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Is hobbyist / amateur 3d in classic form (not actually) dying?

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Iwazaruk7 triangle

Do you have impression that hobbyist / amateur 3d in classic form kinda dies? When taking a look around, now it always feels like "everyone" is doing portfolios, preparing to getting hired, doing workshops, getting support from patreons, doing commissions, getting freelance contracts etc etc.

For some reason it gives impression that nowodays there are much less folks who just do 3d for fun, in spare time, doing whatever the hell they want instead of following trends or "building up portfolio".

I'm sure i AM wrong, and there is as much hobbyism as ever, e.g. all that cool Low-Poly aesthetic stuff or fan art 3d.

But i'd like to bring up for discussion as WHY me or you or whoever getting such impression. Is it modern ease of use and availability of "pro grade" tools? Compared to 2000s and especially 90s, you don't need to spend $10k for potential of "cutting edge" tech, as today just Blender is free and gives you all modern post-PBR era tools. Is it globalization of everything, including internet and social networks?

Please share your thoughts. Hopefully i managed to provide idea that i have in mind, even if not the best wording i have.

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  • Eric Chadwick

    It's still quite alive as far as I can tell.

    The biggest difference is the sheer amount of niche forums, discords, facebook groups, etc. It seems there's likely a specific locale for each title, where fans can get together to make fanart together.

    20-30 years ago there were only a few communities around for modding.

    But there's always going to be more people getting inspired to create, finding places to gather to figure it out together.

    Maybe you just haven't found your place yet.

  • Tiles
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    Tiles greentooth

    Yes. Most people are in facebook groups nowadays. And the hobbyists nowadays uses free software like Blender and DAZ. And fewer and fewer the software that gets used in the industry. That's why it looks like they get fewer and fewer here.

  • Neox
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    Neox insane polycounter

    how exactly do you think the software usage is involved here? i mean i get daz, it was always its own community or well socketed into deviant art back in the days. but using blender, to me has nothing to do with the declining usage of forums.

    i think thats mostly down to social media usage and trying to focus on the "easy" platforms. the downside is, that communication and learning became sort of second in nature in the "community", as there is no good archive for this stuff. everything is just a snack, post and forget, see and forget. nothing really gets preserved in the never forgetting social media...

  • Tiles
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    Tiles greentooth

    I thought it's about Polycount. Polycount is the meeting point of people who uses the industry tools. DAZ is purely a hobby tool. And so you will not see those people here. Blender is still heavily present in forums. Just look at their Blender Artists board. But also heavily present in several Facebook groups, at Reddit, at Twitter and so on. And a human just has two hands. You can either be highly active at Facebook and spend your energy there. Or at at board.

    Regarding learning. Back in the days community pages was the only way to learn. This has changed with Youtube, where you can find a tutorial for virtually everything nowadays.

  • Neox
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    Neox insane polycounter

    yeah but daz is around for a long time, and before there was poser. that part of the community was always somewhere else.


    blender was used by polycount users and is getting increasinlgy so, but yeah polycount was for people who wanted to work in the industry and eventually would. independent of their software choices but forums as a whole have moved into different spaces. for better or worse

  • Alex_J
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    Alex_J godlike master sticky

    Eh, I'm just doing this all for fun really. I mean I try to make some money at it, but it doesn't really matter if I do or not at the end of the day.

    What about all the sketchbooks? I know lot of the people keeping them are professionals, but it's mostly work they are doing on side isn't it?

  • Neox
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    Neox insane polycounter

    scrubbing through hours of video tutorials to find this one bit of info, eh? :D

  • Eric Chadwick

    That's why I love the wiki. Or used to love it.

    It's great to keep data in an accessible archive. But damn, it's a lot of work for external links because shit moves around so much. Dead links galore.

    Polycount is dedicated to hosting content as much as possible. But it's just not feasible/kosher to store everyone's offsite tutorials.

  • Iwazaruk7
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    Iwazaruk7 triangle

    Yeah i agree about problem of "modern social media" how it is not really made to experience anything else than "most current moment". That leads to stuff like twitter or instagram not having comfortable interface/navigation for reaching older posts etc. etc. I'm also sad that many 3d communities/galleries that lived from 2000s or even 1990s are now gone from web, and basically we loose all that history and legacy.


    And yes, good point about internet becoming bigger than it ever was, so there are many hidden communities most will never know about.


    As for daz studio/poser, i didnt keep it at mind when thinking this thread because daz stays on very weird crossroads as it's more a tool for "storytellers", be that making comic panels, book covers or "virtual photography" sets. However... actually it leads to another thing about "hobby 3d" that i should have mentioned, yes! When people in 3d make something as "virtual worlds" or "setting" instead of just making model for the sake of making a model.


    You can also add that nowodays we have such huge role of "realtime" everything, including VR and videogames, that "place" for still images (renders) starts feeling.. niche?

  • Finnn
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    Finnn greentooth

    Oh thats something I've been thinking about aswell. I like using discord etc. to share and discuss 3d art and game development, but the information density in the "traditional" forum is just much higher. I prefer this much much more over the newer forms of social platforms. Not even going to start talking about tic toc or instagram which are just insanely low information density, just quick snippity snaps. This trend will continue to grow, youtube shorts for example are all over the place aswell, a platform I mostly use for learning purposes, but its overwhelmed by short and clickbait stuff. Its hard to stay focused on there.

    I agree with people here. There will always be places where people do put on long and insightful discussion and I think discord became that new place for many niches. It has many advantages, for example I have noticed alot of people on game dev discords do screensharing sessions which can really accelerate learning.

    Also, I think the line between professional and hobby art became very blurry with the indie hype. Many people create games for fun or driven by passion and they can become professional over the course of their development, maybe even succesful. And from what I can tell, this trend will continue to grow. There will be more and more people enjoying this stuff and creating and publishing games. So there will also always be places packed with similar minded people.

    The amount of games released on steam has been skyrocketing in the last couple years and these releases are not only by big companies. More and more people do this for fun, as a hobby, but also with the possibility of earning money and eventually becoming an entrepeneur. So basically I think your feeling of the hobbyist dying out is not correct, because if there are so many more people involved, there will also be more people doing this just as a hobby.

  • Leinad
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    Leinad polycounter lvl 10

    It appears to me that the environment around 3D art has dramatically changed over the last decade.

    When I started learning 3D art Polycount was the default place to go to learn and engage with the 3D art community. (I only knew of Polycount, CGtalk, and ZbrushCentral)

    Also, today user interactions on many different social platforms is now heavily incentivized for monetization and user content generation. I think the incentive models heavily exacerbate fragmentation and user behavior that is constantly chasing monetization.

    If I were to guess based on my experience there are way more 3D hobbyist now, it's just that the 3D communities are now fragmented due to the 40+ different social platforms competing for their attention.

    I could be completely wrong on all of this, I haven't thought about this too deeply so do take my guesses with a huge grain of salt.

  • Noren
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    Noren polycounter lvl 17

    Yeah, and my favorite clickbait trend of "creating/create something in (under) X minutes/hours" where X is the length of the video instead of the actual creation time.

  • Neox
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    Neox insane polycounter

    To be fair, when i learned modelling a Buddy and I followed a timelapsed video by Irfan Celic, my english wasn't good enough to understand what timelapsed meant. So to me, the speed he modelled in was my goal to reach. We never quite got there but we got close. Needless to say we only could model exactly this model at crazy speeds but it helped build muscle memory. maybe its not too wrong at times to train some speedy things and repeat and repeat to build up that muscle memory and shortcuts :)

  • Noren
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    Noren polycounter lvl 17

    Haha 😄

    Well, I guess those modern clickbaiters only have our best interest at heart.


    On a similar note, it took me some time to realize forums like Spiraloid where an interactive and updating thing (although you'd think that wouldn't be too hard to figure out).

  • Eric Chadwick

    Fun fact. Bay Raitt started Spiraloid, went on to model Gollum at Weta, and is currently at Unity.


  • Tiles
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    Tiles greentooth

    Unity is by the way a good example that the hobby scene is not dying, but is actually as big as never before. Most of the Unity users are hobbyists :)

  • Iwazaruk7
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    Iwazaruk7 triangle

    Yeah, but i mean classic 3d hobbyism. As in, making models and still renders or animations. Not gamedev, which is hugely popular.

    Hence i now feel that stills are niche compared to realtime.

    ...and personally i prefer Quake 1 modding scene, which still amazes me :D (check out Arcane Dimensions or func_mapjam series).

  • Tiles
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    Tiles greentooth

    But games needs graphics too ;)

    I do understand what you mean though. There is not this much hobbyists anymore that really starts at zero and models everything by himself. The times where you proudly modeled and rendered a cube is gone.

    DAZ is one of the hobby tools number one these days. And here you don't model your graphics by yourself, but go to the shop and simply buy the models that you need. The content is mainly made by professionals. On the other hand, even professionals uses human creation software nowadays since it is simply more accurate and cost effective. So i guess this is simply how it is today. The content generation is not as dominant anymore as in earlier days.

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