A life doing CG....Is it worth it?

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  10 October 2017
some people think that video is exaggerated

...if they only new.

...it's true. all of it.

LightWave Forums
  11 November 2017
Yes and no.
It is late. I am bored. Waiting for a render. SoI will summarize how things went for me from my very very subjective perspective for the young guys who are starting.
Let them decide if it is worth it.

A life doing CG is a life, making art. And it has a few phases. And each phase can be stretched to infinity.

1. Learning phase. Although the CG art demands continuous learning like medicine, there is a time the frequency of learning new stuff is high and then it slows down but never stops.
This phase starts fromyour learning grounds (the school or your cave where you first started to watch tutorials). It goes up to the point wheresomeone briefs you for a job , leaves you alone without technical supervision to complete it in a given time and you get money. If you reached this point and you dig different workflow approaches rather than tutorials or learning only "the necessary new software", I would consider you a master at your own level, at peace and balance with the learning phase. There will always be people or teams way better than you, moving mountains but that doesn't mean you are not adequate. If you are delivering andable to satisfy clients without help, you are a master at your own level however low or high. Just be mature to acknowledge there are other levels with their respective masters operating on them.

2. Self-Discovery / Accumulation of Ideas Phase. You are now one of the people doing visually interesting stuff and you are making money working for someone, you have a purpose and feel good about yourself. Then, you slowly start to get tired of limitations. It is only natural as you grow. So a body of ideas starts to build inside of you. Like, "oh if we did this instead of what the client wanted, it would have been so much cooler." Or you break through some technical difficulty and wish you can even go further if you had your own way. When you are also working under inhumane conditions, these things really pile up. And your mindset starts to evolve from a worker bee to a project manager in disguise. You begin to notice major mistakes in your supervisor's decisions and strategy. It is slow but in time, you get very confident that you want to do your own thing, Your own content. So you start to collect, plan ahead. Finally, you have enoughjuice for your first attempt at it. Whatever your idea is.
Now if you reach this point, a few things can happen,
a- You get scared of the challenge and bail outon your ideas.Keep it as a worker bee. Try to be content with it. Eventually, you will be. People will find you easier to communicate and love you at the company. You are a good worker. Working on cool projects. This is not bad. And can be very rewarding as you become a senior.
b- You getscared of thechallenge andbail outon your ideas. Yet you are not at peace with what you are doing and become a conflicted negative person. You hide behind a mask of professionalism,live in denial that all of this is your own choice, blame the industry, waste away your precious years in your not so comfortable comfort zone on a somewhat steady job and try to live with that. I have never seen this ending well.
c- You have a revelation about what you really want to do with your skill, you get out there and start to do your own thing/produce your own content.
If you choose a and b. That's it for you. No more phases. So stretch it to infinity, as long as you can take it. Hopefully, a good retirement awaits you.
Option c takes you to the next step.

3. Creating Your Own Content Phase. Now, this can be education,where you sell/share your knowledge or it can be storytelling where you start selling stories or you can create assets or branch into design industry or apps, games,vfx, other parts of life using your amazing visual powers like a multiplier for better communication. When you do this, since you are calling the shots now, you are immediately introduced to the business side of things and see the work from a higher, different perspective. Now you have to think about a sustainable business plan and dance with some laws and regulations alongside the creative quality. At the beginning, you switch hats frequently between being a businessman and a supervisor creating art. This is quite hard and more stressful than anything you have encountered. Note that you are not very young at this point. But if you make it, eventually, you evolve into a full-time boss with a good judgment and eye, without doing the work yourself. You will have people working for your business. If you fail, with all the experience you have, you will probably not go back to phase2. But try the 3rd phase again till you become successful.
And once you are successful, it is the best thing. You have made it in this life. A good income and a level of social acceptance everyone wants in the community...

Last edited by mavinova : 11 November 2017 at 10:05 PM.
  11 November 2017
In case anyone's interested in listening to my 2c - a guy who didn't TAKE UP CG in life because:
1) He wasn't good enough, and it (the process of modelling) didn't turn out to be Fun,
and 2) It turned out that you don't get to be creative in this biz!! - ie. when you work at a place, they tell you what to make, and you just have to do it - that kinda stops the blood flowing through my body, right there! If I can't even make my OWN movies, my dream, then what the fuck GOOD is it??
  11 November 2017
Originally Posted by iamhereintheworld: In case anyone's interested in listening to my 2c - a guy who didn't TAKE UP CG in life because:
1) He wasn't good enough, and it (the process of modelling) didn't turn out to be Fun,
and 2) It turned out that you don't get to be creative in this biz!! - ie. when you work at a place, they tell you what to make, and you just have to do it - that kinda stops the blood flowing through my body, right there! If I can't even make my OWN movies, my dream, then what the fuck GOOD is it??
Anytime somebody gives you money they usually get to give you an opinion as well.
Hardly anyone gets money thrown at them for doing whatever they want. Or if they do - it is after they have been dead for a century or more.
  11 November 2017
Now that I'm doing supervisory work in a non entertainment related industry (I used to do VFX for film) or commercials related, It is so worth it. I've never had more creative freedom, autonomy, and a relaxed life.

I'm not a millionaire, but my pay is decent and live a happy life now. Sometimes I miss VFX, but then remember that paid vacation coming up and forget about it. I love movies, I love games, but fuck working on them.
Awesome Render button... ENGAGE!!
  11 November 2017
After over 20 years working as a freelancer, most of them quite successfully, I finally hit hard times I wasn't prepared for. Now, after a few bad years, I've settled into a full time job doing visualization in the furniture industry. It's not going to make me rich, but I get to leverage the skills I've spent so long developing, I get decent benefits, a retirement plan, and most weeks I work 40 hours. There are good careers to be had away from the craziness of VFX and games. You won't have your name in any credit rolls, or get to work on space battles, monsters, or expositions, but the opportunity to have a life outside of work and put down roots does a good job of making up for it.
  11 November 2017
Originally Posted by RobertoOrtiz: This happens in the life of any CG artists...
After all those late nights, bad pizza and long period of crunch time you start to wonder...
Is it worth it?

Late nights and frequent pizzas for dinner are partially the artists fault, for not saying no and being up front about quality of life standards they are looking for. We are not forced to say yes to those things, of course there has to be tact in saying no, and setting standards. 15+ years and never had more than one or two late nights in a row, self time management and being up front about workload with management helps too. I find it worth it, as long as quality of living is decent, work/life balance.

There are no "magic" programs that make you a better artist
  12 December 2017
Hey, I haven't posted in here in years!
Hope there are still people reading these forums.
Here is my take on it...
I hear most people change a couple of careers in their lifetime.
That must apply even to hardcore artists at some point.
I entered this industry at the age of 22 thinking I had what it takes to be successful.
After 20 years of work, I'm nowhere near to where I expected to be back then. The field got overcrowded, competition was crazy, most people worked for very little. The industry was eating itself out because kids out of college didn't know their worth.
I've spent more than half of my career as a freelancer even if it wasn't by choice. I've overworked myself when there was work, and did my best to promote my work when there wasn't.
But at the end of the day, I saw people with no talent doing no expertise jobs, making more than I did, and living more comfortable than I did.
Yet I kept learning new things, expanding my expertise to other design fields.
I learned programs that had little to do with Animation (even when I always thought myself as an animator). I went from animation to game development and programming, to product design and 3d printing. Whatever I could get my hands on.
I had my highs and lows. At the age of 40, i had to close my studio due to unexpected expenses, and I delivered pizza for a month due to total lack of work. Very humbling.
At the age of 41, I was awarded an almost year long project (based on all the crazy stuff I kept learning over the years, and a few referrals) that helped me pay off all my family's credit card debt within 3 months, and buy a new car and new computer equipment.
My taxes next year will probably be more than my gross income last year. Life is so crazy some times.
But to be honest with myself, I've been battling boredom and lack of concentration and occasional mild depression for over 10 years now. Internet became my arch enemy. Great for learning new things but not so great when it happens at the expense of work needing to be done.
This of course added more hours of actual work on my schedule, and less hours for family and living life.
So to conclude, I don't think I will be doing this for much longer. I don't think I will retire doing this. At some point I will have to find something else, new and exciting to do.
Something I can finally find the concentration to do and it will be worth doing.
But who knows.... When I finally retire, and I have all the time in the world, maybe I'll get back to doing this as a hobby. The way it was meant to be.

Animusing Productions
old animation stuff.

  12 December 2017
Dennik at 46, I feel ya. It's a hustle for sure and it gets both harder and easier, but nothing simple. I think the natural transition is to move out of production and into business development if you've acquired those skills and relationships and to make money off the backs of the new grinders coming out of school. It really is a good path as you provide the work for the new talent to cut their teeth and pursue their passions as you smooze and focus on the human part of business and life. People to people negotiations and creating an environment that creatives can thrive in.

I liken my career path to those in sports or possibly acting. You transition from field talent, to coaching to eventual team owner. In film, people transition from acting, to directing to producing. Same happens in music.

Try to find the paths that best utilize all your skill sets, expertise and experience.
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