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Will Photogrammetry cause lots of people to lose their job?

polycounter lvl 2
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CyberdemoN_1542 polycounter lvl 2
Alright, long time lurker, first time poster so here goes:

First, a bit of context. So I have been doing this 3D thing for almost three years. I was 25 at the time, had just finished my master's degree in a totally different field and decided that if I wanted to realize my dream, that was it. This whole 3D madness started with my background in level design for old-school shooters. I wanted to take it to the next level and I always wanted to do 3D, especially environment stuff. I have no traditional art skills aside from a basic understanding of perspective. I think I am pretty decent, even if I feel more like a human printer than an artist. I even got hired as an Enviro Artist a few months ago. 

Here is my folio https://www.artstation.com/fenesoctavian

But the UE5 demo came out and being really paranoid I immediately thought that the days of me being in the field are numbered and that all the really hard work I put into this would be for nothing in the end. Why hire an artist to make all those objects for you when you can just scan them? After all, a big chunk of the objects you see in games are from reality. You know, gas pumps, washing machines, cars and so on. I even read in an article that for Call of Duty:MW they scanned a whole tank! How am I supposed to compete with scanning a tank?! So not only far faster but also far better looking that what 95% of artists can do. I'm pretty good at copying objects from reality and concept art but I can't create my own stuff yet because I don't have traditional art skills. You might say that a lot of these objects are boring but I actually like working on small little objects that will comprise a bigger whole and I don't like the thought of being replace by a computer, no matter how good the results are.

You might say that stuff that doesn't exist will still need to be modeled and that is true. I don't think you can make a game like Doom Eternal with photogrammetry (or can you?). But I worry that because a lot of jobs will be done by photogrammetry, there will be a lot of competition for the remaining ones and I while I think I'm pretty decent, I'm just an intermediate 3D artist with no traditional art skills. I do want to learn these skills but they take years upon years to learn and I am exhausted after work so I don't know what to do in that regard. I'm not in high school or college anymore when I had all the time in the world. 

What do you think, do I have a future in this long-term? Will game-ready models still be a thing? 

Sorry for the long-winded ramble but this is really affecting me.


  • sacboi
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    sacboi ngon master
    Yeah, that Activision article was an illuminating read and whether use of scanned data will impact to any significant affect upon jobs per se, is in my opinion yet to be quantified or envisioned for that matter.Though indeed very cool too wander around a hyper real environment as a player but if gameplay isn't of the same caliber then wholly a waste of resources as far as I'm concerned.

    Also acquiring a traditional skillset needn't be an overall burdensome grind toward attaining a sought after level of competency. Learning the mechanics of how to draw via Observation alongside hand-eye coordination is a must have attribute if you're intent on further delving into analogue art creation.

    So what I'll advise may surprise although the methodology is a centuries old 'La Botega' or workshop apprenticeship Masters of the late Medieval too Baroque "Renaissance" era had undergone during their respective training. Basically starting with copying and tracing work that is of most interest for you. This repetitive exercise trains muscle memory affording a degree of dexterity between hand and eye, gradually translating a 2D image into 3D visual depiction using freehand traditional techniques.      
  • Meloncov
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    Meloncov greentooth
    I wouldn't be too worried.

    First, the amount of work involved in going from raw scan data to usable asset is pretty substantial. I'm sure a lot of that will be automated in the future, but it won't go down to zero. Second, finding the real world object that perfectly matches the needs of a game project and then either acquiring that object or flying someone out to capture it will often be more work then just making a new model. Third, the ever-rising visual quality bar means the number of assets required per game is increasing. Even if the percentage of those assets that is made from scratch is falling, the raw number of assets that need to be modeled isn't gonna decrease much.
  • poopipe
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    poopipe polycount lvl 666
    It definitely will, I lose my job almost weekly because photogrammetry exists - as does my entire team.  studio art departments now basically consist of a bloke with an iPhone and a copy of reality capture :)

    Or, seriously

    Photogrammetry has been around in one form or another since before I started working professionally (this century but only just) and while it has never been more accessible or better than it is now the same cost/quality trade-off applies as did 20 years ago. 
    i.e. it's quicker but a bit shitter in one way or another than careful hand authoring by a bloody good artist. 

    Recent tech is allowing artists to utilise captured data as part of their workflow much more seamlessly than ever before - this is the game changing aspect and it is good news for the studio artist.
    because it's so much faster to generate content with the new generation of tools, maintaining an internal art team is a better value proposition than it was  just a few years ago and it makes less sense to downsize and rely on outsource providers to take up the slack

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