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Old 10-03-2006, 11:34 AM   #61
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job market question

Wow. I really appreciate the wisdom and info in your writing. The parts I recognized seemed smart and accurate.

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

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

I think there is opportunity. But I'm still new and just starting to grow in 3D-land. But I think I see several promising directions. I hear encouragement from prospective clients. Am I kidding myself?
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Old 10-03-2006, 01:14 PM   #62
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i've just finished my school and was one of the lucky ones that my ex-internship company loved my work. Now i'm back there and i'm the only one in my kind what gives me a pretty nice position. Just try to keep doing my best and dont try to exploit my position for a while.

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

The industrie as i see it is very unstable though... if you are good at it, it might be a bit easier... but even than. Most of the time it's only project based... and you have start looking for a new project all over again. Your resume helps... but not allways.
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Old 10-07-2006, 11:50 AM   #63
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For me i feel sometimes that i got to a dead end concerning CG !
 
Old 10-22-2006, 08:47 AM   #64
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Hi, sorry it’s been awhile, I’ve been busy in production, but I’d like address some of the questions and issues that were brought up...


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

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


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

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


Don’t most animators at the bigger, more well known studios such as DreamWorks, Sony, Pixar, etc. have degrees since the projects are heavier and more subtle skills are required that are almost impossible to self-teach?

Sure, many people have degrees. How many? You wouldn’t really know because it doesn’t come up in day to day conversation that often, because prior education is rarely a topic of interest. Most people are more interested in what projects you have worked on and the places you have worked. You’re more likely to find camaraderie in past experiences than where you went to school.

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

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


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


I know many self made VFX artists, but then, maybe I know more people than you. I tease! Seriously though, they are out there, especially the older ones who didn’t realize this would ever be a viable industry and who were merely in it for fun. You unfairly limit yourself with that statement. VFX is just one of the many facets of the Computer Graphics community. Think about all the startup companies (especially in video games) whose core team were college dropouts or just out of high school.

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

The freelance artist in the 3D industry is common. If what you mean by independent is, someone who is paid to create their own ideas and inspirations, then that is really rare. However, there are plenty of freelance jobs out there to those with good talent, a great portfolio, and experience. It requires a great deal of persistence, patience and business savvy to survive on your own, so be prepared for what is probably a harsh reality. The people I know that survive on freelance usually subsidize their income with teaching at a school or some other steady part time work. The few people I know that only do freelance to survive are so talented that their phone wouldn’t stop ringing if they wanted it to.


If there are more questions, feel free, I’ll eventually get around to responding!
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Old 10-22-2006, 09:03 PM   #65
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Interesting to hear the different perspectives. I still tend to agree more with -dc- in that if an artist has the skills and can show it with a killer demo reel, then a missing degree on their resume can be overlooked. I wonder however, if this will not change over the next five or so years. In addition to my studio job, I also teach part time nights at a local art college. I see a lot of students... and am constantly reminded of how many of them are eventually going to try and enter the job market. Perhaps as the industry starts to balance out, and eventually have an oversaturation of talent, degrees will become a minimum requirement?

Interested in hearing your thoughts.
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Old 10-23-2006, 05:23 PM   #66
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To keep this short.


Thank you.
 
Old 10-24-2006, 06:22 PM   #67
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Quote:
Originally Posted by -dc-
Hi, sorry it’s been awhile, I’ve been busy in production, but I’d like address some of the questions and issues that were brought up...

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


I know many self made VFX artists, but then, maybe I know more people than you. I tease! Seriously though, they are out there, especially the older ones who didn’t realize this would ever be a viable industry and who were merely in it for fun. You unfairly limit yourself with that statement. VFX is just one of the many facets of the Computer Graphics community. Think about all the startup companies (especially in video games) whose core team were college dropouts or just out of high school.

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


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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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


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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

-vfxdude
 
Old 10-25-2006, 06:02 AM   #68
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Vfxdude, I agree with everything you've said, and I think your participation in this thread is definitely beneficial to those readers who are interested in learning how the industry works, how to get a job, and what they can expect.

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

I think all of your points on the value of a college education are great, and I couldn't agree more. In addition to potential career changes, having something to fall back on is always nice.
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Old 10-26-2006, 12:48 AM   #69
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This is GOLD

Quote:
Originally Posted by vfxdude2


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

-vfxdude


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


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

This thread is Gold ty for ur time and dedication on writing this -dc- and for ur feedback Vfxdude.
 
Old 10-26-2006, 03:52 AM   #70
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Oh -- I wasn't saying I got a job at ILM without a reel (I mentioned that parenthetically... sorry... must've gotten a little lost).

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

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

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

-vfxdude


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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

I think all of your points on the value of a college education are great, and I couldn't agree more. In addition to potential career changes, having something to fall back on is always nice.
 
Old 10-26-2006, 03:58 AM   #71
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gaudy
Many ppl in the CGI industry mostly Film industry should have a license, man theres so many piece of crap outside.


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

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



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

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

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

(Same with doctors, lawyers, etc.)

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

-vfxdude
 
Old 11-10-2006, 06:02 AM   #72
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Thank u very much , it helps me a lot 'n' so many other people too who r interested in CG.


Cheers,
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Old 11-14-2006, 07:15 AM   #73
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vfxdude2

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

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

-vfxdude


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

Last edited by MrPositive : 01-15-2008 at 07:34 PM.
 
Old 11-20-2006, 07:09 PM   #74
xmidnight8x
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awesome advice, thanks man.
 
Old 11-22-2006, 05:15 PM   #75
gonchelas
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can somebody help me please

I dont know if this is tehe right place to ask this question but it was recomended by a friend:

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

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

TKS
 
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