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Think Tank Online - Review??

Hey Guys,

I am thinking to study an online course for 3d modelling, I found two that caught my interest CGspectrum and Think Tank Online. CGspectrum has been  around for years and all the reviews I have found were all positive, there weren't any bad reviews, however for the Think tank online I couldn't find any reviews, Think tank online has its own school  service which is located  in Vancouver which has so many good reviews , however the online service is new , that's probably the reason why I couldn't find any reviews ,  So I was wondering to whoever applied or done the course if they like the course?  was the lecturer nice, helpful, taught you a lot of stuff, were they answering your question clearly or as soon as possible by email? did you lean a lot? was it worth it?  did they help you improve? did you have any experience before applying for the course? 

Thanks

Link to cgspectrum: 


Link to think tank online: 

Replies

  • Taylor Brown
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    Taylor Brown ngon master
    I'm in my second term followong the environments for games path. Folks who entered when the program first began are just entering their mentorship term now so youre right, it's very new.

    Ive enjoyed my experience so far and would recommend it. The first term is very general and starts simple then ramps up at a good clip. It's definitely more film (vray and Mari heavy) so if you're more interested in the game side just be ready. Now that I've entered the 2nd term though that stuff is all uninstalled.

    Theres no lecturer to answer your questions. All the content is prerecorded and you'll meet with yoyr class mates and supervisor weekly to discuss assignments and watch live demos. All the teachers and supervisors know their shit and have resumes/portfolios to back it up.

    The foundation term was really good for breaking me out of bad habits I'd developed from self learning and I definitelt saw my skill level rise. If you dig through my posts here you'll see a project I did in April before I started. I was so proud at the time. It was awful. Fast forward a few months and I got front paged here on PC for my final project for the 1st term. Not a HUGE deal but it really showed me how far I'd come and TT was definitely a factor.

    Let me know if you have any further questions 
  • AngelMe2009
    Hi, thanks for answering my questions. I have seen many final pieces from the foundation term including your work, wow I'm impressed on how you manage to make your 3d piece look exactly like the 2d concept, literally everyone foundation term project is amazing, that's why I'm leaning more towards the Think tank online. 

    I went to a university, I just graduated in May, and while I was there , known of lectures no shit, i didn't get any feedback or were taught by them so basically, i taught my self-everything.  Oh yes, I am interested in FIlms more than games. 

    I'm really glad the supervisor and teachers know their stuff and have worked in the industry which is a bonus.  You mention that " there's no lecturer to answer my questions,  all the content is prerecorded and I'll meet with my classmates and supervisor weekly to discuss assignments and watch live demos".  By weekly do you mean  Monday to Friday or once a week, if it is once a week what happens if you're stuck in the assignment during the week, can I message them by email ? or I have to wait  once a week for the live demos session.?  and Do you advise on working while doing the think tank online course? 
  • Taylor Brown
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    Taylor Brown ngon master
    Live sessions with your group and supervisor happen once a week. They try and accommodate everyone's time zones as best as possible but I know for a fact there are some people who are up at 4am because that's the best they can do. You get assignments weekly and discuss them during that time if you have questions but there is also a private instant messenger the school has set up for all the students as well as video chat rooms you can jump in whenever.

    You can ping your supervisors whenever but response times can vary (they are all professionals doing full time studio work).

    The school doesn't recommend working while you're in the program but you gotta do what you gotta do. I work full time and just deal with it. That being said, the workload (assuming you want to do quality work and not screw around) is around 40-50 hours a week. I was doing about 5-6 hours of sleep during the week and then on weekends I'd pull 12-18 hour days. It's relaxed considerably in 2nd term. It can be tough at times... I know of the 30~ people that joined in my intake about a third dropped out.

    One thing I found cool is that skill levels vary dramatically. Some people have never done anything in 3D before while others have worked professionally. You get exposed to folks from all over the world. There is something for everyone in the program.
  • AngelMe2009
    Thank you, so much for answering my questions, you helped a lot!!! 
  • artbychien
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    artbychien polycounter lvl 5
    @Taylor Brown Thank you for sharing your experience!
    Your progress is stunning. 
  • Taylor Brown
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    Taylor Brown ngon master
    Thank you Chien. It's a fun journey
  • artbychien
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    artbychien polycounter lvl 5
    @Taylor Brown
    Could you share how you manage your time after work and keep motivated?
    I am considering to take Think Tank Online as well. But sometimes after work, I feel tired and lack of energy working on the personal project, learning new things, etc.
    and it seems to me it wouldn't be a good idea to take the course while I'm working full-time.
    Thanks for your input.
  • Taylor Brown
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    Taylor Brown ngon master
    Discipline is all it takes. And a momentary disregard for your health, both physically and mentally. I have a toddler as well so if I didn't have the support of my wife there's no way I could have done it. The potential for burn out is real though.

    Motivation is fleeting and can never be relied on. My job is very physical and I'm dead tired most days. You just have to push through if you want it bad enough.

    Aren't you already working professionally Chien?
  • artbychien
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    artbychien polycounter lvl 5
    @Taylor Brown
    Yeah, I was working at a small game studio for around 2 and half year.
    And I move with my husband to San Francisco bay area this summer and working at Houzz as a 3D Artist (AR).
    I love doing handpainted, stylize stuff or textures creation(both realistic and stylized).
    I'm interested in the TT texturing and look development track; the class looks very good to me regarding textures painting. But I'm more into real-time 3D (maybe I can talk to them, but I thought the skill is transferrable).
    I've taken CGMA and Game Art Institute before, and satisfied with experience from both.
    And I do feel I progress the most with an online class. It's much more efficient than I was just exploring tutorials and doing the personal project. 

    Thank you for sharing your thought about working full time and take courses at the same time. 
    Your commitment and dedication are awesome. 
    It makes me feel I should not find excuses for myself and have better discipline.
  • Taylor Brown
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    Taylor Brown ngon master
    I think the Foundation term would be dramatically below your current skill level but I guess it could provide a structured space to explore. From what I can tell, there is zero time spent on stylized texturing. If you did go for the Look Dev path, it doesn't fully begin till term 3 so at that point you'd be about $7500 in. It's also all V-Ray / Mari and I think a bit of Substance Designer to feed back into Mari.

    Also, take everything I'm saying as my own experience / things I've inferred. I don't want to sound like a rep for the school nor do i want to mislead. Please reach out to the school, everyone I've interacted with has been lovely and attentive.
  • randyohling
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    randyohling polycounter lvl 3

    Taylor did a nice job in explaining the program. I'll just add my input. I came in at the same time as Taylor (so I'm in my intermediate term, as well). To start with, I think the program is great.  Even though it is new, I believe the program is does a great job in teaching 3D, but it is really up to you in what you gain from the experience ( you have to put in the time, no matter which program you choose). 

    About the program, in the foundation term you will have a nice "foundation" of 3D by the end of it.  During the intermediate term, you will build upon the foundations you have learned, but it will start leaning towards the path you chose. (*Take note I'm in intermediate term so after this is what I've heard) During advanced term, this is where you really start specializing in your path, for me since I chose characters for games, I would create a portfolio-ready game character.  By the time you do your mentorship you should be confident in your abilities, and the mentor will just guide you in making your piece better.

    For the community, we have several ways of communicating with each other, such as, instant messenger, forums, and video chat.  We primarily use instant messenger (at the moment) to interact with each other.  The community is super nice and helpful.

    As a side note, which ever program you choose, I suggest to have side exercises (they don't have to be long, but should be attempting to improve in a skillset), for me I'm trying to get better at facial anatomy so I do a sketch in zbrush almost everyday. I also suggest to get the most out any program and challenge yourself because you can't get better without overcoming problems.


  • artbychien
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    artbychien polycounter lvl 5
    @Taylor Brown and @randyohling
    Thank you for the input. It's very helpful. (I'll try to reach out the school as well.) 
  • Aaro

    Hey, I thought I'd just post here to ask what the experience has been like after completing the Think Tank Online program. Did you really feel like there were any benefits or aid after finishing and entering the professional field?

    Do any current students want to add their review of their experience at TTTC to this post?

    Have any online students gone to the in-person mentorship?

    What do you think of other schools with comparable character artist programs? (AnimSchools seems to be mostly stylized and others don't seem as popular)

    I'm just beginning and still trying to figure out if I want to be a character animator or character artist, which should be my focus in school. Though I'd likely still want to try to learn a bit of the other just for personal interest.

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