First of all, thanks for taking the time to read this post. I am aware that similar topics are posted all the time, and while aware of this, and having read various threads on this forum as well as many others, I must admit that there is a certain intangible assurance of receiving direct replies to you and your own personal inquiries/problems/etc. also, I tend to be very passionate and as a result can be verbose, so bless you for your patience and understanding if you read this whole thing and take the time to reply in kind.
so, lets begin;
I am 23 years old now, I have always loved and been inspired by games and cannot see myself being satisfied or happy doing anything else for a living. this has always been on my radar growing up, but i never took it seriously; or the implications of adulthood and how important it is to actually choose, commit to, and pursue a specific career path until adulthood hit me. Most all my other hobbies and passions have somewhat dissipated, but my love for games and the inspiration they bring has never gone away, so now I really know that this is what I want to do. Thus begins the daunting quest for knowledge and skillset to land my dream career...
It actually started in late 2009-2010, where I attended DigiPen (due to family disagreements and finances, I had to leave after the first semester.. this was dream shattering to me and I've been in a sort of emotional and creative stasis since then, it has been hard to find motivation or feel like I still have any chance of achieving my dreams) One of the problems i encountered there was not feeling as though my time and especially money would be worthwhile, even as accredited as DigiPen is; I wasn't sure their BA in game design or their BFA in production animation was going to place me exactly where i wanted ( i would prefer to do game environment, character design/modeling/again, anything you see visually in the finished product. I know i am nowhere near good enough to be a concept artist so that's not exactly on my radar)
I spent the last few years confused and hopeless. but now I have decided to go for it with everything I have left in me. unfortunately, i'm going to have to be working full time retail just to pay rent, which is going to mean less time to pursue this career I really want.
-I cannot reasonably afford school anymore, and I know the portfolio is the most important part of breaking into this industry anyways...
so, where do i begin? as far as 2d art goes, I'm pretty capable in photoshop and I create character concepts for fun in my spare time that I could really imagine being good enough to go into a game, if only I could learn to take it to that next level.
again, i am not on the level of your accomplished concept artist, and i have a natural inclination and affinity for characters, particularly in a colorful anime style. I believe, however, that the illustrations i am currently capable of are solid enough to be translated to 3d. i guess what I'm saying is that as far as the production pipeline aspect goes, i know my place. I wont be a lead concept artist, but I am a pretty good artist in my preferred style and i certainly believe I'm capable of creating 3d models and levels, environments, characters, etc.
The only thing holding me back is, well... everything. lol. I need to learn all these technical programs that i will need to land a job doing what i want to do, so I need to know what those are, and the best way of doing it.
so far I know of the following game related programs:
-Blender -3ds Max -Maya -photoshop -Unity - UDK -Zbrush -Mudbox
now, I don't know how to use any of these. aside from photoshop, that is. and even to that end, I only know it to the level of sort of a passionate hobbyist. I can get my waya round it and put out images that I'm personally satisfied with, at any rate. as far as workflow is concerned, i have often heard that if the job gets done, that is what is important at the end of the day, right?
So, which of these programs should i be learning first? where do i even begin? when and how should I be approaching building my portfolio? I know i wont be on the level i need to be for a few solid years of learning on my own.
I have blender and have been reading lots about it on the wiki, and trying to follow step by step from the very basics. I wonder if I am wasting my time with blender though, and should just start with 3ds max, maya, unity, etc? I really don't know. that's why I'm here, talking my head off in hopes that you guys can point me in the right direction.
I have also spent the also spent the last few days looking around for forums/community sites related to the industry that seem the most popular and best to me and have found:
-this site!! (gamedev.net) -CG society -Polycount -DevMaster -GameArtist -GameArtisans
For tutorials and hands on learning:
-3dmotive -Design3 -Digital-Tutors
Are these good,great, not so great? I know I'm going to need as much help as i can get and i figure the more people and connections I can make the better, because I'm not going to have that degree or internship quite as readily available as if I had been able to stay in DigiPen and progress through their system.
again, the end goal for me is to make it into the industry as an artist; that is, I have always been inspired by and more interested in pursuing the aesthetic side of game development. You know, the things you see and interact with directly on screen. While I admire and certainly respect the work that goes on underneath this, I don't believe that is the line of work for me. So, it's taken me quite a few years to truly be able to isolate a specific role of intertest for me, but there it is; I want to do things like build environments, characters, character models, etc.
now, this isn't to say that I wouldn't like to learn the necessary coding or programming skills to be able to make my own game concepts start to finish, but one thing I have heard repeatedly from experienced professionals is that it's important to have a focus for yourself in the industry, a specific role you could see yourself playing, so, that is my main goal.
I am scared that if I don't act now, one day soon I will wake up and I'll realize I'm 30, and working some job I despise, and my opportunity to make games for a living, the job I've dreamed about since a kid, has passed me by. I don't want that to happen. I will try my hardest to make this a reality. what I seek now is guidance to help get me there. I want to make the most of the time and effort I'm going to be putting in to teach myself all this complicated stuff!
if i think of anything else i have to say, as I'm sure I've forgotten things, I'll be sure to let you guys know.
till then thank you so much for reading and bearing with me