If you were a complete novice. Where would you start?


Well I would take some Art History/ Design Classes.
Photography/ Lighting classes are also will help you a lot.
Learn you way around cameras, and editing.

Ok now if you want to be a TD, I would do all of the above and then
I would STRONGLY suggest an engineering degree.

If you want to be an animator,
you need to learn Anatomy, Color Theory, DRAWING, and and I would brush up on Animation history. You cna take some very good classes for this a your local COMMUNITY COLLEGE.


That is exactly how I feel but I’ve had some talks with people from Crytek on this years FMX they were not happy that I don’t work in cryengine, and that was the end of discussion basically, no job no nothing. I could’ve lied that I worked a bit in cryengine but it is unethical to me and I wasn’t desperate enough to go there, but there you go.


Is that an Engine or a cult?(I am saying that without a hint of Irony)


I would start learning CG with a fast, artist-friendly 3D software like Cinema 4D.

Then, when I understand the basics, I would learn a 3D package that is more used in industry, like Maya, Max or Softimage.

Knowing NURBS modeling in a CAD modeler like MOI 3D would also help a lot, particularly if you are going to model “manufactured looking” things.

And then of course there is post-production. Here you are looking at software like After Effects or Nuke.

Any art classes you take will also help. Particularly Anatomy/Figure Drawing, Painting and Photography.

Good luck!


Something like half year ago (if I remember correctly) I applied to Crytek Ukraine, and had two interviews, one with recruiters and then one at the Crytek office after I made the test. I didn’t manage to properly load materials on the model, as the documentation is not too easy and there are few who can help about it. They did mention it, but it seemed not like a big deal. I then decided not to apply to the final interview (I don’t know if I would pass for sure), as I didn’t want to model hard-surface and texture it for another several years (I’m just too tired from it, and the project wasn’t that interesting, not Crysis, just a PC game. And, dealing with the engine, like they said, is 50% of the time. You will be very involded with it at such a company. So then the engine dies, and all your knowledge is useless pretty much. At least, I decided it’s not what I wanted to to at that point, it wasn’t quite clear from the outset what the job is about). I wouldn’t learn an engine just in case, only if I would apply to a certain company which uses it. Remember Renderware? Right, no-one does.


Why would a TD need an engineering degree? Leaving aside the fact that TD is a broad term with different interpretations at different studios, it also covers a wide range of disciplines, like lighting, rigging, etc. I fail to see how a degree in engineering has any relevance.


To be frank.
To give the kid options.


For sure. I would love to be a lighting TD, or even just work in IT at a large studio.

But obviously its hyper competitive, and my chances are slim to none.

I just started on a computer science degree at a local CC. I’m taking mostly math classes, but when my VFX dreams fall through, at least I’ll have options.



Because it’s more relevant than an art degree for a TD. Isn’t the word Technical Director a big enough hint?

Most successful TD’s I know have started out with an engineering background. Yes, I know others with art or completely unrelated degrees, but it’s the minority.

To say that you can be a TD with any background is true, but to say that an engineering degree has no relevance is downright wrong.


In my opinion if you had 2 people applying with same experience and one has a degree most people would go for the one who has a degree.


Wauw sooo much advice! Well to be honest I have no idea what I’d specialize in, and much of the advice given seem imply that I have to pick something before starting. Its not usually how I do things, but the wealth of information given in itself is extremely useful :slight_smile:

As it is right now, I earn a living on the internet, so education isn’t something I have much of, though I at times earn a lot more then most of my well educated friends. In my opinion education is way overrated with how the internet works today, at least anything pre-university, and unfortunately for me, I’d need to sink in 3 years of mental torture, in college in order to open those doors. Given that I can make a living just fine without it, I do not plan on going there.

If something interests me I can learn it much faster and efficiently on my own, and put it to practical use much faster. Web Design for example. To get a degrade as a Web designer in denmark, will take a good 2 years, and 3/5 more if you want to go to university for it. After that you might be able to make anything when it comes to a website, but you have no real practical knowledge, nor network of people broaden your opportunity range. I got interesting in web design, which lead to SEO optimization, which lead to article writing. After 3 months I made my first profit, and after 6 months, I had small empire of 30 websites, all generating income passively. At this point i simply started outsourcing any work I needed doing for any new project, to people who were really passionate about each needed segment of the project (Online freelance websites are a dream). Invest 200-1000$ and expect a return of 50-200$ on that investment pr month, depending on varying factors.

Had I gone the educational route, experience tells I’d be bored to death within 3 months and dropped out, and even if I had spent the minimum of 2 years, I’d be no where near as equipped to make the above happen, because it doesn’t focus on real life uses, only on actual designing. Instead because I could go at my own pace, and let curiosity guide me, the above happened, and today I have the somewhat vast network of people, consisting of freelance article writers, professional web designers, and entrepreneurs, all of which I hire/get hired by, on regular basis, providing more flexible work hours, and a stable source of income then I could ever have in a standard job. It might not be conventional, and it might not be formal, but it works wonders.

I take what interests me, learn about it, use it, and then use that knowledge gained to synergies with future interests.

Its actually why I have the time to take on something like this, because unlike the above, which is just one of many examples btw, I do not see 3D modeling, animating, and so on, to be able to provide any income for a long while, though I do have plans for what I can do with it way before you’d call my a professional. I know some of you will shake your heads at this, and I’m sure I will too if I look back as this thread in 2-5 years, if I by then have figured out that this is actually a subject I can and did sink my whole life into. But learning 2D and drawing, while DEFINITELY something I want to learning, it is not what my passion is focused on at the moment, so trying to force myself to go down that route, will do nothing but kill my interest. I feel the need to start out learning this stuff, and when I start to hit road blocks, which having read all of your advice, I know will come, interest/passion will naturally guide me to learn what needs to be learning to get over it. It might not be the most formal nor step by step way of doing it, it might not even be the fastest, but I’m sure doing it this way will lead to results, rather then disappointment.

Like I said in the beginning, this doesn’t mean I do not intend on taking all the great advice. I suck information like this up, and it’ll have guide me in the coming months, of that I have no doubt :slight_smile: So I thank you very much for your time and value input, and thank you for really opening my eyes, and help create some transparency on this matter, that I’m sure would have take a lot of research to gain just by look around.


Exactly how does a degree in engineering have even the remotest relevance to CG? I’d love to hear how knowing how to design and construct buildings is going to help someone learn how to light a 3D scene.


This explanation makes no sense, Roberto. You said it was specific for a TD. How is an engineering degree useful for a TD? For a start, if you’re going to start recommending education for TDs, then you need to specify what kind of TD first. And you should then explain why your suggestion is relevant.

Posting unmotivated advice really just confuses the discussion and overwhelms the OP with options that they then can’t really make head or tail of.


Sometimes my bilingual skills betray me.
In spanish computer engineering is computer science in english (at least in career content, not a direct translation).
Sorry for the miscommunication…I meant computer science. You’re right, an engineering degree is not justified for a CG career.


No problems, Leif. See, the word engineering spans a very broad spectrum of disciplines; this is why I am harping on about the need for being more specific, so as to avoid confusing the OP. TD? What kind of TD? Engineering? What kind of engineering, and why? Giving half answers is no good. And that’s besides the fact that I still don’t see how engineering would be useful for someone going into games or films, which the OP has stated.

I’m also getting a little tired of what I see as people shitting on other people’s dreams. If someone wants to be an animator and modeller, as indeed the OP has stated, then I find it frustrating when people come along and suggest stuff as a DOSE OF REALITY, KID. This increasing tendency of people to tell others to get an education in something else to “fall back on” may have been made in good faith but I can’t help but find it a bit tiresome. It’s like people feel they need to dampen someone’s hopes all the time. And this is coming from someone who is currently out of work - I’m still not going to use my own experience to discourage people from chasing their dream career.

Funnily enough, it also seems to me that when people post saying they want a job in film or games, the majority of people being somewhat discouraging or suggesting failsafe plans seem to not work in either of these fields. The way people speak with authority about fields they have no personal experience of is a little grating.


It can help, if you are going to build your own environments (if that what interests you). Though, it’s much closer to a concept design. I recently became interested in it, and am trying to study it. Of course, there’s a lot of irrelevant stuff in construction books for 3d designers, which intend building only a depiction of construction.


Yeah but that’s got nothing to do with being a TD. TDs do stuff like rigging, writing shaders, dealing with lighting, etc.


If nothing else you have dealt with systematically solving a complex problem…
You have demonstrated you can stick to some topic for a while and know how to learn new stuff yourself.


Maybe Roberto had the same brain fart as me when he mentioned engineering. Maybe he meant it from the programming side of an engineering degree, like computer science, etc…

BTW, the OP never wanted specifically a TD career, he clearly states he’s into modeling, animating and CG in general, like so:

For an unfocused (CG generalist) way to approach this profession I would suggest a full technical art degree, like a BFA or equivalent if you can afford it. A good university can do wonders for a person with no experience in CG if you’re willing to grind out several years of absorbing knowledge and doing hard work.
For a more focused education in modeling try sculpting and figure drawing workshops, for animation there are online educations you can get like animation mentor.

All in all, I would say focused training (modeling, texturing, animation, compositing etc) should be no more than 18-24 months for an entry level position.
For a CG generalist you’re looking at 4+ years, because you need to know and be good at an entire pipeline.

The other solution is starting out as a specialist and move your way through a pipeline once you’re in a job. This will also lead you to a career as a CG generalist, CG supervisor, or VFX supervisor.


This thread has been automatically closed as it remained inactive for 12 months. If you wish to continue the discussion, please create a new thread in the appropriate forum.