Do you think that learning a programming code is beneficial?


Hi! I’m a graphic design student based in Rome, Italy.
I’m learning animation, and I really want to improve in the “3D side of things”
Do you think that study a code would be beneficial for an animator, designer, 3D artist etc.?
I have seen how in many animation software it is possible to set the animation following particular scripts (My last lesson (The last lesson in the academy I attended covered this feature of After Effects)

What do you think is a really useful programming language to know?
Thank you.


I am very curious as to the answer to this question as well.


It depends., but a general answer would be that the more you know the better it is. If you are going to dig in the FX world for sure you will need to do it. Also do you mean a programming language? Almost every 3d mainstream application seems now to support python (excluding their own native scripting language) and so this can be a good investment for the future.


Yes I meant a programming language. Probabilly I’m going to start learning Python.
To your experience, how the knowledge of a language improved workflow (Or made you create things that were not possible without knowing that particular language)


Are there schools/colleges where this is taught, formally? Or are there even online places to learn it?


Yes its benefical. Don’t expect that you can write your own fluid sim in the first year of learning, but writing some small scripts to automate certain tasks, can be quite some fun if you got a certain affinity to it.

Python… Its easy to learn, very expandeable, and most 3d application support it.
c / c++ experience is also good if you want to dive deeper and write complex plugins and applications, but for starters I definitive recommend python, especially if it should be a second skill.

But again this is also a question of personal preference.


Personally I learned programming by books, the more coding examples it had the better. The O’Reily publishing stuff was quite good at that time. Most 3d applications do feature some example scripts and you find some online for disection… just don’t start with complex stuff, wich can be quite frustrating.

Start with a good old “Hello World!” script, and expand from there.

Personally I thing a course or formal education does teach you the raw basics of programming, but very quickly you have to experiment and teach it yourself.


From my own personal experience:

Will it impress your coworkers? Yes.

Will it ease your own stress? Yes.

Will your employers offer you more compensation for creating tools to help your team / company? Most likely not. You will likely be on the top tier of your title in pay scale, but you won’t exceed what others are paid in the same tier who don’t know it.

Only very large organizations hire programmers / coders specifically (talking thousands of employees). Smaller organizations don’t see real value in it and frankly will tell you that anyone can do it if they try hard enough. It’s hurtful / disrespectful but from my experience that’s their approach. They are also fine not having the tools. They don’t see the relationship between code and paycheck.

Want to make more money? Work on management / communication skills, especially those built around client relations, sales, and bringing in the $$$


In the Silicon Valley where I’m at, almost all companies hiring artists want you to know Python, or more likely programming for Unity. Reason, teams are small and they do not have separate artists and programmers as in the old days. If you are and artist it is expected that you can put your artwork into the engine and program some art tasks for your models. And/or you and create tools for the engine as needed. A few larger studio’s still work the old system but they are getting fewer. Costs baby costs.


I reckon it would. Even basic scripting gives you access to otherwise, not accessible, direct route for actions you often repeat.
I think it depends on a particular implementation. In Maxscript, you can just make an action, select it in the menu (it shows which code the program creates for this action), and drag on a panel, getting a new button for repeated actions. For example, if you need to import\export to obj 30 times a day, it might save you 4 clicks on each action just by making one shortcut. It’s already 120 unnecessary clicks you won’t make in a single day.
What if you need to make tens of same actions? It’s often the case.
I was reluctant studying maxscript, as it seemed dejectedly similar to programming. So I first started learning math I skipped at school, but it’s not really necessary at starting levels.
Scripting is not the same as high-level programming, and is often tailored for artists. Also it aims for more mundane tasks, such as batching, automation, rather than creating new programs.
I’m very new to maxscript, but I can foresee the fruitfulness in the long run. It’s awesome, but you have to be ready mentally, having some years of familiarity with the program. Sure you can automate any tatks, be it modeling, lighting, animation.
It’ like a constructor, where you learn which properties objects have, and how to modify them. You don’t have to know them all by heart, but where to look for.
So yeah, it’s worth it, and you might learn it for a couple of months to get main ideas. It should already help you a lot.


This is an important distinction.
I think of high level programming as being Computer Science and your education-usually a degree program- is tailored accordingly. The title of this thread is a bit confusing as it doesn’t quite make sense.


I have a follow-on question: Is it possible to do modelling or animation via software?? ie. say, for animation, you try to program a walk cycle - the pelvis will move up 10 units, then the left leg will lift up 5 units, and so on… you get the idea. I’m sure this kind of thing can be scripted, but I have no idea HOW it’s done! :frowning:
And is it possible to generate models using code?? Like, is it possible say, to write code inside Max or whatever that generates a human face?? HOW??

Are there any good books on this kind of thing? Has any research been done on this?? How do I get info??


This is where things are currently going:


That was amazing, man!!! …Just wish I knew wtf the guy was SAYING. :slight_smile:

…but I guess that still rules out certain things, like say IncrediGirl in the Incredibles, who can stretch - that would still have to be done by a human animator, right?!!

So - how do I find out more about this type of stuff??


Elastigirl is an extreme example.
Not only the animation but also an extremely task specific and complex animation rig for that stretching.

Best info you are likely to get are the behind the scenes info that gets on youtube.
But this will be limited.

And really animation is such a visual ‘look and feel’ kinda thing. I am not a programmer-but real character animation is done by a character animators for a reason; you can’t automate it without is looking automated.


Stretchy rig is a tedious setup. It requires creating a stretchy, squash-and-stretch muscle, and then connecting to each limb. It’s not really programming, and you can create such a rig with basic math knowledge. Surely at Pixar they use advanced technologies, so it might be much easier.


I couldn’t find anything recently on Elastigirl. I think I had something on my DVD.
Anyway here is the hardest rig Pixar ever did (to date).
Hank the octopus:

But my point is the same. If Pixar took a couple of years to work this out than its not gonna be easy to ‘just program the rig and the animate it’ from scratch with just lines of code.


Honestly unless you want to specialize in complex rigging, simulation, or pipeline things I would not recommend prioritizing it. You should build the grooves in your brain for the things you want to spend the most time doing. Master them. Try coding and if the creative use of logic there is something that piques your interest then follow that pull. But if you want to be an animator I would be focusing on that. It will take a lot of practice to get competitive in whatever specialty you want. Imo modeling rigging texturing lighting animation should be the core things you focus on at the start unless you feel a deep interest in programming


It should be either your strong selling point (being a technical artist), or an asset to your already robust main discipline. Scripting is not an introductory level, so it makes sense to know your onions first, being proficient with work being done.


OK, so thought I’d post in this thread again. Surely this kind of thing is not new? Like…Lord of the Rings, loooong time ago - when a crowd of soldiers in an army is attacking each individual soldier is not animated by hand by a human animator surely, that would drive them nuts?!! It’s all done by software… (called Massive, I think.) So if they could do a whole CROWD back 15 years ago, with this, “Programmatic” shit, then why is this walking dog ^ above, news in 2019??
I’m not disparaging, in the LEAST, I just…wanna know. To me, this is AWESOME cool, and I wanna find out all I can about it.

shehbahn: Are you a CG researcher? Like, the Tech stuff? Or stuff like the above?