GamesBeat A tour of the Gnomon School of Visual Effects July 27, 2011 6:57 PM Ryan Perez This post has not been edited by the GamesBeat staff. Opinions by GamesBeat community writers do not necessarily reflect those of the staff. If you’re an animation graduate like me, it’s virtually impossible not to know about the Gnomon School of Visual Effects. Why? Because our teachers told us to learn from the best, and Gnomon is where you'll find the crème de la crème. It’s a school that not only features top animators, 3D modelers, sculptors, and concept artists as its instructors, but also as its students. Gnomon is the place where prodigies and masters go to perfect their craft even more than it already is. And as a result, it’s a place where one can discover some of the best artwork around. So of course I jumped at the opportunity to visit such a renowned institution. I would have been crazy not to. Bitmob’s trusty UK video crew joined me as I made my way through the sprawl of Hollywood’s movie studios and film agencies. If you think being in the epicenter of the American film industry excited me, imagine how our boys from Britain felt; it was actually their first time in the States. (That's one hell of an introduction to colonial life, eh?) Everywhere our guides took us within the walls of Gnomon provided something new that made us murmur “holy shit….” The quality of both the professional and student work was staggering. I’m not joking when I say it actually made me feel like a piece of crap. It would intimidate any artist, really. Gazing around a room full of the students’ ridiculously smooth sculptures put things into perspective for me. It made me realize that not pursuing a career in art after graduating college was a fantastic idea. I simply cannot compete with the talent found at Gnomon. A small glimmer of hope sparked within me once I stumbled by a classroom that was being lectured on Maya, a 3D modeling program. I thought, “Hey, something I can relate to in this hall of kings!” But alas, after hearing the instructor speak for a while, I realized I didn’t know what the hell they were learning — something involving numbers and scripts. If any of you are aspiring artists or hope to enter a creative field, please don’t let my personal despair get you down. Anyone at Gnomon will tell you that they had to bust their asses to get where they are and that their work is just beginning. They followed their passion and harnessed their talents until they achieved a level of excellence that someone like me can only dream of. Nevertheless, a place like Gnomon should inspire you to apply yourself 100 percent in any field you’re pursuing. It should galvanize you not because of the quality of the artwork there, but simply because such superlative results are possible. You never know: You might find yourself as skilled and practiced as those at the school. Or like me, you might simply find yourself shaking hands with them. I have no delusions that I’ll ever have the opportunity to be a part of such a venerable school. But I am quite glad that I got the chance to see it for myself…and that I get to rub that fact in my artist friends’ faces.