FORUM PRIMER: The Unofficial Truth about The Industry


Hello guys, I’m quite new here, and this is the first thread I read, and I’m a bit shocked.
I’m new to all this CG stuff, and I am very interested with it. In face I have already started modelling things in 3Ds Max and I’m doing pretty good there.
I also love video editing and VFX and I love working with Adobe Aftereffects.
I want to delve more into the CG Industry and I would love to further my education in CG related institutes/courses. But something that boggles me right now is my experience in art. I am not so good in art like drawing and stuff. But on the other hand I wouldn’t say that I’m not artistic or whatsoever, if you ask me if I’m creative enough, I’d say I pretty much am. Being a musician and playing multiple instruments also blooms my creativity. I know that’s music, but it’s somewhat related to art, correct me if I am wrong.
I have a feeling that everything is going to work out alright for me :slight_smile:
It’s just that, do you guys think that my lack in art will distort my work in the future?


We are Render-IT, a company set up to satisfy a distinct need within the
Computer Generated Imagery sectors.

At Render-IT the bulk of our clients are most pleased with the care,
attention to detail and generous technical support we offer.

We built our network ourselves, refining it carefully over time. We
are one of the world’s longest operating render farms and our 10 years of
experience means there is not a technical complication that we cannot deal
with; often we are consulted just to trouble shoot a render setup. We always
want our clients to be fully satisfied with our service and as such we offer
an evaluation service free of charge where we render a section of your
project to iron out any technical issues that might arise before the project
is submitted to render.

We work with the following sectors (amongst others)

  • Visual Effects,
  • 3D Animation,
  • Architectural Models,
  • Product Design,
  • Marketing,

The Render-IT Team


Thank you for taking the time to post this, it really helped me to understand what I should be doing to prepare my self.


Although, I suppose to know essential math is quite enough to make basic scripts, I mean it is trigonometry and linear algebra may be something else. Strong knowledge of math and physics required if you going to create your own real-world simulators for CG, in another case software would simulate world for you.


Thanks so much for sharing this information with us!
Such a long text!!!


Don’t know where to start. I love doing CG. I just love playing with the lights, modelling and animating and practically every aspect of CG but I have a problem. I’m in high school, my third year in fact and I just finished the IB Diploma. I took Chemistry instead of Art and then realised I enjoyed art just as much.

Putting all of this aside, I have to say I’m completely discouraged from doing anything related to CG because my father (and mother) and everyone around me is telling me that it’s an industry where you’ll be earning nothing, sitting in front of a computer for hours with no human interaction making it a job that won’t be satisfying both economically and personally.

I am at the point where I can’t decide. This sticky was extremely useful so thank you very much for the hard work put into it.


Can you tell me why do someone delete my thread : The Cross Alpha Omega Infinity Time Key of Life , JOLT , REALLY .
It’s cost many years to have that character and about 400 hours working , I work when I finish work at my company .


Brothers benefit


This is so helpful! Thanks for taking the time to write this!!


Thank you for posting this thread, it really helped me to get a better idea of how to go about into the industry after college. :thumbsup:


It’s funny, as we enter 2013, how relevant this thread is still today. Having been in the industry for the past five years, I can say a lot has changed, but a lot of trends have certainly solidified. speaks the truth when it comes to tax incentives and the turmoil of this industry. It is uprooting families, or breaking them apart. As an American VFX artist, you are more valuable in Vancouver, New York or London than you are in Los Angeles.

Not related to VFX, but having done Games: the games industry is going through the same shifts. With profits dropping dramatically, many conglomerates (Activision, EA) have chosen the cookie cutter model to support their profits. This means more mocap, more clean up, longer hours…

On the issue of longer hours, stop. No one can make you work more than you feel comfortable with, but many places subtlety demand it. Activision was notorious for putting people on weekly rates but demand that they work 60 hour weeks. Make sure you ask for Overtime in writing, early on. And if you don’t get it? Manage your hours. You may get fired… but that depends on wether you see your health or your paycheck as more important.

Startups are exciting and pay very well. But they will (often times) lay you off just as fast. This has happened to me in the games industry.

There are trends for hiring and firing. Usually in November for the Summer projects, and in April/May for the winter projects. Keep that in mind.

SIGGRAPH is a waste of time. So is GDC. Shoot me for it. While I agree meeting a drunk recruiter sometimes is exciting, and passing business cards with friends is fun… the truth is that as far as a find a job venue, its useless. I will admit applying early in June/July when studios advertise they will be at SIGGRAPH has been helpful. Most interviews are set up before you get there.

I cannot underline how much software is a tool. Learn to learn fast.

Valve in their manual stressed ‘T’ people. I love this concept and think it applies for us. If you know a little bit of rigging, a little bit of lighting, but you’re an awesome animator, then that is amazing. We get a lot of horse blinded people who don’t know how to communicate to other departments. It’s incredibly frustrating.

In fact, communication is key. Please crawl out of your shell if you’re in one. Your silence could cost us thousands, or our next job.

If you can afford it, come to school in Los Angeles, New York, Vancouver, London. The direct connection you’ll make with artists who are working in the industry, teaching in schools, is amazing. In fact, I’d argue it would pay for itself.

Be very careful what classes your college makes you take for your “Digital Arts” or “Visual Effects” degree.

On that point, the small art schools are just as good as any big art school. Don’t buy into the hype. People still come out of there without jobs, fail out, or do great work. It is what you put into it. I’d argue that art school’s relevance is fading fast with multiple online schools around (iAnimate, AM, Rigging Dojo)


Enjoy all


Weathered you are in 2D, 3D, or whatever you are in, remember this: Prepared yourself to have the BEST demo of your work. Like I said in my previous post - BE CREATIVE! What is that mean? It means that your work has to set apart from other Artists! Be concern if you are NOT being CREATIVE!
Are you an inspired person or a person who’s trying to be inspired? What is that suppose to mean? Let me put it this way. Are you the BEST or are you just trying to be the BEST. In CG world, TRYING is not the answer. YOU HAVE TO BE THE BEST!
Be the BEST in your Animation. Be the BEST in your Texturing. Be the BEST in your Lighting. Be the BEST in your Modeling. Be the BEST in your Painting. Be the BEST in your Drawing. Be the BEST at the One Thing you are Expert at. Remove GOOD from your brain if you are in the CG or Hollywood industry! Why do you need to set your mind at BEST? Can anyone help enlighten the answer?

Hope this helps waken up your reality.


That sure got dark quickly… the update, I mean. :surprised


Great peace of info. Thanks


I registered just to ask some things here because nobody could answer me them anywhere else :frowning:

I am from austria(not australia) thats the small county under germany with the mountains if you aren’t good in geography.
I really enjoy making stuff with blender and learned me everything with youtube etc for around 2 years(i am 15) but I still dont really like what I am doing I always find something that I don’t like.

My problems are:
.) No school/university anywhere near who teaches that kind of stuff.
.) No companys where I live(I mean the whole country) maybe 1 or 2
.) Not really good at drawing but love to model/animate.
.) Dont know what is important to know or things i should be able to do.
.) Not much time for “learning” it

I would be so happy if anyone could answer me and help me and I am
really sorry for my bad english.


Drawing is REALLY GOOD to know. I’m not a pro, but I’ve been studying this for a while… and not being able to draw well, yet, is the biggest thing keeping me back.
And you know what else is cool about drawing? It’s much easier to find people who can teach you to draw, than it is to find 3D schools.

Another thing - you “don’t have much time” for it. Well, you’re 15. You don’t have to be a pro tomorrow. Spend some time practicing this stuff every week, and in a few years you’ll be pretty good. Maybe not good enough to be a pro, but you love to do it any way, so why not?

As for the “no companies” thing… Starting looking into advertising. There should be advertising companies in Austria, and if it’s true that there are no school teaching this, then they don’t have many people to choose from. If you ever see an ad in TV and think “I can do that”, DO IT… then ask people (perhaps here) if it’s as good as you think it is… and then send links of your video it to the companies that make those ads.


Thank you for the fast reply. :bowdown:
I am already searching for people who could help me and you’re right. There are much more^^.

I think most of the advertising companys are located in germany but i will look if I find one.
I am thinking about posting one thing i’ve done some time ago and ask what everybody thinks about it but to be hones I have no idea how or where to post it :sad:


My problems are:
.) No school/university anywhere near who teaches that kind of stuff.
.) No companys where I live(I mean the whole country) maybe 1 or 2
.) Not really good at drawing but love to model/animate.
.) Dont know what is important to know or things i should be able to do.
.) Not much time for “learning” it

Are you CREATIVE in your Modeling and Animation? You want to know what is IMPORTANT?
Hollywood and CG industry said: IMPRESS ME! So impress the CG community with your Modeling and Animation. Where is it?



So I just uploaded a not yet finished work of mine but,to be honest, I have no idea if it is really uploaded and the website just confuses me more and more :hmm:
I hope it is uploaded and maybe some of you can say me if I have a chance in this kind of jobs( I hope so) and what i could do better/what I shouldn’t do and so on.

Hope you guys/girls like it :slight_smile:

Greetings from austria,W.A.


Yeah. I don’t want to spoil anyone’s dreams but the title of this thread is “The Unofficial Truth About This Industry” after all so here it is…

This industry is dying (or adapting if you want to look at it that way) and it’s happening fast. It started with mid-sized companies dying off over the last 4-5 years but now even the major VFX studios are closing their doors and/or being sold off to investors in Asia. Salaries are experiencing massive downward pressures and artists are being forced to live out of a suitcase in order to keep working. Experienced artists are leaving the industry in droves so I guess that could create some opportunities for new people just entering the field but I’m not sure it’s such a great career to get into anymore. Sure, this industry was never considered “stable” in the first place but the changes that are happening now are verging on “spiraling out of control” and it is just picking up speed.

I think it’s time to add a new update to the OP in this thread. My addition…

Is this still a good industry to get into? If you love this industry and it’s artistry and don’t care about money or having a life or owning a home or raising a family or knowing what country or city you’ll be living in next year then it may still be the right place for you. I wouldn’t advise going into debt to get here though.