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ShadowMystic
11-01-2011, 12:50 PM
The title says it all. I have been working with Lightwave3D for almost 4 years now and currently desire to finalize my education so I can become an industry professional. Grants, scholarships, or student loans for future employment or information on these would all be very helpful. Thank you.

OnlineRender
11-01-2011, 04:47 PM
I have an education " B.sc honours level " and I would kill to goto Dave School , in fact I spoke with a very helpful lady one time "just general questions" I would have jumped on a plane and flew over there in an instant , but it came down to money ,ie I had none .........maybe I take it for granted living in Scotland "education is free " I just did not/will not have the cash "ever" , although there is support out there, loans grants ,scholarships .
btw to become an industry professional you dont need education you need to be good.

although what I will highlight is the connections you will make at Dave School , if you work hard , put your head down and work even hardier you will get noticed and the guys at Dave School will hock up with the right contacts , honestly it's up to you ...........

ShadowMystic
11-01-2011, 07:32 PM
I should add that I have been working with Lightwave3D for almost 5 years and could work under someone else's licenses cheaply in return for assistance. I am not solely interested in DAVE School simply because of Lightwave3D but the broad range of skill-sets available from their instruction as well as contacts and relationships.

Here are some examples: shadowmysticstudios.daportfolio.com/

I am a fast modeller capable of modeling a basic head-form from reference in ~ an hour. Modeling and animation are my strongest points. Texturing, lighting and rigging are my weaker points. By no means does that mean I can't texture light or rig, just not a quickly.

Philbert
11-01-2011, 08:39 PM
I was in one of the first graduating classes from DAVE (4th I think actually). I'm pretty sure most people get their loan from Sallie Mae Financial. I believe that's what the school suggests. I was happy to hear that the Occupationally Associates Degree I got suddenly became a full Associate's Degree when the school became accredited a few years aback.

ShadowMystic
11-01-2011, 08:43 PM
A bit ashamed to admit but SallieMae denied my cosigner despite having assest valued in excess of the value of the loan... So now I have a month to find alternative financing.

Serling
11-02-2011, 01:25 AM
A bit ashamed to admit but SallieMae denied my cosigner despite having assest valued in excess of the value of the loan... So now I have a month to find alternative financing.

Did you check with the school's financial aid office? Ask about other financing options. That what my daughter did. (We still had to put about $12k away for initial payment and housing, but there are options other than Sallie Mae.)

Steve Warner
11-02-2011, 06:28 AM
A bit ashamed to admit but SallieMae denied my cosigner despite having assest valued in excess of the value of the loan... So now I have a month to find alternative financing.
There's nothing to be ashamed about. Sallie Mae changed their terms earlier this year and you need almost an 800 credit score to get approved. We saw Sallie Mae loans drop off substantially as a result. We're currently working to establish a better alternative to Sallie Mae. I'm hoping to have something in place within the next month. Check in with Brad at the school and he can fill you in with the latest info. :)

Also, I'll be in Yuma for Thanksgiving. Let me know if you want to hook up and grab lunch. I've been craving machaca burritos from Chilie Pepper.


I have an education " B.sc honours level " and I would kill to goto Dave School , in fact I spoke with a very helpful lady one time "just general questions" I would have jumped on a plane and flew over there in an instant...
:beerchug:


btw to become an industry professional you dont need education you need to be good.
Actually more than that, you need a good attitude and a knack for solving problems. Studios assume that you're good. What they are looking for are people who know how to think outside the box, solve problems, and work collaboratively as a team. Almost every studio I've spoken with has said they'll pass up a more talented artist for one with lesser talent, but a better attitude. :thumbsup:

biliousfrog
11-02-2011, 02:31 PM
Education is a great asset, qualifications are mostly meaningless. If you're looking to learn, be it software, workflow, how to work collaboratively, then I'm sure somewhere like DAVE will be an excellent place to learn, but if you're just expecting to get a job because of a qualification, forget it...it doesn't work that way. A great artist with no qualifications trumps a bad artist with a folder of certificates every time...if it's not the case, the employer isn't worth working for anyway.

Philbert
11-02-2011, 02:39 PM
Education is a great asset, qualifications are mostly meaningless. If you're looking to learn, be it software, workflow, how to work collaboratively, then I'm sure somewhere like DAVE will be an excellent place to learn, but if you're just expecting to get a job because of a qualification, forget it...it doesn't work that way. A great artist with no qualifications trumps a bad artist with a folder of certificates every time...if it's not the case, the employer isn't worth working for anyway.

Honestly it took me about a year after graduating DAVE to get my first CG job and that job was from the company my uncle was the president of.

Mr Rid
11-02-2011, 09:25 PM
Why do you need school? Strong reels get you hired, not degrees. My advice is always to save the money, buy killer gear, and teach yourself from the endless tuts available all over the web. Every good CG artist I have worked with was self taught. I didnt graduate high school. Taught myself shooting and editing with home gear. When I started learning CG animation, I spent about 12 hours a day at the Amiga, and doing lot of tuts. In four months I was getting regular CG work. A year later was full time.

Filmmakers who never went to film school-

Steven Spielberg (rejected by USC three times)
James Cameron (films grossed over 5 billion)
David Fincher
Peter Jackson (high school dropout)
Ridley Scott
Tony Scott
Quentin Tarantino (high school dropout)
Woody Allen (failed film classes and was expelled)
Stanely Kubrick
Sam Raimi
Federico Fellini

Einstein-
"The only thing that interferes with my learning is my education."

Kubrick-
"I never learned anything at all in school"

Philbert
11-02-2011, 09:29 PM
I didn't finish high school either but I sure am glad I went to college. Some things can't be learned from books or the Internet.

Serling
11-02-2011, 09:51 PM
Honestly it took me about a year after graduating DAVE to get my first CG job and that job was from the company my uncle was the president of.

I think the trick is not being too selective about jobs when coming out of any school (not saying you were), but I graduated from a 4-year college in 3 years with a B.A. in communications (which means I was well qualified to discuss mass media theory, but little else.)

After working as a camp counselor after graduation (isn't that what all grads do first getting out???), I got a job as a switcher in the master control room of a UHF station in the middle of a corn field in what was then market 55 (out of about 210. It's probably market 70 by now).

Yep. I was living the dream: switching commercial breaks while soap operas droned on. It paid minimum wage which - at that time - was $1.65/hour. Large!

It wasn't what I wanted to do and I hated it, but in my 6 months there I made the contacts I needed to land a job in market 7 as a news photographer and editor for a hell of a lot more money than I made before.

I've been working in TV since the fall of 1979 (with a short stint in radio during that time as a DJ) and - with few exceptions - have enjoyed every minute of it. I wouldn't be where I am now without having taken that first job to get me "in the door."

And Steve is right: passion about your work and having a "can-do" attitude is at least as important - if not more so in some cases - as having skills. I help troubleshoot and train people on the editing systems where I work and this is the bottom line: I can teach someone without skills but who is eager to learn a lot faster and easier than someone who needs the skills to do the job but really doesn't care otherwise.

If it's "just a job", you can get that bagging groceries at a supermarket.

Most people I know, I'm happy to say, are proud to do what they do and it shows.

None of this is directed at you personally, Philbert. Just thought a little "life-talk" might help someone reading this at some point down the road. :thumbsup:

Philbert
11-02-2011, 09:54 PM
Like I said it was my first CG job. I did work immediately after college, but it was all Starbucks and Best Buy. Most of my off time was spent putting together a decent demo reel.

ShadowMystic
11-02-2011, 09:54 PM
Please Gentlemen., I understand that there are other paths to becoming an CG Artist but I want the structure and variety of other skill sets offered by the DAVE School. If I sat down and spent even a single day, I am confident I could produce a professional-quality model with proper polygon flow but my textures would be adequate but not impressive and my rigging could use some tweaks. I want the complete skillset. However, if anyone wants to throw some modeling jobs my way, I'll work cheap to prove myself. Mr. Warner made a good point but your debate doesn't help me with financing. Perhaps create another thread to continue your discussion? Others would probably be interested.

Mr Rid
11-02-2011, 09:57 PM
Much more can be learned outside school, and working with other creatives. As an artist, you are looking for something new to say. You wont get that by following a curriculum on how everyone else is doing it. Find your own voice/style by doing it your own way. I've heard so many filmmakers like Spielberg, Coppola, Scorsese, Lucas, Cameron, Raimi, Scott, advise not to listen to anyone telling you how to do it, get your own gear, learn from your own mistakes, and just do it. For creative endeavors, you dont need school. If you just want to go to school, fine. Several people I went to high school with went on to get film degrees but they never worked one day in the film industry or any creative field. Creativity has nothing whatsoever to do with degrees.

Serling
11-02-2011, 10:00 PM
Woody Allen (failed film classes and was expelled)

No wonder I've always hated Woody Allen movies. :thumbsup:

(Can we hijack a thread or what?!?) :D

Mr Rid
11-02-2011, 10:04 PM
...your debate doesn't help me with financing. Perhaps create another thread to continue your discussion? Others would probably be interested.

I am advising how to save a ton of dough while learning all you need to know to get hired. Why cant you learn from the endless tutorials out there, many of which are free? Am sure RebelHill's DVD covers it for rigging.

ShadowMystic
11-02-2011, 10:06 PM
Here's one way to look at it. I can't get a student loan to sit at home and learn for myself.

Mr Rid
11-02-2011, 10:10 PM
Why do you need a student loan? Keep a day job, and learn in your spare time. Or intern at a post house.

jasonwestmas
11-02-2011, 10:13 PM
hehe, yeah times have changed. There are so many books and videos out there now to learn the technical stuff, which is important to fully understand and replicate a good move and avoid the bad ones. Everything else is just personal intuition, you either explore your creative juices or you don't. School won't do that for you. And this is coming from someone who went to two different colleges not knowing what I was getting into. If I only knew then. . .

Serling
11-02-2011, 10:13 PM
Please Gentlemen., I understand that there are other paths to becoming an CG Artist but I want the structure and variety of other skill sets offered by the DAVE School. If I sat down and spent even a single day, I am confident I could produce a professional-quality model with proper polygon flow but my textures would be adequate but not impressive and my rigging could use some tweaks. I want the complete skillset. However, if anyone wants to throw some modeling jobs my way, I'll work cheap to prove myself. Mr. Warner made a good point but your debate doesn't help me with financing. Perhaps create another thread to continue your discussion? Others would probably be interested.

Sorry. For my part I wasn't looking to start a debate (if it was me to whom you were referring.)

Other than that, you are right about the discipline provided by a structured learning environment. Some people are aggressive self-starters who - like Mr. Rid - really see no need or value in that.

For my part, I am in the same place you are: I've been teaching myself 3D since I first got LightWave in January of 2008, but would greatly benefit from a year at Dave because it forces you to focus your time and energy on one thing: learning 3D. Being in the line of work I'm in (full-time, high pressure) it's not easy to focus on learning when you're tired and stressed out. Right now, I do it because it's fun and because I'm able to enhance the visuals in my storytelling at work. But I would love to be able - at some point - to do so much more of the kind of work I want to do, and that's probably not going to happen without the structure a school - like the DAVE school - can provide.

If it's really what you want to do and you see the benefit of it, don't let anyone talk you out of it. My daughter is already a better modeler than I am and she's been there 5 weeks. I've been at this 4 years! :cursin:

thomascheng
11-02-2011, 10:17 PM
An advantage to the DAVE School is its size. It is very easy to build a strong network of people you can work with in the industry. Having a place to build your network will make or break your career. All my jobs were a result of my network (you need to hold your own with the work too). Personally, it didn't provide just an education, but it provided a "Launch Platform for Your Career." (Steve, if you use that, I like credit :))

Mr Rid
11-02-2011, 10:55 PM
Yes, some need the structure of school to motivate. The only money I ever spent on Lightwave education was $40 for The Best of Lightwave Pro in '96. I did about a third of the tutorials before I started working professionally. I didnt have any 'network' but I had a strong reel. Thats what matters. Five degrees and a vast network of connections with a lame reel are no match for the unknown with no schooling and a reel that kicks.

I dont know why sink $35, $40k(?) to polish rigging skill and poly flow in LW when you can pick up a few tuts over a few weeks for under $100. You probably already know more than I do in these areas. But if you are going to plop down that kind of money, and are really concerned about maximizing opportunity, I suggest learning the animation app with about 25 times the jobs and far more support than LW.

ShadowMystic
11-02-2011, 11:17 PM
Mr. Rid, if you'd like to hire me and pay me $60k a year I'd take it right now. however, I do not want to freelance as I slower learn all the stages of production. I spent $35 dollars on the book and bought myself the educational package(I don't pirate) and now its time to roll all of that together. Honestly, for any other school, I would not shell out $40k for the program but its FLORIDA. There experiences the the DAVE school that doesn't come from just slaving in the dark. There's memories, relationships, and nuisance that I believe will be beneficial if I want to ever have my own company.

geo_n
11-02-2011, 11:22 PM
Times have changed. Competition is much more fierce today with CG work easily done on home computers. Anything to get an edge is welcome. Getting certfication or a formal education is good. I would go to Dave if I could afford it. But I already finished college and too old for school. :D
Maybe years before you can get a job easily with just being good and knowledgeable in 3D and doing tutorials but anybody can do that now with the internet. A good resume(education,job experience) and a good demo helps a lot.

Serling
11-02-2011, 11:25 PM
I'd just like to add one more thing. Tutorials are a great way to learn, and I wouldn't know nearly as much as I do without them. What they lack is the kind of instant feedback and redirection you get from having someone standing over your shoulder saying, "There's an easier way to do that. Let me show you."

One of the things I notice when watching people new to Avid is the way they use the mouse to do everything while their left hand sits completely idle. The first thing I tell them is that they'll never be fast enough to crank out news on a deadline just using the mouse. Then I start making them keep their left hand on the keyboard and start getting them to use and learn the shortcuts under it.

That's the kind of feedback they wouldn't get from the Avid manual. That's the kind of feedback I'd want from any instructor: tell me the shortcuts you've learned that make you better at what you do.

ShadowMystic
11-02-2011, 11:29 PM
Serling. I use keyboard shortcuts so much that sometimes I forget where the actual tool is...

Serling
11-02-2011, 11:35 PM
Ditto...And in my case, my Avid keyboard looks nothing like the default keyboard layout. It's actually hard for me to work using the defaults in some of the other edit bays.

The guys at work tease me because I use a stock HP keyboard without any Avid keycaps. :D

ShadowMystic
11-02-2011, 11:36 PM
I've backed up my keyboard and menu layout configs so I can restore them quickly without losing efficiency.

biliousfrog
11-03-2011, 03:33 AM
Times have changed. Competition is much more fierce today with CG work easily done on home computers. Anything to get an edge is welcome. Getting certfication or a formal education is good. I would go to Dave if I could afford it. But I already finished college and too old for school. :D
Maybe years before you can get a job easily with just being good and knowledgeable in 3D and doing tutorials but anybody can do that now with the internet. A good resume(education,job experience) and a good demo helps a lot.

That is actually completely the opposite of the truth. Getting a qualification is the easy part, it's just a case of following the preset curriculum. Being a competent artist with work experience and an ability to work well within a team is what all employers want. A certificate to say that you can write an essay on a 5 minute task, written over several weeks tells an employer nothing of your ability to actually 'work' to an acceptable level and a deadline.

I can see the benefits of somewhere like DAVE, working alongside people that have industry experience and building a network of contacts, but the final qualification will be 99% meaningless for most employers.

I had little choice when it came to changing my career. I could stop working, go to college, default on my mortgage, run up thousands of pounds in debt (that I would probably still be paying) and finish with zero experience, a generic showreel and a meaningless certificate...and applying to the same jobs with the same portfolio as all the other graduates. Instead, I worked full time, used my money to buy software and training material, signed up to forums, posted WIPs, got feedback from professionals and worked my way through web design, sign writing, newspaper artworking and, eventually, 3d...building up years of work and life experience and not getting into any debt. I have NEVER been asked what my qualifications are (I left school at 16).

geo_n
11-03-2011, 04:47 AM
Experience may vary and there's always two sides to the truth but where I am school background is IMPORTANT. It means you can focus on something and finish school.
Companies are even biased towards some universities and will only hire from certain top universities. Where you graduated holds a lot of weight.
Its not only in cg btw, a lot of my friends are microsoft, oracle, etc, certified and it really helps get higher in their field. Even my friends in the medical field are not satisfied by being general practitioners. They go through so many many fellowship, internships to get credit and specializations.
In any case I would never give up the experience of having went to college or finishing highschool. Besides the education there's the social part of having fun in a university. :D

biliousfrog
11-03-2011, 04:53 AM
It is very different outside of the creative industry obviously. You wouldn't want a self-taught surgeon removing your appendix :D

geo_n
11-03-2011, 05:25 AM
Indeed but its hard to hire someone who just shows you a great reel with few credentials. Its a risk companies aren't willing to take if your track record is not proven which includes education.
Its a culture thing I guess. Its a bit known that the suicide rate is high in japan because of not getting in a university. Getting into one especially a top university almost guarantees a good future and a great career. China and Korea are becoming the same and the pressure to get into a good uni is tremendous.

Philbert
11-03-2011, 06:22 AM
Times have changed. Competition is much more fierce today with CG work easily done on home computers. Anything to get an edge is welcome. Getting certfication or a formal education is good. I would go to Dave if I could afford it. But I already finished college and too old for school. :D
Maybe years before you can get a job easily with just being good and knowledgeable in 3D and doing tutorials but anybody can do that now with the internet. A good resume(education,job experience) and a good demo helps a lot.

You're not too old I'm sure. One of my classmates at DAVE was in his 60's.

Schools teach more than you'll get from books and forums, like teamwork, and making a good demo reel, like someone else said you'll also have your network right away. One of my classmates is working at a big game studio and has gone out of his way several times to help get me in there whenever there was an opening. The school themselves have a ton of industry connections. I know that if I go out to LA for a week the school will set up a bunch of interviews for me.

Plus there're the resources, DAVE has a full green screen room, high end equipment, a full mocap stage, professionals who are there just to help you. Yeah, you can ask questions on a forum, but who knows what kind of response you'll get if any at all. While at DAVE you can be on set while the footage you work with is filmed. My class's final project didn't have any live action but we were there for the mocap filming for which the school hired professional stunt men (well, man and woman). This is all stuff there you'd never get from the internet or books.

Of course nothing is stopping you from going to school and getting books and videos as well. I know I have.

jasonwestmas
11-03-2011, 09:18 AM
Indeed but its hard to hire someone who just shows you a great reel with few credentials. Its a risk companies aren't willing to take if your track record is not proven which includes education.
Its a culture thing I guess. Its a bit known that the suicide rate is high in japan because of not getting in a university. Getting into one especially a top university almost guarantees a good future and a great career. China and Korea are becoming the same and the pressure to get into a good uni is tremendous.

That's why some people as for a nice biography and/ or references.

Dexter2999
11-03-2011, 09:31 AM
Forget it guys. Japan is its own deal. You can't compare it to anything or anywhere else. They place a great deal of importance on having a degree. Matter of fact if you want to apply for a work visa you must have a degree as a pre-requisite.

jasonwestmas
11-03-2011, 10:29 AM
Writing well and communication is a big deal when it comes to getting work. I like to think I can write better than average but some how I doubt it was the 3 years of english writing classes that made me good at it. It's more about repetition and study which I guess if you make the time for you can succeed.

Steve Warner
11-03-2011, 10:38 AM
The only money I ever spent on Lightwave education was $40 for The Best of Lightwave Pro in '96. I did about a third of the tutorials before I started working professionally.
I started with LightWave back in 1988 when it was still being sold as Aegis Videoscape and Modeler on the Amiga. I did the self-taught thing as well. It was easy to do, because there was a lot less to learn.

The expectations back then were also lower than they are now. Look at the professional work that was done on Babylon 5, Deep Space 9, Hercules or Xena. It's rudimentary by today's standards. I've got students producing more complicated models in Week 2 than what was routinely seen on TV in the 90's.

What it took to get into the industry in 1996 is not what it takes to get into the industry in 2011. Those of us who have been working as professionals and already have a body of solid work tend to forget that "entry level" today is not what it was when we started out.


I didnt have any 'network' but I had a strong reel. Thats what matters. Five degrees and a vast network of connections with a lame reel are no match for the unknown with no schooling and a reel that kicks.
A degree in the creative arts industry is largely useless. I would agree with that. And I would also agree that the quality of your reel is important. But having a great reel isn't the only thing that's important. Sometimes its you and another guy and the quality of the work is about the same. And you get the job simply because you're more pleasant to be around. Or the work on your reel is mediocre, but you're a hard worker and will quickly develop once you're on the job. In these cases, having a personal recommendation can tip the scales. It happens all the time.

I'll never argue that schooling is mandatory for those wanting to work in the industry. In fact, I'm convinced that someone who is going to work in the industry will do so with or without schooling. The difference is how long it will take them to get there.

Some people are naturally gifted. They've never had to struggle to develop their skills. And then there are the rest of us, who have had to fight every step of the way. The latter are the ones who benefit from schooling. The naturally gifted need not apply.


If you are going to plop down that kind of money, and are really concerned about maximizing opportunity, I suggest learning the animation app with about 25 times the jobs and far more support than LW.
Here's a brief list of what we currently teach at the DAVE School (in no particular order):

01. LightWave
02. ZBrush
03. Maya
04. Motion Builder
05. Vicon Blade
06. Photoshop
07. After Effects
08. Nuke
09. Ocula
10. Mocha
11. Boujou
12. Unreal Development Kit
13. Premiere

In 2012, we are planning to add:

01. Houdini
02. 3DS Max
03. PF Track
04: Avid Media Composer

Being here you have access to:

01. One of the largest green screen cycs on the East coast
02. A state of the art 4K Vicon Motion Capture
03. A full-sized Hollywood sound stage
04. State of the art hardware and up-to-date software
05. Industry professionals to guide your development and answer your questions
06. Monthly lectures by industry professionals working in a variety of disciplines/studios
07. Lifelong job placement assistance
08. Lifelong access to the school's resources (mocap, cyc, labs, etc.) for non-commercial work

The notion that the DAVE School only teaches you LightWave and can be replaced with a few web tutorials and forums is simply not true.

You may be able to learn LightWave in 12 months. But I would love to see someone learn all of the apps above in the same amount of time, using nothing more than web tutorials and forums. Even if that were possible, and I highly suspect it is not, they will not have free access to all the other things the school offers, such as job placement assistance, lab access, sound stage/mocap/green screen access, etc.

To get back on the topic of financing, there are scholarships available through the Visual Effects Society. You can check them out here: http://www.visualeffectssociety.com/resources/ves-scholarships

biliousfrog
11-04-2011, 04:18 AM
I read this today on Google+, it sums up my thoughts exactly:

"All education is self-education. Period. It doesn’t matter if you’re sitting in a college classroom or a coffee shop. We don’t learn anything we don’t want to learn.

Those people who take the time and initiative to pursue knowledge on their own are the only ones who earn a real education in this world. Take a look at any widely acclaimed scholar, entrepreneur or historical figure you can think of. Formal education or not, you’ll find that he or she is a product of continuous self-education."

It goes on to list various resources to educate yourself: http://www.marcandangel.com/2010/11/15/12-dozen-places-to-self-educate-yourself-online/

Andy Meyer
11-04-2011, 09:40 AM
why do you need school? Strong reels get you hired, not degrees.

+1

Serling
11-04-2011, 12:04 PM
Originally Posted by mr rid View Post
why do you need school? Strong reels get you hired, not degrees.
+1

And - as has been pointed out rather eloquently, I believe - the path to a strong reel for some goes through school. It's as much a mistake to assume that no one needs school as much as everyone does.

FWIW.

ShadowMystic
11-04-2011, 12:30 PM
Really this needs to end. I could produce a great reel for Lightwave including dynamics, hard and soft body modeling, animation, particles but where could I learn and practice green screen and mo-cap? There are things that DAVE School has in a year that alone could take months or even years to get someone to train you in on the job. We've already established all routes are possible and its all a matter of times for some people BUT the program offered by DAVE produces a well-rounded skillset. I don't mean to hamper discussion but its become repeating the same things with no new information.

Mr Rid
11-12-2011, 07:36 PM
Mr. Rid, if you'd like to hire me and pay me $60k a year I'd take it right now. ...

Demo? (PM if u want)


... but where could I learn and practice green screen and mo-cap? ...

I started with a bucket of paint and a video camera. HD is really cheap now, and green screen aint rocket science (Primatte never ceases to amaze what kind of mess I can pull a key from). Now it seems you can markerless mocap with a Kinect or two (follow Greenlaw). But on projects, capture is usually provided by an outside facility.

It all has a lot to do with confidence. My advice is to practice what you like doing and you'll get good at it. Demo ability in at least one area of an employer's interest and you may be hired. Then work experience can give you the skills, contacts, better opportunities, and all that, but you'll be getting paid for it instead of going in debt.


...where I am school background is IMPORTANT. It means you can focus on something and finish school...

But if one is skillful and self-taught, that demonstrates they are at least as driven and good at creative problem solving, if not more so, since they struggled with less resources, and dont need someone else laying down what to do. Thats why the filmmakers I listed are successful. They made their own path.


I read this today on Google+, it sums up my thoughts exactly:

"All education is self-education. Period. It doesn’t matter if you’re sitting in a college classroom or a coffee shop. We don’t learn anything we don’t want to learn.

Yes, although the difference may be $40k+ tuition. :) One reason I dont do well in school is someone else deciding what I want to learn. You have to follow your own muse. I poked at LW and was around animators for years before I found tutorial subjects that grabbed my imagination and I got sucked in (being able to import, manipulate and composite image sequences was the most intriguing aspect that no one was doing much). If you are inspired by the subject, you will be motivated to learn and do more, then you gain ability in areas of interest that stand out in a reel to get you hired. I read a book called Bang, about creative agencies that points out how the most successful ads are ones that do something that the rest of them are not. Yet so many are afraid to take a chance, they play it safe, and follow the formula for what everyone else is already doing. But then the viewer changes the channel.




What it took to get into the industry in 1996 is not what it takes to get into the industry in 2011.

Back then, there were also nowhere near as many opportunities, and I didnt have internet or the vast wealth of free (and pay) instruction, forums and reference. And houses then were still errantly hung up on degrees in recruits. I remember R&H calling to ask if I had a degree in physics... I thought, "seriously?!" They hadnt yet appreciated the swelling number of desktop guerillas in basements, obssessively developing serious media skills on their own.

This stuff is technical (which I hate). If you just have it in you to go to school and spend the money, then go. But you dont have to in order to become a professional artist. You just have to be proficient in one area or another to get noticed. I've seen enough interns take off in an area and start earning paychecks, bypassing school. One was a kid who took to After Effects without knowing much else, was very dedicated, and started finishing simpler shots for us, adding FX, and solving problems. In less than two years he was supervising. But the aptitude begins long before a person ever keys their first frame, in or out of school, and perhaps came from experience they didnt realize would matter. I've wasted time teaching some without much prior creative experience. I would dissuade some people, whereas most schools will take in anyone with the money.

I failed high school in '83, yet USC (rejected Spielberg 3 times) accepted my film school app only because Dad could afford it, but I didnt like the vibe there- too structured and competitive. CalArts was the only appealing school because it supported what you wanted to do, and applicants were selected based on demo reels, not tests scores or Dad's income. Applicants had to exhibit a certain prerequisite aptitude that wont come from school, because they chose very few students and didnt want to waste their time.



But having a great reel isn't the only thing that's important. Sometimes its you and another guy and the quality of the work is about the same. And you get the job simply because you're more pleasant to be around. Or the work on your reel is mediocre, but you're a hard worker and will quickly develop once you're on the job. In these cases, having a personal recommendation can tip the scales. It happens all the time.

Of course if there's only one opening, but the other equally excellent reel will land other gigs. I would never hire a personality over a better reel (not sure if thats what you meant), unless they were just really flakey or argumentative. I've worked with enough buttheads (more often supes & directors) but who were still professional and did great work. Quality and speed are paramount. I dont care how super their attitude is, if they require too much direction then I wind up letting them go.



Here's a brief list of what we currently teach at the DAVE School (in no particular order):

I dont know 1/4 of that stuff. ;D An artist just needs to demonstrate ability/aptitude in at least one area. If fur is all you know how to do well, and we need a fur artist, then you may be in. Generalists are not much in demand. Most job listings are for specific tasks. I worked with a very skilled character animator/rigger/expressioner, who turned to me one day and asked quietly, 'how do you render?' He had no idea how to light or save out an animation, but he didnt need to know, thats not what he was hired for.

I encourage following your own nose for learning as you will develop your own style, and restrictions force you to be creative. When you dont have money or a fancy sandbox to play in (as Spielberg refered to film school), you learn to think on your feet and come up with original techniques and happy accidents. Rodriguez is the guru of do-it-yourself- 10 minute film course- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W-YpfievjSk

And you dont need a fancy reel. It may just be a GL render. If we need a CA person and I see this, then I'm interested- http://forums.newtek.com/showpost.php?p=725990&postcount=1
or this- http://www.youtube.com/user/robertoortizfxwars#p/u/1/Ze53d36pNzg Of the six houses I've worked for, four of those were strictly because of my reel where I had no connections.

I once heard a director at a lecture who said there's only one reason for getting into filmmaking, 'because you have to.' I would apply that to any creative field. The better artists I have worked with were all self taught, because they would be animating with or without school or paychecks. In my case, school structure only pushes me away from what I want to be doing. Friends and I monkeyed around with home video gear for several years before taking real production classes. I failed, didnt do what I was suppose to, kept doing things 'wrong' (I would call it experimenting- like purposely screwing up the signal to get weird images), breaking rules like taking gear off campus and dangling $10k cameras out of a speeding car window with a coat hangar, and would get reprimanded by the same teacher who used my 'wrong' footage for the department promo reel. I dropped out when the teachers kept asking us how we were doing stuff. It dawned on me that video gear was much more verstatile than film, and that friends with film degrees had only one short film to show at the end of all the effort and expense. But I had many hours of stuff, that only costs blank tape, and I had inadvertently learned to shoot and edit rings around graduates who looked down their noses at my video camera. Your ideas can get attention if your subject is interesting, no matter what format or path you took to get there.

I dont agree that some people are born talented. There's some genetic bias, but aptitude stems from whatever you've been spending most of your time doing, '10,000 hours to genius'- "The key to success in any field is, to a large extent, a matter of practicing a specific task for a total of around 10,000 hours." Mozart was not born talented, but was submersed in a musical environment and started practicing from age four. The cop that sold me my first handgun did not believe I had never fired a gun before because I put a cluster right in the center of target first time out. Apparently all the Atari/Nintendo was good for something. Again, the best artists I've worked with were self-taught but had an aptitude from drawing a lot, and a prior passion and knowledge of movies and animation. If you dont have the aptitude then you need practice, from school or wherever. Just do it.

geo_n
11-12-2011, 08:19 PM
Generalists are not much in demand. Most job listings are for specific tasks.

I guess it is very different in LA.
A specialist would not get hired a permanent position in a studio here. They will get hired as consultants and project basis but not long term. That's fine both ways as some artist like to be free.

And no, being self thought doesn't always mean he's driven, it could mean one spent more time learning his way and not liked to be instructed. Could mean he doesn't have money, etc, like me, if I could afford to go to school again I would go to Dave. :D
But one thing for sure if you finished in a top uni, you played well with the team or else you'll hear about it from their peers. That's important feedback to weed out premadonnas. Companies do call for reference other than what's written in the resume :D

ShadowMystic
11-12-2011, 08:56 PM
I guess it is very different in LA.
A specialist would not get hired a permanent position in a studio here. They will get hired as consultants and project basis but not long term. That's fine both ways as some artist like to be free.

And no, being self thought doesn't always mean he's driven, it could mean one spent more time learning his way and not liked to be instructed. Could mean he doesn't have money, etc, like me, if I could afford to go to school again I would go to Dave. :D
But one thing for sure if you finished in a top uni, you played well with the team or else you'll hear about it from their peers. That's important feedback to weed out premadonnas. Companies do call for reference other than what's written in the resume :D

Most of the job listings I've seen for Lightwave are character animators and generalists but it is true that Dreamworks and Pixar use dedicated lighting, animation, and Special Effects personnel.

geo_n
11-12-2011, 09:46 PM
Most of the job listings I've seen for Lightwave are character animators and generalists but it is true that Dreamworks and Pixar use dedicated lighting, animation, and Special Effects personnel.

Those are special cases because they're big companies with huge projects.
Probably more than half are small to medium size companies and they want artist to pick up their weight and know everything there is to know, asset building, animation, compositing.
I'm sure Dave would teach all that with proper instructions. Go for it if you have the money.

ShadowMystic
11-12-2011, 09:52 PM
Those are special cases because they're big companies with huge projects.
Probably more than half are small to medium size companies and they want artist to pick up their weight and know everything there is to know, asset building, animation, compositing.
I'm sure Dave would teach all that with proper instructions. Go for it if you have the money.

The problem is, I don't. I've been looking high and low for financing to know avail but I keep looking and stay positive.

Dexter2999
11-12-2011, 10:40 PM
The problem is, I don't. I've been looking high and low for financing to know avail but I keep looking and stay positive.

I hope you add "saving" to that list.

ShadowMystic
11-13-2011, 02:14 AM
I hope you add "saving" to that list.

I have been. Whether I find myself in a situation with employment or able to attend DAVE school, I would need lots of money just to relocate.

Serling
11-13-2011, 07:37 PM
But you dont have to in order to become a professional artist.

Technically speaking, I didn't really need school to become a professional video editor, either. But there's no guarantee I would have gotten my first job in TV without the time I put into earning a BA degree in CA (Communications Arts), either. If you were to look at the job postings where I work from stations all over the country, every single one of them wants a degree plus relevant experience. You don't generally get that relevant experience until you've gotten the degree.

Furthermore, having gotten a minor in English, I'm finding I use the tools I learned while at school to do more than just video editing. I have also become a de facto copy editor in the edit bay, and often provide critical feedback on stories regarding grammar, syntax, and clarity of thought and expression. So yes, my degree was more than just a way to get my foot in the door. I'm using it every day and am glad I have it.

Finally, as I noted before, it's as much a mistake to assume no one needs a structured learning environment as it is to assume everyone does. Every case and person is different but, if I were in a position to do so, I would not hesitate for a moment to apply for entry into DAVE. I firmly believe any experience obtained there could only make me better at what I already do.

The greatest advantages to learning from other professionals is the immediate feedback you get on what you're doing and how to develop the skills and workflow they provide to get your projects delivered faster and better than anyone else. I don't want to blow my own horn here, but I've been in positions where I've had to turn stories around in 30 minutes that look like they took twice the amount of time and care that went into producing and editing them.

Someone who is good with great time management skills - IMHO - is better than someone who is great but who consistently misses deadlines.

One of the things that impresses me the most about DAVE is the way they stress time management. Most people don't know what deadline pressure is until they face it in the real world and they'll never learn that on their own. Until you're pushed hard to get something done good and fast, you'll never be prepared for work in this (or any other) business.

IMHO.

Mr Rid
11-16-2011, 01:29 AM
I guess it is very different in LA.
A specialist would not get hired a permanent position in a studio here. They will get hired as consultants and project basis but not long term.

Usually any artist must prove themselves before being considered for permanent staff positions (certainly ones with a degree and little work experience), and are often contracted per project only.

Looking at last week's Creative Heads job listings from all over the world, there are two 'generalists' jobs out of about 100 in games and production.
99487

Most jobs fall under:
Art/Design
Animation (usually character)
FX
Lighting
Modeling
Compositing
Roto
Programming
Supervising
Tracking
Matte painting

Recruiters are aware that few generalists really excel in several areas. If you are stronger at something, you will most likely be tasked with doing it repeatedly and get 'typecast.' Most artists have more than one area of experience, but like the Xmen, usually you are part of a team, each with their own superpower.

Each job listing requires that you have experience in a particular app. Nearly all animation gigs are Maya, FX are mostly Houdini, compositing is Nuke or AE.


And no, being self thought doesn't always mean he's driven, it could mean one spent more time learning his way and not liked to be instructed. Could mean he doesn't have money, etc, ... I already explained why that can be a good thing. Of course there are talented people coming out of school. But I'll just say it again, all of the best artists I've worked with were self taught. And they were all artists before learning CG.

Philbert
11-16-2011, 09:01 AM
I didn't read this list from Creative Heads but because I know them very well and get their email every week I know that almost all of their jobs are at fairly large studios like Disney and ILM. As was said right above, studios of that size do tend to hire for specialized jobs. On the other hand my clients are pretty small studios of 50 people or less and I'm almost always hired as a generalist, doing models, animation, texturing, even After Effects.