View Full Version : Your life... or something

06-11-2004, 05:36 PM
I've been snooping around these forums for the past week and have been incredibly awe'd by the work some of you guys have posted. And espically after seeing the Ripper's WIP of that female model, I just got really curious...

I'm a 20 year old who just dropped out of college (well, hopefully, if it doesnt work out, I'm always willing to go back to school, just not at a university, I need something more focused). I just felt like it was a waste of time and money. I learn things on my own much faster then sitting in a lecture. Plus I've got friend of my brother's who's got some contacts in LA whose going to try to help me get an editing job and than hopefully I can work my way up once I get some good solid on the job experience, rather than messing around on my own.

But more to the point, over the past two months, I've started playing around in lightwave and reading up on 3d stuff, its freaking crazy and I totally love it. And as much as I would love to write/direct in my future, I would have no problem getting started in doing 3d work and special effects.

What I wanna know is, who are you guys, what do you do, how'd you get to where you are, and where do you plan on going after today?

I just really wanna hear how the guys who have gotten where they want to be, did it, and how the guys who are still going are getting there. Did you guys go to school for this stuff? If you did, did it really help you? How old are you, how old were you when you started etc, etc etc. Let me hear your life story...
well... maybe a summary of your life story... in terms of 3d/video/film/whatever.


06-12-2004, 02:24 PM
Cool man, this isn't probably what you had in mind, because i'm a young newbe, but since so many other people just blew you off, i decided to get things started (hint, hint).

I am a Junior (woah, actually i'm a senior, school just ended. cool) and have been messing with Lightwave for maybe two months. I agree, it rocks. I plan to go to college and major in Computer Science, not go to a school (good one in Emeryville) that pretty much focuses on computer 3d graphics. Um... let's see. My school got Lightwave, and that's how i really started into it, but i tought myself (with LOTS of tutorials) I don't consider myself even close to leaving the newbe stage, but will hopefully get better :D :D

@everyone else: post here, c'mon!


06-12-2004, 02:38 PM

IMO, the 'dropping out' of college in search of more focused tutelage is a fantastic idea if followed thru.

06-12-2004, 02:50 PM
Thanks for keeping the thread alive skunk, haha

And Jim, thank you, I've been looking for a list like that for quite some time.

I've said some thanks but I'm not finished, lets hear more! haha

06-12-2004, 04:12 PM

The real trick to anything is the passion you have for it. I've been in and around film/video/theatre for the past 25 years. I started out taking a theatre course that made me get into acting, took a film course to get into film, begged, borrowed and stole........well not stole, my first Toaster/Flyer 10 years ago and started to really going to school! It doesn't have to be a credited university for you to get your hands dirty. My learning curve excelled when I started buying videos from California from "Desktop Imaging". (Lots of Ron Thornton tapes) Within a year I had landed a job doing special effects for an IMAX film out of Toronto.

Now, I'm 2 weeks away from finishing my first film called, LIGHT YEARS FROM HOME, (look for it on the SPACE channel in August/Sept)

Anyway..............bottom line...............start doing...........not thinking.............not dreaming, get a SPX program like Lightwave and start creating. There all kinds of people who want to be famous in film/video but they're unwilling to do thework.

Don't be one of the dreamers.................be one of the DO-ERS!

06-12-2004, 04:56 PM
Right, also another (I'm assuming cool school) that is really into Graphics stuffs is Ex'pression Center for New Media, here (http://expression.edu)'s the site. It's a new school down in Emeryville. :D

MORE, MORE (i want to see this, too ;))


06-12-2004, 06:13 PM

You're talking like me. :) haha, I've gotten a lot of talk from people telling me that you need a degree to get anywhere in this world these days, but I totally agree with you instead. To learn anything you gotta get your hands in it and just do it. I've been working hard with lightwave for about 2 months now and I feel that I've learned a lot. (The things I've 'finished' are cars, I'll post em below just for the heck of it.) When I get into something, I feel that I learn it pretty fast. The crazy thing I'm finding is that with lightwave, 3d, whatever, there really isnt a limit with this stuff. A lot of stuff I've done before, esp. with school you just have this point where you can almost learn it all. But with lightwave there is so much to learn, and as cliche as it is to say, the only limit on this stuff is you, the creator. I think thats why it appeals to me so much.

I think the main reason for this post was at times you just feel so far behind when you see some of the work posted here. It's truely amazing. Its really nice to hear how people got to what they wanted to do, more of an inspiration thread then an informative one I guess. haha

On the topic of schools, one of my biggest fears about going to school for this stuff is wasting my time and money. There is so much to learn, and I want to get on a course that totally challeneges you. I've seen some reviews of schools where people say they never even got in hypervoxels. I dont need to spend 4 years learning the basics you know?

But alexwolf, thanks for your words, I'm glad to know there are some people with my thought process who actually succeded, haha. :)

Everyone else:
if people wanna add goodschools/lessons/books/whatever they have had a good experience with and that proved helpful, please drop a post with em.

Thanks again everyone.

06-12-2004, 06:17 PM
Totally forgot to put in the images...

Here is the latest project, trying to model a friends BMW 325...


06-16-2004, 10:22 PM
Hey Nate your BMW is looking pretty good. I am actually in a very similar position as you. I am 22 and going to college studying Multimedia, emphasize in animation. You don't need college to learn 3D, most everything I know I have taught myself, it is the only way to get any good. But I am also a big advocate of getting a college education, even if you don't need it to be successful it is an extremely good thing to have under you belt, a college degree is for more then just learning the stuff, it shows to the employer that you are competant, able, willing, dedicated, and can follow through without giving up. Just pick the path that works for you. It helps when you go to a school that does challenge you and that offers you opportunities that you wouldn't have otherwise. The multimedia department in my school rocks, this summer we have Nashville songwriters coming and doing a concert, we are recording it in 5.1 surround sound, (we have our stage wired for 30 channels of audio running straight into our recording studio) filming it, authoring it and putting it on DVD for distribution, with a possible offer to air it on national TV. That kind of opportunity is hard to come by on your own.

06-17-2004, 08:15 AM
I am a "lifer student" or was up until last year. I have been through 3 different majors in the last 10 years. I am now 39 and self employed as a wildlife artist carving wood sculptures. Now 3d graphics come into the picture around 6 years ago when a friend said my spacialization and visulization skills from carving in the round would be a great asset in a LW type of modeling program. So he let me putz around with his software and then gave it to me when he upgraded and bought all new (lw 6.) While in school I picked up a student version and went to v 6.5 then to 7.5.

I enjoy the graphics and do some ok stuff but I am still learning. You will always be learning in life which should apply to anything I think to make one's self a better person.

As for college? A degree shows not only that you have the basic skills in a specific area BUT you also have what it takes to stay with something for 4 or 5 years. Do not under estimate the importance of a degree it shows you can follow through with something!

I know alot of people will say in this particular industry people do not think a degree (of any sort) if necessary if you have the talent. Well to some point I believe it is true, but you better be dam good at what you do! It is a very competitive world out there and anything to give you a leg up can only help in the long run. (jeez I sound like and old man.)

If you have the time and desire to get a 4 year do it! I think it can only help. Besides use LW and go to school at the same time many do. Talk to hrgiger he's doin it at the moment.

I hope you find something interesting in these posts

good luck

06-17-2004, 08:49 AM
I mean no offense with this, only just a question I guess. And Andy, your school sounds like it doesnt fit the normal completely, that sounds like it'd be a lot of fun.

But, about the idea that college shows that you can follow thru on something for 4 or 5 years. I agree with you, but dont you think there should be something better then that? Its an awful lot of time, and a great deal of money. I'm not one to worry about money, but there are times you have to admit to yourself you just dont have it, esp. to go drop 30 grand a year at some art school or something. I just wish there were more excellerated programs, I'm not saying people who go to college arent bright, cause thats certainly not true at all, but I mean for example, lightwave, you could learn the basics and techinical stuff in a good year of a fast program, with LOTS of hands on training. Also, I know the case with 4 year universities they've got a lot of General Education courses. Those things got under my skin so much by the time I left. Maybe it was just my school but I definatly did not learn enough to have it be required, let alone for a whole semester. haha, all I did in those classes my last semester was think about lightwave, or projects that I wanted to work on, then I'd come back and just work on the computer, I just felt like school was just taking time away from learning what I really wanted to learn.

Looking back up on this post, I gotta apoligize for the flow being so random. haha, hopefully you can pick it apart.

J Martin
06-17-2004, 10:42 AM
Originally posted by twister47
I all I did in those classes my last semester was think about lightwave, or projects that I wanted to work on, then I'd come back and just work on the computer, I just felt like school was just taking time away from learning what I really wanted to learn.

You sound like me when I was in college :D

I went to a university to study graphic design but wasn't happy with the education I was getting so I went to an art college in California. I only got through five semesters before I ran out of money but the five semesters there was the equivalent to a doctorate at the university. But now I wouldn't go back to that design college because tuition is up to $12,000 per semseter! Eight semesters to graduatate and that doesn't include room and board, art supplies, computer, etc. That kind of money is just not worth it for art. I've been taking classes at the community college and have been pretty happy. Some are better than others of course, but I feel I'm getting my money's worth.

I think a college/university experience is invaluable as it exposes you to a whole world of ideas and people. As an artist, every scrap of knowledge is invaluable to you. Twenty years from now when you're yelling at kids to get off your lawn (...ahem...), you'll get some nutty job that requires you to know some nutty thing about accounting and you'll be glad you know all about debits and credits.

I highly recommend you stick with college, but if the university is not working for you then at least get an associates at a community college. It costs less, there's less pressure, the classes are smaller, and in some cases they're better than the university's. Maybe consider taking a year off to explore 3D or travel Europe or something. But don't forget to get back to college. It really helps in the long run.

06-17-2004, 11:20 AM
I'd say go with your guts, your passion. I have no university degree (I too dropped out because I wasn't interested in what i was learning), but I have been through a 2 year media generalist program back in 1992.

I've been using Lightwave for 6 years and learning everything I can. The great thing is the vastness of the 3d/vfx career. What do you love most about 3d and/or vfx? There's modeling, texturing, rigging, lighting, animating, compositing, matchmoving, dynamics, previz, print graphics... I could go on and on.

You don't need a degree to get ahead in this industry, nor do you need to be good at everything (although it never hurts to be good at several 3d tasks). I have found that it is very rare for someone to be good at all things 3d/vfx related. Trying to learn it all will prove to be an exercise in futility. Focus on what you love best. The people that hire will see that.

Learning on your own is often harder because you must have the self-discipline to do it. You no longer have a classroom to dictate what you will learn. Keep faith in yourself, your skills and what you want to do. There will be dissappointments plenty but that's normal. It's not anything personal and it will make you better.

Good luck!

06-18-2004, 07:40 AM
Hello and welcome to the world of lightwave.

So, to answer your question, I happen to teach intorductory animation and photoshop for texture mapping at a local college here in the Denver area.

My experience with animation and lightwave was enough to get me a job, but I am not anywhere near where I would like to be. For now though, I am happy where I am as I have done a number of things (literally from scrubbing toilets to building space craft).

I wish you luck with your endeavors and I think it is great that you might have some connections. Utilize those connections, but be certain of one thing that I tell my students:

"You need to push yourself and master your craft. Knowing someone might get you the job, but your knowledge and continued evolution in the workplace will keep you there."

Good luck to ya. Keep working and take any related kind of work. I never thought I would be a college instructor and here I am. :D


06-18-2004, 10:04 AM
Thanks to all of you guys, saying some helpful stuff! :)