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Looking for Guidance - A students questions & concerns with getting into the industry as a 3D Artist

Hello All! This will have been my first post on polycount. I will try my best to keep it short but have much I’d like realistic advice on.

Background

First for some background information. I am currently a student studying at university in the states pursuing a Bachelor of the Fine Arts in Computer Game Design with a minor in Animation. I am currently in my 3rd year second semester coming up. This means that internships are going to follow this summer and I have already looked and found some to apply too. Most being triple A (Riot, Bethesda, Epic) with the expectation I will be denied and looking for some smaller ones as well, going to shoot my shot regardless as I will never know if I don’t try. I have been trained professionally only in one 3D modeling software from university, 3DS Max. I have many gripes about how I feel the Game Design Program at my university is very poor compared to the other fields wither it be from the feel of lack of funding or be it lack of care, however this post is meant to find guidance or advice, not complain. I have been doing all sorts of things trying to hone my craft, from watching videos any chance I can to increase my knowledge, working on projects, learning new software through tutorials, upgrading to an actual workstation to help workflow. I am really trying my best to better myself in light of feeling underprepared by university. I have recently finally got a website on wordpress for a portfolio up and have been categorizing and organizing my work. I am even trying to expand my realm of knowledge and doing things such as posting this, this will have been the first time I’ve really ever posted on any forum. The point being, I am trying to work hard to achieve what I want.

I’ve been struggling a lot recently with the feeling of being ill-prepared. I am striving to be a 3D character modeler however I feel I am better at hard surface modeling. I am still learning many things as I go on and I know that is expected of a student but when it comes to feeling ill-prepared It runs deep. I have only been taught 3DS Max academically when it comes to 3D modeling yet whenever I look around it is not even mentioned as industry standard on many internship/job applications. While I feel I was taught very well in max I still see things such as Maya, Zbrush and even mudbox are mentioned yet 3DS Max isn’t. A couple months ago I decided to switch my main software to be blender as the newest version has had great improvements and it is an amazingly feature full software if mastered. I am mainly learning most of my skills from Grant Abbit on YouTube while having prior knowledge in 3DS Max . While it shares the similarity of not being named on industry standard software it is very versatile and easy to self teach from the numerous tutorials, not to mention it is a software that will never really be lost to time as it constantly sees major updates. I feel I have even surpassed my ability in 3DS Max a while ago.

Questions

So now that you know all that fluff, here's the real questions. Should I stop while I am ahead and learn Maya? As a student I have a free license and can download and learn maya through self teaching. Seeing as it is considered industry standard for quite a couple companies would it be smart to stop while I'm ahead with blender? I am very comfortable with blender and happy with many of the projects I have been putting in for my portfolio however out of fear of not being able to have marketable skills for internships I feel I am at a crossroad. It is every game students major fear most likely. I love to create and I know it's smart to go with what's comfortable with you, however if I cannot use a piece of software that is the essentially the same but just a little different will that hurt me when looking for internships? Will the industry train me on software they license out so is it more worth honing general topology skills and try to develop a style instead of mastering a software? Should I move a portfolio over to artstation to make it professional? I have even more questions but I feel I’ve written too much already and if anyone is willing to give advice or try to point a young student in the right direction I can always ask more questions later in the thread. I appreciate anyone who's taken the time to read this, thank you.

-JoJo


Replies

  • CommanderJoJo
    @BagelHero Hey, Im very sorry it took me so long to respond back to you, things have been hectic recently. I really appreciate all the time and effort you put into responding to my post and helping me out with getting into this. 

    Thank you for all the advice, I am going to set up and Artstation Portfolio coming up soon so I can transfer most of my work over. One things I wanted to go further into discussion about would be Zbrush and character modeling. For instance I am applying for internships quite literally tomorrow and want to go for the Character Art Position, however as a student who is trying his hardest to make it out into the real realm and feel my portfolio and skillset would be better for hard surface modeling so do you feel it would be proper advice to go for the weapon art instead of character art? This is just an internship and not my final career path so I feel a foot in the door is more important than anything else. Another thing would be if you have any advice on how to possibly acquire Zbrush as a student, an almost grand priced license is not something really within budget for a college student in the US. I've thought about approaching the head of the Game department possibly asking for a license for ZBrush. At my Uni it feels lackluster in the sense that the only real modeling and art application they teach are 3DS Max and Photoshop, I feel that for the real industry these types of applications are necessary to have any real chance at nabbing a job within the industry. 

    Some more question I wanted to ask if you have the time for them would be something such as this. I'm not really seasoned as a concept artist and while I don't feel my art is terrible it is no where near acceptable for game design. As a 3D modeler I always had a concern that I would have to develop and model things off my own concepts. Hearing that I will be creating other folks concepts is a huge sigh of relief and I wanted to ask if a good way to show my effort and ability would be to recreate assets using others concepts (of course with credit to them for concept) I have done this in the past and always make sure to credit the original concept artist in my descriptions and make it very clear its not my concept, But I'm curious if companies would find that distasteful since I'm modeling something that's not my original concept.

    I also wonder about what exactly is expected of me for my role, I am aiming for a 3D Modeler so does that mean my pieces should be my finished model with textures, with animations, with integration and etc? Essentially the whole process or should I focus more on creating the models and texturing them and that's all? Sorry for the multitude of questions I am still trying to work out everything and give myself the best chance I can. Again thank you for all your time!
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