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 Question about taking CG as a career. 
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Post Question about taking CG as a career.
Hi,

i'm pretty new to the animation industry, did a dip. in multimedia years back but didnt do much of animation, would like to hear you pros' advice:

1. was wondering what are you guy's opinion about the NTU programme? is it a good qualification ?

2. how about the Diploma in Animation ( Concept art/ 3d Modelling) specialisation?

3. what are the job prospects of an animation major? i'm more into 3d modelling, concept art.. ( i understand most 3d work is hired on project basis)

4. what are the chances one can start his own successful animation studio? e.g. doing commercial works like tv, ads,..etc

have been asking people around, and most of the the 'practical' people told me its an underpaid industry even in US(where its supposed to be betteR). I want to do something i enjoy too but i don't think i should live on bread n butter for doing something i enjoy. I heard lots of nightmare stories about careers in animation.. lots of OT, no much personal time, underpaid..etc

I was hoping those of you who are currently in the field can shed some light about it. things like job prospect bother me too, like if next time i'm in my 40s, would i still be employable..etc cause there are tons of young talented artists joining the industry every year.. also, i would like reasonable time with family.. are most 3d jobs that much overtime? and whats the salary we can be expecting after a few years say if i'm an average animator/modeller.
i.e. i would like a Realistic field report of an animator's life, job prospects.. not the seeming animation industry fairytale that sg gov is trying to promote. lol

Please no flaming... friendly, harsh, constructive opinions are most welcomed ~

i remember the old board had some topics on these, but it seemed they weren't brought over to the new forum.

So well, humbly hope to hear your opinions.. :D


Wed Jan 16, 2008 4:45 pm
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Post Re: Question about NTU's ADM (Animation) Vs Eggstory Vs General
Wow a bucket load of questions, Ill give a shot at answering them best I can, keep in mind these are my personal opinions;

1) The programme dont seem to split the students into specialized roles like modelling/animation/VFX ect ect. You'll probably be trained as a jack of all trades in CG. However, the NTU programme have no graduates yet, its difficult to judge how successful it is yet, you can take a look at their forum here http://forum.artdesignmedia.net/ to get a feel of the things they're doing.

2) Im assuming you're refering to eggstory digital academy. They have kept pretty low key, not much info here.

3) You mean job prospects as a character animator? I haven't met anyone that has a good reel and is unable to find work, animators or otherwise.

4) I suggest you spend some time down in the trenches of CG before even thinking about this, its entirely possible to start a successful animation studio, but without some experience in the workings of a studio its gonna be a highway of pits falls and nobody to guide you around them.

Now the raw truth, OTs are inevitable. Especially so during crunch time, that said its perfectly possible to have family time and still be in the industry, its not as bad as most people make it out to be, but keep in mind during crunch you will probably have less time to spend with your family and friends. You cannot be "just the average animator/modeller" and work till 40 and hope to have an easy time getting a job, your experience will help you some but being average in what you do probably negates that. It sounds harsh but you have to be good in what you do, and you probably wont be getting that 5 figure paycheck anytime soon, if at all.

Regarding new talents coming in every year, I see it as more of a good thing, our industry is still growing and having experienced artists to guide them is really important, I dont think the older more experienced artists are in any danger of getting displaced by the newer talents, we have much to learn from them yet. If anything I think we're not learning fast enough hah.

Finally I'll like to point you to http://www.insanepoly.com/blog/?p=373 and http://forums.cgsociety.org/showthread.php?f=2&t=372592, give these a good read, they present more truth then most people would care to reveal.

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Wed Jan 16, 2008 6:13 pm
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Post Re: Question about NTU's ADM (Animation) Vs Eggstory Vs General
hi Maligor,

thanks for the reply & link.
Quote:
It sounds harsh but you have to be good in what you do, and you probably wont be getting that 5 figure paycheck anytime soon, if at all.


haha, are u referring to 'average animator/modeller', or even to those who are above average modellers/animators?


Wed Jan 16, 2008 10:55 pm
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Post Re: Question about NTU's ADM (Animation) Vs Eggstory Vs General
Both actually, its kind of rare to get that kind of paycheck. My opinion is, just focus on your art, be really good at what you do and the more practical aspects like money will naturally come.

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Wed Jan 16, 2008 11:21 pm
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Post Re: Question about NTU's ADM (Animation) Vs Eggstory Vs General
dillustration wrote:
have been asking people around, and most of the the 'practical' people told me its an underpaid industry even in US(where its supposed to be betteR). I want to do something i enjoy too but i don't think i should live on bread n butter for doing something i enjoy. I heard lots of nightmare stories about careers in animation.. lots of OT, no much personal time, underpaid..etc


Well, if you compare being a CG artist to being an accountant, personal banker, lawyer, civil service etc, yes it is definitely considered "underpaid". If you were to compare it to the amount of time you spend on your work with the amount of pay you're getting, then yes again, it is definitely "underpaid" and you'll have hardly any personal time and lots of OT. BUT then again, it depends on the company you work for and the kind of work you do. Like most other industry, if you work for an MNC, usually you'll get better pay and benefits.

If you were to work on television commercials, then be prepared to work extremely long hours with really tight datelines and overnights. But if you work on long form animation, usually you can avoid over night since the turn around is longer than television commercials (which can be just 2 or 3 weeks). And for long form animation, generally, TV series have a faster pace compared to feature film. Whether or not you work long hours on TV series, will have to depend on the demand of the quality and the budget for the TV series. It can be anything from 8 hrs daily to 15 hours daily.

Another important factor which determines how long you work is also the level of your skills. As you gained more experience and become a better artist, you can produce good quality work at lesser time, then naturally you'll have more personal time and no OT. And as Maligor has pointed out, this is also an important factor that determines the pay you can command. Naturally if you've got very good skills. you'll be more marketable. Also one thing to note is there're quite a number of jobs that are on contract basis, especially for long form animation. So be prepared to have breaks in between jobs.

dillustration wrote:
I was hoping those of you who are currently in the field can shed some light about it. things like job prospect bother me too, like if next time i'm in my 40s, would i still be employable..


There're also a few other career options that you can move on to as you gained more experience and skills. Some people may not want to deal with the long hours in production anymore when they grow older or have kids and family to take care of. They can make a switch to education or be a consultant. There're quite a few private schools and polys around that offer CG courses, so it shouldn't be that difficult to find a teaching job. Alternatively, you can work as a freelancer and take on projects as and when you like it. There're artists I know who do freelancing fulltime and they could still manage financially. Just don't be picky about the work you do as a freelancer and be prepared to have your payments delayed by clients. The bottomline is if your skills are good, then you shouldn't have much to worry.

Also, if your skills are good enough, you can always try for big overseas studio. So the job prospects are not only restricted to the local industry here. What people told you about being underpaid in US, I guess it depends... but from the last I heard from a friend who recently worked there, it is still many times better than what you can earn here if you were to work on feature films.

dillustration wrote:
i.e. i would like a Realistic field report of an animator's life, job prospects.. not the seeming animation industry fairytale that sg gov is trying to promote. lol


Ok, since you asked, here's a realistic field report of an animator's life and problems you might likely have to face:

(1) Your relationship with your gf/bf. Sooner or later they'll complain about you having too little time for them... and your gf will ask how long she'll have to wait before she can get an LV bag from you. Also, be prepared to take some time off your personal time to work on improving your skills regularly. Again, be prepared to handle your gf's complaints when you do that.

(2) Society's pressure. This is especially so whenever you attend gatherings with your secondary school/army mates. When they ask what you're working as now and you tell them "animator", the polite ones will go "wow, cool." and the not so polite ones will go "oh." And the rest will probably scratch their heads. Also, you'll feel a bit lost when they start discussing about the fat bonuses they're getting. There're also those who'll ask you "you're still in this line?" EVERYTIME they meet you at a gathering, as if it's like they're anticipating you to quit and get a "proper" job just like the rest.

(3) Nagging parents.. things your mom's probably going to ask or say "So when're you going to get a proper job?" "What? Break again??"


The examples I gave above are only some of the worst cases you have to deal with and they're real life examples. If you can be mentally prepared for the worse cases, then hey, welcome to the club! I think one very important question you should ask yourself is what you considered most important when it comes to your career choices. If money and stability is on the top of your list, higher than job satisfaction then I'd advise you to think twice. Many CG artists I know have switched their career to do CG from doing something else previously, with me included. Most of us had more stable jobs and better pay in our previous job, but no job satisfaction and that bothered us a lot. And when we switch to this line, we have to start from scratch, ground zero. We've never looked back even after years and that is only possible because we really love what we do.

dillustration wrote:
Please no flaming... friendly, harsh, constructive opinions are most welcomed ~


Don't worry about flaming, career prospects is a natural concern everyone will have. I hope my opinions are friendly, harsh and constructive enough. :D

dillustration wrote:
i remember the old board had some topics on these, but it seemed they weren't brought over to the new forum.


Yeah, it's a pity that those posts were not able to be recovered. That thread has one of the highest viewership, 1000 over I think. It's good that now we have a new thread on this again, I'm pretty sure questions like these will always pop up from time to time.

Ok, hope it helps!


Last edited by kentheman on Fri Jan 18, 2008 9:28 pm, edited 3 times in total.

Thu Jan 17, 2008 3:22 am
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Post Re: Question about NTU's ADM (Animation) Vs Eggstory Vs General
if you are good, you will never be unemployable. The great thing is you can be good just by choosing to and spending the effort and time.

if you want to be in a comfortable job, you shouldn't expect anything rewarding from it. doesn't matter if its animation to being a lawyer or an accountant. you reap what you sow.

lawyers, accountants, bankers make more than artist. only true if you compare the crappiest lawyer with the crappiest artist. Not true the other way round. then again, the crappiest artist might still enjoy his job more than the lawyer. might.

your education credentials/diploma/degree only says you were trained in your profession but it doesn't show how good you are. neither does your transcript. it doesn't even show that your skills are up to date. unless you take a diploma every 3 years...

the "practical" people... there are many around. they mean well in the end but can be a downer at times. listen and filter. when you set your mind on something, nothing can stop you other than your low self esteem alter ego. remember to laugh a lot along the way too.

If your partner doesn't understand the hours, either you are not making her understand well enough or she/he's not being reasonable/or you aren't being reasonable. give and take. quality time vs quantity time.

hope this helps! :)

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Fri Jan 18, 2008 3:21 am
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Post Re: Question about NTU's ADM (Animation) Vs Eggstory Vs General
Hi everyone

I am writing this to my best knowledge. If my views do not agree with yours, do pardon me. Just trying to help. Whatever written here is based on local market.


Quote:
i'm pretty new to the animation industry, did a dip. in multimedia years back but didnt do much of animation, would like to hear you pros' advice:

1. was wondering what are you guy's opinion about the NTU programme?


From the feedback I gathered, NTU program is training students in many aspect. Not just as a CG artist. Hence one should prepare that the training
will not cover as much as those specialise in preparing one to be a CG artist.


Quote:
is it a good qualification ?


For most position in our industry, we look at showreel. Never a qualification.
Even if you have a PHD, if showreel is not good, then no one will hire you.
(assuming that you are not going for technical or academic positions)


Quote:
2. how about the Diploma in Animation ( Concept art/ 3d Modelling) specialisation?


This is just general. In my opinion, you have to look at the trainer's background.
And also at the end of the day, depends on yourself. How well you can work towards a good showreel.


Quote:
3. what are the job prospects of an animation major? i'm more into 3d modelling, concept art.. ( i understand most 3d work is hired on project basis)


Based on my experience, many companies who contacted us looks for animators
and Modeller/texture artists. So I would say that these are the 2 hotest positions.

So far, most companies here that hires you as a modeller required you to know both modeling and texturing. Its not common to find a company who only requires you to know modeling or just texturing. I would say there aren't any. But rare.

As for concept artists position, in my opinion, there are less concept artists positions here as compared to cg artists.

As far as I know, most MNC do little concept work here as most of it is done back in their overseas head office.

The ones that do concept work are mainly producing companies (which is limited) that creates content to pitch overseas.

As for 3d work is hired on project basis, these are mainly freelance work.
TVC, architecture walkthrough etc.

Those that are doing longform animation or games development, hire mainly fulltime staff.


Quote:
4. what are the chances one can start his own successful animation studio? e.g. doing commercial works like tv, ads,..etc


In my opinion, if a company were to do just commercial works like tv, ads, one will have to prepare to face some tough challenges ahead.

Countries like Thailand etc have better and cheaper facilities. So clients who do not have the budget, will go to these places. Those who have the budget seems to be heading to Australia, Where there are many big ones and their cost are going down to capture Asia clients.

Hence we are beginning to see more production houses here moving into IP creation and long form animation.

To be successful in IP creation/longform animation, I would suggest one should make sure you have the following, before venturing in. Else one has to be prepared to work from bottom up.

1) Good connections to international distributors, broadcastors etc
2) Understand the whole international business mechanics behind this industry.
3) Experience in managing artists and production pipeline.
4) Has experience in pitching and raising funds in this area.


Quote:
have been asking people around, and most of the the 'practical' people told me its an underpaid industry even in US(where its supposed to be betteR).


Underpaid... Hmm for a good artist, one can earned US$100k a year in US. Those who are more experience can earn more. Is that underpaid?

Depending on who and what you are comparing with?
Is a stockbroker, property agent, insurance agent overpaid?
Is a construction worker underpaid?
Is a doctor who just started working underpaid?
(you will be surprised how many hrs they put in and how much they are paid at the beginning stage as all has to work at govt hospital)
Is an architect underpaid? (the number of years an architect study is the same as a doctor. Are they paid the same?)

Guess is up to one to evaluate the number of years one studied, the hrs he put in, whether one like what he is doing etc

I would say the best comparison is to compare a fresh diploma holder in animation with a fresh diploma holder in any discipline.

As for prospect, compare with one holding a degree in arts, literature, english etc. (assuming not in teaching line or working for govt)


Quote:
I want to do something i enjoy too but i don't think i should live on bread n butter for doing something i enjoy. I heard lots of nightmare stories about careers in animation.. lots of OT, no much personal time, underpaid..etc


Think others have painted a clear picture here. As for whether it is nightmare depending on whether you are working for a startup or MNC.

When we first started SAC in 1998, what you have mentioned about is all very true. But things has certainly changed a lot since.

I won't say that it is perfect as the industry has just started to get its attention these 2 years. A lot depends on how Singapore perform as a whole in coming years.


Quote:
I was hoping those of you who are currently in the field can shed some light about it. things like job prospect bother me too, like if next time


Like I said, the industry has just really begin its step these 2 years. A lot depending on how Singapore will be performing as a whole in coming yrs.


Quote:
i'm in my 40s, would i still be employable..etc cause there are tons of young talented artists joining the industry every year.. also, i would like


If you are already 40 now. Then I would agree you need to work harder to compete with the current batch. If you are not, then I would say that you might be regarded as the early pioneers if the industry really does well in 10 yrs from now. By then you should be either consultant, supervisor or any managing level if the industry established itself in 10 yrs time. (Asumming you are performing) So the fresh grad shouldn't be an issue to you. Unless you are not good and not performing during the 10 years.

As for whether that will really happen in 10 yrs time, I can't answer that. The CG industry is just like any new industry that Singapore is trying to push. But one thing I can be sure is if we don't try now, then nothing will ever happen.

In Singapore today, one must always be up to date in whatever you do. Learn what is coming ahead. Monitor the industry. So that you will never be left behind. As long as your skill cannot be easily replaced, then you are safe. This is the same for all industry.

One must always update himself what's the latest trend and what is the demand in yrs ahead. And keep learning new skill even though you are at managing level. Else once you hit 40s and when the economy goes down. You will be first to go.
As long as your skill cannot be easily replaced, you are on safe ground.

In Singapore, some of us are well protected or in comfort zone. Hence they do not know what is hungry and some take things for granted. In HK, Taiwan, Korea, China industry etc many compete to survive. They have no option. To survive, one need to upgrade.


Quote:
reasonable time with family.. are most 3d jobs that much overtime? and


Depending on the position you are holding and whether you are working for MNC.


Quote:
whats the salary we can be expecting after a few years say if i'm an average animator/modeller.


Average is subjective. Assuming you have a good reel and you are working for MNC for yrs. I think you should be looking at yourself earning at least the same as an arts grad in literature, english subject. Again I am not comparing an arts grad who wants in a govt body or teaching.


Quote:
i.e. i would like a Realistic field report of an animator's life, job prospects.. not the seeming animation industry fairytale that sg gov is trying to promote. lol


Think others said it well.
As for prospect, depending on how you perform. If the industry is not giving you enough opportunity, you can always try overseas.


Quote:
Please no flaming... friendly, harsh, constructive opinions are most welcomed ~


Definitely. Helping each other is the culture of our forum.


Quote:
i remember the old board had some topics on these, but it seemed they weren't brought over to the new forum.


We tried very hard to bring it back. But it went down too soon before we could do anything. Its sad to see it go. But it is good that you brought it up here again.


Quote:
So well, humbly hope to hear your opinions..


If you are considering going into this industry and really need more advise, we can meet for a coffeee. I am happy to share with you more.

Hope it helps.



David Kwok

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Fri Jan 18, 2008 3:59 am
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Post Re: Question about NTU's ADM (Animation) Vs Eggstory Vs General
hey guys,

im sorry for the late reply, was busy few days back.

The replies are very informative, thanks all !
Hope this thread would be useful to others seeking a career in the CG industry too.

@ David Kwok
i would appreciate greatly & love to chat about CG over a cup of coffee with you, PM-ed you my contact. let me know when you are available :)


Wed Jan 23, 2008 12:36 pm

Joined: Sat Dec 29, 2007 1:44 pm
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Post Re: Question about NTU's ADM (Animation) Vs Eggstory Vs General
I was very touched when I read the article below. It is written by one of my good friend whom I respect a lot. A very dedicated lecturer and a CG artist.

This is something for all of us to reflect upon. Believe in yourself and not to be afraid to fail. It doesn't matter one has no talent. As long as you keep trying, you will excel better than those who has talents. And its only when you fail, then you will succeed. It only with this spirit, our industry will have hope.

Hope the article motivates you. Keep the passion burning.

http://www.insanepoly.com/blog/?p=473

Something very meaning...

"Sometimes failure is not the worst thing in life. I don’t believe life has a better teacher than failure. If you fail once and you don’t give up on yourself, failure can only motivate you to fighter harder and work smarter. Sometimes failing also lets you know the limits of your ability, helps you to know yourself better. I can never understand why singapore can do so unforgiving of failures. Failing in school is not a sin. Some people are just not cut out for academia. Why should we equate failures in school as failures in life. It is something I could never understand. There are many things that one could do well in life even if he had never done well in school. I wonder how many people never live up to their full potential just because they let their failures in school affect them later on in life.

School is just one small part of life, the rest of your life is so much more bigger than school."


Last edited by David Kwok on Wed Feb 13, 2008 1:27 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Fri Feb 01, 2008 4:03 am
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Post Re: Question about NTU's ADM (Animation) Vs Eggstory Vs General
I have listen to this so many times, but still find this very motivating.

Hope it encourages some of you who are still struggling with a decision whether to take CG as your career.

A nice motivational speech of Steve Jobs
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JPL_NjBjUWE


A long article. A bit long but a good read for those who are still deciding whether to go for your dreams or to do something just for money.

http://www.colinandyenyen.com/wordpress ... ntentions/


Wed Feb 13, 2008 1:25 pm
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