How to study 3D animation and film making by yourself. Some mistakes and misunderstanding when you do self-study. Which 3D software should I choose?
This article is pretty much like a guidance about how to study 3D animation or film by yourself. If you are hesitating about whether to do self-study or go to college or an online course, I think this article also can help you a lot. I will write more about self-study because this article is going to help you to do this.
I write this article because I joined some online community, and chat with some guys who just do self-study on 3D modeling or animation, after that some of them find jobs in this industry. They all have very good skills, but their knowledge is not comprehensive. Most of them only can do modeling or animation, cannot do a whole video by themselves. After chats with them, I start to find some difference between the different way of study.
I try to tell you more about what I studied in school. So make you doing better when doing self-study.
These all my advice or opinions, if you do not agree with me, please do not argue.
Advantages: very very cheap, you can just use the free tutorials online to get the skills you need. But this needs a strong self-discipline. And you also can join some online website, I think some website just need $30 per month you can get a lot of tutorials.
Software: Adobe family suit(PS AE PR AU). Maya or 3D max or equivalent. These are the minimum software you need. But you also can use some free software, like use SAI to draw, and some free film editing software. In 3D you can use Blender.
Actually, they will use tons of software in studios, and each studio uses different software package. But you do not need to worry about this, because once you know some of them, the others will become simple for you. They all have some similar logic.
Advice: I advise you make some timetable to constrain yourself to practice every week. You do not need to do it every day, but at least twice a week is better. Like if you want to study 3D modeling you can try to make some small props first, and make 2 of them per week. After some months you can try to make some difficult things and these things maybe take you half a month to complete it. Keep practice is the most important things.
If you want to study animation, you can try to key some short animation per week. Just 4 seconds is ok. The most important is keep doing it not to make a super long animation.
Disadvantages: Takes more time and do not so efficient. But if you just study 3D for fun and hobby it is the best way to do. Join some online course website can let you study more efficient, but also need to spend a little money.
Actually go to college is like, arrange the online courses in order, to make students study the whole workflow and have comprehensive knowledge. And will have tutors help you. The things I studied in school, you all can find the similar course online. But if you do self-study, you will not know the best order, which should I study first?
Go to college:
Disadvantages: expensive. Sometimes you need to study something you do not like and the lecturers may not so nice.
Advantages: You can get the whole software package. You can study the whole workflow in 1 or 2 years.
Advice: Universities study is in order to let you know all the things about the industry. But when you find works, you need to be some area specialized! So use your free time to specialize in one area you like, and use it to find jobs!
It like standing between go to college and do self-study. I really like online courses, I joined a lot. Some online course has lectures can answer your questions and help you fix your problems. This kind of feedback is very useful. But this kind of courses needs you to have strong self-discipline.
Most online courses just teach you a certain area. Like just teach modeling or VFX. But they all very specialized and very good. I am studying in college, but I also join online courses to specialize my character modeling skills.
Animation and Modeling?
The animation is actually pretty different from other parts. 3D modeling makes the characters or things in videos, and animation is in order to let these things move! They are a totally different part of the industry. But in college students will get training in both parts. But when people just do self-study most of them will have some misunderstanding, in the beginning, they think do 3D animation is making a video by yourself from the start to the end. But it is not. Only 3D generalists can do the whole workflow. In the industry, most time when you just beginning your career, I suggest you find an area specialize. I specialize in 3D modeling. But I can do the whole workflow just not specialize.
If you want to make your own independent animation.
That means you need to be a generalist. That means you need to study the whole workflow.
Each stage uses different software, you can search online for study.
Modeling----uving---texturing----lighting---rendering can be done in single software, composition use Nuke or AE. Effects have 3D and 2D, 2D use AE, 3D use Houdini or others.
It is a big workflow, that is why sometimes some software is good for the big companies but not good for personal use.
You can use free software instead. Each stage all have free software can use. I suggest you try to similar to the whole workflow first, then keep practicing it.
Which 3D software should I choose?
You do not want to listen to something like"There is no industry standard, just personally prefer or studio different." Yes, it is true. But this kind of sentence is helpless.
If you want to work in film industry, study Maya first. Because most of them will use Maya. Also, they do not only use Maya but in order to find work, you need to know it at least. Think of that, more than 50% company use Maya, so why not you use it? It has 3 years free student version, it is enough for you to study.
If you want to get in architecture and interior design, study 3D Max. Why? Because 3D max is specialized in architecture and most companies use it. But that does not mean Maya or Cinema 4D cannot do the same thing, just if you use other software may take more time to do something.
If you want to do motion graphic, study Cinema 4D. Actually, a lot broadcast also uses Cinema 4D. But a lot of them studied Maya in the beginning. Once you know one software, you will study the others very very fast. Because they all have the same logic.
So the most important thing is just to start study! Once you know one of them, the other one will become very simple for you. Do not hesitate, pick up one and start study.
You are hesitating to pick up which one? Search google, find in your target industry, ask which software they use most! Do not listen to some cliches like "There is no industry standard, just personally prefer or studio different."This kind of sentence will not help you.
I just make an example. Most film companies use Maya but not only Maya. Like in Doctor Strange film they use Cinema 4D for moving building. Why do they not use Maya? Because it is too difficult for Maya to do motion graphic! Sometimes it may take Cinema 4D half hour to do some effects, but need take Maya 1 or 2 days, and you need to write code. In big film companies, they do not lack money they can use all software if they want. The efficiency is the most important thing for them. In here you might think, oh, I will study Cinema 4D. Well, I will also tell you about the shortages of Cinema 4D. First I think the modeling in it not so convenient, maybe because I use Maya in the beginning. If you want to do character animation, Maya definitely is the best! It has Advanced Skeleton and a lot quick rig plugin. But in Cinema 4D, if you want to do facial animation and with a lot of accurate controllers, you need to take a least one day to rig them manually, in Maya just half hour. That is why in motion graphics area they like to use Cinema 4D because a lot of motion graphics do not have character.
The industry, companies use some software have their own reason, you might not know in the beginning, but once you pick up one and study! You will know it eventually. Sometimes small studio and freelancer like use Cinema 4D not Maya, but in film companies, they like to use Maya. Why? Because in film companies they have a big Teach team to support them write code or do everything. Personally, if you are a freelancer I guess some of you might do not want to study write code. Write code and do procedural effects in Houdini you will have more control about the visual effects, but that also takes a lot of times and need a lot of specialized skills, that is why this kind of things only can archive in a big company but not for personal.
If I am in a big company I will use Maya Houdini workflow definitely. I have a big team to support me with technical problems. But If I am a freelancer, sometimes I think Cinema 4D is better and easy. Because it can do cool effect and simple.
I talk so much! Just want you to know how to choose your own software. The most important is just to start. If you want to use free software use Blender!
Why not the big company use Blender?
A lot of people ask this question. It is because it is free no technical support. Just an example, you are making a big film and you need to finish it in one month. Suddenly the software stop working, it can do nothing! If you use Blender you will die, no one will help you fix them. But if you use Maya or other expensive software, their team will help you let the software work as quick as possible.
I hope this article will help you.
If you like this article feel free to share the link with friends, my articles do not allow republication without permission, but you can share the link. I am not a native English speaker, I try my best to make this article as better as I can, but If there are some mistakes please excuse me.