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

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Old 12 December 2008   #61
And so what soft do you use for your effects work? I assume all you top guys have access to stuff we'll never see, so I was wondering if you think using the dvds to learn this stuff is a good idea or not, and how much different was your classroom hands-on compared to the self-paced stuff?


Did you do anything for the new star trek movie coming out? day the earth stood still?
 
Old 12 December 2008   #62
Man...I dont even know if you're serious or not anymore.

" I assume all you top guys have access to stuff we'll never see"

I am not a top guy, and we dont have any secret deals with autodesk.
And even if we did...

"so I was wondering if you think using the dvds to learn this stuff is a good idea or not"

Don't we all have to start somewhere?


So to answer your questions:
All of my effects work on Fringe is done using Maya. We have some scripts and tools that you will never have access to because they were written in-house, but they are all within maya.

My classroom was not fast paced enough for the most part. They didnt focus on the work we would encounter in the real world. Standards wernt high enough. A majority of my teachers were not industry people, they were fine artists or media artists. They did a lot of experimental stuff and digital imagery...They werent awesome modelers, tds, lighters... the only 2 cg classes I liked were my animation and rigging classes. Those two classes had professors with industry experience. My self paced stuff were about learning the tools. I read a lot of the maya docs. Borrowed a ton of books and dvds from the resource center. I contacted someone from sony imageworks and asked him a million questions (we stay in touch till today). I did 4 internships - I was working on shots for a tv show during my 2nd year of college. And tons of cg talk. I read it a lot. And till this day I still read and learn almost every evening after work.

As for star trek, I have not worked on it.

~Ilan
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Old 12 December 2008   #63
Originally Posted by ShekemUrShekem: The "slower students holding up the class" argument holds no water at all because everybody is going to be starting out in the intro classes anyway so it's going to be slow for the entire class. Nobody is starting out in the advanced classes anyway, so those not cut out for it will hit the brick wall shortly thereafter and not slow up future classes. It's a non-arguement.


The caliber of students in your school is a huge factor. If you are surrounded by other students who are as talented, dedicated, creative, and hard-working as you are, it pushes you forwards. It also gives you collaborators on your projects in school who bring as much as you do to the group projects, and gives you valuable connections you can continue communicating and working with after you graduate.

Teachers do try to teach their classes. If a class is full of students who need all the basics taught twice, teachers are pushed towards doing that. If the class is full of advanced students who want to race forwards and ask challenging questions, the teachers are pushed to move forwards more.

Your ability to skip classes you don't need is an issue to ask about when looking at different schools. Some schools give more flexibility to grad students, but require the undergrads to stick more closely to a set of required classes. If the curriculum will include classes you want to skip, you should know before you apply what provisions (if any) exist to let you skip them.

-jeremy
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Old 12 December 2008   #64
JB: I have no idea how art schools work, but I know I had to take psychology 101 before psychology 215 no matter how advanced I was in my knowledge of psychology, for example. I figured you had to progress linerally and fulfill certain prerequisites before you could take the more advanced classes. So, I was under the impression all new freshmen in vfx or whatnot must take the basic classes starting with the most basic of the basic and go forward from there, and since they don't do curriculum on the fly I'm not understanding how a class full of advanced guys taking intro to animation can push past the lesson plan in place.


Clarify that for me please


The guy from Zoic: Top guys are top guys.

Ilan Gabai
FX TD
Zoic Studios

I assume TD= technical director. I know Allan MacKay is TD of catastrophic fx and he's a top guy. I figured you also were a top guy as you have done work fot movies and television where 99.9% of the rest of us have not and never will.

By "stuff we will never see" I mean you may have had education I am not aware of so have had certain training not available on the market without going to vfx school. Am I being clear? Oh, yes, I am serious because I want to know how you guys all got as good as you are and what you used to get there. I'm mostly a 2d guy (CS, painter, et al.) but I have tried some vfx and modeling;animation not being my thing. I go back all the way to lightwave when they had tutorials on VHS and then found ed harriss of softimage fame and tried out texturing/rendering for a while, but to me it all paled before the special effects work I saw on the screen. I struggle to make a decision between 3ds max pflow and maya particle system because I see stuff from mac kay and draper then stuff from alvarez and the rest from gnomon and I'm torn between which is the more capable. I find pflow much easier but sometimes one needs basic modeling skills to integrate something into the fx and I detest modeling in max, so it's a quandary to me.
 
Old 12 December 2008   #65
Schools differ on what courses they let you skip, and how you get to skip them. At the Art Center College of Design I skipped the more basic video production and editing courses because I met with someone and discussed what I had previously done and studied. This is definitely something to talk about when you are looking at schools, if you feel that you can skip some classes. (As with many issues, it's good to speak with the students there about how well things work, not just the admissions people... at some places getting the classes you want/need is more difficult than it should be.)

TD (technical director) is a common job title that is often applied to 40-50% of employees at a studio, not just top employees.

-jeremy
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Old 12 December 2008   #66
This thread is getting a bit off topic.
Allan Mckay is a very good TD, but he is also the Founder of Catastrophic FX.
A technical director is a technical artist. A technical artist does stuff ranging from shots, scripting, R&D and so on...That does not mean that they are top people. I think that a top person is someone who stands out amongst everyone esle time aftert time. Recognized for their innovations and achievments. Not quite there yet buddy.


"By "stuff we will never see" I mean you may have had education I am not aware of so have had certain training not available on the market without going to vfx school."

I went to a fine arts school. And no, we dont have training that is not available to the market. Infact, I am going to share with you the online tutorial site that my professor for "motion dynamics" hosts: http://3dtutorials.michaelorourke.com/


It really isnt the education....this thread is pretty much saying that. Its about how dedicated you are. You want to get an industry job? Study art...read about art, go to museums, maybe even take an evening class or two at a local college, Experiment, read the maya docs:

http://download.autodesk.com/us/may...help/index.html

read GPU Gems:

http://http.developer.nvidia.com/GP...ems_pref01.html

Get a highend 3d package:

http://www.sidefx.com/index.php?opt...d=89&Itemid=277



Consider yourself hooked up!

~Ilan
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Old 12 December 2008   #67
I feel like perseverance is the most important, un-teachable aspect of a CG education. I graduated from a Big East university with a "computer graphics" degree - but with a demo reel that lacked all of the values employers were looking for (in 1999).

I spent my 20s working on two reels, doing tutorials, scrapping hundreds of clips, characters, modeling samples, etc. I finally settled on posting short playblasts of stuff I was working on and that did the trick. I'm 31 now and in a job I love.

I'm not sure a trade school would've been a 'fast track' to where I am now. Forget that they didn't exist in 1999. I think I still would've chosen a normal university/college experience over a specific CG-college situation. But, that's me.

My point is that you can teach yourself, but you need to be committed, beyond school. Winners don't even know they're in a race, they just like to run (Joe Pesci - With Honors). Good luck to you all and happy holidays.
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Old 12 December 2008   #68
Speaking from personal experience, getting into Gnomon's certificate program does require a portfolio. They require that students have a solid traditional background. As it has been stated on this forum before, learning the traditional arts will help one immensely in CG.

To get a good traditional portfolio, one can take a few classes at a local community college. Gnomon mostly cared about figure drawings, paintings, and what was in a sketchbook. One can develop all of these skills fairly cheaply.

Not considering money and other factors, the entire process, theoretically speaking, is fairly simple and straightforward. Spend a year or two developing your traditional skill set, spend another year or two learning the CG side of things, figure out what you want to specialize in and develop a demo-reel. Make the demo reel while comparing it to reels that you admire to see how it stacks up. Work on it enough to where it kicks ass and then mail it out. Eventually you will get a job.
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Old 12 December 2008   #69
In my country, Romania, there are NO 3D SCHOOLS, yet Ubisoft, EA, Gameloft,ViVendi, Iplay (just to name the international ones) all have studios here and create well ranked games with ungraduated people. So this talk about 3D schools, and about people who endlessly complaint about the lack of skills of their teachers is letting me cold.

You want something, in the end you will get it. You want to learn? Internet is the ideal teacher all you need to know is were to look and all romanians that work in the above studios got there only with internet tutoring . People who cry and tell everyone that they did not learn anything at their school and that it's the schools fault they are just like the persons who say they can't learn 3d because they don't have 8 cores in their comps. It's all excuses and they will don't get far.
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Old 12 December 2008   #70
Originally Posted by ShekemUrShekem: The "slower students holding up the class" argument holds no water at all


I tell you what, you go teach a class of students then get back to me when you've changed your mind.

To pad it out a bit more. Look at any decent sized school and youll find maths and english lessons split into 2-3 different tiers based on ability. Why? if slow students dont hold back the brighter ones, why split them up?

The crappy US 'no child left behind' scheme, have you taken a look at some of the writeups and reports into the effects it has? The overall result is that a small number of people who would otherwise have failed school, end up getting crap grades which turn out to not help them in the slightest. Whilst the disproportionate amount of time and resources this needs has taken a huge toll on the ability of the higher achievers.

A personal experience here. I get a class of 6 people turn up for corporate 3d training; 5 of them have taken a few hours to read through the tutorials and are up to speed with the basics, one guy knows absolutely nothing because he clearly couldnt be bothered.

What do I do? bore the 5 with the basics and teach them nothing for half the day, or ignore the other guy and teach the 5 what they need to know? I decided to hell with the one guy and spent the day teaching and answering what the others wanted to know.

You cant teach vastly differing ability levels in one class without screwing someone over.
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Last edited by imashination : 12 December 2008 at 04:22 PM.
 
Old 12 December 2008   #71
I am currently in a university that does not really require a certain level of skill before entering. I had to provide a portfolio of traditional skills, yes, but after i busted my gut to do the best portfolio possible, i realised mine was one of the best that got into the uni.
Me, and a few of my very talented peers are now actually telling the university that they need to have stronger portfolio entry requirements! You are getting it the wrong way round, a university course is not run like a business if they ask for portfolios, its run like a business if they DONT ask for portfolios, and just let anyone in that has money.

Im not trying to be bigheaded in any way, but i hate the fact that i have to now sit through incredibly basic lectures, when i already showed in my portfolio that i can do that, and i want to move on to more complicated techniques.

The fact is, if a student wants to learn this stuff, they will have started before they got to university. Its as simple as that. All the people on my course who are good now, are the people that started training themselves before they started and have continued to train themselves in their spare time.
I dont know anyone here that has started doing self learning since they started the course, if they did not already before the course began. They dont see the need to, and the university tells them that its fine to not bother by letting them onto the course and passing them on their assignments with sub-standard work.

What i would love is strict entry requirements, in depth teaching, and if students cant keep up, them they can either work like hell to keep up, or resit the year (or drop out if they have no motivation). Slow students in the class DOES slow everything down. I hate to sound like im being mean to the guys that struggle to keep up, but when im paying 30,000 for my degree, i want to know that i have learned everything i need by the time i graduate. If that means kicking out or holding back a few slow or lazy students along the way. so be it.
 
Old 12 December 2008   #72
Originally Posted by ShekemUrShekem: I don't want to hear how much of a 'rarity' it is to run into such elitist geeks, because it happens more than a little. Just like when you see cops busted for illegal crap they try to claim it's only a few bad apples when in reality corruption is much more widespread than they'd ever dare admit to. Cops, like school admissions panels, have the reputation of their organization to think about first and foremost, and will say whatever and do whatever they have to in order to keep that rep high.
This...is reality.


**in my case the school had had an animation section and part of my portfolio reflected that-but they decided to phase it out and didnt bother to update their course descriptions or mention that when making portfolio submissions. Also the teachers that were belligerent towards me had bad reputations. Years after my experience, one of them even kicked a school door in after students had given him a petition saying they didnt think they were learning enough in his class. The door kicker is still there.

It really bothered me at the time when I could not get into an art school after being so passionate about the work, but in the end it was the right decision, since the technology I would have used became obsolete and when I started in 3d I asked professional cg artists what i should do and they said to get the software and save the tuition money.

and this was a little before the prominence of digital tutors videos etc.

If you really want to learn, IMO you will find a way, although a helping hand doesnt hurt-if you can find one.
 
Old 12 December 2008   #73
Unhappy

An interesting read, and an interesting discussion.

I find I learn better in an "unstructured" environment, so here I sit on Saturday morning at 9:30AM, with coffee in one hand, Blender up, SPE with my Python plugin loaded.. hacking away.. while I have Carrara rendering a particle effect in the background.

I've taken a few focused cinematography classes at the local college, to fill in gaps, and one art theory class. I'm a firm believer in "learn the theory FIRST", since you can then apply it to any package (or use it to write your own and become a TD).

That said, some people learn better in a school environment - it's just kind of sad that it seems a lot of classes are of the "learn the buttons" variety, or those get pushed over the theory classes. Ugh.

It seems to me that between some good books, training DVDs, and places where you can get a decent critique (like CGTalk) you should be able to teach yourself, if you're motivated...
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Old 12 December 2008   #74
Originally Posted by space-sprayer: You are getting it the wrong way round, a university course is not run like a business if they ask for portfolios, its run like a business if they DONT ask for portfolios, and just let anyone in that has money.



Well, no. The portfolio requirement is like a job resume, hence it's like a business, whereas the open admissions system is more fair. Teachers are there to get people to learn, not just pander to those who they know are excellent so they can bolster their school's online gallery with stuff to show how great their people are. I know a guy in the Army who works in multimedia communications, and his job is to present the army and the MOS and the news and the print advertisements in the most exciting way possible which will convey to the viewers just how cool it is to be a soldier. I know how it's played there, and at these schools. It's no different. This whole issue reminds me of these lame prestigious kindergartens that some idiot parents try to get their kids into- and these places cost buku...for a 5 year old...and the kids come out of it no more educated than they would any other kindergarten. So, why do they spend the big bucks sending the kids there? Obvious answer is that it's NAME recognition and some delusion of elitism and PTA bragging rights.

I know everybody wants to be in the privatre club- I get it. However, to suggest to your school that because you believe you're mister advanced they should start locking out the less talented is just stupid. You got yours..great...who cares. Now you want to make it harder for the rest because you're so awesome? Man come on...save the pretense for when they are paying you millions of dollars to shake your used paint onto a canvas and calling it inspired.
 
Old 12 December 2008   #75
Originally Posted by ShekemUrShekem: Well, no. The portfolio requirement is like a job resume, hence it's like a business, whereas the open admissions system is more fair. Teachers are there to get people to learn, not just pander to those who they know are excellent so they can bolster their school's online gallery with stuff to show how great their people are. I know a guy in the Army who works in multimedia communications, and his job is to present the army and the MOS and the news and the print advertisements in the most exciting way possible which will convey to the viewers just how cool it is to be a soldier. I know how it's played there, and at these schools. It's no different. This whole issue reminds me of these lame prestigious kindergartens that some idiot parents try to get their kids into- and these places cost buku...for a 5 year old...and the kids come out of it no more educated than they would any other kindergarten. So, why do they spend the big bucks sending the kids there? Obvious answer is that it's NAME recognition and some delusion of elitism and PTA bragging rights.

I know everybody wants to be in the privatre club- I get it. However, to suggest to your school that because you believe you're mister advanced they should start locking out the less talented is just stupid. You got yours..great...who cares. Now you want to make it harder for the rest because you're so awesome? Man come on...save the pretense for when they are paying you millions of dollars to shake your used paint onto a canvas and calling it inspired.



I dont know if I'm buying your argument dude. First off...you cant really compare kindergartens to colleges.

Second...why is it ok that when there is a competition open to everyone, with no requirements - you argue that there are people that are too good, and they should be segregated from the "average people".

Here are your own words:

"I just don't see the point in a competition between top industry pros vesus the general public in a free for all with no constraints and no categories. It reminds me of the early days of the UFC when it was just a spectacle and we'd watch 160lb guys fight 350lb sumo wrestlers and get smashed- but it's fun to watch. What I mean by this is there are entrants who have obviously used either z-brush or mudbox and others are using software with half the power, and so they are hamstrung from the start. There should be category competitions- 3ds max modeling, maya modeling, mudbox modeling, etc. We can't have a comp between allan mckay and a guy using c4d particle systems and imagine it's fair or imagine that the loser would learn anything from losing 10 times in a row to him. It's like challenging stephen king to a short story contest...or a young arnold schwarzenegger to a pose-off on stage at the mr. olympia. What can be learned aside from the fact that you will never be as good as them no matter what you do?

Yes, one can be TOO good to be considered eligible to compete with the average man. Why do you think not just anybody can sign up with the new england patriots? just throw on a wizards jersey and walk out onto the court? bring a tennis racket to wimbledon and and beat nadal in 3 straight sets. Get the drift? This needs to be labeled a PRO COMP so that nobody else has aly illusions about its true nature. I'm not going to detail, entry by entry, which ones had access to stuff beyond the price range of 99% of the other entrants because it's a waste of my time- yet we both know it's an accurate statement. As a matter of fact, if I was one of the pros I'd take zero pride in winning against a bunch of amateurs, and I'd demand that this competition be partitioned, from this point on, in a way that provides for challenges between skill levels and whatnot. "

So if you are more advanced than the average guy, you should be seperated or banned from competing. But if you are more advanced than the average college applicants, you shouldn't have that option regarding education?

"Why do you think not just anybody can sign up with the new england patriots? just throw on a wizards jersey and walk out onto the court?"

In college you have a lot of group projects, and a lot of team work. For that same reason some schools wont just let anyone throw on a jersey and walk on to the court. The coach can't play ball like the players...and the schools dont really make amazing artists out of anyone. Some schools just prefer to facilitate those who they feel will play well on their team.

Doesn't mean you can't join other leagues. Doesn't mean you will never play basketball. I know you get the concept, cause you were trying to prove it on that other thread.

~Ilan
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