How to prepare yourself

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How do I know if DAE is a suitable study programme for me? 

First of all: ask yourself the following questions, and be honest:

  • Are you really passionate about digital arts and game development?
  • How many hours are your prepared to spend on school work and assignments?
    (We expect the average DAE student to work 50+ hours per week, lessons included.)
  • How quality-conscious and driven are you? Can you accept that 'good' is not enough?
  • How do you deal with feedback and criticism? Do you just get defensive, or are you willing to take tips on board and learn?
  • How quickly do you give up? After the first setback? Or can you muster the courage and perseverance it takes?  

Having experience with games is a bonus. However, if you’re only interested in playing games and not in the technology and art behind them, DAE is not the right choice for you. Our students don't have much time to game or watch films - they're too busy learning how to make them.

 

If you're not this kind of person, you should seriously rethink applying for DAE. Don't let yourself be blinded by the glamour of the games and film industry. If you don't have the passion, the 'grit' and the willingness to learn, step by step, it's unlikely you'll do well here.

If, on the other hand, reading all of this makes you excited and even more determined to challenge yourself and explore how far you can go, we'd be happy to talk to you.

What kind of prior knowledge do I need for DAE?
Apart from a good high school background, you don't need any. But our experience shows that students without any prior knowledge have to work even harder, and tend to have a rough time, especially in the first year. Therefore, we urge future students to prepare themselves, focussing on the study major they're going to choose.

Never programmed?

  • To make a good start you can learn to work with Visual Studio. Download free Visual Studio C# Express here.


Never drawn or sketched?

  • When you have never held a pencil in your life and you do want to subscribe for the DAE art-focused majors (Game Graphics Production and 3D&VFX), you can prepare yourself by studying the following drawing techniques:
    • Perspective: one-, two- and three-point perspective are important drawing techniques.  They allow you to depict the environment as realistic as possible. Practice by drawing easy figures that are based upon cubes, bars, cylinders, cones and spheres.
    • Anatomy: Study the human body! Pay attention to the proportions you can find within the human body.  For example: the total length of the body is equal to the length of eight times the human head.
  • You can find a drawing course here: Andrew Loomis Anatomy Books
  • To give you an impression of what concept art entails, you can check the following link: conceptart.org.
  • Register as a student in an art academy, take a basic course sketching ore sign up for a holiday course drawing.


Never did something graphical?

  • Learn to work with Photoshop. You can find a trial version on the Adobe website.


Never did 3D?

  • Download here a trial of 3Ds Max or Blender
  • You can download tutorials from their product sites.


How about maths?

  • A weekly 3 hours of maths during your secondary education should be sufficient to start DAE majors GGP and VFX.  We start our maths courses relying on your own competence regarding basic arithmetics, polynomial algebra, equation solving and trigonometric fundamentals.   
  • In case of less than 3 hours of maths weekly throughout your secondary education or another reason to doubt the above, we kindly refer you to our summer course via this link.  And for just in case you can not make it to our Maths Refresher at summer, we advise you to practice the above intensively at CK12
  • A minimum of 5 hours of maths weekly during your secondary education allows you for to request sitting our Maths Level Test via mail before half of September to: ivo.de.pauw@howest.be.


Extend your visual and cultural library

  • Read books from different genres.
  • Play other games than those you are used to play (think: casual games, serious games, games for very different target audiences), and look at them in a critical and analytical way.
  • Watch contemporary movies as well as the classics. 
  • Walk around with open eyes and take pictures of things, details and textures you like or find interesting. Build a visual library to fall back on.
  • Visit exhibitions, museums, … and do things you've never done before - regularly.