Learning without game art school. Suggestion on curriculum?

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  10 October 2013
Learning without game art school. Suggestion on curriculum?

So after reading through the pros and cons, I decided to learn 3d modeling on my own to become an environment artist.

I have a very loose curriculum to follow. It's basically learn:
-modeling tools in maya
-texturing in photoshop

I have a project (a game map idea) to help structure my workflow.
I bought an art fundamentals book from 3d Total for all the theoretical and artistic knowledge.
I'm starting to read through Maya's user guide.
I even purchased a subscription to Gnomon workshop, and while i did find a couple of their videos helpful, it's not that organized as digital tutors (tried DT's trial).

--Still, I don't know why i feel like I'm not learning anything now (I'm a month in). either 2 things happen:
1. I'll spend an entire day working on an asset but it feels like I'm doing tedious repetitive tasks mapping out a uv set, modeling, or troubleshooting poor geometry.
2. I'll jump around disorganized from tutorials online, gnomon videos, and maya's user guide depending on what i am looking for (It's VERY disorganized)

If anyone has learned game art independently (or not, just anyone experienced), I would greatly appreciate it if you gave some tips on how you organized some kind of curriculum for yourself.

Last edited by kinggambit : 10 October 2013 at 09:22 AM.
  10 October 2013
I did a lot of self studying so I guess I am qualified to give my point of view.
Donít worry that it takes too long, it will take some time.
I would take a look at some beginner tutorials. Digital Tutors is a great resource. I love the way they explain things. They do have videos, I believe they call it Library Reference videos where they explain tools. Which can be a good way to collect some random knowledge. Later on when you are working on a project you might remember the tool that can do the job, and you will go back and rewatch the tutorial and it will stickÖ
Also Autodesk has some good tutorials to get you started. I believe it is easier to learn from video tutorials then a book, at least in the beginning. Follow along with the tutorials, apply what you have learn to your personal project.
You will need to get some fundamental knowledge about modeling, texturing and lighting. It goes hand in hand. Learn about materials. It is a big part of texturing process.
Then you can take it further and learn about rigging and animation.
Step by step you will be getting better and better.

  10 October 2013
I have spent a lot of time in the passed trying to learn on my own before I enrolled in school. It all depends on your attitude on learning and how do you learn. I can tell you right now its not as easy as it may seems and there's just something about having someone there with you that is very knowledgable of what you are trying to achieve that no book or tutorial may provide. But then again that is just in my opinion. My advice is LEARN the crap out of anatomy, especially if you are seeking to get into character art at some point in the future. Most edge flow , rigging, joint placement etc... is all based around actual anatomy. Environment art should be a bit easier to become self taught in especially since the idea of edge flow isn't so harsh on hard surfaces. I remember when we had someone from a studio come visit our school looking to recruit and they said they were looking for animators. A kid raised his hand and asked "Hey so you guys aren't looking for any hard surface modelers". He then replied "Oh let me correct my self we are looking for hard surface modelers, who can model characters, rig and animate". The moral is that very seldom will you find a job where you will strictly be doing hard surface modeling. Especially in smaller studios. You should learn as many trades as possible even just the basics as it makes you more marketable in the end.

Good luck with your adventure !
3D Modeler & Technical Artist
  11 November 2013
Hi KingGambit,

I would say MoneyT is right.
My answer to you really depends on how good of an artist you are.

If you are a brilliant sculptor, and all you needed was to learn the technical side of Mudbox, Zbrush, 3D Coat, Maya, and 3DSMax, then i would point you in one direction.
And same if you're already an amazing painter wanting to do texture work.

But if you're looking to further your artistic skill at the same time you're learning technical processes to help your art look even better, than its going to be a long road of anatomy studies, hard surface engine studies, landscape studies, and youtube tutorials. And by studies i mean long hours of research, research of both written descriptions and LOTS of photo reference, and lots of time spent drawing / sculpting from photo reference. There's not a lot to teach about cracking open an anatomy book, opening ZBrush and just start sculpting... Over and over and over.

And thats where forums like CGTalk come in to help critique your work and let you become a better artist.

i hope this was helpful... it seams pretty useless and vague to me.
Is there a certain category or field of study you feel lost in?
  11 November 2013
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