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Old 06-06-2008, 09:56 AM   #21
Claxon
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Knowing some programming for artists can be good, since it could come in useful for generating shaders and such. Other than that I'd advise against it. Do something you enjoy. If you're not good enough at it... get better.
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Old 06-06-2008, 08:34 PM   #22
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That is the trade off I went for.

I began a 4 year Computer Science Undergraduate, got 2 and half years in and decided that if I looked at another piece of code, I'd lose my mind. Also, discrete mathematics had it's fun way with me and my GPA. I set out to look into other things.

I can easily copy any picture to a very close resemblence however my actual imaginative drawing skills are a variety of stick figure. My attention to detail FAR exceeds my ability to draw from my imagination. So I took a degree in 3D Animation and was surprised to find I was in love with it (I loved making lamps... LAMPS!!!).

So I suppose my suggestion to you isn't to dive into programming... but enhance the abilities you know and love. Programmers are indeed much more sought after, but you may find yourself stuck in the role for a few years depending on where you go. So if you don't like numbers, don't do it. I'm no educational or career advisor, but if you focus on your artistic skills and build a powerful portfolio I think you have a better shot than adding programming as well. Just my opinion. Take it with a grain of salt as I am still not in the industry myself! (Hopefully soon enough!)

Tim Edwards
Yeah I agree with you to an extent. A greater focus should be on what you enjoy the most but it doesn't hurt to be well rounded in fact on the contrary you'll be more attractive. I'm not talking about seeking a degree in programming or dedicating a substantial amount of time to a field you don't even really enjoy but if you can why not take a couple of courses? Or read a couple of books? Go through a few tutorials?

Putting on your resume that you have some degree of knowledge in programming no matter wht field you want to enter would make you a lot more desirable. It can also show that you have a level of understanding for the entire (or most) of the production cycle and pipeline. This becomes more crucial when you look at the steady rate developers are adopting agile development (namely Scrum) techniques. So if you're an artist working with a team which includes a programmer or two (or few) you know what's possible, you can make small suggestions, code a little bit if needed, and/or understand some of the programming jargon they speak.
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Old 06-06-2008, 08:36 PM   #23
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Knowing some programming for artists can be good, since it could come in useful for generating shaders and such. Other than that I'd advise against it. Do something you enjoy. If you're not good enough at it... get better.
It'd be especially recommended for 3D artist and animators.
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Old 06-07-2008, 02:11 AM   #24
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I must say quality over quantity.

Games are getting shorter, whereas graphics are getting better. You do the math.

I know I have some programming background, but I actually think this isn't as much of an asset as one might think. It actually leads me to reconsider somethings that a real programmer would easily include.

It doesn't hurt, no... but does it really help should be the main question.

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Old 06-07-2008, 07:39 AM   #25
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I must say quality over quantity.

Games are getting shorter, whereas graphics are getting better. You do the math.

I know I have some programming background, but I actually think this isn't as much of an asset as one might think. It actually leads me to reconsider somethings that a real programmer would easily include.

It doesn't hurt, no... but does it really help should be the main question.

Tim Edwards
I'm saying why not both
I was just suggesting in your spare time why not read up on it? During the summer if you're not too busy why not take a course (or two) on it?
I think it would really help especially depending on what development model the company is using. If you have an exceptionally eye bleeding portfolio then maybe it really will not matter. However what's more attractive would you think, a great artist with some (even basic) programming skills or a great artist with no programming knowledge. It would be great if the artist knew how his art work could properly fit into the development pipeline from multiple angle approaches.

Remember you're always trying to stand out, be well rounded, and become a more attractive asset to the company. Basics can still go a long way.
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Old 06-07-2008, 07:51 PM   #26
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I could easily debate this until I'm blue in the face, heh!

I for one have 2.5 years behind me in Computer Science and strangely despite all the programming I have done it hasn't helped me land a job, nor helped my Animation skills. If had those 2.5 years back, and worked on my portfolio... I'd be a heck of a lot better off at this point in time. Instead I'm now "moderately well rounded" and can program and animate, but neither to the level of "awesome".

Learning is never a bad thing. Do not what I'm saying as though having programming would be terrible. But I do think if you specialize in something, your skills will improve as well as actually increase your chances. I mean, never forget that every moment you will spend debugging a program or even learning the reasons behind the code are precious moments you are losing on honing your skills as an animator. Everything has it's trade off. Time costs money and vice versa.

And at the end of all of this, these are just my opinions, I actually enjoy these kinds of discussions!

Tim Edwards
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Old 06-07-2008, 10:06 PM   #27
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TimEdwards View Post
I could easily debate this until I'm blue in the face, heh!

I for one have 2.5 years behind me in Computer Science and strangely despite all the programming I have done it hasn't helped me land a job, nor helped my Animation skills. If had those 2.5 years back, and worked on my portfolio... I'd be a heck of a lot better off at this point in time. Instead I'm now "moderately well rounded" and can program and animate, but neither to the level of "awesome".

Learning is never a bad thing. Do not what I'm saying as though having programming would be terrible. But I do think if you specialize in something, your skills will improve as well as actually increase your chances. I mean, never forget that every moment you will spend debugging a program or even learning the reasons behind the code are precious moments you are losing on honing your skills as an animator. Everything has it's trade off. Time costs money and vice versa.

And at the end of all of this, these are just my opinions, I actually enjoy these kinds of discussions!

Tim Edwards

Yeah I can to .
I get what you mean though. It's just two differing opinions and I've seen blogs, post, and articles from industry folks leaning towards one or the other.
I do have one anecdote from my life. I went to an art magnet high school and believe me there was no shortage of talent.

Several classmates recieved large amounts of scholarships including full rides to schools around the nation (I think one or two went to France). Oh and heard of Cooper Union? One or two went there to. Well during senior year there was a small art competition in the community. Only three people bothered to enter. Two of them were two of the best artist in the entire school. This is no exaggeration. In fact one became a legend in the school and not only recieved a full scholarship to an art school but was offered a job, given a portfolio, and given a car! The third person was me.

Now I was pretty good but no where near their talent. I was the underdog. Both of the other people wrote me off. They were my friends and we still communicate today but to them I was no threat. So I knew I had one chance to out do them. I used another skill that I've been developing for the past few years to well round my self. My writing ability (you wont see much of that here). I won. I wrote an amazing essay and that coupled with my still slightly above average art put me to the top. They were shocked that I won and called foul. I was featured in newspapers, a magazine, was on TV, and was honored at a ceremony where one of my guest was a friend (one of the competitors).

It may not be the same but that was one of the moments I saw the importance of being well rounded and it wasn't the only time. I try to utilize every free moment of my time. When I don't feel like drawing I read. I don't feel like reading I draw, play, write, or watch. Even at work I often print articles and read them off my clipboard when there's a slow down of customers. I ranted.

Basically its a difference of opinions and I really do respect yours and you do have industry people behind you. I hope both our chosen paths lead to success.
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Old 06-14-2008, 08:14 AM   #28
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As being management in a game design company, I will give you some encouraging advice. If you have under 2 years experience but are a solid programmer your looking more around the $25.00/hour range. That roughly works out to be about $48,000 a year. Not bad for strait out of college. Programming is one of the easiest places to get a job in the gaming industry as well since it is in the most demand.

Learn some low level direct X and Open GL. Create a Drag racing game or something without any API. Make sure you use pixel shaders and lighting effects. I have seen people get jobs with just that. Your going to start Low level. so there is no need to learn an API out of the gate since by the time you get to interfacing with one, it will be outdated anyway.

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Old 06-14-2008, 12:49 PM   #29
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Quote:
Learn some low level direct X and Open GL. Create a Drag racing game or something without any API.
Both DirectX and OpenGL are APIs and most entry level programmers won't be developing that low level when they start.

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Make sure you use pixel shaders and lighting effects. I have seen people get jobs with just that.
Only if you want to be graphics programmer. The demos you present should be representative of what you want to specialise in. E.g. Physics demos for physics programmers, multiplayer for network programmers.

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Your going to start Low level.
Not in my experience. Putting someone that is inexperienced at the 'root' of the game is not a good decision.
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Old 06-14-2008, 02:42 PM   #30
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To me when HagNasty said "low level", it sounds like a low level role (doing all the easy little things) rather than low level programming.

Something I will point out though if you're desperately trying to break into programming but having little success, try looking into mobile phone game porting (j2me). Mobile developers, publishers and porting houses are always in need of more porters, simply due to the huge number of phones on the market and the fact that the technology is so fragmented. Typically a publisher will target 600+ devices with approximately 100 ports.
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