3D Animation diploma... But no 3D skills

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  1. #1
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    3D Animation diploma... But no 3D skills

    I really don't know how to look at this. I have been taking a 3D Animation course since last year. As the deadline is around the corner (October), I am getting more and more discouraged as I came to the realization that I might have made a really dumb mistake and wasted a lot of money.

    I like the subject and I am pleased to learn 3D Studio Max. Problem is, I feel that with one year of study and an upcoming diploma, I know nearly nothing new or useful. Firstly, nearly half the course was spent learning computer basics and Photoshop (I have been doing web and graphic design as a profession for years so that felt really pointless). That left only a few months to actually learn 3D related stuff. From there, it's been pretty much following the 3DsMax tutorial book page by page with a few extra exercises tossed in there. I'm really frustrated because I realized I could have bought the new computer (the course included equipment), the software with the tutorial book and learn the same exact thing the same exact way and save a lot of money. Of course, it wouldn't include a diploma, but I'm thinking it's going to be a rather useless piece of paper anyways. I still need a LOT of practice to be able to model properly, much more to be able to animate in 3D, we haven't even covered textures, cameras and lighting YET, I can't even dream of a decent 3D portfolio with what I know by now... However, I'll be getting a 3D Animation diploma with a 92% average next month... That makes no sense to me!

    If I don't finish the remaining assignments by October, I don't get the papers so might as well wrap it up properly. But it's been extremely difficult to focus and have any sort of enthusiasm about it anymore. It's pretty much irking me at this point and I'm just trying to cram the rest, get this over with and swallow the fact that my 2D illustrations will be paying for this 3D course for a very long time.

    Not sure why I'm saying this here aside from the fact that I'm not around many artists and most people I've been talking to don't understand with I'm having a fit over this (even the instructors). They think the good grades and diploma are cutting it... But I'm seriously doubting it: I'm getting grades and a paper but NO ART to show for it. I intend to work hard to make the tools work for me and I'll practice/learn further on my own. I just wonder if I should put this diploma on my resume or if it will be completely misleading.

    **EDIT: Crap, you're probably right... This should be moved. Sorry 'bout that!

    Last edited by Sekino; September 9th, 2009 at 03:12 PM.
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  3. #2
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    i'm doing a craft & design(material cole)course,also first year,we have 1 CAD per week(not our main subject) what we doing is to learn photoshop and illustrator to understand how to make texture to basic level,our 2 year CAD(once a week also) will be learning a 3D programme basic

    i think that counld be a "normal" sturcture for some 3D course ,never know

    teXture > modelling > set up
    3 main part?

    THIS post should be in ART SCHOOLS & EDUCATION ?

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  4. #3
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    Lots of school offer this type of education and its pretty much worthless, schools just glaze the surface. It's a money trap, they can hire people cheap who don't have a lot of skill or knowledge about 3d and push people through. There are really few schools that are worth even considering when it comes to a 3d education and the only one I would recommend is something like VFS.

    It sucks but don't let it get you down take what you know and start learning on your own.

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  5. #4
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    DeadlyFreeze you use a good lots of 3D,did you learn on course.W.?

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  6. #5
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    I'm self taught.

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    Yeah, I acknowledge it's mostly my own ignorance to blame. My entire web and graphic design background was self-taught and did (and still does) well professionally once I got my foot in the door. I decided to try this 'formal education' thing people talk about and not be the lone rebel, for a change.

    Oh well, live and learn. I'm looking forward to creating gorgeous 3D illustrations... in a year or two.

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    Quote Originally Posted by DeadlyFreeze View Post
    I'm self taught.
    again XD..conceptart.org got too many self taught power guys(shock me again,i am also a self taught in manga)


    well,Sekino,i look at you work i thought you are an fair good character designer or story illrustor, but this is not what you what.W.
    so i suggest you create more and more and more 3D ,if they just give you some page of books copys this year again, you can alway go to pick up another 3Dbook read more 3D ,do it yourself,do it for yourself.w. good luck

    talking of which¨
    3D Animation might be quite illustrations aim????(3D use to ease the making?????)

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    As you can imagine, there is a lot of interest in all things computer graphics, and there are no shortage of schools looking to cash in on that interest. I taught 3D for several years, so I can attest to that. However, a couple of things:

    You can go to the ďbestĒ school in the world, however you want to define that, and it wonít do any good unless you are willing to accept TOTAL responsibility for your own learning. Schools and their teachers are just resources, just like software and textbooks. Some resources are better than others, but even the good ones are only good insofar as your willingness to put in the effort. The old maxim applies: you get out of it what you put into it. If you want a good teacher, first be a good student.

    The first thing I taught my students is that 3D is really a team sport. It includes at least a half dozen very different jobs, all requiring different skill sets that take many years to master. But it also depends on what type of work you want to do. If itís 3D illustration, them itís probably going to need to look pretty damn good, but you donít have to know anything about animation to do that. Once you add movement to the mix, things arenít so cut and dry.

    If youíre looking to do the kind of work you see in the entertainment industry, it doesnít make sense for you to try to learn everything. Just from a practical standpoint, if youíre working solo and trying to do it all, there is no way you can do anything of any significant quality in a timeframe that makes business sense. And specialization is the natural order of things. People get older, buy homes, start families, and they donít want to work around the clock. Trying to keep up with the technology in one small area will be enough, I promise.

    If itís corporate communications youíre after, which by the way is a much, much bigger market than entertainment, then quality is measured differently. Itís really communication value youíre after. Once youíve communicated the idea, then for all intents and purposes you can stop. Going any further isnít going to say more or say it better. It just says it with prettier pictures, usually regarded as a waste of resources that could be better spent elsewhere. (Having said that, you do have those clients with unreasonable expectations.) Thatís no excuse for poor animation though. So work those principles hard, and that can be your competitive edge.

    Sine timore.
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  11. #9
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    TOTAL responsibility of own studies and industry want TEAMWORKer each on their own highly specific skill,ummm?
    does that sort of mean Sekino have to decide what he/she focus on anyway and put all the effort to a specific part of 3d animation ,you don't agree learning everything is a good idea.

    about learning everything, i think at least people have to know all the basic before they know what they can live with for their whole life,and teamwork come more smoothly if people know about other people field of work ,in case of somebody just turn down of a reason than all you can do is waiting?

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    Jeff Hall- See, that's something that would have been helpful to hear from my instructors (and thank you for it!). Just your tidbit of info on entertainment v.s. communications gives me something to organize my thoughts around, which is really what I had hoped for when I went for 3D schooling instead of self-learning from scratch.

    Right now, all of my business revolves around 2D illustration and graphic design. I'm happy with it but I thought adding 3D illustration knowledge to it might be a good way to expand a bit. I did intend to take a 3D Illustration course but the 3D Animation course was a pre-requisite. However, I definitely will be exploring things on my own before enrolling into further courses and wasting more money. I now know that formal schooling is in no way a quicker way to learn technical and industry tips (If I had found Concept Art before enrolling, I would have known that and saved myself some grief, but what can I do ).

    But thank you kindly for the insight: I truly appreciate it and it helps a lot. Having absolutely no feedback or bearings (aside from "your grades are good so it's all good") was getting to me.

    Last edited by Sekino; September 10th, 2009 at 11:21 AM.
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    Yes, TOTAL, COMPLETE, ABSOLUTE responsibility. Your teachers have a job to do, certainly, and hopefully they are doing it well. But, I don't think anyone on here is in grade school anymore. You're only in class a few hours a week, and even a great teacher isn't there holding your hand during the countless hours that you're going to have to spend working on your own. College is supposed to teach you how to think, how to be resourceful because soon you'll be out of school and having to face problems alone. The really good traditional art schools also go out of their way to make you cry and pee your pants because they understand the importance of toughening you up. This isn't accounting, you're not going to get a job as a dental hygienist. You have to learn how to survive. You don't get that from teachers who breast-feed you and keep you entertained.

    I wasn't saying thereís no value in learning the whole process. Itís very important to at least be familiar with all the various parts. But if your goal is to be an animator, youíre not going to get good at animating by modeling all day. You get good at animating by animating. Do you see what I mean? Just like a painting needs a focal point, so does your life. So model, paint textures, learn rigging, whatever, but donít worry about it. You donít have to master all of it. Thatís ridiculous. The day is only 24 hours long. Youíre going to naturally gravitate towards something, that thing that you really like to do. 3D is like a giant sandwich, you can't swallow it whole. You'll eat the best parts, and nibble on the rest until you're satisfied. But like I said, it depends on the type of work too. You may be working alone, and have to do it all. You'll only work each part to a certain level though, and then you'll have to move on. I think it's more common to work in small teams, where you might have two or three areas of responsibility. It's not reasonable to try to maintain your skills at:

    modeling
    rigging
    animating
    texture painting
    uv layout
    lighting
    rendering
    not to mention scriptwriting, concept work, layout, scripting, effects and dynamics, compositing, editing, sound design, budgeting, scheduling, contracting, accounting, sales and marketing, and IT.

    Know something about all of them, but you're never going to truly master more than a couple of them. And that's okay. Like I said, it's a team sport.

    Sine timore.
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  14. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sekino View Post
    However, I definitely will be exploring things on my own before enrolling into further courses and wasting more money. I now know that formal schooling is in no way a quicker way to learn technical and industry tips (If I had found Concept Art before enrolling, I would have known that and saved myself some grief, but what can I do ).

    But thank you kindly for the insight: I truly appreciate it and it helps a lot. Having absolutely no feedback or bearings (aside from "your grades are good so it's all good") was getting to me.
    Iím a big supporter of education, but I do think education is in trouble. I'm not in favor of throwing out the baby with the bath water though. Stay in school, donít stay in school, thatís a personal call. Plenty of people in both camps have gone on to be successful. You are the determining factor in your success. I donít want to get started on these notions of success and failure. Iíll be here all day. But whatever you decide to do, donít try to learn what I call prescription art, following some list of steps like itís a recipe or something. Focus on principles. Donít get caught up in the technology. Thatís just a tool. Oil paint is a technology, 500 year old technology. Do you know what taught me the most about modeling and animation? Drawing. It all comes down to observation. Principles. In martial arts there is a saying that an advanced technique is really just a basic technique thatís been mastered.

    And you can do an awful lot in 3D with just a handful of basic tools. It looks overwhelming because of all the other stuff. I know 3ds Max pretty well, but there are plenty of areas in there I know nothing about, and I don't care. I'll probably never need it. And Max is kind of, I don't know, you can tell it was designed by engineers. They managed to fit just about everything on the screen, but so what? I don't know what the hell a lot of those icons are supposed to represent. I know what they are, but they don't look anything like what they do. You just get used to it. It does have a kind of organization to it. A lot of 3D is knowing what not to do, and what you can get away with. But if illustration is your thing, then you can pretty much do anything, it doesn't matter. You don't really have to be too concerned about your polygon count. Anything you can't quite get, or don't know how to do, you can probably make up for it in Photoshop.

    As long as you're sticking with illustration, you don't even need Max. You can use just about anything if you find something else easier to use. You don't need Renderman or mental ray for illustration. Any renderer will do. The advanced renderers are geared toward the moving image, having accurate depth of field, motion blur, that sort of thing. The rest of the stuff can generally be faked in the 3D app, Photoshop, or both. Just keep it simple for now. Know your Edit Poly tools. Vertices, edges, faces; moving, scaling, rotating; extruding, beveling, cutting. That's all you really need. Some other things are nice, but get those down first.

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  16. #13
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    In my case i went and got a bachelors in computer animation. We learned alot about the programs we were using and the technical side of things. But i realized that all that could be learned relatively easy (self taught myself maya and photoshop during high school)

    And i felt i like i went to the wrong school, because at the end of the day i knew how to use the programs but did not have much knowledge of composition, color theory, human anatomy, animation or just the basics of art well enough to apply them myself.

    I say going to an actual art school and learning art is much more important than learning how to use a computer, because all in all its just a tool, a "fancy pencil" if you will. Would of much rather spent my money learning 2d animation or illustration then gone to learn computer programs but that's just me.

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    Same with me. I started out learning the digital tools, and then I realized I needed to visit the art department. You can take a tour of the internet here and see that you don't have to be able to draw at all to be a good animator, but I think most of the better ones do draw. I don't draw well, but I know how to observe, and I have some sense of proportion and form, an awareness of timing.

    There are some schools out there claiming they've got the answer. And there is still this hype, if you want to call it that, that if there's a computer involved, then it's somehow easy, and automatic. You just need to tell me what buttons to push. And people want to believe they can achieve something without working hard for it. Just look at the diet pill industry, or Wall Street.

    The good news is we don't have to fall for it. This right here, conceptart.org, this is your inoculation. If you've spent any time on here at all, then you know what it takes. You know what to do. You don't need anyone to tell you. You can go beyond just what's required. I don't know how many times I've told my students that. If the teacher gives you a lame assignment, do a better one. You're there for your sake, not the school's. So take it as far as you possibly can, use their gear, even the stuff they don't want you to use. It's your education, so be a selfish bastard. You can make up for it in the next life.

    Sine timore.
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