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View Full Version : Shout out to ALL the SELF TAUGHT 3d cg artists...


ShinZo
02-13-2005, 06:08 PM
Hello,
how is everyone?

The reason I started this thread is because I had some questions.
How many of the artists here are self taught and are in good jobs?
How hard is it for someone who is self taught to get a job?
Do you get a job based on your demo reels or you college education?
How hard is to get freelance work? and what kind of money is involved? Is it betetr than a regular cg job in the same field?

can someone be self taught with gnomon or other similar tutorial dvds and or books?

Everyone fitting in, please do reply

Thankyou everyone for your time.

eraser851
02-13-2005, 06:14 PM
yea, i would like to know about this as well...im teaching myself 3ds max.

davijin
02-13-2005, 06:32 PM
There are alot of threads on Cgtalk that discuss all of these topics. just search the forums and you should be able to find out all of the info you need

chal7ds
02-13-2005, 08:06 PM
I'm new to CG..but I have a friend who's making six figures. He's got a job out in California
for a 3D company..and he only went to school for 3D for a year! pretty cool...but talent is also a big part of it.

otacon
02-13-2005, 08:13 PM
Im self taught with a pretty good job right now. Ive only ever bought 1 training book, and i never even finished that. I got noticed by posting my work on forums like this. You can have some awesome stuff, but if nobody ever sees it then theres no point. You have to market yourself.

bobtronic
02-13-2005, 09:17 PM
I am self taught too. Its quite hard to find a job here in Germany as autodidact.

Bob

leigh
02-13-2005, 09:33 PM
This topic has come up numerous times in the past and there are already very many interesting discussions on it here on CGTalk.

Just to re-iterate, for the most part degrees are not essential, unless you are keen to move to another country in which case a degree is important for immigration purposes. Most (not all, but most) companies do not require that you have a formal education, as they hire people based on their skills.
However, in my opinion, that certainly doesn't mean that education is pointless. But that is another debate altogether.

With regards to freelance work, it is easy to get if you're good and have a good reputation. I wouldn't recommend for people to freelance for themselves from home until they have a good couple of years of experience under their belts in a studio.
Freelancing in production is slightly different though, and is the way that probably most of the artists working in films make their living. The money is good but obviously there is no job security because you're freelance. However, good freelancers move from gig to gig all the time so if you have a good reputation then you shouldn't have too much of a problem getting work to keep you afloat.

shy-guy
02-13-2005, 11:56 PM
hi there; im with Otacon in this one, the secret itīs to market yourself. Iīve been using 3d applications (and editing) for just a little more than a year, but as soon as i get started, i become insanely obsessive about learning more and more; everything i know itīs thanks to the help documents that every program have,and a looot of tutorials that iīve downloaded on the web. Every time i did something that i was proud of,i started to sending to all my friends;that lead me to my first job in a design and production company; now i have two jobs,and although the pay itīs somewhat miserable, i cant complain much because i havenīt even graduate from university,i have two more years to go;but the experience that iīve been gaining itīs priceless. Like my boss said in my first meeting, when i asked him if he wanted to see some certification of courses that i atended to, he says:" i donīt care how many courses youīve made,what i care is what you can do now..." i doubt that things work this way every where,but for me it has been working just fine.

Troy
02-14-2005, 12:27 AM
I'm not in the industry, but i'm hoping to go in a similar, self-taught direction. I think the best way to do it, according to the people i've asked and their experience, is just to spread your work around and do your best, and people will notice you. hopefully

ShinZo
02-14-2005, 12:32 AM
by good job or pay being between 60k - 80k a year.

This is nice, ppl here are really helpful.

Schwinnz
02-14-2005, 12:42 AM
This is art man, 60-80k is a lot of money !

Some do but it's only after many years of experience.

And a good job is not only about money.. there much more than that to take in consideration.

ShinZo
02-14-2005, 12:48 AM
60-80k, a lof ot money?

I have friends who deal with networking and as such and they make 75k.

was talking to someone, who said he freelanced a 3d work, took him 3 days to do, paid him 3k.

Experience brings in lotta money, thats true. Someone said with just under 5 yrs exp, hes getting 98k.

I know this market goes real high and real low, but wanna know the middle part.

If 30k-40k is all you get, you can make more by just working in a store.

I want to know from people that have first hand experience though.

Kanga
02-14-2005, 01:04 AM
I'm self taught in 3D but studied Industrial Design in Australia.

I am a freelancer and although my passion is character design I also do, 3D Industrial Design, Web Design, Graphic Design and Commercial Illustration to stay alive.

Do you get a job based on your demo reels or you college education?
Both.
Your folio is your meal ticket. I got my first Industrial Design job from a guest tutor from colledge.

How hard is to get freelance work?
It aint easy. Mostly you have to show good stuff, promote it well and get to know people. A business card is vital and it helps if the card is interesting and links to your website folio. I designed a couple of cards for myself ranging from monochrome to full colour. My best mate who is a printer and has his own business picked the full colour version and came back in a week with 2000 beautifully printed cards. I though cripes how am I gonna get rid of all these :) . After 9 months a third of them are gone. I never leave home without them. When you are in a bar or you meet new people the question: "What do you do" invarioubly comes up, ping card time. Make sure everyone you know knows what you do,.... without being too pushy.

and what kind of money is involved?
Scour the web for rates in your area. Calculate how much you need to survive per year. Assume you can only work 15 weeks in a year full time cause the rest of the time you will be: bookkeeping, studying your craft and keeping yourself and your folio up to date, making contacts and canvasing for work. Costs are sick insurance and all other insurance (especially you equipment), hard and software updates, promotion costs as well as operating costs.

Is it betetr than a regular cg job in the same field?
For me it is brilliant, for you it might be a nightmare. Its usually good to hold down a full time job for a nummber of years first as the risk is much lower.

can someone be self taught with gnomon or other similar tutorial dvds and or books?

Absolutely!

All your questions are brilliantly answered in the book by Mr. Ed Harriss: Getting a job in Computer Animation. (google) The cost of the book is peanuts and is full of 'up to date' info.

Good luck man.

jeremybirn
02-14-2005, 01:28 AM
This is art man, 60-80k is a lot of money !

Some do but it's only after many years of experience.

That's just not true. A, um, "friend of mine" got $60k as his starting salary straight out of art school, and would never work for that little again. Posting advice that makes newcomers accept lowball salaries doesn't help our industry at all. Some companies are run with the idea that the producers should keep all of the profits from movies, while artists should take a vow of poverty just because they are artists, but that is not a healthy idea to spread around.

On the "self-taught" issue, that's most of the industry. All of these "computer art training programs" with courses in specific areas like organic modeling or compositing, those are mostly new in the past 5 or 10 years, so almost everyone who's been around for a while taught themselves how to use the software.

-jeremy

jmBoekestein
02-14-2005, 01:56 AM
hčhč,

That's what I like to hear! Good cg is definitely worth the money imo. To imagine that photorealism can be maintained in an animation! Or all the hard work put into realistic animation! When just a couple of years ago it wasn't even something to try in most cases.

Pay, you ****ing bankers!

r3mix
02-14-2005, 02:20 AM
If 30k-40k is all you get, you can make more by just working in a store.

I want to know from people that have first hand experience though.

Honestly, if your getting into cg for the money they you are going to be let down my friend.
For entry level you are looking at 25-30k in the game industry atleast. I can't imagine any other area of cg paying any higher than that for entry level. You can make your way up after a few years to 60k+ and beyond, but thats not after alot of hard work and of course depends on your talent among other things.

I don't want to sound rude, but if cg is not something you love to do then I would suggest "working in a store" or finding something else that you do enjoy.

Cheers.

leigh
02-14-2005, 02:42 AM
Let's PLEASE not turn this discussion into another salary debate and "you should do it for the love" thing.

:banghead:

ShinZo
02-14-2005, 02:58 AM
Honestly, if your getting into cg for the money they you are going to be let down my friend.
For entry level you are looking at 25-30k in the game industry atleast. I can't imagine any other area of cg paying any higher than that for entry level. You can make your way up after a few years to 60k+ and beyond, but thats not after alot of hard work and of course depends on your talent among other things.

I don't want to sound rude, but if cg is not something you love to do then I would suggest "working in a store" or finding something else that you do enjoy.

Cheers.

Trigon, I LOVE cg and thats why next time when I go grocery shopping I will wear a banner around my neck that says, I LOVE CG, and I will try getting away without paying thats is ofcourse if the security doesn't beat the sh*t outta me first.
but hey thats ok, cuz I love cg right?
When I die of starvation (they call animators, starving artists), ppl will say, "poor sucker, but a cg lover".

not to sound rude trigon, but this is all it comes down to, for me atleast.

leigh
02-14-2005, 03:12 AM
(they call animators, starving artists)

The only starving artists are the unemployed ones.

Schwinnz
02-14-2005, 04:37 AM
Then I guess it depends where you live. I hear you with your 100k/y jobs, that's a lot of money here, ~120k(cnd). This is very easily twice the average income around here. 80 is a lot, 60 is pretty good.

But then if you are in LA or any big city, it's more likely to happen..

And you say your friend in networking does 98k, sorry but this has nothing to do with art and is a much more demanded job, compared to the plethora of artists out there...

I base what I say on gamasutra's study of 2003 anyway.

ShinZo
02-14-2005, 04:51 AM
Then I guess it depends where you live. I hear you with your 100k/y jobs, that's a lot of money here, ~120k(cnd). This is very easily twice the average income around here. 80 is a lot, 60 is pretty good.

But then if you are in LA or any big city, it's more likely to happen..

And you say your friend in networking does 98k, sorry but this has nothing to do with art and is a much more demanded job, compared to the plethora of artists out there...

I base what I say on gamasutra's study of 2003 anyway.

Schwinnz, I live in calgary. The friend in networking works for city of calgary. Other buddy works for a international company, but he is in calgary though, does networking and stacks about 80k/yr.

Networking is going downhill as I am told by them, if downhill is that salary, I can only imagine what uphill salary might be.

Schwinnz, maybe salaries are just low around your area, but tahts strange since quebec is suppose to be one of the top animation places in canada.
Anyways yes 80k is good and 60k is decent.

I would like to hear more experiences regarding this folks, keep em coming.
thx

flawedprefect
02-14-2005, 05:28 AM
How many of the artists here are self taught and are in good jobs?

Why... that'd be me. I work for This crew (http://www.steam.com.au) as a video editor, but find I do alot of 3d animation. You can see some examples of what I've done here (http://www.flawedprefect.com) under showreels.

I tought myself to use Blender, because it's free, and I didn't like the prospect of hacking 3D MAX just cos everyone uses it. When the latest versions became available, I showed my bosses what it could do. Now we use it for everything, from quick 3d objects for animatics, to photoreal animated CD cases.

How hard is it for someone who is self taught to get a job?

My experience: hard. Like something hiding in a "Somebody Else's Problem" field (see Douglas Adams: Life, the Universe and Everything) you can only see the right jobs out of the corner of your eye. You should walk up to them as nonchalantly as possible, make them think you're just gonna waltz on past them, then pounce when they look the other way.

Do you get a job based on your demo reels or you college education?

It helped, but I beat two others to the position because I taught editing and effects at university, and because I played guitar.

How hard is to get freelance work? and what kind of money is involved? Is it betetr than a regular cg job in the same field?

It is easy to get freelance work if you know people who do the sort of stuff for a living on salary, because they will always know somebody who wants to do it on the cheap. In Australia, you can make between $40 and $80 (Australian) per hour as an editor; I think it's slighlty more for Graphics. I only know two people who make more money freelance than on salary. I chose salary because I wanted to buy my own place. So the answer is: yes, it is better than a regular job and can earn you more money, but don't believe you will get there soon.

What I have learnt about knowledge of specific programs:

Studios only care about big brands (Maya, Max) because they have the false impression that "everyone" uses them, and so therefore, they are some standard. I sold my bosses on using Blender because I got it to work on our system, integrated it into our workflow, and impressed them with the results.

What I have learnt about clients: They don't care how you do it, as long as you do it.

What I have learnt about being artistic in my field: Forget it. There is no room for being creative. You borrow, copy, and create cool bases on what the client wants. Being creative means you will have a few tricks up your sleeve to impress your client with - but just enough to give them the impression you can make their concept come to life. So if I want to be artistic, I do so at home, on my own projects, where I can spend time and energy on learning techniques to further my own persuits.

Bonedaddy
02-14-2005, 06:09 AM
Recently posted a thread about my first year in CG as a self taught person, how much I made, etc, here (http://www.cgtalk.com/showthread.php?t=205973&page=1&pp=15). Should answer your questions.

Short version:
- Yes, I got a job. Several.
- I am making peanuts for now.
- I am getting by quite nicely in a good apartment in a nice neighborhood, in Hollywood.

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