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Using 3DS Max to make money
show user profile  cbflex
I like to think of myself as an experienced artist with 3Ds Max. I self taught everything, never took a class, just read books and practiced.
I currently work in IT doing database programming. It's actually really boring but it pays well. Im saving up my money in hopes of having enough to move to another field or starting my own business. I'd really love to be creating work in 3Ds Max and making good profit on my overall work.
I read on reddit that once an individual makes $75k a year, they won't obtain anymore happiness than they have then with a higher salary. Is there anything one can do with max to make that much?
I've been trying to come up with a list of ideas of things I could try to get into becides movies and video games. Here it is.
Architectural Modelling
Medical Animations
Educational/instructional animations
3D printing custom jewelry,models,decorum with custom engravings
Projection Mapping for events
Logo animations
Models for purchase like on turbosquid

Can anyone actually make a healthy living by doing this?
I'm currently 27 years old. I don't have the money to quit my job and join an internship for free or no-pay and with only a "chance" at landing a job I could also just as easily lose.

Also can anyone point me to some really good demo reels?
I've been working on making a new one seeing as my last one got severely downvoted on here.
My skills are primarily focused in Modelling (everything), texturing, and lighting.
I'm also really good at compositioning in After Effects.

My goal, like any artist, is to be able to make money off "my" creations. I'm already a button pusher, so I feel like working for a video game company or movie company, probably under a much lowered salary and harsher conditions where ill just be button pushing to make someone else's creation is a waste of my time and the wrong direction.

Any advice is appreciated.
read 3810 times
12/5/2013 8:28:05 PM (last edit: 12/5/2013 8:28:05 PM)
show user profile  herfst1
Advice, pick an area you like and get good at it. Any area you choose will be able to make you $75k if you're good. This isn't new advice, it's common knowledge. I've read a few threads like this and they all end up saying the same thing: first you get the money, then you get the power, then you get the women. Or, in 3D speak: first you get the demo reel, then you get the job, then you get the women. Or in pimp speak: first you get the hoes, then you get the crack, then you turn them out.
read 3801 times
12/5/2013 8:48:56 PM (last edit: 12/5/2013 8:48:56 PM)
show user profile  Dr. Jim
Your question...and even your list of 'ideas' shows a bit of a lack of industry knowledge.

Plenty of people make much more than 75K a year producing animation..etc.
You should research some of the 'industrys' that use animation.

Entertainment?: games, movies, motion design...etc
Visualization?: industrial? architectural...etc.

Then decide what area appeals to you.........then kill yourself trying to get good enough at the specific skills that area utilizes.........then get a job making not a lot of $$...then get better and more experience...then get another job and more $$ this a few times.
This could take a short period of time if you turn out to be really good!...or a long time if you are not so good.

Keep in mind too the differences between "creative" careers...and "technical" careers.
Some fields require much more technical strength and little creative....etc..and so on.

"button pusing to make someone elses creation" is a large part of life. There are very,very few jobs (that involve a lot of money anyway) where 1 person "does it all"....and very often 'the concept' is driven by another team or often are part of the creative process.....but
it is rare to never (in a high paying position) you will be the guy that 'thinks it up' and 'produces it'.

Good luck!
And just my 2 cents....
read 3793 times
12/5/2013 9:00:15 PM (last edit: 12/5/2013 9:00:15 PM)
show user profile  LionDebt
Chiming in with my relatively little experience...

The good doctor is right, you'll likely not find a "creative" position wherein you control the project, as well as see the actual production through...

Be happy with compromise / balance.

I've been lucky in that I'm happy so long as my work involves
a) my home
b) my computer
c) 3DS Max / Photoshop
d) Sometimes some zBrush
e) A lot of retopo work

But ideally I'd enjoy more creativity in actual concepting, ie. drafting early concepts, revisions and putting forward and iterating on ideas. Which is why I've recently devoted more time to photoshop and my trusty sword (pen) and steed (tablet). So, more compromise - but I'm still figuring shit out as to how life (clients, projects, invoices, type of work) will unfold as a concept artist... And whether or not I actually enjoy it.

Two cents? Enjoy what you do. Some projects will be more fun than others, and it will be a while (depending on your skill / demo reel / portfolio / experience) until you find a salary. As soon as you stop enjoying what you do, assess the situation and make changes.

As I tend to ramble I'll - as an added bonus - run through what you've mentioned:

Architectural Modelling - Yes and no. Bespoke, high quality, 3D models of furniture with or without beautiful materials setup for vRay or mentalRay will yield good money, and I've come across a fair few studios/jobs online where they are wanting simply that. What I'd do? Get some informal jobs with a handful of studios, deliver amazing assets, build a relationship. Why not also focus on rendering interiors / exteriors etc? There are a lot of bathroom / kitchen type people on here who can help you progress in that direction.

Medical Animations - No idea. But pharmaceutical companies and by proxy the medical community (especially private sector) tend to have capital. And, seeing as 3D work is typically highly specialised and skilled... if your work is equally professional I'm sure you could reach out and make some money in this way. Personally, I wouldn't. Unless an opportunity were to arise.

Educational/instructional animations As above. Possibly a lot more scope. Reach out to universities, particularly engineering and possibly archaeological departments. But, don't step on Grants turf.

3D printing custom etc
Projection Mapping for events
Logo animations
Your skill level will sell on it's own. Plenty of emerging 3D printer tech, with companies, individuals and projects to back it all up. Projection mapping - again, if you're good... you'll earn good money and turn a living out of it...

Models for purchase like on turbosquid
Some people turn a good amount of money over from Turbosquid (and OTHER asset marketplaces). The time and effort you put in, will generally dictate the reward you recieve. The income from this will likely never amount to more than some nice pocket money each month though. Too variable.

Annnnnd finally: What do you want to do? Answer that and you might get some more solid (read: less rambling) solutions to your problem.

read 3770 times
12/5/2013 10:52:13 PM (last edit: 12/5/2013 10:52:13 PM)
show user profile  horizon
Watch this movie:

They all succeeded at doing exactly what you said you want.
One of them almost killed himself, and the other one just contemplated it.

Good luck :D

read 3765 times
12/5/2013 11:27:06 PM (last edit: 12/5/2013 11:27:06 PM)
show user profile  donvella
First, money is not what I would look at for the first 3-5 years in 3D, you wont get it. I would ask yourself, are you extremely dedicated and in the top 3 of your peers (or dedicated enough to be)? If not, run like hell.

>The good doctor is right, you'll likely not find a "creative" position wherein you control the project, as well as see the actual production through...

I would agree, if you work on anything high-end you will be a button pusher. Working on your own items or freelance gives you more creative freedom.

Thats my 2c, good luck with your choice.

read 3749 times
12/6/2013 12:23:35 AM (last edit: 12/6/2013 2:09:24 AM)
show user profile  RedStar
Donvella - are you referring to 3-5 years working in a studio or just trying to pickup freelance work?
If studio then I disagree with you on that one because I personally went from modeler to lead artist in 2.5 years.
read 3718 times
12/6/2013 5:01:32 AM (last edit: 12/6/2013 5:01:32 AM)
show user profile  donvella
3-5 years from no knowledge.

in a studio i went from artist to lead to technical director in 1 year. Titles mean shit imo (looks good on the credits though).

read 3705 times
12/6/2013 6:14:42 AM (last edit: 12/6/2013 6:21:03 AM)
show user profile  RedStar
Well I got a nice big pay bump as well hahaha.

But damn, you did amazing Donvella!

Yeah 3-5 if not more lol. I spent too much time learning nothing hahaha.
read 3701 times
12/6/2013 6:23:10 AM (last edit: 12/6/2013 6:23:10 AM)
show user profile  donvella
yeh pay is better but the workload is double :P

Still i look at my engineering mates and think, you get paid too much...

read 3697 times
12/6/2013 6:27:17 AM (last edit: 12/6/2013 6:32:14 AM)
show user profile  cbflex
Thank you all for all the replies, I read all of them more than once.

What I would love to do, is definitely modelling. I definitely enjoy the sculpting process a lot more than anything else. I don't think I have any preference in what I'm modelling.

You're right that I am not familiar with the animation industry, probably at all. While I know the software really well, and while I may have skills, I have no idea where to look for work, how to apply, what I should prepare, what my reel should be like, or even where I could post my work to provide freelance work.

I do honestly believe I have the skills, if not at least the potential, to blend well in a studio, but I can't afford 3-5 years of hard work and no pay.
I guess I need help in getting started, and getting my foot in the door.

Lets start with demo reels. Can someone point me to some good ones?
read 3654 times
12/6/2013 11:15:36 PM (last edit: 12/6/2013 11:15:36 PM)
show user profile  Spear Chuck
You might create a profile on for 3D work.

Every time I get email with job postings I look to see what requirements employers are looking for. It's not just the software employers are looking for but the work product you've produced already. Got reel?

I have a working knowledge of the software for this job. I ain'tz got the experience:

read 3603 times
12/10/2013 2:54:14 PM (last edit: 12/10/2013 2:56:57 PM)
show user profile  ccampbell
Hey CBFlex: Just wanted to add my two cents - take it how you will

It really does just take a bit of hard work and some dumb luck to get your foot in the door. I was working as a computer tech and server admin at a shitty hole in the wall laptop shop when a guy walked in and offered me a job doing 3D Modeling after talking for a few minutes. Which moved into 3D animation, motion graphics and eventually product design and development of which I continued to produce the model's, animation, and so on... Given I had tons of experience with the software's when the job came along I had relatively little experience in the real world having only worked at 2 other studios for a brief period before then.

I tell you a bit about my path because I feel like you are in a similar boat and I wanted to say this..

75k a year will defiitely make you happy-er but it certainly should not steer your path.
I just left my job of 4.5 years(i loved it!) which started as a 3d modelling gig and then into animation and motion graphics and video editing and so on all the things i LOVED doing before i started. The job paid 85k with annual raises and bonuses. It was my DREAM JOB for about 3 years. The money was good but I started thinking about that perfect world where if money was no issue, I would be doing x y or z...

I told my self for 2 years that i couldn't "afford it" or that "it would take too long" but honestly it was me scared to take the risk. I am still a little scared everyday but i love it and i'm happy. But honestly some of the hardest work I've ever done.

Conclusion :
Money will come and go, so will jobs, and opportunity's - Take the risk and do what you love! If your good at modeling or just love spending time there it should be easier to get a demo reel together. regardless of skill there is always somebody out there who needs or will settle for any style and will help you to get on your way.

Good luck to you good sir! And dont stop trying! when your ready... TAKE THE RISK!

P.S. My new company is looking for a contract Database Programmer(LAMP). We are a 3D Printing company and growing fast! email me if your interested.

Best Chris

$Entrepreneur = if((Designer + Engineer)*Programmer){Problem Solver};

read 3584 times
12/10/2013 5:58:44 PM (last edit: 12/13/2013 8:14:23 AM)
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