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Motion graphics diploma


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#1 voxyde

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Posted 14 May 2012 - 10:35 AM

basically the question is, should i try to get a diploma in motion graphics or start freelancing ?
does a diploma in this field really help ?
I'm fairly new to motion graphics but i've been working with 3ds max and after effects for a while, and recently switched to C4d and went full on hardcore motion graphics for a couple of months now, and i'm confident i can learn everything and get good without some fancy course
what do you guys think?

#2 firemind

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Posted 14 May 2012 - 11:37 AM

What will help you grow and get better? Value wise you won't be going to school for the diploma (which no one cares about), but for the stuff it will teach you. School might be a great place to network, but if you already have freelance opportunities, that may hold less value. In the end it's all about your work.
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#3 voxyde

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Posted 14 May 2012 - 02:18 PM

So if my work has production value (or will have), i don't really need a piece of paper that says that i studied this and that to get a job?
People keep telling me that i won't be able to do shit unless i have a damn piece of paper(diploma), and i want to get opinions from people who actually work in this field :P

#4 FlipSwitch

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Posted 14 May 2012 - 03:01 PM

you def dont need a diploma but going to school to network and learn certain things from instructors who freelance as well as teach is valuable... I went to community college back in the late 90's early 2000's and left when I couldn't balance my freelance work and school... what matters most in this field is a reel... you don't need to finish school but like i and firemind said there are some advantages of school... i suggest you go and just stop going when you start getting work offered to you...

#5 daveglanz

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Posted 14 May 2012 - 04:11 PM

Voxyde,

Are you just out of high school, or have you been working for a couple years already? My take - you go to school if you really need to, or think you're really going to get something out of the experience.

The field of VFX/Design/Motion Graphics doesn't necessarily demand a diploma...yet. The two most important things are your talent/skills (which you'll be honest about), and your ability to work with co-workers and clients.

You might give yourself some time to get your career started without school, and see how that goes. Give yourself the option of going to school though, and maybe research some options and weigh what type of education would be best. A 4 year program? Do you want to pursue a masters degree? Maybe something like FXPHD would be better, and likely a lot more affordable.

You want to think about what happens after school as much as you can before committing - student loans can be a bitch. I'd take a look at this article if you want a sense of what people are going through with student loans.
http://www.nytimes.c...heavy-debt.html

That being said, college can be a valuable experience, even if you don't use that "damn piece of paper." If you only see it as a diploma, and not an experience to get something out of, I'd definitely hold off.

#6 jayfaker

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Posted 14 May 2012 - 05:17 PM

I did four years at a university and no one has ever asked to see my degree in this field. Well, a couple of in-house jobs sorta did but only because they had a company-wide application process. Oh, and if you ever want to teach, they'll want to look at your academic history. Aside from those, most people only care about your recent work. They'll want to see your reel, and know how much of it was actually done by you.

However, if you really want to excel in this field, or in any field, or in anything, you need an education. How you get that education, and how much you get is totally up to you and where you want to end up in life. Remember, this is motion graphics, so you've got quite a few things to learn here: graphic design, animation, and storytelling (editing). All three of those could really benefit from traditional art skills, especially drawing. One way to educate yourself on these things is to do lots of research online, find the best books you can on these subjects, and read and study those books like crazy. And then practice practice practice. Do tons of tutorials online. Last, remember that technique and software skills are nice, but they are hollow when they not backed by more meaningful abilities like concepting and *ahem* marketing. You can learn these things by yourself if you have enough discipline, drive, and resilience. But I think that's where a lot of us fall short. We could probably do well enough on our own to make it through a career. But if we ever want to be awesome, most of us need help.

I just thought of this, and it makes sense to me. Formal schooling is like having a coach. You could buy all the same books that you are required to buy in college and study them and practice a lot and go out and meet people and talk to them and get feedback on your work. You could do all this without formal schooling. But most of us wouldn't. Or if we did, we wouldn't do it to the same degree as we do in school. At school we have artificially created deadlines, social networks, critiques, and goals, and instructors to push us further than we would ever go alone. Especially because as humans, we get tired, frustrated, discouraged, and lazy. So it's like having a coach when you're an athlete, shouting at you to keep going, to try harder, to do better, and to hold you accountable when you don't. It's often annoying, but you appreciate it afterwards because you accomplished so much more than if you'd been alone.

The third option is mentorship (sorta) or learning on the job. Mentorships don't really exist anymore. Internships do, but they are too often ways to let college students do menial work for cheap or free. Few people will teach you graphic design principles and concepting skills on the job. They've already learned the stuff, and now they do it intuitively, and they're too busy applying their hard-earned intuition to a current project to teach you anything close to what they know. They assume you should've learned that stuff by now because you should've gone to school like they did. So now it's too late. I mean, you definitely sharpen a lot of practical skills on the job. But while practical skills make your production value really good, they don't do much for the skills and knowledge you need to be great. Well, there are the few awesome people out there who will teach you everything they know, no matter who you are or where you meet them. Those people are the awesome exception, and I hope everyone who has a passion for learning runs into more of them. But I also need to be reasonably jaded and say that it won't happen that often.

Anyway, these are just my thoughts, and I just ran out of time or I'd edit this to make more sense. Hope this helps.

-Jim

Edited by jayfaker, 14 May 2012 - 05:24 PM.


#7 AromaKat

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Posted 14 May 2012 - 06:22 PM

I am never asked what my education level is and have even completely lost my diploma but don't care.

For sure, not having a degree does place a limitation on your options. Larger corporations require a degree to even interview. Those types of companies may not exactly be what you consider to be your cup of tea right now, but things may change as you raise a family and start seeing more value in the benefits (healthcare, 401k matching, etc).

Student loans are a bitch though, and a degree isn't required to freelance. However, I always have a sense of being looked down upon by those with higher and more prestigious degrees than I, and because of this have felt barred from the 'inner circle' of opportunity plenty of times. Its possible that this is paranoia / insecurity on my part, but its something I still deal with 8 years post-graduation.

I guarantee, you will feel ripped off when you graduate and enter the field still utterly clueless. That just comes with the territory, which is pretty much the case in any technology-based career if you think about it.

Having the time to really practice, practice, practice is a great opportunity schooling provides that may not be initially considered. Nobody will want you to learn (and make noob mistakes) on their dime.

Its a toss-up, really... But I'd say if you have the option to go to school, do it - but with caution. Either go as cheap as you can in a trade school like Video Symphony or get at least a bachelor's in fine art. I don't personally see much sense in the in-between options out there. If you ever want to be an AD / CD at a larger-sized firm, you will need that Fine Art degree.

There is a ton of great talent out there with no degree making good money.... Just don't throw away an opportunity for a good education solely because you think it can be gotten away with.

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#8 Binky

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Posted 15 May 2012 - 01:11 AM

All of the things being said here are true quite often, and the people saying it have the experience to back it up.

The people who are telling you that you need a diploma are probably also talking about resumes and CVs as a result of their experience in other industries. But this industry is quite particular. A diploma is a statement that you meet some standard of proficiency in something or other, as determined by someone or other. A resume is a statement about who has previously trusted you to do certain tasks and presumably pay you for it. So either of these is really a document that you present as a claim of your ability because you have no physical evidence of your capacities, your worth, your trustworthiness.

In this job, we make things. Things that people can see and experience. So we leave a constant trail of our accomplishments which very accurately portrays our capacities to anyone who can decipher it. And much like a resume, that history can be edited to best reflect the successes, but unlike a resume, it is real evidence of success and not merely suggestion. And unless you're flat out lying about the work in your portfolio, it's kind of unarguable evidence. So, since portfolios are an option, pretty much everyone makes hiring decisions based on the work contained therein, and any gut feelings they may have about the potential hire's personability, for the sake of the working relationship.

The question you need to ask at this point is probably a pretty hard one, and it's this: what do you want to do? It's easy and cheap enough to get quality training in software if you want to go down that route. It's not quite as cheap or easy to get quality education in design or photography or illustration or animation or filmmaking or editing or writing. Basically, if your interest is production, you can start out cheap and fast and easy. But if your interest is art and authoring, then it's gonna be a slower crawl. This is a hard question at this point because you probably haven't been exposed to a whole lot of either yet. But I imagine you have your sneaking suspicions.

Once you get that sort of decided, then you just have to cater your education to your learning style. Do you need a "coach", as mentioned? What kind of support do you need? Can you do it by yourself? Do you want exposure to things you don't know about, or do you want to blaze your own trail? etc. It's a great journey to take, either way, but make sure that you give yourself everything you can to succeed.

#9 Kmksunfire

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Posted 15 May 2012 - 07:39 PM

start freelancing, and go to school (but look into BA or BFA)
Next question?

Edited by Kmksunfire, 15 May 2012 - 07:44 PM.


#10 vozzz

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Posted 16 May 2012 - 11:18 AM

show us your work, then we can give better answers.

i never went to any college, started freelancing while i was still in high school.

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#11 daveglanz

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Posted 16 May 2012 - 02:50 PM

I'm curious what you're thinking now, Voxyde!

#12 voxyde

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Posted 19 May 2012 - 01:43 PM

hey thanks a lot for the insightful replies guys, i REALLY appreciate it. I do think an education might help me and i found a course at Hyper Island in Sweden which is probably the closest and best course i can find, and i'll be working for a while to be able to pay the tuition, and meanwhile freelance whatever i can and try to learn more stuff on my own.

I've been into 3d for a while now, like a year and a half, and started with modeling, then went to character animation and visual effects, compositing and then finally i've done a couple of motion graphics projects, and after some thought i came to the conclusion that it's really what i want to do.

So one way or the other i'm fairly confident that i'll get there, although it's true what you guys said that i might get there faster if i were to be "coached" or just get some insight from real professionals. Two months into motion graphics now, i already feel like i'm stuck at a certain level, or maybe i'm expecting progress too sudden. As for my current work progress, you can check out some of my projects at www.youtube.com/voxyde , i know some most use vimeo but my current freelance opportunities come from youtube :)
Hope i get to hear more from you guys, leave some feedback if you have time
Cheers

#13 hamax1

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Posted 26 June 2012 - 08:30 AM

agree with a lot of these guys.

to add, I got a tiny little certificate in Discreet 3DS Max program instead of doing Community College (2 year school). That turned out to be almost entirely useless. I tried to be self-initiated but the work was painfully naive.

I worked as a waiter and a barista and took my time on that important question:

what do you want to do?


Eventually I decided to go to a 4 year University and enroll in their horribly out of date animation program. But it was the foundation courses, 2 years of theory, photography, illustration, design, history that have really made it worthwhile. The next few years were very diverse as well, I had no idea about the subtle art of color-correction, or the seemingly infinite number of ways to compress video.

Everyone hates when I bring this one up too, but VOCABULARY will become a huge part of your career. You must know how and when to use terms like kerning, oscillation, line quality, ambient occlusion, global illumination, IBL, HDR, BRB, AFK, just to stay on the same page with your peers.

No matter what people say about school for digital artists, it will certainly make you want to never go back, and light a fire under your ass so hot that you will not be able to sleep until you've made cooler shit than what you were doing in class.

Oh and the networking, but that one takes some initiative no matter what community you are in, school or local pub.

best of luck!

#14 florio

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Posted 26 June 2012 - 12:55 PM

if you go to school learn design, photography, etc ... Having someone help refine your artistic abilities will serve you well in the future

~Florio

#15 vozzz

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Posted 01 July 2012 - 11:56 AM

i agree with Florio.

technical skills can be learnt from digitaltutors.com with very little expense. Learn design, photohraphy, story telling.

That's what im focusing on now.

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http://ace5studios.com <-portfolio

http://ace5education.com <-tutorials/blog/facebook page

 

http://plus.google.c...lekseyVoz/posts <- google+ page





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