building codes, computer rendering, 3-D modeling, accessory design and other topics related to the field.
Media Art and Animation — The Bachelor of Science degree in Media Arts & Animation is a 12-quarter program containing 192 credit hours. The program includes a variety of general education and program-specific classes, including 2D Animation, Compositing, Modeling and 3-D Animation. Students use software including Adobe PhotoShop, Macromedia Flash, 3D Studio Max, Maya and SoftImage, and complete demo reels of their work using Premiere and Media 100.
Simulation and Virtual Environments — The Simulation & Virtual Environments program equips students for employment within the simulation industry. Students receive intensive training in the foundations of art and design before entering into the more technical areas of 3-D modeling and programming. Students learn the essential skills to effectively create and support real-time software models and simulated environments.
Visual & Game Programming — An intensely hands-on program that combines traditional animation skills with technical skills, the program focuses on student ability to write, extend and modify programs/scripts for 3D animation. Essentially, this program combines artistic training with technical training deeply embedded in the concepts of animation. Students will be introduced to the principles of programming, which enables them to enter into the world of shading development, motion capture management, and pipeline streamlining. They will learn programming and scripting tools such as bash, Perl, Python, C++, C Shell, MEL Script, DirectX, OpenGL, and Renderman. The program lasts 12 quarters and contains 192 quarter credits, including 56 quarter credits in general education.
AICA-SF has over a dozen registered student clubs.
Acting and Movement Workshop: The school's acting club. Here students hone their acting techniques and receive further instruction is stagecraft and acting for camera.
Alpha Beta Kappa: The school’s Honor Society Alpha Beta Kappa, is for students with a desire to participate in community based philanthropic activities and network with students in other majors and industry professionals. Students are required to have a Grade Point Average of 3.5 or higher.
Animation Club: In the Animation Club, students can discuss the many types of animation, from traditional 2D to current 3D animation.
Comic Book Club (OCCULAMA): Inactive.
Eco Club: The Eco Club raises awareness about on and off campus environmental issues. It was founded in 2004 by faculty member Robert Ovetz, PhD and then student Mike Kahn.
Fashion Salon: In the Fashion Salon, students meet to discuss current fashion, talk about different fashion ideas, work on techniques for making clothes in different styles and trends, and get involved with special events and local fashion shows.
Game Art & Design Club: Playing Defenders of the Ancients and Game Modeling Competitions.
Graphic Design Club / Student Newsletter Club: In the Graphic Design Club, students learn all about arranging work in a graphically pleasing way.
Interior Design Club: Students in the Interior Design Club learn more about the techniques of interior design and attend local exhibits, conferences and industry events.
The Roleplayer's Guild: The Roleplayer's Guild started to promote the hobbist past time of Pen & Paper Roleplaying games. Students participate in Roleplaying games and produce artwork and creative writings for their characters or stories. It was started in 2005 by Adam Power and Abel Hernandez. As of November 2006, Dungeons & Dragons and Deadlands are being run as official club games, however BESM, All Flesh Must Be Eaten, WWE: Know Your Role,Star Wars,Silver Age Sentinels, and World of Darkness have been known to have been played.
Sculpture / VFX Props Club: Students learn about different ways to make a sculpture and VFX props in this club.
Society of Web Artists and Programmers (SWAP): The Society of Web Artists and Programmers (SWAP) gets students involved in making Web sites, or furthering their interest in specific topics of Web design. It is geared to helping students in the IMD major fill out their portfolios.
Student Housing: Student Housing is located in Daly City at the Westlake Village Apartments, and in San Francisco at the Fillmore Center. Everyone in student housing is assumed in the club, and is thus able to join in on club activities.
Student Photography Club: The Student Photography Club will help students learn how to take great pictures, and develop them.
Strategic Gamer's Union: The Single greatest club ever, run by the single greatest club president in existence. Also he is really handsome.
True Colors: True Colors is designed to be a safe haven for all students to gather. A Gay - Straight alliance.
VGPclub: The VGPclub was established by Visual and Game Programming students in 2003 as a venue to discuss topics and promote game industry related events on campus related to film effects and video games.
Gigi Gallinger-Dennis, spokeswoman for the AI, states that the publication was removed because it was never reviewed — a process which all displayed articles must go through at the AI. The booklet was later redistributed in its entirety.
School President James Campbell had a public forum for current students and faculty, regarding this issue, during the first week of the Winter Quarter, 2007.
Ovetz was declined rehiring for the Spring Quarter. Ovetz believes this to be because of the booklet getting pulled. The dean, plus the head of the liberal studies department, told him it was due to conflicts with other staff. Ovetz taught at AICASF for about three years and received two pay raises and positive faculty performance reviews.
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