Starting AAU this fall 08

Hi guys,

So it looks like I will be attending Academy of Art University in SF this fall, directed by Tom Matano. I will be attempting to graduate on the Transportation track. Do any current students at AAU have tips for success in the program? This will be my second degree, and have also taken some classes at Art Center at Night in Introductory ID courses.

Any Tips or just plain info on what to expect in the classes and how to be successful would be of great help! Thanks in advance.


I just did my first semester there and if you want some input on the teachers that I had then here goes, assuming that you’re taking the same classes that I just took.
Perspective for IDS: I had a really awesome teacher named Joko, he’s very lax and is easy to talk to and ask for help when you need it. He will definitely help you and makes sure that the class understands how to build up a draft… but ultimately though he will want craftsmanship and that you understand the logic on how to draft objects. Also, this class really helped me out a lot in terms of hand drafting objects (top, front, side) for my other classes).
Design Problem Solving: I think Michael is the only teacher teaching this class. The projects are fun and he’s really cool, but HUGE tip (if you’re on a budget) is to make sure you know exactly what items you’ll be needing for the projects… because I made the mistake of just buying things that I thought I would be needing, but in the end I had no use for them.
Computer Drafting: I had David for this class and the beginning is kinda neh, the exercises that we did were helpful for the final project that you’ll be doing which accounts for 70% of our full grade, which is insane. Also, if you have a question, ask the person sitting next to you first.
Model Making 1: I had Shafiq and out of the MM teachers there he is the harder grader. Talk to him whenever you can about your work so that he can give you input although he will be vague… but be friends with him though because he knows a lot. Ultimately though he will really want Craftsmanship from you. Learn from your mistakes and it will help you out in the long run. And if you’re like me, I suggest that you take Shafiq over the other MM teachers, not that they’re not good or anything, but if you really want a challenge, take him.

how is the quality of other students? I hear inititiially, because there is not a portfolio barrier, you are surrounded by a lot of, well, not so good students?

how much would you say materials cost you?

thanks for the info.

Well as far I can tell, I think most of the first semester students that I had classes with and talked with weren’t as well equipped or experienced in the things that we were being taught at in school. Especially me, most everything for me was basically new, except for the woodworking part, but I think that’s the reason why we’re going to school. To learn the things that we don’t really know about. And to tell you the truth, the first classes that
I’ve taken seem to be the core basic things that I would need to know for my future classes. So the program kinda covers that in the getgo.

But really, I can’t judge how well the students are because I’m not a teacher or a “professional” designer, but from seeing the work made by the upperclass students, I’m impressed. And also, you will run into a lot of international students and that’s a good thing, because you can get so many different perspectives from them even though they think their English isn’t good, I disagree.

And I don’t know where you got the notion that by not having a portfolio means that you’re no good. We’re initially there to create our first portfolio. And I think it’s the classes that will make or break the students because somehow I think the school has conspired against us to have major projects start at the same time. :laughing: But if you’re disciplined, then there’s nothing to worry about.

As for material costs.
Perspective - 100 - 150usd… vellum is expensive
Computer Drafting - Nothing, unless you buy a caliper for your final.
Modelmaking - 100usd at least, assuming that you don’t mess up.
Design Problem Solving - Depends

ohh ok. yea i never thought that students were of lower quality. it was just what i read in other forums like cardesignnews. Are there scholarships offered at all besides that portfolio grant?

and rawr, are you doing product or trans?

Um, I know that there was this one scholarship that I saw posted around the building, but there probably are a couple more, except I don’t know of any scholarships that you can get before you’re actually in the school.
I’m going into Product.

i see. thanks for the info rawr. rawr can you or anyone in the trans track me a bit of info on sponsored projects, employment after graduation etc? im aiming to try trans, and if it doesnt work out fall back into product.

I just completed my first semester at AAU. I really had a great time will all the courses that I took. I had Tom Matano himself for Trans-3 and he is a fabulous teacher, very understanding and very inspiring. For Trans drawing, I had Wallace, Mark and Henning (Designer from Mitsubishi Studio) and they all are full of learning and information. So all in all, it was a good start.

On your concern of ‘having not good students around’ bcoz of no portfolio barrier, i’d say that getting in is a lot easier in institutions like this, but getting out is a tough job. You have to be perfect to finish your course and thats what matters.

abhinav, i noticed you took trans 3 for your first semester? how did you get around to taking that so fast? did you have prior experience?