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Anyone here a self-taught graphics programmer?

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yep totally self taught, i got bullied in highschool - never got the prerequisites for college so i was just stuck on my own, im pretty far now :) you might know me from devmaster, im one of the locals over there.

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I'm kindof a combination of both.  I did a bunch of 2D stuff with OpenGL when I first started, just drawing fancy 2D graphics with hardware acceleration.


Then I took graphics class at my college and was no longer afraid of 3D.  A lot of what I know is a combination of being self taught and learned in school, but mostly self taught. I'd read tutorials all the time, ask Questions here, and use Google a LOT.


I also look at designs of other engines like Ogre3D, Quake 3, Doom 3, Unreal for ideas and how artists usually do things.

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I started with Python when I was 7 years old, with some general effect writing for blender game engine. I never really took it seriously until I was about 12, and wrote my first game. It was a small marble game, that I recently ported over to Windows phone (Did the port about 3 years ago)


Currently, I don't program as much as I used to, as my time is consumed by writing science papers on the methods I develop. I do miss writing engines though.


I still have the website up for my old engine (The project is long dead)


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I'm a kinda.

I went to Full Sail University not knowing *anything* about programming. They taught me the fundamentals of programming, but it wasn't a very deep education. (Full Sail teaches a subject a month, ie: I have one month's training in linear algebra, one month's training in calculus, etc).

After I graduated, I found nothing for eight months, and I had to start working at a local pizza restaurant. It was then that I started learning graphics programming as a specialization. I found an online tutorial for deferred rendering, and just ran with it. I eventually got an XNA app running with a full deferred pipeline, post-processing, and shadows.

I spent the better part of a year on this website trying to get help to get things working and how to work out the minutia, (big thanks to L. Spiro, MJP, and Hodgman), and now I've written graphics code on Wii, PS3, Xbox 360, Wii-U, Windows 8, Windows Phone, you name it.  I will have had a job in the industry for two years in March :)

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L Spiro's got my same timeline: started when I was 14 back in high school, and learned C++ and then jumped into DirectX within a few months without a firm understanding of pointers. I started with Ivor Horton's C++ book, Programming Role Playing Games with DirectX by Jim Adams (he lives in Vegas, where I'm from), and C++ for Dummies. That year, my 9th grade final project in HTML1 was a small town "MMO" lol... Two people connected into the same world on our classroom's network, and we were able to walk around and attack each other.


10th Grade - I started to get into PSP hacking a little more and wrote some code, but didn't get too far into it. I was still working with DirectX and just starting to get exposed with Linux. I played Final Fantasy VII for the first time, and rebuilt a 3D battle engine based off of it as my HTML Web Design 2 class' final project in DirectX. My teacher was cool like that haha. I also had a really basic StarFox-like tech demo that was really basic.


11th Grade - I got into PSP homebrew programming, and became a forums junkie at psp-programming.com. THIS is where I learned most of the details on how the code works with the hardware. I learned that the GU (similar to OpenGL, but it's the PSP's graphics library) actually works on the GPU. I built an X-file model loader and released it, and became the top poster for a bit on those forums by asking questions lol. There were some robotics engineers and computer science majors going to school in Europe who were really helpful, and I actually saw Slicer4Ever from above post sometimes on there and QJ. I met a lot of people through from psp-programming, and even made friends in real-life with a few when they came out to visit some clubs in Vegas.


When I got out of high school, I released my first game: an iOS App on the iTunes App Store. Since then, I've been researching engine development, and my OpenGL skills are really coming along! I've switched over to desktop OpenGL recently, but I try to make my code compatible with iOS, Linux, Mac, and Windows.


I've read books, but mainly articles and forums online is where I get my info. Finding whitepapers, checking out math websites like wolfram, whenever I'm stuck understanding higher-level math notations have really helped. Gamasutra and GameDev.Net have some really awesome articles, tutorials, and forums that answer questions. saving us all one more question from me.


I'd like to give back by releasing code, writing some articles, and posting video tutorials on YouTube eventually, and writing articles on my website, but I'm not sure if I'll be teaching people how to do things "the right way". To be honest, I don't think there's a wrong way to do something if it works --only better ways that offer more flexibility, functionality, and efficiency.

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I'm pooh I toppest 3D engine programer world ( I think there is about 50-100 people is toppest - I'm one of them)



I start graphics programming when I was 12. I start with bulshit turtle graphics. I really hate the arthur. and keep going on.


at 1996 there is no education about 3D graphics in here .


I research all about siggraph  and graphics paper. It's so suck I'm Korean and My major was philosphy so I serious trouble reading engineering paper. ( I mean my earlier times - not now. I just more care about new hardware trand or visual art - technical stuff is nothing serious to me)


but I'm the first generation and there was no one know about 3D stuff well . I can keep join toppest group in Korea and still now on.


In Korea until now there is no good computer graphic school. I work for 16 years for this area., and I think US and other place will be same. I doubt there is high and very detail education about 3D theory and hardware education.


So cheer up if you are not teached well. don afraid of it.


Technic come from experience and by hand like old stuff - like smith.


I don't read about this thread and I don't care about "why are you the toppest kind of question - I just know by my experience-" so If you have any question or something send me a message and plz send me constructive one only.


I will be honest and truefully help you.

Edited by GeniusPooh

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I have not studied computer or graphics ACADEMICALLY .

I have studied Physics !!!

Now I work as a C++ programmer .

I love DirectX and C++ .

No one can take what you love from you.

If you love something , just dive in it.


Ask God whatever you want and just try !!!

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Hey there are some really captivating stories there.

richardjdare : yours was kind of sad :'(

Schrompf : yours was a bit bitter

and the best hacker medal : DracoLacertae


My turn then, I'm self taught at first then Academy taught. And both worlds completed each other very good.

At around 13 I started with QBasic but it took me 1 year to be good enough at imperative algorithmic to start to make a game, a copy of mario basically:


I had a mentor at the time, same age, but like two years ahead in terms of comprehension and he had a knack to really read books which I hadn't.

Then I went to Visual Basic 6, following the tracks of my mentor.

(by the way, who is this man : http://www.irisa.fr/alf/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=94&Itemid=15)

I made several little games, like a worms game and a live-chat html formatting for messages in AOL chatrooms.

I also did a serious worm game on Ti-89 calculator but the basic integrated language was too slow. Also I had to print the whole code out because the screen was too small and my code was all in a huge functions with lots of goto.

So I went over to C to harvest performance on that machine, gcc is my first C teacher, I did another horribly coded game but perfectly functional called "envahisseurs de l'espace" (space invaders).

Directly after that, I moved on back to PC and with an illegal copy of Visual Studio 6 I started my biggest indie project until now : Projet SERHuM. I planned on taking 5 years, but 5 years later I was only at like 10% of the whole dev so I gave up.

In the meantime I had joined the "classe préparatoire" which is a special elitist course to prepare for french engineering shcools.

So basically, I ended up with the 40 heads of classes of the town's high schools, doing math (12hrs/week courses), physics (11h/w), electronic (5h) and mechanic (5h) + 4hrs of severely graded weekly tests, during two years. And I don't mention the almost equivalent time that you are expected to work at home.

During this perdiod, the teachers shout at us, tell us that we are so hopeless, and yet in the same time can't stop to brag about that course path being the golden one, and that all the most important person of the country took it. (which is 70% true)

Then I passed the exams for the two majors lists of "Grandes Ecoles" (engineering schools) of the country, and some other private ones. I got accepted to the private stuff but the quality of the teaching was not as good as my first public school choice, the ENSEIRB. So I went there for 3 years and could never have been happier. We were taught true computer science from the Unix perspective all along. The school was associated with the Bordeaux 1 University laboratory (the Labri) which is the place where Shlick published his PhD. (for the one who has already seen his name doing fresnel reflections in shaders for example.)

Parallel to the engineering school I took some supplementary lessons from the University to complete a Master degree (which is looked down by engineers generally because the engineer diploma is superior).

This allowed me to study multimedia from the academic point of view, so I learned the canonical way, colors spaces, from fourier and laplace transforms to C.e.l.p. coders, by image treatment operators, as well as classic literature of image rendering theory : the rendering equation and stuff.

I also had to review Antoine Bouthors papers about cloud rendering http://www-evasion.imag.fr/Membres/Antoine.Bouthors/ during my master, in the meantime as doing some other school projects like a compiler with flex and yacc, or distributed compilation system to learn networks, or doing proper third normal form databases, or assistant researcher-related-work to make graphics visualizers for a task scheduling set of libraries/algorithms that the Labri is working on. (http://runtime.bordeaux.inria.fr/Runtime/)


After that I went to Japan to do some research on Supercomputers, then back to France I worked 4 years at e-on software, which is my greatest skill leap after my internship at Etranges Libellules. E-on software has many people graduated from the best schools of the country : Centrale and Polytechnique, and even if I had some practical C++ tricks to teach, I had many work practice to learn and stuff about 3D rendering. This gave me the chance to attend the siggraph with a full conference pass and exibitor as well since we are showing Vue and LumenRT at our booth.

I could implement crazy stuff while there like message based OpenGL engine, water rendering, caustics, tree rendering, clouds rendering and even real time indirect lighting...


But I decided it was the time to go back to Japan and now, believe it or not, I work at the desk just beside L.Spiro at tri-Ace, and I do tooling for artists and designers.


As an indie, I presented on gamedev my 2D car game before : http://www.gamedev.net/topic/564828-extreme-carnage---shoot-cars-buy-weapons-plant-defense-turrets/

I also did nuclear age on the same engine : http://forum.games-creators.org/showthread.php?t=7837

and extracted the engine into : http://sourceforge.net/projects/carnage-engine/


and many other little stuffs.


What I learned about self teaching, is that there is a severe limit. Isolation and self learning can get you somewhere, but when you are surrounded by super amazingly intelligent people then suddenly you realize that there is a "next level" and you thrive to go play in that same playground. Basically, you're pulled forward by the "masters" of the field. Then it becomes all so thrilling. You understand more and more with the years of experience, the research papers read, re-read, re-re-read...

You realize that the world is very small, and you are generally not one person away from knowing e.g. the CEO of nVidia, Carmack, Torvalds, the demo groups like Farbraush or in my case the guys of narbacular drops (portal, portal 2..), Cyril Crassin or Eric Bruneton. Yeah even you jcabeleira, we know each other through one person who is one of my colleagues right now.


To all the community, I say : you all rocks, let us all make great games !

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Self taught grahpics programmer here.  I learn mostly from books, whitepapers, and additional help from internet forums  (such as this website, and StackOverflow's gamedev section) when I have trouble finding the answers on my own.  There is more than enough material out there to learn.  I find the best way for me to learn is to pick small projects and try to accomplish them, then work your way up to bigger projects.  A good exercise to get started is to create a mini graphics engine (just the very basics, simple abstraction of shader programs, vertex buffers, textures, and the graphics context).  Then you can use this engine to power your testing and development.


Best of luck.

Edited by metsfan

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I'm self taught, but I'm not much of a graphics programmer, though I'd like to be, graphics programming since I first delved into writing my first Deferred renderer I've been fascinated with, to me graphics programming the space where imagination and logic can make magic happen.
I picked up graphics programming when I wanted to understand how the drawing worked in XNA, I had an obsession at the time to not use anything I could not understand, in terms of material I literally jumped into google "XNA drawing 3D models" which eventually turned into "3D lighting techniques" into "deferred renderer" so on and so forth, each search threw me a bone to the next and before I knew it days had passed where I'd done nothing but research.
I've faces a bunch of problems but every single one of them has been a case of me either being lazy or fudging a value or syntax up, as wonderful as graphics programming is it can be a pain to debug, especially when the problem is 1 little variable.

all of this and I'm still not all that good, I understand a bunch of concepts and I can make my way around a bunch of problems given a basic concept. But I'm not good enough to consider myself a graphics programmer just yet, theres always more stuff to learn and until I'm contributing to what there is to learn I'll just consider myself a curious person.

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