Pursuing a Career In VFX Was The Worst Decision i Ever Made

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  06 June 2016
Originally Posted by flightspace: Ok hear this asshole...



To get this out of the way ASAP: People don't like hiring people who get nasty or have an attitude with others - especially if they're juniors who haven't established themselves yet or have the career breadth to carry any real weight. Be careful with any attitude online. Even if you think you have the right to be pissed at someone, you might consider editing your post for the sake of your career - especially if your name is listed under your screen name since it's amazing what a google search will bring up theses days....just saying.

About the minimum wage comments - everyone who works should be entitled to earn at least minimum wage, but there's only so many entry CG jobs to go around. If the competition is tough, you might not earn THAT particular minimum wage job, if it hasn't already been designated a 'volunteer' job with no pay.

Anyway the images you posted, to my eyes fall in the ~PS3 quality-level, which is still very viable within the mobile cell phone gaming market, VR gaming market, and web sales/marketing field. Those are markets that could make use of your current skill-set right now, so it might be worth looking into more vs VFX.

In regards to VFX, if that's the industry you really want to pursue, then IMO you should specialize in one thing to make yourself more marketable. If you do enjoy being a generalist though, then I'd shoot for alternate markets. Maybe find an indie-game developer/programmer to work for where you might get a wide range of tasks to tackle and not be under intense scrutiny for realism perfection. It'll also help keep things fun and fresh for you in regards to where you're currently at.



Earlier you mentioned you think you did your boss's job for them. Their job isn't always to do the actual work if that's not how their time is best spent. Often times a lead/boss is managing other people/projects/emails - keeping everyone on the same page, communicating, discussing budgets, juggling future projects/clients, dealing with pipeline issues, helping other employees, going to meetings, keeping things running that you just expect to work (servers, render farm, software subscriptions/updates, databases) fixing other people's mistakes, etc.

They might not even involve you in a lot of the communications/emails for every little thing. If you're down in the trenches working on a project for a long time, it's understandable that you might feel like you're the only one doing the actual work - because for that particular task, you might be! That doesn't mean the guy higher than you is lazy though.

If they can direct juniors how to do things and jump in to give guidance when necessary, then that is what they'll be doing a lot of if the rest of their time is used up with other things. It's not something you can necessarily appreciate until you're faced with doing it and then will also feel guilty for not being as hands-on with the work as you once were.

The other thing is....the VFX market seems to be struggling right now in terms of number of viable jobs still in CA or even the US.

It sounds to me like you should really pursue some of the non-AAA studios in alternative markets - of which it sounds like you've already had some success with, so keep at it! The alternative is to specialize and really master a particular skill that's in strong demand, but you might not have the time needed to really do that while also paying the bills.


The days of getting an automatic job because you know how to turn the dials in ____software have been over for about 15 years now. Studios expect a lot more

Last edited by sentry66 : 06 June 2016 at 05:31 PM.
 
  06 June 2016
From the images you posted, I'm not sure what job position you would be applying for. It seems you might have been depending too much on what the college had to offer and you needed to look at what jobs are available and what type of skills they are looking for for those jobs.
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The Z-Axis
 
  06 June 2016
So far everyone on here has offered advice to you, some hard truths or tough love but I'd take Sentry's advice and delete that earlier response before it comes back to bite you.

Besides that you sound clued up and even if VFX was/is your dream you have tried other areas of 3D, if you have time can you develop portfolios geared more to those areas of 3D, one for arch-vis for example? - perhaps there's too much variety in your portfolio. I hope things turn around for you, it sounds tough, I wasn't nearly as capable in 3D when I got my foot in the door - I think my USP was that I was an Englishman who applied for a job in an obscure city in Germany, that novelty was enough to get me in.

Great advice from 'ilovekaiju' too, 'I control my life and not the JOB' - I want that!
 
  06 June 2016
Originally Posted by flightspace: Ok hear this asshole. Thinking i'm good enough for at least an entry level job at minimum wage is not an inflated opinion of myself. Thats just self respect. I never claimed to be the best or mindblowingly amazing. But you can damn well bet i'm good enough. So you can take YOUR negative attitude and shove it because i have done absolutely everything within my power to make a liveable wage in this industry. I would not turn down a job as a runner, getting coffee for pissy little fucks like you as long as it paid. I'd even pretend to respect you. But the fact that you think having any sense of self worth at all, or faith in my abilities is arrogant--go fuck yourself 1000 times over.


Wow. This is not the right attitude you should have, and it's certainly not how you should respond to those with the balls to respond honestly. You made some poor choices with your education and it's unfortunately had some serious ramifications and that totally sucks (unfortunately a lot of people fall into similar traps), but you need to stop thinking you're entitled to a job, and prove it. Because the hard reality is that your work is not at a level where it's competitive for a VFX role, not even for a junior role. I'm sorry but that's just how it is. Now you can post an insulting reply to me if you want to, or you can take this as the advice it's intended to be: practice more, refine your skills, and improve your reel. The VFX industry is ridiculously competitive these days; furthermore, you chose to move to a city where you'll be competing for what few jobs there are with loads of people who are already skilled and experienced. You have to up your game a lot if you want to compete with them on an even playing field. That's not being negative, that's being realistic.

Lastly, being a generalist isn't necessarily a bad thing at all. In fact, in some studios these days there's been an increasing trend towards having a team of generalists. But you really need to have a killer reel to get yourself seen. If you want to work in VFX, have a reel which shows CG elements comped into live plates. However, at the same time, you might want to consider diversifying to broaden your employment scope; right now, it sounds like you need just any work to survive, so maybe don't just focus on VFX, but rather all potential CG avenues. You can then work towards eventually working in VFX while being able to pay your bills.
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leighvanderbyl.com
 
  06 June 2016
Maybe you put too much faith in the fact that only learning the software will get you a job. It doesnt mean much if you dont produce good images with it. I would invest some time in traditional techniques.
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http://www.vlad74.co.uk/
 
  06 June 2016
Originally Posted by flightspace:
And is it just me or does the excessive competition feel like 1000 rabid dogs fighting over a single steak? With the amount of people spreading the bullshit "there has never been a better time to get into VFX!" and the record number of films that use it, it really feels like this is just manufactured demand. There is a huge contradiction between market projections and actual experiences. People totally mislead you about the prospects but from what i can gather its basically at great depression levels, only you're not waiting around in some fenced off alleyway waiting for a factory man to show up with a pickup truck to pay you a dime a day, you're waiting in an application queue in some recruiters email inbox, and since its not overt you don't know how fucked you are.

Well thats pretty much it. Just look at all the CGI schools in California alone. Remember that maybe 10-20% on any graduating class is likely to 'make it' anywhere not just VFX. Then put them behind the folks that are already in line with previous work experience and some insider contacts in the studios they apply for. Its a long line unless you can cut-to-the-front some how. And like your school mates that made it-that can just be fantastic timing and dumb luck frankly.

The VFX industry is still very busy that is true. But there just aren't that many open postions Vs the yearly grind of new graduates coming out of even the good CGI schools. Anyone who works for any CGI school that tells how great the job prospects will be for *you* is no better than a used car sales man. Do some web searches on class action law suites and Art Institutes (and other schools). Its becoming quite an issue in general and not just for Animation and VFX.

Last edited by circusboy : 06 June 2016 at 01:41 PM.
 
  06 June 2016
I could rant all day about the state of VFX education, and the way unscrupulous schools fill prospective students' heads with nonsense fantasies about how they're all going to go work on Hollywood features, when anyone working in the industry knows there's simply nowhere near enough jobs to employ these new waves of grads every year. To be perfectly frank, it's an absolute scandal, and the staff at these schools should be ashamed of themselves.

And don't even get me started on the poor quality of a lot of the tuition itself. Students are ending up knee deep in debt, with reels that are nowhere near industry standard, yet they're pushed through graduation by instructors with little to no actual production experience, who are just as clueless as the students about what studios need. It's a sad state of affairs.
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leighvanderbyl.com

Last edited by leigh : 06 June 2016 at 02:02 PM.
 
  06 June 2016
Watch this video.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-sUXMzkh-jI

You won't find much sympathy among the many that have fought their way into the industry and continue to fight to stay relevant and employed. So, telling you the same thing I tell my kids, and my kids tell me, Suck it up and hit it again. You got this.

Rinse, repeat and you'll find your way. Screwing up is part of the process. It's how you earn your stripes.

Good luck
 
  06 June 2016
I imagine the reason why you're not getting callbacks from Starbucks and other minimum wage jobs is your resume makes them think you'd leave the job on short notice as soon as you found the work you actually want to do. I won't recommend flat out lying, but see if you can do some creative editing of your resume to make it appear like you're more passionate about a career in food/retail/whatever then you actually are. There's no law saying you have to put every job/academic achievement on your resume.

Also, to my eye, the photo-editing stuff you've posted looks a lot better than the 3d stuff. Maybe spend more time searching for work along those lines?
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KevinBaker.Artstation.com
 
  06 June 2016
It could be as simple as your attitude. Blowing up on strangers in a forum that are trying to help you is an immediate red flag. You have to learn to take criticism, even if it's unwanted or unwarranted. When you can't get along with others, it creates drama. And I would rather have an average artist that gets along with the rest of the team than an amazing artist that pisses all over everybody else on the team. Drama and negativity are a toxic virus to a studio environment.

One way to tell if it's your skills: if you aren't getting any interviews, your work isn't up to par. If you get called into onsite interviews and don't get the job, there's a chance you blew it in the interview. I look for people that are skilled and easy to get along with. Entry level people should be eager to learn. If they appear arrogant during the interview, their work would have to be stellar for me to keep them in mind. If they start talking about things and clearly don't know what they are talking about (this happens more often than it should), I don't really consider them at all.

Like I said, if you aren't getting interviews, your work isn't up to par. It's as simple as that. You might be amazing compared to everybody else you are surrounded by, but if you aren't getting the interview, somebody.. somewhere... better than you, is getting called in for an interview. The work has to get done so the seat is being filled by someone, just not you.

Here is your competition:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6cXMyAAvGSE
https://vimeo.com/154099902
https://vimeo.com/71116389
https://vimeo.com/20965918
https://vimeo.com/63886638

It's not good enough to say you can produce that quality of work, you have to show it. I can say I can hard surface model good enough to build all of the Transformers for ILM, or I can animate characters good enough for Pixar's Inside Out, or I can do dynamics good enough for Batman V. Superman so Weta should hire me, but do you believe me?

None of your work really looks like it fits in at a VFX studio. Get another job to pay the bills if you must. Survive. But work on your portfolio every chance you get. Never stop learning and never think you already know everything. There's nothing wrong with being a generalist, I am a generalist. But know your strengths and your weaknesses. Work on advancing your strengths first. And get a job focusing on that to get your foot in the door somewhere. I've been doing this for 13 years, I still have to constantly learn and improve my skills.

I also call BS on applying everywhere... game studios are always looking for QA people. If you get turned down for a QA position, you messed up somewhere along the way ( resume or interview ). It's not glamorous. It's not creative. The pay is awful. It's not even something you will really want to do. But you know what? 90% of getting a job is knowing the right people. If you get on somewhere in QA and you go out of your way to make sure you get to know the artists and let them know you're interested... and they like you... if you listen to their input and advice, they will absolutely recommend you for an entry level artist position when they have an opening.

Having said all of that, this profession isn't for everybody. There's nothing wrong settling down in another industry.
 
  06 June 2016
Originally Posted by circusboy: Well thats pretty much it. Just look at all the CGI schools in California alone. Remember that maybe 10-20% on any graduating class is likely to 'make it' anywhere not just VFX. Then put them behind the folks that are already in line with previous work experience and some insider contacts in the studios they apply for. Its a long line unless you can cut-to-the-front some how. And like your school mates that made it-that can just be fantastic timing and dumb luck frankly.

The VFX industry is still very busy that is true. But there just aren't that many open postions Vs the yearly grind of new graduates coming out of even the good CGI schools. Anyone who works for any CGI school that tells how great the job prospects will be for *you* is no better than a used car sales man. Do some web searches on class action law suites and Art Institutes (and other schools). Its becoming quite an issue in general and not just for Animation and VFX.


i've seen about 10x as much stuff out in vancouver and had a couple skype / phone interviews with studios out there. and yeah i know about the lawsuits. i would actually love to sue them, if not for false advertising then for how they seriously fucked up my student loans in a big way. i get that i was ripped off, but some of the teachers there were good. one of em wrote the book on maya. like literally, wrote the book, i have a book on my shelf written by her and her husband from before i went to school and i didn't even notice it until she mentioned it offhand in one of her classes. Some of the best teachers had to leave often because they had other productions. But even with the real mixed bag of teachers, my education didn't end at school, i'm pretty sure i've watched nearly every video digital tutors or gnomon has to offer. lets say hypothetically still i'm not good enough for an entry level job given a 4 year bachelors degree, and over 10,000 hours worth of work... all skullduggery aside, there is something seriously wrong with that. And what you're saying about cutting the line is absolutely true, i was offered a paid internship with pixar in college and i turned it down because it would have been nepotism. My mother met some of the executives over there on some kind of charity retreat and they gave me the internship without so much as even seeing a website while i hadn't even applied--dozens of the animation majors in my class had, they were better at it than me, and they weren't being considered. That kind of shit pisses me off. In hindsight, from a selfish perspective it was a total mistake. But it still feels like the right thing to do.

Had a conversation with a compositor from Method Design yesterday about this exact matter, Its hard to draw a line between networking and nepotism because people hire their friends even when theres someone as qualified or more qualified going through the traditional channels. (or the dead end email channel) It doesn't mean they're not qualified but there is a bit of favoritism, still, its hard to fault them for hiring someone whose work ethic and abilities they are actually familiar with.

For what its worth i take the people who claim they're speaking "hard truths" about as seriously as i take Trump's supposed "hard truths". I've lived with hard truths all my life. I know the hard truth of my situation, i know the people that have lied to me and the mistakes i've made along the way, the prospects are not good for me at the moment. These people provide no practical solutions, they tell me i'm not good enough, they want me to get down on myself, give up. Or try to be good enough for them. I have nothing to prove to those people. I'm a good artist. I know my worth. I know what i can do for an employer whether they see it or not. Whether you see it or not. I am always improving every day. thats not even a question. There isn't a higher gear i can kick it into.

and to Vlad; yes i am going back to the fundamentals, i have been doing a lot more lighting studies and the challenges on quickposes. been doing a lot more sketching lately. i see this as my greatest area for improvement at the moment.

Thank you to those of you who have provided tangible solutions, or considerations i can take into account, or ways to actually improve my craft which i am always looking for. ilovekaiju was especially helpful. I also appreciate those who have actually enjoyed my work instead of criticizing it. I will consider this all moving forward.
 
  06 June 2016
Originally Posted by flightspace: .....I also appreciate those who have actually enjoyed my work instead of criticizing it. I will consider this all moving forward.


i contemplated to write something longer, but tl;dr let me just say: "you are doing it wrong"
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WIPs - theremoteguy.tumblr.com
 
  06 June 2016
Your work is average. Neither bad, nor good. That's why you're not getting a job, because it just blends in with all the other average work. But hey, if you want to just write off the people who are honest and realistic as being like Donald Trump's bloviating, then I suggest you find another profession entirely, because you're not going to get anywhere with your current attitude. The people who tell you that you're great are actually the ones holding you back, and if you just let go of your ego, you'd see that.

But hey. What do I know, eh. Good luck.
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leighvanderbyl.com
 
  06 June 2016
Originally Posted by flightspace: These people provide no practical solutions, they tell me i'm not good enough, they want me to get down on myself, give up. Or try to be good enough for them. I have nothing to prove to those people. I'm a good artist. I know my worth. I know what i can do for an employer whether they see it or not. Whether you see it or not. I am always improving every day. thats not even a question. There isn't a higher gear i can kick it into.


haha.

I did offer a very practical solution for what it's worth, you just chose to ignore it because it involves hard work on getting better. You are choosing to ignore opinions that you don't like and only listening to blind support. You will sink lower if you keep that trait up, you're not 16 anymore.

There's a time most creative people hit in their early 20's when they realise the support of their family, friends, and people paid to keep them in school wasn't actually reflective of the quality of their work. it's often a hard realization, that all this support you've received up to date was just people being nice and it means dick all in the real world, and you can produce anything at any standard and they'll say it's great. This is true about all creative work, be it music, film making or art.
Most people who come to terms with this take it as an opportunity to get their head down and start studying because they still have that drive to be an artist of whatever form.

After 400 failed applications you're still latching onto the fact that a single teacher at a for-pay college (who gets reprimanded for failing students because the school looses money) telling you that your work was the best she'd ever seen. hate to break it to you but they didn't care, they just wanted to stick it out the whole time and pay up.
400 times you've been told it's not good enough, and still you think that one teacher knows better - than all those companies actually producing things in the industry. you feel that you know better than them all. than people with decades of experience on this forum.

Get a grip and take control of your life.

Last edited by cubiclegangster : 06 June 2016 at 09:38 PM.
 
  06 June 2016
For actual practical advice

Get this - http://www.evermotion.org/shop/show...ng-bundle/10827

And spend a couple of months going through it. After you are finished copying the examples use those skills to create a new, different scene using the same techniques. have it look even half as good as their examples and you are guaranteed to walk into a job.
You're based in the US and there is a massive shortage of people in arch viz. If you actually sat down and did some work on improving you'd have a job in it within 3 months.

If you're serious about getting a job you need to be serious about working on your skills. People with 20 years in the industry only ever learn that they have so much more to learn. Start a thread in the WIP forum here and post up progress every couple of days. listen to, pay attention to the feedback and really think about your decisions making process as you work.
 
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