School Dillemma

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Old 03 March 2010   #16
My best advice to you Ray is to consult people, whom you respect, to give you some valuable feedback on your work. "Talent" is a relative word and usually derives from "what comes natural to you".

If you want to have a job/specialty in a specific department, in movies or games e.t.c, you need to master at least one feat of CG in order to give you that competitive edge. On the other hand if you want to become a more complete artist, it will take years of practice and recognition will not come easy, but if you are really good, your work will not pass unnoticed.

Many extremely talented people in these forums, found work in big companies or have freelance contracts with top companies.. Some take longer than others but that's just how easily you can pick up a program and "make it sing". (after all it's just a tool, what matters, are ideas and execution)

It takes a lot of work, a critical eye and more importantly, creativity. Your biggest judge, should be yourself.... and all the peepow in this fine community!! haha.

So i'd say before deciding in a school:

1. Have a target, in your mind, in which industry you would like to work at and what will you be happy with.
2. Gather your best work, be it 2d - 3d or comp.
3. Post it on cgtalk and other galleries and get feedback.

In the meantime study tutorials and learn all the more you can to enhance your work. By the time you finish your course (how many years have you got left?) you will hopefully be able to make a small polished showreel that will hold up respectfuly in the field you chose.

And then it's the big decision.
Either you decide to take a risk, find a part-time job and continue working on your reel until you land somewhere, or you decide that you need more help and study in order to break in the industry...
Let's face it, creativity is a must, for any art related positions, especially now that more user-friendly software are written, even a 12 year old can make wonders. It wasn't as easy 10 years back.

So stop reading my post and start giving some serious thought already!!

Cheers man.
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Old 03 March 2010   #17
Originally Posted by JuGGerNauTT: how many years have you got left?

I've got about 2 years left to finish my Computer Science degree

Originally Posted by JuGGerNauTT: If you want to have a job/specialty in a specific department, in movies or games e.t.c, you need to master at least one feat of CG in order to give you that competitive edge. On the other hand if you want to become a more complete artist, it will take years of practice and recognition will not come easy, but if you are really good, your work will not pass unnoticed.

This is very good advice.

I do know that I am much more interested in film and television than games. That actually seems kind of uncommon for students these days lol, everyone seems to want to do games.
I would love to work at ILM, Dreamworks, or any one of the big houses, but I would be just as happy working at a smaller company that does television commercials. I actually love to see all the beautiful work that goes into commercials, something that I think a lot of people take for granted.

That is about as specific as my goals get, though. I don't know what department or specialty I would prefer to work in, nor do I know what I am better at. As far as I know right now, my best skill is compositing, which isn't even 3D related, ironically. Though compositing is very integral to post and visual effects a whole.
I am still learning a little bit about everything in 3D right now, and I haven't found a 'niche' in 3d that seems particularly better to me. As far as specific skills go, I am probably worst at UV unwrapping and texture painting (sorry Leigh lol). At least I find those things hardest for me to do.

Leigh, you have really good modeling skills and seem to be a really good artist other just texturing, how did that end up becoming your specialty?


Originally Posted by JuGGerNauTT: So stop reading my post and start giving some serious thought already!!

Yes sir! lol
 
Old 03 March 2010   #18
Well thanks for the compliment but I wouldn't call myself a particularly good modeller or anything else myself. I'd say I'm competent in other areas, but I specialised in texturing because it's what I am best at, and most confident with. I like working with details and I love Photoshop so texturing was a natural path for me to take. The fact that I can do other stuff comes from the fact that I worked as a generalist for my first four or five years in the industry, but I always mostly focused on the surfacing side of things.

Since you're interested in animation and film, I'd recommend you specialise somewhat in one particular aspect of the process too, as film studios tend to hire mainly specialists. By all means, get some knowledge and skill in all the various disciplines if you can, but try to focus your energies on really mastering one of them, whether that's animating, or modelling, or texturing (just work at it and you'll improve, trust me), rigging, lighting, etc.
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leighvanderbyl.com
 
Old 03 March 2010   #19
Originally Posted by rayman22201: I've got about 2 years left to finish my Computer Science degree


Ray, you have plenty of time to work on 3d. Learn all you can about all aspects of production, it's a good thing you work with compositing programs, they are essential, especially if you are interested in commercials. (There is never enough time for rendering ). It is an important tool in your arsenal and you can combine it with 3D succesfully. For instance After Effects works very well with 3dsmax e.t.c.

Plus it's a good thing you "get paid" for your studies, it will give you more time to focus on 3d in your free time. Start posting work and ask for critique. Get organised with links to tutorials, inspiring artists, e.t.c. I could help you with some to get you started, if you like.

All the best
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"Anyone who has learned how to write, can learn how to draw" (J.G.Chapman)
 
Old 03 March 2010   #20
Originally Posted by leigh: I find it interesting that you're still declining to mention where you've worked. You say "everyone I've ever known in this industry has a degree" - but who have you worked with, at what places, and for how long? Providing more information here will put your views into a better context. Your profile says you're a student - are you really a student? If so, how can you post with such apparent authority on this industry, if, by all appearances, you're yet to work in it yourself? Something, however, tells me that you're not a student, so why not mention some of your background? And please don't misunderstand my intention here - I am not trying to have a go at you, I just think that if you're going to debate this, then you should provide some context, because I'm really open about where I am coming from with my views.


One is always a student in this industry in my mind. Sorry, I'd rather not go into who, where and when. I will just say I have no experience with the freelance aspect of this industry which I understand may be different.

I think to clarify my original point, what I mean to say is that while there are many successful people out who learned the artistic CG side of things on their own without pursuing a degree, there are not too many who are well versed in the math/cs technical CG side of things without having obtained a degree in that field. There are artists who excel at the artistic side, and there are artists who excel at the technical side, but it is much rarer to find an artist that excels at both and that is where the OP will benefit by completing his degree.

And CS/Math can actually provide a good fallback for the OP to enter the industry from the technical side (i.e. render I/O/wrangling) if his art and reel are not up to snuff. Many a lead artist has worked their way up this way as it gives them an excellent edge in trouble shooting and understanding how things work under the hood.

True, 10 to 12 years ago the industry was much more technical and these days it can be very daunting to compete against the waves of vfx graduates churned out of dozens of specialized schools, demo reels in hand. If Ray is interested in larger studios like ILM and Dreamworks then I believe his technical background will serve him better than he might think in the long run.
 
Old 03 March 2010   #21
Originally Posted by forsakendreams: One is always a student in this industry in my mind. Sorry, I'd rather not go into who, where and when. I will just say I have no experience with the freelance aspect of this industry which I understand may be different.


I'm not talking about freelancing, and neither is anyone else in this thread, so why mention it? Keep your anonymity if that makes you feel more comfortable, but then you shouldn't throw around stuff like "everyone I've ever known in this industry" if you're not willing to elaborate. It comes off as big talk, if you know what I mean. Anyone on the internet can claim anything - it's impossible to believe people, at least in my view, if they don't have the facts to back it up. Because, for all I know, you may be someone who has never worked in this industry at all, and is simply sucking statements out of your thumb to back up your own opinion. On the other hand, I've got 10+ years of verifiable experience in various studios around the world, and can say with confidence that only some of my colleagues have had degrees. For someone reading this, can you see how this could be an issue? You have me, saying my experience, and then there's you with yours, but only I am backing mine up with verifiable information.

As for the rest of your post, I think I have made my own view very, very clear here, that I generally support education, I just vehemently disagree with your statement that "most studios require" a degree, because that's not true. As of yet, you've not retracted this statement, instead you've attempted to back it up with another statement about "everyone you know in this industry has a degree", while keeping your own name and your experience a secret. Can you see why your comments aren't being particularly constructive? You've also constantly changed your argument throughout each of your posts. Make up your mind, mate.

If my post sounds frustrated, it's because I am tired of people wading into threads and spreading information that is skewed, or in some cases, simply false.
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leighvanderbyl.com
 
Old 03 March 2010   #22
Originally Posted by rayman22201: This is the hardest question you could have asked me. I am really not sure. I feel passionate about a lot of aspects of the process. A lot of the things I have done on my own have not even been with 3d, but with composting, ironically. That is an area where I really shine. I have loved Adobe After Effects since I first started playing with it when I was 14, 6 years ago, lol.


If you are good at compositing then concentrate on that. It would help to take some photography and/or film classes (if you have the time). Id also learn the lighting and rendering aspects of 3D, as lighting and compositing are intertwined (plus it makes you more marketable as a potential employee). Most of the artists I know who are just compositors are seasoned veterans. Otherwise the rest are fairly good lighters.

Also, it would definitely help to learn a node-based package such as Nuke and/or Fusion. In the end, the key is focus. Get to the point where you are very good at one thing (such as compositing), pretty good at something else (such as lighting), and "familiar" or "ok" at other things (animation/texturing/whatever). With time you can work on your areas that need improvement.
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Previously "Aryafx"

Website and Demo Reel:
http://www.sanjaychand.com
 
Old 03 March 2010   #23
Originally Posted by forsakendreams: If Ray is interested in larger studios like ILM and Dreamworks then I believe his technical background will serve him better than he might think in the long run.


As far as I understand Ray´s words, he is more interested on the artist side, lesser on the technicaly stuff. But you´re right, if he isn´t good in the artist side, then he is good adviced to look for alternatives, a degree in CS and the knowlege in this field would be one of those alternatives.

Sometimes, you can´t live the working life what you would love to live.
You can´t have everything.

First of all I would recommend you, Ray, find out if you´re good in the artistic side of this industrie. If so, you have a good chance to live the life you want in future.

Learn the basics, learn the tools, create something and show it to others, get feedback to proof if you´re good, then you will know if it is worth to get deeper into the artistic side of this industrie.

I am sure you will find your way, I wish you all the luck and energie for the life you would love to live.

Chin up and forward!

 
Old 03 March 2010   #24
Thumbs up

Originally Posted by SanjayChand: If you are good at compositing then concentrate on that. It would help to take some photography and/or film classes (if you have the time). Id also learn the lighting and rendering aspects of 3D, as lighting and compositing are intertwined (plus it makes you more marketable as a potential employee). Most of the artists I know who are just compositors are seasoned veterans. Otherwise the rest are fairly good lighters.


I do love compositing, and a lot of the reason is because I have been doing it since I was 14 lol. I am so scatterbrained about the rest though lol.
It does make sense that compositors would be good at lighting and rendering. Thanks for that, it is really good to know what kinds of things people in the industry are focusing on.

I definitely plan to take a photography class if I can, and I am required to take basic film for the 3D animation degree anyway, so those also great tips as well.

Originally Posted by SanjayChand: Also, it would definitely help to learn a node-based package such as Nuke and/or Fusion. In the end, the key is focus. Get to the point where you are very good at one thing (such as compositing), pretty good at something else (such as lighting), and "familiar" or "ok" at other things (animation/texturing/whatever). With time you can work on your areas that need improvement.


I have been meaning to learn a Node based compositing package for ever. I know it is the industry standard. I just haven't had the time, and because I have used After Effects for so long it is like an extra hand, I don't have to think about the tools when I'm using it.

3D itself has so many aspects, and I get a lot of enjoyment out of playing with all of it. We are animating our first character in my class at the community college, and I find that I genuinely enjoy rigging and animating quite a lot. being so enthused about the whole thing makes it hard to want to focus, lol.

Time is the thing though, and I plan on spending a lot of it getting better one way or an other lol.
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Originally Posted by meleseDESIGN: As far as I understand Ray´s words, he is more interested on the artist side, lesser on the technicaly stuff. But you´re right, if he isn´t good in the artist side, then he is good adviced to look for alternatives, a degree in CS and the knowlege in this field would be one of those alternatives.

Sometimes, you can´t live the working life what you would love to live.
You can´t have everything.

First of all I would recommend you, Ray, find out if you´re good in the artistic side of this industrie. If so, you have a good chance to live the life you want in future.

Learn the basics, learn the tools, create something and show it to others, get feedback to proof if you´re good, then you will know if it is worth to get deeper into the artistic side of this industrie.

I am sure you will find your way, I wish you all the luck and energie for the life you would love to live.

Chin up and forward!

Thank you, meleseDESIGN, for all your good wishes!

I have a joke with myself, I found out that I was an artist trapped in a programmers body, lol.
I was a good enough programmer to get hired as a php programmer right out of high school for a small web design firm, but I had more fun helping the layout designer design the web pages lol.

I am a decent painter, and my artistic skills are improving all the time. I find it is mostly a matter of practice lol. I couldn't imaging life without art class at the community college.

But I definitely plan on posting and showing more work, and building an organized portfolio.
I grew up thinking about nothing but a resume, so I used to just sort of do my art and shove it off into a corner, not really knowing what to do with it. Now I realize that I need to change that mentality, and start taking better care of my art lol.

I am definitely keeping up with the CS path though. I do enjoy math, and I just think when I am taking my calculus classes, "At least after I do this I will be able to understand all the white papers and rendering algorithms from SIGGRAPH" lol.

Anyway, thank you everyone again for all your advice, I didn't expect nearly this much response! Everyone has been tremendously helpful,
Ray
 
Old 03 March 2010   #25
Honestly, I have never recommended a student to follow a 'backup plan'. If programming is not what you love or where your talents lie, then I'd find it hard for me to recommend you spend all that money for that respective degree. It's never too late to switch gears (even in the same university). We just had a 75 year old lady graduate with her Master's degree and just started a graphic design company. But, to make it in this particular industry will take a completely new focus, a focus on art. Whether that comes with an animation program or a fine arts degree. And talent will play a factor in your success, though I truly believe that with hard work, most anyone can become proficient in the art field (unfortunately or fortunately, most do not work nearly hard enough to make it). Usually, I'd say finish up if you had only a year left (and then try a fine arts or animation secondary degree), but being only half way done and already reeling from this decision, I'd honestly say try a different direction. You say you really enjoy compositing, which actually might be a good fit, then I'd investigate into this area thoroughly: lighting, photography courses, After Effects tuts (which should be pretty easy to find), and rendering passes correctly.

Just a side note, I changed my degree 6 times in college. From art (which my Dad refused to help with, but where I wanted to actually be), pre-med, history, psychology, art/sculpture, Digital graphics. The Full Circle. As well, I've seen students make it from much lesser known schools than UNLV. It really comes down to the individual in the end. Sure a great program might be able to boost you in the correct direction more quickly, but people many times do it without any academia at all. I would think you could find the right type of courses right there, and get everything you want in the end. Lastly, the 'go to school' or 'go it alone' discussion has been beaten to a pulp. Of the millions of words I've coalesced on this subject, I'd summate it as, 'everyone is different'. Some succeed better with a mentor and some do not. This particular industry cares very little about the degree and all about the work. Nevertheless, if that's what will help you succeed, then I say go for it and find the classes that can boost you in the right direction.

In other words, don't go into a race with a two legged horse. Wait, what?
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Last edited by MrPositive : 03 March 2010 at 02:57 PM.
 
Old 03 March 2010   #26
Mr. Positive you bring up a lot of interesting points that I am fighting myself over, but here are my thoughts as of right now:

Originally Posted by MrPositive: Honestly, I have never recommended a student to follow a 'backup plan'.But, to make it in this particular industry will take a completely new focus, a focus on art. Whether that comes with an animation program or a fine arts degree.


While, yes it is a backup plan, it's not like I am getting a degree in Botany, or Landscaping lol. The way I see it is that, at the very least, the CS degree will give me a much greater ability to manipulate the tool I use to make my art. Being able to script custom solutions to problems is what all the major studios do, so it sure can't hurt me.

If it was a perfect world, I would LOVE to be able to spend all my time working on art, but the price it would cost me to do so is unreasonable, in fact the price is down right ridiculous(the cost of art school). like meleseDESIGN said, "sometimes you can't have everything", so I figure I can get as close as possible lol. If that means doing a "lateral career move" from render monkey to render artist, then so be it.

Originally Posted by MrPositive: And talent will play a factor in your success, though I truly believe that with hard work, most anyone can become proficient in the art field (unfortunately or fortunately, most do not work nearly hard enough to make it).


This is ironically the only reason why I believe that I can get away with moving forward with my current path. By choosing to not go to art school, I realize I put a HUGE burden on myself to build up my artistic skill on my own. This is not something I choose lightly, but I believe I have the drive and determination to do it. When I first decided I wanted to do art at 17, I was a geeky programmer kid who got funny looks from his family when he suggested such a thing lol. Now I actually get complements on my paintings and drawings, It just took a SHIT LOAD of practice and time. So that is the only thing I know I have got going for me lol. That is not to sound cocky, I still thing of my self as an high level beginner, maybe intermediate, artist at best, I just know that practice has made me improve light years ahead of where I started.

Originally Posted by MrPositive: As well, I've seen students make it from much lesser known schools than UNLV.


My original post is not really about how well known the school is. It is more the quality of education, and the amount of money I can spend on my education, that I am worried about. UNLV has a notoriously bad art program, and I hear more horror stories from art majors every year. That is why I could never change my major to art at UNLV. The UNLV film program is actually considered decent, but a film degree is an even dicier path than an art degree. All of that is also being made worse by the fact that Nevada government practically has a vendetta against education, and the huge state budget cuts are making things even more difficult at UNLV.

The irony is that the community college here in Vegas has an art program that is locally renown. That is why I take all of my art classes at the community college. Unfortunately community colleges don't give bachelors...

Like I said before, I wish I could go some place and just work on my art for a while, but, even with all it's problems, I actually will come out of UNLV with a completely FREE degree. It is hard to argue with that on a financial level. With the state of education expenses in this country right now, that is an incentive I just can't ignore.
Fortunately, I get scholarship money to pay for the CS degree, and allow me to get the 3D degree and take all the art classes at the community college. If I could no longer take art classes, it might change my decision, but I am still able to have that resource, so I think I can make it through it.

The only problem is time. It takes a lot of effort to be able to do well in Calculus and have time to work on a great portfolio and show reel. I just have to budget my time and lose a lot of sleep lol, but I am going to try and make it work.

Originally Posted by MrPositive: Lastly, the 'go to school' or 'go it alone' discussion has been beaten to a pulp. Of the millions of words I've coalesced on this subject, I'd summate it as, 'everyone is different'. Some succeed better with a mentor and some do not. This particular industry cares very little about the degree and all about the work. Nevertheless, if that's what will help you succeed, then I say go for it and find the classes that can boost you in the right direction.


Having a teacher is a great asset, and I definitely learn better in a classroom setting. That being said, I also taught myself two programming languages, and I learned how to use photoshop, after effects, and the basics of 3ds max, all on my own, with only the help of the internet tutorials.

The biggest thing I like about the classroom is that they come up with the inspiration for you. You get assignments in a class. Learning on my own, there are times when I will be sitting there learning a random feature, but I wont really have the drive or inspiration to make a finished piece or a project. I will sit there and think for hours about what I should make, and never come up with something lol.
I figure that my solution to the lack of ideas will be to use the internet competitions to remedy that situation lol, (things like CG talks FX wars, and the 11 second club, etc...).

The other advantage of a classroom is the student / teacher interaction, and the student / student interaction that happens and can be very beneficial to making someone more productive. It is always nice to have an expert right there to guide you. That I will lose. But as I said before, I believe I can use internet as a substitute. It's not the same thing as someone right there, but it can work. And this very thread has proved how enormously helpful people can be on the internet, especially on this forum lol.

Originally Posted by MrPositive: In other words, don't go into a race with a two legged horse. Wait, what?

LMAO!!!
Well, I figure, after all is said and done, I will at least have a 3 legged horse :-P, though Leigh has a pretty damned fast 2 legged one.

These are just my thoughts at the moment though. I am still very much open to opinions, and more discussion. Please tear my thoughts apart. This is a big deal, and I need to make sure my plan is rock solid lol.

Thanks again,
Ray

P.S.
I just realized that I tend to type huge posts and responses.
Sorry about that lol.
 
Old 03 March 2010   #27
Originally Posted by leigh: I'm not talking about freelancing, and neither is anyone else in this thread, so why mention it?

Sorry, I meant to say short term (a year or less) contract-based work - as opposed to a staff position.

Quote: As for the rest of your post, I think I have made my own view very, very clear here, that I generally support education, I just vehemently disagree with your statement that "most studios require" a degree, because that's not true. As of yet, you've not retracted this statement, instead you've attempted to back it up with another statement about "everyone you know in this industry has a degree", while keeping your own name and your experience a secret. Can you see why your comments aren't being particularly constructive? You've also constantly changed your argument throughout each of your posts. Make up your mind, mate.


Eh, now you're just putting words in my mouth or just plain misinterpreting what I had said. I never said "most studios require a degree" - when you make a generalization like that out of my statement, yes of course it's untrue.
What I actually stated was that "any job listings at any of the major studios for example, most will list as a requirement or as helpful a BS/BA in Computer Science or equivalent" - yes, this includes the more technical 3D departments such as rigging, particle effects, etc. Yes the job listings will list this particular degree in Math or CS as "required" or "helpful"
You may be only looking at what you call "artistic" positions that don't require such a background, but there is a large part of the pipeline at the larger studios that do find such training helpful, and these areas tend to require an artistic eye as well as strong technical chops.

And about "everyone I know" - no doubt the tongue-in-cheek fashion I meant it in did not come thru in the context of the rest of the paragraph. As I said, I only have limited non-contract experience, as a result, "every one I know" is limited in that respect as well. And so like everything else, that is only my personal experience from my perspective, and like everything else on the net or in life, must be taken with a grain of salt. I'm not implying "I know everyone"

I doubt we will see eye-to-eye on this issue as we obviously have very different perspectives on this. Ray seemed to doubt in his initial post the usefulness of his CS degree in this industry. I posted to suggest that degrees, CS and Math in particular offer a lot more leverage in this industry than he may suspect, particularly in the larger studios.

But in Ray's following posts it seems he is not particularly interested in any are that is too technical. If that is the case and he is purely interested in working as an artist in something like animation, comping or modeling, then yes I'd agree his CS degree would have very little to offer him and bailing now and working full steam on improving his artistic skills may be a better choice. Sure it might close some doors, but no doubt open others.

On the purely artistic side, the competition can be very tough these days for new grads, especially those who have not had much foundational artistic training. Catching up in this area on one's own can be very hard if you are facing the burden of paying off existing loans already. All the more reason to keep one's options open.

In my experience, 3d artists with a stronger technical backgrounds tend to move up more quickly to lead and supervisory roles especially at the bigger houses - take with large lumps of salt if you wish.
I did come across a surprising statement on vfxtalk the other day about post houses welcoming compers (another area I know nothing about) with a CS background due to their deeper grasp of the underlying math, but oh well, I can't find it now. Just across this story though: http://www.vfxtalk.com/forum/showpo...47&postcount=27
It pretty much summarizes what I was trying to point out earlier - that a degree in CS or Math is a viable entry point into the industry (that doesn't require more schooling - you pick up the skills on the job), can increase your value to the studio (when you can easily write code to make your life and the life of your co-worker's easier and more effecient), and can be a valuable asset in moving up the ladder.

But if you've got no artistic eye, and your artist within still sucks after more school, then I guess you've still got a back up plan. But if you do excel at art, and you've got the hard core technical skills to back it up, great things lie ahead in the vfx/cg field.

I think I've derailed Ray's thread way too much already so yeah, here, if I didn't make it clear enough already, take large lumps of salt with whatever I said. It's only my point of view from where I stand.
 
Old 03 March 2010   #28
Originally Posted by forsakendreams: Sorry, I meant to say short term (a year or less) contract-based work - as opposed to a staff position.


Ah, fair enough ;-)

Quote: Eh, now you're just putting words in my mouth or just plain misinterpreting what I had said. I never said "most studios require a degree" - when you make a generalization like that out of my statement, yes of course it's untrue.
What I actually stated was that "any job listings at any of the major studios for example, most will list as a requirement or as helpful a BS/BA in Computer Science or equivalent" - yes, this includes the more technical 3D departments such as rigging, particle effects, etc.


Now you're not making any sense. You can't say that you didn't say "most studios require a degree" when you did say exactly that. I'm not even going to bother arguing this point because it's right there for everyone to see.

Quote: And about "everyone I know" - no doubt the tongue-in-cheek fashion I meant it in did not come thru in the context of the rest of the paragraph. As I said, I only have limited non-contract experience, as a result, "every one I know" is limited in that respect as well. And so like everything else, that is only my personal experience from my perspective, and like everything else on the net or in life, must be taken with a grain of salt. I'm not implying "I know everyone"


I never said that you claimed to know everyone. But it's not helpful when you talk about "everyone you know" without saying who you are or who the people you know are. Like I said, this is the internet. It's a place where people can easily lie to back up their arguments. I am not saying you're lying, but your posts aren't exactly the poster examples for trustworthiness, based on your insistence on anonymity. I could go around wading into arguments about quantum physics, and then claim that I am a scientist in order to persuade people that everything I say is true - without saying my name, people would have no way of verifying what I am saying. What I say in the discussion could then be potentially harmful to people looking for facts.

Quote: I doubt we will see eye-to-eye on this issue as we obviously have very different perspectives on this. Ray seemed to doubt in his initial post the usefulness of his CS degree in this industry.


Actually, I think he was mostly concerned about where he was getting his degree from. But you're right, we're not going to see eye to eye on this, because you absolutely, flat out refuse to say where you're coming from here. And you cannot see eye to eye when you're not on equal footing.

Quote: I posted to suggest that degrees, CS and Math in particular offer a lot more leverage in this industry than he may suspect, particularly in the larger studios.


And while I agree that degrees are useful for some positions, especially in R&D (as I have already said), if he wants to go into a creative role (and he said his passion lies here in his initial post) then the degree is just for his own personal education, and won't necessarily give him any leverage whatsoever for those roles when he applies for them. As it is, I work in a pretty damn big studio myself, and I took a look at some of our current positions being advertised, and none of them said anything about degrees, despite some of them being technical artist (TD) roles. If you don't believe me, you can look for yourself. I am more than open about who I currently worked for - The Moving Picture Company in London. See our current recruitment page here: http://www.moving-picture.com/index...ecruitment.html

Quote: In my experience, 3d artists with a stronger technical backgrounds tend to move up more quickly to lead and supervisory roles especially at the bigger houses - take with large lumps of salt if you wish.


Considering you refuse to say what that experience is, I won't be taking that "in my experience" remark with any salt - I'll simply ignore it now. And I think it's a shame, really, because you generally have interesting, obviously intelligent posts. Your stubbornness to reveal anything about your experience kinda ruins that. I get the distinct impression you are talking from some experience of some kind (in fact, I'm pretty sure you do work in a big studio, and I have a suspicion as to where to, but for your own sake I won't say where), but until you actually elaborate on any of that, it's difficult to take some of your comments seriously. I understand why some people prefer anonymity, I really do, but then you can't keep saying "in my experience" or "the people I know", because they don't really work well when coupled with anonymity.

I will agree that supervisors require a good technical knowledge, but many, if not most of the supervisors I've worked with over the years gained their technical knowledge from working in film production for a very long time, and not necessarily at university. Because at the end of the day, it doesn't really matter where you got that knowledge.

And that's the last I'll respond to this, as I hate these tit-for-tat discussions. Education is a great thing which can help many people who may otherwise find it difficult learning on their own. Technical knowledge is a good thing to have too. But it is not true that "most studios require or consider helpful" a degree in anything. There are a handful of studios and positions that may require or prefer a degree, but what counts most is your ability, regardless of how you got there.

Cheers.
__________________
leighvanderbyl.com
 
Old 03 March 2010   #29
"requirement or as helpful ... or equivalent"

keyword "OR"

requirement OR as helpful
BS OR equivalent

where equivalent is something one might learn along the way to acquiring a CompSci degree, say Newtonian physics, C/C++, python, MEL, other unix/linux scripting languages.
All listed as "advantageous" or "desired" on half of the production positions on MPC's recruitment page. Also advantageous and desired skills in many positions at studios such as ILM

The repeated red herring that I've somehow stated that a degree is "required" for any job... I'm tired of repeating myself over that. I know you don't think one is needed. Guess what? neither to I! As for whether or not Ray's degree in particular will offer him any advantages, I see we disagree.

You're right, I sure am wasting my time sticking my head in here. Good luck Ray.

Last edited by forsakendreams : 03 March 2010 at 10:35 AM.
 
Old 03 March 2010   #30
I just stumbled across this thread and thought I would add my two cents. First of all I didn't see mention of which industry you would prefer to go into, games or film. My experience is games based so I would defer to Leigh on the film stuff.

I think you have to make a decision on whether you want to be a programmer or engineer with art experience or an artist with programming experience. I think this will be very beneficial in helping you decide the path to pursue.

If you want to be a programmer with art experience, the first position that jumps to mind is as a shader designer/programmer. Shader programming is extremely complex and the more advanced positions benefit from programming knowledge. Subjects like the three forms of real time spherical harmonics and screen space ambient occlusion are the types of subjects I would expect familiarity with.

Another position would be as a tools programmer. You would do anything from creating new artist workflow and pipeline tools to asset formatting tools (company specific file formats and compression schema).

If you wanted to go the other route as an artist with programming experience, then an employer knows you can hopefully work a bit more self sufficiently. You may or may not have a chance to dabble in shaders but would probably have a TA or TD to do that work. Other less technically inclined artists would benefit from you assistance on writing workflow improvement tools that TAs and TDs don't have the spare time for (especially for repetitive tasks).

Also, degree requirements in jobs listings aren't generally enforced by HR departments. The main thing you have to identify is whether you are a competent self learner or need more guidance (and if so how much guidance). Some people can come onto web forums and find all the info they need to grow as artists, and some need a bit more help from live interaction. If you fall into the latter half, then I would encourage you to get the guidance, but don't worry about what school it comes from as long as it is of good quality. Look at everything from local art clubs or local art centers. Most large cities have several of both.

I hope this helps a bit.
 
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