Need guidance for post-secondary school!

Hey everyone, I'm about to graduate for highschool and I have a very strong desire to become a 3d modeler/texture artist/concept artist/environmental artist. I don't really know how I am going to become an artist, but I want to become one. I am also wondering if this is the sort of thing that can be self taught, as there are so many talented people on this forum who just blow me away with their work. I've taught myself enough of the basics of the modeling workflow for video games to know that this is what I want to do for a living.

I live in Toronto, Ontario, Canada and I am struggling to find a good course to take to lead me towards becoming a professional.

What exactly should I be looking for in order to become a 3d artist?

Here are 3 different courses I've picked out, but I don't know what I should choose! I really need guidance from someone with experience in the industry.

http://www.sheridancollege.ca/Programs%20and%20Courses/Full-Time%20Programs/Programs%20A-Z%20Index/Bachelor%20of%20Applied%20Arts%20-%20Animation.aspx

http://www.humber.ca/program/3d-modelling-and-visual-effects-production#curriculum

http://www.sheridancollege.ca/Programs%20and%20Courses/Full-Time%20Programs/Programs%20A-Z%20Index/Game%20Level%20Design.aspx


Any help would be great, and thanks in advanced!

PS: The reason why I put Bachelor of Applied Animation (Sheridan) is because I have a friend who is taking the course currently and has told me that you have the option of doing 3d modeling later on. I want to learn how to become a better artist first because believe it is essential to becoming a great 3d artist.

Replies

  • slipsius
    Don't do sheridan for modelling. They are good for animation, but I feel for modelling and stuff, they wouldn't be as good.

    I do suggest either seneca's course or Durhams course. I personally went to Durham, and I will say it wasnt perfect when I went through it, but From what ive seen of other schools, and what Ive seen since I left durham (im on the advisory board, so I still see whats going on), they have made huge improvements. When I went through, I was only the second class to graduate from the program, so obviously there were still bugs in the program.

    You definitely CAN learn it all on your own. 100%. But, it all comes down to your own determination and motivation. If you dont need help pushing yourself and giving you a reason to keep working, self taught is the way to go. If you find yourself unable to stay motivated, then school is good cause they give you deadlines. But, no matter where you go, you have to put in A LOT of effort. You cant just do the bare minimum that the class requires, if you expect to get a job right after. You need to bust your ass off and go above and beyond. Schools teach you the basic tools. But there isn't enough time to teach you everything. So you have to learn some ofit on your own, like here on polycount, or other online resources.

    This is durhams student show reel. This obviously shows the best work from the best students, so just because you go there doesn't mean you`ll be this good. Like I said, you have to push yourself. No matter where you go, you have to push yourself.

    [ame=" Development - YouTube[/ame]

    Keep in mind though. A lot of studios around here are starting to prefer those with some sort of schooling. A bunch of them go to the schools first when hiring juniors, before posting it online.
  • FractaL
    Thanks so much for the exceptional response, slipsius. I think you may have entirely changed my mind about what school I should attend. The problem with me is that I am really motivated to teach myself all about game design but high school often gets in the way of it. I can't spend hours modeling, sculpting, drawing, and painting like I want to because if I did my marks would drop significantly. I still think attending a school is a good idea though because I want something to show to my employer other than a portfolio, plus I will probably end up learning something that online tutorials can't teach me.

    Also, I have a couple of questions if you don't mind answering them for me :D

    1. How essential is it to be good at traditional arts, or even concept art for a 3d artist?

    2. What would you suggest doing now while I am still in school other than drawing everyday and learning off of websites such as cg.tutsplus.com for modeling?

    3. Is becoming a professional 3d artist hard because of working your butt off everyday to become constantly better, or is it the steep learning curve that may be off-putting at the start? Does it get any easier after a while, and more enjoyable?
  • slipsius
    Modeling, rigging and animation require zero traditional skill. However, texture, it definitely helps if you're good at it. I find those who have the best portfolios are usually exceptional 2d artists. That being said. You cAn still be great without being good at traditional art.

    Just practice whenever you can. Even an hour a day if you can.

    There will definitely be a learning curve. Your imagination will expect way more than your skill can provide, and ya, it sucks at first. But you have to understand, it takes time. Don't rush it. Focus and do your best. Don't fool yourself into thinking you're working hard when you really spend half the time on Facebook. Been there, done that. Just focus and do your best.

    As for it getting fun, if you aren't having fun from the start, choose a different profession.....
  • samcole
    Try to find a school that forces you to work in group projects toward the end of your school years. My school has us work in group projects the last 20 weeks before we graduate.

    You can teach yourself the technical and artistic skills, but learning how to integrate yourself into a team, working with people in person like you would in a actual studio, and dealing with the personality dynamics that exist in a group environment. That isn't stuff that can be self taught, or taught through the internet. That has to be experienced in person. Trust me, its tough.
  • FractaL
    slipsius wrote: »
    Modeling, rigging and animation require zero traditional skill. However, texture, it definitely helps if you're good at it. I find those who have the best portfolios are usually exceptional 2d artists. That being said. You cAn still be great without being good at traditional art.

    Just practice whenever you can. Even an hour a day if you can.

    There will definitely be a learning curve. Your imagination will expect way more than your skill can provide, and ya, it sucks at first. But you have to understand, it takes time. Don't rush it. Focus and do your best. Don't fool yourself into thinking you're working hard when you really spend half the time on Facebook. Been there, done that. Just focus and do your best.

    As for it getting fun, if you aren't having fun from the start, choose a different profession.....

    I know for sure I can work hard though, for the past few months, on weekends I would spend like 8 hours a day straight of just learning 3ds max on my own with a few breaks in between to eat or go to the restroom. As for having fun, I definitely have it, especially when you get to the part where you bake your models together. Its just that it can be very discouraging to create something that turns out to be complete crap. Even if I do become a 3d artist I want to be able to paint digitally as it is probably just a good skill to have.

    Thanks again for your help, I appreciate it!
  • slipsius
    Digital painting will definitely help for texturing. I am an animator though, so the best I can do is tell you to practice. As for what to practice, or where to start. well. Other people around here will have to help you out. Plenty of people will say school is a bad choice. And plenty of people will say its a good choice. I personally think it is a good choice, just because what I've heard from HR people and what not, about them wanting graduates, rather than self taught. Some places even count school as experience, when some jobs say 1-3 years experience needed or whatever.
  • Kwramm
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    Kwramm greentooth
    make sure your program has lots of traditional skill classes, sculpting classes, architecture, art history, and if you fancy animation, animation classes (including some of the old style ones using animation paper) and finally there should be some 3d classes on top.

    Learning to use a 3D app is the easy peasy thing here, and during your job as 3D artists you will probably have to learn a new app by yourself anyway.

    What you really want to get out of college is to learn from the artistic experience the teachers have to offer. Production experience, workflow experience, art experience...all this background information that is hard to convey in any of those books you can buy on how to push the buttons in a 3d app. Take a tour of the colleges if possible. talk to instructors. Find out if they'll turn you into a button pressing monkey or a real artist with depth and knowledge.

    I remember the most valuable classes I took were not the ones where we sat down and made stuff, but the ones where we would get critique, or where the teacher would just talk about art, their experience as artists, how to appreciate art or how to make the best use of a certain medium and what artistic tricks you could use to push for a certain effect or mood in that medium. Those classes were priceless.

    For now, focus on ART! not necessarily on 3d skills - but if you can combine the two, great. 3D skills are easy to learn compared to art skills. But art is just practice, practice and practice and a trained eye for shape, proportion, volumes, color and timing for animation. You can train all of this, and it's much much harder than learning which buttons to press. So start early. Carry a sketchbook with you. Draw a lot. Or take photos and play with shot arrangements, colors, etc. Or get some clay. Study anatomy from books or classical references. Observe the things around you! their colors, shapes, details (attention to detail is very important in our business because it makes things look real!)
    Having some understanding of this will make it easier to get into 3D because you have to worry less about the art and can focus more on how to express your art using a 3D app. People who are new to both and who're struggling with both at the same time have a much harder time later.
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