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 Post subject: What programmes should I be learning?
PostPosted: Mon Aug 25, 2014 5:40 pm 
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Hey guys!
Sorry for all the forum spam. Whoops.
I just had another question. I've pretty much decided I'm going to apply for MDS.
I figured a few of you here have been to/have/are teaching at MDS so might be able to help!

What programmes should I be using/read up about to get a basic understanding for my course?

What software to they use at MDS? Core components of the course etc?
Do we use Zbrush in the first year, maya, adobe after effects etc etc. What are the main ones?
Also, what kind of assignments do we have to do in order to pass our course?

I've compiled this information for the first year, but I guess I really what to know what I'm getting into.
Year 1
Foundation modelling, texturing, animation, rendering.
Also some basic art stuff, motion design, and drawing classes.
Photography.
Ends with a short individual project.

The first year initially focuses on teaching students fundamental art and design skills and knowledge. Once students have a good grasp of this, they will learn how to construct 2D and 3D assets using the appropriate industry standard tools. Students receive a good grounding in the relevant tools (such as Photoshop and Maya), but advanced techniques are not taught until later in the course. Another important skill that students will learn in their first year is how to operate a camera to produce good photographic references, which is vital for constructing animations.



P.S sorry I keep posting here, I know I should just contact the school directly, but they only gave me the small paragraph above and said they couldn't give me any examples of the assignments. I'm just one of those people that really likes know whats going on before I go spending 8 grand on a years worth of study. >.<


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 Post subject: Re: What programmes should I be learning?
PostPosted: Mon Aug 25, 2014 8:00 pm 
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You don't need to know anything before you go, Photoshop would be a plus. I knew nothing, I'd never opened a 3d program or any artistic program outside of Photoshop. In my class some people had already mucked around in 3d but most hadn't, come the end the year you couldn't tell the difference.

Worzel can tell you what they use nowadays though, I would think it would be on the website.

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 Post subject: Re: What programmes should I be learning?
PostPosted: Mon Aug 25, 2014 8:41 pm 
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Yeah haha I was told that, but I thought I would have a go at a few things to see whether I'm completely sold on VFX and animation.
I have a the rest of the year to try out new things and in combination with working I thought I'd improve on my artistic skills.

Their website didn't really cover it in that much depth, I've pretty much scoured that too. XD


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 Post subject: Re: What programmes should I be learning?
PostPosted: Mon Aug 25, 2014 9:56 pm 
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Primarily Maya as Maya covers a huge range of departments in the industry. So doesn't hurt to get familiar with it depending on what kind of person you are. Some people take to it like nothing others need a bit more time. Just different learning styles. I also had never touched anything from Maya and started 4 weeks later then my class did but managed to come away with them awards ;-) but otherwise nothing beats self teaching. Its important in our field, we can never expect be taught everything so always if you find something interesting look into it.

Digital Tutors is a online account that costs like $500 p/year and has everything you need to supplement your learning while studying. Even though study will keep you on your feet you never know what kind of weekend professional development you can do :-D

good luck I'm sure you will enjoy it :-D :bounce:

After that you are looking at programs like Nuke, Vray, Mari, Zbrush or Mudbox and the Adobe Suite (photoshop, premiere, after effects)

not sure what else really :-P :bravo:

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 Post subject: Re: What programmes should I be learning?
PostPosted: Tue Aug 26, 2014 10:51 am 
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Caldera wrote:
Sorry for all the forum spam.

Lol. It's a forum, if you don't post stuff, then nothing happens! Continue posting. :P

Yep, there's nothing wrong with getting a head start. Given it's a 3D/VFX course, you need to know Maya. No matter what area of the industry you end up in, knowing Maya and 3D in general will benefit you.

Here's an example of an exercise done by one of the "animation stream" students during the 2nd year at MDS: http://www.vimeo.com/95838559
It takes a while to get to that point. There are plenty of other exercises that lead up to full body with dialogue and emotion.
But the key things to understand in animation are physical movement and acting (or acting choices). Notice that neither of those are software based, but are 'real life' things. Although your software requirements in 2nd year Animation will be 99% Maya, you'll only use 2% of it's features. Animation is technically simple, but relies heavily on your ability to observe and understand movement, and transfer that visually onto the screen in front of you. Being good at art gives you a great stepping stone in that respect, as it does for any area of 3D. You'll also do a fair bit of video reference gathering before each exercise - filming yourself doing the action before you animate it, so you can't be camera shy! :grin:

If you choose VE, then get to know Nuke. It's a huge part of the VE stream. I'm about as far from a VE artist as you can get, so I can't offer much insight into the process or nature of it. I don't know what exercises they do, but you'll probably be compositing stuff (like 3D and 2D elements to create believable environments), cleaning plates (removing unwanted stuff from footage), tracking stuff (adding CG elements into live footage), and undoubtedly a host of other things I know nothing about!

If you do TD, then you'll get to know Maya inside out, including various renderers like Mental Ray, Vray, and possibly others (I think Renderman is on the cards). With Maya's new Bifrost in 'Maya 2015' there are more simulation tools to learn. You'll also use some Nuke, Houdini, Zbrush, Mari and pretty much whatever else is being used by the industry. As far as exercises go, it's really varied, and based on the particular thing you're learning. So it could be a dynamics simulation, or a lighting exercise. It's really about 2 things - learning the tool set in detail, and using it to create something visually pleasing (usually with the aim of photo realism). TD is software heavy, and you'll learn a LOT about Maya.

But as oatestwder said, you'll learn it all here anyway. But as a starter, learn Maya - that'll be the best help during the first year, as everyone has to use it.

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 Post subject: Re: What programmes should I be learning?
PostPosted: Tue Aug 26, 2014 1:30 pm 
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Kenworx: Cheers for all the info! I agree with the self teaching comment, I guess thats what I'm trying to do at the moment = ) theres a vast amount of resources on the net if you dig a little!

Worzel! Really appreciate your answer! Thanks for explaining the different streams... = )
Sorry, what exactly does TD mean? I can't figure it out, but I'm guessing its more aimed at lighting, and modelling, texturing?


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 Post subject: Re: What programmes should I be learning?
PostPosted: Tue Aug 26, 2014 6:26 pm 
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Sorry, TD = Technical Director. The role can involve a lot of technical challenges, and problem solving, and sits in any area of film (lighting TD, character TD etc). So this stream gives you a working knowledge of various software packages and situations, so you can be better handle any challenge you might face.

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