Has anyone here gone to Gnomon? If so what are your thoughts?

Discussion in 'Community Discussion' started by chrono1081, Apr 23, 2012.

  1. chrono1081 macrumors 604

    chrono1081

    Joined:
    Jan 26, 2008
    Location:
    Isla Nublar
    #1
    Hi guys,

    I know this probably isn't the best place to ask this but MR is my favorite community so I thought I'd ask here.

    I've been in IT a long time, almost 11 years and for the past 3 I've been supporting a lot of high end graphics workstations and doing support for users running Maya, Houdini, ZBrush, Real Flow, Mari, etc etc.

    Well, I always thought it looked neat and then I had a class in college last year where I got to learn Maya...I've been hooked ever since.

    Don't get me wrong, I love my IT jobs but I am really considering going back to school for 3D. I know Gnomon is expensive, unaccredited, and you only get a certificate but their student work is amazing and so far I've heard nothing but good about them.

    I was just curious if anyone here has went there, and what their thoughts are. Is there another school you perhaps like better? If so let me know. Thanks! :)
     
  2. Zombie Acorn macrumors 65816

    Zombie Acorn

    Joined:
    Feb 2, 2009
    Location:
    Toronto, Ontario
    #2
    Id suggest doing alot of research before you jump in. There are plenty of people who are self taught that are doing great work, so you may want to start out doing a bit of self learning in the subject first. I am sure Gnomon has great teachers and all, but you are about to saddle up some enormous debt for a profession that isn't that lucrative. You are going to get paid less than you are now and expect to work more hours. You also won't have job stability.

    If you have access to Maya and can get a copy of Zbrush (its like 600-800 dollars IIRC and they constantly feed you free updates) I think that would be a better start than totally jumping into schooling. You can also get Unreal Development Kit for free to import the assets and do shots for a portfolio.

    Also keep in mind that making assets for fun isn't the same as making assets for work.
     
  3. chrono1081 thread starter macrumors 604

    chrono1081

    Joined:
    Jan 26, 2008
    Location:
    Isla Nublar
    #3
    Thanks so much for the input :) I thought about trying to go completely self taught, and I know I can do it but I wasn't sure if this was one of the industries where that sort of things flies. (I heard both yes and no before on that).

    I have worked on learning Maya and ZBrush for the past (almost) two years and have familiarity with Houdini. I have a student version of Maya and I bought ZBrush. I create a lot of game graphics for small games I work on and know how to use UDK and Unity.

    I'm ok too with less pay and more hours. I love my current job but theres no real creative aspect to it and I'd really like a job where I can be creative. I basically go to work each day, look at the work request queue, check emails, go work on servers or workstations or do tweaking to an asset pipeline, do some script writing or test new software. My life is exciting ;)

    Thanks again for the input :)
     
  4. calabi-yau macrumors newbie

    calabi-yau

    Joined:
    Sep 10, 2010
    #4
    Register for an account at the CG Society forums, and they'll set you straight: :D
    http://forums.cgsociety.org/

    Although, you do say you've been learning 3D for two years, so I've got to assume you've heard of CG Society in that time.
     
  5. chrono1081 thread starter macrumors 604

    chrono1081

    Joined:
    Jan 26, 2008
    Location:
    Isla Nublar
    #5
    Yep! I'm already on there. Thanks though :)

    I've read through some of their responses on there. I also took a few of their workshops and learned a lot.
     
  6. calabi-yau macrumors newbie

    calabi-yau

    Joined:
    Sep 10, 2010
    #6
    I was in a similar situation to yours about three years ago, except I had way less 3D training under my belt. I wanted to leave my current job and dive into learning 3D. I spent a while researching schools, and based on that research decided that 3D education at public colleges was worthless (that could be wrong nowadays, dunno) and it seemed like the private colleges (art schools, Gnomon, etc) were the way to go. Except, I didn't want to be in insane debt. I figured it was up to me to teach myself for a couple years, and then reevaluate whether I wanted to enroll in a private program based on how well I was doing, how much I liked 3D, etc.

    None of that ever happened. Didn't quit my job, barely learned any 3D. Long story, life got in the way. But I did learn a lot about the industry in those initial couple weeks of research. Zombie Acorn is right: you'll be paid less, work more, and be in an unstable industry. It sounds like you're drawn to the video game side of 3D, though, which is good, since it's supposed to be the mildest of the 3D specialties. Again, this is based on research I did 3 years ago, so it might be out of date, but I think with most videogame studios, you're hired on as a salaried employee, not on contract. So you get health benefits, and you don't get thrown out on your ass after a videogame ships (the way a contract worker might). In general there's way less crunch time than for 3D artists who work on movies. Less overtime, fewer weekends spent at work.

    Movies and advertising are rough. You're hired on contract, maintain your own health insurance, and are basically used up and thrown out when the project is done. You're constantly spending your free time looking for your next job(s). It's possible you'll move around the country (world?) a lot. You'll work insane hours. This is especially true for 3D guys who work in advertising, because all your firm's clients will have promised their bosses they'd have something to show by, you know, yesterday. Plus, in movies especially, as a beginner, you usually don't do much actual 3D ... you do grunt work passed down to you, mostly 2D stuff like compositing and masking and crap. You pay your dues, unless you're really talented.

    One drawback common to all 3D specialties is that there are very few jobs available. Insane competition. I remember looking at portfolios of people who were really talented and had been looking for work for a long time, and just thinking, "Wow, how am I ever going to survive if these guys can't get work?" You don't see that in a lot of industries, but you do see it here. Plus, a lot of work is outsourced overseas, to talented 3D mills who'll work for cheaper rates than western countries. Sometimes, even if you land a job, you'll spend time managing these overseas workers instead of doing 3D yourself. Bizarre.

    But, to answer one of your earlier questions, no, you don't need to have gone through a 3D education program at a school in order to get a job. The only reasons I'd imagine people insist that you do is 1) it's probably harder to learn proper modeling, texturing, rigging, etc, on your own, away from professionals who are available for you to bug w/ incessant questions, and 2) you build connections at schools, and alumni and profs are often asked by pros if they can recommend anyone to intern or fill an open position they've got at a studio. But if you've got a really strong portfolio, can demonstrate proper technique and speed, can pick up other programs fast, and work as part of a team, I doubt you'd have your application thrown out just because you didn't have a degree. With videogames, apparently it also really helps if you've got experience as part of a team working on a fan-made mod to an existing game. A lot of guys get great experience this way.

    I randomly downloaded the student version of 3DS Max 2013 today (holy cow, Autodesk gives this to you for free?!). I doubt I'll get anywhere with it, but it's fun to jump back in.
     

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