Neat! So I’m making this post in two parts. My 1st part here is the result of simply reading the idea being proposed in the original post, that’s it. The 2nd part (in a second post) is to be my thoughts of this overall thread after I read the post in full up to, obviously, the post you see here.
1st part: So I am, in a way, the audience proposed. While I am not a school, I am a student who wishes to learn the light and dark arts of Realtime VFX (Evil Cackling goes here). I fairly recently-ish came out of a school that built its self a videogame creation based program. In fact, due to unique timing and circumstance, my input (as far as I know) helped them decide what they were going to do in their final videogame program, because I had those discussions. As such, I can tell you why they chose to move away from teaching real-time VFX in videogames at that time, which in turn may be why… [quote=“undertone, post:1, topic:1896, full:true”]
“There seems to be close to 0 programs that offer [any] programs that will put out students with the qualifications [you] are all looking for”.
So while I don’t know for certain the overall reason, this is what I got. I hope it helps.
So as I recall, the overall goal of the school I went to (and there for possibly others), was to teach a large swath of skills in a year - year three months time frame. While the timing may be VERY different for different schools, the jest of the overall goal is very likely to be the same. For a student to be hired by a studio, and in working at that studio, for nothing to be different compared to the school with in reason. To get it as close as to 1:1 as possible. Same workflow. Same (potential) hours. Same use of organization, check in check out programs. So on.
For my school, what they concluded (keeping in mind the overall goal,) was that to have any VFX in the curriculum would be too singular in focus. They decided to go for a more generalist approach, so that if someone wanted to go into something with more of a focus, they would have a solid foundation of base skills to draw from; yet they could still get a job in the industry. Modeling, animation, texturing, fairly basic node-based shader work. Very focused on environment art type stuff. Very focused on workflow and organization, particularly in the later classes. So if you would want to break in to those sorts of schools, you’ll have to show how learning VFX skills would be beneficial in other disciplines as well.
With that said, I have questions. Lots of questions. Here are some things that may be useful to consider.
Does the student you are proposing to teach already have a background in the basics of videogame creation? If so, what are those basics BEFORE we get to the VFX? Or is this curriculum going to be made with the notion that the person is absolutely clueless in any aspect videogame creation? Or to put it another way, with all due respect, could you teach your mother?
I get that in this thread it is proposed that those of us here at Realtime (who have actually worked in the industry,) can build a resource so that people that currently teach in art schools can have a educated, in-industry fall back to develop a curriculum. My question is how are you going to present that? Is RealTime going to have a wiki much like Polycount does? Is Realtime going to partner with a dedicated learning/teaching site? Or even with a school/foundational corporate backbone of a set of schools? If the lessons are hosted here, how is that going to be organized? How-or-what is going to be the method of teaching? Text? Video?
Or… why not both? I know. I too can internet. And how would all this be updated? If something is updated, do you remove the outdated stuff, or keep it as a monument to our sins? “This is how we used to do it in the old days! Something something uphill sideways!”
And of all this stuff to be formatted, what is the expected time frame of what you are to be teaching? Learned in a week? Two hours? Not every school teaches in the same time frame. Some schools give two hour classes twice a week, or in my experience, I did 25 class hours every week, plus an extra 8-11 hours on top of each day to work on whatever we had to work on. It should be kept in mind that how you allot your time for each subject, will very likely have an effect on whether a school can use it or not. Geez, I sound like I know what I’m talking about. Where did this come from? I guess it really depends how through you want to be with this idea.
The final thing I would like to point out… does everyone here remember what it was like to be a learner? Yes I know, the early days were nothing like it is now, that’s not what I mean. Yes I know, we are always learning, that’s not what I mean. I mean a new learner. Where even the basics can seem daunting. Can I do this? Why didn’t I go to Blah like my parents wanted to? Am I out of ramen? Heh heh.
It’s scary ya’ll. I mean… it’s exciting, I-can-hardly-wait-to-learn-when-do-we-start! Yet at the same time one can get filled with bemusement and awe where you go, “How in the world am I going to learn ALL this?” I’ll tell ya, the first time I ever opened Maya, for example, I literality had to catch my breath. SO MANY BUTTONS! -> IN BUTTONS! -> IN BUTTONS! Ugh! The question I remember from the earliest days is:
How am I going to learn all this?
(Of course I didn’t need to learn ALL the stuff Maya can do, but I didn’t know that then.) So as you are building your curriculum, try to recall what it was like when you learned the first time, if applicable.
Final final point, I swear this is the last one. I don’t yet have the clout, nor the know-how to say what I would put into a VFX curriculum if I was a teacher. What I can say through, is that my overall goal would be to teach how to think, not how to do. Don’t teach a recipe (How to make a fire effect in 9 easy steps!), teach a technique. It’s the students job to problem solve and use their inherent art skills of whatever they may be, it’s my, your, whoever is the teacher…es job to give the student the intellectual (is that the right word?) tools needed to problem solve.As a student, if I don’t know how to make a flip-book, for example, and that is a tool in your arsenal when you ask yourself “How am I going to make this”, then it may be something worth teaching as it is a tool that helps you in the problem solving process. Another quick example: I may be trying to use a card for an effect, when a ribbon or mesh based particle could be better. If I don’t know about it, I can’t draw from it. All this also includes, of course, teaching about efficiency and the drawbacks that can only be known by experience with a tool… so on. I can problem solve, I just don’t know what’s in the tool box. What are my options?
Alright… I’ll be back for part two after I read the rest of this post.