Going the Self Taught Route

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Old 03 March 2010   #1
Smile Going the Self Taught Route

I've been looking for a decently priced school for art for awhile, but have come to the conclusion that im either going to be in debt or teach myself, so im choosing to teach myself. I am going to buy one of the big name 3d programs, and I was wanting to get some feedback on what the job market is like between them. I intend to stick to modeling (low and high poly) to start, and then rigging and animation, with effects and whatnot to sum it up. I know I will be buying from autodesk, and I honestly like the interface of Max and Maya, but i've heard that Max is more widely used. If thats correct then that would be the direction that I would want to take, but if not please correct me on that assumption.

I have been buying all of the animation and 3d books that are required of students at universities, and I see getting a loan for the software would be much cheaper than getting the education and having a student non commercial software. Thank you for your replies.
 
Old 03 March 2010   #2
One thing you can be sure is that employers will look at your demo reel, not your diploma. This is a good new if you got natural talent. Start a personal project and learn your soft doing it, its the best way I found to learn the soft and get a new piece for my demo. There is good tutorials out there, just search a bit. I use a lot of F1 key too for functions that im not familiar with.

As for maya vs 3ds, both are nice. The old way was to go to Maya/Xsi if you wanna do FX for movies vs go 3ds max if you wanna work in the game industry. Houdini is more and more used in CG for movies too.

Get the demo or educational version before you buy the license to see if it fit the bill.

Also look for a compositing package, it help polishing the renders. I think Maya is shipping with toxic now. Not sure if I prefer that to the good old After Effects!!
 
Old 03 March 2010   #3
As far as I know, the Toxik-based Composite is included in both Maya and 3ds max in the 2011 versions, so that doesn't really help with decision.
 
Old 03 March 2010   #4
Thanks for your response. I have the old PLE versions from 2008-ish, and so far Max and Maya have pretty easy interfaces. I got the trial/student version of Houdini and was kinda put off by it. It just seemed a bit too different; im use to using blender and wings 3d.
 
Old 03 March 2010   #5
Originally Posted by Anderson3250: Thanks for your response. I have the old PLE versions from 2008-ish, and so far Max and Maya have pretty easy interfaces. I got the trial/student version of Houdini and was kinda put off by it. It just seemed a bit too different; im use to using blender and wings 3d.


Before this thread derails into an inevitable app-versus-app pissing contest, first decide what you're interested in - not what you want to do (because that may well change as you learn new techniques and potential applications of those techniques), but what interests you.

Houdini is quite different from Max and Maya because of its procedural nature. It's very good at particle and dynamics work, and is common in visual effects. It's also true that Maya skills are still very much in demand for film and television work, and that Max is used extensively in the games industry.

However, don't pin yourself down to a particular package - a lot of people miss the point that software packages are just tools, and that skills and techniques are what's important. Sure, get to know your software, and know it well, but don't think that detailed knowledge of one particular program will restrict you from transferring those skills to other software packages.
 
Old 03 March 2010   #6
Originally Posted by danshewan: Before this thread derails into an inevitable app-versus-app pissing contest, first decide what you're interested in - not what you want to do (because that may well change as you learn new techniques and potential applications of those techniques), but what interests you.

Houdini is quite different from Max and Maya because of its procedural nature. It's very good at particle and dynamics work, and is common in visual effects. It's also true that Maya skills are still very much in demand for film and television work, and that Max is used extensively in the games industry.

However, don't pin yourself down to a particular package - a lot of people miss the point that software packages are just tools, and that skills and techniques are what's important. Sure, get to know your software, and know it well, but don't think that detailed knowledge of one particular program will restrict you from transferring those skills to other software packages.


Very true, versatility is key. I have learned a lot by using Wings 3D and blender, and it has made my step into Maya and Max quite easy. At my current skill level I don't know where im wanting to go with 3D. On one hand I would like to work on movies, shorts, skits, etc and the other-hand I would like to focus on modeling and texturing for games. I Max not really used in movies much and vice versa with Maya?
 
Old 03 March 2010   #7
I am just a student, and I got 3ds max because that is what is being taught at the school I am going to. But I watch Maya tutorials all the time and I find that most of the techniques easily transfer. It's just a matter of finding where the buttons are in each program lol. Well, that is a bit of an over exaggeration, it isn't a direct one to one relationship, but most of the important techniques in CG seem to be program independent.
 
Old 03 March 2010   #8
Yea I would like to do this before going back to school.But it seems I cant learn if not in a school setting for some reason. I learned Maya fundamentals in a month while in class. Now that im at home for the moment I cant seem to grasp anything else of substance. I have Gnomon Vids,and tons of other stuff it just doesnt stick.I really take a liking to the possibilities of the Maya/Zbrush Pipeline.But dont get why I cant teach myself some stuff.
 
Old 03 March 2010   #9
Originally Posted by Anderson3250: I Max not really used in movies much and vice versa with Maya?


Plenty of game developers use Maya. However, it's still the most popular non-proprietary package in feature productions.

Quote: I learned Maya fundamentals in a month while in class. Now that im at home for the moment I cant seem to grasp anything else of substance. I have Gnomon Vids,and tons of other stuff it just doesnt stick.I really take a liking to the possibilities of the Maya/Zbrush Pipeline.But dont get why I cant teach myself some stuff.


Well, Maya is such a beast of a program that you should expect it to take a long time to become truly proficient in several aspects of what it can do. I've been using Maya for around three years, and only now am I starting to feel really confident as a generalist.

Self-teaching requires dedication and discipline. It's hard work, and it's lonely, but it can be incredibly rewarding. I'm completely self-taught, and I'm putting together a generalist reel right now prior to moving back to the States in the summer, and it feels great that all my hard work and effort is starting to come together.

Plus, avoiding massive student debts is always a good thing. Another plus of self-teaching is that you can progress at your own pace, focus on the techniques that interest you the most and are the most applicable to what you want to do, and the best thing is that potential employers won't judge you or penalize you for a lack of an official qualification.
 
Old 03 March 2010   #10
If you scroll down the page and look at the link for each app you will notice they are both used in the same industries. The drop down arrows give a bit of info on each industry. You will not lose anything by learning either one. Once you try out the demo of each app you will decide what you feel more comfortable using and investing the money in.

http://usa.autodesk.com/adsk/servle...7&siteID=123112

http://usa.autodesk.com/adsk/servle...0&siteID=123112
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Heights of great men reached and kept were not attained by sudden flight, but they while their companions slept were toiling upwards in the night.
 
Old 03 March 2010   #11
I am self taught, having started when CG was still thought of as funny. There was nothing out there as far as artistic education in computer graphics. I taught myself softimage (back when it was called softimage) Maya and Max. I did so because that's what the job used. The point being is that you just need to learn 3D. You cant go wrong with any of the packages as long as you can prove you know 3D and you are highly talented. Yes its true some companies will hire you just because you know a certain package or it will improve your chances. However the packages change quickly, and companies rise and fall that you will spend more time chasing "the right software" that you wont learn.

Since you have already been dabbling in numerous packages (which is a great idea) pick the one you like the best and start some projects. Keep in mind as you do these projects that all 3D software is based off the same principals so what you learn can be applied across the board. Understanding 3D is a long process, transferring your skill set to another 3D package is much shorter.

I am a bit envious, those were fun times starting off. Good Luck and have fun!
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Todd Palamar

www.speffects.com
 
Old 03 March 2010   #12
A big thank you to everyone who replied. Im going to mess with both programs a bit more before I invest in one; honestly cost was a big factor in deciding. Seeing that you can do quite a lot with both programs and the ease of migrating to others as needed; I will pick on personal preference. Thanks again.
 
Old 04 April 2010   #13
I have also gone the self taught route. This has more to do with having a family and a fulltime job so being able to take even 1 year off to go to VFS is out of the question sadly.

As for software I agree with what everyone has said on the forum. I ended up going with Lightwave because of cost and the aggressive competitive upgrade they had that allowed me to buy the software for $500.

With that said my interest lies in particle systems, fluid systems which Lightwave sucks at. So I am in the process of learning Houdini since this is it's core strength and the fact I can get a water mark free learning edition for $100 bucks really made the decision very easy.

One other suggestion I have found extremely helpful in just learning VFX in general and working on real world projects is FXPHD.com. I am not advertising for them only that I have taken several courses through them and they were fantastic. They have some great Maya courses and have VPN software to use while you take many of the courses. I took the Maya intro course and it was very good. I have also bought different books, and a number of videos from Kurv. I would say the best training I have gotten is FXPHD as the training is a good mixture of project based and then they explain the theory behind the process.
 
Old 04 April 2010   #14
Hi guys I am just wondering about something, thats in relation to this. Of course being self taught has it benifits and nowadays access to tutorials is everywhere, giving you an easy way to start learning. However learning from tutorials can take a huge amount of time such as with learning a package as Maya and then complete a Reel, my question is would it look badly to an employer if you taken a long time to do this? Also for some it would leave a big gap in their CV's for the time they spent working on their reel.
 
Old 04 April 2010   #15
Originally Posted by Darkherow: Hi guys I am just wondering about something, thats in relation to this. Of course being self taught has it benifits and nowadays access to tutorials is everywhere, giving you an easy way to start learning. However learning from tutorials can take a huge amount of time such as with learning a package as Maya and then complete a Reel, my question is would it look badly to an employer if you taken a long time to do this? Also for some it would leave a big gap in their CV's for the time they spent working on their reel.


As far as I know, your reel rules supreme. If it's good nobody would care about the rest. And yes, self learning can be time consuming. And there's simply no way around it, one suggestion that I got when I started to teach myself was to focus on one category at a time. For instance, start with modeling and keep at it until you're decent, then move on to lighting or something else. Attempting to learn everything at once makes it very frustrating.
 
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