DAGD Digital Animation & Game DesignFrequently Asked Questions

How do I get a job in the industry?

Work in the media, animation and game industry is a result of a balanced blend of outstanding skills, creative content, a strong portfolio and networking ability. Much like fire needs oxygen, heat and fuel to exist, the job you get is a result of hard work and a blend of the above. The old adage of ‘it’s who you know’ along with ‘what you know’ as seen in a great portfolio is how you get a job. How you get to know people in the industry? It can be the folks you go to school with, the professionals you meet at conferences and group meetings, friends and colleagues.

Of course, job boards, company websites and friends can give you leads, but it’s your portfolio and the willingness to put it out there by whatever means is what’s going to give you the edge. Ferris DAGD is designed to help develop those skills and help you make the contacts you need to succeed.

Many company sites like www.pixar.com and www.blizzard.com give good advice on what you need to develop your skills and how to submit portfolios. Two outstanding job boards can be found at www.awn.com and www.gamasutra.com.

Do your instructors have any industry experience?

All of our instructors have had extensive professional experience producing animation, media and games. We continue to work outside of the college honing our skills and producing professional work. We believe it is important to keep up with the newest trends and technologies. Our clients as well as our students keep us sharp.

What kind of tools do you use in DAGD?

Our workstations are dual processor Intel Quad Cores with four or more gigabytes of Ram and high end Nvidea graphic cards linked to dual monitors. We keep these very powerful computers in top condition with an outstanding IT staff and robust intranet that allows us to share files and data. Software includes the current Adobe Creative Suite Including Photoshop, AfterFX, Flash and Premier, 3DS Max, SoftImage XSI, Maya, Torque Gamebuilder, Unreal Runtime and URT 3, and Pixelogic’s Z brush. These state of the art packages are industry standards that will make you a valuable asset to potential employers.

I am in high school. What courses should I take to prep for college and the industry?

Do well in your core classes. We require at least a 2.5 in high school to get into our program. For more elective work, art, programming, music and even theater are all very strong electives. Those who are into sports often excel in our industry because of the discipline that they learn. You may also want to consider Advanced Placement classes such as English to help knock off a few credit hours before college. Also, dual enrollment classes are available in the Kent County area that can give you a jump on the program as well as the Kent Career Technical Center ( KCTC) in Grand Rapids.

I am going to a community college right now. Will my credits transfer?

Many of your credits are likely to transfer. We have a number of 2 + 2 agreements with Michigan Community Colleges that make the transition very efficient. However, it’s possible that some credits may not transfer if for a number of reasons. If you are currently a community college student you should see a Ferris DAGD advisor as soon as you can so you can set up at good transfer plan. By applying to our program early, we can help you sooner rather than later. We are here to help so give us a call.

Where will I live? Do you have dorms?

We have two locations for you to choose from! We offer our urban campus in the middle of a clean and safe mid-western USA city, in Grand Rapids and our main campus with an abundance of university organizations, a small city with big-city amenities, in Big Rapids.

Just off our Grand Rapids campus is ‘5 Lyon’ whose managers will lease a bedroom or apartment to you and help match you up with roommates. Other students in Grand Rapids find housing in walking distance in the Victorian era ‘heritage hill’ district. Others in the city live nearby in traditional apartment complexes and drive a short distance to campus.

Our Big Rapids location offers various options for the traditional dorm life experience. If you prefer group living in a college setting with social and an abundance of extra educational opportunities, then Big Rapids may be the place for you!

There are many safe and affordable solutions and our student services department will be able to help you locate housing.

What else would you suggest to get into the animation and gaming industries?

Study films, play games, draw, do graphic design, learn programming, theater and writing. Make some short films and simple games, enter and attend regional or nationals events such as SIGGRAPH , GDC, IGDA Regional events and Animation Festivals such as KAFI . Study hard and look at company website employment areas to understand how the industry works. Ally yourself with other animators and go to a good school to learn the basic skills. Create a good portfolio and keep submitting and learning from the feedback your get. GET INVOLVED

I understand you need a portfolio to apply. Why is that?

The reason we ask for a portfolio is that you will be asked for one when you go for a job. We want you to start thinking ‘portfolio’ early and that everything you do should be focused on this important tool. We also want to see if you can follow directions and do an assignment! You will be doing many assignments in our program and completely filling out an application and creating a portfolio is Assignment Number One!

You will find later that when you go for a job, company websites will lay out the criteria of what you are to submit. Remarkably, they are looking to see if you do what they ask as a first step into their company. They want to see if you can follow directions. We want you to develop this skill early.

A portfolio can be many things. We are looking to see who you are and what your passion is and portfolios help us do that. We ask for ten samples of things you have done. It could be artwork, programming samples, simple games you have made, photography, music, short films and even writing samples.

Take these ten examples and burn them onto a CD or DVD-R and send them in. Please send it to :

DAGD Portfolio Submission
Ferris State University
151 Fountain NE
Grand Rapids, MI, 49503

You don’t have to be great to get in. That’s why you are joining us. We’ll help you become the designer or animator you want to be.

Sound great to me! How can I apply?

Just follow this link to the application page.