Why 3D education isn't working - 3DWorld article online

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  12 December 2008
good discussion

good discussion but I don't understand but I can say 3D is an Art not a science
 
  12 December 2008
Originally Posted by selwy: 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
 
  12 December 2008
If they would just teach there students to "learn how to learn"... things would be much more simple.
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  12 December 2008
Originally Posted by Zac-Donald: 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.
 
  12 December 2008
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.
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Last edited by Aneks : 12 December 2008 at 06:32 AM.
 
  12 December 2008
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 !

Last edited by PixelTricks : 12 December 2008 at 04:25 PM.
 
  12 December 2008
Originally Posted by AmrThabet: good discussion but I don't understand but I can say 3D is an Art not a science


It's both. Tust me

- Neil
 
  12 December 2008
Quote: 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.
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  12 December 2008
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.
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Last edited by vfx : 12 December 2008 at 07:57 PM.
 
  12 December 2008
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.
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Last edited by Artbot : 12 December 2008 at 09:08 PM. Reason: grammar
 
  12 December 2008
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
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  12 December 2008
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
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  12 December 2008
Originally Posted by berniebernie: 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?
 
  12 December 2008
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.
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Last edited by SoundLightSaga : 12 December 2008 at 09:57 PM.
 
  12 December 2008
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
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