Industries Die and Ang Lee May be Right

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  03 March 2013
I really didn't intend to be inflammatory, folks. I of course place tremendous value on the arts, and on my art, and on all of yours as well. Our medium is by far the least forgiving of any that's ever existed. Our training, research, and skillsets are all worth a great deal to m. I'm not a great artist, but my career in CG certainly has been long and tedious and to paraphrase a motivational video I saw awhile back, when it comes to clients: "Screw you, PAY ME."

My point was that to the people writing the checks, to the people often hiring and firing us on whims, there's very little perceived value (in my experience). They often seem to feel that anyone can do our jobs, anyone on the street or fresh out of college can pick up Maya or Max or whatever and just make it soar. This perception is very contrary to mine, and I was just illustrating this point a bit to put things in perspective.

I've ended up going the arch/viz route for now, where the perceived value is very intrinsic. Every client knows that having pretty 3d concept images before hand is a good thing, and worth more to them than choosing another contractor who lacks this technology. This dichotomy is not unlike the outsourcing of VFX; to the old-school traditional contractors, arch/vizzers represent the ultimate competition. I imagine they feel the same about losing contracts to my pipsqueak upstart company as we do about losing jobs to foreign artists who charge far less.

But I have no real answers to the issue, these are just my thoughts. Those other contractors could surely "step up their game" and hire a CG guy to help out, and then they can compete again. Obviously, we cannot simply lower our pay rates to compete with the foreign artists.

(And I apologize about using Metallica as a reference, but the analogy to Slayer still holds!)
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  03 March 2013
Originally Posted by InfernalDarkness: My point was that to the people writing the checks, to the people often hiring and firing us on whims, there's very little perceived value (in my experience).


You made it sound like it was your opinion, just saying.

It should be quite simple, you should understand your own 'value add' and then demand compensation proportional to it.

Last edited by badsearcher : 03 March 2013 at 10:19 PM.
 
  03 March 2013
Great Interview
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MM9w-4q1yKw

Interview with a faceless small-time artist!
 
  03 March 2013
Originally Posted by AangtheAvatar: Great Interview
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MM9w-4q1yKw

Interview with a faceless small-time artist!


Aw that was just terrible to watch. He came across as a right gobshite. I switched off before the end as I couldn't take any more of it.
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  03 March 2013
Originally Posted by Dillster: Aw that was just terrible to watch. He came across as a right gobshite. I switched off before the end as I couldn't take any more of it.


i think he meant it to be a joke, basically mocking how we have no voice in this industry because we don't speak up. getting pushed around because we let them. idk.
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  03 March 2013
Originally Posted by ragdoll: i think he meant it to be a joke, basically mocking how we have no voice in this industry because we don't speak up. getting pushed around because we let them. idk.
I agree.

It was funny, and sad at the same time.
 
  03 March 2013
Originally Posted by Dillster: .......He came across as a right gobshite......


You Irish have a way with words. I won't even ask what a right gobshite is. Probably the opposite of a left gobshite.
 
  03 March 2013
Originally Posted by wildjj: I won't even ask what a right gobshite is.


Some things you are better off not knowing.
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  04 April 2013
Originally Posted by teruchan: According to what I have read, Ang Lee made a speech at the Oscar ceremony where he stated that VFX are too expensive and he is aware of the plight of R&H. The people who do the amazing work in films like his The Life of Pi are very much against, and some outraged, at this statement. Less expensive VFX, after all, would mean lower wages, or possibly no job at all. Unfortunately, though, Ang Lee is right.

VFX are too expensive just like to design and manufacture a car, entirely in the US or UK is too expensive. VFX are too expensive just like to design, storyboard, layout and animate a 2D cartoon for television, entirely in the US or UK is too expensive. We all know what happened to the western 2D animation industries over the last 30 years. Today you are left with two options, cheap Flash animation, still sustainable in the US or UK, or ship it all overseas.

The thing is, it is not the audience who thinks VFX are too expensive, neither is it the people who do the work on films. It is the people at the top who think so. It is the people who realize that paying more for it means less of their profits going into their profits.

When I worked on low budget B monster movies, I noticed over the years that one by one the artists were disappearing from the LA office and more work was being done by a team in Bulgaria. Today, not one artist remains in that LA office, and all the VFX work for those films is done in Bulgaria. Even on large scale pictures we are seeing more and more work being done in the developing world and major studios in the US and UK closing, it seems like every time you turn around.

I came across an article in the Daily Mail lamenting British Industry. It says, "We invented TV, but Britainís last (Japanese-owned) TV factory closed in 2009. Our truck and bus industry has largely evaporated... Most of our car-makers from the Fifties have gone out of business after losing the battle with imports. And what volume plants remain are in Japanese hands."

The article goes on to say, "...itís managements that have lost the will to take manufacturing forward in the UK or see no commercial interest in doing so." The problem with VFX, just like I witness on the low budget B movie scene, is that there may be no commercial interest in doing it in expensive first world countries. Currently, studios in the US, UK and other first world nations produce some of the best VFX seen on the screen. The gap between this quality, and that done in the developing world has been rapidly closing, though. When studios in SE Asia or Eastern Europe begin to match the quality of the major VFX houses, especially with skilled artists from those big houses traveling there and training them, the gap will become small enough that studios will see no benefit to paying top dollar for the VFX which sell their films. It will become as financially feasible as paying to make a car entirely in the US or UK today.


That's equivocating 'not profitable' with 'less profitable than' . Say another continent were discovered where people could knock out passable VFX on a few grains of rice per day - SE Asia, Eastern Europe etc would suddenly be "too expensive" . Or if they sank beneath the ocean, the US, UK etc would suddenly not be "too expensive" again.

That said, we should welcome all the talented artists from the developing world who are as deserving of opportunity as anyone else. Whether the net global result will be a levelling up or levelling down depends whether we let the middlemen define "too expensive"
 
  04 April 2013
Hollywood has been shafting people for ages to make a few extra quid. If you are dumb enough to work for a client that treats people like poo, then to be honest you can't really complain when it's you that gets the poo treatment.

There are more clients in the world than Hollywood.

Fair play, they may not all want spaceships exploding and lasers and multi-limbed monsters running around, but hey, it's all just work and transferable creative/design skills in the end of the day isn't it?

I can guarantee that it won't be long until the 'cheap' providers are not cheap any more and then Hollywood will move onto the next cheapest provider.

In the world of freelance that kinda client would be dumped quick time.

Dave
 
  04 April 2013
I've watched the animation industry in Halifax all but dry up over the past 4 years. It went from unexpectedly large for a small city and growing to nearly dead in the blink of an eye all because of, as I understand it, changes to tax incentives. I've been out of work for some time now with no prospects and have pretty much written off being a 3d artist as something that I can support myself with.

Don't underestimate how quickly the weather can change.
 
  04 April 2013
Sorry to hear that.

I think this is where it's important for people to see themselves as creatives and artists generally though.

3D is kinda irrelevant really. You instantly put yourself in a box.

I've worked in arch vis type work, game engine type work, motion graphics work, pure design work (web/print/branding), vfx type work, video/editing, studio, audio, and all that stuff.

3D has tied into all those things a bit in some way or another. And that is because if you want them to be, they are all just design/creative/art endeavours and are under that umbrella in some shape or form.
They can also lead you into other types of work.


So don't write yourself off so easily. Your 3D artist skills will be valuable all over the place. No you might not be just a 3D artist only in your next job, but you might be an artist that does *some* 3D work alongside their other creative work


Good luck!

Dave
 
  04 April 2013
Originally Posted by Mr Whippy: Sorry to hear that.

I think this is where it's important for people to see themselves as creatives and artists generally though.

3D is kinda irrelevant really. You instantly put yourself in a box.

I've worked in arch vis type work, game engine type work, motion graphics work, pure design work (web/print/branding), vfx type work, video/editing, studio, audio, and all that stuff.

3D has tied into all those things a bit in some way or another. And that is because if you want them to be, they are all just design/creative/art endeavours and are under that umbrella in some shape or form.
They can also lead you into other types of work.


So don't write yourself off so easily. Your 3D artist skills will be valuable all over the place. No you might not be just a 3D artist only in your next job, but you might be an artist that does *some* 3D work alongside their other creative work


Good luck!

Dave


I like this thinking. There are plenty of other things to do with our skills.bi have done so many different things in both the 2D and 3D worlds, games, including story elements and level desgin, comics, cartoons, you name it. There is still a lot of opportunity out there.
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  04 April 2013
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