Introduction to Maya - Rendering in Arnold
This course will look at the fundamentals of rendering in Arnold. We'll go through the different light types available, cameras, shaders, Arnold's render settings and finally how to split an image into render passes (AOV's), before we then reassemble it i
# 1 15-11-2011 , 06:15 PM
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Escape Studio...any good?

Hi all,

Since I am mucking around to much in my spare time in which I am only doing stuff I like instead of getting a proper showreel in order I am looking into getting in one of Escape's online mentored courses, but if I read the description one either 2 :
https://www.escapestudios.co.uk/onlin...ed-3d-courses/



I get the feeling it's about learning which buttons to push and about learning any given package, I wouldn't mind some introductory stuff, but if half the time it's about "what's a polygon" kinda stuff, it's probably not for me, I really want to know how to plan shots for post, getting a storyboard in order and so on instead of learning Nuke/Maya and what not.

Another concern is when I am on their gallery and look at the stuff that has been created in a course, I don't think the work is that great, don't get me wrong I am not having a go I just don't think it is good enough for a production( and my money if this is he highest achieveable in their course)

They also mention after sales support on their courses ( in other words helping you get a job), is this any good or do they give general advice through an email.

I basically want to get into a junior-midlevel job , with a decent pay and nice jobs to do ( instead of getting coffee and cleaning out the toilets as a runner ), at a company where I can do different things and grow( and not being stuck on the roto/paint department).


As an alternative I am thinking on getting enrolled at FXPHD and follow some artclasses in my sparetime, it's cheaper but requires more discipline and no help at getting a foot in the door or creating a showreel, but I don't think it's a lesser option when knowledge is concerned.


If anyone here has something ( usefull) to say on this matter please reply.

# 2 15-11-2011 , 06:48 PM
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are you looking for a generalist role in commercials?
are you looking for an entry level job in film?
Do you know what kind of work you want to do? ie modeling, lighting, animation or maybe 2D like roto/paint, comp, matchmove.
Do you have any experience in the industry?

I like Escape, I would say it does just teach you buttons to some extent. but it differs to longer university course in that it teaches you industry skills. I think you should contact them tbh. generally they wont make you do the maya core part of the course if you have some experience in it. you might even get a discount too.
I dont understand what you mean plan shots for post? Do you mean on set advice for the DOP? Storyboarding is not generally something anyone in post production does. There are concept and lookdev artists who use photoshop tho. Do you have an example of the work you are talking about on their gallery. I've not seen the examples you have, but i find the standard of work from escape is generally quite high.
I've not been employed through escape but I hear they are like any other recruitment place. They find positions that might be interesting to you and try and get you the job. Their cut is quite high which is normal.

# 3 15-11-2011 , 08:29 PM
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Hi Honest

Thanks for your reply.
I should've said I already contacted them last week and will get a call back next week.
I also understand that they will make money out of me, which is fine as long as I benefit as well.


I haven't got any experience in the VFX industry, but through the work I do ( I work at a Dutch software reseller)I have some general knowledge about (high end) -post- production and have pretty good productknowledge from software through hardware so I am not really interested in a button pushing excercise.

Well with planning shots for post I basically mean that you talk with a cameraman/director on set to make sure it's streamlined with post as much as possible ( getting a shot with only a greenscreen for instance), this is often done in commercials/short form work where the deadlines are tight.

Storyboarding in itself isn't created in post, but it affects post dramatically( sometimes a minor tweak on the storyboard can cut off a couple of days of work with little to none effect on the endresult) and in animation features it's good to have this knowledge as well.

With regards to the "bad" results again I am not having a go at them, I am just looking at it from a harsh endresult pov ( in the end no client/superior/lead is going to give a damn on how you got there as long as you got it-right-).

This is one example where I helped the guy out with some grading.
Original can be found here:
https://212.187.212.98/bt/9149ae480c7..._w1280_q85.jpg
and if you're interested the grading ( albeit in PS)can be found here:
www.eyellem.nl/breakdown.zip
and basically all the fruitbowls and winecellar things are crap, or at least not productionquality

I wouldn't mind going over shader/lighting stuff I wouldn't even mind shading and lighting a fruitbowl if it's based on more advanced techniques ( like SSS/ DOF/Proper framing of the shot etc).

If you ask me which role I am aiming for I admit it will be hard to choose because I like it all ( from modeling to lighting and rendering, to a final composite), but if I have to choose it would probably be generalist, Film is something I'd like to do as well but I want to be at a senior level because otherwise you are in the doghouse with working mom's cleaning up shots user added image, so probably a start in broadcast/commercial, since you get more freedom ( because of budget and deadline) and responsiblity and often get to work in tight knit groups instead of 120+ crews where you are a number in some cubicle.

But what I find most important is that when it comes to quality of work I want to be at a mid level not entrylevel, even though i'd probably start entry level.

# 4 15-11-2011 , 11:14 PM
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if i'm honest I'd be really surprised if you get a mid level position.

Storyboards/treatments come in from the ad agencies, we rarely do them. We do concept art for things, but this is all done by a dedicated concept artist. So i think you are mistaken about the storyboard thing. Its generally and agency and client thing. We might advise them, but thats about it.
If you want to work on set then you need to be a supervisor, and this just comes with experience. just saying green screen isnt what is required. you need to advise people on the type of cameras, how to shoot with them for specific shots. you need to know what is and is not possible in post within the schedule of the job. i'd say there is no place for a consultant who doesn't do the cg him/herself.

you probably don't want to hear this, but i wouldn't say your work is top quality either. The easiest way to get a job as a generalist in commercials seems to be showing you can do everything a bit and also matchmove and have some knowledge of 2D. And that is exactly what escape teach. So if you think you can do that then just make a reel and save some money. you don't need to go to escape to use them as a recruitment place. also, have you tried their free tutorials? i think they have a couple of lighting ones.
The one thing i would say against escape is that you can spot and escape studios showreel a mile off. There seems to be a formula now!
have a look at some of these. I recently entered a showreel in their cgwhiz comp.
https://vimeo.com/escapestudioscgwhiz
some of them are amateur reels.

# 5 16-11-2011 , 12:38 AM
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Yeah I agree with Dom totally.

Without industry experience you are asking alot. I agree with his comment about your work as well...and in my opinion you need to give you work a bit more finess - tidy it up.

If you want to be a generalist then you will need to seriously brush up everywhere. Get a good reel together. Do some simple stuff without trying to blind people with science with hair, subsurface and all that crap. Simple is always safe.

Escape will cost a fair bit so you need to ask yourself WHAT it is you really really really wanna do before jumping into it. Take not of their free stuff. Subscribe to their letter and get a free tute every month.


Senior Level...hmmm not working in the doghouse? Wrong! If you are senior you are a responsible team member sometimes supervising. So if Joe the junior screws up you'll be the first one to be wiping his butt - he goes home, you stay late fixing his scenes.

Number in a cubicle: You'll be one regardless of crew size. Usually its the Leads, and Supervisors that arent numbers...seniors are still a number in places.

Being a runner: No you dont clean the crapper...thats the cleaners job. The runner will do some dirty work -deliver dinners, get the beer, setup desks and so on. But its an easy way in without fuss. And most of the time you'll get to learn production properly try things out, get training and choose what you want to do once you 'graduate' s to speak.

A colleague of mine was a runner for 3 years, did bits in between then went on to work as a Lighting Td on the Dark Knight and Iron Man 2 and was a look dev guy on some other stuff. He's now a generalist TD on the Total recall remake https://www.imdb.com/title/tt1386703/

anyway some food for thought

Jay

# 6 16-11-2011 , 04:43 AM
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A lot of solid and excellent advice there Dom and Jay. Wow Mastone you have a bit to think about...but if you go for it..then may all the luck in the cosmos help you along the way mate. I have always dreamed of being a modeller of some sort...sadly for me @ 43 years old the horse has bolted. I couldnt go back to being a junior I wouldnt think. I still dream of it...but the money just wouldnt cut it for me...my business (me alone no offsider) is earning in excess of $100 AU/hour at the moment...and even when Im home its above $75...so my dream will never be. With hourly rates like mine...I just cant go in reverse. BUT...if you can do what you aim to do and live the dream yourself, then give it your bestest shot my friend......I envy all of you guys getting to do what you want in life...I really do.

Then again I am in a similar position as Jay...just in construction instead. I basically do models, map them on the ground, tell everyone which direction things are...and the late nights...constantly fixing design f*** ups from the clients...LOL so I guess Im not much different.


I too subscribe to Escape Studios...and yes I have been told that they are getting a formula too...so Dom is correct there. I have looked at some of the courses and they can be hefty in price too mate....so do be careful.
cheers bullet


bullet1968

"A Darkness at Sethanon", a book I aspire to model some of the charcters and scenes
# 7 16-11-2011 , 09:30 AM
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Bullet

Im 42 mate so the horse is in the stable. we had a 40 year old junior on my last gig. I think he has gone up in the world since then.

Jay

# 8 16-11-2011 , 10:15 AM
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LOL fair call mate BUT when you do the math on the time I would need not working and studying...it would be too hard mate...5 kids and all. I dont know about your industry and earnings....but at the moment my business will turn over between 220 and 280k man...of which 75% of that will be mine...roughly. So I just cant justify it...LOL unless you van think of some crazy arse method. Night time is out...I already do 13 hour days man...so I just couldnt mentally do it. At the moment I do 10 days on and 4 days off fly in fly out...and the temp here is around mid 30°c already...it will be in the mid 40's soon...so yeh you just get too tired. Still...a dream is a dream I suppose....it would be nice to make it a reality but I have to be realistic about the real life battles first...sigh...

cheers bullet


bullet1968

"A Darkness at Sethanon", a book I aspire to model some of the charcters and scenes
# 9 16-11-2011 , 10:24 AM
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Hi Guys thanks for all the honesty and advice.

I do know that my work isn't up to par and it's not that I expect a mid level job, I want to hit a mid level -level of expertise.
I actually appreciate it when you/people my work is not good enough ( as long as your not having a go), I like it better than when people are blowing smoke up my ass
Thing is in the past I have done a Maya course and booked quite some progress during those 6 months and I want to repeat that feat.

What's mainly lacking on my part is focus and time, mainly because of the good ol' day job and it's hard to get back in the saddle after a busy period at work/private life after these interupts, that's why a good course appeals to me.
Another thing is that I am 30 years old, the job I currently have doesn't really offer me anything anymore ( learned all that I can and no payrise in the foreseeable future), I actually started working there fresh after my carpenter days, didn't know about anything and in just 4 years grew from something like a paid intern to a productspecialist and I really hope to repeat that at a postproduction facility

Before I got in CG I used to be a senior carpenter, more like a foreman and I do know that senior/lead positions are more responsible than junior ones, what I find strange is that in VFX a junior get's to go home after a **** up, because in construction I always demanded that they (interns and the likes) stayed after a **** up, so they would learn, I personally wouldn't dream of leaving if someone has to stay late because of my mistake and if the only thing I could do to help the guy/girl out is getting a coffee or something to eat I will do that.

It's also not so that I look down at people who start as runners, it's more that I don't envy their position to say the least and I really respect people who grow from a low postion to a lead position or even an own studio.
Aren't runner positions going out of fasion as well, because as far as I remember these positionscame from the fact that tapes needed to be brought to various locations captured, edited put back on tape and brought back and nowadays most things are tapeless workflows even camera's record to SSD drives nowadays.

With regards to being a number, I understand that at the end of the day everyone evenytually is a number, from what I have seen however I think in a small facility/department you"ll grow quicker since they depend on everyone a bit more, which will make the work more diverse as well and that in broadcast it's even more so.

Nice links btw Honest, do you have any links from escape graduates reels by any chance?


I am not affraid to put my money where my mouth is, but as you guys rightly pointed out it largely depends on what they offer me ( and what I want of course).
As said before if I am not convinced Escape is good for me, I will probably go for FX PHD and doing some art classes here locally ( drawing/photography ) and develop those skills alongside of getting more knowledgeable about the software.
Although my work probably doesn't reflect this I do know a fair bit about the software, it just lacks routine, sure I can track a piece of footage, but I really have to get into it again since I am not doing it on a regular basis.
It's basically the same difference as when doing a bit of DIY at home and doing construction for a living and it's really hard to get from a DIY level to a pro level.
With a course either at escape or FX PHD I hope that within a year I get a bit of routine in all the processes so if someone asks can you retopo this or track this I am able to do it .


@ bullet :
You make $4000 a week man, who did you sleep with? LOL

# 10 16-11-2011 , 12:51 PM
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I'm an Escape graduate, you could look at my reel!
I don't know any graduate reels off the top of my head. They usually have one model lit with final gather, one shot tracked and model comped in, a breakdown of the shot and will probably have a product shot of a bottle of booze.
If you got to Escape's facebook page there are two categories for their comp. young pros and amateur. just have a look through these. (and vote on my one user added image )

I studied at escape at the end of '08 and i'm leading on my 2nd job now. It doesn't take long to move up in the industry if you have the right attitude.

# 11 16-11-2011 , 02:47 PM
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Brilliant advice with a reality check. Great stuff Jay and Dom

# 12 25-08-2013 , 06:23 PM
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mastone - I don't know how old this thread is, and I am not an advanced Maya user, but i do love your character modeling. Just my little opinion. Best wishes to you.


Lil
# 13 01-10-2013 , 01:06 PM
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Hi Lil,
A bit late in response from me, but thanks for the compliment nonetheless!!!
Well I haven't been at it for a while ( I wish I could just win the lottery and muck about in Zbrush /Maya /renderman all day user added image ), but I think there are way better modellers out there than little ol'me user added image.

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