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 Is having a cert really important to enter the CG industry? 
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Post Is having a cert really important to enter the CG industry?
One look at the topic and most likely i think the reply would be "a good portfolio is more important". Well, what I mean is not getting a job, but rather how far one can go in a job.

My friend has a diploma in design related field. He applies for a 2d illustration job in one of the design company and was employed. He has worked for around 2-3 years now, and he is like always saying to me, "go get a degree, you won't get far with a diploma."

You see, one of his colleagues is a degree holder. At first, both of their jobs were the same, and my friend claims that his design standard is more or less the same as his. But in the end, the degree holder gets promoted first.

In my point of view, if I'm the boss, I would most likely promote the degree holder first because of his qualifications...

And this kind of thing applies to almost every industry.... people might say "as long as you have what it takes, you will get there". Hmm.... but in reality, all I see is people getting promoted because of their paper qualifications. So what if the diploma holder has better skills than the degree holder? The diploma guy will always still be under him. That is just how the real world works, unless one opens his/her own business. Well, that is just my point of view....

My friend always say, "People can see your work and say wah you are good, wah how did you do it, wah this, wah that, and at the end of the month, when you get your salary, people will say wah, how come your salary so pathetic"

I used to think that as long as one has the skillset, one can still go as far as those with paper qualifications. But now, I really have doubts about it.....

Can anyone please prove me wrong?

han_terry


Last edited by moderator on Sun Dec 30, 2007 1:15 am, edited 1 time in total.

Sat Dec 29, 2007 7:58 pm
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Post Re: Is having a cert really important to enter the industry?
I dunno about the design industry and how many design companies do that but as far as I know in the CG industry you'll only get promoted if you can prove yourself to your employer. It doesnt matter whether you have a degree or a diploma. This is because, CG companies only hire based on skillsets. In the design field, some companies already have a minimum requirement of a diploma, so I guess design industry will work differently and also depends on the company. So I guess your friend's colleage getting promoted might be because he proved himself to his boss, not because he has a degree. Unless you can say the boss told your friend or his colleague the reason behind the promotion was because of the degree. Then again, I might be wrong. But as far as I know, CG companies only hire and promote you depending on your skillsets and experience.

Think of it as a company. If you were the boss and two people applied to your company. One with a degree the other with a diploma. Now you see that the diploma holder has a better reel than the degree guy. Why the heck you'd wanna hire the degree holder when you know that you have to pay him higher or promote him earlier because of his degree. If I was the boss, even if they were both at the same level, I'd judge based on their experiences, not their paperwork. I need quality work, NOT "qualified" work. Same goes for promoting. The only reason a person might get higher pay will be because of his experience/skillset, NOT because of his paper. It doesnt sound rational for a boss to do that when his company is driven by the quality of the work produced. Then again, if you say that the company runs based on "qualified" work then I have nothing to say.

Anyone else to agree or disagree with my view, please do so. These is what I know so far, so I was glad to share. I might be wrong

3Dcga
Koei Entertainment Singapore
http://aminator.net/


Sat Dec 29, 2007 7:59 pm
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Post Re: Is having a cert really important to enter the industry?
is your diploma friend's work the same as before or the degree friend show better illustration work? can i say your degree friend has better design concept. i am sure the degree has some value , and he has invested time and money to improve himself , its only natural he get promoted. there are many ways to improve oneself and your friend has chosen the academic way. if i am him , i will choose my skills

simon


Sat Dec 29, 2007 8:00 pm
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Post Re: Is having a cert really important to enter the industry?
i asked my diploma friend and he said he had tried proving his skills to the company. From my point of view, their quality of work seems to be roughly the same.

But well, design is a very subjective thing in the first place. Some people might like a particular design over another for personal preferences. That's why it is rather hard to judge who is better than the other. And this is where paper qualifications come in. I can only assume that since the university gave the guy a degree in the first place maybe he can perform better. Please slap me hard on this one because I am a diploma holder, lol.

btw, in the CG industry, comparing experience in the industry and having a cert, which one is more important?

han_terry


Sat Dec 29, 2007 8:01 pm
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Post Re: Is having a cert really important to enter the industry?
No one cares where you are from. Even if you are a Master degree holder from a reputed universtiy. Your reel speaks for itself. Some might prefer a high school graduate over a master degree holder if that high school kid has a reel that surpases the degree holder.

In fact, I know someone who's working in the States who's only a high school graduate but his works are kickass. Your reel is the bottom line and I am sure a lot of people will agree with me. However, if two people have both similar quality of work, then companies will look at the amount of work experience each have and at that point of time the Master degree holder might get the job or get promotion if he/she has more industry experience. But still his cert doesnt come into play in the situation.

3Dcga
Koei Entertainment Singapore
http://aminator.net/


Sat Dec 29, 2007 8:02 pm
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Post Re: Is having a cert really important to enter the industry?
A good reel gets you a good job and it sort of ends there. Once you're in the company, it all depends on your attitude (to your work, your boss, your fellow colleagues), your aptitude (how fast and well you learn new things and retain training) and how you respond to and communicate with others.

I know of an animator who is really good in his work, but he's slow and he doesn't respond to critiques, advice, warnings etc. If you were the boss, do you think he will be promoted? In a company, it's actually quite hard to really say that one person's work is better than another since it's always a team effort. And being able to keep your job would mean you are of a certain standard so skillsets is not really the issue.

So far, all the team leaders I've worked with are diploma holders and their skills might not even be the best. But they are matured, able to lead, guide and communicate well with other departments. Not to mention handling all the scheduling and planning work.

I think Dave said this to me before "A good leader is not the one who can do the best work, but the one who can do the dirty work"

goolin


Sat Dec 29, 2007 8:03 pm
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Post Re: Is having a cert really important to enter the industry?
I think the Multimedia Graphic Design and Advertising world is a lot more different compared to the CG World.. In the CG World, I tend to think the reels and portfolio comes in first, then next comes your working experience. Having a diploma/ degree or not might depend on the company you work for, but majority of the companies I heard and know of would prefer to look at your reel and experience first.

I knew of a relative's friend who came back from Australia with a degree certificate in Multimedia and Communication Design, and he landed on a job as an art director in a local company and had a somewhat above average fresh graduate pay (Plus he has zero experience in working if not including freelance) However, this is a case which I don't think will happen to every degree certificate artists. This will rarely happen in a CG industry, unless that company is entirely brand new and could not afford more experienced artist as an art director. (In which, means you as an art director will need to be better than any other artists under you too, and able to guide and teach them more. Which to me isn't very wise for an inexperienced fresh artist that needs more learning from experienced artists about the industry.)

Besides, Animation Mentor offers only Diploma certificate for their Advance study in Character animation, and it was said in their FAQ section that your reel is more important. And most other company's career oppurtunity section in their site that I have found, would require working experience, either that, you will have to go for internship if you have no working experience.

Furthering studies to me is another gateway to gain more experience and exposure to foreign countries, it's just a costly investment and depends if you think it's worth it.

Hampsty


Sat Dec 29, 2007 8:03 pm
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Post Re: Is having a cert really important to enter the industry?
Frankly, the issue of promotion can be far more complicated and encompasses more factors then just skills or paper qualification alone. This is true in any industry, not just in CG or design industry. Just like what Goolin has pointed out, a team leader may not necessasarily have the best animation or technical skills in his work as compared to his peers. He could be someone who have better leadership skills, people skills, EQ(emotional quality) or someone who have a better relationship with the management or fellow colleagues.

Based on past working experiences, it mainly depends on 3 factors:
(1) what are the people that made up the management: Are they people who can diferentiate between good work and bad ones?
(2) what the management is looking for: Are they people who valued other qualities more than animation skills set for that specific position?
(3) the relationship between you and your superiors/co-workers (which plays a BIG part)

Hope this answers your questions.

kentheman


Sat Dec 29, 2007 8:04 pm
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Post Re: Is having a cert really important to enter the industry?
Many people has asked me questions on qualification in the past.
I will break it down here and hope this will cover most of it.

I am going to write this based on my best knowledge and experience.
These are just my thoughts. Just to share with you. So feel free to seek
a second opinion. Don't take my words for it.



Question:
In what situation do I need a degree? (When I say degree, I mean relevant degrees)

****************************************************

First of all, the way to move up in this industry is different from most industry.

Everyone enter into the industry based on portfolio. Not qualification.

Except

1) Academic Field - Lecturing
2) R&D
3) TD
4) Work for govt related companies
5) Consultant etc

Recently I have been involved in some national taskforce in manpower
development for this industry. This is the same thing I said to the consultants.

Example. If you are in an engineering field. And if you have a diploma, you
become a technician straight away. And if you have a degree, you become
an engineer.

In our CG field, it does not work that way. For example, if you have a diploma,
it does not mean that you become an animator straight away and if you have a
degree, it does not mean that you become an animation supervisor and if you have
a master degree, it does not mean you become an animation director. It does not work
that way. Its all about experience.

Another situation where you need a degree is where you want to work in US.
In order to protect any country's workforce, one country need to ensure that they have
a good reason why they are hiring you but not their locals. Unless you can prove that you
are better than them. So minimum requirements will be a degree. And preferably a US degree.
(For US case)

The last I heard is after US and Singapore have signed a FTA, now Singapore degree is also
eligible for application. (Double check I might be wrong) But still besides having a degree,
there are many many other factors that you need to prove yourself to be better than the rest.

So all the above situation is where a degree is important.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Next question.
As a CG artist, how far can I go?

Again, the way we moved up is different from other industry.

1. Remain as an artist for the rest of your life.
I know some artists who preferred to stay as an artist forever. Cos when you moved up to the supervision
level, that would mean more paperwork, less creative work, more politics, more headache, longer hours etc.
Some ended up being a counsellor, a high class admin clerk, professional ass kisser etc.
(Sorry about the comments. That is what some artist shared with me about their job)

But that does not mean talents in this category are not moving up. These talents are spending all their time in sharping their skill and learning new skill. So that they will always be in high demand. As and when there is a new company setup here, people want them and they are willing to pay them higher to get them over. So the way to move up is based on skill. And the way to measure how far you go is based on your salary and whether you are head hunted.

There are also further ways to move yourself up in your career path by remaining as an artist. Be more proactive in the international CG industry. Let more people know about you and your works. Write books, tutorials, participate in learning DVD edition, get interviewed by press, TV and website. Give talks, lectures worldwide. Conduct training. Make your own films. Participate in international festival and win awards etc. Involve in major production. This will help you in your career as an artist. If you have a reputation like this, trust me.. you are moving up globally.

One has to think of the bigger picture. Don't just figure out how far can you go within a company. What is the big deal!! as compared to how far can you go globally. I am sure you can see more matured artist taking this path.



2. Become leads, supervisors and head of department
This got nothing to do with portfolio or qualification. No one will straight away raise you to this position without experience unless you are the boss or you have connections.

Like what I have mentioned to Goolin before. Being a yes man and kiss ass leader is easy. Being a good leader that can make your management happy and yet make your peers respect you is a dirty and difficult job. Handling artists is the most difficult thing you can imagine. And it will be worst than handling nurbs. Artists are emotional people. Patience and understanding is very very important. You must care for them, listen to their problems and act on it. Its a situation of letting your heart to communicate. Not power. Then you can earn the respect. And rest assure they will give you the 101% dedication. Treat them just like your girlfriend.

That is the reason why some superivors failed. Cos they don't work their way up (cos they got in with a degree) and they don't understand artists. They used power to do their job. And trust me. That won't work for artists.

Understanding the mindset of business people is also important. Cos business people and artist don't speak the same language. If you are also handling technical people, that will make your job even more interesting.

One of my ex boss used to joke and call me the human diplomat. Cos it is really like a diplomat's job. Its the hardest thing to do. I will not go too deep into this. It is not about having a qualification or not. Its about people's skill. Whether you can earn that repsect, motivate others, make the right decision at the crucial moment, You don't have to be more skillful than the rest in your team. But you need to be knowledgeable to give the right directions and know how to prepare and train your man. Its like an army officer. Maybe someday,
I will give a lecture on leadership and share with you some experience.

And if you think being a leader will mean that you will have a highest pay and best career in the company, that may not be true. Another example. Imagine you are in the national football team. Do you think the captain make more money than the star player. Do you think the captain has a better career.



3. Moving to other areas.
There are other ways to move up. One can become a producer, animation director, film director, VFX supervisor etc. But this is all about experience and opportunities. And I won't discount "Connection" I hate to say this. But in this industry, "Connection" matters more than anything that we have discussed so far. Its all about who you know. But of course, having the right substance and elements are even more important. But connection gives you the opportunity first to enter. Then you can prove yourself if you have the right substance and elements. Else even if you have the connections, you still can't do the job without the right substance and elements.




4. Starting your own company
This is another way to move yourself up. Be your own boss. But remember one thing. Business and art don't mix. So either one. You can't be both.



Conclusion:
Most of the stuff that I discussed above from 1 to 4 do not required a cert. Life is short. So you need to figure out what do you want in life. What makes you happy and yet make a decent living. Then go for it. As an artist, we need to be creative and think out of the box. No need to do things the conventional way to make it big. There are many ways to become successful. And not everything is measured in terms of wealth as in $$$$. Be creative. Dare to be different.

Hope it helps.

--------------
David Kwok
Chairman
Singapore Animators Connection


Sat Dec 29, 2007 8:05 pm
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Post Re: Is having a cert really important to enter the industry?
One more point.. In my previous job, in fact most of our head of dpt were holding diploma and earning more than many of their team members who has a degree. In fact, some of them are even younger than their team mates who has a degree. Why??? Experience and having the right leadership quality. They started early and gain more experience than those spend tonnes of money studying. But yet did not have a good portfolio or experience.

--------------
David Kwok
Chairman
Singapore Animators Connection


Sat Dec 29, 2007 8:13 pm
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