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-dc-
06-21-2006, 11:45 AM
Some of this will seem like information youíve heard before, like common sense, like something someone should have sat down and told you. Maybe thatís the case, and maybe this is just affirmation of what you already know, but either way, I think you should read this.

I realize that you might not be a full-time student, and you might be working in the industry. In fact, some of you I know from work, and youíre just here to brush up or learn a new skill. Your continued education is evidence of the dedication you have, and thatís such a great thing to have! I admire those who want more when they already have what they need.

I believe that no matter what and where you choose to learn, be it at a public institute, a private school, or even in front of your computer at home, you should feel comfortable with your decision. You should feel like you're learning and that you've been given the tools you need to succeed in this extremely tough industry.

Do you need to go to college to get a job in this industry? No, but it doesn't hurt your chances to have a degree, and it won't be frowned upon if you don't.

Do employers require a degree to get a job? Yes, some of the larger studios do require a degree for some of their more advanced TD, software engineering, and infrastructure related jobs.

What about non technical jobs, do those require a degree? No. While some schools hold a certain amount of clout with many large studios and their degrees are in fact well respected, like Ringling or Cal Arts for example, artistic jobs do not require a degree.

Do I need to be artistic? Yes. Hands down it all comes down to your natural, raw, artistic talent, your eye for detail, your ability to take criticism for your own work, and your ability to critique others.

What if Iím technical though, do I still need to be artistic? At the end of the day, the answer is yes. While itís acceptable to not have any artistic talent and be completely scientific in many of the job functions, if you truly want to excel in Computer Graphics, you need at least basic artistic abilities to get by. It will only make you a stronger technical candidate.

So should I go to college or not? Are you talented enough to get a job without it? Are you completely sure about your artistic ability and what you want to do? Do you need more time to work on your portfolio? Do you have the discipline and determination to get a job with your current abilities? Keep asking yourself questions, and eventually youíll figure it out.

What if I get a degree in something else? Thatís fine if you want to have something to ďfall backĒ on, so to speak. Conservative people recommend this option to avoid pigeonholing yourself. I personally think that you should get a degree in whatever it is you want to do as a career. You can minor in something else, like business, while still majoring in art or computer science, for example. Either way, itís not a bad thing, but it does raise a question as to how determined are you to make it in this industry if youíre already making a backup plan?

How do I know if I am getting what I need out of school or not? ďI feel lostÖĒ Iíve heard that one a lot. I honestly want to tell you to consider doing something else with your life if you feel lost and are already taking classes for your major. If youíre just wondering whether or not youíre getting what you need from school, then you should probably ask yourself what it is you expect. Youíre only going to get out of it what you put in.

Should I focus on art or science? Thatís for you to decide. Unless youíre absolutely sure you want a technical job that requires a degree, the B.A. vs B.S. is not worth arguing over. You need to pick something that fits your goals, but remember that itís probably irrelevant later on anyways.

My school seems more interested in my money, is this normal? Many schools are cashing in on students desire to learn. They are almost all the same as far as what you end up with on paper. As far as actual teaching quality, instructor experience, and overall reputation, that all depends on your school.

If you feel like your school is just seeking a profit, then your hunch is right, it is. The difference will be in the graduating students. Look at where grads are working, not so called ďjob placementĒ numbers that the school puts out. Just remember, itís your responsibility to teach yourself and get a job, not anyone else, no matter how much money you spend on school or how much they promise to help after graduation.

What software should I learn? First and foremost, forget about the software for a minute. If you are interested in the technical side of things, then you are going to need a strong background in math and science. You'll also need programming experience.

If you're mainly an artist then you need to focus on traditional skills such as drawing, painting, and sculpting, among other things. Work on your 2D skills before trying your hand at 3D.

The software is only a tool.

To answer the question though, the software most commonly used for 3D in the industry is Maya and 3DSMax. PhotoShop is a standard application to know. For compositing you're best bet is to learn Nuke. For rendering, Renderman and Mental Ray have the strongest markets. Houdini and 3DSMax are popular with FX artists. Also, many larger studios have proprietary packages that are very unique to their pipeline.

It can matter what software you learn, because they are complicated packages that require training and time to understand. The less experience you have with the most commonly used software, the less valuable you will be.

I am about to graduate, what should I do? There are a few steps to preparing for graduation and entering this industry.





Look at job openings and preparing your resume
Put together an online portfolio and/or demo reel
Make contacts who can review your work
What should I have when I graduate? The most important thing you need is a demo reel and online portfolio with your work on it. You need a resume, obviously. Almost everyone gets reviewed solely on their demo reel, so, youíre going to need that demo reel. If you donít have that when you graduate then you essentially have nothing to get a job with!

I graduated, now what? Now is when you flood the market. You are new, you are unknown, and you need a job. Flood is the key word here. Send out as many hard copy reels and e-mails as you can. Take time and make cover letters for each one, and make them specific to each company. Donít write generic cover letters. Donít overdo it either, simple and to the point. Cover letter, resume, and demo reel, 3 things, thatís it.

As far as demo reels go, here are my rules:


3 minutes or less, anything more is too long
Your best work goes first, never repeat anything
Don't focus on your soundtrack, itís on mute, sorry.
Name, phone and email all over the place, donít forget contact info.
What to put on it? Only your best work. If you donít think itís great, no-one else will.
You should really get as much feedback from people as you can before you cut your demo reel. You need to find out what your best work really is. It could be that one piece that is really great that gets you a job, but if you throw in five others that are terrible, forget it.

Tailor your reel to the job that you would like. If youíre a modeler, show models. If you want to animate, show animations. Donít try to show more than one or two skills, even if you want to do everything. You cannot possibly be good at everything, and your weakest areas are going to shine through, not your strongest. Be aware that all of your work shown is being judged, not just what you say you want to do. Not fair? Then donít put it on your reel!

How much is your demo reel worth? Technically, itís priceless. A foot in the door in this industry is tough to get, and you are up against many willing and talented people who want that opportunity as bad if not worse than you do. So, itís priceless. If you spend one week hacking together a reel, itís obvious. All the talent in the world wonít make up for rushed work, laziness, or procrastination. Be proactive, and donít doubt for a second Ė there is competition.

So, how much money can you make? It depends on the market that youíre in. Letís take LA for example. An entry level artist at a 3D job might work for anywhere between $18 and $22 an hour, depending on the company, the work required, and your negotiating skills. That could be a 3D tracker, modeler, character TD, animator, lighter, or even a compositor. At this point, itís almost all the same; youíre looking at equal pay across the board for most entry level jobs.

What if I donít get a job right away? Thatís normal! Youíre going to have to keep trying, and be persistent. Keep applying, keep making phone calls, writing e-mails, and keep refining your reel. Cut a new version of your reel every week if you have to, just keep making it better and better until you get that first job. The first job is so important and so hard to get, you have to really want it.

How long does it take to hear back once youíve applied? Unless theyíre interested, you wonít hear anything. If they are, usually a couple of weeks at most unless thereís an enormous amount of candidates or someone else fell through. Calling HR a week after is acceptable, but donít call everyday.

Itís been a really long time, should I send in another reel? Call them first, ask them what the status is of the position. Ask if you can reapply. If they say yes, then go for it! If not, then donít waste the postage.

I got an interviewÖso what do I say? Just be yourself, take extra reels and resumes and be on time and prepared. Most importantly, be honest; donít lie about what you can do. Donít dress up, but at least look presentable. Be confident, theyíre interested in you; try to sound interested in them.

What should I ask for as far as money goes? Ask them what the job pays when they ask you how much you want. Ask them what they feel is fair. If you feel it is just too low, then ask for more, but be careful with your approach. The ball is totally in their court, not yours. If this is your first job take what you can get, hope for more, but take what you can get!

Is it ok to take an unpaid internship? Yes, and in fact many colleges will give you credit for doing so. You should try to do this while you're still living off of student loans or are still living at home. Unpaid should be no longer than 6 months. If they ask you to work longer than that for free, then it's not really an internship. This is a good way to get your foot in the door, make contacts in the industry, find out how much you really know, and helps you build your experience and demo reel. Look at it this way - unpaid now equals paid later.

How do I get experience when all the job ads require experience and I have none? This is the catch 22 of any industry. Students looking for work are two things to employers A) unknown B) cheap. Since you are cheaper than everyone else, you actually have a shot at filling in an entry level position, even if you have no experience and the ad says seeking experienced artists only. It's a way to weed out candidates, but companies know that students are still going to apply. Just make sure that whatever job you're applying for, you can actually do! Your unknown factor makes you a possible liability, and so they are taking a risk by giving you a chance. You should be thankful for the opportunity to prove yourself.

What about after this first job? You can expect to suffer for a little while during your period of being a grunt. It will be hard. Donít expect them to hand you anything important, and donít expect them to give you a huge raise. Just do the best you can, everyday, and learn what you can. Youíre building your resume, thatís it, bottom line. Live with roommates or friends or family if you canít afford the market youíre in, but donít quit just because you canít afford it! The job experience is more valuable than your pay. Think about your career long-term, not the job short-term.

After your first few projects, you might have earned enough respect to do a few things. A) You might have enough experience on your resume to get a job at a different company with a better position or B) you might get a raise at your current company and more responsibilities or C) You might get to try something new at your current job that allows a shift in position. This could take anywhere from a year to two years, but you should see results within that time, otherwise youíre in a stale environment and need to move on.

What about later on? What is my earning potential? Honestly, the sky is the limit. In LA there are unions for some of the larger shops, and the rest is pretty much standard hourly rates or salary. Many places require overtime to finish projects during deadlines. The lifestyle will be quite comfortable if you reach your earning potential. Supervisor and lead roles pay better, but also require very experienced talent, and companies are willing to pay for that experience.

Keep in mind there are dry spells, periods where you wonít have work. Almost all CG work is project based, even full time employees have to worry about projects at their place of employment, because if thereís not projects coming in, it could mean staff layoffs. Itís not uncommon to save two or more months of rent and other living expenses just in case. In fact, youíre playing a risky game if you donít. Even the most talented artists get laid off from time to time.

The result is a tighter knit community. Many of your future job opportunities will come from past relationships with other employees. As you work at other companies, so are they and you will likely cross paths again. Remember that burning bridges in this industry can hurt your career, not just your current job. Chances are good that youíll work with many different people, and many of them will know you and each other quite well.

What are people looking for in a candidate? We don't care where you went, how long you went there, if you were top or bottom of your class. Show us you can do it by showing us a great demo reel and portfolio. Follow that up with a great humble attitude that shows a willingness to learn and the ability to take direction. Then, show up everyday, on time, and do the best you can until itís time to go home. Show us that you are resourceful and can find answers to problems on your own before asking those around you. Show us you how bad you really want it, and above all, show us the passion, and remind us of how we felt when we were first looking for a job, were filled with energy, and didnít know what was going on. Thatís what everyone really wants in a candidate, entry level or not.

Itís all about your demo reel, your attitude, and of course your talent.

====== UPDATE: 09/13/10 =====

I am always amazed that this thread continues to live and thrive on CG Talk, and am glad it may have helped you along the way. While some of the information never changes, there is some that needs updating, and so I am going to go through my original post and make some tweaks here and there to try and keep it as current as possible. Since the original title was ďunofficial truthĒ, I wanted to add a few more observations I have had over the last few years in this business.

Our industry is shrinking
Over the last few years, the amount of places that create Computer Graphics work has diminished, and has become a more difficult business to break into. Those places that are established, and have reputations, are in a position to grow with the changes that are in store for the future. There were many smaller shops that were doing commercials, and small amounts of FX work, and they are now gone. When money for advertising was crunched by Wall Street, this market essentially was cut off at the knees, and some buckled. What is left are well-established places that are doing great work, but there are some big changes.

The industry is world wide
Los Angeles and San Francisco might be the two places with the most employers related to Computer Graphics, both in film, and in video games, but the reality is that more companies are going international. Vancouver now holds divisions for most of the major U.S. film companies, and some game companies. London is now home to a large branch of VFX houses that are now working together to get large projects and complete work. New Zealand and Australia have a strong footing as well. Ironically, the foreign shops now have smaller shops in the US that are supplementing them, and also obtaining new work, giving back some of the jobs that have moved.

Pay scale changes
There is not much of a middle-class artist or technician these days. You are either very senior, and therefore expensive, or you are cheap, and able to work more for less. The middle-of-the-road artists are gone. They have been replaced by Jr level talent that can exceed most mid-level workers. Sr. level and lead level workers are now ensuring the work is completed. A team comprised of all veterans, and no Jrís would be an exception, not the rule, in todayís industry. This in turn creates a wide pay gap. Artist rates are suffering as a result, as middle-class workers are squeezed out, and Sr. level workers are having to go longer between projects. The irony is that Sr. level workers are able to get a higher rate than usual, as there are less of them.

Time vs Money
Work is now expected to be completed faster and faster, and for cheaper and cheaper. This continues to push smaller places out of the industry. An acceptable quality can be achieved in less time, and therefore has caused those paying for the work to demand it be done cheaper, because it is being completed faster. Anything to the contrary would again be the exception, not the rule.

Supply vs. Demand
There is an overwhelming number of graduates who are finding it difficult to obtain employment. There is, equally, an overwhelming number of highly skilled artists and technicians who are currently unemployed, and/or have changed industries altogether. It is a direct result of the current economy, and the above mentioned issues. They all add up to equal less jobs and more skilled workers out of work.

Entry-level work has shifted
As of today, entry-level does not mean what it used to. I now expect an entry level artist to be able to do the work that a Senior Artist of 5+ years ago was doing. This is especially true of modeling. Because the tools are difficult to keep up with, students are now being exposed and learning technology, and surpassing their Sr. level counterparts. They are, in turn, replacing them.

Less skilled technicians
Similarly, there are now less skilled technicians available, and the entry-level market for this arena has diminished significantly. There are plenty of artists coming out of schools, but very few scientists and technicians who are interested in more technical jobs. Therefore, those technical jobs are difficult to break into, as they are held by more Sr. counterparts with a vast amount of experience that is difficult to match in most instances. It is assumed that technical people are more difficult to replace than artists, but more-so lately, as artists seem to be piling up and becoming more and more talented and effective.

Too much experience can hurt
Those artists that are ďset in their waysĒ and have too much experience on their resume, are now having a difficult time finding work. Those Sr. artists/technicians that are choosing their colleagues are now opting for less experienced, more moldable candidates, and generally are shying away from those that are as or more experienced, as they do not want competition for their own job.

Apply online ONLY
There is now an online application process for almost every studio. E-mail and web based portfolios are standard. Mailed-in DVDís and resumeís are piling up in the ďnever gonna see itĒ pile, and those candidates that stick out in their ďelectronic profileĒ will most likely be forwarded around (again, now via e-mail), for review and consideration. Those candidates that make the cut, again, will be e-mailed about a possible job interview. Sometimes, not even until the actual interview, is there a real conversation. Most candidates are screened out long before they get the chance to make an impression over the phone or in-person.

Interviews are different
There used to be several rounds of interviewing that would occur, and then several more rounds of recruitment, and excitement from recruiters to get new candidates. This has also changed. Interviews are now short, to the point, and because candidates are so well screened before ever making it in, there is little to talk about. Mostly it is a meeting to see if people actually like each other, or if itís a bad fit. Employers are not interested in discussing their benefits and other incentives anymore, and do not use that to entice. They assume they have the upper hand (they do) and that whatever benefits they have you will gladly accept (and you will).

Just because youíre hired doesnít mean youíre hired
There is now this weird thing happening where people are being ďtried outĒ, instead of hired. It is more frequent and causes some confusion. Also, sometimes 2 or 3 people may be hired for the same job, only to find out later that only 1 of them will be kept. It has become somewhat brutal at some smaller places who are looking for the best of the best entry level candidates, and are willing to pit people against each other in order to find a match.

Ground-breaking work still exists!
There is a common myth that no boundaries are being broken anymore in CG. This is simply not true. The industry continues to do more complex and difficult work, and so there is ample opportunity out there for those who want to be truly challenged. There is no reason the work will stop continuing to break new grounds and continue to impress us all, and that to me, is the best reason to keep doing what we do. If we can do something that you did not think was possible, then it must be done. We can only hope for a stronger industry, filled with more opportunity in the future for all.

Either way, ďthe show must go onď, as they sayÖ

Good luck out there,
-dc-

frameless
06-21-2006, 12:14 PM
thx -dc- for taking your time and wrinting such a good FAQ!
It helped me setting my priorities.

I just finished high school and i am working on my portfolio to send it to some studios right now. Here in Germany good colleges which deal with CG are really rare.
So i try getting an apprenticeship (usually 3 years) or if i don't find an apprenticeship a 1-year internship to get an insight into the industry.

Hope its a good way...
thx again for putting so much effort into this FAQ :thumbsup:

newman
06-21-2006, 12:41 PM
This should be a sticky, it will help a lot of people.. and not just the newbies, but the guys who find themselves answering the same questions over and over again :)

spikkel
06-21-2006, 12:48 PM
Pretty cool. And I agree, this would make a great sticky.

One suggestion regarding the formating though, and you're gonna hate me for this :D, rather make the questions bold, so that it is easier to find the relevant questions.

:Edit Ah, cool. Bold questions. Easier to scan through now. Thanks :)

Simon
06-21-2006, 01:14 PM
Yeah a lot of this we cover over and over. Like my thread about Uk universities. (http://forums.cgsociety.org/showthread.php?t=313033&highlight=warning) Someone sticky this thread. Please!

RaGzMaN
06-21-2006, 01:57 PM
Thanks very much for taking the time to post all of this.

hentsteph
06-21-2006, 02:12 PM
Thank you for all the time you have put into helping others. :thumbsup:

Icarus
06-21-2006, 02:21 PM
brilliant, being a student myself it always helps to have ppl offer their help, so a big thanks on my behalf :)

please sticky this thread so we can do the usual "use the search button" reply's :D

Joe Hughes
06-21-2006, 04:01 PM
very informative. thanks. please make it stickey

robertkist
06-21-2006, 04:19 PM
Very nice. Honest but not disencouraging.

ThomasMahler
06-21-2006, 05:10 PM
Yep, this should definitely be sticky!

A. Wright
06-21-2006, 05:10 PM
Thanks for posting this. It'll help me and a lot of other people.

eek
06-21-2006, 05:27 PM
Your'll need a degree or a certain amount of points to work abroad too. Also with critique i cant strongly advise enough to get feedback from people not in your industry - because there your audience. Animation: grey, untextured, 4 and three quarter views. Rigging: show rigs that would work in production. Not fancy one off wonders unless there proving something or researching it.

Dile
06-21-2006, 05:29 PM
wow, I still got alot of years left before I have to think about this (that maybe sounds odd, Of course I think about this everyday !)
So thanks alot for this amazing FAQ, its bookmarked and a nice reading :)

ChewyPixels
06-21-2006, 05:30 PM
Great info -dc-...I just wish I had this information before deciding to go with college. Oh well. :shrug:

The job experience is more valuable than your pay. Think about your career long-term, not the job short-term.

Totally agree, in fact I'm practicing this right now. Took an UNPAID internship at a great studio. I'm totally stoked to be part of the team working on a studio short. FORGET ABOUT WORRYING ABOUT "HOW MUCH WILL I BE MAKING?". THE EXPERIENCE IS SO MUCH MORE VALUABLE! :)

csmallfield
06-21-2006, 07:11 PM
Great info -dc-...I just wish I had this information before deciding to go with college. Oh well. :shrug:



Totally agree, in fact I'm practicing this right now. Took an UNPAID internship at a great studio. I'm totally stoked to be part of the team working on a studio short. FORGET ABOUT WORRYING ABOUT "HOW MUCH WILL I BE MAKING?". THE EXPERIENCE IS SO MUCH MORE VALUABLE! :)

As long as you don't starve.

paintbox
06-21-2006, 07:20 PM
First of all, truly an excellent article -dc- . It should gain instant stickification.

Totally agree, in fact I'm practicing this right now. Took an UNPAID internship at a great studio. I'm totally stoked to be part of the team working on a studio short. FORGET ABOUT WORRYING ABOUT "HOW MUCH WILL I BE MAKING?". THE EXPERIENCE IS SO MUCH MORE VALUABLE! :)

I have to say this is great for you Jedi-Juice. I do have a big concern about the -unpaid- part of it.

It is a great way of this industry to undercut itself. I don't see why this industry, if it takes itself seriously, would ever go for unpaid labour. I don't care if they pay a dollar (well actually I do) But I think people should be paid according to worth, and any labour is at least worth something...even it is a traineeship. Unpaid labour is a big step.

Again, Jedi-Juice, it's not directed at you, it must be an inspirational place where you can learn a lot, I just think the practice to not pay at all is Not Good.

I wonder about how other people, especially industry professionals, feel about this. Maybe you -dc- can shed your light on this?

Rebeccak
06-21-2006, 08:03 PM
Thread Stuck, great advice! :)

Cheers,

~Rebeccak

-dc-
06-21-2006, 10:22 PM
Wow, glad to see so many responses, and it's a sticky! :) I will edit the post tonight to make the questions bold, and I'll add a few more answers. If anyone has any specific questions that I haven't already answered, post them and I'll include them when I update it tonight.

RhysyngSun
06-22-2006, 12:08 AM
Thanks for putting this together for us -dc-. Good, solid information, some new som old but still nice to have this resource to read when I'm having those days of self-doubt about my education and such.

Essex
06-22-2006, 01:14 AM
wow, thanks for the post. this was very informative.

ChewyPixels
06-22-2006, 02:11 AM
First of all, truly an excellent article -dc- . It should gain instant stickification.



I have to say this is great for you Jedi-Juice. I do have a big concern about the -unpaid- part of it.

It is a great way of this industry to undercut itself. I don't see why this industry, if it takes itself seriously, would ever go for unpaid labour. I don't care if they pay a dollar (well actually I do) But I think people should be paid according to worth, and any labour is at least worth something...even it is a traineeship. Unpaid labour is a big step.

Again, Jedi-Juice, it's not directed at you, it must be an inspirational place where you can learn a lot, I just think the practice to not pay at all is Not Good.

I wonder about how other people, especially industry professionals, feel about this. Maybe you -dc- can shed your light on this?

Yes, I do agree with you for the most part. I guess it depends on the situation. Under my circumstances, I'm in the process of building my reel anyway...so working for nothing other than having pieces to add to my reel only benefits me. :)

Now, if the circumstances were different...say I already had a reel that I was happy with and ready to go, so to speak, then I'd definitely wouldn't even consider an unpaid internship and hold off and see if my reel would be good enough to land me that first job.

Gmassk
06-22-2006, 03:07 AM
I am a 3D artist fortunate to have the opportunity of waking up each and every morning loving going to work.



I appreciate the time you have placed forth in writing this FAQ doc. I will definitely pass it around. I myself went through what you have described and more...I now teach at the Academy of Art University and as a student there I learned early on about the value of knowing the proverbial "One will get, what one puts in" let me tell you. It was not easy. All the effort, the sleepless nights, the no food in the fridge, the going home at 3:00am after a 20 hour day at the lab etc...



I am now starting to enjoy the fruits of my labor. It was all worth it and I would do it again in a heat beat. My only hope is to be able to walk that same path inspiring a new generation of CG artists, leaving with them the concepts of perseverance, good attitude, and high energy. Just like you and many others have done in the past. Ed Kemper, Eric Spimfy, Jessi Lanou…



Cheers!



MayanArtist

-dc-
06-22-2006, 08:07 AM
Alright, I just updated the main post to include a few more questions including software and internship questions. If anyone has anymore, post them here and I'll add them. Also went through and formatted the original post a little bit to make it easier to read.

Cheers! :)

GoranNF
06-22-2006, 12:15 PM
That was a very interesting read,it cleared up so many things for me,thanks!I have a question:
Since you're a prof,could I send my work to you so you can crit it (mainly 3d animation)?

mmkelly011881
06-25-2006, 06:13 AM
fantastic stuff dc.. really appreciate this

MAKLtd
06-25-2006, 02:13 PM
Very well summed up in the last paragraph of the FAQ. Whilst at Hensons Digital, that's exactly what I'd be looking for. The only thing that I'd add is that, if you don't get the job, remember, it may be nothing to do with your talent or experience but that your personality may not quite fit in to the team that's been put together. That may sound odd, but it is a factor and it's one you can't do much about. Good luck to all.

HollyWoodland
06-25-2006, 06:35 PM
Thanks for such a great post -dc-!

I have one additional question though - I understand the type of work that should be on a demo reel for modelling, animation or rigging but what about for FX jobs?

Also, if I wanted to create a reel to show my rigging skills but don't have fantastic modelling skills then is there anywhere that I can get models? or should I still do the modelling myself? (even if it doesn't portray my best work?)

My degree was Computer Science so I don't know many people who would be able to help me out with the modelling aspect.

Advice from anyone would be hugely appreciated!

Thanks again

Holly

Chris Bacon
06-25-2006, 11:23 PM
Hey, a quick question, Ive just graduated. I have a short film...now my situation is this I obiously want to get out there, but like many student I've finnished university with VERY little cash..now do you think its a good Idea to sent my film cv and coverletter out there, if I get an interview...then cool I can get the cash to get to it..however my problem is I wont be able to move closer to the job...Hense my reluctance to send it, right now Im interected in 2 things

1 Geting my name out there

2 Geting the experiance

.....I cant be the only graduate in this situation there must have been people who finnished Uni/Collage with no money left and managed to get out there,

PS. Some GREAT information there, and for someone like me, its all gold..cheers

Cheers

Chris

daraand
06-26-2006, 07:02 PM
Awesome post - absolutely, I think we need a stickie..

mummey
07-01-2006, 01:22 AM
Thank goodness this was posted as a single post that can be referred to. Now hopefully we won't get any many repeated threads on the subject.

Thank you.
-b

vijaybundela
07-05-2006, 11:59 AM
thanx for such valuable guidence, i really need such kind of help as i m begining my career.

adityaprabhu
07-06-2006, 11:39 AM
Hey there -dc-,
Ive read the thread, its just what i always wanted..thank you very much indeed, but theres one question that i want to ask, and its specific to my case, which is, Im currently doing my b.e degree in mechanical engineering, and i want to go into 3d as a profession. I have pretty good knowledge(self taught) of Max, and im also learning maya, Im confident about doing well in this field since thats what i love doing.
My question is, Is it required for me to get another degree which is an art degree? cos it really concerns me, do i need to get a bfa degree for a job, or would it suffice if i work on my skills from now on and get better at 3d animation by either self learning or private training?

I know there are a millions and zillions of people asking questiosn regarding degrees, and trust me, if had a clear answer i wouldnt have posted at all. I have searched the forums, but didnt find the answer im looking for... if this question (specific to the b.e degree) has been answered, then kindly let me know and i will be off!

To put it in one line: Will it be an issue if i only have a B.engg degree if i ever want a job in 3d? ( portfolios and demo reels, yes i know they matter most) .
Thats all i need to know, and im not bothering any of you again (hopefully :)
Thanks,
regards,
Aditya

kerry122
07-07-2006, 11:32 PM
while i understand that schooling is not an absolute MUST, dont most animators at the bigger, more well known studios such as dreamworks, sony, etc. do in fact have schooling since the projects are much more heavy and more nuanced skills are required that are almost impossible to self-teach??

FranciscoSCN
07-08-2006, 02:07 PM
Whoa. Just wanna say that was a really good read and it made somethings clear in my mind.

Many thanks :)

Rabid pitbull
07-08-2006, 05:37 PM
Excellent read!! Thanks so much for the truly honest advice.

slashy
07-08-2006, 06:46 PM
thanks for the advice -dc- :thumbsup:


I have another question: what about the non-US student?
is there any possibility that they find a work in US?

thx

andy_maxman
07-10-2006, 05:00 AM
To put it in one line: Will it be an issue if i only have a B.engg degree if i ever want a job in 3d? ( portfolios and demo reels, yes i know they matter most) .


To put it in one line: No. And you are darn right about what matters most.

:)

adityaprabhu
07-10-2006, 05:18 AM
Thanks Anand.. So what do you think sholud i do next? I really wanna get into the profession...Im going to US soon after i grad...
Thanks again...
Regards,
Aditya

PS: Cute KID!

andy_maxman
07-10-2006, 09:16 AM
hey adi, what areas of CG interest you?

having a programming BG would be a plus as it would help in scripting tools in CG....

if its animation you want to do...and if you can afford it...then i recommend joining a school teaching animation...

do let know what your interests are...lighting, special effects, animation, scripting, modelling..

:)

ps -thanks, thats my three and half year kid...

thematt
07-10-2006, 09:46 AM
priceless..



thanks cheers

adityaprabhu
07-10-2006, 05:54 PM
@andy :

Hey Anand, yes, im interested in FX animation... wanna go into the visual effects line. right now, i usually play around a lot on Effects, Non character animation, adn particle fx, Im not much into modelling but not bad at it.. art is not a problem to me..
About schooling, my cousin sis did her BFA in Animation In NYSVA (New york school of Visual Arts) and she's finding it rather difficult to find a good job, so i really dunno if i should be shelling out quite a lot... But i really would like a good exposure... wanna master at Maya, so i dunno what to do? Any suggestions?
Also, can you tell me how you went about it? And what is it that you specialise in?
Thanks a lot!
Regards,
Adi

andy_maxman
07-12-2006, 06:12 AM
hey adi,
just a few ideas...

-practice while you can
-dont wander on anything else other than your subject of interest
-use the internet and the forums to the 'maximum' . its one of the best mediums to improve your work upon
-then get a job and learn on the job or take up a course or buy training materials
-and if you have programming knowledge, you can even use that to create your own tools and that would be a plus in landing a good job...its a high on demand job...a vfx dude who can script...

i specialise in animation. my current job does not fulfill my animation desires much...hence i am studying animation at Animationmentor.com.

goodLuck!
-andy

adityaprabhu
07-12-2006, 10:24 AM
Hey Andy, thanks for the response... I got it..
by the way, I deeply regret what happened to our Mumbai, and i pray it never happens anywhere..Hope everyone is fine in your family..
thanks again
regards,
adi

Conkrys
07-12-2006, 02:29 PM
Thanks Alot for making the time to post a thread like this. It is a great help to hear sincere answers for experienced professionals of the field. There are simply too many young people (including me) who feel uneasy about a future in CG and want a clear picture as to what it REALLY is and what it REALLY requires. Your article has helped. Thanx

Knotian
07-18-2006, 04:03 PM
This is a great post.

I'd just like to add one item regarding college degrees. I have found that in the technical area, as stated above, the degree is not as important as the talent.

One thing to look out for is that many corporations desire for degreed personnel in the management or senior technical positions. They feel that the degree shows a capability of learning material outside of your 'comfort zone' such as accounting, management skills, interpersonal skills, writing, presenting, etc. A person with skills in these areas are deemed to posess the skills necessary for management. THIS IS NOT ALWAYS TRUE. But many companies have this culture and you (we) have to deal with it.

One last item ( based on personal bruises and resulting discontentment ) The lure of promotion and management positions many times leads a person to make a change that, in the long run, he/she will regret. "The green grass on the other side of the fence is caused by all the manure"

Goumies
07-20-2006, 01:32 AM
I know a lot of people have already thank for this post. But I have to do it too, this post is very useful and give me more motivation than ever. I really feel grateful (seriously), and just want to thank you all. I know I am complete beginner but patience and work will make it!

hiphopcr
07-20-2006, 08:26 PM
There has been a thirsting in the cg community for a thread like this, thanks!

Goumies
07-21-2006, 01:56 AM
Hiphopcr>Yours is really interesting too, thanx! Cool to see that pro don't forget how it's difficult to make her(his) place in the industry :thumbsup:

etrnalstigmata
07-23-2006, 04:18 AM
You know, It is really refreshing to know that there are still some in this world who care enough to offer great advice, even sacrificing thier own time. I admit, I worry about my future but we must have drive with dreams. Thanks especially for the section on choosing a school... I have had my doubts, but you are right. At the end of the day, it all comes down to what you can do, not a piece of paper that says where you have been trained. :thumbsup:

MaryamNademi
07-24-2006, 01:33 PM
Thanks alot for this great post it clears alot of questions that i had in my mind.Recently i had an interview & i am very happy to c i have done your advices.:thumbsup:
Best Regards

LivingDigital
08-01-2006, 11:28 PM
You make a lot of good points. This is the kind of work that takes passion. Doing what you love to do is always harder than doing what you know you can do.

ShaneT
08-04-2006, 05:30 AM
First off, this is a great post. There is a lot of good advice about the industry. But I think it leaves out a few people. What about the people that worked their way up from the gutter? The people that forged a key to a lock that everyone saw but didn’t know how to open? The people that got beaten down on their way to the lock by those who would steal this key, and when they got there the key was so bent out of shape it wouldn’t open the door. Well that’s when you throw the key and take out you spare, then when everyone else is scrambling for the broken irony use the backup and exit the chaos. Basically what I’m saying is, for those of you whose life is a mess, who can’t afford a computer, who don’t have parents to pay for your schooling, you need a plan.



We all have dreams and the industry doesn’t care. It is a cold machine that functions on how much cash its gears can suck into its shell. Although we all want to work in this mess we don’t all want to make a fortune, we just want to pay the bills. I am somebody who worked my way out of less then nothing and made it somewhere else. So if you’re young, lost, abused, and do too many stupid things but want to make something out of your life listen.



First you need a plan. You want in on the CG world well then you need to hone your skills. This means you need access to a high end computer with whatever software platform your desired profession uses. Well how do you do this with no money? Sadly the answer is credit cards. Build your credit, meaning DON’T DESTROY IT. You need to work and pay bills, small bills are fine just so you develop a record. Once you have this you can take out private loans for college. With private loans you can go to college and pay for everything that you need. Books, housing, food, or supplies can all be paid for with these loans. If your parents won’t send you to college you can work for 3 years or even 2 and put yourself there. You just have to pay your bills on the record and then use your degree once you graduate to pay the debt. It’s still not easy but at least you can grab your dreams by the throat and force them into reality. Enough with the lecture here is what I did to get into a BA program and have enough money to do it without help form anybody except a bunch of nice bankers and the feds.




Build credit while you’re young. Get a credit card and use it but pay it off RIGHT AWAY or your screwed.
Get a job and keep it for 2 years no matter how much it sucks and WORK YOUR WAY UP. I don’t care if you go from cook to head waiter make it somewhere.
SAVE MONEY!
Then find a good college and build a portfolio if you can. Drawings/CG/Any art that you think sucks can get you a scholarship in an art school so long as you make it the least suckiest work of you life.
Get there and get enough loans to make it to the end. Worry about paying them back later. If you are poor because of college at least you have the job you want instead of just being poor.
Put excess loan money in a 5 month CD to counterbalance the high interest. But watch it and don’t let it turn into a 1 year CD or it will be locked away.
Avoid the dorms. You can get an apartment with a private loan but you must work, work, work, WORK, WORK. It’s fun work though, it’s artwork.
OK HERE IS WHAT BURNED ME BAD. Beware of BS colleges. I went to a school that has been around for 100 years and bla bla bla. I paid 40k that I didn’t have and still didn’t start paying for just find out their degree program is BS. Go for the BA at a good college or get credit at state college and MAKE SURE IT TRANSFERS. I may have wasted somebody else’s money (bankers) but at least I learned all of the above while I was there.
Ok and DON’T GO FOR THE DEGREE GO FOR THE PORTFOLIO. Check the graduate student’s portfolios, if they suck, don’t go there. The degree is job security that is all. The backup key as mentioned above is your portfolio.
Oh and by the way, no matter what college you go to, they are all after your money. But some are also after the publicity they get from making you look good, and that is good for you too because that means they want you to learn. Basically all the top colleges use the students to advertise, not the teachers.
Last but not least, you can achieve only what you work for and that is that. Go to college for the knowledge and job security, NOT THE PARTIES.


Again this is for those of you who don’t have any connections or computers but still go to the library and check the forums hoping for that way out. Good luck, and honestly, when you realize how much money you have to borrow, you’ll think you have to be crazy to take my advice. But I think the world needs a little bit more crazy in it. Oh, and by the way, FASFA is your friend.



P.S. If there ever was a dream that was a fools dream, then reality is for the robots.



Shane

trence5
08-17-2006, 03:38 PM
Is it ok to take an unpaid internship? Yes, and in fact many colleges will give you credit for doing so. You should try to do this while you're still living off of student loans or are still living at home. Unpaid should be no longer than 3-6 months. If they ask you to work longer than that for free, then it's not really an internship. Most larger companies offer internships and have a standard application process. This is a good way to get your foot in the door, make contacts in the industry, find out how much you really know, and helps you build your experience and demo reel. Look at it this way - unpaid now equals paid later. Ok. One question, is it possible and, or, feasable for some one who's not in college (and just turned 30:D ) to get an internship just as a means of getting a foot in the door?



Thank you

vfxdude2
09-02-2006, 11:44 PM
Ok, I have to go on a rant here...

People have many different experiences in the VFX industry, and I don't think the FAQ at the beginning of this thread touches all of them.

So, I'll give you a totally different point of view from inside the industry.

First of all, I think the degree to which VFX is different than other industries is greatly exaggerated. As in many industries, at the end of the day you've spent your time sitting in front of a computer pushing buttons and manipulating data just like in lots of jobs. So, it's really not unique in that sense. There are skills specific to this field -- just as in any field -- but the overall operation of the industry is not particularly unique, in my experience. It's a fairly standard "white-collar" job.

Are the hours longer than in other industries? On a whole, I'd say no. There are certainly periods where you work 60 or 70 hours weeks for a few months at a time, but there are also easy 40 hour work weeks during slow periods. Lots of industries are like that.

Is it more difficult to get work in this industry than in others? In the end, it all comes down to demand for your skills. If there's work to be done, it's not hard to get a job. If not, you might not have a job for a while.

That said, I think one of the things which IS a little different is that VFX is somehow perceived to be a "sexier" profession than, say, accounting or something. (Ok, I'm biased on this -- I like working in VFX and would be bored to death by accounting ;-) ). Because of this, there are a lot of people who want to get "in" to the industry. Since there are so many people trying to get in, it's difficult to get in; that's to say, there are many more people who desire the work than there are positions to fill.

But once you're in -- you're in. It's no problem to get jobs once you have experience. All you have to do is find out which studios are hiring and contact them at the right time.

Another consequence of this perception of the "sexiness" of VFX is that artists often take a lot more abuse than they should. I've worked at small studios where the management intentionally overworks and underpays their artists. I think a lot of artists tolerate this because they think it'll be hard to get another job. Well, it isn't. Don't put up with incompetent management -- it's just not worth it. I think we, as artists in the industry, need to start being a little more diligent about this and collectively refuse to work for management who are incompetent. (And there are lots of incompetent VFX producers, studio heads, supervisors, etc. out there...)

As far as education: No college degree? Forget it. That's absurd. Yes, you NEED a college degree. If you can't make it through a real college, you're probably not going to be able to do the work. I don't care how well you can draw, animate, or whatever; in the end, this profession requires the same things as any white-collar job: communication skills, ability to solve problems and make decisions, the ability to listen to your boss and do the job which needs to be done, the ability to manage your time, etc. These are all things you learn in college (or at least, college prepares you to deal with them... sort of).

Go to college. Major in art, filmmaking, computer science, physics, architecture... I know people in VFX who have degrees in one or more of all these majors.

I think these certificate schools are scams. You're not going to get hired to do VFX work if all you can do is regurgitate the simple methods you've learned at Gnomon or something. Ok, well... maybe you'll get hired, but you'll be doing crap work, and you won't last very long. You have to have enough of a background to be able to adapt to a changing work environment just like everyone in all industries.


So, my point is this: For as appealing as VFX might seem, it really is a *regular* job. As such, you need to prepare for it like you would any job. College is necessary. Networking is imperative. There's no easy way in, and you need to prepare yourself as best you can. The better your education, the better your application will be. And once you're in, you need to manage your career and make the right moves, just like in any job.


Ok, that's the end of my rant. Any questions? :-)

-vfxdude

EricLyman
09-03-2006, 12:00 AM
As far as education: No college degree? Forget it. That's absurd. Yes, you NEED a college degree. If you can't make it through a real college, you're probably not going to be able to do the work.

I see the point you're making, and I do agree to some extent. If you can't manage your class loads or have trouble meeting assignment due dates, then certainly there's no way you could ever make it in a production environment. But I disagree over the value you're putting on the degree itself. In my experience the education bit is more or less a small bonus on your resume. As long as you have good work and experience behind you, it usually doesn't matter. Making the asumption that you have the personal skills to get through a college if you so chose to go, of course!

I learned this of the industry midway through my own college career. My choice to finish and get a degree was largely based on my own personal goals.

BoBoZoBo
09-03-2006, 06:51 AM
OMG what a great POST!

I love it, thank you for taking the time, I can assure you that even the more advanced professionals like to hear this every once in a while also.

Its a tough industry kids. Take what this man says to COMPLETE heart.
What will get you through it is your passion for the work.

In regards to the bit about project based and that "even the most talented artists gat laid off from time to time"... consider it a blessing, nothing is worse to an artist than sitting in the same chair, working the same type of project for 5 years. The natural dynamics of the industry actually help keep us fresh as artists.


As far as the whole college degree thing, look at it this way. With two equally talented and desired portfolios, the one with the degree will DEFINATELY have the job.

However... a nice IV leage degree with an embreassing portfolio will not hold ANY light to no degree and a MIND BLOWING portfolio. Agreed completeing college show a level of commitment, but it is not the only bar to hold yourself to in life and I have meet PLENTY of people who had no degree, who were more talented and dependable than people with multiple degrees who were no talend ass-clowns thinking they were hot shit becuase they spent 10 yeas in college getting 3 degrees. Well great, guess what, now you are in the real world, play time is OVER and what do you have to show for it?

There is NO SUBSITUTE for experience and talent.. ditto.. ditto..ditto.

Good luck eveyone.

vfxdude2
09-05-2006, 11:49 PM
However... a nice IV leage degree with an embreassing portfolio will not hold ANY light to no degree and a MIND BLOWING portfolio. Agreed completeing college show a level of commitment, but it is not the only bar to hold yourself to in life and I have meet PLENTY of people who had no degree, who were more talented and dependable than people with multiple degrees who were no talend ass-clowns thinking they were hot shit becuase they spent 10 yeas in college getting 3 degrees. Well great, guess what, now you are in the real world, play time is OVER and what do you have to show for it?


I think this is totally misleading and incorrect. In my experience, VFX is NOT a profession where you can get by on your "artistic" skills alone; far from it. It's as if people are encouraging and/or assuring newcomers that artistic talent is both a shortcut AND the only way "in."

It's as if working in VFX is being likened to being a musician or something. Yeah, there are plenty of musicians out there who are self-taught and have made it big based solely on their musical talent. But only one-in-a-million musicians ever make it big. And -- fortunately -- that's just not how the VFX industry works.

The VFX industry is a big, corporate money-making machine just like ANY white-collar industry. And as with any white-collar job, you generally need a college degree.

Why shouldn't someone go to college? Any college. Seriously, if you don't have what it takes to make it through college, there's no way you're going to do anything besides maybe roto in the VFX industry.


My points are these:
1) That having a well-rounded education is just as important in VFX as is it in any other career. Your career isn't going to last if you can't adapt, and having a broad background in many subjects -- which is what you get from college -- is very helpful.

2) Emphasing the notion that VFX is hyper-competitive is HURTING everyone in the long run. Sure, it's hard to get in, but once you're in, moving around is easy. And, in fact, there are often times when VFX studios can't even find enough qualified people to hire! The result of this is that artists take more abuse than they should. I know people who are amazing artists -- better than some I've met at ILM -- who are stuck in crap jobs because they're just scared to look for something else.

This second point is what drives down wages and morale in the industry. Ok, I imagine there are lots of kids out there reading this who are simply enamoured with the whole idea of VFX and aren't thinking about the long-run. But people like myself have made a career out of this and need to pay the bills. Scaring people to the degree where they won't risk moving from job to job is hurting all of us.


By the way, I think I know ONE "self-made" VFX artist who doesn't have a college degree. Everyone else I've ever met has at least a bachellor's degree, and many have master's degrees.

And -- contrary to your statement -- I went to an ivy league school and got into the VFX industry with *NO* reel. One of my friends in R&D here at ILM has the same story.

So, there are lots of paths. IHMO, going to a certificate-based school or just polishing your own portfolio without going to college isn't going to get you anywhere.

-vfxdude

Shadoukat
09-06-2006, 08:49 AM
You will always have different experiences in the differnt studios. If you want to get further indepth information about our industry, visit the scratchpost, an artist resource site.. it has a lot of articles that can be VERY helpful to people trying to get into the field, getting info about what to they need to do, inside scoops, and overall listing of lots of studios for those who are job hunting.

http://www.thescratchpost.com/features.shtml

lots of great articles in the archives too.

leeshie
09-26-2006, 04:50 AM
Quoted from BoBoZoBo's post
"As far as the whole college degree thing, look at it this way. With two equally talented and desired portfolios, the one with the degree will DEFINATELY have the job."

I disagree. Those equally talented persons are both going to get an interview, and then its gonna come down to personality, attitude, rapport with the interviewer or the 'x' factor. Could even be that the interviewer and interviewee have a common interest and get on very well during the interview. Whereas the other person has a degree and and an excellent demo reel but has an attitude that would clash with the other workers.

Degree or no degree? Put yourself in the companys shoes -You need someone to produce quality work for your company, who do you hire? Whoever is right for the job. Simple really.

wilde
10-03-2006, 12:34 PM
Wow. I really appreciate the wisdom and info in your writing. The parts I recognized seemed smart and accurate.

The CG career landscape is an interesting topic. Do you mind a different but related question?

Do you think the 3D industry is growing for independent artists? I'm not talking about just for anyone who likes to tinker and try new "cool" stuff. But for the serious artist that loves this work and has the skill to provide print, or film or broadcast quality work. Is there much work?

I think there is opportunity. But I'm still new and just starting to grow in 3D-land. But I think I see several promising directions. I hear encouragement from prospective clients. Am I kidding myself?

Rickmeister
10-03-2006, 02:14 PM
i've just finished my school and was one of the lucky ones that my ex-internship company loved my work. Now i'm back there and i'm the only one in my kind what gives me a pretty nice position. Just try to keep doing my best and dont try to exploit my position for a while.

The answers seems to be quite right...
Thx for the time you took for writing this.

The industrie as i see it is very unstable though... if you are good at it, it might be a bit easier... but even than. Most of the time it's only project based... and you have start looking for a new project all over again. Your resume helps... but not allways.

Night Hawk
10-07-2006, 12:50 PM
For me i feel sometimes that i got to a dead end concerning CG !:cry: :banghead: :shrug:

-dc-
10-22-2006, 09:47 AM
Hi, sorry itís been awhile, Iíve been busy in production, but Iíd like address some of the questions and issues that were brought up...


I have one additional question though - I understand the type of work that should be on a demo reel for modeling, animation or rigging but what about for FX jobs?

For FX related work, you need to show a mastery of particles, fluid effects, cloth, hair, and fur. Pretty much anything that can be simulated, explosions, water, fire, chains, etc, is what youíll be working on in production, so they expect you to understand complex math and data structures, and have a good overall understanding of 3D. Some FX artists are also required to write shaders and do look development to create the look of the element they are developing Ė like the color and resulting light from a fire for example. Your demo reel should have plenty of short examples of FX elements, preferably interacting with something in the scene.


How do you get your name out and there and get experience when youíre broke and just out of college?

For those just out of college with no money left to send resumes and demo reels Ė find a part time job and use the extra money to pay for DVD duplications, printing resumes, and stamps at the Post Office. You really have no excuse to not apply at every opportunity you see. If youíre not in the area you want to work and live, then find a friend to stay with that is, or take a chance and move out on your own terms. You can always find a part time job to make ends meet. If you donít try then you canít fail, but you canít really win either. Nobody said it would be easy.


Donít most animators at the bigger, more well known studios such as DreamWorks, Sony, Pixar, etc. have degrees since the projects are heavier and more subtle skills are required that are almost impossible to self-teach?

Sure, many people have degrees. How many? You wouldnít really know because it doesnít come up in day to day conversation that often, because prior education is rarely a topic of interest. Most people are more interested in what projects you have worked on and the places you have worked. Youíre more likely to find camaraderie in past experiences than where you went to school.

As far as the skills required, especially by an animator, the skills learned in school donít even compare to on the job skills. Animation, as I see it, is like carpentry. You need to find a mentor in order to succeed. Anyone can be given the tools, the instructions, and a block of wood, but not everyone can turn it into something useful, much less nice to look at. Animation is the same.

While school will give you that valuable experience, and help you foster your skills, there is nothing more valuable than learning from a master animator who has years of production experience under their belt. The knowledge youíll gain from watching them and having their critical eye judge your work is what will drive you master the art.


From vfxdude2:
ĒBy the way, I think I know ONE "self-made" VFX artist who doesn't have a college degree. Everyone else I've ever met has at least a bachelorís degree, and many have master's degrees.Ē

I know many self made VFX artists, but then, maybe I know more people than you. ;) I tease! Seriously though, they are out there, especially the older ones who didnít realize this would ever be a viable industry and who were merely in it for fun. You unfairly limit yourself with that statement. VFX is just one of the many facets of the Computer Graphics community. Think about all the startup companies (especially in video games) whose core team were college dropouts or just out of high school.

This is true in every industry though, so I have to say that carefully. I feel like Computer Graphics is one of the few industries where someone without a degree can actually succeed as well, if not better than, someone with a degree. If this were Wall Street or a Hospital E.R. room it would be a different story entirely, and I think you would easily agree.

You stated you went to an Ivy League school and didnít require a demo reel to get your first job. You also back that up with a friend who works in R&D at ILM with a similar story. It is possible to get a job out school with no reel, depending on the context of the work. Research and Development, Software Engineering, Editorial, Film I/O, Systems, and other similar jobs do not require demo reels Ė why should they? If anything, they should require a strong resume, a specific degree, and a certain amount of technical expertise.

This much is true: any job whose work will be seen on screen requires a demo reel or a strong portfolio of work. Substitutes for a demo reel could be a siggraph poster or demonstration of technical ability through a group research paper, but that is the rare case. If you were involved in a well known project at an Ivy League school, then that could be a big break for your career as well.

You believe that college is required to obtain a broad knowledge of subjects, business skills, personal skills, communication skills, ability to solve problems and make decisions, the ability to listen to your boss and do the job which needs to be done, the ability to manage your time, etc.

I learned all of these things from good old fashioned hard work and life experience. Everyoneís experiences and learning abilities are unique, and a college degree does not necessarily guarantee that one is actually educated and ready to enter the workforce. Making that assumption, especially at the hiring level, is a dangerous business practice.

One last thing - I have to balk at your suggestion that VFX is a typical ďwhite collarĒ job. How many jobs allow you to have toys at your desk, wear flip flops to meetings with executives, and ride scooters through the halls?


Do you think the 3D industry is growing for independent artists? I'm not talking about just for anyone who likes to tinker and try new "cool" stuff. But for the serious artist that loves this work and has the skill to provide print, or film or broadcast quality work. Is there much work?Ē

The freelance artist in the 3D industry is common. If what you mean by independent is, someone who is paid to create their own ideas and inspirations, then that is really rare. However, there are plenty of freelance jobs out there to those with good talent, a great portfolio, and experience. It requires a great deal of persistence, patience and business savvy to survive on your own, so be prepared for what is probably a harsh reality. The people I know that survive on freelance usually subsidize their income with teaching at a school or some other steady part time work. The few people I know that only do freelance to survive are so talented that their phone wouldnít stop ringing if they wanted it to.


If there are more questions, feel free, Iíll eventually get around to responding! :)

EricLyman
10-22-2006, 10:03 PM
Interesting to hear the different perspectives. I still tend to agree more with -dc- in that if an artist has the skills and can show it with a killer demo reel, then a missing degree on their resume can be overlooked. I wonder however, if this will not change over the next five or so years. In addition to my studio job, I also teach part time nights at a local art college. I see a lot of students... and am constantly reminded of how many of them are eventually going to try and enter the job market. Perhaps as the industry starts to balance out, and eventually have an oversaturation of talent, degrees will become a minimum requirement?

Interested in hearing your thoughts.

lebada
10-23-2006, 06:23 PM
To keep this short.


Thank you.

vfxdude2
10-24-2006, 07:22 PM
Hi, sorry itís been awhile, Iíve been busy in production, but Iíd like address some of the questions and issues that were brought up...

From vfxdude2:
ĒBy the way, I think I know ONE "self-made" VFX artist who doesn't have a college degree. Everyone else I've ever met has at least a bachelorís degree, and many have master's degrees.Ē

I know many self made VFX artists, but then, maybe I know more people than you. ;) I tease! Seriously though, they are out there, especially the older ones who didnít realize this would ever be a viable industry and who were merely in it for fun. You unfairly limit yourself with that statement. VFX is just one of the many facets of the Computer Graphics community. Think about all the startup companies (especially in video games) whose core team were college dropouts or just out of high school.

This is true in every industry though, so I have to say that carefully. I feel like Computer Graphics is one of the few industries where someone without a degree can actually succeed as well, if not better than, someone with a degree. If this were Wall Street or a Hospital E.R. room it would be a different story entirely, and I think you would easily agree.


DC - I'm just trying to put some additional info out there. There are always exceptions to the rule, but I feel that if you're going to title a message using the term "The TRUTH," you have to be a bit more complete :-)

I honestly don't think CG is different than any other industry in terms of the potential for someone without a degree to achieve success. Yes, of course you can't be a doctor without a degree, but that's because it requires a professional license.

I'm sure there are plenty of Wall Street traders who just had a knack for it, knew the right people, and got their foot in the door. (Ok, I can't back that up with examples, but I'm sure it happens... )


You stated you went to an Ivy League school and didnít require a demo reel to get your first job. You also back that up with a friend who works in R&D at ILM with a similar story. It is possible to get a job out school with no reel, depending on the context of the work. Research and Development, Software Engineering, Editorial, Film I/O, Systems, and other similar jobs do not require demo reels Ė why should they? If anything, they should require a strong resume, a specific degree, and a certain amount of technical expertise.

This much is true: any job whose work will be seen on screen requires a demo reel or a strong portfolio of work. Substitutes for a demo reel could be a siggraph poster or demonstration of technical ability through a group research paper, but that is the rare case. If you were involved in a well known project at an Ivy League school, then that could be a big break for your career as well.


Not true for me... and several people I know, actually. I work in production, and all my work is on screen (unless it gets cut for some reason ;) ).

I have a degree in electrical engineering and didn't study graphics, specifically.

My point is this: There are lots of ways into the CG industry, and I feel that it's important to discuss all of them.

I'll give you an extremely brief history of my career in CG: Started doing ATD work developing a pipeline for a small company which didn't have one. How? Knew the owner. Programming is a non-skill for anyone with an engineering degree, so it was easy. Once I was in the door, though, I quickly learned production and had a dozen shots on-screen (with a credit) within 8 months. ... fast forward... eventually, decided to specialize in physical effects (simulation kinda stuff) and now work at ILM. (Ok, and YES -- I do have a reel now, obviously ;-) ) Fits right in with my background -- it's artistic, but it also requires a *very* advanced knowledge of cutting-edge rendering and physics. Lots of fun! :-)

The corollary to my point is this: There are lots of different aspects to CG production work, and all of them require different skill sets. If you're a modeler, you probably know quite a bit about sculpture. If you're a painter? You can probably paint. Compositor? Probably have a good knowledge of color and what not.

But what about all the other roles? TD's? Riggers? Effects? All of these disciplines require a good knowledge of science AND art. TD's need to be familiar with lighting, rendering (which, in it's advanced form, really requires a good knowledge of the math involved), programming (maybe), and computers in general. Riggers definitely need to understand the physics of how a body moves and the mechanics of bones, muscles, etc. They don't even need to know how to animate, necessarily. And effects -- most of all -- you definitely need an advanced knowledge of physics and the algorithms which drive the rendering and the simulation.

To sum it up: Each production discipline requires a different set of skills. For modeling, compositing, painting... probably a fine art background is helpful. But for rigging, effects, simulation, general TD work .... a science degree is VERY helpful. (Don't believe me? Look at the job descriptions for TD's on ILM and PDI's websites. They all require comp. sci. degrees)


So, if you're a comp. sci. geek and want to go to grad school... do it! Study graphics and there will be a path into CG waiting for you when you're done. It might require doing some R&D work for a little while, but once you're "in," you're "in," and you can probably work your way into production later on if you choose to do so.



You believe that college is required to obtain a broad knowledge of subjects, business skills, personal skills, communication skills, ability to solve problems and make decisions, the ability to listen to your boss and do the job which needs to be done, the ability to manage your time, etc.

I learned all of these things from good old fashioned hard work and life experience. Everyoneís experiences and learning abilities are unique, and a college degree does not necessarily guarantee that one is actually educated and ready to enter the workforce. Making that assumption, especially at the hiring level, is a dangerous business practice.

One last thing - I have to balk at your suggestion that VFX is a typical ďwhite collarĒ job. How many jobs allow you to have toys at your desk, wear flip flops to meetings with executives, and ride scooters through the halls?


To address the last point first... I'd say just about every industry which has its roots in California allows you to wear flip-flops to work ;-) Seriously -- I used to work in the semiconductor industry, and it was true there. It's true in software -- even "serious" software like Oracle and stuff like that. Off hand, the only California industries where you can't wear what you want are things like banking, finance, etc.

My point in pushing the college angle is this: First of all, it's definitely helpful to have a college degree in many disciplines of CG (like I described above). Second -- college is just a good idea in general.

Let's face it -- lots of the people reading this board a desperately hoping to get into CG. Is there any guaranteed way of doing that? Absolutely not! We (in the industry) all know this.

So, what's the best thing to do. Just work on your portfolio? If you're an amazing artist, yeah, maybe you'll get a lucky break, but probably not. The problem is that even if you have a great portfolio, you still have no experience. And the truth of the matter is that the VFX industry almost never hires people with no production experience for production jobs. (Yeah, some of us sneak in some how... but don't hold your breath!)

Go to a "CG school?" Well, maybe that'll help, but maybe not. Yes, I do know people who've taken that route and gotten "in." But again, there are no guarantees.

The reason why I press the college idea is twofold: First, it gives you access to disciplines in CG -- like effects -- which (generally) require a science degree. Also, if you have a comp. sci. degree, you can take the "back-door" approach; you can start out developing software, and then move your way into production. That way, you don't need a reel, and -- in fact -- your skills are MUCH more in demand because there is a much smaller pool of people who posses those skills.

Second: Just a piece of common sense. No one knows where the VFX industry is going. It's difficult for VFX companies to even make money, sometimes. But then again, this is true of every industry in the 21st century. Things change quickly.

If all you have is your portfolio and maybe a certificate from a "CG school," what are you going to do if CG jobs evaporate completely? You'll be screwed!

Having a college degree definitely helps. I've already done a major career change once, and I think my implicitly-ridiculed Ivy-league degree helped open a LOT of doors for me. "They" say that the average person is expected to change careers SEVEN times in the course of their life.

Having that college degree is a big leg-up when your time comes...

-vfxdude

-dc-
10-25-2006, 07:02 AM
Vfxdude, I agree with everything you've said, and I think your participation in this thread is definitely beneficial to those readers who are interested in learning how the industry works, how to get a job, and what they can expect.

It sounds like you got into this through programming, and once you were in you moved around inside, and now you're doing FX work. I find it hard to believe you got a job at ILM doing FX without showing them a demo reel, but if you say so...

I am in a similarly technical role as Character TD. I relied on a few things to get me my current position. My resume submission alone was able to get me an interview, but I was asked to bring a demo reel with me. Additionally, I brought detailed outlines from scripts that I had written, to show my code planning style, and I had a few sections of code printed out so people could take a glance to better understand my thought process. I also brought notes from one of my Maya MasterClasses so they could get an idea of my teaching style and ability to commuincate my ideas to others.

I was interviewed by 5 supervisors, and after we quickly talked through my contributions on the demo reel, we basically fielded back and forth about working styles and how I might fit in at the company. The interview was short, maybe 20 minutes at most from start to finish, and the first 5 minutes was spent discussing my reel. I actually had more questions for them, but I guess they were limited on time. I received an offer the following day.

Each interview I've had in this industry has been different. When I was considering changing jobs before coming to SPI, I had interviewed at several other places before making a decision. Some of them didn't ask for a reel, while others would not talk to me without it. Some people wanted to talk about personalities and working styles, while others wanted to ask me difficult technical questions (problems they were currently facing) to see if I had any solutions. Sony was one of my easier interviews, and they also made me the most comfortable, which is one of the reasons I actually took the job.

My worst experience, by far, was interviewing with EA. Sorry to anyone that works there, but they put me through two grueling days of one-on-one style question and answering (and everyone had the same questions!). As I was passed off from person to person, no-one wanted to talk about my role at the company, as much as they wanted to know what I had done and what I could do for them. The recruiter was unknowledgable, and they basically said thanks at the end of the day and sent me on my way. When I called back, a week later, the recruiter said he was waiting on a final headcount before making an offer. I said that I'm not a "head" and I'd prefer not be "counted", I don't rely on headcounts, thank you very much. End of conversation!


I can see myself easily getting a job without a demo reel at this point in my career, however, I can't imagine getting my foot in the door without it. When I started out in commercials, there was no way I would've been hired without a demo reel - but I was also required to do more general 3D tasks and was less technical at the time.

Wouldn't you agree though, it's best to tell someone trying to get a job in this industry, that in addition to having a good education (whether self taught or a degree), a demo reel will only help, not hinder their chances of getting a job? That's the advice I stick to.

I think all of your points on the value of a college education are great, and I couldn't agree more. In addition to potential career changes, having something to fall back on is always nice.

Gaudy
10-26-2006, 01:48 AM
I honestly don't think CG is different than any other industry in terms of the potential for someone without a degree to achieve success. Yes, of course you can't be a doctor without a degree, but that's because it requires a professional license.

-vfxdude

Many ppl in the CGI industry mostly Film industry should have a license, man theres so many piece of crap outside.


Sorry for going out of subject, but i felt like saying this.

This thread is Gold ty for ur time and dedication on writing this -dc- and for ur feedback Vfxdude.

vfxdude2
10-26-2006, 04:52 AM
Oh -- I wasn't saying I got a job at ILM without a reel (I mentioned that parenthetically... sorry... must've gotten a little lost).

I "got my foot in the door" doing ATD work, but after that, I quickly moved into production and was able to make myself a reel.

But, I do think one could do the same thing at ILM. I'm pretty sure their intern program doesn't require a reel (or at least, not a really snazzy one). They take college students -- mostly from Berkeley -- and train them to do render support. From there, the good ones get to move on, I guess.

Yeah, of course you need a reel eventually. My point was that it's difficult to make a reel without actually having worked in production. So, you have to plan your approach based on your strengths. If you can slide in through a "back door" or by doing something else with which you're already experienced, it's going to be much easier than competing with people who have professional reels.

-vfxdude


Vfxdude, I agree with everything you've said, and I think your participation in this thread is definitely beneficial to those readers who are interested in learning how the industry works, how to get a job, and what they can expect.

It sounds like you got into this through programming, and once you were in you moved around inside, and now you're doing FX work. I find it hard to believe you got a job at ILM doing FX without showing them a demo reel, but if you say so...

I am in a similarly technical role as Character TD. I relied on a few things to get me my current position. My resume submission alone was able to get me an interview, but I was asked to bring a demo reel with me. Additionally, I brought detailed outlines from scripts that I had written, to show my code planning style, and I had a few sections of code printed out so people could take a glance to better understand my thought process. I also brought notes from one of my Maya MasterClasses so they could get an idea of my teaching style and ability to commuincate my ideas to others.

I was interviewed by 5 supervisors, and after we quickly talked through my contributions on the demo reel, we basically fielded back and forth about working styles and how I might fit in at the company. The interview was short, maybe 20 minutes at most from start to finish, and the first 5 minutes was spent discussing my reel. I actually had more questions for them, but I guess they were limited on time. I received an offer the following day.

Each interview I've had in this industry has been different. When I was considering changing jobs before coming to SPI, I had interviewed at several other places before making a decision. Some of them didn't ask for a reel, while others would not talk to me without it. Some people wanted to talk about personalities and working styles, while others wanted to ask me difficult technical questions (problems they were currently facing) to see if I had any solutions. Sony was one of my easier interviews, and they also made me the most comfortable, which is one of the reasons I actually took the job.

My worst experience, by far, was interviewing with EA. Sorry to anyone that works there, but they put me through two grueling days of one-on-one style question and answering (and everyone had the same questions!). As I was passed off from person to person, no-one wanted to talk about my role at the company, as much as they wanted to know what I had done and what I could do for them. The recruiter was unknowledgable, and they basically said thanks at the end of the day and sent me on my way. When I called back, a week later, the recruiter said he was waiting on a final headcount before making an offer. I said that I'm not a "head" and I'd prefer not be "counted", I don't rely on headcounts, thank you very much. End of conversation!


I can see myself easily getting a job without a demo reel at this point in my career, however, I can't imagine getting my foot in the door without it. When I started out in commercials, there was no way I would've been hired without a demo reel - but I was also required to do more general 3D tasks and was less technical at the time.

Wouldn't you agree though, it's best to tell someone trying to get a job in this industry, that in addition to having a good education (whether self taught or a degree), a demo reel will only help, not hinder their chances of getting a job? That's the advice I stick to.

I think all of your points on the value of a college education are great, and I couldn't agree more. In addition to potential career changes, having something to fall back on is always nice.

vfxdude2
10-26-2006, 04:58 AM
Many ppl in the CGI industry mostly Film industry should have a license, man theres so many piece of crap outside.


Sorry for going out of subject, but i felt like saying this.

This thread is Gold ty for ur time and dedication on writing this -dc- and for ur feedback Vfxdude.


I'm glad I don't have to have a license :-)

Professional licensing is generally only required when there's liability involved; in other words, if not knowing how to do your job correctly can result in serious harm to another, you probably need a license.

My wife is in the process of getting her architecture license. It's a pain in the ass! Ten part test, each part 6 hours long! She's almost through it, but it takes years! But... you wouldn't want someone designing a building who didn't know what she was doing. It might fall down!

(Same with doctors, lawyers, etc.)

If we had to have licenses, all movies would be... I dunno... bad westerns or something, considering our current government ;-)

-vfxdude

venkie3d
11-10-2006, 06:02 AM
Thank u very much , it helps me a lot 'n' so many other people too who r interested in CG.


Cheers,
Venkie.

MrPositive
11-14-2006, 07:15 AM
As far as education: No college degree? Forget it. That's absurd. Yes, you NEED a college degree. If you can't make it through a real college, you're probably not going to be able to do the work. I don't care how well you can draw, animate, or whatever; in the end, this profession requires the same things as any white-collar job: communication skills, ability to solve problems and make decisions, the ability to listen to your boss and do the job which needs to be done, the ability to manage your time, etc. These are all things you learn in college (or at least, college prepares you to deal with them... sort of).

Go to college. Major in art, filmmaking, computer science, physics, architecture... I know people in VFX who have degrees in one or more of all these majors.

-vfxdude

Amen! I've never understood the incessant, unfounded, bashing going to school to receive a degree receives on this site. When I did work in the media industry, I think I met one person who hadn't received a college education. And you know what? He was the least sociable and most difficult to communicate with of the whole lot (I think he actually ended up quitting and moving back home...could be a coincidence *shrug*). Can you make it in the industry without a degree? First tell me this? Did you have to come to this site to ask that question? If so, then no you will never make it on a scale factor of 99.875% to 1. Yes, the light of talent gleams on a chosen few and ushers them headfirst into work without a degree. Bless those lucky few. By all means, if you have the will, massive talent, and steady passion then go get a job without school! The rest need to learn communicative skills, how to work in creative teams, delivery on projects, some skillsets, problem solving skills, self expression, speech, have a degree for future security, and completing bloody something on time! I teach now, and every semester I get a few students who come by the department for a tour. They immediately say, "I'm not sure I even need a degree, I've been working in Max or Photoshop for 5 years". Every single time I look at their work, it's horrific, and they always proclaim after a few lectures that they didn't know anything. Let me also throw in that not everyone who teaches vfx in the schools is an incompetent blowhard (many just like steadier pay and a less nomadic life). Sure, there are many weak instructors out there, but you can take responsibility for your future and protect yourself! Research the school, read up on the instructors work. Hell, go talk to the instructor and see how passionate they react about cg and vfx. Ask to see some of his current and past work and student work! Sit in on a class. If he refuses....leave. I would never take cg from someone who isn't working on something on the side, either. Nothing will ever replace that little bit of research you put into finding the right school and especially instructors. If you are starting a thread on how bad some respective school is, I'm sorry, but you have no one to point at other than yourself. Sure, there are extreme cases but for the most part this is just common sense. It's no different from succeeding on a project......research! And lastly, network online, network at school, network at the local cg user group, network at siggraph, network at 3December.......NETWORK....and have a great demo reel that showcases at least one amazing CG talent! :)
I do agree with most that the original poster stated as well, especially on the mass sending out of said demo reels, resumes, and cover letters. Each semester there is a pattern that develops for those who receive a job and those who do not. It always comes down to ambition and who wants it the most, and many times, it bypasses overall quality of their respective reel. Send your work to everyone and their pet lizard. The more eggs in the basket.....the more likely one will get plucked.

xmidnight8x
11-20-2006, 07:09 PM
awesome advice, thanks man.

gonchelas
11-22-2006, 05:15 PM
I dont know if this is tehe right place to ask this question but it was recomended by a friend:

Can somebody please tell me if it is legal to use clasic NES and SNES games in a none profit way on your web page, not all of them just a simple selection of games which are going to be free for all users...

could someone please help on this subject or tell me where i can find this info.

TKS

freakmoomin
12-03-2006, 05:49 PM
As far as education: No college degree? Forget it. That's absurd. Yes, you NEED a college degree. If you can't make it through a real college, you're probably not going to be able to do the work. I don't care how well you can draw, animate, or whatever; in the end, this profession requires the same things as any white-collar job: communication skills, ability to solve problems and make decisions, the ability to listen to your boss and do the job which needs to be done, the ability to manage your time, etc. These are all things you learn in college (or at least, college prepares you to deal with them... sort of).

Go to college. Major in art, filmmaking, computer science, physics, architecture... I know people in VFX who have degrees in one or more of all these majors.

-vfxdude

I dont have any college degree and im "in the industry" so no you dont NEED it? Why do people try to make these sweeping judgements?

every person is different and every situation is different so it really all depends on these factors.

@lias
12-16-2006, 09:49 PM
THANK YOU TD it's a great post:bounce: :bounce: :thumbsup:

qiujinyan
12-23-2006, 12:17 PM
thank you :shrug:
I'll leave my college next year, this is really a helpful and hortative post.

alohapili
01-09-2007, 06:56 AM
First of all, truly an excellent article -dc- . It should gain instant stickification.



I have to say this is great for you Jedi-Juice. I do have a big concern about the -unpaid- part of it.

It is a great way of this industry to undercut itself. I don't see why this industry, if it takes itself seriously, would ever go for unpaid labour. I don't care if they pay a dollar (well actually I do) But I think people should be paid according to worth, and any labour is at least worth something...even it is a traineeship. Unpaid labour is a big step.

Again, Jedi-Juice, it's not directed at you, it must be an inspirational place where you can learn a lot, I just think the practice to not pay at all is Not Good.

I wonder about how other people, especially industry professionals, feel about this. Maybe you -dc- can shed your light on this?

As an unpaid intern I feel that volunteering at a workplace for 3-6 months is about the right time frame to get the feel and rhythm of the workplace and know what you're doing. If they are not paying you at that point, you take your experience elsewhere and grow with it until you do find a company that both pays you and that you fit in.

Nefer
01-09-2007, 04:37 PM
Great info -dc-...I just wish I had this information before deciding to go with college. Oh well. :shrug:



Totally agree, in fact I'm practicing this right now. Took an UNPAID internship at a great studio. I'm totally stoked to be part of the team working on a studio short. FORGET ABOUT WORRYING ABOUT "HOW MUCH WILL I BE MAKING?". THE EXPERIENCE IS SO MUCH MORE VALUABLE! :)

Hello, I'm sorry...just a question about the animation. I have a timeline of 301 frames. Is correct to put the keyframe on O and on 300 to have the LOOP animation result? Thanks
Nefer

mmoby
01-09-2007, 09:49 PM
Very positive and helpful for new talents and of course experience persons too. Thank You...

PhillipCrond
01-10-2007, 05:54 AM
1) Personality is a HUGE factor in getting employed. I interviewed three people a few weeks ago, and they were all talented, but I only thought one of them would be cool to be around on a regular basis, so the other two didn't get called back. HINT: don't talk about how religious you are in your cover letter.

2) Hours can get long, tensions can get hot. A few 80-100 hour weeks in a row and funny things start to happen in your body. Make sure you don't work at a place that's going to work you these kinds of hours and not give you health insurance. Seriously. Make sure they understand that during the pay negotiation. Long stressful hours and sleepless nights will give you health problems in ways you didn't think were possible. Dental, mental, and everything in between. Your immune system will crash.

3) Working in this biz is fun. I haven't met very many people who've said they want to do this 'till they're 60, but it's a fun ride and you can get off the ride any time you want. You should never feel like you're trapped.

4) I have to disagree with the post about about college. Most people I know either didn't go, or have a degree in something fully unrelated. As long as you know what you're doing and can hold of your end of a conversation, you'll do a-okay. Also, make sure you can write professionally. Don't send off emails to superiors or clients unless you know the difference between "there," "their," and "they're." That's a quick and easy way for people to judge you without meeting you.

Kumo
01-14-2007, 12:21 AM
Okay, so this thread eventually split into two different opinions. In order to get into the industry: A) A killer portfolio and demo reel can do the trick. B) A college degree is absolutely necessary.

I'll begin to talk about my situation (B - Going to college):

Still in high school (senior year) and coming from a poor family, how would I get the money to get into good college? While I'm already quite poor, my parents are paying off the college loans of two other brothers (one of which is in his sophomore year), I'm trying to attend the Academy of Art University for a BFA degree, which would cost over $120,000 along with interest and increased tuition. I've thought of ways to save money by going to a community college to transfer 36 credits of Gen Ed, but even with that, I'd still be in high debt.

I'm currently very interested in the 3D modeling and AAU has been said to have a great program for this particular area. But since money is an issue, I've thought of going to local art school such as the Art Institute of Portland (about $75,000 total for BFA), but after taking a tour of their school and student works, it's not nearly worth that much money. I've also heard about many of the teachers leaving and some of their faculty consisting of graduates of that school.

My brother attended this school about 4-5 years ago. His education was terrible and he says he ended up teaching himself a lot more than the instructors could.


Here is an alternative that my brother has suggested along with some others on this forum (A - Teaching myself and make a killer portfolio and demo reel):

While I keep thinking of my possibility to even attend college, I've also thought about self teaching myself by using the resources that are cheaper. Currently, I am quite motivated and have taken a 3D course through a special high school program. While the class was pretty bad and the instructor basically watched over us, I ended up teaching myself how (through online tutorials, forums, and videos) to use the program (3DS Max 9). Through self-teaching, I was able to model several things on my own. And now, I have several Gnomon Workshop DVDs to learn from.

At this point, you are probably saying to yourself that those are just button pushing and wondering if I even have the artistic skills. From my point of view, I feel that I have artistically talented, but I wouldn't consider myself the best and I probably have room to learn more. I think a possibility to solve by attending a community college and learn from there.


Though I want to go to college, I don't think I can afford to go to one (that is worth the money). With only one possible art college (AI of Portland) in Oregon that offers some 3D courses (there is one other college, Portland Northwest College of Art, which teaches only fine art), I feel like I have no other choices than to go to AAU in San Francisco and pay $120,000+, or to self-teach for that portfolio and demo reel. If I go to AAU, I'd basically have to take all that money from loans and accumulate interest.

Now if I self taught myself, I would save a bunch of money, but I wouldn't have the college degree that would help me get a job easily. Although from -dc-'s posts, a killer portfolio and demo reel will change that. I also feel that it would be pretty hard to self-teach, but I'm very motivated to get into this industry, so doing this alternative wouldn't be a big problem.

Ugh... as you can see, I'm just torn and can't figure out what I should do.. Though I thank both -dc- and vfxdude2 for sharing such great wisdom, I really hope you guys or others of this forum could give me some advice on what I should do in this type of situation.

*This is just some more info about me:

I'm a high school senior and I've already attended my community college through a special program. I've accumulated 34 credits, 3 of which are transferable to AAU. This term I will be acquiring additional 9 credits transferable credits to AAU (12 in total by end of this term). I plan on attending PCC at least another 2 terms (PCC has 4 terms a year) to get 24 more transferable credits to AAU (will only accept 36 credits). I just wanted to share this info to show that I have a plan if I do decide to go to AAU, and that I am also a student who wants to go to college; I just don't think that I can afford it.


Thanks,
Kumo

ManDay
01-15-2007, 05:42 AM
Just wanted to say thank you for that great FAQ. I am actually thinking about going to be an CG-Artist if I can manage to get some experience and your text is really helpful.

Thanks a lot!

Cumulo-Nimbus
01-17-2007, 08:02 PM
Edited....

Cumulo-Nimbus
01-17-2007, 08:14 PM
May I add another two queries...


Is there any age bar in getting employed in the CG Industry or the Gaming Industry?

Do employing companies bear the travelling of the competent candidate to migrate from his/her country to their own place?

Regards

Darkclouds10

Ripmork
01-22-2007, 06:59 PM
-dc-:
thank you for this FAQ, in this thread there is a lot of basic info that every CG artist should have known not just how to find a job, but to understand the whole concept in a big picture....

Jadetiger
01-30-2007, 06:42 AM
I'm not sure this is the right thread for this topic, but I'd appreciate any advice, no matter how blunt. How far would you be willing to go to get your start in the industry, and by far I mean distance. I'm in the United States right now, and I hear about job offers in places like India. Putting aside that I don't think I would be emotionally ready to up and move outside the country, I was wondering what you would do in my position. I'm only 22 and I'm just about to graduate from college. Right now, I would like to just have more time to build a portfolio, work on some personal projects, and do internships. Besides, I don't believe I am qualifed for my ideal job yet. But if out of dumb luck I do happen to get an offer like that, I'm just curious what you guys would do. This particualar job that I'm looking at would be for lighting when I would really rather do character modeling.

andy_maxman
01-30-2007, 07:15 AM
if you are the adventurous type...you will have no problem getting used to in a new environment.

besides, you could always start with lighting and slowly migrate towards your department of choice. It will only help to add that extra knowledge into your kitty later on when you are ready to move to a bigger and better place. But be sure to mention what your true interest lies in when you apply for a job.

Hope this helps.

:)

Digit
01-30-2007, 07:40 AM
The way I always see it is to give it six months and if you dont like it then you just go home. Whats the worst that could happen? At least it will be an adventure :)

Fuxianer
02-01-2007, 03:33 AM
I agree. You have nothing to lose, give it a go, if its crap go back home, if you like it stay. You cant be picky about your start in the industry, you basically have to take anyway what you get offered.
I did the same myself, my first job offer in the industry was on the other side of the planet, foreign language, weird people etc. But I did it, 3 years have passed since then and I'm still here in New Zealand. Cant be that bad I guess!!!

jhuasdas87bd
02-07-2007, 06:07 PM
Thanks a lot -dc-! This article is very beneficial. I was wondering if i met someone to ask these questions. Now, i got the answers and i'm clearly know what i will do or what i have to do. You have a very good personality i guess because i haven't seen any person who can write a long article to helping people or replying e-mails. Thanks thanks and thanks again. With all my respects. (please nobody misunderstand me there are very good people trying to help each other but -dc- is really cool!)

DrAK
02-15-2007, 08:49 AM
First of all, a very big thank you for this article.
It's really exemplary of you to write such a long text simply to help others.

Though, even after reading this article I find myself in need of a bit of advice...

I'm seventeen, living in Germany and currently in my last year of school (repeating my highschool certificate, but with a focus on computerstuff, as my original one was... well, let's not talk about that. I was a lazy nut.) and I've been thinking...

I would really like to get into the gaming industry as a 3d-artist (i.e. I actually don't want to do anything else, nor can I actually see myself doing something else... I'm currently doing a 4weeks internship in the computing centre of a big company and this is simply boring as hell.), but alas I can't decide how I should start going about this.
In my opinion my options are that I'll either look for an apprenticeship (usually 3 years long) in something that has to do with CG (maybe something in an advertising firm or something, apprenticeships in game companies are really rare here in Germany in my understanding.), so that i would at least have certified job education and could find a job if the game industry wouldn't work out, or go to another school for the next few years, which I'm actually reserving as a last resort.
Lately I've begun thinking about simply spending next year as an intern for some months in one or two game companies so that i'd at least get to try it out a bit and maybe even get my foot in the door.

To put it simply, I'm torn between seeking out an apprenticeship or being an intern. The apprenticeship would obviously give me something to fall back on, should I not have any luck in the gaming industry, but the internship has the possibility of opening 'The Door' for me.

Another point to consider is that most German game companies are all quite a distance away from my home and I simply do not have the money to move out from under my parents roof yet.
The nearest city with some game developers for me is Cologne and there are not really many game companies there.
I do know someone who lives in Berlin (he's even got an apprenticeship at a gamecompany) and there are a bit more companies than here in my corner of the country. Maybe I could convice him to let me stay with him, at least for some months so I could do an internship... I dunno.

Anyways... what would you guys recommend that I do? I just can't seem to make my mind up. :shrug:

Fuxianer
02-15-2007, 07:45 PM
Drak. Idealy you will do an apprenticeship in the game / 3D industry that gives you a lot of practical experience and a certificate. Internships dont really get you anywhere (making coffee etc) and so do apprenticeships if they are not exactly what you wanna do, e.g. the "Mediengestalter" for webdesign or print.

If there is no apprenticeship in a 3D position available you can do a bachelor course at uni or polytec. There is a range of courses that cover a bit of everything like multimedia, animation, design and project management. The advantage in Germany is that education is completely for free, so you cant really lose, aye?
Filmschools even offer courses in 3D Animation but its damn hard to get in, there are only two of them in Germany as I know (Ludwigsburg and Potsdam). Forget about privat schools, its a rip of and looking at the students reels they really can't compete with the ones from Potsdam or Ludwigsburg.

Be prepared that you'll end up working overseas one day and a Bachelor or Master Degree will help you getting work visas and a job. An apprenticeship on the other hand will offer you a lot of work experience which is very important for your reel, so that would be my personal first choice out of the two.

F

DrAK
02-16-2007, 09:46 AM
So, basically what you're saying is to concentrate on getting an apprenticeship in my chosen field of interest.

Thanks to this post (http://forums.cgsociety.org/showthread.php?f=2&t=463843) I now know of quite a bit more companies in my area. I don't know yet if any of them are offering an apprenticeship, but I'll contact them shortly.

As for that fall back option you're mentioning, going to a university or a polytec (never heard of that actually, what's that?), you need a good 'Abitur' to go to a normal university, which i don't have and would need to get first. As for the filmschools, I agree, it would be quite hard to get in. Besides, studying at an university isn't free anymore. As of last year you have to pay a certain fee in most parts of Germany when you're studying at university.

I would actually be looking forward to be working in a foreign country, so there would not be a problem if I have to move out of the country one day.

Anyways, thank you for your opinion, it's given me something to think about.

brendo2026
02-16-2007, 02:17 PM
:) a great post! and great replies for that matter also!

I started out in CG in 2001, I went to a college that was charging $3000 at the time which is cheap by now day standards.
The only trouble was the tutor they got in to teach us Maya at the time had lied about his experience of working for one of the bigger studios and by about a month into the course we surpassed his knowledge of Maya and ended up teaching ourselves the software,
a shame because it would have been a speedier process if we had a qualified teacher.

That same college is now charging $14,000 and none of the tutors have ever worked in the industry! they are purely academic, how do I know this for sure? they list all their staffs qualifications on the website, yet people are lining up in droves to get in! I'm so amazed by this!.... $14,000 :eek:

I now work in industry and the worlds of learning on the job and at college are completley different, my superiors on my current job are amazingly skilled, have worked on some of the best projects, and are really good people to be around, they know how to handle the pressure and were to divert the heat when against tight deadlines, this alone makes all the difference in the world, unlike previous experiences were it has been completely the opposite...

I will add to this comment below I have repeated underlined in Italics , It sounds like you, like myself may have run into cordinators or supervisors with little qualification in there roles, and because of that, have turned into dictators altering the teams spirit, and because of this bad leadership they quickly put blame back onto thir sub-ordinate staff.

I never again want to work for leaders who are about as qualified as a coconut in a bowling alley!
because getting to the strike zone with that leadership is most painfull!
...Again if you do decide to take on a leadership role with a masters degree in BS.. just make sure you can back it up, because the people under you should not pay for ill preperation on your behalf...

One last item ( based on personal bruises and resulting discontentment ) The lure of promotion and management positions many times leads a person to make a change that, in the long run, he/she will regret. "The green grass on the other side of the fence is caused by all the manure"

scrimski
02-16-2007, 04:05 PM
As for that fall back option you're mentioning, going to a university or a polytec (never heard of that actually, what's that?), you need a good 'Abitur' to go to a normal university, which i don't have and would need to get first. As for the filmschools, I agree, it would be quite hard to get in.
DrAK: Just Abitur is not enough, it's almost impossible to get in Filmaka Ludwigsburg or HFF Potsdam without any professional experience and a decent portfolio.
Experience you gain through intern- or apprenticeships(for which you need internships in most cases too) or media-related jobs.
"Mediengestalter" sounds OK, either the print or Bild/Ton direction(ist eh nur ein Sammelbegriff, ich kenn einige Mediengestalterazubis, die in ihrer Ausbildung nie eine Kamera angefasst haben, am Ende zšhlt nur dein Abschluss, mein Zeugnis hab ich nach der PrŁfung nie wieder irgend jemandem zeigen mŁssen).
Going to Berlin for 3d or media stuff is quite a good idea, life is cheaper here than in most bigger german cities, but almost *everyone* coming here wants to do something in media, so it's a lot of competition, but also a lot of talents and ideas.
If you are not afraid of hard work and driven enough you will have your chance sooner or later.

Check out www.crew-united.de, www.regie.de and www.rendering.de for internships.
Good luck.

mummey
02-19-2007, 07:06 AM
Hello,

In the interest in getting this information down, I "wiki'ized" the original post.

http://wiki.cgsociety.org/index.php/The_Unofficial_Truth_about_the_Industry

Feel free to update the information in that submission, or start new one's.

Cheers,
-b

erilaz
02-19-2007, 07:18 AM
Hello,

In the interest in getting this information down, I "wiki'ized" the original post.

http://wiki.cgsociety.org/index.php/The_Unofficial_Truth_about_the_Industry

Feel free to update the information in that submission, or start new one's.

Cheers,
-b

Thanks Brian. You rock!:D

Visor66
02-19-2007, 09:24 PM
hey guys, this is really a hell of a good thread and this will really help a lot of people.

Actually this would have helped me as well about 4 years ago, right after school, when I wanted to get into 3D but wasnt skilled enough to get anything...even internship. So I decided to do something else first. I went to uni, studying whats called Medienmanagement (Mediamanagement) in germany. I spent all my freetime learning 3D, getting internships at gamescompays and postproduction houses. I will be finished this year, with a diploma in my hand. Anyway, I still want to do 3D more then being a manager, I want to produce, not run the money side of the business.

Now, whem Im finished, I have to decide again: study 3D now at another uni or try to get into the business via more interns and so on...For now I decided to go to uni again. I applied for the Filmakademie Baden-WŁrttemberg, I do have to wait a bit until I know if I passed or not! But still, even if I make it, there is one question that really bothers me, and that could not get answered by this thread so far: Im 24 years now, when I go to uni again, I will have to put another 4 years on top of that. So I will probably be 28/29 until Im ready. And at that stage, I dont know if I have real practical experience to get a job at a company. At one stage (or age), I should really start getting some money I guess. Another option would be programs like Animation Mentor. It doesnt take that long, but I really think that students learn lots there (I mean their animation reels look really good)

So, what do you think? Does age matter? Or is it still the demo reel that counts, even when you are 28 and have no practical experience? Thats the real question that I want to get answered!

It would already help me to hear your oppinions!

I hope it works, thanks in advanace

teebone009
02-23-2007, 03:04 AM
Is there any body out there that knows what the better version of Maya iv bin running 8.5 but its consistently messing up on me I have a new Intel based Mac is it possible to run 7 or should I just run boot camp

Visor66
02-23-2007, 06:09 PM
I dont know whats worse...that no one has an answer or a recommendation for me so far, or that an answer like yours (teebone09) follows after mine! If anyone answers his question now, Im going to kill myself immediatly....:shrug:

No, Im just kidding, I just coulndt hold myself writing this... :thumbsup:

cheers

NinjaJedi26
02-25-2007, 04:50 PM
Thank you so much DC for your advice!! This is a very heplful and great thread. Yeah i am a noobie that's about to graduate and now i gotta really "beef-up" my demo but this really gives me some insight on the industry.

Cheers =D

siouxfire
02-25-2007, 05:03 PM
So, what do you think? Does age matter? Or is it still the demo reel that counts, even when you are 28 and have no practical experience? Thats the real question that I want to get answered!
No it doesn't matter. 28 is nothing; you're a baby. Your question might not have been answered so far as there are quite a few threads on the subject in the general discussion forum.

maantas
02-25-2007, 07:17 PM
hi guys, i thought i could ask a question too.

so i did my ba in in Lithuania (small unknown :) north/east European country)
it was in media arts, but i had drawing and all other classes.
also i had 1 year experience in Lithuanian 3d animation/advertising company.
there i didnt had strict title as modeler as texturer, i did everything.
now i am studying close to hamburg, in Germany. (m.s. in new media all in English)
i will finish very soon.
also i already had an internship in Oldenburg (small city in north Germany) doing 3d modeling for animated 3d film (3 months) props - high detail forest tree models.
----------- question related to Germany----
so i have a dream to have a 3d related job in Berlin.
my question is what chances do i have, while being not German, and also with very poor German language skills?
that question goes to scrimski (http://forums.cgsociety.org/member.php?u=48634), and others who know German cg industry.
also how much German 3d companies are in to this generalist/specialist division? is it as strict as in USA, if u are modeler then that's what you are and nothing else... :)
----------- question related to "big world" ------
how my experience would be translated in all other countries, i mean Lithuania is not LA, and there where no big cinema films in 3d from here, so does my experience counts, i mean nobody knows what is Lithuania, do you think it is a problem?
and also what is the influence in working in other country with no citizenship, or language (i speak English.. do i have chance in Spain, France japan, etc,..)
and how is generalist vs. specialist question solved in other countries?
if you can provide with your country (whatever that is) situation, i would be very thankful :)

m.

Visor66
02-25-2007, 10:19 PM
Hi siouxfire, thanks a lot for your answer. I already saw the other threads about the age topic. This also helped me as well. I feel better now. I will finally go and catch that dream!

Thanks!

lubob
03-07-2007, 12:46 PM
I have hired artists for our company and we have a school of arts in our city.

I can confirm any word in this posting. We have never been interested in past experience or diplomas. All that counts is: Talent, Ability and Willingness.

And for both parts it is about statistics. People who have never been responsible for budget and organisation can hardly imagine the pressure team leaders have to deal with. They constantly work on high gear. When they need someone, they need him or her now. Being able to start tomorrow and being able to deliver at once.

So this means not only you are seeking for a job but they are also seeking for the best match. So don't take it personally. Set up an effective application process for both, them and you. Don't make a big deal out of it. Short messages, meaningfull reel, immediately answering any questions, having your packed backpack in the corner. Then start to spread your applications. You won't believe how many people try hard to hinder their own sucess:

"Uh, that sounds interesting, I will think about it for the weekend"
Forget it, we need people who have ideas about that here and now. If you don't have one on this articular issue, you are not the right person for this particular job.

"Uh, I just have moved from A to B and I have to paint the kitchen before I can start"
Forget it. You won't believe how many people have to accomplish this or that. If you are not ready to go, don't apply. It is your job to make things work and not the team leaders job to reorganise the team and the project plan due to the requirement of your former landlord.

"Hm, this time I think your requirements might really match my area of expertise, can I apply for a second time"
Forget it, you will never get a response on this, people do not have time to answer questions like that. Just resend your work. Send the same message and the same material as he last time. Employeers don't have the time to track back hundreds of applications and as long as you did not behave like an idiot in the past, negative answers from the past will not reduce your chances for the next project. Evey new project requires a new mix of talents. So turning you down because your style did not match the last time doesn't mean it will not match this time.

andy_maxman
03-07-2007, 12:57 PM
You won't believe how many people try hard to hinder their own sucess:


very well said Lubob...

freshers pls take note - its very important to be (or atleast sound like) a professional in your negotiations...Lubob has some excellent examples...

ScottMichaelH
03-22-2007, 08:09 AM
As a student approaching his final semesters I can't say enough about how valuable this thread is. Thanks to everyone who's posted. To comment on the idea of almost keeping yourself from getting the job, I think sometimes it's a little bit of fear and discomfort. This is something I know I'll need to keep in mind when I'm interviewed someday. I'm 25 now and know that if I were out of school a couple years ago, I'd be bombing intervews for a while from a lack of maturity and confidence.

One last thing though, keep the advice up about the portfolio. I'm sensing that this is an issue where some students are too busy "my-spacing" their way through class to pay attention. At my school I sometimes feel like I'm the only one caring to pay attention to this type of advice and it concerns me sometimes.

Thanks again.

DavidWeinstein
03-23-2007, 07:54 PM
There it is folks - Joe Harkins has pretty laid out everything you should need to know. This is one of the best e-mails i've seen regarding the topic. Nice man.

After having worked at ILM, Sony Imageworks, ESC Ent, and various others studios... the main thing comes down to THE DEMO REEL. If i have a masters in Animation... and my demo reel is poor i get NO JOB. If i have no degree and no schooling at all and Nice demo reel i get A LOT of jobs! Thats the way it works... when i've interviewed artist and when i have been interviewed the topic of SCHOOLING hardly ever comes up. It's always about YOUR current work and WHAT your doing right now.

Some details that Joe also pointed out that are important to remember are; GET FEEDBACK! This is the fastest and best way to get better. When your sitting at your desk watching playblast for 6 hours straight YOU start to think everything is looking good - that is because your EYES have adjusted to your own work. YOU know what is going to happen on the next frame... your audience does not. You HAVE TO GET FEEDBACK. Ask your mother - ask your brother - ask your little sister. Questions like "What looks wrong to you... does anything look funny?" These are the kind of questions you should be asking to your audience. "Does it look real... what about THAT moment right there... does that feel beleivable?"

Don't spend forever on the same peice. I've seen students and fellow artist spend endless months on the SAME PEICE. Put in the effort and MOVE ON. Try something else - experiment with ideas and techniques. Then come back later on with new insight and try it again. If you stay on the test forever you demo reel isnt going to have much to show! Keep moving forwards. Everyone wants to go back and fix old work... esp once youve spent some time away from it. All the mistakes become super clear. But move on... try a new test that incorporates the same idea - BUT BETTER this time.

And last but not least... Keep experimenting. Even if your at school. If you JUST do your assignments thats not enough. Teachers only show you the door! It's up to you to open it and find out whats on the other side. It A L O T of work, patience, and drive to become a professional artist at a big name studio. Hundred of reels would come in each week. You have to show those recruiters and supervisors that you WANT IT THAT MUCH. Show them that you have THAT DRIVE and that you deserve a CHANCE! Practice - Practice - and then Practice some more. When you see another artist that is kicking your ass because he good - use that as INSPIRATION to TRY HARDER! Rise up!

David Weinstein
Mech Engineer and Creature Wrangler
http://www.imdb.com/name/nm1313488/

Alabaster
03-24-2007, 07:46 AM
Great thread! This is helping to clarify things for me!

nightwoodwolf
03-27-2007, 06:21 AM
Definitely helpful for all levels .. thanks.

CCP-CCP
04-21-2007, 07:03 AM
I want to start by thanking both Ėdc- and vfxdude2, for sharing all this information, also to all the people who have contributed sharing their knowledge and experience , i really apreciate this, and i am sure people both at a beginning or later level will find this useful, much more when people from other countries ( like myself ) dont have the chance to talk first hand with someone with actual experience on the field, its an insight as of to what to expect if the chance to work overseas ever comes up, as i am sure many are in the same position as myself.

Although it might not be the case everywhere i think it helps people understand that companies expect to hire someone with the skills and preparation ( demo reel or not, degreee or not) and comunication skills that will make a workplace a more pleasant and enjoyable place to work in.



Again thank you, for sharing this with the community.





CCP

mathieuburri
04-23-2007, 08:28 PM
I agree, the showreel is definitely the most important tool to get a job (especially the first one), but comming from a good school, also helps a lot. During, and after graduation, it makes all the difference: you already know more or less how things work, because your graduated friend tell you, you go to festivals, you may have conferences from various artists, and most of all: you are not alone, and the emulsion that happens in this kind of classroom is really difficult if not impossible to find at home.
That is what happend to me, and It wouldn't have be like that without those 4 years of studies. For all those reasons, a good formation is a major plus (even though maybe only half of the 3d artists I know have actually started by something else)

aa2123
05-03-2007, 01:45 AM
Thanks very much for taking the time to post all of this.

MaximVesuvius
05-27-2007, 04:00 AM
Excellent words, thank you so much. I regret the time I've wasted over my own misconceptions.


Thanks again.

Photoshopped
05-31-2007, 03:11 PM
Thanks for taking the time to provide all that very useful and essential informtion, it is much appreciated.

DannyT
06-01-2007, 12:19 PM
Thanx very much for posting, it makes things a lot clearer!

t00fastt0catch
06-01-2007, 10:16 PM
Great thread! This is helping to clarify things for me!
agreed. thanks.

hasanaliakhtar
06-08-2007, 07:26 PM
WoW..Amazing article and powerful discussion:thumbsup:..And I have learnt fabulous things from here..Yeah these questions are really important for all of us..And we want there answers..Thank u so much for sharing these kinda stuff wid us:applause:..Am really glad to read it..God bless u for sharing nicest things here and God bless all artists here as well..Thank u so much once again..So nice of u..Take carez all..Keep smiling all..

Best Regards,
HASAN ALI AKHTAR.

digitalinkmind
06-16-2007, 02:49 PM
Wow...Thank for the lesson...this is very important to us all.
I personally have some questions answer by this thread...it clean my thoughts and iīm thankful for this great help.:D
All the subjects showing here are extremely necessary to all digital art students.:thumbsup:

Cheers & best regards

GrantMan
06-24-2007, 08:08 AM
Along with everyone, I say thank you. I'm in the industry and am at that point where I was considering what the 'next step' might be to move forward in my career. I've looked into schools and now I'm getting six or seven calls a day from them and am reminded of how eager they are to get your money, but yet the true responsibility of education really falls onto me, the artist.

I think you've given me plenty to think about and consider, and I appreciate your input. This is another post that makes me truly appreciate what this website does for those of us trying our best to do what we love.

Thanks again.

Grant

natsheh
07-14-2007, 10:47 PM
Great information . .. many thanks. :)

Norman3D
07-15-2007, 11:46 PM
I really do need some advice here. I'm 18 years old, and I just finished high school at the German School in Madrid, Spain (I know, it sounds strange, I'm half German, half Spanish). Since I was 8 years old I knew that I wanted to be part of the movie business. I started using a computer at a really young age and ended up doing a CG Master in 2003 at age 14. Now that I have the Abitur (German high school diploma), I'm not sure what my next step should be. There is no way I'm going to stay here, as the CG industry in Spain is almost none existent and besides I have always dreamt of moving to the US and working at ILM or another big company. So, I checked ILM's website, and they do ask 3D Modellers for a degree! Now I'm reading this thread and apparently I don't need any, just a good demo reel. So I am kind of confused. What should I do when I move to the US this summer? (hopefully). Should I go to college? (BTW, money is an issue as college is not free in the US, so I guess college is a ďno, no.Ē) If I go to college, what career is more appropriate? And where should I move to? San Francisco, Los Angeles? Where are all the companies located? Would I have any problems finding a job? (being from Spain and having an Abitur?). I also would like to point out, that I don't expect in any way to start right away at ILM, lol! I would like to start from the bottom and climb up to the very top. I don't see myself doing anything else in my life and I'll do whatever I can to get there. Hope you guys can help me out. And thanks BTW for those Q&A, they are really helpfull.

Note: I speak Spanish, German and English. Don't know if it could have any influence at all, just thought I should let you know, just in case.

spiderspy
07-16-2007, 08:09 PM
Thanks a lot for this value information -dc-! :applause: Got a lot questions answered :D

TheVision
07-16-2007, 09:28 PM
Just wanted to say thanks also...this was a much needed post for myself and others, thanks again for taking to time to do this.

Chrizimer
07-26-2007, 02:09 AM
I want to get into the industry soooo bad. I've gotta learn as fast as I can. The job will be mine. Employer's phone handsets will roll if I don't hear what I want! Gimme the damn jobz!

gigahertz6
08-13-2007, 07:13 PM
Great post, very informative. I have a few questions though. My 2D illustration and drawing skills are average at best. The Art Institute of California at San Diego offers beginning drawing courses as part of their core curriculum. Are excellent drawing skills required to succeed in the animation industry? I am interested in special effects in films. The Art Institute costs a fortune!! I want this more than anything but I want to be realistic.

Also, how reputable is the Art Institute chain? I've been searching the internet on reviews from alumni but I haven't been able to find any information.

I would be grateful for any direction you could provide. Thank you.

minkey
08-14-2007, 02:04 AM
wow, thanks joe for taking the time to write this FAQ.

gigahertz6
08-15-2007, 02:46 AM
I have been searching the forums for advice and it appears that the thread on the topic I want to discuss is inactive. If there is an active one, forgive me (and I would be grateful to be directed there).

It seems that there is no definitive answer to my question nor do I expect one. Just maybe some advice or guidance on the reality of my situation. I'll try to make a long story short.

I love to draw; however my skill as an illustrator is average/mediocre at best. I am fascinated by the visual effects industry. I am not interested in cartoon animation. I love the effects in films that are realistic (Matrix, Spiderman, you get the idea). I have read threads where people claim that drawing skills aren't necessary but advantageous. Others say it is absolutely the foundation.

I am considering attending the Art Institute of California, San Diego (I haven't been able to find reviews/opinions of the Art Institute "chain" - if there are some, please let me know). The Art Institute does teach fundamental classes (2-D illustration, color theory, perspective, etc.)

Is it possible to succeed in this industry with a basic art skillset or am I making a $90,000 mistake (the tuition for the BS animation degree)?

I want it so badly and am willing to dedicate everything I have - but is that enough?

Your two cents is worth a million to me (or at least $90,000...lol).

mummey
08-15-2007, 02:55 AM
How do you feel about compositing? color correction? rotoscoping?

gigahertz6
08-15-2007, 03:07 AM
Hi mummey,

I am completely new to this whole thing. I have postponed my attendance at the Art Institute because I want to investigate the industry more thoroughly.

I realize that there are different specializations of 3D, but I am not familiar with any of the terms you mentioned. I have heard of compositing but not exactly sure what that is. Leigh responded to one of my posts with some helpful info but I think I should be a little more aware of what is out there. Is there a site(s) that can shed more light?

mummey
08-17-2007, 01:10 AM
www.fxphd.com
www.vfxtalk.com

FabioM
09-01-2007, 05:22 PM
Iīve read this thread carefully and it enlightened me about how this industry works but let me explain to you my situation.

This past year of 2006/2007 i studied in the 1st year of the course Cinema,Video and Multimťdia in a Lisbon university. We had some classes of 2D and 3D animation but i felt i learned more doing things at home than in classes.

I gave up studying because university was at night and i worked during the day, so everyday of the week i would be going up to the work, then down to classes and back at home to sleep.

I didnīt had time to do the work for my classes let alone have time to dedicate myself to CG.
So i had 5 classes which i didnīt pass and one of them was 2D and 3D.
Itīs a private university so i was spending alot of money every month that i felt worn out because i didnīt had time and money to do what i liked...no hobbies, no dedication to 3D et.

So i just started dedicating myself to 3D at home and i now know more than what i learned in classes and everyday i keep studying CG because i hope someday i can have a great demo reel to show up and skills
to enter a big studio or a CG company in Portugal.

So when could i dedicate myself to Cg if i will only finish my course in maybe 4 years? (the course is 3)
I would be 27 years old when that happened and then that was when i would have time to dedicate myself to 3D.

I took the option to give up school and learn by myself...would that be a good option?

Lie _dc_ said if your comfortable with your decision then go ahead...thatīs what i did.
The only problem i say of not having a course is getting a visa to work abroad...iīve read somewhere that governments donīt give visas away if the worker doesnīt have qualifications.

doodlerboy
09-03-2007, 06:17 AM
Yeah my friend keeps telling me that the Game Industry is going to working and possibly owning the CG industry. Appearently their going to be having us use their technology and we are going to be using theirs, I think thats bull crap, (sorry for the language) I think the CG industry should keep to it'self. It's like a group, you got your game makers and your movie makers, I personally support my movie making group and think the stupid game industry should butt out. I'm ticked cause he's telling me that their going to be as good and better than the CG movies come out with. I mean is anyone one on my side, I feel so alone and being attacked, Visual Effects and CG films are my life, I don't want the game industry butting in and interferring on our style of art.... I mean come on.

mummey
09-03-2007, 06:48 AM
doodlerboy: You sound like you don't know how it really works.

Not only do Games, VFX, and Animation help each other, they NEED each other. Each is pushing technology and techniques forward and all three benefit from the results.

People have been moving back and forth between the three for years now; this isn't new. There are times where one might have a setback (ESC closing would be a nice example). When this happens, those in the one, go and find jobs in the other two.

In terms of narrative, games and movies are like apples and oranges. You just can't convey a story like Ratatouille as well in an interactive environment. It doesn't matter how close they might be able to make it appear (hint: they're still a long ways off), its the narrative that makes the movie attractive, and the game merely a bad copy.

Games have made strides in terms of technology, but don't kid youself, they are only up to what movies were at about 2000.

Brettzies
09-03-2007, 07:44 AM
Yeah my friend keeps telling me that the Game Industry is going to working and possibly owning the CG industry. Appearently their going to be having us use their technology and we are going to be using theirs, I think thats bull crap, (sorry for the language) I think the CG industry should keep to it'self. It's like a group, you got your game makers and your movie makers, I personally support my movie making group and think the stupid game industry should butt out. I'm ticked cause he's telling me that their going to be as good and better than the CG movies come out with. I mean is anyone one on my side, I feel so alone and being attacked, Visual Effects and CG films are my life, I don't want the game industry butting in and interferring on our style of art.... I mean come on.
Eventually games will look as good, but it really depends on what style you're talking about. Will they look like Transformers(the recent movie) within 10years - I'm talking complete photoreal from human to machine to bg to explosion, etc? Perhaps not, but something more along the lines of Madagascar or Final Fantasy, why not?

Take TeamFortress2, the stylized upcoming game. I know a lot of great cg film animators have gone to Valve in the past few years and the animation from some of those "shorts" like the Heavy Weapons Guy is probably their work. So the talent is already there.

Are you talking purely visuals though? The only barrier film has not acheived is the complete cg human as a main actor standing next to real people throughout an entire film with no one being able to tell. I'm not talking something non-human like Golem or Davy Jones, and no game has even come close to those two. So Mummey is right, they are years away from that. All games can really do is catch up and get on the same visual level some day.

If you want to go the full cg route, Hollywood could easily make a full cg film that looks like Gears of War with stylized humans and Unreal proportions, they just don't want to or haven't.

In terms of narrative, games can have wonderful stories and experiences, but they are more like reading a book. Even a 10hour game is different then a 90 minute film and the way you experience that story is completely different. StarWar Knights of the Old Repbulic may have a more engaging story then Ep1,2, and 3 combined, but does it look anywhere near as good?

The argument seems a bit pointless except for maybe the visual standpoint. Games are always getting better, but so what? Only people who are already behind or have something to prove say things like "games will own movies." So a game can look good and run in real-time? Film will always be canned, no one cares whether a film was made in realtime or each frame took 20+hours to render.

Personally, I love games and know they will just keep looking better, the argument just seems to stem from insecurity. When PIXAR starts using Unreal Engine X to render its films, then they can say games are owning films.

doodlerboy
09-03-2007, 11:16 AM
I understand now, and yeah I really didn't understand how it worked till now. Ahh I've been such an idiot. But I'm glad I brought it to your attentions cause it really helps me to grow even more in the industry. I'll admit I was being 100% childish on the topic. I appreciate you guys giving me Lee-way on things and really explaining this to me, thanks alot I appreciate it.

MariahGem
09-29-2007, 07:41 AM
Just wanted to be yet another person to say thank you for this! It's a wonderful FAQ, and sums up just about everything that people are generally worried/confused about. Thanks again!!

tonykidd237
10-04-2007, 10:09 AM
Thanks for the info - especially the section about degrees. A friend and I have been going back and forth about the value of a diploma and heís one of the types that can get by without college. I on the other hand prefer a well rounded education and getting a degree has been a personal goal. Sure, there are times when general ed classes seem like a distraction from my lab time. However, an instructor once told me that the skills that get you a job may not be the skills that get you promoted.

olipoli1
10-15-2007, 03:25 PM
so I had a lot of different toughts about going to uni or not or if I stand a chance for any decent job in the industry but my questiones had not been answered by others.. I had to answer them! I realyzed that all I need to do Is patently learn and be the best and then I will certanly get a job... Well of course this is not easy and you still have to decide a lot of things but in the end it all boils down to what you have acomplished and how fast and if you will be able to do that for your employer...

My problem is that Im working in a small hungary(eastern europe) based studio and the quality and level of work we produce is, well, thats the problem that I cant tell if its good enough to collect the experience Im looking for. Since most things that come out of here were realised, planed, created, animated and composited etc. by me if an international style studio would think of hireing someone who could do things like this on his own, I would be the man... but since I have no idea what a high class studio or big compnay is looking for i cant tell if I would be valuable for them. Actualy I cant tell if what I know i (good)enough and how work is organised at big companyes... what do you have to do alone or what kind of responsibilityes do you have.

lovinfelix
10-21-2007, 06:31 AM
totally true
school is just for learning, grade is just a game
they both doesnt mean anything
just use the time to learn something worth your money~ ^^

Cassie
11-08-2007, 08:20 AM
Also, how reputable is the Art Institute chain? I've been searching the internet on reviews from alumni but I haven't been able to find any information.




gigahertz, I graduated recently from The Art Institute of Seattle, got a BFA in animation. I only know my own experience, but I like the Art Institutes, at least the one I went to. It's the only way I could have afforded an art school, and I was the type who needed college first. For the most part the teachers were experienced and had much wisdom to impart to students.

AiS in particular is very very good for people who want to get into games, and this frustrated me since I prefer the film industry. But overall my time there was well worth it.

I am very glad I read this thread, though I'd like to know more about the freelance industry. As of right now it doesn't make sense for me to work at a studio. I live way too far away from any companies, and where I live for now is determined by the US military. So I'm attempting to become a 2D freelance artist specializing in digital portraiture, maybe some children's books. I got some good info from the Grahic Artists Guild, but I'm having a hard time finding info about specifically digital illustration as opposed to fine arts info. I'd appreciate any advice from anyone about market strategy, beginning freelancing, or really just anything! I know that working for myself will be a challenge and I want to be smart about it. And again, thanks for making this thread, it's been helpful :)

Arewen
11-20-2007, 09:21 AM
I can see that this thing is right or wrong, I am such a good thing to learn! Thank you, landlord!

ZCtrl
11-25-2007, 03:11 AM
I'd like to add something as well, from someone who got a degree and now works in "the industry"

I graduated from the Art Institute - Orange County with a BA in Game art and Design, early '06. It took me about 6 frustrating months to finally land a job (a very good one at that). Most of the people who got their degree didn't do anything with it, and went about their lives. But some, like me, actually got pro-active and sent out reel after reel, cold-calling places and not giving up the pursuit. And again, most, like me, didn't get anywhere with that. Until! a friend from school was visiting town from the place he had landed a job at and said he might be able to get me an art test, and the rest is history.

FRIENDS ARE YOUR MOST IMPORTANT RESOURCE, your degree might collect dust, but your connections never will. Meeting people who are passionate about the same things you are and will possibly be your "in" to the industry are the major reason to GET OUT THERE and attend college, you can't get that anywhere else. If you sit in your room trying to make the "perfect" demo reel you probably wont get anywhere too fast, even if it's amazing, your chances are much better if you already know someone on the inside, and this is the easiest thing to do, just be social. Talk to that wierd kid in the back of the class who consistently turns out good work, talk to anyone who's work you admire and let your voice be heard, the squeaky wheel gets the grease. You never know who will get a job where, so meet as many people as you can, and this will make life much easier.

Carry that mindset into your first job and make as many friends as you can, networking should never stop, because even getting that first job, it's never a sure thing forever, so be friendly towards everyone, ask as many questions as you need to, and strive to learn something new everyday.

And one last thing, be realistic when looking for a job. A ton of people want to be character artists for some reason, and 90% of the stuff you see on zbrushcentral and other forums are characters, faces, or busts in some form or another. The best way to attract attention by employers is to be varied in your skills. For every character in a game or movie, there are hundreds of objects or environment sets. Model things that are applicable to most 3d mediums, ie: colums, walls, doors, windows, plants, etc. they don't have to be boring either, have fun with those concepts. And DO NOT model things that have already been done to death, ie: world of warcraft style anything, this will get you nowhere. Above all Be open to offers and don't limit yourself. I had to move halfway across the country and leave all my family and friends, and I can't surf out here in Texas, which really sucks :) but you know, the job I got is a dream come true and it's truly worth it and I never doubt any of my decisions that led me here.

good luck all, never give up.

gigahertz6
11-25-2007, 06:01 AM
[QUOTE=ZCtrl]I'd like to add something as well, from someone who got a degree and now works in "the industry"

I graduated from the Art Institute - Orange County with a BA in Game art and Design, early '06. It took me about 6 frustrating months to finally land a job (a very good one at that).


That is awesome that all of your hard work has paid off. Way to go!

I am attending the Art Institute of San Diego in my first quarter. It is very challenging but I am really enjoying it. There lots of resources to take advantage of here (which I fully intend to do). I am networking also. There are many very talented students here that I have learned from as well as the instructors.

Thanks for the input Z, it is very inspiring!

suitepeas
11-26-2007, 01:43 AM
I've been through all of the above that you mention here and I can honestly agree with what you've said. Particularly the part about "only getting out of school what you put into it", which is very true. Actually, you just reminded me of how much I went through in the past few years since I struggled my way into this industry. It was exhausting and I'm so glad the toughest part is out of the way. Now I wish someone had advice for how to handle burnout!

IvanMitkowski
11-27-2007, 07:44 AM
thanks for taking the time to write this, spending lots of time on a demoreel can be difficult, but this writing was very encouraging for me, people shouldnt give up on their passions no matter how hard life gets

aleixo
12-05-2007, 04:36 PM
than you for the faq itīs a very good perspective of the industry

thanks

Scaledblackhorse
12-11-2007, 02:38 PM
THANKS A lot just the inf i was looking for

AndersSundqvist
12-13-2007, 03:34 PM
I review showreels almost daily and agree with so much in this thread. Get your head in the right place and your polygons in the right place and you will be fine.

renovatio
12-17-2007, 01:09 AM
Thank you very much....!

jtvergarav
12-17-2007, 01:06 PM
mmm you are a cool guy, and patient. great to see that there is still people that not only care about theirselves :D

THANK YOUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUU

TaKIKO
12-29-2007, 04:19 AM
Wow great read! Thanks for the help and insight. I am currently a student majoring in computer animation and after the two years I will begin my search in the industry for a job.

LizScherer
01-15-2008, 03:38 PM
What are the prospects for an animator to work from home? Especially someone newly graduated from an on-line animation school?

Thanks,

Liz

mummey
01-16-2008, 06:00 AM
What are the prospects for an animator to work from home? Especially someone newly graduated from an on-line animation school?

Thanks,

Liz

Near-Impossible.

omega3d
01-19-2008, 08:04 PM
This is a well-needed response. I honestly think someone should publish this. It has a lot of valuable information for the students. I am currently a student going to Art Institute Orange County, and for me, the education cannot teach me quick enough. I currently work as well, and I learn much quicker in the workforce than I do in class.

I believe that no matter what field, what education you have-- Just work as hard as you can (while still having fun and loving what you do). This will get you to where you want to be. Education is nothing if you are going to end up doing something that you hate.

Education is by far my favorite thing, but there are different styles. Sometimes the style doesn't match my perosnality, then I just move to the next session. You need education.. Whether its on your own, or in a classroom. Its what we need to do in order to grow in our personality.

redCigarette
01-25-2008, 03:40 PM
Thanks Alot !! This is some valuable information.

Romanthony
01-29-2008, 08:04 PM
Truly enlightening post. So, if college is not a requirement to get in the industry, I assume that also means getting a GED won't be a detriment either. Is that right?

Urbnr
02-02-2008, 02:43 AM
really encouraging ,im new to the 3d community ..this thread opened my eyes for the future ...thank u !!

fine5555
02-26-2008, 01:56 AM
Pretty cool. And I agree, this would make a great sticky.

One suggestion regarding the formating though, and you're gonna hate me for this :D, rather make the questions bold, so that it is easier to find the relevant questions.

:Edit Ah, cool. Bold questions. Easier to scan through now. Thanks :)

Everyone should realize it.

cy080229
03-01-2008, 02:25 AM
http://forums.cgsociety.org/images/icons/icon7.gifthanx for such valuable guidence, i really need such kind of help as i m begining my career.

DuckyT
03-08-2008, 07:51 AM
Thank you very much for all the valuable information. After reading this, it really set me on the right track (toward success i hope:)).

cesmls
03-11-2008, 04:35 AM
My brother-in-law graduated from high school in the midwest, went to Los Angeles, skipped college etc, and after 6 months got a job as a go-fer on a science fiction film (a film that made a LOT of money). He made friends with the "tech" crew - invented a now-famous special effect - & got hired into the special effects department. When the film finished, he & 5 other guys created their own company, & went on to be the "go to company for special effects." Every one of the guys is now a name in the industry, with academy award nominations & even one or two awards. He then worked at ILM for about 15-20 years, off-&-on as a project finished & a new one started. He eventually left ILM & started his own company in LA (because that's where the work is he said) & is now doing commercials.

Not bad for an 18-year-old fresh out of high school! And without a degree - just hard work, ideas, a willingness to fail, & good networking.

I'm not a graphics artist - I'm a quilter & weaver, but when I look at job listings (just for curiosity's sake) I notice that more & more of them require a degree - I rarely see "degree or equivalent experience" any more. Anyone trying to decide between degree/no degree should probably take a look at job postings & survey what their requirements are - knowing the market in which your ideal job lives is a good thing.

priceman
03-13-2008, 08:40 PM
This is my first time posting on this site, though I have read a lot, but I find your information quite helpful. Especially the bit about staying true to your artistic skills. I get overwhelmed by the cost and the amount of software people have knowledge in on this sight, for most of my knowledge is in 3DS Max(which I love and it's widely used enough as far as I can tell) and I feel that it's very overwhelming trying to keep up with all the new software that comes out. I feel what's the use if you are judged by how many platforms or specific renderers you obtain like Vray and whatnot. But I guess it's important to remember that the machine should be a tool, not you, and like one of my instructors always said, "It's like a hammer" when comparing software; as long as what you want gets built, it doesn't matter which tool you use.

I'm picking up the pieces after graduating from the Art Institute of Houston, for I have only been able to find a few freelance gigs here and there, and employment is not an easy venture in Houston. I'm learning Z Brush as we speak, because that has become a platform that is so widely used that you would not be able to find a job without knowing it if you want an entry position or character modeler position in any studio. Mudbox is good alternative, but those displacement maps give much detail that cannot be realized otherwise when going back to your chosen platform. I've also come to the realization that the problem is with me and my outlook, for I get discouraged, sometimes, after failing to find work, and that is something that should be avoided. I just need to keep plugging away; to keep studying and learning; and to keep working on my demo reel.

I know a little bit of everything(learning 2D animation first really helped me with my 3D animation later), but I know now to concentrate at what I am best at and your outlook is one of the most important aspects about yourself and with the right outlook, there is no telling what kind of barriers you can break. I have worked on a team project for NASA that was on the 2006 Seagraph reel as far as the Art Institutes are concerned and though I have been in a funk, I am getting back into 3D, though I took a long hiatus and concentrated on my drawing and painting which is why I went to art school in the first place. It's also nice to fall back n something to compete with all the tech wizardry that a mouse pusher might have over me, an artist, so that is why I'll never give up drawing, because that was my first love.

So thank you for all the info; it was really helpful. I have a BFA and I will keep plugging away till I find work. I have one question; I like to write and I have visions of animations I want to see realized, but they say to not try to tell a story with a reel, but couldn't the right story, if done well enough to where it tells the story on mute or gives the transcendent feeling to the audience, get you a job? Because connecting emotionally is important, is it not? I know you need specialized reels for specialized positions, but is you pulled it off, would that help? Would your creative vision appeal to any studio? or are they too caught up in what they have already done to care about anyone else's?

I know this is a big longshot, but I wonder about these sorts of things, because I write, as well as model, texture, and animate. Anyway, thanks for listening to me and I enjoyed all the helpful information in this thread by everyone.

jtvergarav
03-14-2008, 05:28 AM
So thank you for all the info; it was really helpful. I have a BFA and I will keep plugging away till I find work. I have one question; I like to write and I have visions of animations I want to see realized, but they say to not try to tell a story with a reel, but couldn't the right story, if done well enough to where it tells the story on mute or gives the transcendent feeling to the audience, get you a job? Because connecting emotionally is important, is it not? I know you need specialized reels for specialized positions, but is you pulled it off, would that help? Would your creative vision appeal to any studio? or are they too caught up in what they have already done to care about anyone else's?

Im very new in this CG thing, haven't had a chance to get into the industry in a studio or something, never made a reel either. But I have to agree in what you say about telling a good story in a reel. I think I asked something like that before in this thread, and I think they said that the ones that analize the reel to give you the job don't care about it. I really don't find why, but since I've never had the chance to meet anyone from the industry and I know pretty nothing about it, I guess they are right... but still don't get very much why. If you tell a good story I think it talks pretty good about yourself, and isn't a good thing to have people that has that kind of thinking in a studio? just a thought.

priceman
03-14-2008, 09:26 AM
Ahh, well we all start somewhere. My first 3D class was a panick for me as it is for anyone, but you'll be ok. I have always felt as if I was over my head, so I never posted here, but I decided to give it a shot this time. You can do it, you just have to work at it.

Yeah, I asked that even though I think I know the answer, but I just wonder why there is such a monopoly it seems on what is the artistic expression/ creativite foundation for some studios. I mean, what if you can write a better story or come up with a better idea? I guess my answer would be to keep that for my freelance work, but it's still tempting. I mean, if the story flows, it flows; even if they are looking at it on mute. I assume if you put it on a direct animation reel, you could pull it off, but I don't know. I mean, what I am talking about is how George Lucas(who I am NOT comparing myself to, but mainly making a point) started this whole thing at skywalker ranch. He had a vision; he was inspired by spaghetti westerns and Greek mythology and a multitude of other things. I guess you or I could have that as a side project and just use the characters for a modeling reel or any fluent animation on a strictly animation reel, but it's still tempting to want to grab the interviewer like you would grab an audience member. You know? Like any author or dare I say it, comic book artist/writer.

Sometimes I feel as if some studios are all show, but little substance behind the characters. It's beautiful breathtaking show for sure, but can any real person relate to some of these characters? I like to empathise. Anyway, I guess I know the answer, but it still bugs me a little, but oh well. You do what you can to find work in the industry, I guess.

Life is a never ending learning process, and you will find your niche, for evryoen, even those in the industry never stop learning. I say that as someone not yet in the industry, but that is what my instructors told me and 9t makes sense. the most I ever done was that project for NASA I mentioned.

Anyway, thanks for the reply, I guess we know the answer, but it's nice to know someone else feels the same way.

I find it annoying that after years of learning 3Ds max and becoming proficient in it and learning the basics of Maya, I have to somehow gather up or find someone with a copy of Zbrush so I can start all over and learn a new platform, though I look forward to it, but still. Same goes for Vray; does anyone even use scanline renders anymore? I hope so, or that some people like to at least try to fake Vray and do it well.

Oh well, that may be Greek to you, but you will learn. As they say, "this too shall pass."

priceman
03-14-2008, 09:31 AM
Your work and knowledge is beyond mine. I have no experience in Zbrush or VRay and your work is very good. Pay no attention to the parts where I thought you didn't know anything about 3D; I took what you said wrong. This is why i was scared to post, but I thank you anyway for replying to me.

edisonX
03-21-2008, 11:54 PM
Thanks -DC-

This post saves my career.


edsionX

HappyAngel001
03-22-2008, 05:07 PM
Hi Guys,

How to get more money for our art designers in the entertainment industry, just introduce new projects to DimeSee and share the benefits! Link to this forum site below and submit your requests:

http://www.dimesee.com/forum/forum.asp (http://www.dimesee.com/forum/forum.asp)

A professional forum to our designers in the art field!



Good luck!

Xizetto
03-22-2008, 06:34 PM
Only with good eyes we can see the beautifull pictures here.

cirugia ojos, vista ocular (http://www.cirugia-laser.net)

Windows90
03-23-2008, 08:07 AM
Thanks for all of your precious advice. It makes me more clear about my future.

Greeky
04-09-2008, 02:42 PM
excellent primer.- :)

Excelsi
04-17-2008, 02:59 AM
ok, i was wondering what the top three best animation prgrams there are on the market right now. can anyone tell me?

Blackbook
04-19-2008, 09:02 PM
WOW. As a new member to these forums, I can tell straight away from this first post that I'm going to learn a whole hell of a lot here! Thank you -dc- for writing that up and sharing your experience. I'm a third year BA (Hons) Video Production student at Bournemouth University and the info I've just read will help me tremendously.

Thanks again.

-bb

M3N7H0L5
04-23-2008, 09:49 AM
wow,i found the light at last..thanks a million!

smileyme
06-02-2008, 07:47 AM
Hi dc! thanks for these neat advices! I'm curious about one thing, though. What are the chances of artists from other countries, entry level or otherwise, of getting such jobs in the US or UK, especially if we don't have the "luxury" of being taught by these professionals who have worked in a lot of awesome projects? Or for example, I have a really good reel, but won't they prefer hiring somebody from their own country instead of acquiring and paying for sponsorship or work permit, etc? :)

jediknight777
08-14-2008, 09:16 PM
That was excellent information - I just have one question, when you mentioned the softwared, you did not mention Autocad. Some have told me it is actually useful while others say stay away.

Is the industry currently using it?

Balaa
09-01-2008, 09:24 PM
What an informative and inspiring read. Thank you for taking time out of your busy schedule to offer the community as a whole such a powerful tool that is both empowering and uplifting to read. It certainly made me feel like less of a small fry and reassured me that if I take the chance to believe in myself, others may too!

TheCheshireCat
09-04-2008, 03:20 PM
I like art, and I already have some experience in CG even though I'm only 19. Still, reading things such as this make me really want to rely on something else.. I mean, my dream is to work at Blizzard, but being successful working in an art-related job seems to be very difficult. I'd rather study physics (which I'm also very interested in) and then maybe try to get into the field of CG as a side-job and maybe later on as a full-time job.

Anyways thank you for the article, its great being able to read about people's experiences in the industry.

Dark-Neo
09-16-2008, 10:27 AM
Very Good post! Really enjoyed reading it!

dunsoner
09-21-2008, 09:19 PM
dx thank you for this thread...It really had me thinking positive after I read it all. Thanks to you I have a new sig. now...i hope you don't mind me using your words :) ty once again

DuttyFoot
09-21-2008, 09:53 PM
thanks for the post, lots of useful information that would help steer anyone starting out in the right direction.

TheDodger
10-02-2008, 08:00 PM
I've been told that I shouldn't just be specific in "only try to be a modeller" or "only try to be an animator" but to actually be specific *within* those.

As in, don't put together a demo reel of lots of turntables as a modeller, but actually put together a demo reel of just one TYPE of model. Go for the one you do best or like best, but pick something specific like "Organics" or better "Critters", "Architectural" or better "Virtual Sets", "Natural Scenery" or better "Shrubberies"

I even heard about something at Pixar where an art director based his entire set of decisions on hiring someone specifically on how well they could model cabbages

I don't know how true any of this is, of course, so I wanted to ask.

Additionally, when doing something like modelling turntables, should we show wireframes? Should we fade to wireframe across the model and do something fancy? How important is our lighting?

I'm figuring the lighting on the turntables is probably very important despite not being really relevant to modelling skills, since it's all about showmanship. But if we aren't that great at lighting, will it shoot us down? (I'm pretty good but no expert, but I can at least use some advanced lighting effects).

Here's another question that at first glance may seem stupid, but...
You say Maya is the leading piece of software to know, but that that's not the most important part.

Now, I know perfectly well that I could take on an individual client who said they wanted, I dunno, a giant chicken modeled for them, and their ad could insist that I have to be good with Maya but they're not looking for rigging or anything just the model...

And there's absolutely no reason I couldn't deliver them an OBJ file that's exactly what they want, with it never having TOUCHED Maya, nor me having to, you know, be *out the 7 grand* for a copy of maya when I have perfectly functional copies of Max and ZBrush that I can play like Satriani and a guitar...

Even in a full-time position, what's it matter for a modeller? Isn't the task simply making the bloody models? So, like, couldn't I just say "sure, I'll put a dinosaur in this Maya scene for ya, hang on and let me fire up my, err, peripheral software"

I mean, hell, with some software the modeller is a separate program ANYWAY.

Will they know? Will they care? Is it okay to work at a job that demands you know Maya as long as you can find your way around Maya, know the locations of the Import and Export buttons, and have your own copy of Max on a laptop?

CaptainSensible
10-21-2008, 11:55 AM
This is a very fascinating thread! Thanks to everyone who's posted. Some very useful information here.

I have an additional question... Basically I hunt around for jobs to apply for, online or otherwise, and I just ain't seeing anything to apply for. CGSociety job section is pretty thin as are any other sites. So do I just approach companies even if they aren't recruiting in the hope they'll give me a job?

Nelka
10-30-2008, 08:46 PM
Thank you so much for this post. I had very few options in choosing a course, and ended up in a government university doing a design/illustration course.
Odd thing is, I end up doing more work by myself and reading up on all the knowledge I can find. I wasn't sure if I was wasting my time or not, but I know I don't want to end up doing corporate logos for the rest of my life.

This has definitely been a very insightful and inspiring read.

Sepulverture
11-24-2008, 03:39 AM
Great post -DC-, comprehensive enough to give me a little bit of the direction I've been looking for without being overwhelming or unclear.

Thanks again.

ShekemUrShekem
12-19-2008, 10:32 PM
Itís all about your demo reel, your attitude, and of course your talent.


If more people read this, certain schools might go out of business. I've seen absolutely hideous work on online portfolios but these people are somehow still getting clients.

People need to understand that 3d/vfx isn't like a business major. The degree is cool to brag about to underlings if you got it from a known school, but people forget that a lot of the graduates graduated with the lowest possible GPA required to get out of there.

Whoever is reading this post, read then re-read the quote and save yourself $50,000 or more...50 grand you have to pay back and can't write off in chapter 11; you're stuck with it even if you never get a job doing anything with it. A very scary thought to say the least.

s3bi
12-24-2008, 08:55 AM
Thank you very much!

sekharroy
12-26-2008, 10:07 PM
I loved every word u have written in this thread. Though its basic and common sense as u said, it was really helpful to get a start and to plan a work. I just finished my one year diploma in interior design. I am very new to this CG Industry.

JUST A QUESTION THOUGH! SORRY IF I SOUND DUMB BUT WHAT IS " DEMO REEL" AND HOW DO U MAKE IT? Is it some kind of small slideshow movie of my work or this is something more technical? Please advise as i am in need of guidance at this stage.

az3d
12-26-2008, 10:35 PM
Great stuff, thanks for all the tips, it helps a lot. And I was thinking about internships and you just validated my thought about it. Thanks Just have to wait 2 more years...
-Austin

az3d
12-26-2008, 10:37 PM
I loved every word u have written in this thread. Though its basic and common sense as u said, it was really helpful to get a start and to plan a work. I just finished my one year diploma in interior design. I am very new to this CG Industry.

JUST A QUESTION THOUGH! SORRY IF I SOUND DUMB BUT WHAT IS " DEMO REEL" AND HOW DO U MAKE IT? Is it some kind of small slideshow movie of my work or this is something more technical? Please advise as i am in need of guidance at this stage.
A demo reel is a video that displays your talents. If your specialty is animation then create a reel showing your character animation, if your specialty is modeling animate a camera moving around your different models showing all the detail. Look on youtube for some reels it'll give you a good idea. So since your in interior design a possible reel would have some different interior desings you've made, with an animated camera moving around the interior.

designDaveF
12-30-2008, 07:50 PM
Although it's been said a hundred time on this thread ... Well said Mr.dc.
I can understand the doubt artists feel.
It's a tough business with many challenges along the way.
Many of the points you address in your post ... have been said before ... but can't be said enough. :)
I feel one of the best ways of perfecting your portfolio is being open to the constructive criticisms from other artists as well as people from other walks of life.
One of my favorite parts of your post is ...
Do I need to be artistic? Yes. Hands down it all comes down to your natural, raw, artistic talent, your eye for detail, your ability to take criticism for your own work, and your ability to critique others.
If you're an artist, you're an artist. Feel proud and go-for-it. Many don't have a creative bone in their bodies and 'Yes', they have definite envy.
Cheers

DaveMcMahon
01-01-2009, 02:22 AM
Great post Thanks for sharing!

carlosoporto
01-12-2009, 02:35 AM
Thanks for this! I have read those things many times, but after watching Gnomon Master Classes and reading this it really makes more sense! Thanks again!

polyvin
01-12-2009, 11:46 PM
great read, i've just started the CA program at Full Sail, and this information will be sure to help me later down the line.

Mofero
02-19-2009, 10:11 PM
Hi! Thanks alot for this FAQ. :thumbsup:

Pandaren117
02-20-2009, 05:07 AM
After reading the FAQ, I realize that the digital/entertainment/etc. art industry is not plum pretty as an average person would think. But I want to be in it. I think ever since I started to play N64 I decided to become a game designer, but as I have found out, it is really hard to effectively participate in a lot of extracirricular educational classes revolving around it. I regret now in the second to last year before high school graduation that I haven't done much to be prepared.

I'm just really worried about college apps. Carnegie Mellon, since I heard about it from Randy Pausch, looks like a great school I want to be in. Carnegie Mellon has this Bachelors of Computer (http://community.imaginefx.com/forums/thread/177560.aspx#) Science and Arts, but I have no participatory experience in computer programming languages (which they highly reccomend for me to befamiliar with. My school doesn't have a Computer Science calss.) nor have i kept or even pursued professional fine arts for college. (Sculptures, painting, etc.) I've just been, as a life interest and hobby, drawn to Blizzard like art, or the fantasy sci-fi materials. (Which I am afraid any fine arts college wouldn't take seriously, unless I am mistaken.) I have no definitive portfolio since I just got my hands on any of the software and training since last summer.


I know what I want to do, but I don't know how to exactly get there. I am afraid that its too late to do anything about and art portfolio and Carnegie Mellon looks so pretty (might be considered a dream school.)

I've talked to my counselor, and I realize that there are other schools I would like to go to (such as USC) but unlike, I think, say wanting to be a lawyer, there doesn't seem to be a obvious way to do any of this. (I might be blinded by that fact I'm only looking at major colleges.) I think I'm also used to the whole idea of a general education, just a keep a level base like school.

It all sounds so intimidating. Is there anything I can do now to push my foot not through the job door but at least onto the front lawn?

I want to become part of that creative energy that I see a lot of artists are a part of, like Samwise.

coreysMonster
03-06-2009, 10:13 AM
the original post was really, really inspring, and it's good to know that so far I've been doing things right :)

cgdesign
03-11-2009, 04:40 PM
It very useful for me ,thank you very much~
many thanks!:applause:

wizzlesmizzle
03-29-2009, 10:10 PM
Thanks for posting the faq! Though I do have a question. I noticed that on most of these online job postings, not just this site, they are all asking for people with at least 1 years experience. I have not seen one entry level position posted since I've been on this site. What's the deal? Where does one get a list or find a database of companies to submit reels to? I apologize if these were covered already.

danbaiton
04-02-2009, 01:11 PM
Deffinetly an eye opener, thanks man.

MikeMasters
04-03-2009, 10:53 PM
Nice one!

I'm gonna have to copy-paste this for my own use and reference later.

Excellent work and thanks for sharing.

-Mike

PEN
04-20-2009, 02:50 PM
I agree with every thing here except which software, the point made only holds true if you are in the feature film industry in LA, if you are in Games then Max is still number one and I'm sure will stay that way for some time. In certain areas of the world other 3D apps hold the majority, so students should do their homework and sort out where in the world they want to be working and in what area of the industry. Feature film is only a small portion of the over all market, there is lots of work in TV, Broadcast, Visualization, Arch Vis, Games and even medical or military.

After teaching 3D in the industry for about 12 years and working in it for 14 in just about every area there is I find that students get into it with a very narrow view of what it is they could be doing. Many change their tune once they see all the possibilities.

ILuvPirates
05-23-2009, 02:19 AM
Mr. Harkins,
I am a high school teacher of 3D animation. The advice you give here is incredible. Would mind if I pass on your words of wisdom to my students? I will definitely site you in my discussions.
Thank you
Melanie Snyder

Kanga
05-23-2009, 10:21 AM
Welcome here to cgtalk Luv!

As an instructor I wish more professional teachers would take the time to research this subject like you are obviously doing. Don't forget to hop on over to the Education section: Courses and Schools (http://forums.cgsociety.org/forumdisplay.php?f=283). I am sure you can help out with observations from the other side of things.

Cheerio Chris
Mr. Harkins,
I am a high school teacher of 3D animation. The advice you give here is incredible. Would mind if I pass on your words of wisdom to my students? I will definitely site you in my discussions.
Thank you
Melanie Snyder

Metall44
06-08-2009, 03:31 AM
THank you very much, you incourage me and rerendering my dreams.

Meaning of rerendering meaning i want to work for my self producing games (XNA engine from Xbox 360 using c# language) and animation(Trying to build my fantasy to reality - i see a bolt on a ground, and in my eyes i see ships flying around it. Light lighting up as civilizzation in it__im wierd i know :P). I was always affraid that the whole 3d artist thing was to be good with tool. Meaning like my current job i work at, my boss gets really pissed when it takes me more then 30 min on a project, from concept to final production file. But i am working in printing enviroment.

We manage produce same works that takes team to produce :P im proud that i am able to handle it.

Some times information as this FAQ makes a huge difference in people life and encouragement :P Thank you again.

lednar
06-09-2009, 02:06 PM
You can also check what Blizzard suggest how to get hired. Here is link to Blizzard basic tips "How to Get a Job at Blizzard Entertainment" (http://www.blizzard.com/us/jobopp/intro.html)

I think then Blizzard give tips then they are really valueable information.

yosemited
06-25-2009, 03:09 AM
Hey i see a lot of people talking of college and degrees

How about being able to validate acquired knowledge? If you really know the stuff, then you should be able to pass the exams.

but of course, you would not be paying the enormous amount of money demanded for the education, so it's no i guess

sebasvuye
07-01-2009, 07:07 PM
This actually helped me a lot! Interesting information you putted there, thanks for that. I live in Belgium thou :)

yosemited
07-05-2009, 07:09 PM
As far as education: No college degree? Forget it. That's absurd. Yes, you NEED a college degree. If you can't make it through a real college, you're probably not going to be able to do the work. I don't care how well you can draw, animate, or whatever; in the end, this profession requires the same things as any white-collar job: communication skills, ability to solve problems and make decisions, the ability to listen to your boss and do the job which needs to be done, the ability to manage your time, etc. These are all things you learn in college (or at least, college prepares you to deal with them... sort of).

Go to college. Major in art, filmmaking, computer science, physics, architecture... I know people in VFX who have degrees in one or more of all these majors.



-vfxdude

I understand that college or university is very important to introduce the students to the difficulty of their future carreers, but what if i can't afford college or university, wouldn't work experience count?

mumuyu1717
07-08-2009, 08:17 AM
This should be a sticky, it will help a lot of people.. and not just the newbies, but the guys who find themselves answering the same questions over and over again :)

Agree to u

special thx the article for the newbies like me

belegdae
07-27-2009, 01:18 PM
Hi there everyone!

This seems to be a good place for people to come to for advice on their career, myself included.

Basically, I've finished my first year at university in the UK, and Iím currently applying for jobs around the country (not fussed where). Iím looking for a job as at university Iím finding it, well basic. I mean some parts are great, like my Anatomy and Physiology lectures, but all the others are simply software based, like learning Max, Maya Photoshop Etc, with no artistic background; meaning Iím not learning anything that I canít teach myself, which is kind of my dilemma. I looked at other universities in similar subject areas; Iím finding the same sorts of problems.

I think of myself as being 'OK' at 3D I donít think Iím terrible, but Iíve donít some good work for commercial clients (British standards in the UK being one), and all my fist year work was awarded Firsts (>70%) with a 90% in my Anatomy and Physiology, and 86% in motion capture (highest grade in the year, out of 160 students).

I have the beginnings of a showreel at:
http://www.vimeo.com/5295591

Iím still working on my showreel at the moment (the current piece with compositing 3d onto filmed footage with boujou and max; although not your simple 'character on a desk video').

The sorts of jobs I'm applying to at the moment are runners and junior 3D; I have no problem slogging my heart out for a few years as a runner if it'll help me get somewhere.

If anyone could give me advice, opinion, or rate my employability at the moment, it would be beyond appreciated!

Many thanks, Richard.

sundialsvc4
07-28-2009, 05:15 AM
Be content to walk before you try to run. At this point ("first year at University"), the place that you should be looking hardest is ... at the University!

I remember it well: my first job at the University computer-center (this was, BTW, many years before the Apple-][ or the IBM PC existed... never mind) consisted of tearing paper off the line-printer and shoving it through a particular slot. I did not mind: I was inside, and that is exactly where I wanted to be. I parleyed that into four years of work as a student, followed by three years as a salaried staff member at the University.

More than any technical skills you may (or may not...) have, you need to be able to clearly demonstrate that you are a professional at whatever-it-is that you do. You can always learn something new, and on-the-job you always will (if you want to). Tools and techniques are constantly advancing. But one rule-of-thumb is, literally, biblical: "Those who are faithful with little, will be faithful with much." So, get out there and be faithful and professional in whatever you do. Word gets around fast that you are reliable and dependable, that you don't ask questions when you don't need to but do ask questions when you do need to, and that you truly care about the quality of your work (but without losing sight of a deadline).

"If anyone praises you, let it not be you yourself who does it."

teruchan
08-20-2009, 03:03 PM
Wow. That is really good information. I worked in this industry for years and I know it has changed considerably in that time. For example, in my day, there was no going to University for this stuff. It didn't exist! People were still in the "Stop messing around with that CG garbage and get a real job!" phase.

Now Education in this field itself has become a huge industry. Schools are everywhere. Stores and websites and software vendors all over the place are offering training materials, to help students learn this stuff, me included. And it has grown so far outside limited Western shores to become an international phenomenon. I think there will have to come a point where there will be more students than jobs, right? Or will there be more content to match the demand?

MatveyRezanov
08-22-2009, 06:57 AM
Thanks. That was interesting to read. I guess I need to work on my reelÖ.

rdane1010
08-29-2009, 06:12 AM
Seems like good advice... BUT.. rather than killing yourself to get a job paying $12 to $20 an hour.. if you have developed some talent then you should consider freelancing too at first as this is more and more becoming a viable option and there are places online where you can find work and probably get that much or more

JQuigley
09-21-2009, 01:08 AM
Interesting read. I'll keep that in mind for future reference.

StephanePayette
09-29-2009, 06:46 PM
These are the best advices I read in a long time. Thank you so much for this!

AMDx64BT
10-15-2009, 12:22 PM
Do you think is it better to work in a big studio doing blendshmaapes or in a small studio as 3d generalist? (Same salary) I particullary prefer the small studio, you can do what you want, it is more personal work. Anyway for the CV it is always more impressive to see the name of the big studio. Which is your opinion?

T.D.A
10-17-2009, 08:53 AM
dude
thanks for giving us such a great information :D


peace ^^

iadagraca
10-21-2009, 12:47 AM
Thank you, i gotta show this to ALL my friends :)

i go to an art high school in Florida and so many people are looking for guidance on where to go after high school, i'm pretty much the most knowledgeable on the matter, but some reassurance from a professional would defiantly help them...

gottery
10-26-2009, 09:47 AM
i have just graduate from the university.honesty speaking, i did not think m uch about the question.while when i entered society, i found that i am wrong.some of the question i have met, but i canot change the redult. it is a pity.

all in all ,this article is constrctive.

ranaazeem
10-27-2009, 12:15 PM
Very helpful compilation indeed!
Thanks for taking out time for writing this.

joseiaz
11-05-2009, 12:19 AM
Thank you so much for putting this up. It helped me define my priorities.

KevBoy
11-29-2009, 10:58 AM
Feature film is only a small portion of the over all market, there is lots of work in TV, Broadcast, Visualization, Arch Vis, Games and even medical or military.

After teaching 3D in the industry for about 12 years and working in it for 14 in just about every area there is I find that students get into it with a very narrow view of what it is they could be doing. Many change their tune once they see all the possibilities.

Oh absolutely. There is so much more 3D than film and games. Look beyond Max and Maya...

shrunkendesigner
12-05-2009, 05:19 PM
This was a brilliant post and well worth sharing with the community. Thank you.

Grucci
12-09-2009, 07:42 PM
Thanks for the info. I was fortunate when I graduated college to get into the field a week later. I've been at my place of employment for over three years now and it's been great and I've worked my way up. Now I find myself wanting more in the way of learning and growing as an artist and designer. I absolutely love articles like this because it really helps to hear the opinion of professionals that have been around.

ArticSpider
12-29-2009, 04:40 AM
I read some pages of this thread as it was somewhat informative. I've already got a BA in another field, and have been in school all my life to the point where I'm just completely exhausted. I've had give or take 2-3 years of traditional art with 2 years of software training at the college (and personal), is an mfa really necessary to break into the business???
The college I'm now going to, I'm literally wasting my time and money slaving over the classes and it is really burdening me when I could be doing so much more with my time and working on my portfolio. Practically all I'm doing in college can't even go into the portfolio. I understand the importance of A college degree at least at the undergrad level for any career, but I thought the most important thing was the portfolio reel? So in a sense if you got a real strong mentor or if you are really disciplined yourself in teaching yourself skills and such, what is really the point of a degree if the employers just glance at it if at all and really like your work?

Just want some clarification on the importance of college vs. porfolio because frankly I'm going to a lowsy school and am about this close to dropping out.

ArticSpider
12-29-2009, 04:48 AM
If more people read this, certain schools might go out of business. I've seen absolutely hideous work on online portfolios but these people are somehow still getting clients.

People need to understand that 3d/vfx isn't like a business major. The degree is cool to brag about to underlings if you got it from a known school, but people forget that a lot of the graduates graduated with the lowest possible GPA required to get out of there.

Whoever is reading this post, read then re-read the quote and save yourself $50,000 or more...50 grand you have to pay back and can't write off in chapter 11; you're stuck with it even if you never get a job doing anything with it. A very scary thought to say the least.

Anyone agree with this? Because seriously I do. I've already wasted 50 grand on an education that I find lacking when I see I can do better without it. Was is the value in the degree when your portfolio lacks because of the school? Please I am open to opinions!!

teruchan
12-29-2009, 05:21 AM
Just want some clarification on the importance of college vs. porfolio because frankly I'm going to a lowsy school and am about this close to dropping out.

Drop out! You are throwing away your money and, more importantly, you are wasting your valuable time. You can get the money back one day. The time you can never get back! That degree will not help you in the slightest if you don't have the reel.

There is, however, a qualification to that statement. Considering the current state of the economy and the direction of the industry, you may find yourself seriously contemplating work overseas in markets like SE Asia or Eastern Europe. In many countries, a college degree is a requirement to get a visa which will allow you to work there. That, however, is any college degree, and it doesn't have to be in your chosen field. Moreover, if you have special skills, the company that wants you badly enough will find ways to work around this limitation.

gun661
01-18-2010, 03:56 PM
I respect what has been said in this thread - a lot! And a lot of that I would sign, too. Insofar I want to thank -dc- and vfxdude2 and all the others for their contributions.

And I don't want to affront -dc- by what I'm going to say, I just want to challenge his perspective a little bit. Even more I think it's important that it is challenged.

I'm just a student that's running his little projects and a small company with his friend, earning pocket-money by the way (which inspite of the term "pocket-money" is enough for a bit of a living). But still I feel that I've come past enough to have an opinion about this.

"Truth" is a really meaningful term and seeing Truth combined with statements like:

Forget the music [in a demo reel]; itís on mute and being watched in fast forward, sorry.
...
To be completely honest, this industry is not skilled enough to concern itself with education as much as doctors or lawyers, or even business people
...
Itís all about your demo reel, your attitude, and of course your talent.
(although not *all* doctors and lawyers are exceptionally educated either IMHO, which is a pitty)

It makes me kind of sad. Yes of course, the industry is a big cold money making machine you sometimes have to adhere to, but only because that's *our* convention. It never has been truth, it's just become a self-fulfilling prophecy - which could be different.

And one possible consequence is, as someone's stated in this thread, there are a lot of media "products", movies, games etc. that just look good. But essentially they just do that: Look good. They're often not really inspiring, they have no magic, no soul. Almost never they can get rid of the artificial atmosphere of what they've gone throught: A production pipeline. Essentially they're prone to be forgotten in a few years.
I don't know how much of that we all perceive but I think everybody has had the intuition that there's something lifeless about a majority of today's media.

Thus, I think, education of any kind is *the* most important aspect and attainable gift everyone should bring along in this particulary field. No matter what has educated you: If it's college, or being lazy and day-dreaming, or life itself. You should have some kind of premonition of what you do besides knowing that two specific colors match together quite nicely or how to swing a brush. Please, besides compositing and training all day, don't forget that there must be something, some kind of story or message you want to express with your work. And that story won't evolve if you just sit in your studio practicing brush strokes like there's no tommorow.

Great gaming mile stones like Half Life *were not* created by people specifically taught in game design for that matter. They were created by all sorts of people coming from different fields, enriching the team, not cleaving the team. The levels and story they created didn't come from an artbook about machines or factory buildings, it came from their jobs, their involvement and their lives.

As vfxdude rightfully claimed, it's certainy difficult to get a foot in the door - because there are a lot of guys and gals attracted by the industry's sexiness. But there are a lot of front- and backdoors and many kind of feet.
And although humbleness is a gift which one will also learn in life's education, that doesn't mean bowing before the industry economizing its employees.

So, if you find out some company plays your reel fast forward: They're not interested in the real stuff. But they train you living with blows - therefore be thankful. Don't ask them questions - do your own thing and before you know it they come to you asking questions themselves.

And if I may also suggest although it certainly is a bit naive: Don't network, become accustomed, become buddies when *you* feel it.

Last remark: One more seemingly self-fulfilled prophecy is: We're living in a "performance society" (inspite of the fact that our brain performs all the time, even if we don't want)... Don't take that too seriously. Even without an inhuman network of business contacts and even without training like a machine you are certainly evenly able to produce enough income to survive with a bit of intelligent behavior.
That's not a cocksure way, it never is, it's just another perspective. And the sooner you learn that there aren't any cocksure ways, the sooner you'll progress, in my humbled opinion.


Cherio.

vrheint
01-30-2010, 05:29 AM
Very Informative article, thank you very much for this!

In regards to the feeling like you've wasted your money on college and not having a portfolio that is up to 'industry standards', I feel like my time in college taught me the basics I needed to get my feet wet and now it's up to ME to develop and hone my abilities to the next level and beyond. Of course I went to a college in a cornfield in Northwest Ohio instead of LA but regardless of where you come from, it's still up to you to keep going. I've thought about going back to school or moving on to a Masters program but I feel I'd be paying more money (that I don't have) for more of the same.
If you are still in school and are reading this, my advice to you would be to push the limits of the assignments you're given. Take the basic idea of the project you're working on and see how you can add new elements to make it stand out, to help you get more from your school than the bare minimum. The best animators from my classes were the ones off in the corner keeping to themeselves and not going out to the bar during the weekends. They had original ideas or visions that they put into their one-minute animations. They didn't settle for the bare minimum. And if the teacher tells you to slow down, or pokes a hole in one of your story ideas, don't get discouraged! You're not trying to make oscar worthy shorts in college, you're learning and trying new things. It's okay to make mistakes so long as you learn from them and continue to grow.

ArticSpider
01-30-2010, 04:32 PM
I have given a long, long difficult decision and thought about college for me at this point.
I'm dropping out.
I do what I can and will keep at it, but if it was never meant to be that I got one job in this difficult industry, then I have to move on and live with it. I realize all these years of researching the industry, people do get to where they go by the hard work that paid off, it's true, but it is not just that and it's not enough. It's really by the luck they have at the draw. You can call it right time and right place - something that they have to advantage over that other competing person that made it happen for them. It's not just talent, and skill, and degree that is enough, there's more to it that I'm finding out and a lot of those who just dream like me about getting into the industry just don't have it and will never reach it, and it's not because we have no skill or talent. We just keep dreaming because there is no luck. So why waste anymore time and money and heartache? This is of course my take and opinion probably tailored just to me. Probably millions of people out there are doing just fine and going about the day finding plenty of work and working hard on building their skills and think it was easy but I tell you a lot of them will tell you, they were lucky.

CKPinson
01-31-2010, 03:41 PM
College never equals entitlement, just tools.

In my experience some of the most dedicated and technically inclined individuals (and creative) have been with little to no educational background- but they too have to find a way in- it's this way with everything in LIFE> Don't hold it over any particular industry alone... and sometimes you'll even find completely oblivious morons working along side you or "above" you, and you'll often question WHY/HOW. But in the long run it's mostly irrelevant because thinking about it or grieving over it doesn't put gas in your tank and food in your belly.

Sometimes we have to sacrafice our dreams to settle for something reliable, but continue to reach for those dreams in our spare time. Afterall, though having something regular may not leave you as HUNGRY it will put you in a STRONGER situation regardless of what this "regular" thing is that you are doing (because most likely there's some other SCHMO wishing he had that "regular" job you now have!)

"Survival of the fittest" is more true now than ever considering most individuals REEK of GREED and NARCISSISM> It's a GLOBAL Psychological Trend (MORE ME LESS WE)!

aboullous
02-23-2010, 10:02 PM
It's probably been said a million times in this thread already, but what an inspiring FAQ. thank you for taking the time to provide us with so much help.

Now, i have a special type of concern regarding this matter. i haven't read all the replies to the thread so I'm not sure if it's already been covered somewhere. therefore, please bare with me:
what about expats? what if you're applying for a job in the US, or Canada, or Europe, and you don't live in the country in question? what are your chances of landing a position in, say, a video game company? i live in Lebanon, in the Middle East, which is a pretty dry area for the industry. i'm currently studying animation at Animation Mentor, and i intend to start applying once i graduate, end of 2010. naturally, the biggest disadvantage that expats have are visas. so does a company provide assistance in this area if i get a job there? does it provide any sponsorship, of sorts?
i hope this question is not too off topic. it is a very important issue for me, so if there is anyone who can help, i would really appreciate it.

Thanks!

LK

BySilent
03-01-2010, 09:09 PM
Sometimes we do hold these truths as self-evident and not delve too deeply into the down and dirty aspects of what sort of jobs one can get depending upon the education level of the person.

A well written article with a lot of truth that is not discussed.

HammyHammy
03-26-2010, 09:05 PM
I would just like to say that this is very practical advice aimed at young (and not so young) people who do not have any idea how to get a foothold in the industry. The advice so often is 'get a degree' or 'get qualifications' when the reality is raw talent. I got my first job in the graphic arts industry on the strength of a letter. I was too old and had no qualifications for the job that I was applying for, but I thought 'what the hell? If I can't sell myself, then what business do I have trying to sell somebody else's product?' I wrote a letter telling my prospective employer why I was the best person for the job. I got the job! Some time later my boss told me that he knew he was going to employ me the minute he read my letter, and that the interview was just a formality. What you need is confidence! If you don't believe in yourself, why should anybody else? If you have a good showreel, the evidence speaks for itself.

Awdriel
04-07-2010, 07:14 PM
Succinct. Great. Finally - the scoop. I just wanted to say that while getting my 3D education the software tools I learned in school actually upped my yearly gross salary since I was able to put the softare I learned on my resume; and dependent on which industry you end up in your salary can increase upwards of 30%.

Just food for thought ...

November10
04-12-2010, 10:32 PM
Thanks for sharing your knowledge, -dc-! As someone with very few contacts within the industry, that kind of information is very useful...thanks again for going into so much detail :)

ellokokik69
04-14-2010, 10:49 PM
Thanks, great advice and I want to initiate me into this world (the building is no longer working).


thank you very much

Cuboid
04-15-2010, 02:22 PM
Thanks for the great advice!, although I still have some time before I have to worry about this.

I always think that if your doing something you enjoy, you shouldn't care if you get paid less, since your getting some of the enjoyment, so you wont have to pay for.

GuildKnight
04-23-2010, 11:34 PM
Since this was posted in '06, I'm assuming the software mentioned is out of date... or am I wrong? Apologies if I've missed a thread concerning this, I'm not very familiar with navigating forums.

halen
04-28-2010, 12:14 PM
^ Just based on asumption by reading stuff here (these questions asked and answered here constantly) Nuke is getting hotter for composition, otherwise seems still quite relevant.

Baensidhe
05-01-2010, 07:15 PM
Very informative! Thank you so much for posting this valuable information.

thatoneguy
05-19-2010, 07:52 AM
Since this was posted in '06, I'm assuming the software mentioned is out of date... or am I wrong? Apologies if I've missed a thread concerning this, I'm not very familiar with navigating forums.

Definitely out of date on the compositing side.

Double Negative is still Shake I believe but just about everybody is quickly moving to Nuke on the compositing end of things. Combustion is all but dead. Especially now that Max and Maya ship a free copy of Toxik. After effects is still the king of motion graphics.

Maya is still somewhat FX king but it's being supplanted by FumeFX for 3ds Max, RealFlow and other specialty tools.

ovinet
06-12-2010, 11:20 PM
Do you guys know where I can find info about the average salary for a game artist (specifically environment artist) ?

cutieturtle07
06-17-2010, 10:32 PM
Amazing that this thread is so old. Definitely great advice

ClineSR
06-18-2010, 09:24 AM
As a new member and a new person to this field of study I thought I'd read this thread first. The first post was very informative.

Nakko
06-22-2010, 08:08 AM
I just graduated myself. I'm finishing up my reel and hope to start flooding the market soon myself. It's really nerve racking climbing out onto those skinny branches, but that is where the fruit is... so out I go. Thank you for your advice and comments. They have given me a boost in realism which, oddly enough, makes me feel a little more confident. Maybe because I have an idea of what I can expect... it's less scary than... 'I think the company will take a week or two to get back to me if they are interested... right?' Thank you very much for taking the time to write this for all of us who are just starting out. -Tara