Blender to break in to CG Professionally

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  06 June 2008
Blender to break in to CG Professionally

Hi everyone. Thanks for reading. Here's a dilema that I am facing as a wannabee 3D artist, 34 year-old, non-traditional college student (2 more years to go) studying Graphic design.

A school near me offers intro to 3D animation using Blender (courses which I can apply to the school I currently attend).

Another school, where I would have to pack up and move to, teaches Maya. I want to make the most out of my college experience and at the end be able to walk away with a demo reel that's good enough to get a job at a 3D studio.

It seems like knowing Maya is a pre-rec for getting in to an animation studio (remember, I'm a novice here, only judging by what I've read and heard)

Is there anybody out there who knows of the potential of landing a job in the CG industry with only experience in Blender?
 
  06 June 2008
If your aim is to get into the CG industry then Maya is the correct choice as its the industry standard. However, I would aim to simply learn "3D" with Blender at this time. The only problem you will have after your education is using different software but what you learn about 3D in general will be transferable.

I'll be honest, I've gone from Real3D, TrueSpace, Cinema4D, Maya, Max to Silo and I can say everytime its been a pain getting used to each of them in turn. However, after a week or so of sheer persistance I start to settle in with new software. You just have to make the effort to adapt I'm afraid...

But for the moment and should the price be right get education with Blender. You get to mix in with some like minded souls and a teacher who will guide you through the whole process.
__________________
Silo, 3D Coat, Blender
C, C++, Java

Currently working on...HCR #42
 
  06 June 2008
Thank you Boone for your input. That's very kind of you to take the time to reply.

Like many of the other noobies on here, I am seeking the best path towards a career in the CG field. It's a tough debate. I could spend the next 2 years learning Blender and making a cool demo reel. As you said, that's a good way to learn "3D." But would I make better use of my time to spend those 2 years learning Maya to make my really sweet demo reel?

The advantage (I think at least) to the second path being that I would already be experienced in the industry-standard Maya. The advantage to the first path being less effort in moving now and more effort learning to change over software later on. But if you mentioned about a week's worth of dilligent effort, that might be a better path.

Hmmmmm. The debate continues.
 
  06 June 2008
Unless you are exceptionally talented and really motivated I'd argue you will reach a level where it makes a difference wether your reel is made with Blender or Maya in two years. The differences on the output are getting subtler (is that an english word?) by the moment. Then again, the upside of Blender would be to have a free software you can make a honest living if you wish, without investing megabucks on software alone. The obvious downside is that you'd have to learn Maya if you apply to a studio where they use it.

Are you planning to purchase a license of Maya if you start to learn it? If so, remember that there is always a catch when dealing with commercial software. Unless you have thousands to spend on it, you either buy an entry level version or a student version. Entry level package lacks features you need to make all the cool stuff and student version you can't use to anything commercial. Both are serious disadvantages if you are building a career. When you start to get good, there will be commercial projects within your reach. And if you can take them, they make an excellent addendum to your showcase when applying for that dream job.

In my opinion it's quite irrelevant to think about moving or not. The bigger question would be if you are truly willing to invest on learning 3D. If your answer is yes, then think if you got the vision and artistic capabilities to become a master of the craft. If the answer is still yes, take the Maya school. If you are uncertain, take the Blender route. It's cheaper to get started with and can still get you there.

I should know. I would not have 3D as part of my arsenal if there haven't been Blender. But now I have made a significant part of my income using it. I'm still nowhere near to even dream of applying to some big studio. And I think I never will be. But the quality I'm able to produce is more than satisfactory for my customers.

And I get to do 3D, which is cool.
__________________
Shave the Wales!
 
  06 June 2008
Originally Posted by Joat: Unless you are exceptionally talented and really motivated I'd argue you will reach a level where it makes a difference wether your reel is made with Blender or Maya in two years. The differences on the output are getting subtler (is that an english word?) by the moment. Then again, the upside of Blender would be to have a free software you can make a honest living if you wish, without investing megabucks on software alone. The obvious downside is that you'd have to learn Maya if you apply to a studio where they use it.

Are you planning to purchase a license of Maya if you start to learn it? If so, remember that there is always a catch when dealing with commercial software. Unless you have thousands to spend on it, you either buy an entry level version or a student version. Entry level package lacks features you need to make all the cool stuff and student version you can't use to anything commercial. Both are serious disadvantages if you are building a career. When you start to get good, there will be commercial projects within your reach. And if you can take them, they make an excellent addendum to your showcase when applying for that dream job.

In my opinion it's quite irrelevant to think about moving or not. The bigger question would be if you are truly willing to invest on learning 3D. If your answer is yes, then think if you got the vision and artistic capabilities to become a master of the craft. If the answer is still yes, take the Maya school. If you are uncertain, take the Blender route. It's cheaper to get started with and can still get you there.

I should know. I would not have 3D as part of my arsenal if there haven't been Blender. But now I have made a significant part of my income using it. I'm still nowhere near to even dream of applying to some big studio. And I think I never will be. But the quality I'm able to produce is more than satisfactory for my customers.

And I get to do 3D, which is cool.


well that's pretty good, isn;t it, that you get to support yourself and use the software you like, right?
 
  06 June 2008
Originally Posted by Joat: Unless you are exceptionally talented and really motivated I'd argue you will reach a level where it makes a difference wether your reel is made with Blender or Maya in two years. The differences on the output are getting subtler (is that an english word?) by the moment. Then again, the upside of Blender would be to have a free software you can make a honest living if you wish, without investing megabucks on software alone. The obvious downside is that you'd have to learn Maya if you apply to a studio where they use it.

Are you planning to purchase a license of Maya if you start to learn it? If so, remember that there is always a catch when dealing with commercial software. Unless you have thousands to spend on it, you either buy an entry level version or a student version. Entry level package lacks features you need to make all the cool stuff and student version you can't use to anything commercial. Both are serious disadvantages if you are building a career. When you start to get good, there will be commercial projects within your reach. And if you can take them, they make an excellent addendum to your showcase when applying for that dream job.

In my opinion it's quite irrelevant to think about moving or not. The bigger question would be if you are truly willing to invest on learning 3D. If your answer is yes, then think if you got the vision and artistic capabilities to become a master of the craft. If the answer is still yes, take the Maya school. If you are uncertain, take the Blender route. It's cheaper to get started with and can still get you there.

I should know. I would not have 3D as part of my arsenal if there haven't been Blender. But now I have made a significant part of my income using it. I'm still nowhere near to even dream of applying to some big studio. And I think I never will be. But the quality I'm able to produce is more than satisfactory for my customers.

And I get to do 3D, which is cool.


Hi Joat.

Thank you so much for your extended, detailed response. I really appreciate it. I see you do quite a bit of work in Blender. Your portfolio speaks volumes for the software. You do very good work. That is extra cool that you are able to do 3D work and get paid using Blender.

Subtler is an English word (good job) but even if it wasn't, it's still kind of cool to make up variations of words. We do it all the time and it's fun.

I am really curious as to who your customers are? Do you just do freelance for yourself? How do your customers find you? You must be in a location where people would be looking for your services.

I consider myself to be fairly talented and artistic, but I will agree with you that the software I use to make my demo reel would probably not make the biggest difference in its outcome. My biggest concern on which to use is when I make my resume to include with my reel and send in to studios. The thought of being able to put 'trained in Maya' would seem to be very advantageous, versus Blender, since as many have said that Maya is the industry standard.

That being said, I am a full-time college student and therefore qualify to purchase the student version of the software. I feel that license should be enough to get me a good start on the program and well enough to make that reel.

The moving issue is a lot bigger than I can convey on the forums. It would take 3 threads to explain the complexity of this issue. I purchased a small house in a really unique, hip, cool mountain town that is in the center of the commercial white water rafting industry of West Virginia and some of the best kayaking in the country.

However, it is also surrounded by coal mines which are mostly dried up. So the economy here is rather depressed compared to the rest of the US. Basically, there's not much here other than a really cool town in the white water world.

Since the last response from Boone, I have been mowing the lawn, contemplating these decisions.

The issue is not the dedication towards learning to master the craft of 3D. I have been contemplating that career since 2004 and slowly moving in that direction with school and stuff. I know that is what I want to do. I am a pretty full-go person so if I do something, it's all the way. I feel confident enough in my abilities to proceed in learning the art of 3D, knowing that I can and will be successful.

Another option is to finish my bachelors degree at West Virginia Tech while working on my portfolio to get accepted to Gnomon. If I can do this, then it's all good to learn Blender at Tech and State because Gnomon looks so super sweet. No guarantees I'll ever get accepted but I am a pretty driven person.

On the flip-side is moving to Portsmouth, Ohio for Shawnee State, where they teach Maya. I am willing to put in the hard work in the off hours. In that case it's possible that I could get in with a studio after the 2 years at Shawnee, versus 2 years at Tech and then 2 more years at Gnomon. Although, Gnomon just looks so sweet.

If anybody is reading this far, thanks. I am just trying to work things out "on paper" but any suggestions or input are always appreciated.
 
  06 June 2008
I had came up with a rather long winded reply to your newest post but I shall just get to the point.

Example: Jeff Lew. Years back he said that he uses Maya for professional work but Animation/Master(or whatever it is) for his personal work such as his Killer Bean films.

Example: Timothy Albee. Will most likely use XSI in a professional studio but for Kaze Ghost Warrior he used Lightwave.

Example: Me! I use Maya for programming and character rigging(though I have never worked in the industry) but for personal works in the past I have always used TrueSpace.

You will find that many professionals will tell you that what they use at work is different than what they use at home. For you, it could be Maya(professional) and Blender(personal). And dont think for a minute that will have to be a master in both packages: The professional one only needs you to have skills in a certain area, whereas the personal package you will be a "Jack of all trades, master of none".

For example, if I want to do a personal project(such as an animated short or demo reel) it would be done in TrueSpace(well, I'm most likely going to convert to either Blender or Lightwave soon) but if I want a job in the industry then I will use Maya(or possibly Max) and not bother with anything else but character rigging and programming.

So yes, finish your education and learn Blender and then two years down the line get Maya and concentrate on banging out a demo reel.
__________________
Silo, 3D Coat, Blender
C, C++, Java

Currently working on...HCR #42
 
  06 June 2008
Interesting. Very interesting.

Thank you Boone just for thinking of "the long-winded reply." I do appreciate you taking the time to respond to a wannabee like myself.

I woke up bright and early this morning and hopped on to the Blender. It's summer break from school and I can get work done this afternoon. I was too excited to start learning a 3D package.

I figure I might as well just start with what I have, which is Blender. Love open source. Besides, I've seen some pretty impressive art made with Blender. So, here goes.

2 hours in... I'm having fun! Of course, the hard stuff hasn't started yet.

Boone are you working on any kind of 3D right now? Also, I see you are a programmer. Do you just do freelance or what? I like the tag-line "sir-rigs-a-lot."

Also I find it encouraging to see that you may be switching to Blender.
 
  06 June 2008
@chad: i'd say: good decision! blender is free AND powerful. it will take months, if not years to fully master 3D completely in any 3d-progamm (well, at least speaking of own experience...). and once you have mastered the whole concept of meshes, edge-loops, key-frames, shading, rendering, compositing etc. it's almost only a matter of GUI and familiarization to switch between apps. and looking at blender's development pace and the upcoming changes it will probably be possible to integrate the "big" renderers like v-ray etc. in blender, or even blender will have it's own (fake)GI-renderer.
and with blender getting more powerful and more popular, chances are good that i will be used in more and more studios.
so it's a win-win situation!

make sure to drop in at www.blenderartists.org/forum !
if you are using firefox, this may be interesting:
http://blendernewbies.communitytoolbars.com/
some tutorials:
http://glenmoyes.com/blender/video_tutorials/
http://www.geneome.net/index.php/tu...nder-tutorials/

good luck and have fun with blender!
 
  06 June 2008
Originally Posted by Boone: I had came up with a rather long winded reply to your newest post but I shall just get to the point.

Example: Jeff Lew. Years back he said that he uses Maya for professional work but Animation/Master(or whatever it is) for his personal work such as his Killer Bean films.

Example: Timothy Albee. Will most likely use XSI in a professional studio but for Kaze Ghost Warrior he used Lightwave.

Example: Me! I use Maya for programming and character rigging(though I have never worked in the industry) but for personal works in the past I have always used TrueSpace.

You will find that many professionals will tell you that what they use at work is different than what they use at home. For you, it could be Maya(professional) and Blender(personal). And dont think for a minute that will have to be a master in both packages: The professional one only needs you to have skills in a certain area, whereas the personal package you will be a "Jack of all trades, master of none".

For example, if I want to do a personal project(such as an animated short or demo reel) it would be done in TrueSpace(well, I'm most likely going to convert to either Blender or Lightwave soon) but if I want a job in the industry then I will use Maya(or possibly Max) and not bother with anything else but character rigging and programming.

So yes, finish your education and learn Blender and then two years down the line get Maya and concentrate on banging out a demo reel.


Boone, what made you decide to transition from truespace to blender or LW?

I have it, and the users make it seem s very enticing for what it can do, but then
the question is, it might be simple and easy, but what about quality....most of the
work I've seen done with it isn't that good. There's this one Venezualan guy
who does good work with it, but that's all I've seen.

To the OP: you could get the learning edition of maya and learn that on your own
after you learn the fundamentals with Blender. That's one possibility.
 
  06 June 2008
Originally Posted by sebastian-koenig: @chad: i'd say: good decision! blender is free AND powerful. it will take months, if not years to fully master 3D completely in any 3d-progamm (well, at least speaking of own experience...). and once you have mastered the whole concept of meshes, edge-loops, key-frames, shading, rendering, compositing etc. it's almost only a matter of GUI and familiarization to switch between apps. and looking at blender's development pace and the upcoming changes it will probably be possible to integrate the "big" renderers like v-ray etc. in blender, or even blender will have it's own (fake)GI-renderer.
and with blender getting more powerful and more popular, chances are good that i will be used in more and more studios.
so it's a win-win situation!

make sure to drop in at www.blenderartists.org/forum !
if you are using firefox, this may be interesting:
http://blendernewbies.communitytoolbars.com/
some tutorials:
http://glenmoyes.com/blender/video_tutorials/
http://www.geneome.net/index.php/tu...nder-tutorials/

good luck and have fun with blender!


Hi Sebastian.

Thank you for the response and positive encouragement. It goes a very long way.

I think the parts you mention about learning 3D concepts... "concept of meshes, edge-loops, key-frames, shading, rendering, compositing etc" makes a whole ton of sense. Especially when you mention that it's really just a matter of switching between the different apps and learning the interface as being the main differences between Maya or Max or any of the others.

Those words are very encouraging, and motivating too.

Thank you for the links as well. One thing that's cool is the community of support available online and all of the web sites with tutorials and education.
 
  06 June 2008
Originally Posted by TylerAZambori:
To the OP: you could get the learning edition of maya and learn that on your own
after you learn the fundamentals with Blender. That's one possibility.


Thank you.

I did download the Maya learner edition as well. That has been a consideration too.

The main reason for my decision between one of the other is that as a student, there is a school near me that teaches Blender. The one further away teaches Maya. If I stuck with the school closer to me then it would be more advantageous to learn Blender to give me a bit of a head start with classes.

I like the idea of learning the fundamentals with one and then transferring them to the other. I love learning new software, especially if it is graphically oriented. Oh wait, I mean only if it's graphically oriented.
 
  06 June 2008
TrueSpace in my opinion is the app I could most compare to 3dsMax. Indeed, I have always been impressed with its file support and the numerous options. If you are a beginner then I would whole heartedly recommend you buy it as your first application. The only thing that disappoints me with TrueSpace is its stability issues. But for the price its very powerful and a good introduction to 3D if you then wish to jump over to 3dsMax.

However, in the low-to-mid price range Bender and Lightwave have a great advantage over all others - network rendering! Blender is free, so you can install it on as many machines as you like and Lightwave - god bless - comes with 999 render nodes. Also, both of those packages seem to work well enough with many platforms.
__________________
Silo, 3D Coat, Blender
C, C++, Java

Currently working on...HCR #42
 
  06 June 2008
Originally Posted by ChadForeman: I am really curious as to who your customers are? Do you just do freelance for yourself? How do your customers find you? You must be in a location where people would be looking for your services.


I run a small (2 person) advertising agency located in the middle of Finnish countryside. The nearest village is 10 kilometers away, and the community's population including the village and surrounding countryside is about 3000. Our company has mostly local customer base. We moved in here 2 years ago, and knew no-one from here when we did. Usually our customers come to us by word of mouth from our older customers.

It is still quite easy to sell 3D graphics even in here. Our customers usually want us to design and implement a corporate identity or enhance the old one they have. They also need packaging and demonstrations of products they are starting to manufacture. All this can utilize 3D graphics. It actually complements 2D design quite well. I often produce graphical elements in Blender only to be implemented in a 2D design as enhancements in some form. The client's seem to be loving it.

As 3D work one could argue it's quite dull. When compared to working in Pixar or Lucasfilm or Weta and doing the latest blockbuster it propably is too. But I think I have more control over what I do and when I do it than most any of them. AND I can justify my time spent with Blender as honing my skills to produce more and better stuff, also for my customers.

If I would have had to buy a software package worth thousands, I would have had to manage without 3D. It's as simple as that in these conditions. It simply would not have been a viable investment, no matter how I would have looked at it.

By the way, my gallery has been sadly neglected for a couple of years. In order to rectify that I added 2 new images. Just stuff I have done, nothing overly fancy. But at least a bit more recent.
__________________
Shave the Wales!
 
  06 June 2008
Re: ChadForeman.

Well, at the moment I'm still learning - currently studying Java and Software development. You see I have this mad scheme to write my own 3D software but dont let that worry you...

I do help a friend(who is also my mentor when it comes to 3dsMax and I owe them a great deal) who sometimes gets behind on their sleep(its not an easy business) but only just to do simple modelling and texturing. I'm not a mug or anything but giving up the odd hour helping a friend instead of watching Coronation Street is always worth the effort - if you could even call it an effort...

You see this is the thing - if you attend an evening class that introduces Blender you never know who you are going to meet or what to expect. Good networking never hurts and helping out when you have nothing else better to do is usually a good thing.

As for "Sir-Rig-a-lot" - its now old! But a couple of years back I went all out to learn character rigging with Maya and what with watching Monty Python and the Holy Grail at the time it just popped in there!

At the moment I'm holding down a fulltime job, two computing courses and somehow trying to find time for myself! Saying that, I sit the exam for one of those courses on the 18th of this month and so I will finally have time to focus on my own projects once again. I've thought about either a short film, another game or just going all out and writing my own character rigging and animation program...or maybe landing myself a girlfriend!
__________________
Silo, 3D Coat, Blender
C, C++, Java

Currently working on...HCR #42

Last edited by Boone : 06 June 2008 at 04:21 PM.
 
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