A decade later, which software now?


#41

If the company isn’t willing to train you for a month on their software, you’re not that valuable.

This is the exact reason these companies get away with murder (long hours, underpay etc.) its a saturated market. If any company worth working for is not willing to train an employee regardless of industry you need to question if you should even want to work at that company.

It’s thinking like this that creates these environments that gives all the power to a corporation. You are underselling your persona, your skills, your thought process, your ability to figure out solutions, your effect on other people, any company worth their salt knows this and would never let a true talent get away. If you think you didn’t get a job because you didn’t have their tools perfected, you need to re-evaluate your thinking.


#42

If the company isn’t willing to train you for a month on their software, you’re not that valuable.

It means there was another equally (or possibly MORE) qualified candidate that already knew the software. Period.

This is the exact reason these companies get away with murder (long hours, underpay etc.) its a saturated market. If any company worth working for is not willing to train an employee regardless of industry you need to question if you should even want to work at that company.

This doesn’t even make sense. It IS a saturated market. That’s EXACTLY why you shouldn’t handicap yourself by not learning the industry standards. It’s one thing if you’re some kind of wild, “once-in-a-lifetime” artistic prodigy, but most folks … aren’t. Where I work, we primarily use AE, C4D, UE4 and Unity. Why on EARTH, would I hire someone who only knew Blender or Max when I have a full stack of resumes of equally skilled artists who already know C4D? Your way of thinking here just doesn’t make sense.

It’s thinking like this that creates these environments that gives all the power to a corporation. You are underselling your persona, your skills, your thought process, your ability to figure out solutions, your effect on other people, any company worth their salt knows this and would never let a true talent get away. If you think you didn’t get a job because you didn’t have their tools perfected, you need to re-evaluate your thinking.

Again, no. This is dangerously bad advice (UNLESS you’re that 1-in-a-million talent I mentioned earlier - then all bets are off). This is because, while every company values problem solving and all of the other traits you mention, they want the problems to be the normal, everyday problems we all deal with in this industry. They do NOT want the problem to be “I’m not sure how to tackle this because I don’t know the software yet”.

The advice that any software will help you learn so pick what you want is fine. The advice that any software will get you a job because a company should recognize your ability and just straight up train you is right out of the mid-to late 1990’s and borderline irresponsible IMO.

The unfortunate reality is that the market is very saturated (if I’m not mistaken, there are more people going to school for CG right now than there are actual positions in the field) and most of us (whether anyone wants to admit it or not) have similar skillsets and artistic abilities. So if you don’t know the software of the company you’re applying to, and you’re not a special snowflake style prodigy, you also aren’t getting that job. Period.

The only exception I can think of is the larger FX houses that have their own proprietary stuff that isn’t commercially available, but even then, they’re usually looking for industry standard knowledge as a base.


#43

You’re proving my point, if EVERYONE has roughly the same skillset then everything else becomes MORE important (attitude, work ethic, reasoning, 1st impressions ).

I have never used Lightwave in my life, but give me a month with it and I guarantee you I can create something impressive. You stated yourself, even the big FX houses know that an artist with a solid understanding of 3D can easily transition to their in-house software. You can get this standard base knowledge with FREE software and Youtube tutorials. I know because I am one of them.

You could be the greatest artist in the world, master every single program and you can even code your own programs, but if you’re a dick in the interview, you will not get the job!

On the other hand if you are a beginner and only know the basics, but you impressed the interviewer with your portfolio and they saw your wonderful personality and how well you got along with the staff and you had great problem solving skills and work ethic they will gladly hire you over the above greatest artist in the world. This is true in any industry.

I am not saying knowing the tools of the industry is a bad thing. I just think its a small fraction of what actually goes into the hiring process.

For getting a job, I think a class on public speaking is much more valuable than learning a 3rd or 4th 3D program.

All I am saying is people put way to much emphasis on the software and not enough on themselves as a person. The tool does not make you. It is your PERSONALITY that gets you the job (assuming you have all the basics down and they just need to get you up to speed).

Spending thousands of dollars a year in such a saturated market is just ridiculous. Feature films have been made with free programs.


#44

So now you’re advocating for public speaking classes over simply knowing the software the company needs you to know? lol

Your initial point was:

“If a company likes your portfolio they will hire you and train you”

and:

“IT MAKES NO DIFFERENCE IN THE SOFTWARE ONLY YOUR PORTFOLIO!!”

If you’ve moved the goal posts, then fine. But your initial position simply isn’t true (unless, like I said, they have a proprietary software. Most places don’t though). You’re correct in that the software doesn’t make the artist. That said, the software DOES make the artist employable.

With all due respect, your view of this seems dated and naive. There was a time when it was recommended that you get a job “sweeping the floors”, or “delivering mail” at a studio, and use that as your “way in”. That advice stopped being applicable many years ago. Sadly, the same is true of the “any software will land you a job” advice. The talent pool is simply too saturated for that now, and if you’re out taking public speaking classes instead of working on your portfolio, then good luck to you, because you’re going to need it more than you know.

You want a job? Here’s the bottom line from someone who handles the hiring for a 300 person team:

  1. Don’t be a tool
  2. Have a good portfolio
  3. The software listed in the job description is there for a reason. You should probably know it.

#45

Funny how that was listed 3rd!

I have a question for you.

Who do you hire? (assuming you are not in a fast approaching deadline)

Candidate 1: Amazing portfolio, awesome interview, had a great gut feeling about him/her, but only knows Blender, but assured you he/she could get up to speed quickly.

Candidates 2-300: Amazing portfolio, an ok interview, didn’t really impress you. However they know your in-house software well.

Oh and this is coming from someone who has hired and trained thousands over my many years.


#46

I listed them 1-2-3 for ease of reading, not necessarily importance, but to your question - probably someone in your “candidates 2-300” category. Yeah - a good interview impression is important, but you can’t place too high an importance on that.

Because there’s too high an opportunity cost for candidate 1, and I’m willing to bet there’s at least 1 person in that 298 person group that fits well with my team.

If you don’t believe me, go make a resume, and make sure it doesn’t have Max or Maya on it. Then start applying to VFX jobs and see if you even get a single call-back …

The reality is, there is just too much competition now, and almost everyone is on a tight deadline with a shoe-string budget. Where I am, we have the luxury of having one of the larget companies in the world backing us, so we don’t struggle as much with budget, and it’s still extremely rare that we hire someone who doesn’t have the software knowledge we need. Because you can throw out all the hypotheticals you want, but the real world reality is, there is pretty much always someone else applying for that job who is as good as you, as likeable as you, but who already has the required software knowledge.

There’s just no getting around that.

EDIT:

Backing up a bit - just want to reiterate here, that all of this goes out the window if you have a rare artistic talent. If you’re THAT good (and most people aren’t), all bets are off., and you probably CAN get hired over more “qualified” candidates. But like I said, “being likeable” and “interviewing well” aren’t enough if you’re an average artist and don’t know the software.


#47

Exactly. I gather you have no idea how common contract work prevails the industry-especially VFX. The majority are as such.

If you are being hired for a 2 month contract -then the only training they have time for is
the proprietary pipeline and internal communication.
You should be doing what they ask you after the first week!

All other things being equal there isn’t time for a LightWave artist to learn Houdini for a two month contract…


#48

Let’s agree to disagree.

I challenge you to go ask your CEO what is the hardest thing to find in a good employee. They all have roughly the same answer. None of them will ever say what software they know. (I meet with local CEO’s quarterly in OC/LA area).

I have 3 years ago (to be fair I did put Maya on my resume) Because I was somewhat familiar with it because I used Maya back in 2000 for a few projects that needed it.

I got calls from Disney, Blizzard, and EA sports.

I told every single one that I had not used Maya in 10 years and I mainly use Blender now. I got all three jobs offered (I believe because they really liked me, and I had a decent portfolio, I have been told I have wonderful charisma throughout my life).

I ended up taking a job as a Generalist for a Medical company that is close by and pay was great. (I have since left and started my own company).


#49

You are not comparing apples to apples, we are talking about employee’s not contractors. That is a completely different thing. A contractor stays on for a limited time and and gets a 1099 not a W2. Of course the contractor better be specialized or why would the company hire them? We are talking about employees who get benefits and hopefully will be with the company for many years. That’s why training them for a month is just a drop in the bucket .


#50

So you had Maya on your resume, and mentioned that while it had been a while since you used it, you had experience in it. That’s not at all the same thing as saying “I don’t know it” and not having it on your resume.

As far as my CEO? Since she’s the one who empowered me to make the calls, I’m pretty sure i know what she wants. Again, the brutal reality is, the hypothetical you posed NEVER happens in real life. There is ALWAYS someone who knows what I need them to know AND impresses in the interview. Always. To be sure, there are also folks who impress but will need training. They’re up against the person who impressed but did not need training. Guess who wins?

I would never hire a person who knew the software, but seemed like a jerk or like a potentially bad employee, but you seem to be ignoring the reality of the industry right now. If you aren’t finding qualified candidates who interview well, seem like they will be good employees, AND know your software, you’re doing something very seriously wrong … And I’m primarily hiring on the East Coast U.S. where the talent pool (presumably) isn’t as large as in California …


#51

@Crotalis another question for you.

Let’s pretend (I don’t know if you have kids) but your teenage son brings over his best friend lets call him David.

David’s dream is to work at Pixar but he has no money and his parents are struggling financially. He ask you what program should he start learning 3D in?

I only bring up this scenario because this is the majority of our country like it or not. Middle class is practically gone, most people are just staying afloat. Do you really go tell this kid well you better start paying $2,000/yr for a program that Pixar doesn’t even use and you can’t get.


#52

Strange that you say “this is the reality of our country”, and yet the reality that I do not have issues finding folks who know what I need them to know still exists.

In that case, I would tell him to get a job and pick up a sub of something like Maya LT which is relatively reasonably priced and go from there.

He could also get an Adobe sub and play wtih C4D Lite (which is admittedly limited on scope), save up cash and get a temp. sub to c4D for about 600$, or, worst case scenario, try out Blender or Bforartists to see if he at least likes the process. The reality is, the real world (sadly) doesn’t work on “what’s fair”, and this isn’t a field for everyone. That said, your hypothetical “David”, if he wants it bad enough, should be able to earn enough money to get at least ONE of the industry standard packages.

As an aside, I WAS that poor kid with a single mother. My first “real” 3D package was XSI Foundations which I bought … by saving money I had earned.

Do you really go tell this kid well you better start paying $2,000/yr for a program that Pixar doesn’t even use and you can’t get.

No. This statement is bizzare and rediculous. Like I said (multiple times at this point), the two exceptions to my point are rare artistic talent, and the times where a company usesa proprietary software. With respect, I feel like there’s a really good chance you’re just out of touch enough to not quite know the the mainstream industry as it stands today. I say this because a lot of what you’re saying would have been really good advice 15-20 years ago. Today? Like I said it feels dated and naive.


#53

Yeah. Ok. But i say again. This likely applies more commonly to a different industry like Architectural rendering, etc. I.e. Likely less big budget and less deadline frantic. So a different part of the industry.

But not VFX today. You yourself say you’ve been ‘out-of-it’ for awhile. So stuff has changed in the last 10 years.
Here in Montreal -there are many studios VFX and feature animation. For artists contract work is standard.
Heck it is such an international industry now (I work with folks from US, Spain, Italy, Germany, Canada (duh), etc)
it is the job type that makes the most sense.
Contracts of ‘undetermined length’ do exist. But are far more rare today!

Another aspect of this I suspect is that junior artists are less likely to get a permanent contract first time. If its offered at all its given to somebody the studio has decided they hate to part with (by this time software experience is mute). And for which it makes more logistical sense-i.e. you are a permanent resident or citizen of the country the studio resides in.


#54

And your reality that you see coming through your doors at work is called “white privilege” (I am white). The country as a whole is struggling and its only going to get worse when AI really starts taking over. To advise a young kid to spend thousand of dollars a year on a tool that MIGHT get them a job is bad advice.

Ok good so you would recommend Blender in some instances and then once they get a solid foundation they can look to specialize with a specific software. Glad we agree on that.

That’s all I have to say about this. You bring up some fair points, but I just don’t agree. I have proven and know people who have no traditional schooling and only knew Blender, and they seemed to make it into the major companies.

I wish you and your loved ones success and happiness.


#55

And your reality that you see coming through your doors at work is called “white privilege” (I am white). The country as a whole is struggling and its only going to get worse when AI really starts taking over. To advise a young kid to spend thousand of dollars a year on a tool that MIGHT get them a job is bad advice.

And there we have it. lol I call troll …

EDIT:

To be clear - I call troll because once all of your arguments failed, you immediately went SJW, without even knowing (or inquiring about) the composition of my team, or even what my own background is.

I realize that this has been off-topic RE:the OP, but I entered the thread because people still come here for advice on starting their careers and I think it’s very important that we provide responsible info. To anyone reading this and thinking about starting their careers, two very different paths have been laid out in this thread. One of them will get you a job and possibly a career. Choose wisely.


#56

Lol To be honest I don’t even know what SJW means (I don’t feel like googling it, I get your point).
I am not going off your company I am going off of Government statistics. The VFX industry is mainly white male. That is a proven fact, its true in most industries. So to so easily say go spend thousand of dollars a year is very easy to say but very narrow minded when the majority of the country can’t do that. Then you even punish them by not hiring them because they didn’t know your software even though you really liked them in the interview (according to our hypothetical above).


#57

Like I said before, everything you’ve said is based off of hypotheticals and “statistics” you read somewhere. Not reality. I’d rather not make this about “race” or “privilege” (that’s a lazy argument and often demeans everyone involved in one way or another), but in the case of the company I work for, you’re beyond wrong.

The reality is, it does not take thousands of dollars a year to learn any of this software. Maya LT is like 39$ a month and more than enough to get a entry level job. C4D has very affordable options that a kid on paper route could afford in order to get a temp. sub that lasts them 6 months and is, again, more than enough to get a entry level job involving C4D. There are multiple other examples as well, and they don’t even require you to break the law.

As far as the rest of us? If you’re employed full time in this field and can’t afford your package of choice, I don’t know what to tell you, but the chances are, you have enough “on-the-job” training that it doesn’t matter.

So you can look for excuses, or you can just realize that the standards are standards for a reason, and look for a way to succeed. I’m not sure why that seems so controversial? lol


#58

I am not looking for excuses, I don’t need them, I have my career. I am looking out for the younger artist coming up.

I get hiring someone that can hit the ground running is a good thing. But the fact your company is not willing to train someone for a month to learn a new program is the problem with the industry now.

Good day,

PS no need for the quotes on the statistics.
https://www.usa.gov/statistics#item-36987


#59

Again, with respect (because seriously - we disagree but this HAS been a respectful discussion which I appreciate) if you truly think not wanting to train people is the “problem with the industry right now”, you are too far removed from the reality of the industry to have a truly educated opinion on anything involving the industry.


#60

Guys lets keep it civil