I have been editing and shooting for the last 6 years and I was wondering if learning a 3d program like maya or 3ds max would make me more employable , or if i should just focus on editing.
I thought about 3D and bought 3DSMax some time ago. Unfortunately my full time job as an editor doesn't allow me time to learn that program. All professional 3D programs and their plugs-ins are a whole new career. I use 3D within my editing software (smoke) but I just don't have the time to get up to speed on a professional 3D program. If you are young, single, and don't have anything else to do, you probably have time to learn the software. I hope you do. I should have started 20 years ago.
fire*, smoke*, photoshopCS3
Charlotte Public Television
Re: 3d by Mike Cohen on Aug 10, 2007 at 4:43:08 pm
If you figure out one of these programs, please write a book called "Learning 3D animation software for video editors" and I will buy the first copy.
Try Blender - for one thing it is free, and there are lots of good tutorials online. The Maya Personal Learning edition is a good way to learn that program. There is no free 3DS software.
I learned a program called anim8or, which is a free program, useful for simple animated logos, and it imports 3DS models. Some do not import correctly, but it has provided me with lots of fun using other peoples' models. As for modeling, you can do a lot with it, and the learning curve is less than for one of the expensive programs used in the industry. That being said, knowing this free program will not get you jobs, but it is a good way to learn the rudimentary concepts of 3D modeling without the time and monetary investment.
Every new thing you learn will make you more employable. If that's where your interest lies, you should go for it!
Do you already have a solid grasp of 2D graphics programs, such as After Effects and PhotoShop? It will help if you do. If you don't, I'd personally go that direction first, since the return on investment is faster and the skills gained would be versatile and fairly transferable.
I have found that half of editors love graphic work and half don't. Half of the hlaf who dig graphics are intrugued by 3D enough to tear into it. I learned on SoftImage. I'm not a manual kind of guy but there was no way around going through some tutorials. I changed em on my own as I went... you know, a peace sign for a sphere here and an imported texture for a stocker there. I had to do it this was because I just wasn't use to the interface yet. Once I was, it was like butta, not unlike hopin into AE for some animated text while editing.
I've used Lightwave, SoftImage, 3Dsmax, C4D and a handful of prosumer level apps and it's really just a matter of investing some time and focus.
I would say the more skills the better; except for a handful of one-topic specialists that work in the rarefied air of super-high-budgets, everybody further down the food chain in the middle levels of the market needs to be somewhat of a generalist these days. Even if you don't learn it very deeply, it will enable you to talk intelligebty with clents and 3-d collabotators, and that's a nice thing to have as well, even if you don't progress further.
I have always been a Lightwave fan, and had worked at learning it for a few years, but it's one of those things that's like a muscle: the longer you stay away from it, the more skill atrophies. Still, I retain enough to be able to create a scene and fly around some 3-d type, that sort of thing. It's my own fault mostly for not sticking with it harder, but you know how distractions can crop up in life. Also, it didn't help that my workplace never saw any need or desire for developing the capability.
But back to the question, and a sort of logical leap: maybe 3-d is not your bag, but extended 2-d IS.
Look into Toon Boom Studio; imagine what kind of neat stuff you can do moving 2-d flat art around in a 3-d space with a traditional drawn and inked cel animation look. This kind of stuff is the shiznit in flash animations all over the web these days, and folks often come back to this kind of thing when they want to make spots and intros and promos for things that there is no footage for.
Yes, of course, you can do much the same in AE or Motion or another compositor, and every editor should be at least familiar/conversant with one of those, if not a master of one of them, but Toon Boom is a different enough app from AE to warrant your inspection. You could try a free demo version and see if it sparks something in you. If so, then pursue it.
I agree with the above posts... if you have the time and the true desire then I'd definitely go for learning 3D to add to your marketable skill set. However (again, as mentioned above), I'd first learn a 2D-based motion graphics app first, whether it be AE, Motion or whatever. Learning something like AE (and learning it well) is a perfect interim before jumping into the realm of 3D. Plus when you know AE well enough, there are ways to "fake" 3D in AE and get the job done faster than had you originally done it in a 3D app. Getting into the real meat of 3D modeling and animation can be a highly technical adventure, much more so than 2D applications.
I've been using Lighwave 3D for over 10 years now, although I've been involved with 3D apps for longer than that. When I'm editing a video and motion graphics are involved, it's good to know which process will produce the end result fastest and/or the best quality, whether it be directly in the editing timeline with plugins, going out to AE/Shake/Motion or going out to Lightwave or some of the other 3D tools we use.
Sometimes it's not about marketable skill sets to win projects as it is skills set to simply get the job done as best and as quickly as you can do it. Knowing advanced 2D and 3D will help do this for you!
Definitely get into apps like After effects first. That I would say is almost essential to know, least in my experience as a freelance editor.
I've wondered over time if I should need to know 3D. Short answer is no.
For any project that I've worked on and has required 3D then dedicated 3D artists are brought in.
Not so for motion graphics by after effects.
Its kinda expected that you can dive into that program and get gfx done. Like someone said, if you know that program you can pull off a lot of 3D looks if you know what your doing.
And a few little plug ins like Zaxwerks which can do some lovely simple 3D and your covered for most projects.
3D is a big world. I have learned a little about Zaxwerks - it's fairly inexpensive, it's a nice tool for creating 3D logos, etc., and that wasn't too difficult. But I work with some 3D artists who can create completely photo-realistic 3D environments, and I can assure you that it's a full-time job for them, and I have no idea how they do it. And for the sake of my own health and sanity, I have no intention of learning.
It's interesting to me how being an editor is no longer just looking for the most effective ways to cut pieces of video together. The "fix it in post" mentality, combined with the advances in technology and speed, has given us great opportunities to be creative--which can be both a curse and a blessing! But it's also forced us all to become motion graphics artists, colorists, graphic designers, de facto producers, and the most maddening to me, IT experts.
More to the point, though, is that it can't hurt to add a little 3D to your arsenal, but I'd keep it simple unless that's an area you want to dive into full steam. I've found that it's more important to understand how to seamlessly integrate the higher-end 3D work into my programs, and that means mastering chromakey and tracking. Understanding how these can all work together can keep you in control of a project, then you can contract the 3D work and be the guy who puts it all together.