Online "Industry Secrets" for sale

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insane polycounter
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[Deleted User] insane polycounter
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  • Marshkin
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    Marshkin polycounter lvl 4
    The bottom one is from CGMA - As someone who is super skeptical about schools, I took one of their elective courses and I found it worked much better for me because there was direct feedback from a mentor, along with weekly 1:1 Q&A sessions ontop of the regular class videos. I learned a lot and made leaps and bounds in my skills. 

    Schools are a mixed bag. CGMA allows me to pick and choose what area I want to focus on. 

    As for reviewing these schools, I googled and searched these forums before signing up with it. The info is there, we just need to look for it.
  • NikhilR
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    NikhilR polycounter lvl 4
    I think that many artists start courses to compensate for the low pay in the industry. Its like a freelance teaching job.
  • [Deleted User]
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    [Deleted User] insane polycounter
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  • RyanB
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    RyanB Polycount Sponsor
    If people want to spend $100,000 for two years of school, then that's their choice.  It's not like they don't have alternatives. 
  • [Deleted User]
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    [Deleted User] insane polycounter
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    [Deleted User] insane polycounter
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  • Brian "Panda" Choi
    I get the same wary feelings, Matt.
  • Sunray
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    Sunray polycounter lvl 2
    Idk Ryan has some nice free webinars if you give him your email you will get some emails now and then. But I would never pay that amount of money for a course. But I get why people are doing it tho.
  • NoRank
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    NoRank triangle
    It seems that putting effort is way too hard, it's way easier to pay someone to grab you hand and do that for you.
  • Elithenia
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    Elithenia interpolator

    Can we as Polycounters review some of these schools - find reasonable and beneficial ones (maybe Schoolism) and warn people about the shady ones? - seems like another Conceptart.org or Gameartisans fiasco waiting to happen and I hate when people fall for this stuff and are harmed financially and also harms their motivation as artists.

    Maybe I'm just over caffeinated and tired of seeing these ads.  Be careful with your money!
    Might be interesting to have a sub forum where the information that's out there is consolidated? Might be interesting for the schools as well to see how the industry actually feels about them, instead of just listening to surveys from they students? However, what about all the trolls, or people that didn't go there even? It is tricky
    Marshkin said:
    Schools are a mixed bag. CGMA allows me to pick and choose what area I want to focus on. 

    As for reviewing these schools, I googled and searched these forums before signing up with it. The info is there, we just need to look for it.
    Might be interesting to consolidate the info somewhere people can find it more easy, as there's a lot of new people that ask for the help with that.
    However, maybe adding courses as well and not just degrees might be a good idea too?

    Dunno. People are lazy and want a quick fix. If someone can promise them that for $$$ they don't have to spend x amount doing facial studies or anatomy studies, they they'll pay it..... and then realise they'll have to do those hours anyway. But that is my opinion. 


    However; That being said, there's also something about burning bridges in the industry if you give an negative opinion about a degree or course that someone else has found absolutely amazing. That might be something that could cause problems, and burn relationships within the industry.... ad maybe destroy chances of getting references and jobs because of those opinions.... ? 
  • AlexJudeScott
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    AlexJudeScott polycounter lvl 3
    I've been considering (very much on the fence, trying to asses the value) the game art institute one. Yeah, Ryan Kingslien loves to wax philosophical about being an artist, etc, and it's all a bit much, but the main draw of the boot camp is the 1:1 feedback with some really great artists (yes, everything else the course offers is free). That's the only added value, over a gnomon workshop 1/10th of the price, and who knows how much of an actual impact that will have on my work. It kind of feels like the diminishing returns one gets in buying graphics cards.
  • NikhilR
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    NikhilR polycounter lvl 4
    Elithenia said:



    However; That being said, there's also something about burning bridges in the industry if you give an negative opinion about a degree or course that someone else has found absolutely amazing. That might be something that could cause problems, and burn relationships within the industry.... ad maybe destroy chances of getting references and jobs because of those opinions.... ? 
      Not one for burning bridges but I wouldn't be happy working in a job where I'm around people that despise me simply because of a difference in opinion. Wouldn't stop me from giving my opinion though, industry rumors of blacklisting on this basis are a little exaggerated.
      Also its a large industry, difficult to burn that many bridges, there will always be something for everyone.
  • Bletzkarn
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    Bletzkarn polycounter lvl 2
    "Figuring it out for yourself" is one of the worst ways to learn unfortunately. You can spend years and years doing a workflow a slower way, 1 tutorial complete changes that.

    Tutorials are great, even paid ones. They just have to be really good.

    For example I've bought a lot of UDEMY tutorials that I found extremely helpful.
  • undin
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    undin polycounter lvl 2
    I have mixed feelings about it.

    I do think some people don't really understand that all the tutorials and software
    they need exist online for very reasonable prices or free, and they just need to
    download them and work really hard. Obviously you find this out if you research
    hard enough, but the first thing some people might run into  before they know
    anything about the industry is these really expensive courses, or they might get
    bad advice that you need credentials. Like a 3 year game dev course, a bunch of these
    online courses and licenses for multipal software packages and end up in debt :( as well as taking longer than I might have otherwise taken them to develop skills or specialize in a discipline etc.

    (yesterday I read some silly article online that looked totally legit about how you need
    to have a BA in a game design course to become an environment artist! Which I would
    totally have believed if I was not lurking on polycount for so long!)

    But.... I also think other people could accelerate their skills and carrier by doing a course,
    and even if its expensive, it could be more than worth it for the amount of time it would
    have otherwize taken to develop the specific skill, get insights from professionals working
    in the area you want to work in, and critiques from them. As well as teaching them how to
    do things with the most effciant pipeline, rather than build up bad practices.

    Like for example, the CGMA class on modular UE4 environment creation with clinton
    crumpler, looks like it would be perfect for me.... but I'm broke and cannot afford
    900 dollar course right now (unless some of my shit I put up on ebay sells!)

    But I found some cheap UDK tutorials on modular creation by tor frick that's like 8
    hours long for 60 quid and another one by "world of level design" for like 40 quid
    that's also a similar length, so I might give one of them a go. Also I think I will learn
    a lot by downloading a picking apart peoples scenes that they have put online to
    download for free like the one Helder pinto put on his website.
  • Biomag
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    Biomag greentooth
    I had a course with John Gotch at CGMA for Marvelous Designer. Could I have gotten the information for free? Yes. But me personally I function a lot better in classes, the structure and the possibility to interact with my teacher are better than any tutorial. Also feedback. You can't compare online sities sometimes people stepping in with at least once per week feedback from someone who really takes a look at your work. Gotch did a really good job to get you from the basics to getting the stuff into ZBrush. After these 5 weeks I had no trouble getting anything out of MD that I wanted. Only bad thing - videos from class are only available for a month afterwards.

    I had a class with Adam Skutt at GIA - never in my life I made such a quality jump like in that class. Though there is a thing to keep in mind - I came to class knowing the programs and most of the workflow, not a complete beginner like it is often the case with students. I could focus completely on his feedback and improving my eye for details. It changed my perception seeing a top level artist giving feedback to 20 people each week. Its not just about what you learn about anatomy and other stuff, but also getting a far deeper understanding of what he is looking for. If you are an intermediate and going for realistic characters this guy is probably the best teacher you can get. So well worth it and you won't get it anywhere else for free. Also all videos from class and previous classes are available for life.


    Since I've been struggling to both get a job as well as get feedback I am now trying GIA's character bootcamp. Not going to say much about it since it only started. There are some issues I have with the structure, but like with every school you get out of it what you put in. Right now I can say having 2 AAA-artist giving you feedback through out the week helps (not only during class, they are both very active even outside). I am not in for the lectures, they are adressing more beginner issues (not sure if it is just my class that is 90% beginners, but I would asume it not being a singular case...). There is a lot of talking coming from school leadership, but I won't go into it, that's not why I took the course. Still the 2 guys doing the course are there, answering questions and taking their time and getting to know their students' needs - hard to ask for more.

    So in other words, for me it is far less about the information about the workflow / programs as it is about getting quality feedback and getting a better insight how those people see things.
  • Elithenia
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    Elithenia interpolator
    As much as the courses are good, I feel the prices are a bit steep as well for people. Especially if they are advertised to students (who probably have already paid for a degree) and beginners. $800-900 for one course might be reasonable for all the information and such, but for me as an example, I'd not be able to afford that for many years. 

    A lot of the problems are that the good courses, and 'bad' courses are advertised for the same amount.... 
  • crawl
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    crawl triangle
    I've had a couple semesters worth of study at my local community college (3D Modeling, UI design) and I thrived in that environment even though the curriculum and instructors were both pretty underwhelming. 3D Art has blown my mind wide open. Unfortunately that school didn't work out for me but I've amassed an unhealthy amount of tutorials across so many different pieces of software. It's not the same. At 27, I work full time as a production manager for an ecommerce winery. It demands a lot out of me physically and mentally. It also doesn't give me an ounce of creative expression. On top of that I have a very active two year old. I've no social life and within my very small circle of friends (2 people?) no one shares these interests.

     I'm waiting to register for a $2500 Foundations course at Think Tank's online program, in hopes of doing two further semesters. I need people whose mistakes I can look at and learn from. I need a mentor who is there when I have a question so I don't spend an hour searching for some obscure button in Maya. I need that driver of knowing I've spent hard earned cash on something and I can't walk away. The founder made it clear I'd need to put in 30-40 hours a week. Bring it on. I need deadlines, expectations, guidance and validation from people who aren't related to me. I understand my motivators even if some are shallow.

    Could I find that in you folks for free? Probably. Am I a fool that will soon part from his money? We will see. Hopefully not. I think I'm just a dreamer who wants out of a job that gives me nothing but a paycheck and back pain.
  • PixelMasher
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    PixelMasher ngon master
    edit: oh god, just saw the size of this wall of text. Another good ol' pixelmasher novel :P sorry guys!

    I can see both sides of the coin. On one hand, free doesn't always mean good (just look at canadas health care system...)
    and on the other the internet has given anyone the ability to start a business and sell whatever they want, which can be amazing and terrible.

    as for "industry secrets" - yea I think there are a ton, me and my industry buddies talk about how wrong so many student portfolios and workflows are all the time. There is definitely more to it than "just create art". There is also the whole inner workings of the industry, networking and political game, tons of info about getting into the industry etc that isn't taught. Creatives also tend to be pretty horrible when it comes to a business/marketing mindset for themselves and their work.

    I would look at it as, what is the value you are getting and is it worth the investment. 100% you can learn almost anything for free, but is it going to take forever to hunt through all the horrible low quality youtube tutorials that are an hour long but should be only 5 minutes? with a super echoy mic and some dude in his basement in russia trying to explain something but getting sidetracked and uhhhhming and ahhhhing for 20 minutes before he finds the right button to click? yuck.

    People never seem to value their time correctly. I would gladly spend 500-2000 dollars to shortcut my learning curve on something by only a 100 hours. I know my time professionally is worth ~ $50-100 /hr. even if I was a student, I would think like this. Time is the one thing you can't get back, and having a mentor can help you leapfrog the competition. If you are looking to simply pay somone to take responsibility off yourself, no amount of money can fix that flawed mindset anyways. It's always gonna be on you to actually take action and use the info provided.

    real world example:

     The fact you can pay 60 bucks to see an entire character built by someone who used to work at blizzard step by step is an insane value. 60 bucks for 10 hours of training from a professional artist, whos time costs more than that for a single hour?! that course is super under priced in my opinion. I remember a thread here where someone was saying their dream job was to make overwatch characters and get in at blizzard. I dropped a link to the cubebrush tut series and their response was "oh that's so expensive".

    I wanted to smash my head into my desk. They literally had the blueprint handed to them in terms of the exact workflow, and from someone who worked at the exact studio they wanted to get into, and 60 bucks was too much?! much better to spend the next 6 months figuring it out on their own. It can be like spinning your tires when stuck in the mud. Making art is the thing that's going to be the most important for sure, but if you are consistently making the same mistakes, your journey into the industry could easily take 3-4 years when it should take 1-2. Again, how much is your time worth to you? 

    The amount of threads created here on polycount by students complaining they cant get a job or are not getting replies is insane. And I feel really bad because most of the time they have gone through the "traditional" education system. They have spent 2 years learning the broadest skillset that 80% of it is irrelevant to the position they actually want to get. ouch. And they probably payed 10-20k to get that useless art diploma. But 60-200 bucks for actual relevant info is too much for them. Talk about a skewed perspective.

    I think it's pretty dope that this whole new micro economy of gumroads, online training and resources is appearing, being able to pick and choose modular style courses like CGMA offers is awesome. If there is enough value provided, $1-2k is a STEAL if it helps you net a career paying $40-150k in the long run. There is a lot of value in seeing how professional artists build environments and characters. when I see student env art portfolios and everything is a unique unwrap with zero tiling textures I wince, they obviously missed out on some fundamental lessons in their education *sad trumpet*

    Gary V has a great saying "the market is the market" - in this day and age it's becoming harder to scam people and hide behind a low quality product. Social media has turned everything into a word of mouth environment. If something is good, it will usually succeed. If CGMA was garbage and not worth the money, over time it will simply fail and disappear. Quality tends to rise to the top. And from the sounds of it, word on the street is, it's really good. Dope, I hope the artists hired to create courses continue to provide value and make a shit ton of well deserved money. The winners will win, the ones trying to cash in without providing value will lose. 

    Now that's just my opinion, to each their own. I should also add that I am currently starting a big project of my own, creating tutorials and articles about getting into the industry, shader/alpha packs etc. A lot of it is going to be free, some of it paid. I'm probably going to be documenting the entire building of the company too which should be fun. Everything I just said above applies, if whatever I put out is shit, then I deserve to lose. Everything I have been posting about building an audience and fanbase over the last year or so, I am going to be playing out and having an example to point to. Thats why I spend 20-30 mins writing these huge posts for you guys, I want to give a much value as possible. 

    I hope a lot of people get a shit ton of value from it, I'm sure there are going to be people who consume the free content who call bullshit or sellout when I launch a paid tutorial. and that's their right. Haters gonna hate, aint'ers gonna aint, and the market is the market.


    tl;dr:
    -
    How do you value your own time? (put an actual $ value on it and calculate how much your last netflix binge "cost" you. its shocking)
    - Look for word of mouth on courses online. 
    - $10-20k for a useless "art diploma" and half cooked portfolio vs $100-5k for an actual relevant education from professional artists. 
    - quality will rise to the top.
    - I'm making some cool shit for you guys that I hope you will love.
  • Ashervisalis
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    Ashervisalis greentooth
    @Elithenia ; I agree with you on the price aspect. I bought Jacob Norris' tutorial for like... 80 bucks or something and it was amazing. Tutorials on SimplyMaya were also around $50, and those were superb. That was a good price to pay for it. When courses which are $50-$100 are so great, its difficult to spend $800 for one. I'd need to have previous students basically tell me it pushed their art skills to the moon.

    @PixelMasher I look forward to the cool shit you're about to come out with. It's extra cool buying a tutorial or a course from someone you've interacted with. Any scope of time until you've got some stuff out?
  • PixelMasher
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    PixelMasher ngon master

    @PixelMasher I look forward to the cool shit you're about to come out with. It's extra cool buying a tutorial or a course from someone you've interacted with. Any scope of time until you've got some stuff out?
    Thanks :) gonna be putting out some articles next week and then focusing on some env art tutorials and content for a youtube channel. A side note, I already have a fairly profitable side hustle that handles my daily expenses, so 99% of whatever I make off selling tuts is going to be funneled back into growing the company, hiring other experienced artists to produce content for character art/concept art materials. no swimming in piles of money with hookers and blow for me unfortunately :P

    Another example that came to mind is Josh Lynch's monthly substance mentorships he sells. $450 for 1.4 hours a week for 4 weeks of 1 on 1 interaction and mentorship. Sounds high, but from all the posts ive seen about it people are raving about it and easily got their $ value back. It helps he has built his personal brand as being seen as a substance master. That's the power of personal brand.

    a non game art example: Kylie jenner selling essentially a $15 alibaba makeup brush kit painted silver for $360 (insane I know). and that shit is consistently sold out because her fanbase LOVES her. 2400% ROI. that is the power of personal brand. now I know most people will scoff at that and say how shitty of her, but like I said above: the market is the market and clearly her fanbase gets enough value out of her conent/brand/lifestyle to be willing to pay that. 
  • NikhilR
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    NikhilR polycounter lvl 4



    tl;dr:
    -
    How do you value your own time? (put an actual $ value on it and calculate how much your last netflix binge "cost" you. its shocking)
    - Look for word of mouth on courses online. 
    - $10-20k for a useless "art diploma" and half cooked portfolio vs $100-5k for an actual relevant education from professional artists. 
    - quality will rise to the top.
    - I'm making some cool shit for you guys that I hope you will love.
    I've always looked as online courses as something additional to an undergraduate diploma/degree especially in a saturated job market. 
    Plus a lot of professional artists teach in the diploma programs and come from local studios that have the greatest likelyhood in hiring local students.
    Then again I feel that every artist should aspire towards more than what is available locally and the online courses can help in that to some extent.
    Still I have found most of what I need for free (legit alternatives to the online courses) I feel the rest of it is just practising like mad (And having a knack at something definitely helps)

  • PixelMasher
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    PixelMasher ngon master
    very true. There is also an innate reaction of taking something you pay for more seriously because you see it as more valuable. Tons of people consume free content but fail to take action, where as someone paying for school or an online course might feel more obligated to actually follow through. Sometimes free content can actually be detrimental because people see it as not having value. even making someone pay 5 bucks for something vs giving it away can actually help the end user in a lot of cases, because that mental switch is flipped. that's marketing 101 and a pretty basic concept but I'm not gonna dive into that here, that's a whole other rabbit hole. 

    I'm self taught with the help of some online tutorials. Its hard but doable, it all comes down to some self awareness of how you are going to work. if someone knows they can actually sit down and pump out art without  someone holding them accountable, that's amazing. A lot of people can't, and having some sort of accountability because you are invested in some way is a good way to keep you on track. self discipline and self awareness of how you actually work, vs how you imagine yourself working is insanely valuable, the faster someone can develop those 2 things the harder they will crush most aspects of their life. There is no right path into the industry, just the path that works the best with your personality.
  • crawl
  • PixelMasher
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    PixelMasher ngon master
    yup. ah $88 bucks but still a hell of a deal
  • crawl
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    crawl triangle
    yup. ah $88 bucks but still a hell of a deal
    Yeah I might pick it up. Thanks. Until school starts I'm trying to do as much self study as possible so I'm not just paying to be taught shit like what the components of an object are or what a gnomon is. Ill be hitting the ground sprinting.
  • PixelMasher
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    PixelMasher ngon master
    crawl said:
    Yeah I might pick it up. Thanks. Until school starts I'm trying to do as much self study as possible so I'm not just paying to be taught shit like what the components of an object are or what a gnomon is. Ill be hitting the ground sprinting.
    hahah yea. The guy worked as a senior character artist at Blizzard for 7 years. I think he MIGHT have something valuable to say ;)

    sprinting?! more like strapping on a fucking jetpack :D good luck with your art journey!
  • crawl
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    crawl triangle
    crawl said:
    Yeah I might pick it up. Thanks. Until school starts I'm trying to do as much self study as possible so I'm not just paying to be taught shit like what the components of an object are or what a gnomon is. Ill be hitting the ground sprinting.
    hahah yea. The guy worked as a senior character artist at Blizzard for 7 years. I think he MIGHT have something valuable to say ;)

    sprinting?! more like strapping on a fucking jetpack :D good luck with your art journey!
    Thank you brother. I've seen a lot of your posts over the last few weeks and there's been great advice in them. Thanks for giving to this community.
  • Neox
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    Neox interpolator
    there really is a shit ton you can lean from wes burt. but really  just check peoples backgrounds, if they have no credit in any game, somethig is really really off
  • crawl
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    crawl triangle
    @PixelMasher
    I've actually been exposed to Burnet's Ultimate Career Guide before but I was way to new to this world to grasp any of it. I'm one of those people who 1) Never gave a damn about, or invested in, their future till a kiddo arrived and 2) Never had even the faintest grasp of art, let alone 3D art, till it smacked them in the face.

    I'm now watching through, notebook in hand. So glad you reminded me!
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