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Old 01-31-2010, 05:23 PM   #1
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Graduating from a lackluster school - What should I do?

I'm graduating from a school in May that has a less than stellar CG program. I was only introduced to 3D applications last semester and have found myself in a place where I'm not sure how to proceed. Much to my ignorance, I went through the program assuming I would learn everything I needed to know simply by virtue of it being school. My eyes were recently opened and I realized I would be graduating soon and expected to compete against others who were much more skilled than myself. To give you an example of the school's program, we are graduating in 4 months and the senior classes are based off the first chapters of an Intro to Maya textbook.

My question is what should I do? I was thinking of applying to a a grad school (or Gnomon which if I could go back I'd pick in a heartbeat) so that I would have time to really focus on my abilities and learn new things, but the drawback with that is that I have already taken out loans to pay for school and dropping another $60,000+ is a lot of money. The other option would be to try to find a job with what I currently have and attempt to work my way up the chain so to speak - working at a smaller company and improving myself on the side just so I can get into the industry. I would hate to have to work a full time retail job just so I can work on my reel - Which is exactly what 95% of last years graduating class is doing. Of 25 students, 2 people work in a CG related field and it's got me really worried.

I have 4 months left and have working on my abilities every moment I can to try to improve, but I'm worried that it won't be enough time. It will take my the entire 4 months to have something good enough to put on a reel, but I think it would be best to attempt to apply for jobs before graduation.

I'm not looking for a definite answer, but any advice anyone can offer (if you've been in a similar situation or not) would be helpful. I'm really stressed as to what to do.

Last edited by KillahPriest : 01-31-2010 at 05:27 PM.
 
Old 01-31-2010, 06:48 PM   #2
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60,000? Wow! Ouch!

You are telling me it is a CG program and the senior class is bareley using Maya?

That should have started in the 2nd semester after art basics.

Well are you any good at cg? I mean to get into the CG field you have to be somewhat good, and it doesn't really take college to get good at CG. It can help but if you know more than the teachers, then it is a waste of time.

Did you at least get your bachelors out of it? If you did that can at least get you jobs in other fields, like teaching people English in Asian and Latin American countries. They pay pretty well.

If you paid 60,000 and no bachelors and some made up certificate, then I'm sorry you were conned out of your money. You should get your money back.

Looking at your portfolio you are halfway descent. I say learn what you can from the school, take advantage of the networking options and collab with your fellow students.
Make sure to do something cool together before you leave while you have resources at your finger tips.

Do like Sam Raimi, get with your college buddies on the weekend, use the school tools and make a movie utilizing all your skills from all the art classes. Sell it on DVD or something. Make use of what you do have and not what you are not getting.
You are around New York City.....half the movies out there are made in New York. Can you imagine the stuff you and your friends can film in NYC?

There is that dude from I believe Uruguay and he made a film with some robots attacking a city. Not the greatest CG but worked to get him a 30 million dollar deal.
You guys are near New York. Go make the Cthulu movie everyone wants to see, with Cthulu destroying New York, heck do a quick Kaiju film where a giant mecha fights a giant monster in New York. Get your friends together and role with it.

Last edited by IamSamJackson : 01-31-2010 at 06:53 PM.
 
Old 01-31-2010, 07:07 PM   #3
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Old 01-31-2010, 08:03 PM   #4
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If I were you, youve got the magical piece of paper you were after, from here, forget about accredited officially recognised qualifications, do whatever it takes to get the actual knowledge and portfolio you need.

Would I spend another 60k on courses?, no, not really. Grab half a dozen books, get a few dvds on topics which interest you and invest in 2-3 days of professional corporate training. You know the old saying, "those who can, do. Those that can't, teach." Well theres a third category, "Those who really can, go into corporate teaching"

Find someone near you that does teaching and whose work you like, and go on a relatively expensive intensive training course. If you do this right, I absolutely guarantee you will learn more in a few days than you did in your entire uni course. A few days with a seasoned professional guiding you 1 on 1 (or a small class of a few people ;-)) will be the best thing you ever did.

Youll probably spend $1000 to get 2-3 days with someone decent, but its worth every penny.
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Old 01-31-2010, 10:34 PM   #5
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You have four months left before you graduate, not before all CG-related jobs stop hiring and the moment is lost forever. All respect due, but it will take substantially longer than four months to assemble a reel worthy of a position, if what you've said is true, regardless of your own personal ability and talent.

One of the worst things you can do is put yourself on a timetable of when you think you should be 'breaking in', or when you think you've done 'enough'. Sure, you could apply for jobs when you graduate, but if your skills don't reflect the industry standard of work, then you're wasting everyone's time, especially yours - not to mention the opportunity of impressing someone at the studio you're applying to. If they pass you up because you're not good enough, you'd better be twice as good the next time you send in an application to them because they've already seen that your work didn't measure up last time.

Personally, I'd advise against personal tuition from a private instructor. Sounds like you've already spent enough on a 'qualification' that's not going to open any doors for you, so why waste any more money on something you could teach yourself? If you've got the drive, discipline and determination to succeed in CG anyway, paying for someone to teach you what can easily be learned on your own initiative seems like money down the proverbial toilet to me.

Bottom line? Forget the course, use it as a learning experience in and of itself, and work your ass off. If you think your work measures up to industry standard, apply for jobs. If you don't get them, keep working on your portfolio until you do. Rinse, repeat.
 
Old 02-01-2010, 12:14 AM   #6
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Hi Mike.
You have to finish your stuff off so they look like completed pieces. Pick a direction in 3dcg you want to work in and let your folio and website reflect that. Really I have seen worse work. Looks like you have a feel for form with the stuff you are doing. The skeleton character is a bit toxic because the folds arnt right, but the other 2 look pretty ok. If you want to do characters I would suggest throwing in some human faces here and there.

If you have to flip burgers while you are doing your reel,... ok. Just keep it up, keep on trukin' . I would ease up on dissing your course from what I see it wasnt a waste of time. Keep making work that looks finished and keep sending it out there. I have to agree with danshewan, you probably spent enough money already. I am not familiar with private tuition so I cant advise you on that.

Cheers man and GL
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Old 02-01-2010, 01:17 AM   #7
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Hi There

Personally i think your work is actually pretty decent, and youe definately have the capabilities to get there. It seems more like a case of being lazy :/ actually getting down to it and putting out some finnished pieces is what its gonna take.

Actaully i was in a similar position to yourself after uni. My 3D course was a bit rubbish and my portfolio almost non-existant, completely my own fault i might add. I was "okay" at drawing and actually wanted to go into concept art, i signed up here on the "environment concept design" workshop with Philip Straub and worked my ass off at home for the 10 week duration. I dunno the level of the others in the class, and that Phill would give me critique and direction every couple of days or so combined with the 500 bucks the course cost me (pretty much the only money i had) really motivated me.

I made some very good friends with a few people in the class who i still talk to regularly over one and a half years later. I walked out of those then weeks and got hired by one of the guys in the class who was touching up his skills right after, maybe i got lucky but yeah i learned a hell of a lot in those ten weeks, i wouldnt hessitate to reccomend one.

btw the stuff i had before i started it is on my portfolio here, the stuff during and after is on my blog http://www.thomas-england.blogspot.com/ if your interested in taking a look, im still at the studio (got hired after an internship) although i havent updated the blog for quite a while.

Good luck with taking your work to the next level and actually your degree is worth something, when your at a good level its a very good tick on the old CV
 
Old 02-01-2010, 01:25 AM   #8
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Also Gnomon is proberbly pretty awesome too, that was actually my plan at one point, but the real issue is what is it gonna take to get you motivated and inspired to work hard becuase thats all it comes down to at the end of the day? Gnomon is really really expensive, so is living in LA and there are far cheaper alternatives i signed up here instead for 500 bucks and promised myself to work just as hard and it worked. Good luck!

Belive me your not the only one whos came out of uni shiitng themselves as to what to do next hehe
 
Old 02-01-2010, 02:20 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by conbom
... i signed up here on the "environment concept design" workshop with Philip Straub and worked my ass off at home for the 10 week duration. I dunno the level of the others in the class, and that Phill would give me critique and direction every couple of days or so combined with the 500 bucks the course cost me (pretty much the only money i had) really motivated me.

Hey Thomas, I had a similar experience with a game character workshop here at cgtalk. It wont guarantee you work but it will kick your folio in the butt.

Price was about 500 too and I strongly recommend the workshops here.
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Old 02-01-2010, 02:22 AM   #10
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Killerpriest, what school will you graduate from?

Killerpriest, Just curious, what school will you be graduating from? Did you major in animation?
 
Old 02-01-2010, 03:02 PM   #11
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Please do not mention any names. These forums are not intended for that purpose.
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Old 02-01-2010, 09:29 PM   #12
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Hi Kanga,

Could you please elaborate on what you meant when you told the OP,
Quote:
You have to finish your stuff off so they look like completed pieces.


For example, in the first piece of his portfolio, which is the minotaur, would that be the most finished piece of his? Or would he need to texture, light, pose, place it in a background to make it more finished? Or does he need to work at the modeling, giving it more details, or proportioning the muscles and bones better?

I guess my question is, what does a finished portfolio piece look like for character modeling or character design (which I'm guessing the OP is concentrating in)?

Thanks.
 
Old 02-01-2010, 11:29 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by leptonish
Hi Kanga,
For example, in the first piece of his portfolio, which is the minotaur, would that be the most finished piece of his? Or would he need to texture, light, pose, place it in a background to make it more finished?

Yes if he would do that it would look more like a finished product, bring out the design more and describe the character better. Also a front and back view are not enough. The proportions and the anatomy look pretty good but I cant really see what is going on with the face. Show you can model and design other materials. What I see are what I would call blanks. There is no costume or material modeling like cloth, metal, bone etc. The one with cloth shows that there needs to be work done on folds. The characters could also include some humans. Texturing would also show some understanding of uvs and even layouts could be present which couldn't hurt.

Hope that helps.
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Old 02-02-2010, 12:43 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by imashination
If I were you, youve got the magical piece of paper you were after, from here, forget about accredited officially recognised qualifications, do whatever it takes to get the actual knowledge and portfolio you need.

Would I spend another 60k on courses?, no, not really. Grab half a dozen books, get a few dvds on topics which interest you and invest in 2-3 days of professional corporate training. You know the old saying, "those who can, do. Those that can't, teach." Well theres a third category, "Those who really can, go into corporate teaching"
Agreed. Anyone above the age of 30 who has been working in CG for the last 10 years has had to teach ourselves mostly on our own. Cg schools we're still in it's infancy 10-15 years ago and software was changing a lot more so even the instructors we're making it up as they went.
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Old 02-02-2010, 12:47 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KillahPriest
The other option would be to try to find a job with what I currently have and attempt to work my way up the chain so to speak - working at a smaller company and improving myself on the side just so I can get into the industry..
In reality that's how most people get into this industry. Most don't start as a full artist. You start as an intern, PA, runner, tape op, io guy, render wrangler, etc...

Quote:
Originally Posted by KillahPriest
I would hate to have to work a full time retail job just so I can work on my reel - Which is exactly what 95% of last years graduating class is doing. Of 25 students, 2 people work in a CG related field and it's got me really worried.
Many students out there only shoot for the moon and only want a full artist job at a place like Pixar or ILM and don't go for real entry level jobs. That's why they end up in retail or starbucks. Get your foot in the door and work your way up.
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