3D Animation Workshop: Lesson 89: Learning 3D Graphics | WebReference

3D Animation Workshop: Lesson 89: Learning 3D Graphics

Lesson 89 - Learning 3D Graphics - Part 1

I've been teaching 3D computer graphics—modeling, animation and some specialty topics—for three years now, full time at the college level. Bringing this subject matter, and its peculiar blend of art and technology, into the curriculum of the modern college is a challenge. But things have changed quite a bit over the years. When I first began, there were mixed feeling about whether this kind of education was appropriate for general academic institutions, as opposed to art colleges or even tech colleges. Nowadays, it seems that everyone has jumped on the bandwagon. You can find education in computer graphics and multimedia (though not always 3D) everywhere from the local junior college up to the major universities. And, of course, there are many private, for-profit businesses offering 3D graphics training.

This says nothing about the quality of any of these educational programs. Those who wish to learn 3D computer modeling and animation, and are searching for training, must be prepared to do their homework. And they must be prepared to take a chance, and change gears quickly if they find that they are not getting what they expected. Be advised. Most of the education being offered out there is not worth your hard-earned money or your priceless time—especially if you are a serious and committed student. 3D graphics, perhaps more than any area of new media, is glamorous and exciting, and new minds are constantly being drawn to the field. This is a wonderful thing, but the subject matter is so large and difficult that the newcomer can hardly be in any position to judge the quality of an educational program from the outside.

I believe very strongly in formal 3D education. Yet I know that many people must learn by themselves, or at least outside a formal program, for many reasons. Some cannot afford the cost or cannot commit the scheduled time. Some just want to try things out, as will be typical of artists branching out from 2D graphics or other fields, especially as 3D takes its place on the Web. Many, increasingly, are still in high school. All these people need guidance. They need some orientation to get them going in the right direction.

Nor is self-education to be denigrated. It's not too much to say that all arts education is self-education. Even within a formal educational program, you have to take charge of your own learning if you are serious. This is particularly true in a field like 3D graphics because it is so new and so very fluid. Everyone has a different opinion about where things are going, and the serious student must take responsibility for his or her own decisions.

It‘s in this spirit that I'd like to provide some guidance from my own perspective. These ideas can be used by those who wish to get started (or continue) learning by themselves. They can, and should, also be considered by those who are looking into formal education or who are currently enrolled in formal training. I am, far more than a teacher, a student of 3D graphics, and am constantly in the process of teaching myself. Every serious teacher enters the profession primarily to study their chosen field.

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Created: Mar. 28, 2000
Revised: Mar. 28, 2000

URL: http://webreference.com/3d/lesson89/