A couple of people pm'd me suggesting I should spread this far and wide, I'm glad some people find my past failures useful haha!
Here are my two contributions:
Its absolutely worth it if its what you want.
Let me put my cock hat on for just a second.
*has now become a dickhead*
imo n00bs that I have worked with, talked with, hung out with *think* and say they want to be in the games industry, but tbh they only *kind of* want it.
They want all the cool shit, without the slog through the mud for the first 3 - 5 years to get there. They want instant rockstar status, to tell their friends, to be cool nerds etc.
My lecturer at Qantm, stood up in an auditorium and told the entire room of 70 odd brand new students that at the end of this diploma, there would only be about 20 people left, of which 10 or so would pass, and only 2 or 3 may get a job, of which 1 or maybe 2 will be in the games industry for any great length of time.
That stuck with me big time, and what he said turned out to be pretty damned accurate. From the 70 or so students that were in my intake, only 4 that I know of went on to work in games for any length of time, and only myself and 2 others are still working!
Most of the 'passionate' n00bs that I was with at the time, swore up and down that they would be in the games industry - absolutely no doubt. But throughout the course, it became pretty clear who actually wanted it and who was there just fucking about.
I liken this to anyone who wants anything tbh.
So my question to you OP is
Do you really want it ? or do you just kinda want it?
Because if you really want it, the state of the industry shouldnt be your concern, getting good enough in your chosen area to even be considered is.
There is a tonne of studios hiring people right now, lots of firing too no doubt, but just look recently what happened here when vigil layed off some folks, at how many studios came forth saying hey we are hiring - it was like an avalanche!
Now if you think you might fall into the 'only kinda want it' category then hey, its your time - make of it what you will - but chances are you will more than likely not get very far, and there are no winners in that case.
And if the answer is you dont know, then I agree conpletely with what Gav said.
Theres no winning to be found in squandered time.
Sorry to do this OP but he's brought it out of me, blame snacuum!
Snacuum: I completely understand what you're saying. Trust me. I came this *makes really small shape with fingers* close to throwing it all in after about 3 years of 'trying' to be a character artist. I actually had wanted to be a baker as well, so I got a bakers apprenticeship all lined up because after all that time I just wasn't good enough of an artist to be in the games industry in Australia or anywhere else for that matter.
However, looking back on those 3 years, I didn't actually try very hard at all. For lack of a better expression, I wasted a lot of fucking time. But I had to be honest with myself and look back to identify that. Here's what I ACTUALLY found I spent most of that 3 years doing:
Talking about being a better artist with friends.
Spending hours looking over awesome artwork for 'inspiration'
Spending hours reading forums.
Spending hours surfing the net.
Hanging out with friends.
Spending hours playing Games.
Having a life.
After 3 years I had built 9 characters. Really ??????
Fuck man, I lived at home with parents, had no bills to pay, no responsibilities and all I could muster was 3 half assed characters per year ?!?!!?!? I'm utterly ashamed to really even call that 'trying' especially because it was supposed to be something ' I REALLY WANTED TO DO' .....what a joke. I should have had at LEAST 6 characters per year if I was coasting!!
But screw coasting along, I want to be a character artist, I can't coast, I want to be awesome!!!
If I *REALLY* wanted this more than anyone else, I needed to identify what method would help me to learn the fastest. Once discovered, I needed to knuckle down and get into a process of iteration and refinement - it was that simple.
I'd have to lock myself away from absolutely everything and simply make character art. Let it absolutely consume me.
Instead of the bakers apprenticeship, that's what I did.
I listened to Bobby Chiu all day long over and over, whatever I needed to do to keep me producing. More focus on production, less focus on what the world thinks of my progression. I still have to this day, probably 5 times the amount of finished character work than I've posted online, sitting on my HDD never uploaded anywhere and literally dozens and dozens of unfinished pieces / experiments, dabbles into things.
At that time, I spent 12 - 14 hours a day just producing.
I unplugged my internet to reduce the distractions.
I had to win.
TBH when you do this, and take on this kind of challenge with art - you can't fail. When you dedicate yourself so wholly to producing artwork for long enough, you will become great - baring tragedy you cannot fail, it's IMPOSSIBLE. In fact I challenge anyone to try it, and fail. You will fail at failing, I guess that's a fail, but the reality is you'll actually win!!
To some degree I still maintain this ethic, when I've worked fulltime, I also freelance. When I'm not freelancing I'm working on my own projects, or doing the odd character for competition. I'm always producing or working on something, even if its experimenting with new hair, new ways to do eyes, anatomy sculpts, painting / 2d etc. etc.
The reason I do this? Because I'm not the fastest learner in the world, I need repetition to really nail something and I'm always seeing younger artists, who are much better than I am, and I'm not about to get comfy at any company and let my skills go to the weeds so I can live in a delusional world where I get into a great amount of debt and hope that said company will help me out of it so I never have to prove myself again. This just doesn't fly for me, my skill is my power, when I relinquish it, I have nothing.
So, whilst this may seem extreme to some readers, I am by no means a hard worker lol. I have lived and worked with people who are MUCH more driven than I am, and it has really humbled me and put into perspective what I thought was dedication and hard work - because I was quite proud of my dedication and hard work until I met some people that just totally humbled me.
So, along with my own 3 year 'try' and living and working with some real driven people, this has made me acutely aware of 'real effort' when someone says they are 'trying' when tbh all they have is a couple models per year, and there's no real progression in their work at all, even after years of trying ( like my early self). The same goes for the 10 - 12 year veteran whose folio is so outdated due to getting comfortable in some studio and never bothering to polish their skills outside of work.
I'm not sure if those people realize how obvious that actually looks to an artist that has put in the effort. It's literally like your holding a massive ' I'm a lazy fucker ' neon sign.
Having said all this terrible, angry-response-to-this-post inducing stuff (lol), I know not everyone's situation is the same. Maybe you've got family, kids, poor health, other dramas and troubles or things that take time away from producing art. Maybe you can only dedicate 2 hours per day to actually making art, and therefore it does actually take you a year to make 3 characters.
If that's you, and your currently 'trying to get good enough to get in' you better make damn well certain that you put in an honest 2 hours if you even HOPE to compete with the next generation of young artists from China, Korea, India, Russia and the rest of the world who are actually working harder than you and me will ever work put together, to get that same job.
I do believe that most people are intelligent enough to realize that no one can really fall into greatness or mastery of something. You can't become Roger Federer by just playing tennis every now and then or become Michelangelo by chiseling a bit of rock a couple times a year.
So 2 choices/paths:
1) Just do it, over and over and over again until you make it.
2) Be smart enough to realize that your individual circumstances don't allow you to become great or even passable quality to do what you want to do, so you can refocus on something else that you like and DOES work with your lifestyle.
I go back to my comment my lecturer made to all of us fresh new hopefuls that practically none of us would get a job in games - and I don't know if it was fear, shock, disbelief or a combination of all of these things really that shut us all up, but ultimately after all things were done, time passed, and he was right.
I believe it's important to tell the truth, especially to students or people considering there next step.
I encourage anyone to wants anything, to decide whether they really want it, and if so, prove to yourself that you do. That will separate you from the people who only kind of want it and the people who due to their circumstances, just can't and will never have it.
Sorry for such a long and personal post I have characters to build now My forum time quota for today is used up lol!
If youd like to read the thread in its entirety here it is: www.polycount.com/forum/showth…
Some useful thoughts in here from a lot of industry folks.