At the Academy of Art's 3D department you're in one of three majors of interest: character animation, visual effects, modelling or games.
* Character animation: responsible for anything that has a personality, moves, talks, lives.
* Visual Effects: responsible for things like realistic fire, water, explosions etc
* Modelling: building everything in an environment from the paper clip to the 18 wheeler to the people to the animals.
* Games: all of the above but at a lower resolution, substitute character animation with game design.
Places like Industrial Light and Magic, Rhythm and Hues are special fx houses. Pixar, Blue Sky and Dreamworks make movies (character animation) both types of places hire modellers. Then there are many game studios all around. I'm learning more about who does what and who hires whom as I get more semesters under my belt.
My take on the school continues to evolve as well. I think it's a good school if you know where to look. I was lucky to get the good Maya I teacher this past semester. The way it works at any school is the more you put into it the more you get out of it. Still it amazes me how much the faculty let students get away with. If the teacher were an employer and the student an employee, more than half of all my classes would be fired within a month. I sound like a crotchety old man.