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Serling
05-19-2013, 03:22 AM
My six-week run at the DAVE School is over. The folks there were very helpful. William Vaughan is about as nice a guy as you'll ever meet. The staff and faculty there (those that I met and worked with, anyway) are all very cool, caring people. But in the end, I just felt the program wasn't the right fit for me and my situation. The one upside from it, however, is now that I'm done with Maya I can get back to Lightwave. :) When I get back home and resettled in there, I'll be posting back to the Lightwave WIP forum again. ;) I haven't given up on 3D just because I'm not in school anymore. Looking forward to reconnecting here again.

SteveH
05-19-2013, 09:37 AM
Welcome back into the Lightwave fold Serling!

GandB
05-19-2013, 10:20 AM
Good to see you here again. You'll have to let us know in more detail what you learned, and how it differed from your years with LW.

chikega
05-19-2013, 06:38 PM
I visited the DAVE school back in 2007 and William Vaughn gave me the grand tour. He's an incredibly cordial guy and we even had dinner talked about 3d at length. Welcome back Serling, you can definitely learn 3d old-school style (self taught) before there were schools for 3d and visual effects. :)

Serling
05-19-2013, 11:13 PM
Welcome back Serling, you can definitely learn 3d old-school style (self taught) before there were schools for 3d and visual effects. :)

Looking forward to it. And thank you all for the kind regards.

Serling
05-20-2013, 12:11 AM
You'll have to let us know in more detail what you learned, and how it differed from your years with LW.

Maya is not an easy program to use for modeling. It's neither fast nor user friendly. It is powerful, but I also found it to be crash-prone and very frustrating to use. That said, when you know how to use it and it's working well, you can do some amazing things with it. I hated modeling with it and part of my frustration going in was having to discard 5 years of self-training in Lightwave to learn a completely new, very difficult 3D app. I think had we been using Lightwave, that might have been a factor in favor of me staying. At least it would've made the learning curve a little gentler. I understand why the school moved to Maya (industry standard and all), but it was also a program I would probably never own or use again after school, so that was one of several issues that factored into my decision to leave. Block 1 (modeling) of the school is very difficult to begin with, and Maya certainly didn't make it any easier.

As far as what I learned specifically, the first two weeks we did hard surface projects (lego race car and dump truck.) Week 3 was a hard surface project with some organic elements (hybrid hard surface/organic) in the form of a chain saw. Week 4 introduced full-blown organics in the form of a cartoon character. Week 5 stayed with organics in the form of an Indian elephant modeling project, and week 6 was to be a photo-realistic human. My human didn't make it to the grading server. I left the program on Friday, May 17th.

At some point, I will complete my human model simply to say I finished it, but for now I'm enjoying time away from any 3D app and decompressing. I got the highest grades I ever got during the first two projects. Guess I'm better at hard surface modeling. :) But when we got to organics (and the quizzes), my grades started slipping and I was afraid I would eventually fall below the pass/fail line. (I was passing when I quit.) I couldn't afford the time or money to repeat block 1 had I failed, so I quit while I was ahead. I actually had many people pulling for me to stay, but in the end, the pressure of trying to maintain passing grades coupled with the frustration I was experiencing over seeing my grades dropping was enough to cause me to leave. While I was always able to perform very well under deadline pressure as a news/special projects editor, I've never been able to learn well under that kind of pressure. I'm very deliberate in my approach to learning, always trying to find ways to do something that internalizes the lesson. For example, when the instructor showed us how he would, for instance, create a drill bit, I found it hard to follow. So I spent two hours after class that day working out my own solution to the problem of creating a drill bit, and when I finally nailed it, I felt a rare sense of accomplishment and had achieved a method by which I could both understand and easily repeat the process of creating that model.

My approach to learning, however, takes time and time was something I couldn't spend experimenting with my own methods for modeling when there was so much to do simply to get the projects done on time. I'm reasonably sure I would've done much better in a learning environment where the projects weren't quit as difficult and the pace of learning wasn't quite as accelerated. Obviously, my experience is neither a knock agaist the school nor its instructors. As noted before, the program wasn't a good fit for me and my situation. Other people's mileage will certainly vary.

I will only add this: I have a great deal more respect for anyone - including my daughter - who went through, is going through, or will go through that program than I might have before. It's not easy and - given my experience - it's not for everyone. But those who can make it through, my hat's off to you.

djwaterman
05-20-2013, 04:33 AM
I imagine Serling you can use your industry contacts to produce low end productions, promotions, documentaries and so on, shooting, editing and doing post makes you pretty powerful.

I was a little saddened to hear you had quit, but your explanation makes some sense, as an adult paying your own way you can make the decision based on gut feeling, not under pressure from parents. If your plans don't require working for an agency doing 3D, then you probably don't need to learn Maya, LW is probably good enough. Do you use After Effects? I'd even suggest Hitfilm, I haven't used it but it looks like it has a small learning curve and does many cool things quick and easy.

Serling
05-20-2013, 08:43 AM
I imagine Serling you can use your industry contacts to produce low end productions, promotions, documentaries and so on, shooting, editing and doing post makes you pretty powerful.

I was a little saddened to hear you had quit, but your explanation makes some sense, as an adult paying your own way you can make the decision based on gut feeling, not under pressure from parents. If your plans don't require working for an agency doing 3D, then you probably don't need to learn Maya, LW is probably good enough. Do you use After Effects? I'd even suggest Hitfilm, I haven't used it but it looks like it has a small learning curve and does many cool things quick and easy.

My decision to leave was primarily based on financial considerations. If I had stayed through the end of block 1 and failed, I would've lost all the up-front money I had put down. $10,000 is a lot of money no matter whose paying it. By leaving when I did, I was able to recover more than half of my down payment and the contract for the student loan was voided. But I had also only budgeted for a year at school, and an extra 3 months retaking any block simply wasn't in the cards. I had to weigh the cost of failure versus the cost of success and, in the end, the cost of failure was just too high. Had I been doing better grade-wise in the organic modeling section, I would've given myself better odds for success, but the risk and cost of failure was simply more than I could afford.

I have used both Photoshop and After Effects extensively in post and feel comfortable with them. They are more than sufficient to meet my post-production needs, although with Adobe going all CC on us, I will definitely check out Hitfilm. Lightwave is also more than adequate for someone in my position, as I will likely be spending a lot more time freelancing and producing my own content and assets.

Thanks again for the feedback.

VictoryX
05-20-2013, 07:02 PM
I attended the Dave School when they still used Lightwave, which was difficult for me coming from Maya & 3DS Max programs. Serling is very right about their accelerated program, stuff goes by very quickly. The first week was simple modeling tools and we ended up having to do a Kids toy from a doctors office and a lego car. Then the projects got much harder much more quickly.

Week 2 Project was a Cobra Hiss Tank
http://i526.photobucket.com/albums/cc346/adjustvolume/Week2_zpsbd8974be.jpg (http://s526.photobucket.com/user/adjustvolume/media/Week2_zpsbd8974be.jpg.html)

Week 3 Project Asian Airship
http://i526.photobucket.com/albums/cc346/adjustvolume/Week3_zpsb5352351.jpg (http://s526.photobucket.com/user/adjustvolume/media/Week3_zpsb5352351.jpg.html)

Week 4-5 Organic Modeling, we had a small toy frog and Dirk The Daring, Cartoon character
http://i526.photobucket.com/albums/cc346/adjustvolume/Week4_zpsb4b1eccd.jpg (http://s526.photobucket.com/user/adjustvolume/media/Week4_zpsb4b1eccd.jpg.html)

Weeks 6 & 7 Were composting stuff, how to do proper renders etc.

Weeks 8 & 9 Introduction to Zbrush with this little guy.
http://i526.photobucket.com/albums/cc346/adjustvolume/Week8_zps2152416d.jpg (http://s526.photobucket.com/user/adjustvolume/media/Week8_zps2152416d.jpg.html)

Weeks 10,11,12 Master Chief was this final piece ZBrush or Lightwave could be used or a mix of both.
http://i526.photobucket.com/albums/cc346/adjustvolume/Week11_zpsb1bf56bd.jpg (http://s526.photobucket.com/user/adjustvolume/media/Week11_zpsb1bf56bd.jpg.html)


Super fun block, we had Steve Warner as our instructor and he is pretty freaking awesome.

Serling
05-20-2013, 10:02 PM
we had Steve Warner as our instructor and he is pretty freaking awesome.

Agreed.

Serling
05-20-2013, 11:41 PM
Seems the block 1 TAs haven't goten the memo yet: they're still keeping attendance records on me. :)

Philbert
05-21-2013, 06:46 AM
Mine was the 4th class to graduate from DAVE School back in 2003. That was one of the best years of my life and it really got my career started. It's sad that they've switched to maya though.

chikega
05-22-2013, 10:30 AM
Wow, I wasn't aware that they had totally switched to Maya. Last I heard, and you can tell I don't really keep up, is that they were introducing a quick course in Maya. It always seemed to make sense to that the DAVE school was using LW since it's easier to be a LW generalist than it is to be a Maya or Houdini generalist. I guess the market demands have unfortunately spoken.

Is William Vaughn still teaching there? I know he's really taken to Modo lately and it seems that they would have kept LW and/or Modo for the modeling portion. In any case, modeling should be somewhat easier since Maya 2014 has the NEX plugin built in.

https://draster.com/nex-1.5/overview.html

Beautiful work, VictoryX!

Philbert
05-22-2013, 10:34 AM
I believe William is working with his studio, Applehead Factory, up here in the Philly area.

Serling
05-22-2013, 10:58 AM
William is the academic director at DAVE.

Serling
05-22-2013, 11:26 AM
As noted in an earlier post, the best grades I got (83 and 84) were received for the lego and dump truck. Starting with the chainsaw, my work and grades started to drop. Some people believed I could've passed the block had I stuck with it. The problem was, I didn't believe I could. With a 73 going into the last 6 weeks and the projects getting more difficult, I had to make a financial decision based on my own estimates of my chances for success. I chose to leave while I could get some of my money back. What was also weighing heavily on my mind was the oft-repeated view there that a 70 would not net you a job in the industry when you got out. Merely making a passing grade wouldn't get me the job I needed when I got out. As I need to get back to work, and since my shortest path back to full-time employment is editing, I couldn't justify spending any more money there simply to "pass" when I needed more. Again, DAVE was not a good fit for my situation. Unfortunately, the only way I was able to discover that was by attending, even if only for as long as I did.

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chikega
05-23-2013, 10:37 AM
You did some nice work in the short amount of time that you were there, Serling!

I found this ad on the back of a recent 3d magazine and it mentions Lightwave.


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OnlineRender
05-23-2013, 04:00 PM
... sad to hear you could not finish the year but perhaps you made the correct finical decision ,personally I would kill to goto Dave School but like most I would struggle to raise any capital to go there , so take your experience with a pinch of salt and take all the things you learnt keep calm and carry on

Philbert
05-23-2013, 06:59 PM
You did some nice work in the short amount of time that you were there, Serling!

I found this ad on the back of a recent 3d magazine and it mentions Lightwave.

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He may have been there before the change or the ad was made before the change. It didn't happen that long ago.

WilliamVaughan
05-24-2013, 08:50 AM
You did some nice work in the short amount of time that you were there, Serling!

I found this ad on the back of a recent 3d magazine and it mentions Lightwave.


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James came through the school when it was a LightWave/Maya mixed pipeline. That ad is an older ad that had to be re-run as the concept artists for the illustration James created didnt receive credit when the ad originally ran.

The School is currently wrapping up the last 5 weeks of its last short film that involves a LightWave/Maya mixed pipeline. This is the final project the school plans to use LightWave as the next graduating class will have never touched LW during their training at the school. It's a pretty cool Live action short that involves heavy VFX. I'm looking forward to see what the class produces within the next few weeks.

Serling
05-24-2013, 01:14 PM
You did some nice work in the short amount of time that you were there, Serling!

Thank you. I worked my butt off but didn't feel I was making the progress I needed to make. My grades (in order of the projects above) were 83%, 84%, 75%, 77%, 75%. Had the grades been going the other way (up instead of down), I certainly would've felt better about my chances for success. The quiz grades dragged my GPA down to 73%. (I was never good at tests or quizzes in college, either.)