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Skinner3D
11-16-2008, 12:44 PM
I have the schedule for my next semester at college, and if everything goes well it will be the last semester of my college career. The obvious question bodes itself. "What on earth do I do next?" I would really like to go into working doing Lightwave, but if that doesn't happen right away I still have another option. That other option is going to a certified Newtek School and becoming more experienced with the program that I thoroughly enjoy :D :newtek: :boogiedow:
Anyway, all of that to say:

How many of you who visit the lightwave forums have actually been to either the Newtek schools or the DAVE school?
If you want to add more thoughts that will help my decision making, please feel free to do so.
WARNING: NO FLAMING CRITS (not that I expect any) keep it constructive, please.

-EsHrA-
11-16-2008, 12:56 PM
huh? are there any other than dave school?..


mlon

SplineGod
11-16-2008, 02:32 PM
What are you currently taking in college?
I would focus on more tradition art skills because in my experience thats what most 3d artists lack. I would also focus more on producing a good demo reel and expanding your industry contacts.
Getting into more debit especially now isnt a good idea IMO.
No studios Ive ever worked at or ppl Ive worked witih care much about school credentials but focus more on what your reel shows and who has recommended you.
Very few people I know or have worked with have gone to some formal 3d school.

jasonwestmas
11-16-2008, 02:55 PM
Yeah, what SG said. If you want to be a modeler for example you could create a lot of LW ready content but it your stuff looks all stiff, non-dynamic with uninteresting surfaces no animated motion can fix that. However good traditional art classes can. Get into painting, drawing and sculpture first. Zbrush, mudbox and 3D coat is a cheap way to practice your sculpture, it's a little less daunting than LW if you've never touched 3D software imo. If you want to animate I would practice drawing out key frames with a pencil and paper (even try doing it the traditional way for a good feeling of what animation is) When you feel good about how those key frames are looking try doing it in lightwave using the poses in your key frames as a guide. Use video as referance, that's always helpful. Studios that keyframe most everything, like pixar do that.

SplineGod
11-16-2008, 03:19 PM
Anyone can learn to push the buttons in a 3d package. When pple begin to wonder why they know the software but cant produce decent looking results thats when they realize that a lack of traditional art training was the big gap. I know a lot of 3d artists who end up taking evening classes in figure drawing etc.

Dirk
11-16-2008, 03:32 PM
Anyone can learn to push the buttons in a 3d package. When pple begin to wonder why they know the software but cant produce decent looking results thats when they realize that a lack of traditional art training was the big gap. I know a lot of 3d artists who end up taking evening classes in figure drawing etc.

I think that is the moment when they begin to blame their software :D

Skinner3D
11-16-2008, 06:19 PM
What are you currently taking in college?
I would focus on more tradition art skills because in my experience thats what most 3d artists lack. I would also focus more on producing a good demo reel and expanding your industry contacts.
Getting into more debit especially now isnt a good idea IMO.
No studios Ive ever worked at or ppl Ive worked witih care much about school credentials but focus more on what your reel shows and who has recommended you.
Very few people I know or have worked with have gone to some formal 3d school.

I am currently taking CS/GIS which is Computer Science in a Geographic Information Systems track. I am only on this track because it was the closest I could get to 3D modeling at the community college I started out at.

As for the demo reel and industry contacts, that and learning the tricks of the trade are my reasons for possibly going to class. I don't really care what piece of paper I have.

I have several models, and a couple of movies that are demo reel quality, but I don't think I have enough to make a good reel.


As for the other comments, drawing and I get along almost as well as fire and water. You are all right in that it would help immensely, but the reason I ever started 3D modeling was because I found it to be a medium in which I could actually create stuff, wherein I couldn't in drawing/painting/etc. Unfortunately the college that I am at now doesn't offer much in the way of traditional art unless you already have a portfolio.

Speedmonk42
11-16-2008, 06:49 PM
There are Newtek training centers?

Titus
11-16-2008, 07:28 PM
There are Newtek training centers?

I know your question is rhetorical but... we have two here and both seem to be good.

SplineGod
11-16-2008, 08:23 PM
Theres lots of ways to get trained in 3d and art these days without having to go to a school to do so. Theres lots of online schools with more around all the time.
Also theres plenty of people around who could probably tutor you as well. Theres always local artists who give lessons and so on.
The point is not to be too linear in your thinking about how to learn.
If you dont have enough for a demo reel then do something from scratch. Dont be afraid to redo things until its at a good level. Theres all kinds of forums and places to get feedback on your work. Its also a way to make industry contacts. Go to trade shows like siggraph and join siggraph or other user groups in your area.

Speedmonk42
11-16-2008, 10:02 PM
I know your question is rhetorical but... we have two here and both seem to be good.

Sorry, I wasn't trying to be a %$#^@'.

I really have never heard of this before.

MikeUnderwood
11-16-2008, 11:06 PM
I'm currently attending DAVE school, and I just wanted to say that I couldn't be happier. The combination of a solid curriculum, world class instructors, and production like environment really makes a great learning environment. Online/DVD training is a great supplement but I just don't think it compares to being face to face with instructors and other students.

I have only seen a few other schools which rival the quality of DAVE school graduate demo reels. Just about every major production studio you can think of has DAVE school graduates working there. Places like Digital Domain, Rhythm and Hues, ILM, Zoic, and EdenFX. My class graduates in a month and we have already had 3 students leave early to take jobs in LA. All 3 had little to none 3d experience going in.

Skinner, I checked out your portfolio and you seem to have some pretty good modeling skills. But if you really want to sharpen those skills, while also learning animation, composting and everything else it requires to be a real world, production ready artist, then I would definitely encourage you to look into the DAVE school.

SplineGod
11-16-2008, 11:53 PM
Heres another way I would look at it.
How many ppl are hired at those studios who didnt go to school vs those that did? Ive been working out in LA for years and the vast majority of people Ive worked with and do work with didnt go to 3d school. Keep in mind that schools not going to guarentee you work which you have to also consider the large amount of debt you incur in the process.

Another thing to consider is that Ive worked with a lot of people who have and are working at studios that have hired students. The overwhelming response I get is that most are not up to where they should be skillwise after coming out of school and that many places hire students because they can get them at bargain rates.
I just spoke to a friend of mine whos working for a studio in burbank and thats the first thing he told me was that the place had hired a bunch of students at a cheap rate and that most werent keeping up.
Again, Im not saying that this is true of every graduate but the real world is very different then a controlled classroom environment.
Im also not saying dont check out schools and other learning avenues. What I am encouraging is to not get caught up in hype and dont hinder yourself by getting saddled with large amounts of debt only to get a low paying job simply because you have the student label attached to you. Most of the time out here what you get paid is based as much on your negociating skills as much as it is on what you can actually do.

Ive been able to get a lot of ppl hired over the years who had no formal training but were good. I was also able to give them an idea of what to ask for salarywise. Nobody cared if they went to school or not.

The place Im working at has been looking to hire a good 3d generalist. My employer has received alot of student reels and has told me that none are at a level that interests him. So again, keep in mind that you dont want the extra debt and you dont want to give someone ammo to pay you a lower rate simply because you have that student label on you.

The other issue to consider is very few jobs these days is permanent in this business. So youll get hired for a project then laid off for awhile. You may have to freelance etc in between gigs. Having large student loans to pay off when little or no money is coming in is not fun.

IMI
11-17-2008, 06:47 AM
I haven't been to any 3D schools, but would love to go to The DAVE School, especially since I live in a small town halfway between Orlando and Leesburg - about a 45 minute drive from there (when the traffic cooperates). I know that area well, as I used to work near there.

No good though, since I have to work full time days for a living. It would be great if they had a stripped-down version in the evenings, although I wouldn't think that would do William Vaughan very much good working and teaching all day and all night. ;)

I wish they at least offered the occasional weekend seminar for specific topics for us hobbyist types who want to expand our knowledge or pros who want refreshers.

RollerJesus
11-17-2008, 08:09 AM
What about pursuing a career within your degree?

I'm a GIS application developer in the aviation industry and I can tell you that the market is strong and there are companies and government agencies looking for people with an education like yours. (PM me if you want more info, always happy to talk shop...)

That gives you the option to freelance in 3d until you have an outstanding portfolio and the 3d work starts coming in and taking over as your breadwinner.

SplineGod
11-17-2008, 08:11 AM
Thats actually not a bad idea. I know a lot of ppl including myself that were already well into another career before changing over.
I started getting the odd job here and there which gave me opportunities later on.

adamredwoods
11-17-2008, 11:09 AM
Are there any NewTek training centers in San Francisco? If not, can I open one?

IMI
11-17-2008, 11:19 AM
Are there any NewTek training centers in San Francisco? If not, can I open one?

Far as I'm concerned you can, but you might want to talk to Newtek first. ;)

SplineGod
11-17-2008, 12:17 PM
You can open up a training center and teach what you want.
Its done all the time.

WilliamVaughan
11-17-2008, 12:56 PM
AT the end of the day no one cares if you went to school or not. It's about your skill set, quality of work and your attitude.

I think it's great that there are so many resources available today to get people up to speed the way "they" prefer to learn. Books, DVDs, Schools...lots of options.

It's been fun watching so many students go out and get great jobs right out of school at places that you dont expect to hire recent grads....and pay them well!

If you would have told me that you could land a gig at places like ILM, Digital Domain, Zoic, Eden FX, Cafe FX, EA, Monolith, LightStorm, Rhythm and Hues, Paradigm Productions, Galactica, Radical 3D, MeniThings, DNA Productions, Flash Film Works, Nickelodon, BranitFX, etc.... after only one year of training...making the kind of salary some make... I wouldnt have believed it.


It's all in how much dedication and drive you have....anything is possible.

Use whatever resources are affordable to you. If you can afford School... I think it's a smart investment...if you cant...use the free resources that are available online...there are hundreds of hours of free material that can get you the knowledge you need.


Choose the type of places that you want to work and come up with a game plan....there are several "Fast Track" solutions that can get you where you want to be.

Good Luck!

Konidias
11-17-2008, 01:13 PM
You forgot Nickelodeon, Will. :)

I attended the Dave School and then did some work for the school right after I graduated... Then I used that work on my reel and it helped me land my first job here at Nickelodeon Animation Studios in Burbank. Before I went to the school I had little knowledge of 3D applications or the industry in general. I had some self-taught traditional skills and a vague understanding of how to model things. That was pretty much it.

Now that I've attended the school, I've been provided with a lot more resources and links to tutorials and teachers who can help me with questions I might have. As Will mentioned, you can find pretty much all of this stuff on your own, without going to any schools.

Not to say the school isn't worth the money and time. It definitely is. It just depends on whether or not you can learn everything on your own and find answers to your questions and also have the drive to actually finish a demo reel and get it out there by yourself. The school definitely helps push you in the right direction, and without it I honestly think I'd still be trying to learn basic modeling and animation and probably sitting around on my butt a lot of the time doing nothing.

I went from not knowing anything about 3D, Lightwave and Aftereffects a little over a year ago, to working at Nickelodeon on popular cartoon shows using Lightwave, Aftereffects and more.

If you're still wondering whether it's worth it... I don't know what to tell you.

WilliamVaughan
11-17-2008, 01:19 PM
Sorry...added it to teh list...sometimes it's hard to remember "little" companies like Nickelodeon....:p

.............that was a joke for those that didnt catch it

nickolasstevens
11-17-2008, 01:22 PM
OK first off I attending DAVE School.

Second I am currently working in the vfx industry.

So for me it was a great experience. I was learning on my own for about a year. I was starting to come up with some decent stuff and I decided to attend school. My progress increased drastically upon entering school. The big thing for me wasn't learning the software, it was learning the workflow of professionals. I think learning the workflow was what got me my job here at Branit VFX. I could have learned it all on my own however it would have taken me much longer, and I didn't want to wait.

Yes it was very expensive but it was worth it. I honestly can't imagine working in another field. It is so awesome! In fact I decided to go back to school while I'm working to continue to improve as an artist. Right now I'm attending Animation Mentor. Its awesome too. The way I see it learning from the best will help you progress so much faster and will teach you to become a better artist.

drano
11-17-2008, 02:43 PM
Excellent points for either side...

I don't know "how you learn", but I found I did best in a classroom, followed (or simultaneously) by further self-training through books, videos, and forums. School *is* an expense, but mostly - you'll get what you pay for. You can pay in dollars or time (or both), but in the end, you'll get out of it what you put into it.

One benefit to school-learning over self-teaching is that you work with other people (especially at DAVE School). These people are not only peers who you can share ideas with, but are also your future contacts in the industry. Arguably, you can make contacts on your own via forums and email - but having the peers "in the room" with you can be a huge benefit.

I've personally seen great work by self-taught people, and by graduates of a program. I've also seen lousy work from both sides, so one isn't necessarily better than another. Really - it's a matter of doing what works best for you, and then putting the time and effort behind either endeavor whole-heartedly.

Some education in traditional art will help immensely as an artist. But if you were to take a more technical job (render wrangler, script-developer), I think you'd find the art classes a distraction from your main focus.

Try to decide what you want - and what teaching method works best. Then dedicate yourself to it and "get 'er done!" If you DO decide on a School, I would recommend DAVE - they do a great job.

Derek Serra
11-17-2008, 03:35 PM
There's a lot of good advice here.

William was 100% correct - it doesn't matter if you have a degree or not in this industry. Employers are only interested in one thing: Can you do the work?

The skills needed to do the work can come from school, online training, forums, etc. It all depends on what's right for you.

Personally, I tried learning through training videos, but it wasn't right for me. I usually learned a little, but had a list of unanswered questions. So, I chose to go to school.

I chose a local college that had an animation program. Unfortunately, I didn't know that their program was horribly out of touch with the skills that are really needed. After getting my Bachelors degree, I was still in need of the skills.

So this time I did my homework. I researched the schools that would give me the training necessary for a career in 3D. DAVE School was at the top of my list, so I contacted them, got in, and graduated last year. Two months after I graduated, I was working at a studio in LA.

If you decide to go to school, there are two main factors to your success:
1. Choose a good school
Like I said, I chose the wrong school the first time. If I had applied to the studios with what I learned there, I would have never heard back about an initial interview.

2. Dedication
You can pick a great school, but still not be ready for a job, unless you apply yourself. My graduating class had about 15 people, but only a few of us are working in the industry. All of us that are here were dedicated to our education. In fact, most of us had full-time jobs, but still made time for homework and putting in the extra effort. Of the people that didn't get into the industry (or weren't good enough), some of them didn't work and spent their free time playing WoW or doing other things.

Finally, there has been a suggestion here about traditional art. You would be doing yourself a huge favor by learning it. My suggestion would be to get the skills by going to DAVE, online training, or whatever you choose. After that gets you into the industry, dedicate some time to traditional art.

Good luck with whatever you decide!

Skinner3D
11-17-2008, 05:31 PM
:D Wow I have a lot to think about so far.

SplineGod: I would love to tutor/learn under someone around here. Western, NY seems rather devoid of people like me, albeit I haven't placed ads or searched under every rock, but as far as I know the closest people who might have any notion of 3D are at least 3hrs away.
(For example: :D my professor[who knows nothing about Lightwave] is having me defend a paper I wrote about the creation of the Fenton Hall project. She currently has people that I will present to, but they don't know the software either)

If there is anybody around here (Western NY), with knowledge of Lightwave etc. I would very much like to to communicate with you :)

RollerJesus: PM forthcoming

--------

One of my 'dream' jobs, if you will, would be to take artists concepts and turn them into 3D models. Does this type of job even exsist? If it does exsist is there anything of the non obvious sort that I should be getting better at? (The obvious being taking drawings and creating them in 3D)

SplineGod
11-18-2008, 12:55 AM
:D Wow I have a lot to think about so far.

SplineGod: I would love to tutor/learn under someone around here. Western, NY seems rather devoid of people like me, albeit I haven't placed ads or searched under every rock, but as far as I know the closest people who might have any notion of 3D are at least 3hrs away.
(For example: :D my professor[who knows nothing about Lightwave] is having me defend a paper I wrote about the creation of the Fenton Hall project. She currently has people that I will present to, but they don't know the software either)

If there is anybody around here (Western NY), with knowledge of Lightwave etc. I would very much like to to communicate with you :)

RollerJesus: PM forthcoming

--------

One of my 'dream' jobs, if you will, would be to take artists concepts and turn them into 3D models. Does this type of job even exsist? If it does exsist is there anything of the non obvious sort that I should be getting better at? (The obvious being taking drawings and creating them in 3D)

Im a firm believer that if you get something going people will start to show up. Ive seen a lot of good 3d work come out of New York.
Im a firm believer in getting an education and Ive taught for many years with my own material and have done hundreds of seminars and have taught at a few schools as well. One thing Ive learned is that too many people feel that they can only get an education by paying alot of money to a school.

What Ive found is that the ones who do well and go on to get a good jobs would probably have done so regardless.
Ive found that if someone has to be pushed in school or elsewhere to get things done tend to either never make it or stay on the low end of the totem pole.

I see a few people popping on here and giving testimonials of school but I know a few people who spent the bucks and didnt get a job. Id be interested in seeing just how many dont get jobs out of school vs those that do. I would also be interested in out of those who do get jobs how many start out with a decent salary.

Ive worked out in Hollywood for 10 years and almost another 10 before that in other places. What Ive found is that most of the time many employers will use the excuse that youre a student or gradute to beat you down into working for very low pay. Ive seen it myself and hear it constantly from others. Working for a brand name studio doesnt guarentee a decent wage. In fact in many cases some of those studios pay less and justify it by telling you how lucky you are to even be working there. :)

I would recommend getting the REAL scoop before going into massive debt just to learn how to use LW or AE.

My experience has been that the best way to get into a place AND get good pay is to have someone recommend you. Its more and more difficult these days to get in strictly thru your demo reel. Many studios get hundreds of submissions and week and from personal experience I can tell you what a real pain it is to look thru most demo reels because most are pretty bad.

Most studios tend to hire internally first and from recommendations from coworkers 2nd. Putting out job ads is usually a last resort. I think youre time is probably best spent saving your money, taking evening classes somewhere etc, honing your skills and making personal contacts. Use plaxo, linkedin, forums, mail lists etc.
I get job offers quite often thru plaxo and linkedin. The internet has opened all kinds of avenues for self promotion and networking with people who are in positions to hire or to influence the hiring process.

jasonwestmas
11-18-2008, 07:52 AM
90% don't get jobs in the schools that I have attended in Art and Design in general esp. in the past 10 years.

Derek Serra
11-18-2008, 02:05 PM
SplineGod brings up a couple really good points that I missed:

Contacts - It is true that most of the jobs at the studios in LA are obtained from personal contacts. One of the pleasant surprises about DAVE School is that my instructors had many contacts in the field. Adding that to the growing number of previous graduates that I can contact, I have a great jump-start to a professional network. That's how I landed my first studio gig.

Debt - Like I said before, do your research when finding a school (if that is the route you want to take). I shelled out too much money for my BFA, but was happy to find out that DAVE was only $30,000. For that much, I got one year of intense training, along with contacts in the field. My previous college couldn't claim either of those benefits - for 3 times as much money!

SplineGod - Good question about how many students actually succeed in landing a job out of school. For the year that I was at DAVE, I saw different levels of commitment from the students. That commitment directly affected their success.

99% of the students that took their education seriously, and wanted to get into the industry, actually landed jobs. The reason that isn't 100% is that I only know of 1 person that didn't get a job. That was due to him not being a US citizen, and he couldn't immediately get a work visa. (That was a year ago, so he may be working by now.)

For those students that didn't take everything seriously, a very small number of them are actually working in the industry. The unfortunate part is that maybe one third (my guess - don't know the actual number) of the students are actually serious about getting a career after school.

The bottom line is that a good school gives you the tools to better yourself. It takes hard work and dedication on the part of the student to use those tools. Some students think that they can coast through the classes and that will be enough. When they don't have any good work to show off when they're leaving school, they tend to blame the instructors for not teaching them enough. I don't think that they understand that it's up to them, not the instructors, to sharpen their skills.

Andyjaggy
11-18-2008, 02:41 PM
Yeah I don't know if I would bother getting more education.

I wish I could have those 4 years back I spent in college and spend them refining my skills and putting together an awesome demo reel. Sigh.

WilliamVaughan
11-18-2008, 02:52 PM
What is teh percentage of people that didnt go to school that want to work in this industry that have gotten a job...

It's all relative.


If you can afford school and want to fast track your way into a new career it's a good option...not teh only option but a good one IMHO.

Going to school doesnt equal a job....busting *** and staying dedicated does

nickolasstevens
11-18-2008, 03:17 PM
I also believe the industry is changing drastically. People are expected to do more. It could be tough to land an entry level job that was easily attainable 10 years ago. School can give you that edge if you work hard and make it happen. Like has been said before, it can be done without school, however you could be spinning your wheels for a long time before it happens.

ArwingXL
11-18-2008, 03:26 PM
It's preference really. I work for and with lightwave freelancers that never went to school for this, and sometimes I run circles around them, and sometimes they run circles around me. Both fronts have their set of strenghths.

I think the DAVE school is good, and learning at your own pace is also good. I actually have friends who I've suggested that to and helped out in the learning process. It depends on how fast you want to reach your goal of being a visual effects artist. I went to college, got an art degree, wasn't good enough, went to dave school, got a degree in visual effects, felt I wasn't good enough, but over the last 4 years, with hard work and going from making assets for friends that were in the industry and doing visual effects for indie films, I've gotten to where I want to be as a generalist, so ultimately it doesn't matter if you go to school or not as long as you have the drive and the commitment to make this your occupation. Photographers and painters don't spring up overnight. It takes years of practice in the work field or in an academic setting before you become skilled andknown enough to start getting steady work, so don't rush it. Some people learn this stuff quickly, some not so quickly, and its not an area you can argue with really.

It's a proven fact, whether you prepare by working or by studying (either at school or in your spare time next to a part time job and extracurricular activities.), if you have the drive, you will become good at using lightwave. The oldest guys in the industry learned lightwave the hardest way, and they're the one's writing the instruction manuals. If you learn it purely academically, you're naturally going to lose a lot of technical time that helps you problem-solve when lightwave fails at doing something, but you'll also be used to a speedy workflow encouraged in the academic setting.

jasonwestmas
11-18-2008, 03:28 PM
in the context of learning Software:

IF someone busts their arse without school and do have a little talent and passion, then that person will do well. And you won't have load collectors after you.

I have learned way more about software from books, videos and all of the jokers on this forum than from any school. My advice is that if someone does go to an expensive school, make sure that it is one that has many classes that teach a team oriented atmosphere and look into the morale of such institutions. Going to any old school will just encourage "Salesmen" to con people into spending money so you can simply teach yourself 90% of the time. Not all of my experiences are bad in the context of software but I paid way too much for what they taught me when compared to what I know now IMHO.

Kajico
11-18-2008, 03:53 PM
What is the difference between going to school, and buying all of SplineGod's DVDs?

Spending $850 dollars for a set of DVDs that relies solely on myself to troubleshoot if there is a problem versus spending $30k to attend a one year school that teaches me the same but it also comes with several educators willing to help me and mentor me, as well as access to a render farm, workstations, and a social networking environment where obtaining a job maybe easier.

In essence SplineGod has his own school, its just a DIY type of school and that may not be the best environment for everybody.

There is also the difference that you can teach yourself the software, but can you teach yourself the techniques? Can you teach yourself efficiency?

jasonwestmas
11-18-2008, 04:29 PM
There is also the difference that you can teach yourself the software, but can you teach yourself the techniques? Can you teach yourself efficiency?

Which is why you need to make sure you know what you are getting involved in. Make sure that the school program is team oriented. . .on the other hand can someone really trust the word of a school recruiter? It's actually better to try to get a series of internships and I guess if someone needs a school to do so, do it that way and see what the school has to offer.

And no, I'm not trying to get everyone to go to Kurv studios, you'll need to do lots more than just watch those videos. I'm not against classes either, by all means I think someone should invest some time and perhaps money taking some painting or sculpture classes. Writing classes help a great deal too when trying to show others what you've got.

adamredwoods
11-18-2008, 07:22 PM
Discipline is part of teaching.
It's hard to consistently discipline yourself.

Additionally, one would hope the teacher also brings more to the table than just technical skills: workflow, practical drills, communication skills, etc.

And most of all: criticism.

FarrahWelch
11-18-2008, 09:12 PM
The certificate or degree that you get from the Dave school (or any other) isn't going to get you anywhere. It's not a free ticket to your first industry job and by itself isn't worth the paper it's printed on. The students that come out the school not able to get jobs in the industry (those that Spline God speaks of) are typically the one's that thought it would. They treated it like any other school, went to class when they were supposed to (or not), spent the minimum amount of time required to complete their projects and finish up their year and spent the rest of their time playing video games, going out drinking, or sleeping their lives away. If that's what you plan to do, then don't waste your 30-40k. If, however, you really want to pursue this career and are willing to put in the time and effort, then there is no substitute for what you can get at the dave school. It's full of resources and industry connections. You have 19hr/day lab access, a render farm at your disposal, and instructors, assistant instructors, teaching assistants, graduates, and fellow students to answer all of your constant questions. Plus the entire school is geared toward getting you production ready. Sure you can work at your own pace from home doing video tutorials and asking questions from forums, but your not going to get anywhere fast -- especially when it takes hours to get answers to a single question. Not to mention, all the work that you create will most likely come from a step by step tutorial, which pretty much means you didn't create it. Are you going to make a fortune once you graduate? No probably not... but there's no way in hell you'd be making one by spending a year with tutorials. If your serious, go to school (make sure you go to the right one) and put forth all of your energy into it. You'll get out of it what you put in.

Heavyduty
11-19-2008, 04:46 AM
i'll tell you what, its a two way street, you get what you pay for and you get what you put into it. i am at the dave school right now. i spend every moment of free time on the pc and i feel like i have gotten years worth of know how in a few months. with that said i compare my work to others in the class, mind you i have a lot more work to do before i feel like im at a marketable lvl, i just have to think are the getting it, or do they even care? I beleave education is one of the most valuble assests a person can buy. i beleave that if your are scared of wether or not you can get a job then get an education. but the key to getting the most out of education is self motvation and drive the same fomulia that makes you sucsessfull in all aspects of like but education is somthing that when you do correctly can never hurt you. In the end i can't tell you how happy i am to be doing what im doing. and honestly with the way the dave school teaches even if i dont have a indestery job later in life the problom solving skill sets and the way to look at a problems is going to be an asset in any path in life i choose.

DiedonD
11-19-2008, 05:04 AM
Yeah I don't know if I would bother getting more education.

I wish I could have those 4 years back I spent in college and spend them refining my skills and putting together an awesome demo reel. Sigh.

Id second that.

Now, we are nothing but Time Slaves. There just isnt time left to spent your energy in something like evolving your art skills. Its a fact that the youth dont take into consideration, until they wake up and see that its only 24 hours. No more!!!

jasonwestmas
11-19-2008, 08:41 AM
i'll tell you what, its a two way street, you get what you pay for and you get what you put into it. i am at the dave school right now. i spend every moment of free time on the pc and i feel like i have gotten years worth of know how in a few months. I felt like that when I went to school. . .once. Then I found out that there is no end to it and that I really didn't learn as much as I thought originally because I didn't understand the big picture of the industry and all the things involved. But hey, maybe I'm being too lofty in my thinking. I remember when I got to meet David Balwel. . .once, a cool guy who setup the motion capture for Gollum. he also did some Special FX for movies back in the day. Anyway, he made me realize that schools really don't show us the big picture for what the industry is, they spend too much time in just the tools and get lost in the details that they forget how to sell our talents and give us a socialized, community basis for what we do. I guess I could go on and on about that. :)

SplineGod
11-19-2008, 08:55 AM
What is the difference between going to school, and buying all of SplineGod's DVDs?

Spending $850 dollars for a set of DVDs that relies solely on myself to troubleshoot if there is a problem versus spending $30k to attend a one year school that teaches me the same but it also comes with several educators willing to help me and mentor me, as well as access to a render farm, workstations, and a social networking environment where obtaining a job maybe easier.

In essence SplineGod has his own school, its just a DIY type of school and that may not be the best environment for everybody.

There is also the difference that you can teach yourself the software, but can you teach yourself the techniques? Can you teach yourself efficiency?

Im not advocating my courses or DVDs over anything else. I will say that Ive always supported my material and Ive always had my own support forums and KURV has support forums there as well. Relying solely on yourself to troubleshoot is a choice that you make, rather then a rule I impose. One advantage I have is that I dont have to leave the industry to teach. I am able to continue working and share my direct experience with my students all the time.

The same principles of hard work and dedication some bring up as being the key to get thru school applies to anything and everything. A person with the drive and motivation is going to be successful regardless if they attend a formal school or not.

The vast majority of people Ive worked with in this business over the years did not attend a visual fx school.
I cant even remember working with more then a couple of people with that kind of background.

Most everyone I have and do work with are self taught.Ive seen many people who spent a year at home working thru tutorials go on and become a working professional. They were able to do it and do it without going into a massive amount of debt. 30 grand is a lot of money on top of what you have to lay out to rent a room, eat, and live. Im sure its quite a bit more then 30k for that year. With the economy the way it is now, the competitiveness of the job market etc it makes sense to be smart about HOW you get that education and not get trapped into thinking that a classroom is the only way to get an education.

As I stated earlier, my employer hired two people who have no school background. One was a freelancer and the other had one experience on a previous job. Before being hired on the previous job he was working at circuit city and was teaching himself at home. Both had good stuff on their demo reels and were recommended but others for the positions. My employer refuses to hire students. Hes received demo reels from several for a positon weve had open for several weeks. So far not one of those student reels have impressed him.

DAVE_FACTORY
11-19-2008, 10:23 AM
The DAVE school should be called the DAVE Factory. It has no admission standards, so retards comes in and retards leave with no chance of getting a job. Students with talent and brains can go in to the factory and can come out with the skills to get a job, but they are a minority. A school with no admissions standards is a school that just steals from retards pushes them through the factory not caring what percentage get jobs or not, all in the name of profit. So if you want to spend your money to be with retards for a year and learn some skills, go right ahead. The school would be great if it separated the wheat from the chaff with admission standards but its just a for profit factory. What percentage of students who graduate get a job from the DAVE Factory? Does the Factory care about this extremely low percentage? Does it care more to steal from retards instead of telling them they are retarded and get lost? The DAVE Factory, the Factory that doesn't make movies but crappy lightwave artists because that is the majority of what comes out of it. You are what you put into school, Caveat emptor.

drano
11-19-2008, 11:11 AM
There's always one... heh. Nice post, DAVE_FACTORY.

Now, in all reality, "times they are a-changin". SOME places of employment hire non-students - and apparently, some even exclusively. This profession isn't THAT old, and the schools aren't that old either. Ten years ago, yeah - most people were self-taught, and the successful artists are still in the work-force.

But presently, there ARE schools - they formed up not just as businesses to make money, but to fill a need. And some schools are better than others at fulfilling those needs. DAVE School (imo) is excellent at teaching LightWave, working in a production environment, and working with quality peers and yes, even "retards" (guess what, schools aren't the only place where you find poor quality artists, or "retards" as the FACTORY so eloquently put it - you find them in the work force too.)

Yes, I attended DAVE - and found the experience very rewarding after going to another school that promised the education that DAVE delivered. I have no problem saying that Gibbs College offered the 3d program - but could not possibly deliver on that promise based on their curriculum. They took some of my money based on those promises before I figured out they weren't up to snuff - and then I started hunting for CG schools, and ended up at DAVE. There are other quality schools too - Vancouver Film School is excellent, and I've also heard great things about NYU's program in recent years.

However - DAVE didn't get me my first job out of school. It gave me a foundation of information that I could build on. My efforts on my own got me in most doors, and THEN my demo reel (of things created in school) got me interviews. I don't think one could stand without the other, and I personally learn better in a classroom setting than on my own. But once that foundation of school-taught info was there, I pursued further education on my own in the form of some KURV videos and books. You never stop learning in this industry, or you die. Keep that in mind.

Quality schooling is worth the money. In my opinion, DAVE is a quality school. Quality learning materials are worth the money and time if you learn well on your own - and most of KURV's videos are pretty good. You kind of need to determine what's best for you - and then go after it with a passion. If you think a video alone will teach you what you need, you're wrong... as you'd also be wrong if you thought a school would spoon-feed you what you need to get a job. They help. They are tools, just like LightWave is, just like Maya is. You are the artist - use whatever tools work best for you - and then BE AN ARTIST. If you're even half-way decent, you CAN find work... you just need to pursue it aggressively.

Good luck, amigo. Oh... and yeah, I'm up here in the northeast too. It's not exactly a beehive of job opportunities for doing "film" work (though there ARE some studios up here - Blue Sky, in particular.) However, there are quite a few opportunities for "commercial work" - meaning not only television commercials, but print work, product visualization, and architecture.

ArwingXL
11-19-2008, 11:28 AM
DaveFactory is a troll.

Do not feed him if you don't want this thread to fail hardcore.

THe conversation isn't about bashing anyone or any institution . It's about showing our fellow lightwaver options, even if the options point to someplace like Vancouver where the prerequisite to learning animation is learning film,writing, and acting first.

Kajico
11-19-2008, 12:36 PM
The DAVE school should be called the DAVE The DAVE Factory, the Factory that doesn't make movies but crappy lightwave artists because that is the majority of what comes out of it. You are what you put into school, Caveat emptor.

Dohohoho big words from an anonymous coward. Say that without hiding behind a fake name.


As I stated earlier, my employer hired two people who have no school background. One was a freelancer and the other had one experience on a previous job. Before being hired on the previous job he was working at circuit city and was teaching himself at home. Both had good stuff on their demo reels and were recommended but others for the positions. My employer refuses to hire students. Hes received demo reels from several for a positon weve had open for several weeks. So far not one of those student reels have impressed him.

Splinegod, the way you say this you make it seems like every student is going to come out only making boxes and cheap shot animation.

Let me say that before I went to the DAVE School I was a self taught 3D Artist. I worked for a company for three years as the only 3D artist animator. When I quit the company I did not feel confident in my abilities because despite my three years with that company I still had no basic understanding of character modeling, rigging or composition.

I was mentored on 3D forums like 3DCafe, 3DLuvr, etc, but I never felt my work was good enough.

You know what I got at the DAVE School that even as a freelancer I couldn't get? Confidence, teamwork experience, one on one mentoring, networking, and a niche that I was comfortable with. After finishing the DAVE School I found out that I loved to composite and creation motion graphics more than I love 3D modeling, and at the DAVE School I got the opportunity to find that out.

DAVE_FACTORY may think that all that comes out of the DAVE School is LW artists, but that is not true. I was self taught in Maya and 3DS Max before going in there, I knew the software but not the techniques, the techniques I learned at the school I ended up applying them back to Max and Maya.

Many other students have also gone to reapply those same skills into other 3D application.

It made me a better artist all around.

dandeentremont
11-19-2008, 02:24 PM
I heard many a time at the DAVE school (from the instructors) that they wished that there was such a school when they were learning CG. I have to say, that in the year I have been there, I have learned more about 3d than I could have in four years being self taught. One of the most important things about being in a school is that you can ask someone a question if Lightwave isn't doing what you want (which can happen a lot). Another important aspect of going to a school is building a reputation and making contacts with people who are already working in the industry. Without DAVE, I would never have gotten my first job.
$0.02

Julian_Boolean
11-19-2008, 02:44 PM
It always amazes me how some people bash schools because they believe the "school" is the reason they couldn't get a job. Let me guess Mr. Dave Factory - you were the guy that stayed up all night playing games instead of working, or yet you slept all day because you were too tired , or you didnt want to spend a few more hours at school on a friday because you wanted to go out and drink. Like everyone else said going to school and paying for it is only half of it.... the other half is your devotion and extra time you put into it. I personally went to Dave School and I would have to say it was the best choice of my life. I spent countless hours in and out of school working on my demo reel throughout the entire year. It paid off too , i actually left the school early because i got a job in LA. I am not saying everyone can do that but if you put the time and devotion in you will 99% of the time further your career in whatever you want to do. I understand the money side of it cause it can be expensive but if you do have the money and time to sit down and learn this stuff i say do it. Good luck in figuring out what you want to do!

Konidias
11-19-2008, 03:31 PM
The DAVE school should be called the DAVE Factory. It has no admission standards, so retards comes in and retards leave with no chance of getting a job. Students with talent and brains can go in to the factory and can come out with the skills to get a job, but they are a minority.
All I see when I read this is someone trying to cover up their lack of being able to get work because they tell possible employers that they went to DAVE school and expect to get hired because of that. Instead of getting hired by doing good work and knowing your stuff, you're expecting to get by based on the work of others from the school?

If that's not the case, then why do you care who gets accepted into the school? They aren't affecting your learning. If they can't keep up, they get left behind and retake the block.

What sort of admissions standards would you like to see put in place? The school can only base your talent and drive based on your application (which can be faked) Is it a bummer that people can do that and get into the school? Sure, but at the same time, those "retards" as you so eloquently put it, are the ones who are paying for the computer workstations, render farms, new projectors, etc.

Should the school have Harvard-like admissions standards so that only a select few can get in? What good would that do? It would make tuition two or three times more expensive. It would take away the entire point of going to the school if you already have great 3d skills.

There's always going to be people who slack off... the school really can't control that. Sure I saw people at the school who I'm sure will never make it in the industry. It sucks for them, but how does that effect you? Unless you were one of them.

Heavyduty
11-20-2008, 04:41 AM
I felt like that when I went to school. . .once. Then I found out that there is no end to it and that I really didn't learn as much as I thought originally because I didn't understand the big picture of the industry and all the things involved. But hey, maybe I'm being too lofty in my thinking. I remember when I got to meet David Balwel. . .once, a cool guy who setup the motion capture for Gollum. he also did some Special FX for movies back in the day. Anyway, he made me realize that schools really don't show us the big picture for what the industry is, they spend too much time in just the tools and get lost in the details that they forget how to sell our talents and give us a socialized, community basis for what we do. I guess I could go on and on about that. :)

dude knowing how to navgate the indestry and using the tools are two diffrent educations im my opion. one you pay for the other you do learn on the "streets". but the nice thing is if you pay atention in school to more then just what goes on to lecture you can get a heads up on the street lesons.

Kionel
11-20-2008, 07:27 AM
I'm a former DAVE School student. Before I attended the program, I was self-taught, using a combination of training DVDs, online tutorials, and lots of great feedback from various forums.

Having had both experiences, I have to stress that nothing can compete with the experience of being on-site with a group of dedicated artist learning the trade at your side. Problems that used to take hours or even days to solve can be resolved in a matter of minutes with nothing more than a raise of the hand, or -- more often than not -- turning to a classmate and asking "What the hell did I do wrong with this?"

It's that immediate echo chamber of ideas and knowledge that can't be duplicated with any online forum or DVD course. Learning alongside others increases the knowledge gained exponentially.

Don't get me wrong; I loves me some online training materials. Right now I'm doing a Modo tutorial to build a car, and also doing some Maya tutorials to get my head wrapped around that interface. They are both excellent resources. Nevertheless, I miss the ability to turn to my fellow students to not only ask questions, but to get inspiration to push that much harder than I would have otherwise.

Regardless of your selected method, none of it will make a difference if you don't show the dedication and discipline to make it work. It really is all up to you.

Just my two cents.

Combat_Dave
11-20-2008, 08:14 AM
i went to the DAVE school, and although there was a little inconsistency in the curriculum for our class due to the school undergoing a major series of changes... i wouldn't trade that experience for anything else.

it taught me structure, discipline, production experience, the ability to look at any program and apply a solid techinque towards mastery (although i do have a long way to go in that respect ..LOL).. and most importantly, the ability to accept constructive criticism- something that can only be taught when surrounded by people who share the same interest as you.

i also went from having no experience in 3D and knowing NOBODY who did to having a decent toolset under my belt, a confidence that was once lacking, and some of the industry's bests artists ever on my speed dial.

all because i decided to take a chance and go to school.

my only suggestion to add for someone looking to further their education at a school whether online or not- make sure you can dedicate all, and i mean ALL of your time to it.

i made the mistake of thinking i could work a fulltime job AND learn a complicated set of digital tools and get a job in the industry in a years time.

NOT the case. the only thing i accomplished by doing so was exhaustion. LOL.
not to mention losing my job about halfway through school.

soooo.. i'm picking up the pieces, and making up for those first six months that i was working - that lost time i spent cleaning toilets when i could have been modeling or animating.

all in all, i know in the end that i will eventually get steady work because of a combination of my dedication in tandem with the wonderful knowledge, friendships and opportunity that DAVE school gave me.

4dartist
11-20-2008, 09:01 AM
I would agree, having 3d specific education matters little compared to your demoreel from my experience in the industry. However, I think my life in 3d would have been much harder had I not attended school. I went to the Illinois Institute of Art in Chicago. There are a lot of benefits to learning 3d in schools because you get quite a bit of traditional art classes and you are around people that are excited about 3d too, which helps for motivation.