New Mind-Set


So, I had this great epiphany moment the other day, which brings me back to posting on here now.

For a little back story, about 11 years ago I went to BCIT (a trade school in Vancouver) for a one year course called Digital Animation. It was a full time intensive 3D course on everything from modelling, animation, design, composition, texturing, etc, etc... basically all forms of skills you can learn to get a job doing 3D work.

After the course ended, I didn't end up pursuing work in the industry I had just spent a year of my life and countless thousands of dollars learning about. This has understandably been one of my great regrets in life (I'm only 35 and I already have more than one great regret!).

I wrote out my story of what it was like and what happened on my sketchbook on ca.org but I'll paste it here as well.

Queue flashback
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Ever since I was a kid, I wanted to work in the games industry. I somehow got a copy of Truespace 2 when I was a teenager in the 90's and taught myself how to use it. I was hooked on 3d right away and would make little animations in my spare time spending days and hours on them. Fast forward a few years and, similar to a moment like now, I decided to go back to school to pursue this old love of mine. I did quite well, and even almost got hired while I was in school by a company who had come by to see the student work at the school I was in. Anyways, the school year ends and I was going through a really rough break up with a woman I was dating for most of the year. Its a shitty excuse, I know, but I was in bad shape for a while after that and although I did have a couple of interviews, I barely applied for any jobs. I needed money bad at the time because of student loans and took an office job making more than I had ever made. It was supposed to be temporary but the raises came over the years and it didn't seem so bad. As time went on I was getting further and further away from that art career I always wanted to get into.

At some point about 6 years ago I rediscovered my love of art and started drawing again. This was actually right around the time I created this sketchbook. I got pretty into drawing digitally at the time, just for fun, nothing really serious. My excitement ebbed and flowed for the next few years as outside issues came and went in my life (as they seem to do). I always thought I would start taking my art more serious soon but for now things were going great at work. I got comfortable. I got lazy. I got older.

I definitely got more serious about art in the last couple years. As in trying to learn more and drawing almost every day (I've drawn every single day for over a year and a half now) but I'm not progressing like I should if I really want to do this as a job. And I really have had no direction on what job I even want to do...

I live in Vancouver, Canada, which is like a mecca of video game and VFX studios. SIGGRAPH just happened here last week. I was sitting in a park near by the convention centre eating my lunch when one of my good buddies from school walked by with all his work buddies. I guess they were at the conference as he fully did end up pursuing a career in games and works at Ubisoft now I think.

I think that moment it kind of hit me like a brick to the face, WTF am I doing.

So, I'm formulating a plan in my head to really kickstart my learning and make a push towards doing art professionally.

To start with, I'm going to change my work schedule so I can bang out a good hour of practice/study in the morning before I go to work. I figure there is a better chance of me sticking to that than aiming for an hour right after work when I'm tired from work. I'll still try to do learning later in the evening as well but I think having that morning hour blocked out will be invaluable combined with working on things on the weekend as well.

Second, I need to figure out what I actually want to do. I don't know if I actually have the chops to be a concept artist. Maybe I do or maybe I could be some other sort of artist. I do know that I have a solid base in 3D design and animation and that it seems there are many more jobs in those fields in Vancouver than straight up concept artists.

Third, I need to come to terms with the fact that I'm going to take a pay cut when I do this. I think I'll try to live more frugally now and see how much I really need to live off of to see what an equivalent salary would be to live like that.


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And now we're back at the present.

Its been two days since I wrote that. I have changed my shift at work so I now work 9-5 instead of 8-4. I have been waking up at the same time as before and doing an hour of sketching in the morning. It has been good but I'm still very aimless in what I'm actually drawing. I need to formulate a real plan on what to do each morning. Or what I want to learn that is.

Second, I have gotten copies of 3DS Max and Maya so I can get back into learning them again. I read online that 3DS Max is better for modelling and Maya is better for animation. I was trained in using Maya, and I remember it being good at modelling as well. Maybe its just personal preference at this point.

From what I can tell, lots of jobs around town in different game studios talk of using both Maya and/or 3DS Max, so it might be a good idea to use both or at least learn how to use both. I'm sure I will develop a preference.

I installed 3DS Max last night and it is definitely different than Maya, even in just navigating 3D space with the middle mouse button instead of Alt. So, it'll take some getting used to.

I am pretty excited to get working on something in there though as its been a while since I worked in 3D. 

Anyways, thats my plan. Super early days right now but I'm amped to learn. Going to be looking into some online courses to take to get my skills up quicker and see where this goes.

I think now I will finally have something to blog about, which will be this journey. So, here goes!



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