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LunchboxAz
01-20-2012, 12:41 AM
Currently Im enrolled in my local community college in the game design program and through that ive discovered im more interested in the game art aspect. Specifically modeling and some texturing. Ive been playing around with painting in photoshop but for the most part ive decided I want to pursue the modeling path. The level of education im getting however is extremely lacking and will put me nowhere near where I need to be once im done to even hope about getting a job. However I already know this and have for some time, so Ive started to supplement my college work with tutorials and books and LOTS of practice (go me).

I have read countless threads about about how a degree is not necessarily needed if your assets and skills are good enough however one cant discount that having a degree is better than NOT having one. So back to the point I was making that im supplementing my education with everything I can find however when in a learning enviroment I thrive on direction. I prefer to be taught and summarily assessed on my abilities then to sit and watch a tutorial or read a book. With that in mind Im considering furthering my education by taking online courses following a dedicated Game Art program. Understanding not all accreditation is the same and Im fully aware of the costs associated with the for-profit schools what would be considered some of the better online degree programs I can look into.

I want to use it soley to further my abilities and get that little piece of paper that I may not even need but its better to have it and not need it than need it and not have it am I right? I dont want to go because I think I will get a job afterword, or that I will be on a pixar level once im done. I want to go to hone my skills and get the direction and sense of accomplishment I dont think I can get by just watching tutorials. Am I way out in left field on this or is it a viable option? Any help or comments from some of the recent online graduates or profesionals around here?


Cliff notes for anyone not wanting to read my wall-o-text

I want to learn more than what im getting currently in college
What are some of the better online Game Art Programs I can look into (more modeling less animation)
Am I crazy?

FrankIowa
01-20-2012, 04:17 AM
Jason:

You should consider taking some CG Society workshops (taught by experienced pros). You get critiques to help you improve (if you complete and post your work). There are courses that involve modeling and texture painting.

You wrote " The level of education im getting however is extremely lacking and will put me nowhere near where I need to be once im done to even hope about getting a job." That is rather vague. I looked at some of your work. Was the robot character a course assignment or project? It was a simple model with simple texture (and the ground plane and background were simple textures). Have you learned how to unwrap UVs? Have you learned how to create maps (bump, normal, spec, AO, cavity, etc.)? Are the courses not challenging enough? You rendered with Mental Ray, but the scene was rather basic with basic lighting. I also noted that you were going to rig the minotaur character, but the sculpting was basic.

There are some other online course options, but you don't want to spend money on courses that won't help you achieve your goals. It is good that you want to supplement your education ("hunger" for learning more is a good sign that you will move toward your goals). I can recommend a few excellent training DVDs for texture painting and modeling, but a little more info would help. Do you want to do organic modeling? Hard surface modeling? Environment modeling?

You can post works in progress here at CG Society (or possibly game-related sites) and get feedback also.

LunchboxAz
01-20-2012, 05:20 PM
Hey thanks for the response. Ive looked at some of the cg society courses and if the online school thing doesnt pan out my alternate route would be to take some of those courses as well as some of the gnomon courses.


The robot character was half project half course assignment. We learned VERY little about unwrapping UVs let alone doing it properly (When I mean little.. i mean out of two semesters worth of maya classes we covered UVs and texturing maybe 4 days) so what little textures are on him are placeholders while I figure it out on my own.We never learned about backgrounds or setting up proper lights (he showed us what each basic light looks like but that was it) I rendered it with mental ray because it looked the best and I just had a basic sun and sky set up (that again I found on my own) My Advanced Maya course felt like Intro to Maya 2.5 if you know what I mean. And I get it, you cant teach such an extensive program like maya in just two semesters and its for a maya generalist in a game design generalist program. It doesnt go into specifics on ANYTHING. The robot is still a work in progress and I used it for the school project Which I got an A on but I shouldnt have gotten an A for an unfinished project like that but that kinda gives you a glimpse of the standard of class im in.

For the minotaur hes been put on the back burner while I learn a bit more with mudbox. The one that ive posted is a fairly early WIP. Ive got him a little more detailed on my pc at home.

In the beginning I wasnt sure about organic modeling but as I learn new things ive become more comfortable with it at least in mudbox. Ive also started trying some enviromental modeling but thats mostly hardsurfaces like buildings and corridors and industrial type stuff. Ive started working on a few items for my eventual reel which im really trying to take my time on (i will go back and revisit the robot too) and do the best I can but my maya classes are over now so everything from here on out is going to have to be self taught until im done with school and can start on other course work (Lesterbanks, youtube and DT's here I come lol) I would love to hear some options on training DvDs

FrankIowa
01-20-2012, 09:42 PM
Jason:

Glad to help. Your reply helps me understand more about your current level of skills. Some of the CG Society courses, such as Katon's High-end Fantasy Game Art Creation, cover character modeling, UVs, texturing, sculpting, etc. Gnomon online seems to have a limited number of online courses currently available (I think that they are revamping some). A ten-week Gnomon online course is about $1680 vs. a CG Society 8-week course for about $600. The Gnomon courses require weekly assignments and a final project and you get weekly video critiques from the instructor. CG Society courses provide feedback via the forums, paint-overs, etc., and you can ask questions and get feedback. Katon and Jon Rush (another CG Society instructor) both created several custom videos to help students having problems with particular aspects. You also get feedback from fellow students (the Gnomon courses have little student interaction compared to CG Society courses). The "Digital Lighting & Rendering I" online course (not currently offered by Gnomon) that was taught by Jeremy Engleman was a great course. He was a tough taskmaster, but you learned a lot. It was one of the few lighting courses available online. However, Boaz Livny now has a CG Society course "Advanced Photorealism with Mental Ray," but it is not entirely focused on learning how to master lighting.

Escape Studios has some online courses that are good (but they are not mentored). You basically watch videos and don't get feedback (you can post work to a gallery, but usually the feedback is limited). Escape has a lighting course that is good, but no mentorship. The Texture Painting course taught by Eric Miller (Gnomon Online) is good, but it assumes that you have a thorough background in Maya basics and Photoshop, including some UV unwrapping knowledge. It is not game-oriented, but much of it applies to games.

I will try to come up with a list of Gnomon, eat3D, and other training materials that will help you increase your skills. You can post works in progress here and other game-related sites to get critiques and polish your work. Lynda.com, 3dMotive, Digital Tutors, and SimplyMaya are other sites with training materials.

You don't seem to have done much with game engines. The Marmoset Toolbag (8MonkeyLabs) is an inexpensive game-renderer (not a game engine) that is used by many game artists to render their work as it would appear in a game engine (vs. Maya). The Unity 3 game engine works really well with Maya and has a free version (and student pro version for about $100). 3dBuzz has some wonderful free training for Maya and for Unity--you might check them out also.

A good path for organic modeling is to learn to create a character base mesh (based on image plane reference), take it into ZBrush and sculpt it (good proportion, form, anatomy), UV unwrap the lores base mesh, create a normal map once sculpting is done (and also color and spec maps). You can then render in Marmoset and tweak the textures to make them look better. There are some good DVDs at Gnomon and eat3D about this entire process. One of the things that you will learn about the game art pipeline, is that character artists such as Katon Callaway and Jon Rush know, besides modeling, how to sculpt, unwrap UVs, create texture maps, and much more (including basic rigging and deformation testing before passing the character off to animators).

It is good that you want to improve your skills and hopefully you will find the path that works for you.

FrankIowa
01-22-2012, 04:51 PM
Jason:

Here are some recommended DVDs:. I don't want to overwhelm you with stuff. Learning how to UV better, basics of texture painting, and more about PShop will be a great start. Character modeling, maps, and lighting can follow.

UV Mapping for Games by Gnomon
Adobe Photoshop for Digital Production by Gnomon
Next Gen Texturing Techniques by eat3D (some parts little dated, but the techniques are still relevant).
Texture Painting Fundamentals by Gnomon

DaveGallagher
01-23-2012, 07:27 PM
Hi! Have you looked into AnimSchool?

http://www.animschool.com/ (http://www.animschool.com/Default.aspx)

Currently Im enrolled in my local community college in the game design program and through that ive discovered im more interested in the game art aspect. Specifically modeling and some texturing. Ive been playing around with painting in photoshop but for the most part ive decided I want to pursue the modeling path. The level of education im getting however is extremely lacking and will put me nowhere near where I need to be once im done to even hope about getting a job. However I already know this and have for some time, so Ive started to supplement my college work with tutorials and books and LOTS of practice (go me).

I have read countless threads about about how a degree is not necessarily needed if your assets and skills are good enough however one cant discount that having a degree is better than NOT having one. So back to the point I was making that im supplementing my education with everything I can find however when in a learning enviroment I thrive on direction. I prefer to be taught and summarily assessed on my abilities then to sit and watch a tutorial or read a book. With that in mind Im considering furthering my education by taking online courses following a dedicated Game Art program. Understanding not all accreditation is the same and Im fully aware of the costs associated with the for-profit schools what would be considered some of the better online degree programs I can look into.

I want to use it soley to further my abilities and get that little piece of paper that I may not even need but its better to have it and not need it than need it and not have it am I right? I dont want to go because I think I will get a job afterword, or that I will be on a pixar level once im done. I want to go to hone my skills and get the direction and sense of accomplishment I dont think I can get by just watching tutorials. Am I way out in left field on this or is it a viable option? Any help or comments from some of the recent online graduates or profesionals around here?


Cliff notes for anyone not wanting to read my wall-o-text

I want to learn more than what im getting currently in college
What are some of the better online Game Art Programs I can look into (more modeling less animation)
Am I crazy?

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