Originally posted by Jackdeth
I learned at home
I can't help but suspect that if you had studied CG then you'd have a very different view on this. People usually get on a soapbox and proclaim that their own experience is the best solution - it's human nature
However, I do agree with some of what you say
There are way too many lazy people out there who think that going to college and being spoonfed will somehow make them into these brilliant CG artists with minimal effort on their part.
I think that in most CG classes, the majority of students have skills that are mediocre to moderate, with only a handful being exceptionally good - and these top few are usually always the ones who did a lot of work on their own as well. But I think that in the group of people that learn by themselves at home, the same statistic applies - there is only a handful amongst them that have great skills. In all walks of life, you get the majority that are mediocre to moderately good at things, with a handful that are amazing and a handful that are not good at all.
So in light of this, perhaps it's a combination of studying at school and diligence and self discipline at home that make good CG artists. As you even said, it's about the work - how they choose to get there is really their own choice.
Aside from that, I do honestly feel that there are many schools out there that are a waste of time. Lots of insititutions try and cash in on new trends by hiring inexperienced instructors who are cheap, and who consequently make a hash of the teaching, resulting in students graduating who are really not particularly good, but sadly don't realise it. I think this is a real shame because they have spent a lot of money on their course, and deserve to get their moneys worth.
I think in the end it really comes down to the individual and their requirements. Some people prefer learning on their own while others crave instruction (as many people here have mentioned, they like to have someone to answer questions, etc). That is perfectly understandable, and I don't think that there is anything wrong with either approach - it's up to the artist in question to ensure that they give in enough dedication, hard work and innovation to develop and improve their skills, regardless of whether they are teaching themselves or studying through a school.
And the ones who can't learn on their own, I think maybe should be doing something else.
I don't see anything wrong with people who prefer to have a coach. There is a big difference between a person who craves a mentor and a person who expects to be spoonfed. I think there are a lot of people who are trying to get into this field who would probably be better off doing something else, but hey, that's their choice. I applaud them for their tenacity
You ever hear the phrase "where there is a will, there is a way"? I believe that if their determination is strong enough, they will succeed eventually. It might just take them a little longer.
So, all in all, I say: if you can afford it, and you want to - hey, go to school. Choose your school wisely, work hard at it, and you'll be happy - nothing learned is ever a waste.
On the other hand, if you can't afford it, or if you are unsure about schooling then by all means go ahead and buy some programs and hardware, and some good books and learn for yourself. There are plenty of forums like this one where you can get help and advice.
Both paths require hard work, innovation, and a proactive attitude, and neither one is easy.
Just to expand a little on the subject of there being too many people entering this field that are lazy and have bad work ethics - isn't that found in EVERY industry on this planet?
CG being the relatively new industry that it is (in the grander scheme of things) was going to see an influx of this sooner or later, as does any industry.
Let's face it, a lot of people out there do only the bare minimum to get by, and it was really only a matter of time before these people found their way into this field. It's simply a fact of life.