FORUM PRIMER: The Unofficial Truth about The Industry


really encouraging ,im new to the 3d community …this thread opened my eyes for the future …thank u !!


Everyone should realize it.


thanx for such valuable guidence, i really need such kind of help as i m begining my career.


Thank you very much for all the valuable information. After reading this, it really set me on the right track (toward success i hope:)).


My brother-in-law graduated from high school in the midwest, went to Los Angeles, skipped college etc, and after 6 months got a job as a go-fer on a science fiction film (a film that made a LOT of money). He made friends with the “tech” crew - invented a now-famous special effect - & got hired into the special effects department. When the film finished, he & 5 other guys created their own company, & went on to be the “go to company for special effects.” Every one of the guys is now a name in the industry, with academy award nominations & even one or two awards. He then worked at ILM for about 15-20 years, off-&-on as a project finished & a new one started. He eventually left ILM & started his own company in LA (because that’s where the work is he said) & is now doing commercials.

Not bad for an 18-year-old fresh out of high school! And without a degree - just hard work, ideas, a willingness to fail, & good networking.

I’m not a graphics artist - I’m a quilter & weaver, but when I look at job listings (just for curiosity’s sake) I notice that more & more of them require a degree - I rarely see “degree or equivalent experience” any more. Anyone trying to decide between degree/no degree should probably take a look at job postings & survey what their requirements are - knowing the market in which your ideal job lives is a good thing.


This is my first time posting on this site, though I have read a lot, but I find your information quite helpful. Especially the bit about staying true to your artistic skills. I get overwhelmed by the cost and the amount of software people have knowledge in on this sight, for most of my knowledge is in 3DS Max(which I love and it’s widely used enough as far as I can tell) and I feel that it’s very overwhelming trying to keep up with all the new software that comes out. I feel what’s the use if you are judged by how many platforms or specific renderers you obtain like Vray and whatnot. But I guess it’s important to remember that the machine should be a tool, not you, and like one of my instructors always said, “It’s like a hammer” when comparing software; as long as what you want gets built, it doesn’t matter which tool you use.

I’m picking up the pieces after graduating from the Art Institute of Houston, for I have only been able to find a few freelance gigs here and there, and employment is not an easy venture in Houston. I’m learning Z Brush as we speak, because that has become a platform that is so widely used that you would not be able to find a job without knowing it if you want an entry position or character modeler position in any studio. Mudbox is good alternative, but those displacement maps give much detail that cannot be realized otherwise when going back to your chosen platform. I’ve also come to the realization that the problem is with me and my outlook, for I get discouraged, sometimes, after failing to find work, and that is something that should be avoided. I just need to keep plugging away; to keep studying and learning; and to keep working on my demo reel.

I know a little bit of everything(learning 2D animation first really helped me with my 3D animation later), but I know now to concentrate at what I am best at and your outlook is one of the most important aspects about yourself and with the right outlook, there is no telling what kind of barriers you can break. I have worked on a team project for NASA that was on the 2006 Seagraph reel as far as the Art Institutes are concerned and though I have been in a funk, I am getting back into 3D, though I took a long hiatus and concentrated on my drawing and painting which is why I went to art school in the first place. It’s also nice to fall back n something to compete with all the tech wizardry that a mouse pusher might have over me, an artist, so that is why I’ll never give up drawing, because that was my first love.

So thank you for all the info; it was really helpful. I have a BFA and I will keep plugging away till I find work. I have one question; I like to write and I have visions of animations I want to see realized, but they say to not try to tell a story with a reel, but couldn’t the right story, if done well enough to where it tells the story on mute or gives the transcendent feeling to the audience, get you a job? Because connecting emotionally is important, is it not? I know you need specialized reels for specialized positions, but is you pulled it off, would that help? Would your creative vision appeal to any studio? or are they too caught up in what they have already done to care about anyone else’s?

I know this is a big longshot, but I wonder about these sorts of things, because I write, as well as model, texture, and animate. Anyway, thanks for listening to me and I enjoyed all the helpful information in this thread by everyone.


Im very new in this CG thing, haven’t had a chance to get into the industry in a studio or something, never made a reel either. But I have to agree in what you say about telling a good story in a reel. I think I asked something like that before in this thread, and I think they said that the ones that analize the reel to give you the job don’t care about it. I really don’t find why, but since I’ve never had the chance to meet anyone from the industry and I know pretty nothing about it, I guess they are right… but still don’t get very much why. If you tell a good story I think it talks pretty good about yourself, and isn’t a good thing to have people that has that kind of thinking in a studio? just a thought.


Ahh, well we all start somewhere. My first 3D class was a panick for me as it is for anyone, but you’ll be ok. I have always felt as if I was over my head, so I never posted here, but I decided to give it a shot this time. You can do it, you just have to work at it.

Yeah, I asked that even though I think I know the answer, but I just wonder why there is such a monopoly it seems on what is the artistic expression/ creativite foundation for some studios. I mean, what if you can write a better story or come up with a better idea? I guess my answer would be to keep that for my freelance work, but it’s still tempting. I mean, if the story flows, it flows; even if they are looking at it on mute. I assume if you put it on a direct animation reel, you could pull it off, but I don’t know. I mean, what I am talking about is how George Lucas(who I am NOT comparing myself to, but mainly making a point) started this whole thing at skywalker ranch. He had a vision; he was inspired by spaghetti westerns and Greek mythology and a multitude of other things. I guess you or I could have that as a side project and just use the characters for a modeling reel or any fluent animation on a strictly animation reel, but it’s still tempting to want to grab the interviewer like you would grab an audience member. You know? Like any author or dare I say it, comic book artist/writer.

Sometimes I feel as if some studios are all show, but little substance behind the characters. It’s beautiful breathtaking show for sure, but can any real person relate to some of these characters? I like to empathise. Anyway, I guess I know the answer, but it still bugs me a little, but oh well. You do what you can to find work in the industry, I guess.

Life is a never ending learning process, and you will find your niche, for evryoen, even those in the industry never stop learning. I say that as someone not yet in the industry, but that is what my instructors told me and 9t makes sense. the most I ever done was that project for NASA I mentioned.

Anyway, thanks for the reply, I guess we know the answer, but it’s nice to know someone else feels the same way.

I find it annoying that after years of learning 3Ds max and becoming proficient in it and learning the basics of Maya, I have to somehow gather up or find someone with a copy of Zbrush so I can start all over and learn a new platform, though I look forward to it, but still. Same goes for Vray; does anyone even use scanline renders anymore? I hope so, or that some people like to at least try to fake Vray and do it well.

Oh well, that may be Greek to you, but you will learn. As they say, “this too shall pass.”


Your work and knowledge is beyond mine. I have no experience in Zbrush or VRay and your work is very good. Pay no attention to the parts where I thought you didn’t know anything about 3D; I took what you said wrong. This is why i was scared to post, but I thank you anyway for replying to me.


Thanks -DC-

This post saves my career.



Hi Guys,

How to get more money for our art designers in the entertainment industry, just introduce new projects to DimeSee and share the benefits! Link to this forum site below and submit your requests:

A professional forum to our designers in the art field!

Good luck!


Only with good eyes we can see the beautifull pictures here.

[cirugia ojos, vista ocular](


Thanks for all of your precious advice. It makes me more clear about my future.


excellent primer.- :slight_smile:


ok, i was wondering what the top three best animation prgrams there are on the market right now. can anyone tell me?


WOW. As a new member to these forums, I can tell straight away from this first post that I’m going to learn a whole hell of a lot here! Thank you -dc- for writing that up and sharing your experience. I’m a third year BA (Hons) Video Production student at Bournemouth University and the info I’ve just read will help me tremendously.

Thanks again.



wow,i found the light at last…thanks a million!


Hi dc! thanks for these neat advices! I’m curious about one thing, though. What are the chances of artists from other countries, entry level or otherwise, of getting such jobs in the US or UK, especially if we don’t have the “luxury” of being taught by these professionals who have worked in a lot of awesome projects? Or for example, I have a really good reel, but won’t they prefer hiring somebody from their own country instead of acquiring and paying for sponsorship or work permit, etc? :slight_smile:


That was excellent information - I just have one question, when you mentioned the softwared, you did not mention Autocad. Some have told me it is actually useful while others say stay away.

Is the industry currently using it?


What an informative and inspiring read. Thank you for taking time out of your busy schedule to offer the community as a whole such a powerful tool that is both empowering and uplifting to read. It certainly made me feel like less of a small fry and reassured me that if I take the chance to believe in myself, others may too!