Monday, January 24, 2011

CG Jobs are Hard :`(

This article is part of a growing sentiment in the vocal disgruntled CG artists, whom I want to give a general “fuck off” to. Pardon my French. and
A lot of people come into this industry, with false/unrealistic expectations. They think they are going to be making explosions and animating lead characters, and having fun, yaaay! People are going to know their names and see them in the credits! Then it turns out to be hard work and competitive. Guys work hard but not enough work smart. They work tons of hours and a lot of people don’t get compensated for it, or rather didn’t in the early days. Companies pushed them for more and they just fold like a deck of cards then get mad that they got taken advantage of. They lash out by saying how hard this industry is and how many shit jobs there are. There are no shit jobs, just shit attitudes. I loved roto, and did it better than 99% of roto guys, why? b/c I studied the frames and found key frames in action to make the least number of keys in my rotos. Matchmover, I enjoyed that too, b/c I tried to get good, matchmove what others cannot, make clean plates that are next to impossible, use my artistic skill and push myself to be even better, faster. 3d Model clean up, I figured out how to write MEL that would automate what I could, tried to make tricks to clean up geo faster, researched other applications that can re-topo... its all what you make of it. Render rangler is one of the best jobs, you learn one of the most important things, how to trouble shoot render issues. Everything needs to be rendered, and you then become an expert at it, very valuable easy to move into other positions.
Long hours? sure. We had deadlines. I work my best at everything I was asked to do. When asked to do OT w/o pay I said I’m not available to work w/o OT pay. They said but we really need to get this done! I said yeah we do...(pause) they say, “ok fine!” then I’m like, “great lets do it!” Thats an example of push-pushback that everyone in every job needs to have. Don’t get pushed around, or when you see how you are being pushed around push back or quit. If you work hard and smart constantly trying, then you have real job security. Places you worked before will want you back, b/c you bring real value to the company. They make money off your talent = real job security.
I did and still do, go home at night and continue to test and push my FX and other CG knowledge further. Its never enough, there is no end, this is not a marathon! Its running from the “nothing” (never-ending story reference). All these people who bitch about how hard it is can go cry me a river. Work your ass off, and that’s not enough, but FUCK, you’re getting paid $100,000+/- fucking be worth it!!! Don’t cry, make your life better, work smarter, think and rethink how and what you are doing with your time. Or alternatively, leave this industry b/c its not for you (btw “games” is not another industry it’s just another format).
There are too many people already who don’t know what the hell their doing. It doesn’t take long to figure out who’s good and who’s a button pusher. Know how? It’s not 2 kinds of people, talent and button pushers, its people who never stop trying and people who do*

} //End Rant

* with the exception of super talented people who never need to try, I’m looking at you Ben Neall


netsu said...

Some of these blankets are wet.

Jens Zalzala said...

One thing I try to tell people who are new to the industry is that it's OK to say no sometimes. You'll quickly find that its not a bad thing.
The people who bitch about how unfair the industry is never had the guts to speak up when it mattered.

Joviex said...

Cry me a river.. lmfao

David Schoneveld said...

I should say I don't do FX tests EVERY night, I mean, I am human (for the most part). I also work on learning Java, and UDK.

Mingus said...

Well, that's a little simplistic. People start out in the industry anxious to get there foot in the door right of school and anxious to pay off student debts etc.. they'll say yes to whatever to get their start. Time goes by, skills increase,confidence grows, they begin to want a life and begin to stand their ground. It's just that there's a new lineup of eager, say yes to anything contingent whom the studios/shops are willing to exploit. btw, working in Canada, almost no one is making 100K. A lot of talented people working for one failed studio after another.
Yes expectations are often unrealistic, but it's a business that needs to growup and simply writing off those who seek change as crybabies is counter productive.

David Schoneveld said...

Those are great points Mingus, and in that respect I'm wrong. I was more trying to make the point about attitude and disrespecting lower skill level jobs.
I think there are definitely many sides of this industry and no one knows them all. VFXSoldier makes a lot of points that I agree with, and I think he (or she lol) is doing a great job to bring those side of the industry to light.

mickr87 said...

I'm still a student in school studying vfx, but thanks for shining a new light on the a part of the industry that I know nothing about. I've never thought about it like this..

Gustavo Ribeiro said...

Do you think that jobs in industry, are decreasing?
Or that the CG industry is still growing too?
I read about these studios that are failing, and I get a little scared.
What do you think?

David Schoneveld said...

Complex issue. I don't know, no one really does. I'd say it feels the same and the places that fail like to blame their poor business practices on anything but themselves. I've yet to hear any failed company owner say "we should have done things differently."

Gustavo Ribeiro said...

I live in Brazil and I love CG and math, and I began to study fluid dynamics and also because I want to enter the industry, but I'm afraid, killing myself to study and be good at what I do, but do not get a good job .
I need a light, someone to tell me that the industry is not as bad as everyone talks about.
Is that bad?
Be honest

Thank you david

David Schoneveld said...

I think the industry is getting better. Look, theres no certainty in life. Do what you love and the money will come. Skills that create something sell-able = jobs.
Also you can move between games and film if you position yourself right.

Gustavo Ribeiro said...

I was very glad you answered me.

Thank you very very much.
I'll start posting my projects on vimeo, I hope you see.
Thanks again, you helped me a lot.

Pit said...

Great post. I'm a student in my last year as well. But I'm not a 21 year old, who never had to work in his life. I guess that's why I never pictured this industry to be nice and cosy. I worked in pretty shitty jobs with no future and little pay. Plus really dumb and nasty superiors. If I get any job in this industry,I consider myself lucky, regardless of how bad this job is, cause there are many people out there working just as hard, but under way worse condition. At least I get to do what I love.

Murder Of said...

Amen, brother - I agree with everything you said. I take a short break after the big final push, but otherwise I am constantly pushing myself to learn more techniques and explore possibilities. There are some (many?) artists who have grown complacent or jaded and settle for "good enough", and worse, try to drag down artists they consider overacheivers in order to keep themselves from feeling left behind. I had a co-worker like that tell me I and another artist needed to work less because we were "making him look bad". I lost all respect for him as soon as those words came out of his mouth.

prabhakar said...

hmmmmmmmm I am crying in a

mrfizzled said...

I came across this post while searching for a career change away from CG. I've worked hard in middling advertising production houses since the age of 22. I'm introverted and I tend to seek out fulltime CG jobs that allow for a year or two of stable work. I started out in a small non-US\non-Euro industry where the budgets were low and where we were always required to work on our own or with one other person. I'm 30 now and I'm still partially using my student reel to find work, and somehow managing it, even if they aren't the greatest jobs. Getting a bit tired of seeing my old work ;) This is since the professional jobs I do rarely allow me to produce something great and worth putting in my reel. Made the move upto Europe a few years ago and not having specialised ("super generalist" due to necessity) finding work on larger quality productions seems impossible. I did land a stable decently paying fulltime job though which I've plugged away in.

I cannot take 1 years off work to refresh my reel. While I do work late professionally the motivation to create tests for fun or work late during my free time on CG reel shots has..left me (for years it's all I did after hours so not having that is odd).

My point here is not to cry about CG as a career, just that some of us have different experiences with the industry. I envy the writer of this blog as he seems to have found a way to jump between good CG jobs with ease (I don't doubt that he works very hard at it). Much power to him.

Onto the positives..if you're new to the industry:
If you study CG, specialise as much as possible (I didn't prefering a narrative showreel piece - this is a mistake, it landed me a lot of work initially but in the long run it's not ideal, that student reel could be with you a long long time), find a way to create something totally unique in your specialisation, if you're not living near one of the major CG centres such as London UK or parts of the US, move there while you're young and still ok with living "rough". You might have multiple local production companies keen to hire you if your showreel is good, ignore that and move to a centre where the industry is well established.

I resigned my current job a week ago and I've successfully applied for 4 so-so CG jobs. Right now I'm trying to pick the one where they won't notice that I've lost interest.. ;) My work ethic is intact and I'll always get the job done but the passion isn't. It's a strange strange experience because CG is all about passion and knowing that is gone..really makes working in this a pointless affair.

David Schoneveld said...

great point, and its been a while since I wrote this and I don't feel exactly the same. I have a bit softer of an attitude, and that was more a rant based on those links above (if they still work) anyway, The industry is changing. People said 10 years and you burn out. I see it more and more at about 10 years. Where people say, Is this what I want to do with my life? Help make digital pictures that only exist on a hard drive? I get it. Its in some ways not as fulfilling as it can be. The pressures and such, make the value diminish to some, er most everyone over time, unless it/they change it for the better.