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vfx
12-06-2008, 03:47 PM
Why 3D education isn't working. (Written by Mark Ramshaw)

An interesting read.

http://www.3dworldmag.com/page/3dworld?entry=why_3d_education_isn_t

I got quoted! Thanks Mark.

D.

RobertoOrtiz
12-06-2008, 05:45 PM
I like these quotes:

Over at UK VFX studio Double Negative, HR manager Vic Rodgers agrees that undergraduate courses should be given a broad-based 3D education. “A course should initially give exposure to all aspects of CGI – modelling to a level, lighting, texturing, shading, procedural work, particle systems, rigid body dynamics, Maya and Houdini animation, technical and or character work, rigging, compositing and so on.”

Rodgers believes there are too many courses in the UK that try to do too much, and end up with graduates that aren’t capable of mastering anything: “Sadly many courses do not facilitate the development of a deeper understanding of methodology and simply teach people how to push buttons.”

and..

“Many universities and colleges now effectively operate as businesses,” points out Jason Jenner, training manager at Escape Studios. “They are interested in attendance numbers and fees and aim to attract students by offering courses in appealing subjects such as CG, games and VFX. This accounts for the explosion in the number of games-focused courses, some of which contain a somewhat schizophrenic curriculum; courses teaching a blend of games art, level design and programming?”

JesseGraffam
12-06-2008, 05:49 PM
good read.

Antropus
12-07-2008, 01:59 AM
If even I, knowing not much of English by the time, was able to sit my lazy butt and learn almost everything that I knew before I got my first job in the industry, just by researching the internet, doing tutorials, reading everything on these forums, all in my SPARE TIME since I had a full time job, I still cannot understand why so many people think that the only way to learn something is by going to a school. Look, first you have to show interest to learn. If you do, then you will evolve A LOT by researching and practicing by yourself. It's not like a teacher will open your head and upload the information there. A teacher will give you directions, exercises and will try to prepare you for the environment of a studio but no one will just press a button and you automatically will become ready to work. I think people should spend more time trying and learning by themselves other than wondering around as they do most of the time. There are so many people asking for advice on these forums, starting the same threads over and over but you never see the work most of them create because they just don't want to create anything. They just want a magic formula that will make them good artists and get them into the industry, all in a blink. Nowadays there is SO MUCH free information all over the place. People could spend more time learning by themselves instead of spending a ton of money in some money-making machine that is pretty much what some of these schools turned into.
My 2 cents.
-Kris

kelgy
12-07-2008, 02:40 AM
Just seeing how universities are adopting these courses as a way to attract students. Boy, when i first looked at university for film they didnt even have an animation program(or they canceled it for lack of students).
A career in animation or special effects was so unusual that you could only learn by on the job training or a subscription to Cinemagic magazine. You had to be a self-starter/trouble shooter by nature. Model maker, woodworker, electrician, metal shop skills....

Now its an office desk job.

:hmm:

Per-Anders
12-07-2008, 02:41 AM
I think maybe there is a misconception (among some of us) about what education is or at least should be about - it's about teaching you how to teach yourself, networking and putting in among other like minded people. If knowledge sublimates itself from A to B in the process then that's all for the good, but there is a curious concept that education is some sort of factory line, forcing information into peoples heads. It isn't. It's an opportunity, that's all.

Why is that good? Because not everyone knows where to start, or look in order to find the knowledge and information that they need in order to progress, especially in an alien field. You just can't expect everyone to have the lucky chances of reading a certain article, or seeing a certain program, or finding a certain forum or mentor etc that might set one person down the road to self driven success in a field (so that's where education steps in to help, or allows people to help themselves if you think about it clearly).

On that matter sadly there's a snobbish attitude attached to this on both sides, success is self driven whether you have a classical education or not - the education for one person is just one step/tool on their journey to success, just as the first paid job is. A driven person is driven no matter what route they take and to what ends, same goes for serendipity.

kevman3d
12-07-2008, 02:53 AM
Gotta say, that was an accurate and great read :D - Thanks for the link

Currently being one of those 'industry-experienced' tutors at a college at the moment, I can concur with all the points bought up in that article, and all the pros and cons are globally accurate - Even here in New Zealand.

Honestly, I prefer the good old-fashioned way of learn it yourself... But then, there were never schools about when I was interested in 3D. ;)

ragdoll
12-07-2008, 03:58 AM
i agree with what everyone has to say...but still...there are a few schools I wouldn't mind going to if I could...i'm open to learning from people that actually know what they're doing. other than that, self motivation is the only other option.

Hauzer
12-07-2008, 07:55 AM
I could kinda see this coming. I have a friend who is attending a school that teaches 3d. There were a lot of clueless students... clueless instructors... and my friend is the one teaching the class.

Anyhoo, this is one issue I will certainly be buying.

mdee
12-07-2008, 08:48 AM
If even I, knowing not much of English by the time, was able to sit my lazy butt and learn almost everything that I knew before I got my first job in the industry, just by researching the internet, doing tutorials, reading everything on these forums, all in my SPARE TIME since I had a full time job, I still cannot understand why so many people think that the only way to learn something is by going to a school. [...]
A couple of weeks ago I talked to a person who wanted to be 3D artist or civil servant or maybe a doctor.

There is a lot of people like that in CG schools - people with no passion or even genuine interest in CGI. They also tend to think that just showing piece of paper to the employer will get them a job and CG schools (as said in article) are business, so they tend to keep people deluded.

The most ridiculous courses I've ever seen are indeed game design courses.

ShadowM8
12-07-2008, 09:48 AM
I think education gets a bad wrap in this industry. And while a lot of schools take advantage of students by offering very little of value for large sums of money, proper cg education surely has it's place.
I agree with Per-Anders, it's an opportunity. It's where you set aside a time of your life to devote to learning. It's access to equipment, software and expertise. It's an opportunity to place yourself among like minded peers. Something you simply can not do sitting in your bedroom in front of the monitor.

705
12-07-2008, 11:30 AM
I like these quotes:

Over at UK VFX studio Double Negative, HR manager Vic Rodgers agrees that undergraduate courses should be given a broad-based 3D education. “A course should initially give exposure to all aspects of CGI – modelling to a level, lighting, texturing, shading, procedural work, particle systems, rigid body dynamics, Maya and Houdini animation, technical and or character work, rigging, compositing and so on.”


Sadly to say, this almost happen in every major IMHO. i took computer science degree, they gave me from binary calculation to Web Application for multi international company. but i dont think i can complaint since generalist sometimes needed more than specialist, and its up to you which one dyou like the most and which one dyou want to specialize.

i think understanding all aspect of 3D production top bottom is important.

just my 2 cents though :)

Bullit
12-07-2008, 12:33 PM
“Many universities and colleges now effectively operate as businesses,” points out Jason Jenner, training manager at Escape Studios. “They are interested in attendance numbers and fees and aim to attract students by offering courses in appealing subjects such as CG, games and VFX. This accounts for the explosion in the number of games-focused courses, some of which contain a somewhat schizophrenic curriculum; courses teaching a blend of games art, level design and programming?”

I don't see any problem with this, and i don't see that is more complex or schizofrenic than first quote that goes from proceduralism to rigid body going to modeling.

I have studied in an Art University and one of my troubles is to not have any programming. Understandable at time, today i think everyone should have programming.

Stinkfist
12-07-2008, 01:34 PM
I agree completely with Per-Anders, the best thing about studying 3D at the university is that you can get alot of friends who are into the same things as you and then you can help eachother to learn. Ive learned alot from working together with other people and sharing knowledge with them. One guy might be really good at rendering, another is wicked at particle systems so you share your knowledge with eachother and everyone improves.


One thing that companies need to understand though is that its not the job of the school to create ready-to-hire specialists. If a company wants people that are experts in using their specific pipeline, they have to train them themselves. Some companies still believe they can get expert knowledge at someone else's expense, which is bollocks.

Beansproutinmyhead
12-07-2008, 02:19 PM
I think maybe there is a misconception (among some of us) about what education is or at least should be about - it's about teaching you how to teach yourself, networking and putting in among other like minded people. If knowledge sublimates itself from A to B in the process then that's all for the good, but there is a curious concept that education is some sort of factory line, forcing information into peoples heads. It isn't. It's an opportunity, that's all.

Why is that good? Because not everyone knows where to start, or look in order to find the knowledge and information that they need in order to progress, especially in an alien field. You just can't expect everyone to have the lucky chances of reading a certain article, or seeing a certain program, or finding a certain forum or mentor etc that might set one person down the road to self driven success in a field (so that's where education steps in to help, or allows people to help themselves if you think about it clearly).


This is so true for me, before undertaking my course all I knew was that I wanted to animate. Its such a massive field to even begin to learn about that without the guidance of my course I wouldn't be anywhere near where I am today had I gone it alone, lost in the sea of information, for me it was like a springboard.

eclipze
12-07-2008, 03:24 PM
I'm in a multimedia course myself - a 3 years diploma, and the situation is exactly as described in the article. Its funny, we get 4 "3D subjects", totaling up to 250~ hours of class - yet 10% of the class has the teacher tell us to model x or reading tutorial y, with the other 90% just "self-directed learning".

Whenever I have questions on modeling/texturing etc and I approach my 3D teacher, the response I get is basically "there are a lot of good tutorials online", which translates to "I don't know/can't be bothered to teach you". Same teacher says he has worked in the industry before, even though it was the broadcast/advertisement industry, tells me "a walk-cycle can get you a job" and "in a demoreel, put your earliest work first and your most recent/best work last - so that you can impress the recruiters on your development". Did I mention that he is the Section Head?:rolleyes:

We aren't taught anatomy, topology, texturing techniques/theories, principles of animation, lip synching, lighting theories, etc. We are taught how to use extrude, insert edge loop, change render settings (a.k.a how to use maya), "make it all quads", setting up a basic character rig (contained in a tutorial, without facial rigging), and a walk cycle. I'm basically paying the school for their teachers to teach me how to press buttons in maya, and I am somehow expected to produce "work that looks good to the layman". (said by a non-3D teacher in the course, but still...)

In short, the course is a big waste of time. To quote the article, one of the biggest problems with diploma/degree level courses is this:
In the majority of cases with CG courses the tutors just aren’t qualified to teach the subject. I’ve seen it over and over again where the tutors are just one step ahead in the lessons they teach, where they leave vital areas untouched, or just flat out teach pure tripe to the students.”
--------

Nearing the end of my diploma course (now), I find a local 6 months part-time course (http://www.cgprotege.com/index.html), with similar amounts of hours spent in class, that produces industry-ready students in their own specialization. Double Negative is in good relations to the course's trainers, and has said that they find the students to be "well trained and highly motivated, being able to solve problems that they face on their own." (not the exact words, but you get the idea)

At the end of the day, most regular degree/diploma courses focus too much on "academic" stuff like grades, complusary documentation of anything and everything, etc, and tries to bite on more than they can chew on by having unqualified teachers teach a subject like 3D animation. And when the students graduate and ends up being unable to land a job? The more passionate ones spend time honing their skills and creating demoreels from scratch, while the less motivated ones just use the diploma/degree they get to land a regular office job. I don't disagree with the self-taught approach, but when you get into a course and the teachers do almost nothing BUT tell you to "learn on your own", something is seriously wrong.

selwy
12-07-2008, 03:38 PM
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M_bvT-DGcWw

zymn
12-07-2008, 03:38 PM
i'd rather not learn 3D in a college. i've found that i learn more when i WANT to learn than when i'm being FORCED to learn.

Boone
12-07-2008, 05:34 PM
I used to believe that self-taught was the best way, but in recent years I have come to realise that education - in the right areas - can also be beneficial.

My advice is to buy a good PC(or Mac) and software to practice on. Then take on smaller courses(evening college or something) to learn the basics - a few art and photography lessons for example.

Use education to build a strong foundation, and let experience, through practice, build on it further.

mr Bob
12-07-2008, 11:09 PM
I would also add that the bigger firms tend to hire people with good technical skills which are often missed out in a lot of 3d courses. At the last firm I worked at 90% of the juniors hired had degrees in computer science.

Beansproutinmyhead
12-07-2008, 11:16 PM
surely thats totally dependant on the role they are hiring for. eg you wouldnt need computer science for an animator role.

EricDLegare
12-07-2008, 11:37 PM
In the majority of cases with CG courses the tutors just aren’t qualified to teach the subject. I’ve seen it over and over again where the tutors are just one step ahead in the lessons they teach, where they leave vital areas untouched, or just flat out teach pure tripe to the students.”

I've seen many schools here that would take their graduated students which failed to find a job and hire them as teachers :curious:

There is a shortage of industry-experienced teachers.

SkullboX
12-08-2008, 12:07 AM
Great article.

It makes a point out of the flashy commercials, the popular image of this industry and the profit many 'educational' organisations want to make out of it. While this sort of implies it, the article doesn't say anything about the admission requirements from students. 3D animation (or games, for that matter), combines creative and traditional art skils but also requires the capacitity to be able to understand this rather complicated medium.

Whether there's proper education or not, some people just aren't cut out for this field, so the requirements for students are just as important as the requirements for the teachers, perhaps even moreso. A small group of talented people will always achieve more throughout their education than a large group where some people stand out and constantly bitch about the extremely low level of education this composition of such a class automatically dictates. Just look at many of the threads on this forum.

I also don't think schools should try and be 3D software instructors, because that's not something you should attend a school for. At the school I attend, we've had all the basics of 3D in the first 1,5 years to a level where we could theoretically make a short film (along with some traditional classes), but not nearly to a high enough level, that's something they expect us to teach ourselves. Our most industry-experienced 3D teacher hardly ever teaches us anything technical but strangely enough teaches us most about how everything can be applied.

You're never going to teach everybody everyhing to a high enough level, and you're never going to sustain a course where all different disciplines can be taught to that level. What a school should do is provide a stimulating environment by asking relevant requirements, give you all the basics and design a program (to whatever degree of specialisation they can afford) which forces you to learn the disciplines you're most interested in in depth, and provide guidance accordingly. Like the article quotes in the beginning:

“The most successful schools are those that strike a balance between the two, with students utilising whatever academic and production mechanisms work, including collaboration, to achieve the academic and production goals of create a senior year short and the career goals of a job reel.”I wouldn't want the focus exclusively on creating industry ready students though, as I think there should be room for experiment, but that's just yet another choice schools have to make. :)

mr Bob
12-08-2008, 03:12 AM
surely thats totally dependant on the role they are hiring for. eg you wouldnt need computer science for an animator role.

true ... Animators don't really get grouped into the need for technical skills but I didn't see many junior animators hired. Lighters are still expected to have a very good technical ability. The point I am trying to get across is companies want those technical skills and if you can show them your going to stand a better chance of landing a job

ZacD
12-08-2008, 03:29 AM
My high school tries to teach animation/game design, its pretty much a joke, the teacher is a failed Photoshop artist that got put into this job cause someone else left. We work with maya 2008 on 5 year old mac pros, and of course it freezes a lot. We never learn about edge flow, to keep mesh as quads, nothing about render passes. Our projects are thrown together massive projects, (our last one was model, texture, and light a science lab, it needs an animal, and 5 dyamics, dialogue that says pull the switch, and a switch, you can animate the animal, or not) We don't even learn how to properly UV a character. I don't feel like anyone there has a real future in 3D beside me and 1 or 2 other students.

sebbonaparte
12-08-2008, 04:11 AM
My high school tries to teach animation/game design, its pretty much a joke, the teacher is a failed Photoshop artist that got put into this job cause someone else left. We work with maya 2008 on 5 year old mac pros, and of course it freezes a lot. We never learn about edge flow, to keep mesh as quads, nothing about render passes. Our projects are thrown together massive projects, (our last one was model, texture, and light a science lab, it needs an animal, and 5 dyamics, dialogue that says pull the switch, and a switch, you can animate the animal, or not) We don't even learn how to properly UV a character. I don't feel like anyone there has a real future in 3D beside me and 1 or 2 other students.I don't think you should be complaining, my school doesn't have any 3d related courses, nor animation or film courses. You're lucky enough to get a period in school where you can work on 3d projects! If I was you, I would get my assignments done quickly as possible, even if it means shoddy work, and then work on your own projects and assignments. Don't waste precious time.

ZacD
12-08-2008, 04:18 AM
The problem is I'm a perfectionist and I want to do everything the right way, and I don't want something shitty in my portfolio, so I end up spending so much time on these projects. Plus I anyone that works around me, their work looks x3 as good as the other students (due to be giving them a bit of help and suggestions), I find it funny, most students barely go beyond basic changes to the primitives, they automatic map everything, shove lights anywhere to brighten up the scene, and use basic shaders, and just use the default and premade everything. And this is their 3rd year in the program.

jeremybirn
12-08-2008, 04:29 AM
I don't feel like anyone there has a real future in 3D beside me and 1 or 2 other students.

That's OK. You have a chance to get started now. Later, you'll go to college, and everyone in your department will be the 1 person from his or her high school who was really into 3D. After that, you'll realize that only some of the people in your department at college are really good, and if you're one of them then you'll eventually work at a company that only hires the really good ones. Eventually you'll get sorted in with other people in your skill level. Until then, set your own standards high, try to get a lot of experience in different types of projects and situations, and try to make work that's front page quality when posted on cgtalk instead of dumbing-down your standards based on the place you're currently studying.

-jeremy

R10k
12-08-2008, 05:49 AM
The most ridiculous courses I've ever seen are indeed game design courses.

Ohhh boy, yes indeedy.

Wick3dParticle
12-08-2008, 09:27 PM
I went to an fine arts school to study cg. If I could do it all over again, I would have gotten a degree in painting, illustration or sculpture...and teach myself the CG.
Half way through my degree I realized that I was learning more on my own, so I just ramped up on my fine arts classes. I took as many fine arts as I could possibly squeeze in to my schedule.
I think that a fundamental issue with degrees in cg is that this is a constantly evolving industry. If you are teaching full time, and not making the time to keep up to date with techniques and tools; its gonna be difficult to prepare students for the industry. Also, if you are not a practicing cg artist...well standards have been raised since 1990's. I am really not trying to knock on anyone teaching CG. There are some excellent CG teachers out there. If you are a good teacher that really cares about your students, you probably are keeping up with whats happening.
If a department has 12 professors teaching the whole curriculum, and 6 of them are full time; chances are you will experience what I have just described to a certain degree.


~Ilan

AmrThabet
12-08-2008, 10:14 PM
good discussion but I don't understand but I can say 3D is an Art not a science

Shenan
12-08-2008, 10:43 PM
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M_bvT-DGcWw
I thought you were linking this one instead. My guess would be that this guy agrees with this article. :)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FiARsQSlzDc

Via-Art
12-08-2008, 10:51 PM
If they would just teach there students to "learn how to learn"... things would be much more simple.

sebbonaparte
12-09-2008, 02:32 AM
The problem is I'm a perfectionist and I want to do everything the right way, and I don't want something shitty in my portfolio, so I end up spending so much time on these projects.

I'm a perfectionist as well, I just know that I should allocate my time to projects that will have a better payoff in the end. I can guarantee that you won't be making front page with schools projects where there are 5 animals in a laboratory that are talking (then again maybe you will, it's a pretty surreal concept :scream:). It's better to spend time on projects where you'll actually be learning, and you'll actually be producing worthwhile work. Just my two cents... you're better off listening to masters like Mr Birn and Mr Costa... they know their stuff, and Mr Costa pretty much singlehandedly proves that you can go from a bank teller to a CG master at ILM through the power of the Internet and dedication. The question is whether or not you have that kind of dedication to put the time and effort in to get to that level... the resources are there, it's really up to how bad you want it.

And with that, I'll say adieu.

Aneks
12-09-2008, 05:27 AM
Having been involved in teaching and worked as a production artist (damn I hate that word) for more than 10 years now I can honestly say that I do not believe in Schools teaching this stuff. I am heavily involved in an organization that provides training and that is a TOTALLY different thing.

You are not going to get a school which teaches you everything you need to know and then packs you off with a nice little reel and loads of job contacts. Push that idea aside immediately ! The best you can expect is to get targeted training in the area you are pursuing. The people I have met in this industry who are really good have 10, 20 ,25 years of experience in drawing-painting-sculpture-photography-film-making-editing-CGI-photoshop etc etc etc.

There simply isn't a school or educational format that can provide this for you. Like learning anything difficult this is a lifetime pursuit that you are going to have to undertake. Many prospective students forget this, or never fully understand. I meet so many young hopefuls who tell me that they learned Maya in 6 months and now are ready to do feature films.

turning yourself into a skilled and valuable practitioner is going to take a long time and a lot of hard work on YOUR part. I used to think that there was validity in turning out graduates with certificates and software knowledge but now I know different. The only way to get good at anything is to do it .... a lot and improve iteratively. Now I offer training, I show people things that I know to add to their own skill set and experience. This means that I can train someone who has many years more experience or a much better reel than me. I am not teaching them anything, they are teaching themselves, I am simply showing them tools, techniques and strategies for making things that may not be aware of.

the whole pre-supposition of schools providing education fails to recognize this. lamenting the state of education is (pardon my crudeness) a massive wank ! The industry wants capable operators but is not prepared to invest in interns or training applicants. It is profoundly short-sighted and only has itself, its senior artists producers and managers, to blame for this.

PixelTricks
12-09-2008, 03:18 PM
You can teach a student to push the 1 key to create a cube, but that doesn't make them an artist. I think too many schools are trying to make it into something akin to programming, where there is a set method of doing something and as long as you follow that you can produce quality work, and that just isn't so with CG.

CG like most art requires a lot of trial and error and a ton of time hands on . You can't learn it from a book or someone telling you about it. It would be like me reading the manual to my camera then saying "Now I am a photographer !"

I think the problem schools are facing is that they are in to make money. They cannot tell students, we can teach you how these programs work and the basics, but it will still take you years of experience to become a master. That just is not a good sales pitch to a prospective student. The student instead wants to hear, after you complete our training you will be ready to work and get a job at any studio of your choice !

soulburn3d
12-09-2008, 05:05 PM
good discussion but I don't understand but I can say 3D is an Art not a science

It's both. Tust me :)

- Neil

robcat2075
12-09-2008, 06:05 PM
Over at UK VFX studio Double Negative, HR manager Vic Rodgers agrees that undergraduate courses should be given a broad-based 3D education. “A course should initially give exposure to all aspects of CGI – modelling to a level, lighting, texturing, shading, procedural work, particle systems, rigid body dynamics, Maya and Houdini animation, technical and or character work, rigging, compositing and so on.”

Rodgers believes there are too many courses in the UK that try to do too much, and end up with graduates that aren’t capable of mastering anything: “Sadly many courses do not facilitate the development of a deeper understanding of methodology and simply teach people how to push buttons.”

Isn't that the most absurdly self-contradicory quote ever?

First pp: "give exposure to all aspects of CGI"

Second pp: "too many courses in the UK that try to do too much"


Employers want their hires to be supremely skilled but are they willing to pay the salaries that make a reasonable ROI on such an education?

They feel it's too expensive to train-on-the-job and yet imagine the training happens without cost if it's outside the workplace.

vfx
12-09-2008, 06:51 PM
I like your later points robcat2075, but you made an unfair comparison with the quotes there - you left off a very important word:

A course should initially give exposure to all aspects of CGI

and I have to say, I'm sure Vic would agree that when he's talking about courses taking on too much, he doesn't mean that they're teaching too much! Maybe I'm wrong but this was evident at the Uni I went to, two years after I left, I was asked back to do some lessons. During this time I noted how much the course had changed, as well as learning animation, students now had to do assignments in web design, flash and other non specific mediums. All this under one course! Uhh uhh.. no no.

I've actually just pulled the prospectus out and this kinda reinforces the problem:

Focusing on the artistic and creative aspects of animation production, the course is aimed primarily at the concept creator, storyteller, designer, texture artist, modeler, animator, special effects artist or 3D graphics artist with an eye for quality visual and conceptual development.

No shortage of job titles there!

On another note...
You know one thing that has really shocked me, is that so few Uni's now really push the entry requirements for computer animation related courses. Back in 2001, I had to have a full portfolio before I would be considered.. it doesn't seem quite so necessary these days when you read things like...

It helps to have some experience of computing and to feel comfortable with computers. Any experience in art & design, media or communication studies, music or music technology will be a great help whether through formal study or extra-curricular activities.

Artbot
12-09-2008, 07:09 PM
As has been mentioned in the other five hundred "I want to learn 3d" threads, the problem is twofold: Individuals/schools/businesses see a money-making opportunity, while potential students (many with little or no art or technical aptitude) see a degree as an automatic road to employment. It's an easy recipe for disaster, or at least a ton of debt and no job in the end.

While the "learning how to learn" comment is a very valid one, I'd say that what a proper art or design school should do is not simply teach you the software, but teach you how to make valuable artistic or design decisions. As a working artist, this is your foremost task and you do it dozens or hundreds of times a day. Learning the software packages is relatively easy (if it doesn't come easy to you, you will be a far less valuable asset to any company is you cannot learn quickly on the job). It is very difficult for schools to quantify this type of learning, which is why they fall to the LCD, which is usually "come learn Maya!".

All professional artists know there are far more ways than one to complete a task, and it's the quality of all those decisions (time to complete, work-flow efficiency, taking into account scalability, future edibility for yourself or other artists who may work on the files, rapport with coworkers, etc.) that's most important. This can be self-taught, but is often easier in an academic setting since there are usually restrictions imposed that may not be there if you are learning on your own.

kerosene
12-09-2008, 07:48 PM
education is a tricky question - I didn't study 3d per se, but industrial design - learned all software on my own. We had some 3d classes but I was already beyond the scope that was taught.

I loved my school but I don't think that is was the typical case. We were only 1o on our class - I was the only one straight from high school the others were 2-6 years older. We had great positively competitive spirit and everyone was mature enough to understand that we were on a mission. And that the real competition wasn't against each others but against the industry. In our program teaching could have been far more profound - instead we wre given projects from get go. 1st year we mostly had art foundation (which were good) 2nd year on projects (often with real clients). Teachers were there to support - not to act as grand geniouses.

While my education wasn't strictly related we got a lot of experience on finishing project even when ods are against you and you have bitten too much, try hard to be good, working together with people, accept outside restrictions and decision that you might not like and then work the best within those bioundaries. etc. etc. Really great expereience.

Now I don't think most schools are like that. the way I see it - school should be inspiring enough to mae the students surpass the education and teach the basic tools early so kids can start working on their own.

One thing that is a terrible idea is this concept where every student tries to make a student film of their own. Results are 2 minutes of boring animation that no emplyer will have the patience to watch. The workload is too big that none of the shots will look really good.

bunch of small projects is much better than this "everybody will be director" approach.

can you learn on your own? most certainly - many many top notch people have learned on their own. Especially software you HAVE TO learn on your own. What school is good for is learning to interact and work together with other people.

And often if you want to work in another country you need a degree for immigration.

rambling? yes a lot of it :)

berniebernie
12-09-2008, 08:05 PM
I very much agree with the article. I'm still a student.

I did a first year in the UK but the course was ridiculous and the tutors knew next to nothing (except one helpless Gnomon-taught tutor). My feeling is that the course was too broad, we were given quite a lot of written work, grades mattered more than work, it was too academic. At the end of the first year I left because I knew the diploma at the end, 'honors' or not, would simply be a joke in a company/

I opted out for a private french school (and added a few extra year of studying) who's main goal is to churn out ~20 4-person shorts per year.
While its diploma is useless, the course isn't. We work hard on script writing to come up with hopefully an original story, have fairly good part time professionals part time teacher assist us, and there is a spirit of competitivity and yet we help each other out. We stay late at night and over the weekends, but in the end I hope that it will be worth it.

My only regret is that as mentioned, a lot of student see it fully as Art, no Math/Science. And it's silly when you do have to do an IK blend or understand why a zdepth should be rendered with more bit depth....

In the end I hope that darwinism of the industry will let good schools thrive

Shenan
12-09-2008, 08:38 PM
I opted out for a private french school (and added a few extra year of studying) who's main goal is to churn out ~20 4-person shorts per year.
While its diploma is useless, the course isn't. We work hard on script writing to come up with hopefully an original story, have fairly good part time professionals part time teacher assist us, and there is a spirit of competitivity and yet we help each other out. We stay late at night and over the weekends, but in the end I hope that it will be worth it.

This sounds like it would be an interesting and effective way of learning/practicing CG. Did each person in the 4-person team have a different role, i.e. modeler, rigger, animator, texturer [sic], or did they divide it by giving a few shots to each team member, or was it up to each team how to divide the work?

ThreeDSnack
12-09-2008, 08:45 PM
I'm at my first semester at a non-art college and am about to finish up, never to return. I've seen so many demo reels, from students that supposedly graduated from art school, that sucked. Me? I might be sounding pretty cocky, but I have been doing cg for a little over a year and can, at the least, compare to some of these students. That's why I have decided to not even waste money on college, but to just teach myself to the point where I know I will eventually land a job in the industry. It's a chance I'm willing to take if I can make it. Somebody earlier in this thread said that you'll learn so much more if your pushed by yourself (self-taught, could be school though...), opposed to being worried about an assignments deadline (forced). On another random note, I strongly believe that being self taught helps prevent from 'burning out'. It's all about you acting on the passion, not where you are taught. ha I don't think that sentence made sense :P

If all hell breaks loose, I can turn to AM.

nickmarshallvfx
12-09-2008, 09:24 PM
I am at a uni at the moment that falls laughably short on all the problems that this article points out.

In my first year, we studied the principles of animation, but unfortunately the animation principles lecturers decided to take long term sick leave. That was the end of that module for the year (1 of 6 modules gone, and possibly the most important). Yep, no cover or anyone brought in to teach that stuff. Still had to do the assignments though (of course) and everyone got a shit grade.
Second year, same subject, but we are a year behind where we should be. Same thing happens agen (same people). This time, after a bunch of complaints, they get cover for those lectures... from an illustrator who has never in his life studied animation. He knows less than the students who bothered to read a bit of Animators Survival Kit to complete last years assignment.

Luckily, i had steered away from that module by that point. Problem is, it continues.... I wont go into details.

All in all, i am now in my third year, and have all but left the university system and im just using it for the good facilities (top of the range actually, they are amazing), and gives me some time to work on my own thing.

Luckily for me, i wanted to go into a very specific area of industry (matte painting) that i knew full well would never be taught there, so i already went into the degree with a 'i will have to teach myself everything if i want to know it' attitude. Doesnt stop me feeling sad for friends of mine who used to be full of enthusiasm just fall by the wayside because they have learned literally nothing since attending.


Now, after that rant, i should say, things are getting better here. A group of us students put together our own community to get students helping students, and have collectively approached management with our ideas for a redesign of the course. After initially being blown off, we talked to the lecturers directly, who were actually very assertive and after a formal meeting with them, have begun to facilitate the improvements we suggested. Just this afternoon we were asked to attend a meeting with a very very senior member of university management (cant get much more senior to be honest) who heard about the work we were doing and is now talking about a MAJOR overhaul of the animation department to get an infinitely better course in place.

Luckily, while this uni has its problems, the staff seem to genuinely care (well, most of them), and want to help improve the courses. The facilities here are also top rate. Our uni could rival the best in Europe or the world if they pull off everything they are now talking about, and bring in some more experience.

I think in general this uni is one of the better ones too. It saddens me to say it, but everywhere in the uk that i talk to students, there seems to be the same comments. I really think the UK education system is falling short. When i look at work from Gobelins, it is so far away in both artistic and technical terms from anything that UK students are prepared for that its no wonder so many French artists are coming to the UK for work.

Hopefully things will change, because there really is talent in the UK, and there are some great facilities at certain unis too, but its got a long way to go.

All in all, im glad i chose to come and study here. Ive met some incredibly talented people and have been given the opportunity to do some great things (as others have said, its the opportunity that counts!), but i did want more from my education. I hope that some of us at least are successful enough to get into the industry, and i think some will as long as they are hard workers. Time will tell i guess...

Im really sorry for this essay, i write a lot all the time, but this one is epic...


Cheers

Birkie
12-10-2008, 12:53 AM
space-sprayer, I just graduated from Teesside this year, and I think your rant was warranted. Your efforts to fix some of the shortcomings sound very admirable. I didn't have your unfortunate experience with the animation programs, but, while the facilities, as you say, are amazing, many of the problems with the teaching and curriculum laid out in the OP's article are present despite the geniune efforts of the staff - which is quite depressing considering that Teesside is the, or one of the, top universities in the UK for games courses. It means that others have the same problems or worse!

There is just so much to learn where 3D is concerned that students end up spread all over the place. When I actually started looking at the job market I realised what a huge problem it is that students of 3D courses graduate as generalists and most games companies aren't interested in hiring those. Students are presented with a "computer graphics buffet" of a little here and a little there but nothing in enough depth to develop real skill, and I think guidance for students as to which areas of 3D they want to specialise in, and the flexibility to tailor their course to it, is an important part of improving the situation. I graduated university with nothing showreel-worthy since I had bits of modelling, bits of animation, bits of effects work, bits of character design... I ended up throwing out the lot and spending the last six months working to create a reel from scratch tailored to finding work as a character modeller (and the speed of my progress since ditching everything else has been astonishing). While everyone has different learning needs and I think the education route is useful and even necessary for some people, I can readily understand why some people prefer to teach themselves, especially with all the resources available these days.

nickmarshallvfx
12-10-2008, 01:16 AM
space-sprayer, I just graduated from Teesside this year, and I think your rant was warranted. Your efforts to fix some of the shortcomings sound very admirable.

Thank you, that means a lot, and it is interesting that those problems extend out through the games courses as well as the animation courses. I will keep that in mind as we move forward with the staff to try and implement changes.

I ended up throwing out the lot and spending the last six months working to create a reel from scratch

Which is the exact position that I am in now, and a lot of others around me. Almost exactly 6 months until i leave uni, and i have just started the first shot for my showreel...

Sad situation really. And yes, you are right, the last time i checked, Teesside was ranked a close second behind Bournemouth for best in the UK, and it was statistics released by 3D world too that stated that.

How did it go for you after you left Teesside? Did you manage to get the reel together and find employment? Thats if you don't mind sharing, and i dont want to hi-jack this thread....

Nick

ShekemUrShekem
12-19-2008, 07:22 PM
Back in 2001, I had to have a full portfolio before I would be considered.. it doesn't seem quite so necessary these days when you read things like...

It helps to have some experience of computing and to feel comfortable with computers. Any experience in art & design, media or communication studies, music or music technology will be a great help whether through formal study or extra-curricular activities.


In my opinion, a portfolio requirement is a ridiculous prejudicial thing which serves only to bar people from actually attending a good school. If you are able to get the financial aid to go to one of these schools, then that's your money and no school should have the option of not allowing you in in you're able to pay. To hell with their reputation- this is where the whole 'school as a business' comes into play. Schools aren't here just to rank in the top 3 every year because they keep out the majority, accepting only the best...people, who incidentally, could probably go to work for top companies even without that school's degree.

I take a look at guys like pete draper and allan mac kay and these guys are specialists in visual effects and I don't know if they could model their way out of a paper bag, and I looked into every university out there and I see nothing out there that would expose someone to the particle systems/texture mapping/etc. required to create what those guys are able to.

On the flip side, for all of the people here claiming the school isn't necessary, they should be asking themselves why all the instructors they are learning from or have learned from have advanced degrees from such-and-such art school. Self-paced is find- I've done it for years, and I think I'm a fast learner and and familiar with multiple 3d applications to the point I can turn out some half decent stuff if I had to but in no way could I say I have a total handle on any one area.

Take a look at these online art schools for example. You're taking cursory modeling and animation courses alongside english 103, algebra, and all the other state mandated trash. And at 5 1/2 weeks you're paying 16,000$/year (academy of art online) for stuff you can realistically learn on your own and not end up with the heartburn of $64,000 in debt for your Bachelor's degree. Now look at Fxphd. This is a non-accredited organization, and I was able to see some of their courses and what's involved (not just the online descriptions) and their stuff is not expensive at all. I'm not sure how all online classes are but I just got done with a semester of 5 online classes at community college (policing in america, psychology, math, biology, and english 102) and I know from experience that the teachers hardly check their emails and if you have a problem you're going to have to wait around- and you better hope you don't have a problem too late where they don't get back to you in time. Did I learn anything with the online courses? No. Why? All the tests are open book (you dont have to read. You just look up the answers) and other people are able to send you their quizzes and tests, so you just combine all your work with theirs and when the next test comes up you put it all together in a MS Word doc and use the FIND function to get all your answers and you've just taken a 2 hour test in 30 minutes and got a 97 and learned nothing. Luckily, grants paid for my entire Associate's degree so it was nothing out of my pocket. This is why I've hesitsted a lot making a decision as to whether or not to commit myself to one of these schools, and so far I can't justify the cost. If I was to take a major at any of them I'd only consider the 2d stuff like photoshop-related and motion graphics stuff like after effects. Jobs in these fields are ,much more available than anything you'll find in 3d unless you're prepared to relocate- so far I haven't seen any 3d graphics jobs you can do from home.

But back to my point about the portfolio. The point of going to school is to learn how to be great, and requiring a great portfolio before they let you in really puts an end to a lot of people's hopes because they may not be one of the natural greats who can turn out a masterpiece on a school blackboard with a broken piece of chalk, but may have become great with the right training.

Aneks
12-19-2008, 10:38 PM
Now look at Fxphd. This is a non-accredited organization, and I was able to see some of their courses and what's involved (not just the online descriptions) and their stuff is not expensive at all

I apologise if this sounds like a promo or a publicity rant.

One of the reasons for both the points you mentioned is that we at FXPHD have never aimed to be a school in the traditional sense. As such we don't have to jump through hoops in order to design curriculum. Everything is customer/client focused and each lecturer can cover whatever aspect they want in their own courses. Whereas traditional schools have to work to mandated guidelines and seek accreditation. FXPHD is only partially about the class material, the forums are crucial for learning and participation. Its not just a top down model of education. Look at what happens here at cgtalk. I personally have learnt more about CG through this website than I ever did at any formal training institution. Working and spending time in an informed professional community is the best way to learn.

imashination
12-19-2008, 11:20 PM
In my opinion, a portfolio requirement is a ridiculous prejudicial thing which serves only to bar people from actually attending a good school. If you are able to get the financial aid to go to one of these schools, then that's your money and no school should have the option of not allowing you in in you're able to pay. To hell with their reputation- this is where the whole 'school as a business' comes into play. Schools aren't here just to rank in the top 3 every year because they keep out the majority, accepting only the best...people, who incidentally, could probably go to work for top companies even without that school's degree.

I dont agree whatsoever. Universities are places of further learning, where you go when you want to take things further. It must be assumed that when you go there, you should have completed the basic requirements. If you want an english language university degree, you shouldnt be allowed on the course if you cant speak english. If you want to have a medical degree, you dont get on the course if you cant tell the diference between a leg and an arm.

Why? because if they let anyone in, as you want, then you will horribly slow down the other students. People far below the curve of the rest of the class soak up a huge amount of the teachers time and can seriously make things worse for the other people.

You say to hell with their reputation, again, no. If I get a degree from uni X and its reputation has turned to mud because it takes anyone, youve largely devalued someone else's degree and work. Uni X becomes the laughing stock amongst hiring companies and they learn to never hire anyone from there

ShekemUrShekem
12-19-2008, 11:39 PM
"If you want an english language university degree, you shouldnt be allowed on the course if you cant speak english. If you want to have a medical degree, you dont get on the course if you cant tell the diference between a leg and an arm."

To negate this, I'll go ahead and cite the example of basic spanish language class as a required humanities course where you actually LEARN to speak the language. There is no requirement that one take spanish in high school before taking college intro to spanish. The idea of school is to be taught and to learn and not have to possess the expert skills beforehand before one is even considered for a spot in the classroom.

Again I reiterate that the portfolio is a very stupid idea because of the various reasons I have already detailed plus both you and I know that the main thrust behind the portfolio requirement is the reputation of the school. Certain schools have SAT requirements and whatnot... minimum GPA requirements...youy know the rest, but even then they have non-credit classes you can take to get up to speed and possibly be accepted if you make it through them. In an art school requiring a big time portfolio, your future can literally rest in the hands of a bunch of elitist geeks who just don't like you for their club. Now, I know that you guys who are already working and graduated from these places will naturally say it's a great idea (because you're in the club) but rationality suggests that a university is somewhere one goes to learn something new- a profession. Med school requires you have a certain MCAt score; law requires you have a certain LSAT score before either will allow you into their respective schools to progress. However, the med student does not have to surgically reattach a cat's face to show he knows his way around a scalpel. Similarly, a law student isn't expected to bring in for consideration his previous successful cases in which he won convictions against high profile serial killers. Therein lies the difference between reality and your illustrations and examples which were beyond the pale of ridiculous.

Portfolios=bad ideas and just a tool to keep up the rep of a school at the expense of the student.

kelgy
12-20-2008, 12:13 AM
Its frustrating that if you are in high school your science classes count for further education, but art classes often(at least when i was there) did not count for anything. They arent considered serious(or they werent in my time).
In university, you had to present a portfolio for art related programs and I had a substantial one because I did stuff outside of school.-I was very determined about my career interests, and I ran into the "elitist geeks who didnt like me."
In fact instead of demonstrating that i was very serious about art, and wanted to learn more, they opined that I should just go and get an art related job.

And at one art school here they said that while they ask to see a portfolio their motto was to throw out everything the student does and have them start over again.

Anyway after such experiences I gave up on art school programs.

ShekemUrShekem
12-20-2008, 12:33 AM
That's right, Kelgy. You've lived it. Many others have as well. It seems the dirty secret no one likes to bring up for fear of chasing away the money.

I don't want to hear how much of a 'rarity' it is to run into such elitist geeks, because it happens more than a little. Just like when you see cops busted for illegal crap they try to claim it's only a few bad apples when in reality corruption is much more widespread than they'd ever dare admit to. Cops, like school admissions panels, have the reputation of their organization to think about first and foremost, and will say whatever and do whatever they have to in order to keep that rep high.

To the point about being cut out for 3d...

Now, regardless of the total lies that will be told to the contrary, those who came into this field or applied to an art school with the portfolio of a college junior, will have had access to pirated, non-limited software and instructional dvds from which they learned their initial skills. No amount of using Maya 2009 PLE for the 30 days before it expires is going to get you up to speed to decide you're going to go ahead and lay out the $20k per year to REALLY learn it. It's complete bollocks to suggest otherwise. Personally, I don't care if you bought it legit or not, but if you're responding to this post from the position that you used maya for 6 months and now you're turning out masterclass-level work, it's because of the 6 years you used cracked versions of Maya 8, 8.5, and 2008 and all the total training and lynda rips you could get your hands on prior to making the leap to enroll at a college and getting Maya legit at a huge educational discount. Let's not pretend here and then crow about how important the kick-arse portfolio is when the next guy wasn't as connected as you were, so is looking for a seat in your class, having half your knowledge, but stayed legit and is rewarded for his efforts by being denied placement.

This...is reality.

jeremybirn
12-20-2008, 01:00 AM
To the point about being cut out for 3d...

Now, regardless of the total lies that will be told to the contrary, those who came into this field or applied to an art school with the portfolio of a college junior, will have had access to pirated, non-limited software and instructional dvds from which they learned their initial skills. No amount of using Maya 2009 PLE for the 30 days before it expires is going to get you up to speed to decide you're going to go ahead and lay out the $20k per year to REALLY learn it. It's complete bollocks to suggest otherwise. Personally, I don't care if you bought it legit or not, but if you're responding to this post from the position that you used maya for 6 months and now you're turning out masterclass-level work, it's because of the 6 years you used cracked versions of Maya 8, 8.5, and 2008 and all the total training and lynda rips you could get your hands on prior to making the leap to enroll at a college and getting Maya legit at a huge educational discount. Let's not pretend here and then crow about how important the kick-arse portfolio is when the next guy wasn't as connected as you were, so is looking for a seat in your class, having half your knowledge, but stayed legit and is rewarded for his efforts by being denied placement.

I think you're making links between a few different issues here, and those issues aren't all directly correlated.

The issue of who uses pirated software instead free software like Maya PLE or Blender or Houdini Apprentice is not the same thing as the issue of who has taken their own time to show interest and develop their skills in a field. Some people have access to lots of great tools, and do little or nothing with them. Other people work on just about zero budget and where their software lacks a function learn to be creative and develop their own solutions, and still produce great work.

The issue of who has a head-start in a field before starting formal study is also a separate thing from the issue of who has an aptitude for it. Some people plug-away at a field for many years without ever making anything great. Often these are the same people who lack the ability to judge their own work or tell a competent decision from an incompetent one. In other people, I'm sometimes surprised by students who get started with a new tool, and are doing creative, interesting things with it very soon after you introduce them to it. You might know someone who has both the knack and the track record, and someone else who has neither of them, but they aren't the same issue at all.

-jeremy

Wick3dParticle
12-20-2008, 01:03 AM
"If you want an english language university degree, you shouldnt be allowed on the course if you cant speak english. If you want to have a medical degree, you dont get on the course if you cant tell the diference between a leg and an arm."

To negate this, I'll go ahead and cite the example of basic spanish language class as a required humanities course where you actually LEARN to speak the language. There is no requirement that one take spanish in high school before taking college intro to spanish. The idea of school is to be taught and to learn and not have to possess the expert skills beforehand before one is even considered for a spot in the classroom.

Again I reiterate that the portfolio is a very stupid idea because of the various reasons I have already detailed plus both you and I know that the main thrust behind the portfolio requirement is the reputation of the school. Certain schools have SAT requirements and whatnot... minimum GPA requirements...youy know the rest, but even then they have non-credit classes you can take to get up to speed and possibly be accepted if you make it through them. In an art school requiring a big time portfolio, your future can literally rest in the hands of a bunch of elitist geeks who just don't like you for their club. Now, I know that you guys who are already working and graduated from these places will naturally say it's a great idea (because you're in the club) but rationality suggests that a university is somewhere one goes to learn something new- a profession. Med school requires you have a certain MCAt score; law requires you have a certain LSAT score before either will allow you into their respective schools to progress. However, the med student does not have to surgically reattach a cat's face to show he knows his way around a scalpel. Similarly, a law student isn't expected to bring in for consideration his previous successful cases in which he won convictions against high profile serial killers. Therein lies the difference between reality and your illustrations and examples which were beyond the pale of ridiculous.

Portfolios=bad ideas and just a tool to keep up the rep of a school at the expense of the student.


I graduated from one of those "Portfolio" schools. And let me first say that I didnt get out of my major what I expected to. But I do think that I learned a lot because of the type of environment I was in. Surrounded by people just as passionate and hard working as I was. I had no previous art background...came from the military actually. But I spent a whole year studying art on my own building my portfolio before applying to the school. I dont think that whoever hasnt gone to a school with an acceptence process is a slacker, but I did not come across too many in school.
Now I do agree with the "bar" idea because I think that there are enough institutions out there to provide education to everyone. A student who wants to learn wont be denied by every single school out there. So its nice that a student has an option to go to a private school or public school.
Do you think that Harvard, Yale & MIT should start opening their gates to everyone and anyone who wishes to get in? First come first serve?

But thats not really the arguement in this thread. Regardless to weather you need or dont need a portfolio to get in to school, these schools need to take serious measures to improve the current teaching methods. You learn more in 6 months working, than you do in 4 years of college.

~Ilan

Wick3dParticle
12-20-2008, 01:20 AM
To the point about being cut out for 3d...

Now, regardless of the total lies that will be told to the contrary, those who came into this field or applied to an art school with the portfolio of a college junior, will have had access to pirated, non-limited software and instructional dvds from which they learned their initial skills. No amount of using Maya 2009 PLE for the 30 days before it expires is going to get you up to speed to decide you're going to go ahead and lay out the $20k per year to REALLY learn it. It's complete bollocks to suggest otherwise.



Im gonna add something here just because I saw this after I posted. I never even touched Maya before beginning school. I wanted to make video games (at the time), and did research on which college programs were available to teach that. When I did end up applying I had a portfolio of drawings and paintings, thats it. I probably would have never touched art if it werent for that. At school we didnt touch 3d courses until our 2nd year. When I first discovered maya I was blown away. My school had a "resource center" and a lab...where I spent tons of hours watching dvds and experimenting. Most schools now days carry dvds and have licenses of Maya for students to work on.
So if you dont believe me...its cool. But I really just started the whole 3d thing in 2002, and graduated in 2007 (after taking a year off to work). And my reel sucked when I graduated, but I had been interning for 2 years while in school...which is what lead me to my first job. Im not saying everyone does things the way I did...But I am saying that not everyone does things the way you say it.


~Ilan

ShekemUrShekem
12-20-2008, 02:04 AM
As far as the big schools having big requirements- at least here, one may get help (tutoring) in order to bring up grades in hope of getting the GPA up to par. In this field, there is such a scarcity of teachers concentrated on the usual coasts, that any help is few and far between if available at all. If a school needs to bar students from getting in to keep up their rep then their teachers must necessarily be lousy, or they'd be able to teach these students. Every college that teaches this stuff has intro courses TO the major and you don't need to be some closet pro to get a seat in the class. The requirement of a portfolio makes no sense upon seeing the graduate work of people who went to schools having no requirements who would have otherwise been unable to pursue that path at the big name school that is interested in rep and cash.

You're the guy making a living at this 3d, not me, we know...but understand that portfolio requirements in computer graphics leans heavily in the favor of the guy who has both the access and the talent. It's like the old boxing axiom about in a contest between two equally skilled fighters, the bigger man is going to win. It applies here in regards to the guy whose had access compared to the guy with none; one gets in, the other gets rejected. This is why the hardcore portfolio reqs are unfair and nothing more than an issue of prestige for the school that likes its name in the mags every month.

If your school has no portfolio reqs or if it has super strict dumb ones, the wash-outs will wash out no matter what, and only the qualified will make it through. The "slower students holding up the class" argument holds no water at all because everybody is going to be starting out in the intro classes anyway so it's going to be slow for the entire class. Nobody is starting out in the advanced classes anyway, so those not cut out for it will hit the brick wall shortly thereafter and not slow up future classes. It's a non-arguement.

ShekemUrShekem
12-20-2008, 02:18 AM
Gabai, did you do anything for the TV show 'Fringe'? That crane shot looks familiar...
your area code is where, Allentown?

iikii
12-20-2008, 03:06 AM
School is the right place to learn the right things in the right time.

If school is no good, try books.

Wick3dParticle
12-20-2008, 04:11 AM
Yes I work on Fringe, and the area code is just the Philly burbs.

Look dude, I really think your looking at this all wrong.
Its not a status club, and its not a ticket in to the industry.
Some schools just require a lil extra preparation than others.

Think about AP classes. My older brother was put in AP his whole life. I never made it in. I wanted to take them as a kid...but as I got older I didn't give a crap. I think its cool that he was able to get in... I don't feel like "well they are preventing me from learning better things". Its all good...I still got a fine high school education.
I was not satisfied with what I got out of my program in college though. So who ever didn't go there isn't missing out on the worlds greatest teachers. I did learn a lot about art, because all of the people I went to school with only cared about art. And so if they only have room for 500 students a year, they are trying their best to get as many students who feel similarly about art together. Admissions failed...because I didn't have that extensive background.

Anyhow...no need to be bitter about things...if anything I am the one left with 80k in debt.
You live in LA...so you are in the right place to find work.
If you have a reel blast it to the studios...big & small.
If you dont...I would recommend building one if you are still interested in working in the industry.


As for resources...we got the internet. You got a problem, you post it here...tons of people here helping eachother 24/7.


~Ilan

ShekemUrShekem
12-20-2008, 04:51 AM
And so what soft do you use for your effects work? I assume all you top guys have access to stuff we'll never see, so I was wondering if you think using the dvds to learn this stuff is a good idea or not, and how much different was your classroom hands-on compared to the self-paced stuff?


Did you do anything for the new star trek movie coming out? day the earth stood still?

Wick3dParticle
12-20-2008, 05:30 AM
Man...I dont even know if you're serious or not anymore.

" I assume all you top guys have access to stuff we'll never see"

I am not a top guy, and we dont have any secret deals with autodesk.
And even if we did...

"so I was wondering if you think using the dvds to learn this stuff is a good idea or not"

Don't we all have to start somewhere?


So to answer your questions:
All of my effects work on Fringe is done using Maya. We have some scripts and tools that you will never have access to because they were written in-house, but they are all within maya.

My classroom was not fast paced enough for the most part. They didnt focus on the work we would encounter in the real world. Standards wernt high enough. A majority of my teachers were not industry people, they were fine artists or media artists. They did a lot of experimental stuff and digital imagery...They werent awesome modelers, tds, lighters... the only 2 cg classes I liked were my animation and rigging classes. Those two classes had professors with industry experience. My self paced stuff were about learning the tools. I read a lot of the maya docs. Borrowed a ton of books and dvds from the resource center. I contacted someone from sony imageworks and asked him a million questions (we stay in touch till today). I did 4 internships - I was working on shots for a tv show during my 2nd year of college. And tons of cg talk. I read it a lot. And till this day I still read and learn almost every evening after work.

As for star trek, I have not worked on it.

~Ilan

jeremybirn
12-20-2008, 05:33 AM
The "slower students holding up the class" argument holds no water at all because everybody is going to be starting out in the intro classes anyway so it's going to be slow for the entire class. Nobody is starting out in the advanced classes anyway, so those not cut out for it will hit the brick wall shortly thereafter and not slow up future classes. It's a non-arguement.

The caliber of students in your school is a huge factor. If you are surrounded by other students who are as talented, dedicated, creative, and hard-working as you are, it pushes you forwards. It also gives you collaborators on your projects in school who bring as much as you do to the group projects, and gives you valuable connections you can continue communicating and working with after you graduate.

Teachers do try to teach their classes. If a class is full of students who need all the basics taught twice, teachers are pushed towards doing that. If the class is full of advanced students who want to race forwards and ask challenging questions, the teachers are pushed to move forwards more.

Your ability to skip classes you don't need is an issue to ask about when looking at different schools. Some schools give more flexibility to grad students, but require the undergrads to stick more closely to a set of required classes. If the curriculum will include classes you want to skip, you should know before you apply what provisions (if any) exist to let you skip them.

-jeremy

ShekemUrShekem
12-20-2008, 05:48 AM
JB: I have no idea how art schools work, but I know I had to take psychology 101 before psychology 215 no matter how advanced I was in my knowledge of psychology, for example. I figured you had to progress linerally and fulfill certain prerequisites before you could take the more advanced classes. So, I was under the impression all new freshmen in vfx or whatnot must take the basic classes starting with the most basic of the basic and go forward from there, and since they don't do curriculum on the fly I'm not understanding how a class full of advanced guys taking intro to animation can push past the lesson plan in place.


Clarify that for me please


The guy from Zoic: Top guys are top guys.

Ilan Gabai
FX TD
Zoic Studios

I assume TD= technical director. I know Allan MacKay is TD of catastrophic fx and he's a top guy. I figured you also were a top guy as you have done work fot movies and television where 99.9% of the rest of us have not and never will.

By "stuff we will never see" I mean you may have had education I am not aware of so have had certain training not available on the market without going to vfx school. Am I being clear? Oh, yes, I am serious because I want to know how you guys all got as good as you are and what you used to get there. I'm mostly a 2d guy (CS, painter, et al.) but I have tried some vfx and modeling;animation not being my thing. I go back all the way to lightwave when they had tutorials on VHS and then found ed harriss of softimage fame and tried out texturing/rendering for a while, but to me it all paled before the special effects work I saw on the screen. I struggle to make a decision between 3ds max pflow and maya particle system because I see stuff from mac kay and draper then stuff from alvarez and the rest from gnomon and I'm torn between which is the more capable. I find pflow much easier but sometimes one needs basic modeling skills to integrate something into the fx and I detest modeling in max, so it's a quandary to me.

jeremybirn
12-20-2008, 06:00 AM
Schools differ on what courses they let you skip, and how you get to skip them. At the Art Center College of Design I skipped the more basic video production and editing courses because I met with someone and discussed what I had previously done and studied. This is definitely something to talk about when you are looking at schools, if you feel that you can skip some classes. (As with many issues, it's good to speak with the students there about how well things work, not just the admissions people... at some places getting the classes you want/need is more difficult than it should be.)

TD (technical director) (http://www.3drender.com/jobs/TD.htm) is a common job title that is often applied to 40-50% of employees at a studio, not just top employees.

-jeremy

Wick3dParticle
12-20-2008, 06:39 AM
This thread is getting a bit off topic.
Allan Mckay is a very good TD, but he is also the Founder of Catastrophic FX.
A technical director is a technical artist. A technical artist does stuff ranging from shots, scripting, R&D and so on...That does not mean that they are top people. I think that a top person is someone who stands out amongst everyone esle time aftert time. Recognized for their innovations and achievments. Not quite there yet buddy.


"By "stuff we will never see" I mean you may have had education I am not aware of so have had certain training not available on the market without going to vfx school."

I went to a fine arts school. And no, we dont have training that is not available to the market. Infact, I am going to share with you the online tutorial site that my professor for "motion dynamics" hosts: http://3dtutorials.michaelorourke.com/


It really isnt the education....this thread is pretty much saying that. Its about how dedicated you are. You want to get an industry job? Study art...read about art, go to museums, maybe even take an evening class or two at a local college, Experiment, read the maya docs:

http://download.autodesk.com/us/maya/2009help/index.html

read GPU Gems:

http://http.developer.nvidia.com/GPUGems/gpugems_pref01.html

Get a highend 3d package:

http://www.sidefx.com/index.php?option=com_download&task=apprentice&Itemid=89&Itemid=277



Consider yourself hooked up!

~Ilan

KevinKraeer
12-20-2008, 07:31 AM
I feel like perseverance is the most important, un-teachable aspect of a CG education. I graduated from a Big East university with a "computer graphics" degree - but with a demo reel that lacked all of the values employers were looking for (in 1999).

I spent my 20s working on two reels, doing tutorials, scrapping hundreds of clips, characters, modeling samples, etc. I finally settled on posting short playblasts of stuff I was working on and that did the trick. I'm 31 now and in a job I love.

I'm not sure a trade school would've been a 'fast track' to where I am now. Forget that they didn't exist in 1999. I think I still would've chosen a normal university/college experience over a specific CG-college situation. But, that's me.

My point is that you can teach yourself, but you need to be committed, beyond school. Winners don't even know they're in a race, they just like to run (Joe Pesci - With Honors). Good luck to you all and happy holidays.

SanjayChand
12-20-2008, 09:06 AM
Speaking from personal experience, getting into Gnomon's certificate program does require a portfolio. They require that students have a solid traditional background. As it has been stated on this forum before, learning the traditional arts will help one immensely in CG.

To get a good traditional portfolio, one can take a few classes at a local community college. Gnomon mostly cared about figure drawings, paintings, and what was in a sketchbook. One can develop all of these skills fairly cheaply.

Not considering money and other factors, the entire process, theoretically speaking, is fairly simple and straightforward. Spend a year or two developing your traditional skill set, spend another year or two learning the CG side of things, figure out what you want to specialize in and develop a demo-reel. Make the demo reel while comparing it to reels that you admire to see how it stacks up. Work on it enough to where it kicks ass and then mail it out. Eventually you will get a job.

Grrrrrrr
12-20-2008, 09:15 AM
In my country, Romania, there are NO 3D SCHOOLS, yet Ubisoft, EA, Gameloft,ViVendi, Iplay (just to name the international ones) all have studios here and create well ranked games with ungraduated people. So this talk about 3D schools, and about people who endlessly complaint about the lack of skills of their teachers is letting me cold.

You want something, in the end you will get it. You want to learn? Internet is the ideal teacher all you need to know is were to look and all romanians that work in the above studios got there only with internet tutoring . People who cry and tell everyone that they did not learn anything at their school and that it's the schools fault they are just like the persons who say they can't learn 3d because they don't have 8 cores in their comps. It's all excuses and they will don't get far.

imashination
12-20-2008, 10:17 AM
The "slower students holding up the class" argument holds no water at all

I tell you what, you go teach a class of students then get back to me when you've changed your mind.

To pad it out a bit more. Look at any decent sized school and youll find maths and english lessons split into 2-3 different tiers based on ability. Why? if slow students dont hold back the brighter ones, why split them up?

The crappy US 'no child left behind' scheme, have you taken a look at some of the writeups and reports into the effects it has? The overall result is that a small number of people who would otherwise have failed school, end up getting crap grades which turn out to not help them in the slightest. Whilst the disproportionate amount of time and resources this needs has taken a huge toll on the ability of the higher achievers.

A personal experience here. I get a class of 6 people turn up for corporate 3d training; 5 of them have taken a few hours to read through the tutorials and are up to speed with the basics, one guy knows absolutely nothing because he clearly couldnt be bothered.

What do I do? bore the 5 with the basics and teach them nothing for half the day, or ignore the other guy and teach the 5 what they need to know? I decided to hell with the one guy and spent the day teaching and answering what the others wanted to know.

You cant teach vastly differing ability levels in one class without screwing someone over.

nickmarshallvfx
12-20-2008, 01:03 PM
I am currently in a university that does not really require a certain level of skill before entering. I had to provide a portfolio of traditional skills, yes, but after i busted my gut to do the best portfolio possible, i realised mine was one of the best that got into the uni.
Me, and a few of my very talented peers are now actually telling the university that they need to have stronger portfolio entry requirements! You are getting it the wrong way round, a university course is not run like a business if they ask for portfolios, its run like a business if they DONT ask for portfolios, and just let anyone in that has money.

Im not trying to be bigheaded in any way, but i hate the fact that i have to now sit through incredibly basic lectures, when i already showed in my portfolio that i can do that, and i want to move on to more complicated techniques.

The fact is, if a student wants to learn this stuff, they will have started before they got to university. Its as simple as that. All the people on my course who are good now, are the people that started training themselves before they started and have continued to train themselves in their spare time.
I dont know anyone here that has started doing self learning since they started the course, if they did not already before the course began. They dont see the need to, and the university tells them that its fine to not bother by letting them onto the course and passing them on their assignments with sub-standard work.

What i would love is strict entry requirements, in depth teaching, and if students cant keep up, them they can either work like hell to keep up, or resit the year (or drop out if they have no motivation). Slow students in the class DOES slow everything down. I hate to sound like im being mean to the guys that struggle to keep up, but when im paying £30,000 for my degree, i want to know that i have learned everything i need by the time i graduate. If that means kicking out or holding back a few slow or lazy students along the way. so be it.

kelgy
12-20-2008, 03:28 PM
I don't want to hear how much of a 'rarity' it is to run into such elitist geeks, because it happens more than a little. Just like when you see cops busted for illegal crap they try to claim it's only a few bad apples when in reality corruption is much more widespread than they'd ever dare admit to. Cops, like school admissions panels, have the reputation of their organization to think about first and foremost, and will say whatever and do whatever they have to in order to keep that rep high.
This...is reality.

**in my case the school had had an animation section and part of my portfolio reflected that-but they decided to phase it out and didnt bother to update their course descriptions or mention that when making portfolio submissions. Also the teachers that were belligerent towards me had bad reputations. Years after my experience, one of them even kicked a school door in after students had given him a petition saying they didnt think they were learning enough in his class. The door kicker is still there.

It really bothered me at the time when I could not get into an art school after being so passionate about the work, but in the end it was the right decision, since the technology I would have used became obsolete and when I started in 3d I asked professional cg artists what i should do and they said to get the software and save the tuition money.

and this was a little before the prominence of digital tutors videos etc.

If you really want to learn, IMO you will find a way, although a helping hand doesnt hurt-if you can find one.

WoolyLoach
12-20-2008, 04:32 PM
An interesting read, and an interesting discussion.

I find I learn better in an "unstructured" environment, so here I sit on Saturday morning at 9:30AM, with coffee in one hand, Blender up, SPE with my Python plugin loaded.. hacking away.. while I have Carrara rendering a particle effect in the background.

I've taken a few focused cinematography classes at the local college, to fill in gaps, and one art theory class. I'm a firm believer in "learn the theory FIRST", since you can then apply it to any package (or use it to write your own and become a TD).

That said, some people learn better in a school environment - it's just kind of sad that it seems a lot of classes are of the "learn the buttons" variety, or those get pushed over the theory classes. Ugh.

It seems to me that between some good books, training DVDs, and places where you can get a decent critique (like CGTalk) you should be able to teach yourself, if you're motivated...

ShekemUrShekem
12-20-2008, 06:34 PM
You are getting it the wrong way round, a university course is not run like a business if they ask for portfolios, its run like a business if they DONT ask for portfolios, and just let anyone in that has money.



Well, no. The portfolio requirement is like a job resume, hence it's like a business, whereas the open admissions system is more fair. Teachers are there to get people to learn, not just pander to those who they know are excellent so they can bolster their school's online gallery with stuff to show how great their people are. I know a guy in the Army who works in multimedia communications, and his job is to present the army and the MOS and the news and the print advertisements in the most exciting way possible which will convey to the viewers just how cool it is to be a soldier. I know how it's played there, and at these schools. It's no different. This whole issue reminds me of these lame prestigious kindergartens that some idiot parents try to get their kids into- and these places cost buku...for a 5 year old...and the kids come out of it no more educated than they would any other kindergarten. So, why do they spend the big bucks sending the kids there? Obvious answer is that it's NAME recognition and some delusion of elitism and PTA bragging rights.

I know everybody wants to be in the privatre club- I get it. However, to suggest to your school that because you believe you're mister advanced they should start locking out the less talented is just stupid. You got yours..great...who cares. Now you want to make it harder for the rest because you're so awesome? Man come on...save the pretense for when they are paying you millions of dollars to shake your used paint onto a canvas and calling it inspired.

Wick3dParticle
12-20-2008, 07:25 PM
Well, no. The portfolio requirement is like a job resume, hence it's like a business, whereas the open admissions system is more fair. Teachers are there to get people to learn, not just pander to those who they know are excellent so they can bolster their school's online gallery with stuff to show how great their people are. I know a guy in the Army who works in multimedia communications, and his job is to present the army and the MOS and the news and the print advertisements in the most exciting way possible which will convey to the viewers just how cool it is to be a soldier. I know how it's played there, and at these schools. It's no different. This whole issue reminds me of these lame prestigious kindergartens that some idiot parents try to get their kids into- and these places cost buku...for a 5 year old...and the kids come out of it no more educated than they would any other kindergarten. So, why do they spend the big bucks sending the kids there? Obvious answer is that it's NAME recognition and some delusion of elitism and PTA bragging rights.

I know everybody wants to be in the privatre club- I get it. However, to suggest to your school that because you believe you're mister advanced they should start locking out the less talented is just stupid. You got yours..great...who cares. Now you want to make it harder for the rest because you're so awesome? Man come on...save the pretense for when they are paying you millions of dollars to shake your used paint onto a canvas and calling it inspired.


I dont know if I'm buying your argument dude. First off...you cant really compare kindergartens to colleges.

Second...why is it ok that when there is a competition open to everyone, with no requirements - you argue that there are people that are too good, and they should be segregated from the "average people".

Here are your own words:

"I just don't see the point in a competition between top industry pros vesus the general public in a free for all with no constraints and no categories. It reminds me of the early days of the UFC when it was just a spectacle and we'd watch 160lb guys fight 350lb sumo wrestlers and get smashed- but it's fun to watch. What I mean by this is there are entrants who have obviously used either z-brush or mudbox and others are using software with half the power, and so they are hamstrung from the start. There should be category competitions- 3ds max modeling, maya modeling, mudbox modeling, etc. We can't have a comp between allan mckay and a guy using c4d particle systems and imagine it's fair or imagine that the loser would learn anything from losing 10 times in a row to him. It's like challenging stephen king to a short story contest...or a young arnold schwarzenegger to a pose-off on stage at the mr. olympia. What can be learned aside from the fact that you will never be as good as them no matter what you do?

Yes, one can be TOO good to be considered eligible to compete with the average man. Why do you think not just anybody can sign up with the new england patriots? just throw on a wizards jersey and walk out onto the court? bring a tennis racket to wimbledon and and beat nadal in 3 straight sets. Get the drift? This needs to be labeled a PRO COMP so that nobody else has aly illusions about its true nature. I'm not going to detail, entry by entry, which ones had access to stuff beyond the price range of 99% of the other entrants because it's a waste of my time- yet we both know it's an accurate statement. As a matter of fact, if I was one of the pros I'd take zero pride in winning against a bunch of amateurs, and I'd demand that this competition be partitioned, from this point on, in a way that provides for challenges between skill levels and whatnot. "

So if you are more advanced than the average guy, you should be seperated or banned from competing. But if you are more advanced than the average college applicants, you shouldn't have that option regarding education?

"Why do you think not just anybody can sign up with the new england patriots? just throw on a wizards jersey and walk out onto the court?"

In college you have a lot of group projects, and a lot of team work. For that same reason some schools wont just let anyone throw on a jersey and walk on to the court. The coach can't play ball like the players...and the schools dont really make amazing artists out of anyone. Some schools just prefer to facilitate those who they feel will play well on their team.

Doesn't mean you can't join other leagues. Doesn't mean you will never play basketball. I know you get the concept, cause you were trying to prove it on that other thread.

~Ilan

ShekemUrShekem
12-20-2008, 08:38 PM
So if you are more advanced than the average guy, you should be seperated or banned from competing. But if you are more advanced than the average college applicants, you shouldn't have that option regarding education?

No need to buy it because it's free and how one can argue with the notion of partitioning a contest so that it has categories of contestants is unreaal. The idea of allowing no-name joes to submit their work alongside top pros is not fun for anybody except those pros laughing at the shoddy work of the newbs. Contests should have skill categories and not be open to all. Beginners should compete with beginners and so forth. Being told by the guy who modeled the dinosaurs for Jurassic Park that your modeling skills suck isn't helping.

The WIP section here is where the newbs should be uploading to and competing- not the big prize contests they will never win. I don't get why it's so hard for you to see the logic behind people competing against those at their level. Let's take you for example. I'm not going to beat you in any graphics challenge they can dream up- it's just not going to happen. So, why do I have any business trying? Why would the competition even allow me to go up against you, a top guy with a proven record? It just doesn't make any sense. If I wanted your opinion on my work, I'd submit it to a section dedicated to critiques of amateurs, if one existed. You know you're much better than me and mostly everybody here, so using the logic of the other guy who can't understand my point either, what is the benefit of allowing all these nobodys to muddy the waters of this prestigious contest among the pros? If a college can have strict portfolio requirements for admission, then what sense does it make to have a contest that is open to just anybody? Using said logic, doesn't this simply make zero sense and apply a weird double standard?

I argue like I had a stake in the contest, but I don't. I never lost or won one, so this isn't sour grapes. What it is, however, is me bringing attention to the inherent unfairness of such a contest to the vast majority of people. Why don't the guys who run it just say it's a high-level competition and only the professionals are eligible, and if they want to have other contests for those less skilled then they can have that too. I really REALLY don't understand why they would think that some top guy making 6-figures needs their prize anyway. Know who needs it? The ones who can't afford the good software, the ones who have $25 in their checking account, and the ones who stand to make a name for themselves ...not the ones who are already known industry-wide.

Wick3dParticle
12-20-2008, 08:57 PM
I wasnt saying whats fair or whats not. And I dont think that I am better than most people here. You have to realize that working on a movie isnt the work of a single artist. You got tons of people working together. Get 100 of your average joes and high quality plates...and they will put together a kick as piece too. Also...why do you think that professional artists have nothing better to do that make fun of other people? Have you never met someone working in this industry? Most of them are super nice people. They arent the Highschool Jocks you make them out to be. You have a distorted image of this industry, and thats ashame.

This is totally off topic already, and we are repeating the same stuff back and forth.
Bottom line is that private schools can do what they want within whats legal. And some competitions are open to everyone including experienced people who arent that successful and rich people who dont have industry experience. Ranting about it really doesnt make a difference. If you arent happy, dont participate with them. If a newbie is cool with competing...sweet!

I am ending my participation in this thread now. I just wanna say be nice people.
Happy holidays,

~Ilan

ShekemUrShekem
12-20-2008, 09:34 PM
I don't know who did it, but whoever pasted my posts from a year ago or whatever is the one who made it off topic. They searched the forum for my other stuff and posted it for whatever reason and took it off topic.


Point isn't if a school can do it, it is if portfolio requirements are fair. The natural artists will be all for portfolios, and those who aren't as good will typically be against them. I am against them on principle that it can be the difference between somebody being stuck working temp down at the tire place and somebody going to the school they want and following their dream. But now, the dream is in the hands of some jerk whose personal sense of aesthetics may result in a rejection and a very different future and life for the aspirant.

If one wanted to be an olympic weight lifter and the requirements were one had to be able to put 450lbs over one's head then it would preclude most from ever becoming one- and indeed, most never will. This is an example one can cite regarding schools requiring portfolios. But, don't forget that long before that olympian became an olympian he trained (he was not required to be able to press 315 overhead just before someone would train him) with the average joes and guys who knew more and so he succeeded. This analogy relates to prospective applicants to art schools who may not start with even half-decent skills, but through training and learning from those better than themselves, can maybe achieve great skill and competence. This, though, would not be possible if they were to get the door slammed in their face by means of overly strict portfolio requirements.

Believe it or not, not everybody is able to up and relocate to hollywood or san francisco to go to school. So, saying that there are other schools may not be fesiable in any practical sense, and if the only school near you is an ultra expensive and has outrageous admission requirements, then what are your options? Online classes? Would YOU take online classes in art? If not, don't suggest anybody else should either.

Hauzer
12-21-2008, 02:10 AM
Well, you could always take regular art courses at any college and learn 3D on your own.

I am kinda for portfolio requirements. You need them to get a job, so if you're going to a really nice school why not ask for them there too?

But mostly I don't care. Happy Holidays everyone!

ShekemUrShekem
12-21-2008, 02:23 AM
By the time you have a good enough portfolio for a decent job, you've already had the college education and have a degree. Colleges expecting a portfolio is like requiring you show proof of experience when you have none. You go to school to learn how to do things...you apply for jobs once you know how to do those things.

I see majors like game art and design and game design and whatnot and you're thrown into very shallow modeling, texturing, animating, and worst of all, PROGRAMMING. Now, game devs have certain people do certain jobs so I wouldn't expect to see programmers modeling game assets, and texture artists programming enemy AI. Am I correct? I believe this all-inclusive approach is the worst thing going, but when they have you on the phone to try to sign you up, they make it sound real interesting. It probably is to those with no experience in any of this, and that's how the admissions people meet their quotas I guess. It wouldn't be long, I don't imagine, until these kids find out the hard way that they aren't learning anything. I've sat through various gnomon training dvds and some of them go way too fast and skip steps and assume a level of knowledge you probably don't have. If these online classes are anything like these, that's a tragedy that is compounded by a major student loan you have to pay back even if you drop out after one semester.

I agree with the regular old graphic design/commercial art/fine art major and then do the 3d/fx stuff because that way you have way more job opportunities than just the niche market.

Kev3D
12-21-2008, 02:41 AM
I don't have any experience with portfolio entry requirements for college, so I may be on completely the wrong track but I don't think it is expected to be of an extremely high quality. If it was, the people who got in could probably get a job anyway.

I think it's more of an indication of a persons dedication. It's a way of weeding out people who think they're taking the easy route by studying art. People need to have some self-motivation to get through a course and what better way of emphasizing that then to get potential students to go out and learn something by themselves.

It kind of reminds me of the theory I heard about scholarships more than once: anyone can get a scholarship but only the smart people apply.

eclipze
12-21-2008, 03:34 AM
In my country, Romania, there are NO 3D SCHOOLS, yet Ubisoft, EA, Gameloft,ViVendi, Iplay (just to name the international ones) all have studios here and create well ranked games with ungraduated people. So this talk about 3D schools, and about people who endlessly complaint about the lack of skills of their teachers is letting me cold.

You want something, in the end you will get it. You want to learn? Internet is the ideal teacher all you need to know is were to look and all romanians that work in the above studios got there only with internet tutoring . People who cry and tell everyone that they did not learn anything at their school and that it's the schools fault they are just like the persons who say they can't learn 3d because they don't have 8 cores in their comps. It's all excuses and they will don't get far.
Its not so much the "we want teachers to be competent so we can be spoonfed cg info" part that I am bothered by. It is the fact that my parents are paying money for me to attend a course that teaches me nothing that I couldn't have learnt elsewhere. If I had to sum up CG-related stuff we were ACTUALLY taught here, it would be:
1) Pressing buttons in Maya. (Extrude, Inset Edge Loop Tool, etc)
2) Basic IK rig set-up (apparently IK is all you need)

No life drawing classes, anatomy classes, body mechanics study (animation), 12 principles of animation, acting classes, etc (this is a multimedia course with 3D and distributed multimedia streams). On top of that, we all assigned a web-design/flash internship despite being in the 3D stream. When that was questioned?

Teacher: "You're just going there to make coffee for them anyway, so it doesn't matter whether you get an internship in an animation/game studio or at an IT company. As long as you have passion, you can make it - doesn't matter if you get attached to an animation studio or not."

Fantastic advise from the same teacher (who is the Head of Department BTW):
"A walk cycle can get you a job (at pixar/dreamworks)"
"(for demoreels) put your earliest work first and your most recent work last, so that when the employers look through the reel, they can see your fabulous growth/development"
"Oh yea! including personal artworks into your portfolio...I never thought of that."
"(when asked a question regarding CG) There are lots of tutorial online, go google for them."

He claims to have worked in the industry, when in fact he has never worked at an animation or game studio. When I retorted his comment on creating demoreels by citing CGtalk's The CG SCHOOLS and DEMO REELS/The Unofficial Truth about The Industry threads as the source - he reply was, to sum it up: "Are you sure? I have friends in the industry that tell me otherwise".:shrug:

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There is a fine line between "schools aren't suppose to teach you everything" and "the school is teaching me nothing", as well as "the teacher doesn't know everything" and "the teacher knows NOTHING". Incompetent teachers may be a common occurrence in all fields of study, but the amount of BS churned out by 90% of multimedia or even animation/game courses leave much to be desired.

The money invested into the typical CG related can be spent elsewhere, like buying Digital Tutors DVDs or even getting a legitimate copy of whatever 3D software you want to use. The (nearly) 3 years that I have spent in my school would've been 3 years of practice/self-training material that could possible be put into a proper demoreel/portfolio. Of course, there's always the option of a traditional/fine arts degree, but that's another matter altogether.

forsakendreams
12-21-2008, 10:53 AM
There are two different types of schools, the shorter "trade schools" that specialize more in preparing you for a specific job right after graduation, and the longer term accredited degree that may give you a more rounded education or one with a more solid base in the fundamentals or art. Few schools successfully integrate the 2 aspects as I think there simply isn't enough time to teach it all especially if the students starts off as a complete beginner in both areas.


Originally Posted by ShekemUrShekem
In my opinion, a portfolio requirement is a ridiculous prejudicial thing which serves only to bar people from actually attending a good school. If you are able to get the financial aid to go to one of these schools, then that's your money and no school should have the option of not allowing you in in you're able to pay. To hell with their reputation- this is where the whole 'school as a business' comes into play.


Originally Posted by ShekemUrShekem
The "slower students holding up the class" argument holds no water at all because everybody is going to be starting out in the intro classes anyway so it's going to be slow for the entire class. Nobody is starting out in the advanced classes anyway, so those not cut out for it will hit the brick wall shortly thereafter and not slow up future classes

These two statements are completely related simply because the portfolio is used to weed out the students who may not be up to snuff with the average skill of the applicants a school is selecting for their program.

Everyone may be starting out in the same classes, but students' skill and speed of learning can vary wildly, and a few stragglers can force the pace of the class to be much slower. And what about students who learn and pick up information much faster? They will be very bored and tired of having to sit through the same lecture or discussion as instructor spends her time answering what some may consider questions with "obvious" answers.

Inspiration, drive and learning also comes from your peers and if your skill and talent is way ahead of them, or way behind, neither will be happy in the class.

Instructor retention is another area in which portfolio requirements play an important role. Especially programs in which the professors may actually review and choose the applicants. How will you retain top instructors if the caliber of your students is not what the instructor is interested in teaching? I think most teachers enjoying helping pushing very skilled students to that next level, rather than trying to explain some basic concept to a struggling student that really should have that basic knowledge down already. Enough classes of students like that and the school may find itself scraping the bottle of the barrel for teachers.

Portfolios help a school ensure uniformity among it's students. So there is a certain assumed level of skill (that the school can choose to set wherever it likes) in basic first year classes. If one student starts on "page 1" while the rest of the students are on "page 10", the school is not going to be a good fit for the "page 1" student, nor is the student going to be a good fit for the school until he is able to start on "page 10" as well.

I don't participate in cgtalk all that much, but I've yet to see professionals come to laugh at students seeking to learn. Please point to a thread. Most professionals are probably too busy with their real jobs, and the ones actually here are no doubt as interested to learn as the students are.

I've also never been to art school, but from I've seen, aside from maybe the top 1 or 2 design/art school, most don't require kick ass portfolios.

circusboy
12-22-2008, 09:28 PM
In my opinion, a portfolio requirement is a ridiculous prejudicial thing which serves only to bar people from actually attending a good school. If you are able to get the financial aid to go to one of these schools, then that's your money and no school should have the option of not allowing you in in you're able to pay. To hell with their reputation- this is where the whole 'school as a business' comes into play. Schools aren't here just to rank in the top 3 every year because they keep out the majority, accepting only the best...people, who incidentally, could probably go to work for top companies even without that school's degree.

There is a really good exception to this. What if-
-The school prides itself on a very good teacher to student ratio.
-The school has a very good reputation **because of this and the quality and consistancy of their graduates** and therefore get 500-1000 applicants for every new year but only has placement for 50 or less(!) So what do you do with everyone?! You have to triage!

This was how it was when I went study 3d in '90. My portfolio was highly traditional art based (although I knew i liked computers for art even then). And these were very similar portfolio requirements to how Disney used to evaluate students/potential junior employees too (I know this because they recruited at my art school). Whats the point of already knowing what they are trying to teach you?! Show us your traditional art chops!
That is what the portfolio submission used to be about. I had my BFA before I went on to 3d. Thats where the portfolio came from. Not many highschools can get you to this level.

Think about it - two or three great teachers can't suddenly start teaching hundreads of students at once. And then if the school tries the expand like crazy the quality goes down on all fronts (teachers and students) and the quantity goes up. This is what tends to happen today. Formula cookie cutter 3d educations. Those students that did well here probably should have just been self-taught . They essentialy just did-but paid 50K to do so!!

This is why the weeding out via portpholios is a good thing. Its a good indicator as to how serious the school is at least trying to be! They have way more student applicants then they can support. First come first serve? or keep a healthy and consistant educational standard that gets a deserved reputation in the industry? If I was running a school that is what I would strive for if I cared at all about what my school represented!
If you don't care-well that option exists too. Problem is you often do not get what you pay for!

rendermaniac
12-23-2008, 11:28 AM
I agree that student expectations are too high - and this is often reinforced by marketing. Expecting that getting a degree will lead to you entering at a senior position is pure fantasy.

Would you expect to do an architectural or engineering degree (or for that matter medical or legal degree) to jump over the junior levels? Absolutely not! The degree is to get you to the point where you can be productive in a junior production position.

Also note that these prefssional degrees tend to be considerably longer than 3 years - I think our industries have at least as much knowledge to learn.

I don't think you can teach every part of a pipeline to the degree that a senior would. But there are many experienced people who know very little outside their area. eg modellers and animators know very little about lighting or effects. Hopefully a good senior compositor will know a bit about lighting. Then there are also very specialized areas such as fluids and crowds.

There is not much point dwelling on button pushing in Maya - if you are lucky your first (or more likely second) position will be doing that. In addition most pipelines only use Maya as a base and have a lot of custom code on top. No one can be expected to know that - and will need on the job training.

What is more important is learning the fundamentals. Such as why bad topology will cause you problems, what a holdout matte is and why you would need it, what "over" actually does, what IK is etc.
Only in the final year will you be ready do a few small commercial like projects.

I don't see how being only one step ahead of the loop is any different from industry. Often people have to be learning software at the same time as using it in production. Luckily they don't usually also have to be teaching how to use it at the same time!

Places like Escape Studios (and FxPHD, Gnomon?) have a better time as they are more likely to be taking in graduates, or people who have spent a lot of timing learning, so they have a better base to start with. This postgraduate training is where you get industry preparation - not undergraduate level.

There are a few schools which stand out - eg Gobelins, Vancouver Film School, The German Film School etc. Maybe it would be worth seeing what they do differently. Do they even compare to an undergraduate course?

Simon

Bathtub
01-26-2009, 05:06 PM
“A part of the industry will always be happiest with graduates that can walk into a given role, while other companies will accommodate graduates that show aptitude or proficiency in some areas and provide some extra training, where necessary,” says Phil Organ, 3D animation lecturer at Swansea Metropolitan University’s School of Digital Media.

“Multimedia courses encompass the best elements from all these digital forms of communication,” he says. “Animation, for all its range in the form of movement is still only a partial element in the whole plethora of multimedia forms. If you really want to experiment in digital art and technology, engaging people on a personal and/or mass media level, then a multimedia path could provide the route.”

“I remain mostly positive in all of this as I remember a time when animation students were few and far between,” says Organ. “With the number of students now wanting to work in the area I believe the standard of the work is higher and the level of performance expected in assessment at universities is equally higher. More professional animators now work in academia and there is so much more available for the average student to discover in terms of books, competitions, schemes, funding, directories and so on.”


If this is the case Mr P Organ then why is this article been written?
Yet another lecturer waffling on about a subject they know little about

Wiro
01-27-2009, 12:34 PM
Its not so much the "we want teachers to be competent so we can be spoonfed cg info" part that I am bothered by. It is the fact that my parents are paying money for me to attend a course that teaches me nothing that I couldn't have learnt elsewhere.

May I ask why you joined this course then? Would you not have done some sort of research into this school before putting money into it? I know there aren't many choices in Singapore but it's getting better with Lucasfilm and Double Negative offering apprenticeships and opportunities.
The schools and government are investing a lot of money right now into making Singapore a VFX hub.

I aggree with Grrrrrrr, some of us who grew up with less opportunities (I lived in Switzerland at the time) and still managed to get into the industry. I rather spent my spare time teaching myself. I went to a local art school to placate my parents and lend some legitimacy to my aspirations, knowing full well that I wouldn't learn anything I needed for this industry (and maybe this is why you went to your school too?).

Wiro

imashination
01-27-2009, 02:20 PM
I went to a local art school to placate my parents and lend some legitimacy to my aspirations, knowing full well that I wouldn't learn anything I needed for this industry

You didnt learn how to light a scene, frame a shot, compose a scene, which colours to use, add highlights and rim highlights etc?

jeremybirn
01-27-2009, 02:42 PM
May I ask why you joined this course then? Would you not have done some sort of research into this school before putting money into it? I know there aren't many choices in Singapore but it's getting better with Lucasfilm and Double Negative offering apprenticeships and opportunities.
The schools and government are investing a lot of money right now into making Singapore a VFX hub.

I agree. You need to shop carefully. I did a little seminar in Singapore in 2007, and the school I was visiting seemed to have competent instructors with 3D production experience, decent computer labs, connections with local production studios, etc. There might be more choices overseas, but not it's as if there are no options there.

I hear ridiculous statements posted on these forums like "it doesn't matter what school you go to" -- which is about as helpful as telling someone shopping for a car that it doesn't matter which model you buy or how much you pay. You need to do the equivalent of a test-drive, visit the place, talk to the students about the courses and curriculum and what they like or dislike about it, make your decision carefully. And don't sit around complaining year after year if you would be better off transferring to another school or another department within your school, either.

-jeremy

Wiro
01-27-2009, 02:54 PM
You didnt learn how to light a scene, frame a shot, compose a scene, which colours to use, add highlights and rim highlights etc?

This was all in the course but I already knew all this from my own research. It really was a very basic course.

One thing I did learn though, and that was how to create variations. We were told to draw a line around our hand, pick a segment of it and use that line to create a multitude of patterns. It sounded really boring and I ran out of ideas after crossing the lines, laying them parallell, making a few wedge-shapes, etc. It amazed me when the teacher showed us dozens more variations and it showed me how to push beyond the really obvious.
Another example of this was when a guy came in to show the designs his company had made of an icon of a telephone (the sort of icon you see above telephone booths or in telephone books). It seemed like a no-brainer: a box, a few buttons and a handpiece should do it right? Well this guy had hundreds of variations of it, some changes as small as rounding off edges or changing the size of the buttons or the proportions of the icon. It was amazing how much one could get out of that concept. That lesson stuck and I apply it whenever I experiment with lighting or modelling, always trying out different small variations (if time permits).

It also explained where all the money goes when you hear about these simple-looking company logos costing several tens of thousands of dollars :)

Wiro

RockstarKate
01-27-2009, 03:34 PM
I think schools would be much better if they had admission standards like normal colleges. I guess a lot of people think you don't need good grades to be a good artist, but you need discipline for any serious pursuit. I went to the Art Institute, which has served me pretty well unlike most of my former classmates. It would have been a much better experience if the classes hadn't been full of lazy people who didn't really want to be there and quite frankly wouldn't have been able to get into a college with standards.

Matellis
01-27-2009, 03:59 PM
It would like to see high school art students be educated about this industry as part of their courses. Or even have someone that works in the CG field come in and do a presentation about the industry and explain the hard facts about colleges and learning on your own. It seems like most people that enter these colleges (my self included) do not know what exactly goes into getting a job in the industry. Its a lot more complicated than "I like video games, I can do that!".

circusboy
01-27-2009, 04:28 PM
It would like to see high school art students be educated about this industry as part of their courses. Or even have someone that works in the CG field come in and do a presentation about the industry and explain the hard facts about colleges and learning on your own. It seems like most people that enter these colleges (my self included) do not know what exactly goes into getting a job in the industry. Its a lot more complicated than "I like video games, I can do that!".
Many high schools are pretty off the beaten path as far as where the cg industry is-so how can they get industry professionals to show up for a lecture in very rural areas/parts of the country? And who funds it?

Nope this is what the internet is for-people really need to seriously research their school options themselves. There are a lot of programs banking on the ignorant ideal of "I like video games, I can do that!" Sure-send us your money chump!

Matellis
01-27-2009, 05:06 PM
I agree that people should really do research into the field before deciding on a school and it would be hard to get guest speakers. All I am saying is that it would be great if the highschools also informed the students about CG like they do most other career choices. Because the colleges are so expensive and have a low turnover rate is exactly why they need to be informed about the risk and reward of entering this feild. Sometimes people need to be told by a peer and not just read it on the net for it to really sink in.

yenvalmar
01-30-2009, 03:41 PM
having taught and attended 3d classes, i do agree that schools with no admission policy and run for profit are often a waste of money and time. anyone who is unlucky enough to be very fast or very slow is going to make the rest of the class hard to teach.

its also true that schools with very high admission requirements make a self fulfilling prophecy of outputting good work, but i would say thats how it should be. to call it elitist makes it sound like a bad thing- i hate to tell you, but this is an elitist field, nobody gets a great job, no studio gets recognized, without doing elite level work. even many that do good work fall through the cracks.

its also true that a lot of people dont need any formal education in 3d whatsoever to be at a pro level and work professionally. i used to always say this is the way to learn 3d, but lately ive been seeing people come from animation mentor and gnomon in particlar, that learned usefull skills faster than they may have otherwise, knowing the exact people involved.

in another 5 years when everythings changed im curious how they keep up but for today they know some good technques via these schools, so.. whatever works for you.. and whatever you can afford..

Shuggs
02-01-2009, 07:17 AM
As someone who is currently enlisted under the 'Applied Media Arts' program with a concentration in Computer Animation, I have to agree. The department focuses solely on animation in it's current state. We dabble in and out of modeling, texturing, and rigging, but those dabbles aren't enough for people to get a grasp of the concepts. The concentrations of 3D (modeling, rigging, texturing, etc) are too vast to confine and truncate into 2 1/2 hour classes that are offered 2 days out of the week.


All of what I know about modeling I taught myself outside of class. I joined forums, did tutorials, watched videos, asked questions, etc. I knew that there was no way that I would be able to grow as a 3D artist if I just did the class assignments, and never ventured out on my own to learn more. No way would I be doing what I can do today. The percentage of students who actually do research, study, and experiment outside of class is severely low. Everyone is on the, "...just gotta get it done for class..." kick, and that's all they ever focus on. I find very few people who say, "I practice animating/modeling/rigging/texturing in my spare time," on this campus and it really does sadden me. It's like some people expect the skills to be handed to them on a silver platter.

Those whom have gone on and graduated before me and worked at their craft in and outside of class are the successful ones. We've got people at Blue Sky, Pixar, Dreamworks, Disney, Paramount, and some other major studios. But it's always that talented 10th percent that makes it.

People are always asking me to help with modeling their characters, or try and teach them. While I don't mind at all, I tell them that I cannot truncate 2 years of independent study into a 20 minute tutorial that's comprehensible. That's not to insult anyone's intelligence, but how do you honestly explain to someone what topology is and how to do it in 15 minutes? There's no way, and even if they do understand what I'm saying, frustration and stress will ensue because curving, sculpting, and manipulating the topo of a mesh to get what you want isn't the easiest of tasks for someone just starting out.

IDK. Some people get the fact that you have to work outside of class to get better at this stuff while others try to put together an assignment a few hours before the class starts. I was so stoked last semester because I got an A in the class, and A's aren't handed out often at all. Every once in a blue moon someone will get an A. If you get an A in that class it means you've really outdone yourself. So I know I'm in the right mindset and my focus is good. I just gotta keep at it.

Funlovinartist
02-02-2009, 02:44 PM
After attending art school which had an animation course and dabblings of 3D. I have been working in the industry for the past two years. However, I had to supplement my course by learning at home via the internet and tutorials from Gnomon.

I am now doing part-time Maya Workshops at a local university and what was immediately obvious to me was that production proven techniques were not being encourged - which is what I have implemented into the half day a week of Maya training they are given which in my opinion is not enough for students who seek a job in the industry. They are essentially paying to teach them selves.

Pro tutorials such as gnomon and forums like this are the key for students to expand there knowledge within the 3D industry. There isn't enough time or money (in the UK anyway) into teaching students about the CG industry. Hopefully I can drive enough industry practice techniques and methods into them before I move on.

Shuggs
02-02-2009, 04:30 PM
After attending art school which had an animation course and dabblings of 3D. I have been working in the industry for the past two years. However, I had to supplement my course by learning at home via the internet and tutorials from Gnomon.

I am now doing part-time Maya Workshops at a local university and what was immediately obvious to me was that production proven techniques were not being encourged - which is what I have implemented into the half day a week of Maya training they are given which in my opinion is not enough for students who seek a job in the industry. They are essentially paying to teach them selves.

Pro tutorials such as gnomon and forums like this are the key for students to expand there knowledge within the 3D industry. There isn't enough time or money (in the UK anyway) into teaching students about the CG industry. Hopefully I can drive enough industry practice techniques and methods into them before I move on.

This.

The department is about to undergo a lot of changes that should have been implemented years ago. They're wanting to divide the Animation courses into more focused concentrations. After you complete Beginning and Intermediate levels, they want you to pick a concentration (and this applies to both Computer and Traditional majors): Storyboarding, Character Design, Layout, Environmental Design/Concept, Modeling, Texturing, Rigging, FX, Compositing, Editting, etc. Thing is, they need professors for each of those. All of our professors mostly focus on animation (for traditional), and we only have 2 CG professors who do the "dabbling" into a bit of everything.

I would honestly love to come back and teach after I gain experience in the field. I think it's imperative to have professors who'll want to put students on course in the right direction and not always tell students that their work is good because most of what I've seen is horrible.

Rusch
02-02-2009, 10:54 PM
A medical student goes to university with expectations. They will be taught, to a high standard. Before they have even graduated other people will put their lives into their hands. They have a extremely good understanding of anatomy. A good understanding of many aspects of medicine and they will be up to date with new technologies. They will expect to walk out of university with a degree and the ability to walk straight into job with good pay and the opportunity to better themselves.

That is not an unreal expectation of university. That is what all courses should aspire to and expect to deliver. Teaching students how to teach themselves is valid and essential but this should never be an alternative actually teaching students which in many institutions appears to be happening.

The bar needs to be raised as at the moment many (not all) universities, studios and students are unhappy with with what they are getting.

Kanga
03-25-2009, 07:42 PM
A medical student goes to university with expectations. They will be taught, to a high standard. Before they have even graduated other people will put their lives into their hands. They have a extremely good understanding of anatomy. A good understanding of many aspects of medicine and they will be up to date with new technologies. They will expect to walk out of university with a degree and the ability to walk straight into job with good pay and the opportunity to better themselves.
You cannot compare medical studies to digital arts education. How many student apply for an education in medicine and fail to qualify? How many doctors get qualified on a 3 to 5000 buck a year course? Very expensive dedicated institutions turn out more success stories but also their share of failures. Considering the amount of resources it takes to teach someone this the expensive courses are reasonable.

You are not handed a golden package but the tools to make the package. If I think back to my Industrial Design education at RMIT it was no different. You left the college, got a job and there your education really started!

You are right there are low quality courses out there, on the other side everyone wants instant solution money back guarantees. Its a bit a.. about face, instead of thinking about what you are getting out of it at the moment, many are thinking only about what is at the end. Like longing for retirement.

eek

Rusch
03-27-2009, 12:26 PM
It does not cost much money to teach anatomy, life drawing, color theory, topology and good draughtsmanship to a high standard. It does not cost much money in materials and resources to teach sculpture to a high standard. All you need is quality instruction and dedicated students.

The comparison between medical studies and 3d education stands because both are trying to teach something, one has success in turning out capable industry ready graduates and the other does this to a questionable level.

Studios are complaining about the quality graduates. Many of these graduates are not being given 'the tools to make the package.' This in UK is to the point where a lot of graduates leave Uni do not get a job and after a lot of hard work are not in a situation to receive that 'real education.'

I agree that it's not about handing things out on a silver platter but there are many courses that fail in giving basic tools. Some even fail to identify what tools you will need.

Kanga
03-27-2009, 01:14 PM
You are obviously looking at this from an arch student standpoint.
It does not cost much money to teach anatomy, life drawing, color theory, topology and good draughtsmanship to a high standard.....
Wrong! One of the reasons I didn't stay in teaching full time (only one). Institutions buy in as cheaply as they can, would that be to keep the fees as competitive as possible? In any case having seen both sides of the fence I would dare to say commercial 3d and teaching cost the same ammount of energy while the rates are so different. Teaching rates are astronomically lower, and in my experience the practice of teaching is 10 times as exhausting. How do you plan to attract the top talent you are asking for? The people you are talking about are making a good living elsewhere.
The comparison between medical studies and 3d education stands because both are trying to teach something, one has success in turning out capable industry ready graduates and the other does this to a questionable level.
While we are at it let us compare elephants to ants,.... they both have legs right:surprised
Studios are complaining about the quality graduates. Many of these graduates are not being given 'the tools to make the package.' This in UK is to the point where a lot of graduates leave Uni do not get a job and after a lot of hard work are not in a situation to receive that 'real education.'
I have seen how much effort students in general put into their port folios,.... don't get me started.

I agree that it's not about handing things out on a silver platter but there are many courses that fail in giving basic tools. Some even fail to identify what tools you will need.
Yes some do, but some is not what you are talking about.

And to all my REAL teaching colleagus, who have actually studied the art of teaching, with your endless meetings, administration up to your ears, infinite extra curricular activities (all vey important), I don't know how you do it. You have my utmost respect.

Chris

Carina
03-27-2009, 01:35 PM
The comparison between medical studies and 3d education stands because both are trying to teach something, one has success in turning out capable industry ready graduates and the other does this to a questionable level.

Have you considered how industry ready medical students would be without the extensive industry experience they get throughout the course of their degrees? The amount of hands on experience you get in those sorts of degrees mean you simply cannot compare them like for like.


Studios are complaining about the quality graduates. Many of these graduates are not being given 'the tools to make the package.' This in UK is to the point where a lot of graduates leave Uni do not get a job and after a lot of hard work are not in a situation to receive that 'real education.'

Having seen what today's average university student reckons to be "hard work" up close, it is debatable whether this is due to the quality of the degree they are studying or really down to the amount of effort put in.

DanielWray
03-27-2009, 08:37 PM
I think it all boils down to "You get what you put in", if you have a person who hasnt a clue about CG and isnt particulary interested in it, they just think it's a cool gimmick type thing, then university and school will be worthless to them, however if you have some one who is passionate about the subject, who spends there own time and effort researching and learning then university and schools will benefit them alot.

Universities and schools are a good place for people to network and the majority offer placements for the students (gap year placements?). The vast majority of studios wont take a junior on unless they are a gap year student. This is what i have found, some people might disagree.

Getting a degree in CGI wont instantly get you a job, but it will make it that little bit easier, if your good at it. Also i think that if your work is good and it shows you have put effort it, then studios will take the degree as an added bonus, since they will know that you've spent alot of money and time studying the subject and researching into papers, techniques etc etc.

All in all, it's what your motives are, what you put in and how good you are at it.

Rusch
03-29-2009, 10:31 AM
Teaching rates are astronomically lower, and in my experience the practice of teaching is 10 times as exhausting. How do you plan to attract the top talent you are asking for? The people you are talking about are making a good living elsewhere.

One way would be to have part time lecturers who are engaged in professional practice. This was the set-up on the photo arts course at my uni. It worked very well. In contrast the lecturers on the my animation course had no industry experience, at least two of the lecturers graduated from a undergraduate course and went directly into teaching a undergraduate course with no teaching qualification or industry experience.

I have seen how much effort students in general put into their port folios,.... don't get me started.

When you where talking about being given tools isn't the ability to produce a showreel one of these tools. The same can be said about writing a decent CV. If it's an area where a lot of students are failing then it's obviously a skill gap that needs addressing.

Have you considered how industry ready medical students would be without the extensive industry experience they get throughout the course of their degrees?

This is why you should compare and contrast other types of courses whether its an arts course, 3D course or a habidatiary course. This is something that could be introduced into a 3D course. It would be a chance for Studios to give students on the job training, up skilling them and not paying them a penny. If the student has the wrong attitude or are not committed then they can get rid.

Having seen what today's average university student reckons to be "hard work" up close, it is debatable whether this is due to the quality of the degree they are studying or really down to the amount of effort put in.

This is largely due to bums on seats attitude of running a University as business. Take on anyone no matter what level, if they are really bad hope they drop out after a month or so so you have their subsidy from the LEA. If they're a foreign student hope they don't drop out as they are paying full fees anyway.

A lot of students don't know what "hard work" is but they should do by the end of the first term if not the first week of their course. 3D education should be geared towards making students ready for the industry. This is what the studios are asking for and this is what the students are asking for. Surely 3D education should facilitate this?

Kanga
03-29-2009, 04:50 PM
,........
I wish you success in the pursuit of your chosen profession.

madhatter10100
03-30-2009, 02:57 AM
I currently attend FIT's computer animation and interactive media. It's a two year program and the amount of work that is present in the four semesters is enough for a nervous breakdown.

I was always used to creating 3D in my leisure time and now it's deadlines. The art that I took my time with looks great and I felt good however now my artwork suffers. Every week I'm learning new information storyboards, modeling, animation, principals of animation, drawing for animation, sound design, Flash, JavaScript, Motion Graphics, etc.

The reason I'm unable to produce the artwork; I used to feel good about is because I'm piled with new ideas on how to do the same exact thing and why the original idea is awful.

I feel the fun was stripped. Sleepless nights, staring at your work with disappointment because you were rushed and had to incorporate a new tool into the project.

However the seniors that have graduated from the program have jobs and the school receives great feedback that the students know exactly what they are doing.

I'm assuming jumping into the field knowing about every aspect will be great but is two years enough for a great reel?

It's a very confusing time in my life.

In a year or two I can come back and quote this post and tell everyone if it was a blessing.

MrPositive
03-30-2009, 03:45 AM
I currently attend FIT's computer animation and interactive media. It's a two year program and the amount of work that is present in the four semesters is enough for a nervous breakdown.


However the seniors that have graduated from the program have jobs and the school receives great feedback that the students know exactly what they are doing.

I'm assuming jumping into the field knowing about every aspect will be great but is two years enough for a great reel?




First madhatter, can you share me the link of the FIT school? I'd like to add it to the list, but I cannot seem to locate anything substantial. To answer your question, many of the 3D programs out there are built around the 2 year format (Vancouver, AM, Sheridan, Gnomon, etc) that is high intensity. Many of those who are already in the states may not need a degree or already have one, and simply want the intense training of a 2 year program.

madhatter10100
03-30-2009, 10:16 AM
First madhatter, can you share me the link of the FIT school? I'd like to add it to the list, but I cannot seem to locate anything substantial. To answer your question, many of the 3D programs out there are built around the 2 year format (Vancouver, AM, Sheridan, Gnomon, etc) that is high intensity. Many of those who are already in the states may not need a degree or already have one, and simply want the intense training of a 2 year program.

www.fitnyc.edu
http://www.fitcg.com/

KrzysztofFus
03-30-2009, 01:18 PM
Im just gonna throw my 2 cents in. Im a student at the School of Visual Arts in NYC and I'm in their 3d department. My experience here is amazing. My demo reel now, only as a second year student is better than most reels I've seen from graduates at schools like fullsail. My school isnt a diploma mill. Its a 4 year program at a real college. Not like schools like fullsail which are tech schools. Also there is a big CG industry in nyc and a high percentage of graduates from my program get jobs right in the industry. I personally know people who graduated and became art directors and made 100K+ right out of school.

Being in nyc this school gives students lots of oppurtunities to get internships at the many post production houses in NYC. I understand that there are alot of bad CG schools.

But check out this website. www.svacomputerart.com look at the senior thesis projects. At sva you dont just make a 2 minute long demo reel. You get to make an actual movie. To bring your ideas to life before you end up working at a CG studio making other peoples stuff come to life.

Award winning staff at SVA. Vic Fina, worked on the Maya Project. Any Maya users here? He thought up of the Hot Box in Maya. Where does he work when he's not teaching at school? The Daily show as the lead graphics person. He's my 3d teacher.

My animation teacher was Mark Neuman, He won at least 2 emmy awards for CG work.

Seth Gollub works at framestore as a lead animator (they did Harry Potter, and despereaux)

What definately sets SVA aside from other schools is that to work at SVA you must be currently work in the industry. Most schools hire people who have worked in the industry.

No false messages here either. At SVA your told from the begining that School wont get you the job and you have to make sure that you work your butt off to land internships during your school years and to get a job. Other schools sugar coat it and make it seem like if you go there, you'll get a job in the industry no matter what.


So thats my 2 cents. You just need to find the right school. I couldnt be happier with my decision.

lilnyc
08-19-2009, 06:33 PM
Great post, KrzysztofFus. I wish that was around and/or I knew of it before went to college in 2000, then again in 2003. Oh well.

Airflow
08-19-2009, 09:25 PM
It does not cost much money to teach anatomy, life drawing, color theory, topology and good draughtsmanship to a high standard. It does not cost much money in materials and resources to teach sculpture to a high standard. All you need is quality instruction and dedicated students.

The comparison between medical studies and 3d education stands because both are trying to teach something, one has success in turning out capable industry ready graduates and the other does this to a questionable level.

Studios are complaining about the quality graduates. Many of these graduates are not being given 'the tools to make the package.' This in UK is to the point where a lot of graduates leave Uni do not get a job and after a lot of hard work are not in a situation to receive that 'real education.'

I agree that it's not about handing things out on a silver platter but there are many courses that fail in giving basic tools. Some even fail to identify what tools you will need.

Agreed totally, Its why I joined Mavenseed. I think alot of people are getting the rough end of the stick with Universities way out of their depth. Self learning or online learning is a cheaper and mor direct alternative. For those with money,Animation mentor or Escape is a good bet.

Badru
11-10-2009, 04:11 AM
a high percentage of graduates from my program get jobs right in the industry

you just told me like 2 nights ago that only 3 of last years graduates found work.

KrzysztofFus
11-10-2009, 04:25 AM
Yeah. Jobs right in major studios. Yes.

Which is fairly a good number if the graduating class is only 30 or so. And only 10 people took the program completely seriously.

Everyone else is freelancing. So yes. There are a lot of people "working" in the industry.

So, 10 people out of 30 working is 33% of the class. Seems great to me. Feels like anyone who gave it their all did well.

The thing is. Its not 3d education that isn't working its the students who aren't working.

Intervain
11-10-2009, 10:47 AM
I think it all boils down to "You get what you put in",

quoted for agreement... there are far too many individual data to take into account and generalizations like the article are useless... they give a wide picture but they should not discourage those who are determined IMO and they probably do.
I had no idea of 3d when I went to VFS. It was way expensive and I would never had gone there if I was 21 - but I wasn't. I had a university degree in a completely different field already and was doing a PHD which was boring me to death. I saw what 3d could do but had no idea where to start and if i wanted to learn on my own - I'd probably be mediocre at best by the age of 40, which would never get me a job for sure.
I will never dismiss 3d schools for that reason alone. After a year of school I did have a job in the industry and I'm doing what I love.
I do agree however, that if someone's about to choose their first school and has all life ahead of them, then a traditional art school + self education are probably a better way to go.

Also, a comparison between medical studies and 3d is not really valid, I have to agree with Kanga on that one.

taxguy
11-11-2009, 01:14 PM
We looked at a number of programs with my daughter regarding 3d education. Frankly, the article didn't surprise me. Their didn't seem to be any standardized program.

Some programs were all about 3d and had nothing on fundamental drawing such as the Dave School,which is only one-year in duration. Some programs were mostly about the fundamentals and doing animation the way the old Disney animators did it with a LOT of 2d work. A good example of this would be Max the Mutt, which at least had a three-year program in traditional animation.

Call arts was mostly about 2d work with a lot of fundamentals thrown in. Ringlings was mostly about 3d work with a lot of fundamentals thrown in during their four year program.

Gnomon was at least a two year program for their computer graphics,but courses on fundamental drawing for heads, hands and creatures could be taken. However, Gnomon was all about 3d work with Maya.

Even grad school was very different. Some were very experimental such as SAIC and Cal Arts. Some were very practical and had specific skills sets taught, such as SCAD, AAU and NYU, Some were more concept based in that they tried to make you a movie director such as USC and UCLA and not as skills oriented as one would expect. In fact, I got the distinct feeling that kids at both USC and UCLA grad program had to develop their animation skills somewhat outside of the program by studying on their own while taking the courses.

School of Visual Arts (SVA) was actually interesting in that they were the only graduate program that seems to be somewhere in between conceptual and skills oriented.

Frankly, I was amazed at how different these programs really were from each other.

However, I did the the strong feeling that schools were businesses and many times weren't making recommendations that would be best for the student. Let's face it, a one-year program is NOT as good for skill development as that of a two year or even longer program. Infact, I wonder if it were even enough at all. Yet, these short programs charge a fortune!

Many of the grad programs don't even require any animation training or even fine art training for admission,which I think is just plainly wrong!Moreover, they don't usually offer much in the way of teaching traditional skills either,which I think is wrong.

Bottom Line: Yes, I really think that the industry should adopt some set of standards that can be utilized by schools. This seems particularly true for graduate level work. From what was suggested by an animator friend, programs should be at least three years and preferably four years in duration. One year should be in fundamentals. One year should be in traditional animation with a little 3d added into the mix and rest of the courses should be 3d skills oriented with two courses in the senior year being devoted to independent study for a specific specialty in the animation pipeline. Note. I am not the one who recommended this course of study. It was by someone else in the industry.

circusboy
11-11-2009, 02:58 PM
Back in the late 80's and early 90's I went to 2 different schools. One for my BFA in fine art (4 years) and then after this for 3d (1 year)-so 5 years total.
I needed a portfolio to get into both schools. I probably wouldn't do much differently today. BFA programs in 3d only didn't exist back then to my knowledge.

Unless you (or your child) have demonstrated to be so remarkably accomplished at art that you can skip it and just do 3d you may find that many graduates from these 1 year 3d schools end up as 'button pushers'.
-a button pusher might as well skip school and read the manual of the software they happen to have access to.
-they are also unlikly to get a job because frankly a script can be written to do the same thing. So a button pusher isn't needed for real production.

So if you can find a school that does both art and animation indepth combined thats the one to go for. No less then a two year program I would think-but more years for a degree program. Also if they require a portfolio it is less likly they are stamping cookies too.
The best of them might be extremely hard to get into. And expensive as well. But a combination of 2 schools (one for art and one for 3d) might be easier to find-especialy if you aren't needing to stay in one location.

Sure there are kids that show remarkable talent and get work with just 1 year 3d training. But its still an expensive gamble if they have no previously demonstrated talent in the area. Some sort of cheaper art foundation training (like at a community colledge) might tell you if its worth flipping the big bucks later on.

An alternative would be a BA in Computer Science (specializing in graphics) if you or your child is on a more scientific bent.

taxguy
11-11-2009, 03:16 PM
Circusboy, I am with you.

Intervain
11-11-2009, 04:11 PM
read through it all again and deleted my answer hehe - a question though - A Bachelor's in Computer Science speciallizing in graphics - from what I gather that would be geared towards programming graphics programs and introducing technical innovations to graphics, not at all connected to the actual art part... or is it? I've never heard of a programme like that - hence the question

gyphorz
11-15-2009, 10:56 PM
I'm doing a Game Design course at University and i think, i believe its safe to say the only reason im paying £10,000 (for the 3 years) is for the piece of paper saying i done the degree.

They cram alot of work into a short period of time, then u have about 6 month break, which is just stupid. Back to the subjects, there are way to many and they just teach you the basics and then move on to the next. So now i ask you, how the hell am i supposed to build up a proffesional portfolio when you learn Max 3D and its complexity does not expand beyond creating a truck from lego?. Or tell me this, how am i supposed to create/learn Maya when the teacher does not know the program himself? In max 3d i asked my teacher if we can use V-ray to render, she said "what is that?".

In maya i asked the teacher a simple question, and he said "follow the tutorial", the tutorial being the standard tutorials that come with maya. So overall its just a waste of time, you can do these things in your speare time and still have £10,000 in your pocket. I guess its a small price to pay for a piece of paper that will somewhat identify you for the rest of your life.

KrzysztofFus
11-15-2009, 11:12 PM
Damn. That little for University?
That's dirt cheap.

Anyway. My only advice is that maybe you should consider going to a school like Gnomon or VFS.

I'm doing a Game Design course at University and i think, i believe its safe to say the only reason im paying £10,000 (for the 3 years) is for the piece of paper saying i done the degree.

They cram alot of work into a short period of time, then u have about 6 month break, which is just stupid. Back to the subjects, there are way to many and they just teach you the basics and then move on to the next. So now i ask you, how the hell am i supposed to build up a proffesional portfolio when you learn Max 3D and its complexity does not expand beyond creating a truck from lego?. Or tell me this, how am i supposed to create/learn Maya when the teacher does not know the program himself? In max 3d i asked my teacher if we can use V-ray to render, she said "what is that?".

In maya i asked the teacher a simple question, and he said "follow the tutorial", the tutorial being the standard tutorials that come with maya. So overall its just a waste of time, you can do these things in your speare time and still have £10,000 in your pocket. I guess its a small price to pay for a piece of paper that will somewhat identify you for the rest of your life.

gyphorz
11-15-2009, 11:17 PM
Damn. That little for University?
That's dirt cheap.

Anyway. My only advice is that maybe you should consider going to a school like Gnomon or VFS.

Its standard price in the UK? £3,400 per year.

Yeah i was thinking the same but its not an option at the momment as i want to finish this to get my piece of paper, in hoping i can develop enough skills to get a internship and then a job with some company .. somewhere

KrzysztofFus
11-15-2009, 11:35 PM
You can always take online classes or download the Gnomon DVD's. That's what I do in between school breaks.

gyphorz
11-15-2009, 11:52 PM
You can always take online classes or download the Gnomon DVD's. That's what I do in between school breaks.

I do try, my life is full up. My gf complains i dont spend enough time with her, at uni i have assigment after assigment to hand in, and when i break for holiday i usually work at a construction site from 8 till 4 to get enough money to pay for my university and to get money for living expenses. After a day on a construction site the last thing ur in the mood for is watching video tutorials when you come home, just depressing i guess, you go though life struggling to end up dying anyways, guess im a bit depresive too =/. Meh can only hope for a better tomorow i guess

Kanga
11-16-2009, 03:11 AM
I'm doing a Game Design course at University and i think, i believe its safe to say the only reason im paying £10,000 (for the 3 years) is for the piece of paper saying i done the degree.
Ok for a dedicated course you will pay much much more. Check out the VFS course prices.
They cram alot of work into a short period of time, then u have about 6 month break, which is just stupid. Back to the subjects, there are way to many and they just teach you the basics and then move on to the next. So now i ask you, how the hell am i supposed to build up a proffesional portfolio when you learn Max 3D and its complexity does not expand beyond creating a truck from lego?. Or tell me this, how am i supposed to create/learn Maya when the teacher does not know the program himself? In max 3d i asked my teacher if we can use V-ray to render, she said "what is that?".
Firstly many schools don't even look at an instructors portfolio, just at the qualifications, thats how the education industry works. Many teachers are just plucked from the art department and have to learn the skills themselves. With all the other things teachers must do that leaves them little time to study so they are at best a half a step in front of there students, or in your case a half a step behind. The bad thing about this is that a production line relies on solid work being done in the beginning because further on the product will be effected. Schools in general cant afford good instructors because they get better money doing the work in the industry itself. Unless it is an expensive dedicated course. Also there appears to be exceptions to this rule but you will have to look for them.
In maya i asked the teacher a simple question, and he said "follow the tutorial", the tutorial being the standard tutorials that come with maya. So overall its just a waste of time, you can do these things in your speare time and still have £10,000 in your pocket. I guess its a small price to pay for a piece of paper that will somewhat identify you for the rest of your life.
You should be learning the basics and expand from that. To get a professional port folio is one of the hardest things there is. If you go to an expensive or 'good' institution you will still have to build your own folio, by yourself. Doing tutorials that come with applications is how I learned what I have. 3dmax has the best tutorials out there.

To make a good folio hang out on wip forums and look, learn and do likewise, simple as that. During your course and in the break learn about colour theory, anatomy, painting, level design, join a mod and participate in it. The list goes on.

This thread points to many good institutions so I would say a big part of your problem is that you haven't shopped around at all. Read the rest of this thread to find that advice.

Take care to use good grammar and spell checking when on forums otherwise people will think you are not the sharpest tool in the shed and take you less seriously.

gyphorz
11-16-2009, 07:52 AM
Thank you for taking the time to reply.

Doing tutorials that come with applications is how I learned what I have. 3dmax has the best tutorials out there.

Yes, they are good however, one would expect the teacher to "teach" and not sit on his laptop checking his mail while you follow free tutorials online. Also yes, i do agree with the lack of skilled teachers in further education.

This thread points to many good institutions so I would say a big part of your problem is that you haven't shopped around at all. Read the rest of this thread to find that advice.

I cant say I had much time, I am only 19. The only time that I could have chosen to attend a private course in Maya/Max 3D, I was informed by my career adviser that I am better of choosing a University course. In UK, the only accredited University in Game Design i believe is in Scotland, and that wasn’t an option.

I am very grateful for you advise. I will try my best to find a institution to further develop my Maya/Max 3d skills during my summer break.

leigh
11-16-2009, 10:27 AM
I do try, my life is full up. My gf complains i dont spend enough time with her, at uni i have assigment after assigment to hand in, and when i break for holiday i usually work at a construction site from 8 till 4 to get enough money to pay for my university and to get money for living expenses. After a day on a construction site the last thing ur in the mood for is watching video tutorials when you come home, just depressing i guess, you go though life struggling to end up dying anyways, guess im a bit depresive too =/. Meh can only hope for a better tomorow i guess

If you're struggling this much, you probably shouldn't have bothered with uni, honestly. Especially since it sounds like the course you're doing is bollocks anyway. It really sounds like you wasted your money, and considering most studios don't care about degrees... well, maybe it would have been better to take a different avenue.

DanielWray
11-16-2009, 02:59 PM
I'm doing a Game Design course at University and i think, i believe its safe to say the only reason im paying £10,000 (for the 3 years) is for the piece of paper saying i done the degree.

They cram alot of work into a short period of time, then u have about 6 month break, which is just stupid. Back to the subjects, there are way to many and they just teach you the basics and then move on to the next. So now i ask you, how the hell am i supposed to build up a proffesional portfolio when you learn Max 3D and its complexity does not expand beyond creating a truck from lego?. Or tell me this, how am i supposed to create/learn Maya when the teacher does not know the program himself? In max 3d i asked my teacher if we can use V-ray to render, she said "what is that?".

In maya i asked the teacher a simple question, and he said "follow the tutorial", the tutorial being the standard tutorials that come with maya. So overall its just a waste of time, you can do these things in your speare time and still have £10,000 in your pocket. I guess its a small price to pay for a piece of paper that will somewhat identify you for the rest of your life.

I personally think you joined the wrong course, From what I've seen Game design at university is mostly about gaming mechanics and how to design good games, it doesn't really delve in to the art side, or the technical side, as far as modeling and animation go.

I feel the best courses for CG artists is a Ba in fine arts or a Ba in motion graphics, it's goal is to make you a better artist by developing core skills, something that can transcend across many different applications, I mean if you know form well then you should be pretty good at modeling in any package. Learning the application is a very small part of being good, well that's the way I see it.

Also, (Yes this is turning into a rant :P ) I believe with university you are investing in yourself, you get four years to develop your skills and to branch out and try new things, be it new artistic styles or whole new subjects. When I was working in a studio I was working on projects that didn't really push me, well in the parts where it counted most to me and I had very little time outside of this, or even the energy to make time. At university I do have to study, But I get all this free time that I can dedicate to the parts where I want to improve upon.

That in itself is worth £10,000 to me. But I guess everyone see's it differently.

Intervain
11-16-2009, 04:52 PM
I agree with you. From personal experience I know that a University teaches you many skills which come in useful later that are not so evident right when you're at school. A simple example: I studied literature - so completely unrelated to 3d - and what I learned very well when working on both of my thesis was research - not just clicking a search button on the internet but finding small bits of info in a huge library for example... It would seem that finding info now, with the easy access to the net, would be a piece of cake but I was shocked to see how hard it is for some people to specify their search definitions properly in order to find info very quickly and in great bulk.
IMO education is always a plus and a good investment in oneself - it can seem pointless at times but comes in useful in the most unexpected ways.
+ there's always people who just 'believe' in a piece of paper... like governments who issue visas

kelgy
11-16-2009, 05:23 PM
The only courses I found useful at university were classical literature and philosophy and when I left prematurely I would buy books by looking at the reading list for a course and read them on my own, and use their library resources to further my knowledge. I didnt have to pay them for that.

Unless the university is close to industry like in Southern California the art making programs are usually an afterthought since they are guaranteed funding by the government no matter what they do.
And they can be lazy in updating their calenders(i.e. they offer animation courses one year-but then phase them out and don't update their calenders to reflect it).
The situation was very bad in BC so it was no wonder that for profit art schools started to spring up to provide more choices for professional skills training.

circusboy
11-17-2009, 01:13 PM
- A Bachelor's in Computer Science speciallizing in graphics - from what I gather that would be geared towards programming graphics programs and introducing technical innovations to graphics, not at all connected to the actual art part... or is it? I've never heard of a programme like that - hence the question
Most often less 'artistic' yes. Thats why I would suggested such a student should have a flair for sciences, physics, etc. However successful graduates could go on the work and places like Autodesk, or high-end production facilities like ILM, Pixar or many of the large game companies as 'tool builders' aka developers for production artists. And occasionaly you do get folks that can meld great things from both Computer Science (programming) and Art and those folks can do anything they want anywhere they want!


BTW gyphorz if your teacher is only one page ahead of you in the manual your school is probably crap. They aren't all like that. The best in europe IMHO (but you probably have to speak French).
http://www.gobelins.fr/presentation-gb.htm
But they at least have some partner-schools in the UK. Maybe those are the ones you should attend...

eek
11-17-2009, 02:03 PM
Every time I see threads like this I say the same thing I've said for years. Do not teach game development or computer graphics!

Learn core development studies - art, color theory, film theory, 2d animation, editing, architecture, sculpture, woodworking, photograph, cultural studies, design etc. Or from a programming standpoint, robotics, Ai, coding paradigms, compSci, game logic, physics.

Even if you do this at home, part-time, anywhere ( go to the library everyday) get some grounding in what your 'aiming' to become - game development, CGI is incredibly specialized fragment of a greater body of study that you have to understand.

As to instructors at the very least look at their portfolio, my instructors were also freelance professionals - my animation instructor Peter Parr was working in the industry for over 30 years! Look for instructors who have worked in the industry and are still attached to it (freelance, speaker, etc) At the very least find a mentor who knows the industry and can help you out. I'd did this myself and still do to a certain point - reviewing work, animations, rigs of friends trying to break into the industry.

If you want to specialize in game development, either get a junior position in a company learning the ropes, stay on in school and take a masters in game development or course like Escape, or pick up the program yourself and a good solid book/dvd (new riders, gnomen) and learn it either during or after uni. (summer breaks anyone?)

IMO i think the problem is people want stuff IMMEDIATELY, rush rush rush! - Studying an app in a restricted school structure with no real professional scope, and expect to churn out a shit hot reel in 6 months to a year.

leigh
11-17-2009, 02:27 PM
Always insightful to see moderators on a professional forum help lower the expectations and possibly cause more esteem issues to posters.

Excuse me, but what is your problem? It sounds like this guy is struggling to make ends meet and balance things, in which case perhaps he should choose an alternative route. Sorry but I don't see the point in wasting thousands of pounds on what is obviously a useless course. Especially when it comes to big financial investments, if it's putting a strain on you, don't kill yourself trying to meet it, especially if the outcome is going to be of little use to you anyway.

It shows up more about them than the poster in question.

Wow, and a presumptuous, feeble psychoanalysis to boot. Thanks for the insight there Freud, but you go ahead and keep it to yourself, thanks. By all appearances, I've spent a lot more of my time over the years helping people on this site than you have, so keep your accusatory finger pointed somewhere else.

Gotta love the people who insist on fighting imaginary crusades.

eek
11-17-2009, 03:19 PM
<offTopic>
Excuse me, but what is your problem? It sounds like this guy is struggling to make ends meet and balance things, in which case perhaps he should choose an alternative route. Sorry but I don't see the point in wasting thousands of pounds on what is obviously a useless course. Especially when it comes to big financial investments, if it's putting a strain on you, don't kill yourself trying to meet it, especially if the outcome is going to be of little use to you anyway.



Wow, and a presumptuous, feeble psychoanalysis to boot. Thanks for the insight there Freud, but you go ahead and keep it to yourself, thanks. By all appearances, I've spent a lot more of my time over the years helping people on this site than you have, so keep your accusatory finger pointed somewhere else.

Gotta love the people who insist on fighting imaginary crusades.

I apologize, just trying to give the guy a break. I just don't see any point in shooting someone down, who is already pretty low. - It seemed like being a troll to me IMO. As to me being Freud :) - oh how I wish, but sadly I never knew your mother lol. I was'nt trying to be accusatorial, all we can do here is judge a person on the quality of there words. Posts as every moderator rightly has to justify themselves can't be fluff, filling the void, derogatory - but constructive criticism. I overstep'ed, and resolved my comment to keep it constructive and to the point of the topic.

Young minds Leigh are looking up to you, seriously, and all the other moderators and posters who work in the professional field for insights, help, words of wisdom and well, laid out critical analysis and constructive criticism. Telling someone there course is bo**ocks, and that they wasted there time, first damages there self-esteem that there taking the course, secondly damages all the teachers, staff and other students who know the poster in the course. And damages the public face of CGSociety - you have immense power, and people will hang off your every word.
</offTopic>



cheers,

Hauzer
11-17-2009, 10:36 PM
Young minds Leigh are looking up to you, seriously, and all the other moderators and posters who work in the professional field for insights, help, words of wisdom and well, laid out critical analysis and constructive criticism. Telling someone there course is bo**ocks, and that they wasted there time, first damages there self-esteem that there taking the course, secondly damages all the teachers, staff and other students who know the poster in the course. And damages the public face of CGSociety - you have immense power, and people will hang off your every word.

A good instructor/rolemodel is someone who tells you what you don't want to hear. She spoke the truth.

</OT>

Now back to our regularly scheduled program...

Radon
12-25-2009, 06:38 AM
I went to one of the more well known schools for 3D, and while in the end the teaching wasn't the best, I did have access to everything I needed as well as I got to meet a bunch of other people who like me were interested in 3D.

A year and a half after graduating I'm working for a great studio and having a blast working on projects that I really enjoy, and the job I have now is because of someone I met in school.

Now with all that said the people in my class that didn't care or to be honest, sucked, ended up wasting a large sum of money, but if you think about it people take courses they end up hating in university as well...

monuda85
12-25-2009, 11:42 PM
I went to one of the more well known schools for 3D, and while in the end the teaching wasn't the best, I did have access to everything I needed as well as I got to meet a bunch of other people who like me were interested in 3D.

A year and a half after graduating I'm working for a great studio and having a blast working on projects that I really enjoy, and the job I have now is because of someone I met in school.

Now with all that said the people in my class that didn't care or to be honest, sucked, ended up wasting a large sum of money, but if you think about it people take courses they end up hating in university as well...

That is really great for you,myself I went to one of schools in Vancouver..and I ended up not having a permanent position after 6 months of unpaid internship with some unknown company. Now,I am studying by myself again and recreating my demo reel to apply for Pixar,and I have seen people who ended up like me and gave up 3D carrers. But I am not going to give up. After reading this article,it gave me more courages and motivation as well as making me realize what is the most important thing to get there. It is all about getting the first feeling when we approched to 3D and be passoniate about what you really want to do in the future.

BigJay
01-01-2010, 01:27 AM
My friend's son went to college for 3D and they didn't teach anatomy, color theory or any of the other staples of being an artist. Even worst the Teacher gave out projects without teaching them how to actually model, UV, or even animate. I spent most evenings teaching him over IM or on phone or pointing him to tutorials to teach him since he was out of state. It's horrible what some of these colleges are offering as 3D lessons.

R10k
01-01-2010, 02:16 AM
My friend's son went to college for 3D and they didn't teach anatomy, color theory or any of the other staples of being an artist.

Why would they? Are they supposed to teach impressionist painting as well? Learning the principles of 3D and being a well-trained artist in the staples you mention are two entirely different things. If it's a 3D course, then yes, learning to UV and model should be part of it. Those are technical skills, like using a ruler or holding a pencil the right way around. Certain institutions rightly separate the technical skills of 3D from everything else artistic. If someone goes to an institution for 3D training, you should expect 3D training, not training in everything under the sun.

Fess1001
01-01-2010, 03:29 PM
Why would they? Are they supposed to teach impressionist painting as well? Learning the principles of 3D and being a well-trained artist in the staples you mention are two entirely different things. If it's a 3D course, then yes, learning to UV and model should be part of it. Those are technical skills, like using a ruler or holding a pencil the right way around. Certain institutions rightly separate the technical skills of 3D from everything else artistic. If someone goes to an institution for 3D training, you should expect 3D training, not training in everything under the sun.

3d art = traditional art (art) + knowledge of software (At least in my understanding). I think the most successful courses are the ones that teach both.

R10k
01-01-2010, 04:35 PM
I think the most successful courses are the ones that teach both.

Sure, I completely agree. I guess the point was that it's silly to complain that a 3D course must offer the art side of things. If it's just a 3D course, it can be either solely technical or have the artistic part included. Of course, I'm just working off what BigJay said. Perhaps there's more to the story.

circusboy
01-08-2010, 03:41 PM
If art is important to you - you are best off with a Art school that has a (good) 3d program rather than the other way around. 'Art' from a 3d school will be limited.

Best to look for something with a strong reputation in both.

grafikimon
01-10-2010, 01:19 AM
... repeat of a post

Sphinxthelion
01-25-2010, 04:10 AM
I decided that my post was irrelevant. And my opinion doesn't really matter. So in the name of professionalism, I have deleted my post.

Have a nice day.

Anchang-Style
01-27-2010, 10:23 AM
I think the last part is a nice line (or several nice lines)


“My advice for any prospective student would be to take a step back and look what you are looking to gain from university,” says Matthew O’ Neill. “Attending university is no longer a prestigious thing which you should be grateful for. You are buying something with your own money, so think of it as a business decision.”




The Question for me would be "how much more can i gain by investing money in books and literature which are (if choosen rightly) giving a very good view on the skills to start of with modelling". After reading some pages of Paul Steed's book i realise how hard it must have been to learn skills back in the days (ok early 90's) with just try and error. Ofcourse today the standards rose but with it the possibilities to learn rose. Several great pages providing tutorials, books that really teach you what you need to know and several video portals you can learn a lot for free. If you want to spend money you can find A LOT material like DT, books and stuff and by the online communication getting into contact with talented people who often are willed to help you out (i once wrote an email to an artist who worked with pixar and who made some test models for Cry Engine 2...impressive work and just asked him what literature to read to get into the main functions and he answered me in a very nice way giving me literature recommendations). Long talk short i think you can reach a lot by self study. I dont want to say University courses are useless but it's possible to reach a certain level without it (like with music instruments...if you are hanging with it and work hard you can get pretty far).
I guess all of this was said before but o well.

Rusch
02-13-2010, 03:19 PM
On a lighter note. Anyone in the UK planning on studying games design or development there is now another route available. Train2Game is a new distance learning course developed in partnership with UK based games studios. It is well worth checking out. They are closely associated with TIGA.

Also some of the content is delivered by industry proffesionals. It is relatively new but it looks really promising. You can also check out course content online. You will also have access to good quality game engines to test your work out on.

If they deliver what they intend on delivering it could well turn out to be the prefered route into the UK games industry. Looks exciting to say the least. http://www.train2game.com/index.html

TheANIMAL
02-15-2010, 11:00 AM
In my opinion the most valuble class you should take for being any sort of artists is just that, a traditional art class.

The rest is just not worth teaching in a classroom, unless you are desperate to learn as fast as possible and are prepaired to do the spare time work with the course work.

DanielWray
02-15-2010, 03:35 PM
Agreed, as long as this traditional art class is well run and teaches the student how to learn and develop their skills on their own.

I think more time should be spent on this actually, because from my experience a lot of students on these courses, 2D traditional and 3D believe that by doing a course they will some how magically be qualified at the end, which just isn't true. Same with every course really, but I think it's very evident with a course that requires a skill such as this.

At the end of the day, put enough hard work, time and energy into anything and it will pay off. It may take months or years before you finally reach your goal, but at the end of the day you will probably have more fun during that time of reaching, than when you actually grab it ;)

vravro
02-15-2010, 04:18 PM
It depends on the school. If you're going to attend a school like vfs, then it's worth every penny. On the other hand if you're going to spend 25k at a mediocre art institute, then depending on how much you can keep yourself motivated and how hard working you are, it'll probably be best to learn everything yourself.

MrPositive
02-16-2010, 07:29 PM
It depends on the school. If you're going to attend a school like vfs, then it's worth every penny. On the other hand if you're going to spend 25k at a mediocre art institute, then depending on how much you can keep yourself motivated and how hard working you are, it'll probably be best to learn everything yourself.

VFS is 35,000+ for 1 year, and AI is 21,000 per year and most receive large U.S. financial aid and grants, which lowers this considerably (according to cgtalk members who attended AI's-though AI varies greatly in quality from school to school). This is not in promotion of either school (as both schools have actually produced a multitude of professionals (http://forums.cgsociety.org/showthread.php?f=154&t=823993&page=1&pp=15&highlight=borderlands) in the field), but broad generalizations can be very damaging to people. Please refrain.

http://forums.cgsociety.org/showthread.php?f=285&t=748071

P.S. IUPUI is 5,000 a year if you live in Indiana (and many attend for free due to grants) <---- gratuitous plug (though none of you probably live in Indiana) :) or :(

In the end, however, I've found that success is about fit and desire (and avoiding completely shite schools).

vravro
02-20-2010, 03:33 AM
Uh, yeah, that wasn't what I meant of course. I wasn't trying to discredit AIs in general. I guess I should've just said "mediocre art schools".

MrPositive
02-20-2010, 05:25 PM
Uh, yeah, that wasn't what I meant of course. I wasn't trying to discredit AIs in general. I guess I should've just said "mediocre art schools".

Meh, AI's certainly deserve some discrediting. But I am in the trenches there from time to time, and have seen some whole scale changes. Take that as you will. Shrug.

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