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  1. #1
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    Aug 2011
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    Withdrew from College, now wayward.

    Hi forum,

    I was a full-time student in George Brown College last year for Game development. I successfully went through the first year, but upon entering the second year, I went into a state of panic. I can't explain it any other way.

    Ever since the beginning of the classes, my mindset has been idealistically (aka stupidly) bent on the fact that I was somehow going to be able to hone my artistic skills and concept art in attending the school for Game Development. The drawing classes were really enjoyable in first year, but the 3D (having never done 3D before except in this program) wasn't really my cup of tea. It felt like a chore, compared to digital/traditional work, and to be honest, I found no interest in it.

    The students in my class would dedicate their free time to working on 3D assignments, while I just sat and cringed. 3D work was never something I found interesting to work with. And certainly not when I've never done it before in my life, at that. By the turn of the second year, all the classes were now pure 3D-based. Modelling, level design, assets management, texturing, etc. This was when I realized I had made a big mistake, as far as my career choice went.

    I just wish I wasn't so starry-eyed and naive at the beginning.

    Drawing was honestly the only thing I was good at, and the thought of wasting another 2 years in the college meant that I get little to none in terms of actually advancing my artistic skills. After a tense apology to my parents, I withdrew from the program all together. Initially, the parents wanted me to study nursing, but I just don't consider myself a math/science person (I don't have the intellect for it). Now that I wasted an entire year on nothing, I feel like I'm stuck running in place. Heck, I'm even afraid to ask my parents to get into an art/animation College for fear that it might not have what I want, and it would have all been a waste again.

    Has anyone been in this situation, or a similar one? I'd appreciate some feedback and insights. I'm honestly pretty clueless on what to do next. Just how hard it is to get into the art industry? Do Colleges/institutes play a big role in getting you up there?

    Note: Hopefully this isn't in the wrong section. If it is, I apologize! D:
    Last edited by Vitaquena; March 26th, 2012 at 01:39 PM.

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  4. #2
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    Apr 2009
    Northern California
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    Well, sounds rough but life is like that. 3D is not for everyone for sure - some minds/personalities take to it readily...others never do. The "art industry" is extremely challenging...but people get there and make it happen all the time. Not really much advice I know, you just have to figure out what you want to do. Art and programmin/engineering are not the only thing that happen in video games - there are designers, producers, marketing people, writers, etc. Maybe one of those is better suited. Good luck either way!
    What would Caravaggio do?

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  6. #3
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    Aug 2007
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    Take a look at the art that professionals are doing (quite a few on CA; just looks at the thumbnails on the top of the page). If you can become as good as they are, you will find work. Even so, it won't always be steady, but you could probably make a living.

    Also, a word of caution, I've taken 3D classes and animation classes, and from what I could tell by scratching the surface, animation is every bit as tedious as modeling. Make SURE you study it and practice it on your own for a few months before you make a commitment to going to school for it.

    Anyways, if you're interested in drawing, that is something that you can learn on your own. There are tons of online resources. Some of the better ones you have to pay for (such as CA's downloadable videos), but they are still sooooo much cheaper than college... and there also more in depth full blown online courses such as TAD and Gnomon. And if you decide you don't like it, you haven't lost much. Since it sounds like your parents were paying for school (damn rich kids! ), maybe they would give you a year of free rent at their house instead, while you devote time to studying. I don't know exactly what your situation is, and that could be a tough sell, but hey, something to consider.

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  8. #4
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    Mar 2012
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    you have no intellect?
    you must be joking. You finished highschool and you are still holding onto that mindset?

    set a goal. do something. read that post by Jason Manley.
    people who have the ridiculous luxury of sitting and doing nothing are spoiled to death because they haven't been thrashed around enough to develop thick skin. imagine being thrown into society without the pleasure of familial protection. You will die with your mindset, so trash it. you are going to struggle one way or another, you might as well start now.

    i wouldnt rely on college to find you a job. college helps because it is the place where people gather to study and share their thoughts. you get teachers in college and you have peers which gives you a network, meaning people can help you find jobs(if you use them). the college offers services and gets you started working with companies specifically to get people to experience it (though it is not always satisfying, but it looks "nice" on paper). still, they are also not entirely reliable in terms of being a safety net. a Degree means shit. everyone has it these days. Go out and get experience; start working. that is the only thing that can really get you to understand how things work, and you will start realizing what you must do.

    if youve considered animation go find someone who has studied and works in the field. research and see what they do in their daily work. if you want to know how hard it is you have to make an attempt to get good information and even more, to make an attempt to get in it yourself.

    i've always been aimless; i chalk it up to character and luckily could afford it, but being aimless and not learning what struggle is, is setting myself up for failure. so, tho the details are different, i am getting out of the same rut; walking and not going anywhere. i know it is difficult, but think of it this way, you have no choice.

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  10. #5
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    May 2009
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    I think its smart to value learning skills from many areas of the animation/game industry. Even if you dont want to 3d model, you will find that many of the concept art jobs prefer individuals who have the skill.

    The reason is because for alot of production projects the concept art phase is oriented towards the beginning of the production and after the visuals have been set companies like employees to participate in other areas of the project.

    I think there is a tendency to be narrowly focused, but im almost certain that the broader your skill set is the more jobs you will find. I would suggest checking out more places than and CA to see what the sort of jobs you want desire from workers.

    Maybe im the only person who believes in still going to college. But i have to say that maybe you are looking at things way to utilitarian. There is more to college than job preparation. Open your mind and learn from the range of academia that is available.

    Go to lectures, take non art classes, and see that the world is bigger than your sketchbook. Because after it all you will be able to start doing work that is valid and will have something true unique to say.

    Just... dont cut yourself short because sometimes the lessons we learn in college arnt always dictated by the classes we take. But the evolution we undergo through exposure to things that we would otherwise have no reason to explore.

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  12. #6
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    Sep 2008
    Cambridge UK
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    "It felt like a chore, compared to digital/traditional work, and to be honest, I found no interest in it. "

    Youd be amazed how interesting boring stuff becomes when youre flat broke and people will pay you to work for them.

    Now that I wasted an entire year on nothing, I feel like I'm stuck running in place

    But you quit, you stopped running.

    "I'm honestly pretty clueless on what to do next."

    College is a great excuse to not work for a year or two. Now that youve binned college you need to get money and, if you really want to do art work, figure out an angle. What are people willing to pay you to do using your skills? Can you design coffee cup branding? Then do that and practice in your free time until people hire you to do more interesting things.
    Youre not in an unusual position by any means but by quitting college you just shoved a huge opportunity to network and learn without the pressure to earn, down the toilet.
    Now youve got to run uphill. Its tough, but if you set your will to it you can do it. Now stop being a puss and take control of your life.
    sb most art copied to page 1
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  14. #7
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    Jan 2009
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    Oh wow I'm so there! I swear I've thought that "this is the only thing im good at"
    I am in the same boat, I'm about to go to my college of choice after taking some community college courses and am lost on where to go. Reading this thread helped me a lot in terms of just seeing other people's experiences and how other artists advise. You're not alone on this, wow neither am I, that's reassuring in a not so great way. I wanted to do art but i'm taking on computer science and hoping to end up at least doing art in my free time(which sucks itd be cool to do it for a living.)

    On a side note... have you seen those videos of Andrew Jones and other artists using the Alchemy program and ...what appears to be an intuos large and a sound oscillator on the end like a magnificent art guitar....... like that's the absolute pinnacle of romanticism in an artist's life... Its beautifully ridiculous i saw it on the Alchemy homepage... i envy those guys.

    I wish you the best of luck! And I hear you about the whole parents thing, keep at it man I'm sure you've got great potential... Also thanks for helping this guy out, every bit of information counts..

  15. #8
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    Jan 2003
    Seattle, WA
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    I think it's a good thing that you are aware enough of your own interests to stop yourself in your tracks and say "Hey, wait a minute...what the hell am I doing?". A lot of people can not say that for themselves. They continue down the same path and waste a LOT of money before they do that.

    That said, consider this.
    I am a 2D person by nature. I love drawing and painting..that's what I always wanted to do with my life, primarily. But when I got through college (which oddly enough was mostly sculptural and modelmaking via Industrial Design, I found difficulties in finding work in the areas that I was focused in. So I found the game industry as a 2D texture artist! It was fun for a little bit until I realized that you get paid jack shit for being ONLY a texture artist. Constantly, I felt roadblocks and impossible hurdles because I just had to keep saying "Sorry...I don't do 3D".

    So I decided to learn 3D on my own time. I will say that at first, I echoed your pain. I thought it was boring, no fun, tedious, and the tutorial videos were usually voiced over by lobotomy patients. But I pushed through it and now I am INCREDIBLY grateful that I have this skill. It's just one of many...

    3D modelling (digital)
    Modelmaking (physical)
    2D textures
    Some animation (mostly the easy kind, i.e. non-rigged, non-boned stuff)
    Physical sculpting
    Some Make-up Effects
    Painting (digital, canvas, and sculptural)
    Drawing (obviously).

    This allows me, as an artist, to essentially do whatever I want assuming someone is hiring. And that THE MOST IMPORTANT THING YOU CAN DO if you want to be a professional; you need to be someone that is hireable. The more things you can do, the more things you can be hired for, and the more chances you have at not starving.

    Yes, there are a LOT of artists out there who can make a living at doing exactly one thing, really good. But I bet you they do have other skills. Artists shouldn't limit themselves.

    Is 3D modelling "your thing"? It might not be. But I'd urge you to push through the tutorials on your own time on a student/free version or something, because that skill may save your life someday.

    TL;DR: I did not see myself being a professional game artist. It just happened because I adapted to the market and learned more skills accordingly. Don't limit yourself just because you don't like something. Learn it all, then hone your favorites after the bills are getting paid.

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  17. #9
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    Jan 2009
    Arizona, USA
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    The only advice I can add is if you decide to go back to school, thoroughly investigate the degree program so you know what classes you are expected to take. Also look into the faculty and see if you can find some art by alumni to gauge whether or not you would really like to be a part of the educational program.

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  19. #10
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    Aug 2011
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    Thanks a bunch for the helpful replies. From what I've summed up, the best thing I can do is go into college for something fairly sensible, like social services or pharmacy assistance (the parents can't have me living with them forever, after all). Just something that'll give me grounds while I see what the hell I can -really- do with art. Currently, I take trivial commissions (sometimes paid, sometimes not) as a way of helping me adapt to a client's needs and how I can make my work satisfying and what to expect in general. It's not much, but I'm fairly content with it. (I hope to someday fashion my own sim site, strangely enough).

    Quote Originally Posted by Dusty View Post
    Dusty, your post got to me most. In truth, I don't know which is scarier: fearing I would set myself up for failure by continuing, or having negative feelings for 3D altogether. I will try to implement your examples, and hopefully learn from them. Maybe studying on my own time may prove to be more beneficial than the fast-paced methods in College.

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  21. #11
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    Nov 2007
    New York, USA
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    If you decide you really do want some sort of art career but aren't sure what, look at other possibilities besides games - game developers are not the only source of art careers by a long shot, and some other area may suit you better. For instance, general illustration, or design, or comics (and by the way "illustration" covers a huge range of possibilities all by itself...)

    Also if you do look into other art schools, look at all the majors available, and find out what the curriculum is for each one - you might find that the major you thought you wanted is trumped by a different major that's closer to what you really want.

  22. #12
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    Mar 2012
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    i feel the exact same thing, i started studying cinema and now i'mw like :/

  23. #13
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    Oct 2007
    New Hampshire, USA
    Thanked 103 Times in 68 Posts
    Quote Originally Posted by Vitaquena View Post
    Has anyone been in this situation, or a similar one? I'd appreciate some feedback and insights. I'm honestly pretty clueless on what to do next. Just how hard it is to get into the art industry? Do Colleges/institutes play a big role in getting you up there?

    Note: Hopefully this isn't in the wrong section. If it is, I apologize! D:
    Yes, quite similar in fact. My first time in college, my major was video game design. I made the Dean's List my first year, but had to drop out my second year due to illness/depression. Plus I disliked the programming portion a lot more than I thought I would. I came to the school with some preparation for what I was getting into; I went to a magnet school for mathematics and sciences and studied computer science while I was there. But the positivity of my experience may have been because of the fact that I really loved my teachers there and probably would have studied anything at all they would have been willing to teach.

    I can't really speak to how hard it is to get into the industry (I came at it from the abstract art in museums angle and ended up really hating it for various reasons)--but I can tell you that I consider the decision to drop out a good one and don't regret it. Life does go on, and you can still reach your goals. (I even have a degree now!) Just give yourself time to think about what you're going to do next.
    Let's do this.

  24. #14
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    Oct 2004
    canada, from russia
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    I think you should of finished the degree.

    Heck, I finished an entire business degree with flying colors and I don't even like that shit that much.

    Finishing something you don't like can be a valuable discipline booster as well. I guess I was raised with the idea that nobody said you have to like something to have to do it anyway.

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