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The state of the Industry...
show user profile  Kajico
So it's been well over 4.5 years since I did graphic design/vfx work professionally. I dropped out of it as a full time/freelance artist due to the state of the economy having affected both travel expenses for interviews and my own personal finances. I've been working in the tech industry all this time as a support/admin/engineer and now team lead. While this industry has been secure, stable, and has funded me well, I yearn for my days as an artist. I find myself with very little time to do any kind of 3D work on the side, yet I still keep up with this and many other forums and I open up my copy of Max on occasion to dable.

If i were to choose to drop everything I have today to start my VFX career a new, how hard would it be to get back in now?

What is the state of the industry? Has competition gotten worse now that there's so many schools devoted to turning out "professional grade artists" or so they claim.

Would I consider dropping my 90k a year job for an industry wrought with problems, I'd have to go back to being entry level, is that still at the 30 to 40k range or has the saturation of trade school graduates lowered that figure?

I keep on reading how many studios and clients have started outsourcing to India for the cheap. A practice common in my current work industry, but not something that has hindered me as quality English speaking engineers with common sense are worth more than a penny coder.

I'm just curious to see if I should consider a career move that's a choice mostly driven by nostalgia, or forgo my dream and stay the course in a job I don't hate, but it not on my list of 1st choices.

-Miguel S.

(\/) (°,,,°) (\/) Woop woop woop!

read 575 times
8/5/2012 8:43:53 PM (last edit: 8/5/2012 8:43:53 PM)
show user profile  Black Mariah
FWIW, the guy I get my work from HATES working with art school grads. Says they're usually too far up themselves to ever improve or take instruction, whereas self-taught artists are usually the quickest to adapt and learn.

It shouldn't be too hard to get back in. It's not like being a software developer that takes six years off to do something else. When you come back the world has changed completely and catching up will take longer than the tech will be around. Good artists are good artists regardless of the tools available.

I think it was Socrates who said... "I drank what?"

read 568 times
8/5/2012 9:06:05 PM (last edit: 8/5/2012 9:06:05 PM)
show user profile  advance-software
which industry ?

games ?
film ?
arch vis ?
3d web ?
other ?

think long & hard before jacking in a $90k a year job.
try & combine your current position/skill set with 3d in some way to get the best of both worlds.
read 545 times
8/5/2012 10:14:11 PM (last edit: 8/5/2012 10:19:44 PM)
show user profile  LionDebt
You crazy. Dropping 90 smackaroos per year to queue up for the food stamps?

Try increasing the amount of free time you have, and get really stuck into 3DS/etc and see if it's what you really want to be doing... Explore an avenue which can merge what you currently do (perhaps in a managerial/experience sort of way) with a more hands-on creative focus. Personal advice given to me years ago by a dear friend: Always move forward. Whatever your next job or career might be, it should be earning you at least $90k or more annually.

Best of luck in whatever you do, mate.
read 530 times
8/5/2012 10:32:47 PM (last edit: 8/5/2012 10:32:47 PM)
show user profile  Dr. Jim
IMHO. Whether you've been at it non-stop for years,...or whether you've never done any VFX before professionally,...or whether you've been 'doing something else' for 4 all comes down to being as easy or hard as the quality of your reel.
Your work gets you jobs.
Your work determines the type of jobs, as well as whether they are more or less money...
Your work really determines everything.

Think about it....and start cutting your reel.

read 523 times
8/5/2012 10:55:54 PM (last edit: 8/5/2012 10:55:54 PM)
show user profile  Kajico
arch vis ?
Never liked it
>>>>>3d web ?
oh god, that's a good one, my sides hurt.

Film and Print are the ones I always worked in, always wanted to get into games. Thanks for the input so far, like I said it's more of a asking "How's the waters" than me going out and taking a dive. I like my job and it pays well, but I sorely miss the work i used to do. I'm gonna try and make time to do more things but it's so hard managing my time and other people's time.

As far as demo reels go, i'd have to put a good deal of effort to build a new one, as I've lost much of my old work between computer moves.

(\/) (°,,,°) (\/) Woop woop woop!

read 493 times
8/6/2012 1:36:08 AM (last edit: 8/6/2012 1:36:08 AM)
show user profile  preciousSTONE
Larry Smith: Why you will fail to have a great career

read 477 times
8/6/2012 6:43:17 AM (last edit: 8/6/2012 6:43:17 AM)
show user profile  herfst1
Nice one, Lisa. Marry me... you're interesting.
read 470 times
8/6/2012 8:26:15 AM (last edit: 8/6/2012 8:26:15 AM)
show user profile  Kajico
unless? UNLESS?! UNLESS WHAT!? Tell me your secrets man!

Also I have a powerpoint presentation on why you should marry instead of herfst.

(\/) (°,,,°) (\/) Woop woop woop!

read 463 times
8/6/2012 8:43:51 AM (last edit: 8/6/2012 8:43:51 AM)
show user profile  Dr. Jim
Heya disrespect, going to continue my opnion:

You mention "the waters"..
"Has competition gotten worse now that there's so many schools devoted to turning out "professional grade artists" or so they claim."
- Kinda irrelevant. The CGI industry as a whole is quite new,....maybe what 15-20 years of "strong CGI"? Thats barely enough time for 1 generation of get up to speed. So combined with the improvements and price point of's pretty obvious that there are more designers/VFX artists...etc now than 5 years ago,....and 10 years ago...etc.
Its a new, rapidly evolving industry with plenty of people coming into it.
So yeah mate. It's more competitive now than 5 years ago,...or 10....and will be even more competitive 5 years from now as well!

" I'd have to go back to being entry level, is that still at the 30 to 40k range or has the saturation of trade school graduates lowered that figure?"
- If you are about as skilled as an entry level VFX artist then're gonna make that salary. And if you are Luima...then go work for ILM ;-) Your salary or position would only depend on how good you are right?.....What's there to even question?

"I'm just curious to see if I should consider a career move that's a choice mostly driven by nostalgia, or forgo my dream and stay the course in a job I don't hate, but it not on my list of 1st choices."
- Personal choice right?

So again,...."the state of the industry" is different now than 5 years ago,....BUT 5 years ago didn't your jobs/pay..etc come from your skills? So if you got the skills now you can make money....less skills = less money and so on.

Keep us posted man!

read 438 times
8/6/2012 3:10:17 PM (last edit: 8/6/2012 3:10:17 PM)
show user profile  reeves1984
Outsourcing is just for basic tasks, if you are only at the level then sure, be concerned that LOTS of people in india can also do the same thing as you, and cheaper.

So you shouldn't have to be concerned!

I've heard plenty of stories of a lot of outsourcing from big post companies where they just have to redo it back in London anyway as it's done pretty poorly, but I guess it's so cheap they can give it a shot!

Simon Reeves - VFX Artist & Blog
twitter <-- I work here

read 415 times
8/6/2012 4:30:00 PM (last edit: 8/6/2012 4:30:00 PM)
show user profile  preciousSTONE
herfst1 - Thanks, it's always nice to be proposed to :P

Kajico - A powerpoint on why I should marry you instead? Do share!

I think the state of the industry is irrelevant. What IS important is that you consider all your reasons for not doing what makes you happy. Ok, money for one. But do you have a family and kids to support? If not, maybe living a little less large isn't that big a deal. Not that I'm saying you can't be successful and make money from this industry! But all these questions you're asking about the industry are actually just looking for a way out of making a leap, and that's based on fear. But that's ok. Because once you know that, you can get over it.

We're only here once, and we don't know how long we're here for. Money isn't everything. At the end of your life, I guarantee you won't regret doing something you love. But I can pretty safely say you'll look back and go, "wow, I wish I'd spent more time doing what I want with my life, instead of 'wasting my time'"

This is another good talk and touches on the last wishes of the dying. But it's not anywhere near as morbid as it sounds! Well worth a watch:
Jane McGonigal: The game that can give you 10 extra years of life

Anyway, I'm not telling you to be silly and make a move you don't want to. I'm just saying to really think about what you want.

Let us know what you decide?

Best of luck!

read 388 times
8/7/2012 2:14:51 AM (last edit: 8/7/2012 2:14:51 AM)
show user profile  Bolteon
state of the industry?

perfectly fine.

how much money can you make? that's directly proportional to how good you are, how good you are a bullshitting people and where you choose to live.

the best money is here in southern california.

-Marko Mandaric

read 380 times
8/7/2012 2:36:04 AM (last edit: 8/7/2012 2:36:04 AM)
show user profile  ScotlandDave
Lisa - that is a really refreshing point of view on life..

Website | Blog | Contact | Vimeo

read 379 times
8/7/2012 2:36:06 AM (last edit: 8/7/2012 2:36:06 AM)
show user profile  donvella
well said lisa, reminds me of that book "dont sweat the small stuff, and its all small stuff"

read 366 times
8/7/2012 6:34:28 AM (last edit: 8/7/2012 6:34:40 AM)
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