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Old 09 September 2009   #1
Question cg or not to cg

Hello cgsociety,

I'm 19 years old and i've always had a fascination for cg and vfx, but never really knew how to get into it. I moved overseas at the start of this year and by chance there was a course teaching interactive animation/entertainment. So i joined this course only to find it wasn't quite up to scratch. The 3d work i loved doing, but we learnt too little too slowly and it was costing a ridiculous amount of money. I've decided to drop out of the course and move back to Australia, problem is there seems to be no good places for 3d schooling in Aus.

So is it worth trying to teach myself through online tutorials (which im getting a good collection of) and then after a year or two, applying for one of the good universities/colleges in America/Europe?

I have no background in art, but im trying to teach myself through books. I'm having a hard time deciding if i should pursue a career in 3d, because i have no background in art and i have only started doing 3d stuff this year... i love it and im a quick learner, but its daunting to look at some of the work other people produce, and hearing stories about people with extensive art backgrounds and using 3d applications from a younger age.

Any help and advice is very much appreciated
 
Old 09 September 2009   #2
Hi Sam and welcome to cgtalk.

You are sure to find the info you are looking for.
Cheers
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Old 09 September 2009   #3
It doesn't matter if you are in AU, you can go to AM!

http://forums.cgsociety.org/showthr...?f=289&t=147156
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Old 09 September 2009   #4
Smile

thankyou for the kind welcome and reply. AM looks very good and ive heard great things about it, but i don't think im ready to fully commit to just character animation. Thanks to your link i managed to somehow navigate my way to a great course in sydney at Enmore Design College, good facilities, and the graduates are producing good work and landing jobs with great companies.

I dont know if i would have found this if it wasn't for your link and various random clicks from there. so thankyou!

Does anyone know if its difficult getting a work visa in America or Europe if you don't have a Bachelors degree?
 
Old 09 September 2009   #5
I'm 19 years old and i've always had a fascination for cg and vfx, but never really knew how to get into it. I moved overseas at the start of this year and by chance there was a course teaching interactive animation/entertainment. So i joined this course only to find it wasn't quite up to scratch. The 3d work i loved doing, but we learnt too little too slowly and it was costing a ridiculous amount of money. I've decided to drop out of the course and move back to Australia, problem is there seems to be no good places for 3d schooling in Aus.


Its funny. there is a pretty strong industry in Australia and overseas there are a lot of really good artist that come from australia but the overall training scene is pretty poor there. I think the main thing would be to get in contact with some of the better vfx houses (AL, Fuel, RSP, Iloura) and ask them who they recommend in Aus for training. I beleive that there must be something decent there by now. I know many years ago when I was starting it was a very dismal scene. I moved to Sydney to go to a course in Enmore TAFE, at the time I was in one of the first groups ever to go through. I though that the teaching was very poor and the tutor was inexperienced and had never worked a day in the industry. Some of us have gone on to really good jobs but that place had little to do with it. Maybe it has gotten better. Check who the tutor is, if that same guy is still there run... far.

One thing you might consider is something like traditional art or filmmaking and then doing the 3d/vfx stuff as a adjunct on your own via things like the web, book and DVDs.
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Last edited by Aneks : 09 September 2009 at 09:27 AM.
 
Old 09 September 2009   #6
Aneks thanks for the advice, ive done some research on Enmore TAFE, and the places some of the students have got jobs at is impressive, included: Animal Logic, Fuel, Industrial Light and Magic, The Lab, Rising Sun, WETA digital, and Team Bondi. The short animation clips ive found though (those on the Enmore Design site and youtube) have been mediocre at best. I have a feeling that the only reason some of the students get good job placement is because there's not much competition for trainee ships. How long ago did you do your course?

I will email those companies for schooling recommendations, thanks for the good idea.

I have considered traditional art, but im very unsure about it since i have no art background at all. I'm not that interested in doing a film course.

I am considering animation mentor as it looks to be one of the better options.
 
Old 09 September 2009   #7
I'd say it's more down to the hardwork that the student put's in. Regardless of how good a school is, how experienced the lecturers are, if the student isn't willing to put 100% of the effort in then he/ she, most likely won't achieve sucess in the industry.

So instead of looking at how good the reels are, look at what other areas they offer, for example, if you can check out the state of the computer labs, the hardware and software that is on offer, wether they offer 24/7 access to computer labs, do they have a small renderfarm for students, all these things.

You can quite easily learn 3D on our own, you just need access to a resource like CGtalk and a computer with the software installed. However working in a college/ university/ acedemy with like minded people really helps bring the drive and creativity upto a new level.
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Old 09 September 2009   #8
Dont be too drawn in by their claims of student sucess. I went there and have worked at some of those places and am now at a major studio in the UK, but I think that the course was poor and did not give value for time and money. Again, it may have improved.

Basically they had nice resources but no idea about the industry and how to train and prep people for professional careers. This is why I mentioned the tutors lack of experience. Basically if you are being taught by someone with no idea how can they show you what you need to know.

I'd say it's more down to the hardwork that the student put's in. Regardless of how good a school is, how experienced the lecturers are, if the student isn't willing to put 100% of the effort in then he/ she, most likely won't achieve sucess in the industry.


Agree totally. Sucess is entirely down to the effort they put in and the hard work they do out in the industry
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Old 09 September 2009   #9
Thumbs up

I think i'm going to wait until i get back to Sydney, make a visit to Enmore, speak to the lecturers, look at the work they're producing, the facilities and try and talk to some students. If its good, and made a turn for the best since Aneks was there i might give it a shot. Whilst i have a good work ethic, being in a supportive environment where the lecturers and course work push me to do my best and beyond, makes a big difference.

At the moment though animation mentor looks like my best bet. I've read and watched everything i can on the course and i get excited just thinking about it. It also means i'll be able to live in my beach house down the coast instead of staying with friends and extended family in Sydney (my parents will still be living overseas).

Having only just joined this site i am very impressed with the community and how people will go out of their way to help each other out, and in such a short amount of time. Thanks for the great replies its been a big help. i'll do my best to contribute in the future.
 
Old 09 September 2009   #10
I teach as a side job- and I've worked in games/movies for a few years now. I went to a decent art school- I give all this info so you know where I am coming from when I say- if you can teach yourself, do it. Some people need a classroom to motivate- but don't feel that it is the way you have to go. You can learn anything about a software program in a book- you can get critiques/network on sites like this one. If you must go to school- consider studying a well rounded education- you could teach yourself a computer program, but it might be worth taking some traditional art classes, science classes, and/or history/lit classes. The last thing you want to do is spend a ton of cash on how to be just like every other student coming out of the CG school grinding machine. In the working art world very few jobs care about schooling- there is in fact a certain amount of admiration for those who were talented enough not to need school... companies mostly care about portfolio and experience. In fact- probably the best reason to go to school is that it makes it easier to get an intern- which actually has some value. In all my years of working- the only time I've ever had to prove where I went to school was to be a teacher- every where else only cared where I've worked and how good my demo/portfolio was.

Good luck
Craig
 
Old 10 October 2009   #11
I too have been looking at courses in australia, theres very little here.
The only one I found offering a 3d game art related degree was one in perth, but reading through the course content it quickly became apparent they teach very little of use. For example there was no traditional art classes, some 3d modelling concepts but nothing specified like zbrush and 3dsmax. Instead they said things like 'learn how to create your own website and upload media to the internet' and this is supposed to be a game art degree !!

One route some people go down is a traditional art degree, then learn the software side on their own. I have heard many say this is the way to do it but I am unsure myself.

I am also considering even going back to the UK and studying there as theres many more quality courses on offer, but I am undecided.

I tried Animation Mentor for the first term but found it lacking. Although it tries, it doesnt really simulate a real classroom enviroment, you need to have a little drawing skill and already know the maya software as well, as these are not taught in the course. They have started to introduce a maya section but thats an extra you have to pay for. I think AM is great for people who already have some experience and want to polish their skills.
 
Old 10 October 2009   #12
At your age I wouldn't worry too much about whether or not you want to make a career of 3d. The question you should be asking yourself is whether or not you want to be a visual artist. CG is like painting or sculpture, it's just a medium. Become an artist first.

The people that do the best work in this business are usually the ones with the best grasp of the fundamentals of art. I've seen great work done by people who have only been using a program for a few years, simply because they have such a strong foundation in art.

Think of yourself like an athlete. Learn how to run, jump, throw, catch, etc. then decide what sport you want to play. Even if you learn how to do those things playing one sport, and then decide to switch sports, you should still be alright because a lot of the skills are transferable. It may take some time to truly master the subtleties of an individual "sport", but you can still be very very successful as long as you have a strong foundation.

Michelangelo was able to be such a great painter, sculptor, and architect, because he understood the visual medium and what it meant to be an artist. He took what he knew about one medium and applied it to another medium. Obviously it takes time to learn how to hold a chisel or mix paints, but once you get over the learning curve of the craft the rules are generally the same.


Basically what I'm saying is that it really doesn't matter if you start off doing animation, painting, graphic design, visual effects, or basket weaving. Learn how to be an artist and you should be fine.

Last edited by Paul McLaughlin : 10 October 2009 at 04:38 PM.
 
Old 10 October 2009   #13
Originally Posted by Paul McLaughlin: At your age I wouldn't worry too much about whether or not you want to make a career of 3d. The question you should be asking yourself is whether or not you want to be a visual artist. CG is like painting or sculpture, it's just a medium. Become an artist first.

The people that do the best work in this business are usually the ones with the best grasp of the fundamentals of art. I've seen great work done by people who have only been using a program for a few years, simply because they have such a strong foundation in art.

Think of yourself like an athlete. Learn how to run, jump, throw, catch, etc. then decide what sport you want to play. Even if you learn how to do those things playing one sport, and then decide to switch sports, you should still be alright because a lot of the skills are transferable. It may take some time to truly master the subtleties of an individual "sport", but you can still be very very successful as long as you have a strong foundation.

Michelangelo was able to be such a great painter, sculptor, and architect, because he understood the visual medium and what it meant to be an artist. He took what he knew about one medium and applied it to another medium. Obviously it takes time to learn how to hold a chisel or mix paints, but once you get over the learning curve of the craft the rules are generally the same.


Basically what I'm saying is that it really doesn't matter if you start off doing animation, painting, graphic design, visual effects, or basket weaving. Learn how to be an artist and you should be fine.


I have heard something similier before and looked into the fine art degrees but I am concerned that they dont seem to teach practical skills to be an artist, there seems to be a lot of art history and theory instead. So I am wondering how useful a fine arts course would be to learn to be an artist, and then simply learn the progrms in my own time, is this a good way to go about it?
 
Old 10 October 2009   #14
Maybe what Paul is saying is "Learn how to be an artist and you should be fine" and not "get a fine arts degree". An art degree- fine art or computer art based- is not something you have to have to work in an art industry. I'm not against going to a fine arts college- I did and have benefited from it simply because I learn well within a social environment. I also work with people who never went to school and are more talented/educated then myself. The biggest factor will be your own self motivation to learn. On top of that- if you want practical skills- try to get them on the job. A huge factor of breaking into the art industry is actual experience... which of course is impossible unless you have already broken in. One way around that is to get an internship- but most studios only offer internships to students.
 
Old 10 October 2009   #15
Originally Posted by comic-craig: Maybe what Paul is saying is "Learn how to be an artist and you should be fine" and not "get a fine arts degree".


I guess I am thinking of degrees as I would learn better in a classroom enviroment as well, it is hard to be motivated self studying. Also gaining entry to the US requires a degree for visa purposes so it kind of kills two birds with one stone since I would need to spend the time learning anyway

I guess the choice is between fine arts, ( that has a lot of irrelevent subjects ) or some type of 3d game / film art course (which seem to vary reatly in quality and content from school to school)
 
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