Things I needed to know about getting a job in the CG industry (11-20)

Top Things I Needed to Know… (11-20)
(About getting a job in the CG industry)
Written & compiled by Zero Dean 1997

11. Create everything you are capable of creating yourself. Shy away from stock resources if possible. Remember, if you can take credit for everything, you are more likely to get the attention you deserve. I am told that if a professional spots an Avalon model or a KPT Bryce material, you’re sunk before you’ve even gotten into the water.

12. Bryce2 is not considered hi-end software by industry professionals. Although it does render nice images, it has a certain factor of “idiot mode” going on. One person went so far as to say you could teach a monkey to use the program and it would still be able to come up with some decent images. It’s a great program for a general audience, but if you want to impress the industry, you have to use industry software (3DStudio Max and Lightwave are good choices. Alias PowerAnimator and SoftImage are even better). If you’re working with Bryce, you are probably better of not admitting to it and let people judge you by your talent and not get caught up with what program you used to create it. Note, most Bryce stuff is pretty easy to spot.

*HOWEVER*….

13. In direct response to #12, it isn’t necessarily the software that gets your foot in the door. In most cases, I’m told, it is a phenomenal and exceptional demo reel that does. This means that as long as you can do something absolutely amazing and mind-blowing with whatever low-end software you use, you _might_ get noticed. However, a lot of large companies are turned off if they see a lack of experience in the software they use. If it’s going to cost them money to train you they may look elsewhere. There are always eager people with more experience than you waiting for an opening. An exception is if you look _so_ good they have to have you, they may take you on board and train you knowing it will pay off. Not all companies care what program you use to create your demo material, but at the very least they want to see a complete and competent skill set in all areas of 3D.

14. Animation Master (multi-platform) is an excellent and powerful character animation program with many features at a fraction of the price of other 3d applications ($199 retail, $135 educational discount). This program is available from Hash, Inc.. Join the AM3D mailing list.

Many consider this to be the best character animation software under the $10,000 price range. Now that I’ve had experience with the software and the excellent company, I would have to agree.

15. Demo reels. Stay away from spaceships, robots, shiny chrome objects, and flying logos. The major houses are sick to death of seeing reels with any of the above. It’s the kiss of death. Do something truly original and you’ll get noticed. An understanding of movement and storytelling helps.

[For more in depth information on demo reels, see the DEMO REELS SECTION of this site.]

16. Read the computer graphics newsgroups.

17. Join the 3d ARK mailing list, a general all-purpose mailing list for 3D computer graphics and animation enthusiasts.

18. Join the CG-CHAR mailing list. Go here to do so: http://www.cg-char.com. The following is written by Rick May, the list’s moderator. Please read it before joining:

“[CG-CHAR] was put together a year and so many months ago to open communication between those interested in 3D computer graphic character animation. It is here for all of you to talk about animation issues, a few software issues, or whatever pertains to CG CHAR animation.

19. Keep up with the industry and research. Have an understanding of what’s out there and have an eye for things like what’s good, what’s new, and what’s being overdone.Collect reference material. Have a collection of animations on tape. These can be anything from 2D Warner Brothers cartoons to the latest Computer Animation Film Festival tapes. One of the things you need to master in computer animation is bringing inanimate objects to life. Breathing character and personality into lifeless models. Studying animation of all types will help you.
Also collect books on animation and such. The point is, learn as much as you can about the industry. Doing so may give you the edge you need. After all, you are in competition with thousands of others. Never stop learning. (I’ve listed some books you should check out below).

20. Internships are a great way to get much needed experienced. If you can get an internship with a local company that deals with 3d graphics and animation, do it! It is also a great may to meet contacts.

3 thoughts on “Things I needed to know about getting a job in the CG industry (11-20)

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