Sunday, December 18, 2005

3d is hard & we don't teach it right

“3d is hard…and it is getting harder”, this statement was made by one of the Discreet demo artists when I was at the 3DMax8 launch party here in NY. I love it because the statement is absolutely true, and also something I try to impart to my students every class.  Shrinking budgets, tighter deadlines, and staff burnout all contribute to fewer people being asked to do more and better work in less time than ever before.  I suppose that this may not be felt as much at larger effects and animation houses but how many of us can work for them? It’s not the best possible environment for a creative pro to find them selves in. The problem is that this consolidation, this compression is also evident at the higher education level that I have been teaching 3d at for the last several years.  Unless you are at a specialized 3d school the classes that you find being taught are conglomerations/aggregates of the 3d design experience.  For best effect the varying aspects of the 3d creation process and the skill sets that go with them should be introduced at first in isolation and then as students gain experience and proficiency they should be introduced to how these skills all come together in and a production pipeline to form a completed piece. One of the major problems that students face, and to be honest it is the same problem that everyone faces including myself is that 3D work (as with everything else worth doing) requires time and practice to become proficient in. It requires time to absorb the basic lessons of the medium and assimilate them into your understanding. When students are bombarded with to many different skills and concepts at once they don’t have time to assimilate each one and therefore cannot build the necessary bridges between the knowledge bits that are necessary for the higher level cognition that is essential for success in 3d.