FORUM PRIMER: The Unofficial Truth about The Industry


Thanks for the info - especially the section about degrees. A friend and I have been going back and forth about the value of a diploma and he’s one of the types that can get by without college. I on the other hand prefer a well rounded education and getting a degree has been a personal goal. Sure, there are times when general ed classes seem like a distraction from my lab time. However, an instructor once told me that the skills that get you a job may not be the skills that get you promoted.


so I had a lot of different toughts about going to uni or not or if I stand a chance for any decent job in the industry but my questiones had not been answered by others… I had to answer them! I realyzed that all I need to do Is patently learn and be the best and then I will certanly get a job… Well of course this is not easy and you still have to decide a lot of things but in the end it all boils down to what you have acomplished and how fast and if you will be able to do that for your employer…

My problem is that Im working in a small hungary(eastern europe) based studio and the quality and level of work we produce is, well, thats the problem that I cant tell if its good enough to collect the experience Im looking for. Since most things that come out of here were realised, planed, created, animated and composited etc. by me if an international style studio would think of hireing someone who could do things like this on his own, I would be the man… but since I have no idea what a high class studio or big compnay is looking for i cant tell if I would be valuable for them. Actualy I cant tell if what I know i (good)enough and how work is organised at big companyes… what do you have to do alone or what kind of responsibilityes do you have.


totally true
school is just for learning, grade is just a game
they both doesnt mean anything
just use the time to learn something worth your money~ ^^


Also, how reputable is the Art Institute chain? I’ve been searching the internet on reviews from alumni but I haven’t been able to find any information.

gigahertz, I graduated recently from The Art Institute of Seattle, got a BFA in animation. I only know my own experience, but I like the Art Institutes, at least the one I went to. It’s the only way I could have afforded an art school, and I was the type who needed college first. For the most part the teachers were experienced and had much wisdom to impart to students.

AiS in particular is very very good for people who want to get into games, and this frustrated me since I prefer the film industry. But overall my time there was well worth it.

I am very glad I read this thread, though I’d like to know more about the freelance industry. As of right now it doesn’t make sense for me to work at a studio. I live way too far away from any companies, and where I live for now is determined by the US military. So I’m attempting to become a 2D freelance artist specializing in digital portraiture, maybe some children’s books. I got some good info from the Grahic Artists Guild, but I’m having a hard time finding info about specifically digital illustration as opposed to fine arts info. I’d appreciate any advice from anyone about market strategy, beginning freelancing, or really just anything! I know that working for myself will be a challenge and I want to be smart about it. And again, thanks for making this thread, it’s been helpful :slight_smile:


I can see that this thing is right or wrong, I am such a good thing to learn! Thank you, landlord!


I’d like to add something as well, from someone who got a degree and now works in “the industry”

I graduated from the Art Institute - Orange County with a BA in Game art and Design, early '06. It took me about 6 frustrating months to finally land a job (a very good one at that). Most of the people who got their degree didn’t do anything with it, and went about their lives. But some, like me, actually got pro-active and sent out reel after reel, cold-calling places and not giving up the pursuit. And again, most, like me, didn’t get anywhere with that. Until! a friend from school was visiting town from the place he had landed a job at and said he might be able to get me an art test, and the rest is history.

FRIENDS ARE YOUR MOST IMPORTANT RESOURCE, your degree might collect dust, but your connections never will. Meeting people who are passionate about the same things you are and will possibly be your “in” to the industry are the major reason to GET OUT THERE and attend college, you can’t get that anywhere else. If you sit in your room trying to make the “perfect” demo reel you probably wont get anywhere too fast, even if it’s amazing, your chances are much better if you already know someone on the inside, and this is the easiest thing to do, just be social. Talk to that wierd kid in the back of the class who consistently turns out good work, talk to anyone who’s work you admire and let your voice be heard, the squeaky wheel gets the grease. You never know who will get a job where, so meet as many people as you can, and this will make life much easier.

Carry that mindset into your first job and make as many friends as you can, networking should never stop, because even getting that first job, it’s never a sure thing forever, so be friendly towards everyone, ask as many questions as you need to, and strive to learn something new everyday.

And one last thing, be realistic when looking for a job. A ton of people want to be character artists for some reason, and 90% of the stuff you see on zbrushcentral and other forums are characters, faces, or busts in some form or another. The best way to attract attention by employers is to be varied in your skills. For every character in a game or movie, there are hundreds of objects or environment sets. Model things that are applicable to most 3d mediums, ie: colums, walls, doors, windows, plants, etc. they don’t have to be boring either, have fun with those concepts. And DO NOT model things that have already been done to death, ie: world of warcraft style anything, this will get you nowhere. Above all Be open to offers and don’t limit yourself. I had to move halfway across the country and leave all my family and friends, and I can’t surf out here in Texas, which really sucks :slight_smile: but you know, the job I got is a dream come true and it’s truly worth it and I never doubt any of my decisions that led me here.

good luck all, never give up.


[QUOTE=ZCtrl]I’d like to add something as well, from someone who got a degree and now works in “the industry”

I graduated from the Art Institute - Orange County with a BA in Game art and Design, early '06. It took me about 6 frustrating months to finally land a job (a very good one at that).

That is awesome that all of your hard work has paid off. Way to go!

I am attending the Art Institute of San Diego in my first quarter. It is very challenging but I am really enjoying it. There lots of resources to take advantage of here (which I fully intend to do). I am networking also. There are many very talented students here that I have learned from as well as the instructors.

Thanks for the input Z, it is very inspiring!


I’ve been through all of the above that you mention here and I can honestly agree with what you’ve said. Particularly the part about “only getting out of school what you put into it”, which is very true. Actually, you just reminded me of how much I went through in the past few years since I struggled my way into this industry. It was exhausting and I’m so glad the toughest part is out of the way. Now I wish someone had advice for how to handle burnout!


thanks for taking the time to write this, spending lots of time on a demoreel can be difficult, but this writing was very encouraging for me, people shouldnt give up on their passions no matter how hard life gets


than you for the faq it´s a very good perspective of the industry



THANKS A lot just the inf i was looking for


I review showreels almost daily and agree with so much in this thread. Get your head in the right place and your polygons in the right place and you will be fine.


Thank you very much…!


mmm you are a cool guy, and patient. great to see that there is still people that not only care about theirselves :smiley:



Wow great read! Thanks for the help and insight. I am currently a student majoring in computer animation and after the two years I will begin my search in the industry for a job.


What are the prospects for an animator to work from home? Especially someone newly graduated from an on-line animation school?






This is a well-needed response. I honestly think someone should publish this. It has a lot of valuable information for the students. I am currently a student going to Art Institute Orange County, and for me, the education cannot teach me quick enough. I currently work as well, and I learn much quicker in the workforce than I do in class.

I believe that no matter what field, what education you have-- Just work as hard as you can (while still having fun and loving what you do). This will get you to where you want to be. Education is nothing if you are going to end up doing something that you hate.

Education is by far my favorite thing, but there are different styles. Sometimes the style doesn’t match my perosnality, then I just move to the next session. You need education… Whether its on your own, or in a classroom. Its what we need to do in order to grow in our personality.


Thanks Alot !! This is some valuable information.


Truly enlightening post. So, if college is not a requirement to get in the industry, I assume that also means getting a GED won’t be a detriment either. Is that right?