when I say “it looks easy” I mean that y’all work in big studios and stuff and you could do better I am sure.
I’m mostly a “content creator”. Making stuff for internet consumption. Being a writer just is not enough these days. Sadly I found that not enough people can read It’s too much work.
To tell a story properly these days it needs a visual component.
I have run meetnewplayers.com ; a musician referral service for 15 years now; kind of a dating site for bands, really. I learned alot doing that. You have to build sites that are secure and scalable, just in case you hit one day.
And when telling THIS story it seemed that the only proper ending for a NeverEndingPrincessStory is that she would get married; ie: become the Queen. That’s how that dating part came about, really…
The more you learn about cg along a generalist learning curve-I think the more one might desire to restrain-that’s how its been for me.
Originally I started to learn CG because I was told it was a steady income for a modeller but once I got into it it became an obsessive personal creative thing–I preferred learning as a generalist so I could make my own effects films like had with stop motion a decade earlier (which I gave up on because I didnt want to learn metal working to make armatures and get a chemical scale to mix foam rubber and all the complex stuff required to do an in camera matte).
My goal was to be able to do better than Sy Fy quality character animation from scratch. Things that wouldnt look like I just pasted together something using default procedures and stock video game animation files.
After about 7 years of learning it finally reached a point where it wasnt boring and I could guess at how long it would take to make a project shot without too many delays due to ignorance of a process or wasted time because I didnt see the short cuts.
And where I felt comfortable cheating.
All that matters is getting the shot, even if it means painting things by hand into the frame. Or using stock footage and altering it in after effects or photoshop.
Now I am at a point where I can actually enjoy it as I work (making a fake movie trailer for a Harryhausen style sword and sorcery film that will be used as a book ad). Been working on it for a year now. It gets boring and tedious but then I finish a shot and switch to another.
Best time I have had with graphics.
However, I am mostly working in standard definition not high def, at most 720 HD and I down rez it to blur it up and make it look dirty and hand-touched. I use obscure old movie footage as source material when I can, and add CG elements into it. Or remove things from the scene.Lots of painting frame by frame.
And I havent kept up to speed on new processes techniques very much. I havent tried out new features in zbrush for years. Just what I use for sculpting and displacement/painting.
I havent done much with animated hair and fur rendering–my last big obstacle. If I dont need it much I may cheat using polygons or comped footage from something (as long as it doesnt look composited in).
The computer does a lot for you, but not the serious artistic decision making that is required to make something not look too fake or out of scale or blended into a scene. You need to develop a keen eye for effects to spot the things that dont look right.
An automated computer program would have to get really really sophisticated to be able to remove that work load. I dont see it happening anytime soon.
Well initally this thread was discussing the constant changes in technology and software and the requirements to keep up with trends and changes, I served in the Marines for 5 years and in that regard we didn’t have to keep up with changes in training such as software, hardware, tactics, everything stayed very similar my entire time while regarding cg 5 years is huge. Just try doing a tutorial for Maya 2013 while using Maya 2008 and I am sure there will be hickups, I had this happen while using a 2010 training book but 2012 if I remember right, some were minor though there certainly are decent shifts here and there.
Of course differnet fields are demanding in ways such as physically moving equipment or stressful situations, what was originally discussed was more how the cg field faces constant change and shift because it does fall heavily into technology. I don’t feel that “demanding” is quite the right word though I understand the intent in presenting the topic.
My question was a bit more specific, though maybe not clear - the ratio of profit to pain so to speak. Ok, it wasn’t clear at all as I can see - but it was a hard time for me so I missed it completely. A new demanding job, and I worked without weekends. To me I felt the pain started becoming too much, and i reduced my ambitions lately, re-thinking my roadmap of learning (not working).
My main issue was that I couldn’t find the right application for my education (not the same as finding work), and further learning would give diminishing returns and taking too much of my life. I think my problem was that I started learning cg a bit too lately for my ambitious plan - being 22 and today I’m 30. Basically, I wanted to know everything. A childish dream, though possible to realize at some level, but I’m happy stopping where I am. I want to specialize and it’s not that mind-blowing any longer in terms of complexity. It still requires almost all of my knowledge, so I feel quite settled for my inquisitive mind, and I can choose of 3 main directions where it all, or almost all, can be used. It’s not that I whined about modeling or just texturing, as sometimes happens to people, and is also understandable.
Reading replies made me feel better, knowing others also encountered the same issues, so though I understand to some people it might be boring to read, it did help me, so I thank you.
Perhaps it’s just another example of projecting personal disorders of a confined mind to the whole industry.
I think that it might be more fair to say that they’re just different, apples vs oranges. As a CG artist, you might not have to worry gunshots, IEDs or black lung, but that doesn’t mean that you’re as carefree as a security guard at a pillow factory. It’s been discussed here many times, but CG artists often have to worry about long term health issues. You might find somebody who only works a 40 hour week, but you might as easily find somebody who works 2x that. Coming from a family of cops and military servicemen, all I can say is that a coronary will kill you just as surely as a .44 would. I’ve had many family members happily retire after 30 years on the job (police/usaf). I’ve also had more than a few friends barely make it 8-10 years in the industry before burning out. Individual results may vary.
And being a policeman isn’t as much of a short straw as being born in the wrong country and being recruited in the army at 11 to die at 12 in a firefight, for no pay, with no indemnity corresponded to your family (or what’s left of it from the last village butchering).
Sure, It might be good to remind ourselves occasionally that we’re more or less debating a “first world problem”, and be grateful to anything between God and quantum physics (depending on inclination), and consequently try to squelch one’s sense of self-entitlement a bit.
It doesn’t have a lot to do with this forum or the topic at hand, does it?
As a generalist, I do get frustrated by the amount of work I miss out on because I chose to learn Software A instead of Software B. If I know Maya, they want Max. If I know V-Ray, they want Arnold. Know Mudbox? Too bad, we need ZBrush. Getting a job is frequently like a lottery, and I’m hoping that my numbers come up.
To increase my odds, I spend my free time studying new programs and doing tutorials when I’d really rather be working on some personal projects to take advantage of the skills I already have. Sometimes I feel that I’m damned either way.
I love CG, but if I could change one thing, it would slightly more standardized tools.
This to me speaks volumes about you. It tells me you absolutely love what you do and do it for the sheer joy of doing it. I know a woodworker who is a Master Craftsman. He’s nearly 70 and does wood inlays that you’d think were done by someone in the Rainaisance or at least hundreds of years ago, but he does them in his shop. Every piece he produces is worth hundreds of dollars, if not into the thousands and at least half of it he gives away simply because he loves what he does… Based on what you said here, you’re a young version of the same character…
On a side note, the people that hire us rarely know what we actually do. If you don’t know one small aspect , like say, I don’t do character rigging…well, how can you be an expert? Because I know the other 90% pretty damn well and you don’t need it for this project haha. Its the strange mentality of people with the purse strings.
I believe you made a mistake in disclosing that. Assuming, of course, that this is a client and not an employer, he has no business knowing what your skillset is. What you don’t know, you an hire out. I’m sure you can find any number of people willing to rig your figure for a little coin.
It’s true that most people have no clue. I had a guy come up to me asked me to make him a fish because he wanted a photoreal logo for his new aquarium business. When he described the job, I gave him a price, he called me a greedy cheat, so I gave him Pixar’s phone number and told him to call them. Another lady saw me working (I set up daily in my favourite coffee shop) and told me “Oh Yeah, I do photoshop too…” It’s absolutely amazing how clueless people are about 3D CGI.
I don’t know an industry with more layers of skills than this one, with the exception of the Medical Field… I’ve certainly never experienced one. And I know of no industry at all where a huge percentage of successful craftsmen (and that’s what all of you are: YOU ARE CRAFTSMEN) are self taught.
For my part, I dream of having my own little studio with a couple of other guys and maybe running a render small render farm on the side. CGI was described to me by my engineer father in 1969 when I was six years old. It was still theoretical and it would take over a decade before we saw anything suggesting what we have now, but since then, this is what I imagined to be the purpose of a computer. Now I’m 50 and I get to play with it and make a little coin with it… My skillset doesn’t come anywhere near most of you guys, but at least I get to be in this world…
I agree with all your points Wancow, I hope you get to live the dream. With the destabilization of the big hollywood houses, I think more small boutiques and partnerships between small groups will become the norm. We have to get actually computing power and software out of the office and more on a cloud system we can all share. Thats the future.