Learning "Everything" About CG Filmmaking: Where, How?


I know this is much too long of a message, but I’ll be very grateful for your patience if you’ll kindly read it. I’m going to sound terribly stupid but I’ve simply got to have some help in figuring all of this out.

Thanks for reading, and let me just start off by saying that I’m not going to argue with anybody’s advice; if you go to the bother of replying to my questions, I’m going to take you seriously, appreciate your opinion, and consider doing just what you tell me to do.

I know this is a tall order, but I want to find a school that’ll teach me “everything” - and with instruction of such a quality as is sufficient to bring my skills up to the professional level.

What’s everything exactly?
Well, if you want to skip reading the list below, I can sum it up as basically all of the various disciplines and sundry assignments that are required in the production of CG shorts.

The goal is to be - if and when necessary - a one-man studio, or at least one man capable of filling-in for any other man in a small studio. Don’t worry about the “specialization versus generalist” lecture; I know that I’m getting myself into trouble but also I know what I gotta do. :stuck_out_tongue: Self-sufficiency is It. :drool:

Everything means:
Mixed media
3D Physics/Effects (Lighting, Particles, etc)
Digital VFX (Titles, Credits, Logos, etc)
3D Painting and Texturing
3D Environment, Building and Prop Modeling
3D Character Modeling and Rigging
3D Character Animation
Editing/Compositing Digital Video (and effects, like in Shake and After Effects)
Basic Audio Recording, Mixing, Mastering (to make voice-overs and soundtracks)

…and probably more stuff that I don’t even know about.

Additionally, it would be great if I could get some additional instruction in Flash animation, programming (in Flash scripts and effects, or C++, or C#, or Torque Game Engine) and in handling a motion picture camera, but none of those three interests are essential.

Presently, I possess the following capabilities:
Basic drawing
Basic 3D animation
Basic audio recording
Basic Film editing/Video production

I’ll go wherever the best replies tell me to go. I know it means giving up a personal life for several years and I know it means going broke. So long as I walk away with the kind of education I need, I’m ready to do anything.

Now I have done some searching around before posting, and I do have some vague idea of what I could do, but I’m afraid it must be awfully uninformed.

Of all the various schools I’ve read about, Gnomon seems to be the nearest to what I’m after. Does anyone disagree with the idea that it’s my best bet - is there anything even more comprehensive out there?

Or maybe I ought to go to a four-year school instead - maybe if I finesse just the right courses and just the right major and minor, that would be the best route? Maybe it requires extra courses, extra hours?

In any case I’ll give whatever it takes - just tell me what will do it. :slight_smile:

Are there items on my list of things-to-learn that I’d be best served by learning on my own time, through tutorials, books and videos? I’ve been learning everything that way so far - but it’s such slow going, and my home computer simply isn’t up to the requirements of any of the serious programs. As a result, most of what I’ve been doing to prepare for this education has just been learning the art of drawing (gesture, perspective, anatomy, design and caricature, etc.) since it’s obviously the foundation for the rest.

What more is there to say - and in any case, how could you stand to read it anyway after all the verbiage I’ve just inflicted upon you? :blush: So, that’s it. I’m ready to take your advice now, please.

Thanks again. Cheers! :beer:


hey, I am 18 and just graduated high school.

i agree with what you say, if your paying thousands you should get to learn everything.

Unfortunately every college I Have looked at, it seems like you have to be specific with what you want to choose when you go to college, there aren’t many general places. However, you could major in one and minor in others.

Honestly, i am taking a semester off right now and going the self taught route to see if I will be able to motivate myself enough to do it. If not, I will go to college, but I will never pay thousands of dollars to go into debt.

Hope this helped.


probably you have heard something like this before, but i don’t think think it is advisable to learn everything upfront like this. i understand that you want to be able to be self sufficient, and be able to do any part of a production, this although is very difficult is possible, your skill level at each aspect is another issue, but yes, you could feasibly manage to do each part, be it brilliant, or comprimised through spreading skills too far.

i find that learning some areas will organically lead you into other areas, ie studyting pure animation for a bit would probably improve your drawing skills, it has design elemetnts and it would interlink into layout and storyboarding. its all integrated and overlaps… you cant neccessarily just seperate things out like that, aside from the clear cut cg stuff… well you could literally just study each one seperatly, yes, but somehow to me a lot of learning comes from things overlapping and interlinking and gradually building a picture and understanding over time… i dont think you can just buy it. it is a process of discovery, that in some ways you have to force, in other ways let things evolve and join up the dots as you go. you can learn a hell of a lot from just doing it, and learning each of the categories that you suggest outright, but just remember, you wont neccessairly see or feel the big picture by studying all these things… you need to plunge into areas of study, but allow that knowledge to sink in to the extent you find some profound structure that bleeds into other areas… understandsidng wont come from trying to make it happen to fast, some people would build up those skills you suggest from working for 20 years with various u turns and side routes…

im am not questioning your talent levels, or even if you could pull it off, just think it through first… persoanlly i think you can understand more from mastering a smaller area to begin with, before taking a look around and seeing whats what based on your new knowledge

ie studying a complemantary group like…

3D Character Modeling and Rigging
3D Painting and Texturing

or something would be wise before moving on, but good luck whatever you do…


Man, thats just too much xD… thats like choosing between … know about everything, but not being good at anything… and be very very good at something. o:, thats my opinion.
like if you focus all the time in mastering something… i think thats better than be just alright in a lot of things. think about it


probably you have heard something like this before, but i don’t think think it is advisable to learn everything upfront like this. i understand that you want to be able to be self sufficient, and be able to do any part of a production, this although is very difficult is possible, your skill level at each aspect is another issue, but yes, you could feasibly manage to do each part, be it brilliant, or comprimised through spreading skills too far.

i agree with matmonfish hmm


Dear Friend:

Before I start…let me tell you, I am not a professional animator, but a Hobbyist.
My dream is to become a master artist.
To become a professional animator…and to become a master artist in
drawing, painting and sculpture. Also to learn filmaking.
You post sounds like something I’d like to be.
I spent 10 years teaching myself animation on my amiga computer, using
a software called aladdin 4d.
I spent 7 years using lightwave 3d on my powerful pentium pc.
I spent 4 years teaching myself drawing and painting.
The result of my long time learning, is that now I have a decent artistic skill.
I want to learn much…but I’ve decided to concentrate on a few artistic subjects,
Animation, drawing and painting, take them to the max.
Then my extra time to learning other arts.
I have lots of advice for you.
Using lightwave 3d…I now have enough skill to make a cartoon like the veggietales.
This can pay lots of money, and all I needed was to have lightwave, a decent pc, and
to teach myself for a few years.
If you get lightwave 3d, a nice pc, and spend some time teaching yourself, EVENTUALLY
you will have enough skill to make your own 3d movies and pay lots of money.
It might take you anywhere from 2 to 7 years…but I assure you that you will learn
and become a decent animator.
More tips, if you get lightwave 3d (which i advise you to get) there are many resources available to help you learn everything you need.
I suggest:


get Todd Grimes character animation workshop. Is amazing, easy to follow and includes
facial modeling, body modeling, rigging, facial animation and body animation.


Great character animation workshop.


complete online learning… a master class on learning animation with lightwave.
Not only you will learn, you also get a diploma and become entry level animator.
This online school is amazing and enough to become entry level animator.

I study all of the above…and is been good training and learning.

I also suggest,


Even though is free, is a complete drawing course, from begginner to advanced
and you can study at your own pace and it has a great community of artists
that keep learning together.

I have some advice: If you get lightwave…and you teach yourself using these
materials I covered…eventually you will have enough skill to make your own
animated movies. You dont need expensive schools to learn.
An estimate:

lightwave 3d: about $ 1 to 2 k
powerful pc : $ 600
Todd Grimes character workshop: $ 224
Splinegod character workshop: $ 300
3d exchange: about $ 500

Enough to become entry level animator…and/or produce your own quality
animated movies. Is much cheaper to teach yourself than to go to school.
If you do these tutorials…you will learn.

Well, I have to go, i will give you more advice later.




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