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Riya

Is it possible to get a career in 3D graphics with a computer science degree?

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Well I usually don’t come on these forms for advice, more its just to answer questions or ask very technical type questions, but I have hit a bit of a hard spot. For the last while I have been working my way through my computer science degree studying 3D graphics on the side in my own time. Thinking I would be a programmer with 3D graphics knowledge. Though lately I have been finding myself able to get in 3D graphics, modeling and animating far more then I ever could programming, I am now confident that is the side of the gaming industry I want to work in, and I know with another year or two of work I can get my skills up to the point of basic level industry standards. Of course this puts me in a hard spot, the four year college I will attend (currently at a two year right now since I am on a budget) only has a few real degree options, there is a computer science, a fine arts (drawing and painting, no computer graphics), a English, a math, and then a few history type ones. There is no electronic imaging, or interactive media type degrees to go for, the best is a graphics program (print studio type work) where I would do two years of that at one local college and finish the other two up at the other college. So I figured if anyone would know it would be the people who have been in the business. Would a four year computer science degree still let me be hireable in the world of 3D graphics (provided I have a nice demo reel and such? Or would it be the type of thing where my application wouldn’t make it past the HR department because it would be lacking in a fine arts or electronic imaging degree, so would I be better off changing gears and persueing a fine arts degree? Any thoughts on the issue are welcome, however would really like to hear from someone who has worked with the HR department or who has done HR type work before. (By the way I know you all must get these posts a lot, have read through quite a few of them but sadly most of the ones I have encountered have all been about how to get a job in programming rather then 3D graphics.)

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Yes, it is possible. But 99% of the companies require some kind of graphics background, they usually test you at the interview or require you to send some coding sample.

Anyway, degree is not must have, but it is good to have, because at the school you will mostly learn theory, but afterwards when you learn to put it in real use it is very useful, or not.. :)

I do not have any degree, but I have studied computer science at university when I was 16-17 years-old, it was worth of it. I don't really care do people have degrees or not if they just can do their work. For example, I was 18 (7 months ago) when Hybrid Graphics (NVidia Corporation) recruited me. Even if you don't want to study the whole degree I still recommend taking some courses.

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Thank you for the reply Arex, however perhaps I was to vague in what I was saying. Its not the programming side of graphics I like, but rather the visual and art side (3ds max, maya, or blender) so I would be sending in a demo reel of what I could do with a low poly count rather then lines of code so to speak.

My worry being that I won't even get to the demo reel phase, because I would have been turned away because the computer science degree deals with programming and coding and not layout and other visual arts issues.

So I guess the main question is how specific of a degree are they going to be looking for, or will just a four year degree do, since I already have invested a lot of time and money into the computer science degree I am getting close to completing.

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Hi Riya, you wrote:

>Is it possible to get a career in 3D graphics with a computer science degree?

Anything is possible. Read http://www.sloperama.com/advice/lesson50.htm. Bring in a 4-year degree, and a spectacular graphics portfolio. You weren't ignoring the need for a portfolio, right? If the portfolio is good enough, it doesn't matter all that much what the degree is in.

Tom

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Post by Riya while I was writing
My worry being that I won't even get to the demo reel phase...

You can't skip that. If you can't make a portfolio while matriculating, make it afterwards. Nothing happens overnight. This is a long journey you're embarking on.

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Sounds like a technical artist position would be something that would fit your career goals. Do you have any experience with Mel or Max script? These are things we definitely look for in our tools and technical artist positions. I would say if you want to only do some form of art, such as polygonal modeling, texture art, skinning, rigging, ect. then a computer science degree is probably not the way to go. However, if you are going down the technical artist route where building perhaps plugins for popular art packages, exporters, or even work on tools such as world builders, scene designers, ect. then stick with the comp. sci degree for sure.

That being said, I would not just get a comp. sci. degree for the sake of getting it and satifying the "i have a degree" thing. If art alone is your interests you would be much better off investing your time and money into some sort of digital art school and/or degree.

It seems like you are going down two roads and find yourself at an intersection. I would suggest picking a road and commiting to one versus trying to walk down both of them at the same time.

Hope that helps some.

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Quote:
Original post by tsloper
Quote:
Post by Riya while I was writing
My worry being that I won't even get to the demo reel phase...

You can't skip that. If you can't make a portfolio while matriculating, make it afterwards. Nothing happens overnight. This is a long journey you're embarking on.


Yes I didn't mean that I wouldn't be making a demo reel, infact I have already started some story boarding for it, but I still have about a year til my I am done with my computer science degree so lots of time to improve and perfect, or about three if I do switch over to fine arts.

What I meant is the recruiting people must get hundreds of demo reels a week, if each demo reel is five minutes in length it would be 8.33_ hours for every 100 demo reels, there must be some sort of refining process on who’s demo reel gets viewed and I want to make sure I don't get cut out in that process :)

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Riya wrote:

>I still have about a year til my I am done with my computer science degree so lots of time to improve and perfect, or about three if I do switch over to fine arts.

You didn't ask a question. But if I may reply to what you said: It would be stupid to quit your current degree track and start from scratch on another. Why not finish the one you're on, then if you want to go to art school, fine, do it.

>What I meant is the recruiting people must get hundreds of demo reels a week,

Assumption #1.

>if each demo reel is five minutes in length

Assumption #2.

>it would be 8.33_ hours for every 100 demo reels, there must be some sort of refining process on who’s demo reel gets viewed

Assumption #3.

>and I want to make sure I don't get cut out in that process :)

Three assumptions, and they're all wrong. Demo reels should be 2-3 minutes. Nobody faced with millions of demo reels (to exaggerate upon your exaggeration) would ever spend more than that - any 5-minute reel would be ejected before it hits the end.

BTW, you still didn't ask a question.

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Quote:
Original post by pammatt
Sounds like a technical artist position would be something that would fit your career goals. Do you have any experience with Mel or Max script? These are things we definitely look for in our tools and technical artist positions. I would say if you want to only do some form of art, such as polygonal modeling, texture art, skinning, rigging, ect. then a computer science degree is probably not the way to go. However, if you are going down the technical artist route where building perhaps plugins for popular art packages, exporters, or even work on tools such as world builders, scene designers, ect. then stick with the comp. sci degree for sure.

That being said, I would not just get a comp. sci. degree for the sake of getting it and satifying the "i have a degree" thing. If art alone is your interests you would be much better off investing your time and money into some sort of digital art school and/or degree.

It seems like you are going down two roads and find yourself at an intersection. I would suggest picking a road and commiting to one versus trying to walk down both of them at the same time.

Hope that helps some.


Thank you for the reply, was really something I needed to hear I think. I have been as you put it walking down the two roads for a while and its generated quite a bit of frustration. Trying to juggle both the practice that is needed to do good in art and the hard core studying that is needed to do well in programming.

I would definitely fit more into the aim for the pure art side. I tend to avoid programming at all costs unless it is needed for a class or information that I believe will be useful for me later on like flash action script, so yes the fine arts degree may take me a extra year in a half to two years to complete but it might be worth it since thats what I want to persue.

I have to admit though technical artist will be something for me to look into. Honestly despite how much I have done with modeling and texturing I really have never touched my MaxScript button (however recently picked up a book on it that I will be going through my next break in quarters where I will have free time.) so was already on my 'to do list' so to speak ^-^

Anyways just wanted to thank you again, gave me another angle of computers to explore, and as most things in it is hard to make a informed decision without being able to see the situation from all angles.

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Arex, i suggest you to change your qualification from 'software system engeneer ' to software techinician ( spelling??? ) in fact, in many countries this could lead you to legal problems, you stated that you don't have a degree ,and you are considering yourself an engeneer , usually in italy you have to take 5 years of course , you 've been hired by nvidia nad suddenly you get the qualification, this is illegal ,and it is unethical towards real graduates.

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