I realize this question must get asked quite a bit on these forums, but I’m hoping ask from a different angle. I’m looking to get started in DMP but I’m finding it challenging trying to figure out the most ideal path towards that goal.
To introduce myself, I’m 28 this year and have a pretty solid footing as an artist; I’ve won national awards, have won about 12 grants and international residencies etc., work in major museum collections, and also have been a freelance illustrator and graphic designer. I’m pretty fluent in just about anything 2D (PS, Ai, ID) and I have some experience in 3D (Rhinoceros, Sketchup Pro, Vray etc.), I’ve also got a BFA and MFA. That said, I’ve really been wanting to get into matte painting for some time ever since some friends in VFX at Weta (3D modelers, texture artists) introduced me to their work and strongly suggested I consider making a career transition. I like enjoy, illustration and design, but to me right now the world of VFX seems really exciting and I am very keen to get involved, even if it means starting over and having to deal with a steep pay cut.
In spite of the encouragement and my enthusiasm, it’s hard finding how to start off since most of my friends in the industry went in with degrees in graphic design/illustration and were taught in house. I would love to have that opportunity but I just haven’t come across any openings that don’t require substantial experience in specific (and usually very expensive) programs. I’m also totally cool with interning for little or no pay until I can make myself useful, but finding these kinds of opportunities seems a bit tough so far.
So, all things considered, do any of you have any suggestions as to what might be a suitable path for me to take towards becoming a DMP? Is it best to try and start as a Texture Artist or similar and work my way up? Are there any relevant internship opportunities in or around NYC that would be a good fit, or is even finding an internship at my stage unrealistic and that I should I just bite the bullet, drop a few hundred bucks on Nuke, Mari, Zbrush etc. and put my head down?
Thanks for reading this far, and any advice greatly appreciated!