Animator or Software engineer?

General Discussion
So i wanted to be a game coder(software engineer) for a while now. Now since i started playing this game and i saw the animations i kinda wanted to go into the field of animating. Now I know there is alot of work to be put into these fields of game development to become really good. I want to know of animators/coders in this field of video games, what u think i should do to either prep for one of these fields or not bother and go into the other one. Also tell me about your adventure and when u started and what i should do when/if i start.
Well the two you're comparing are still quite drastically different.

One is much more artistic while the other deals with mathematics, codes.

Simply put, I'd go with the one you're most naturally talented at.
One good thing to do is grab a free game engine like Unity. Familiarize yourself with concepts of modern game engines (transforms and position/rotation/scale) and perhaps how to interact with them in code.

One thing about your question is you're mentioning things like animation and software development at the same time. Typically animations are created by actually animating a mesh in, for example, 3DS Max or some other modeling program. Then the animations can be triggered through code in the game engine itself. Maybe you should provide more information on what the focus of your interest is?
Those are two completely different things. I'm a software engineer and haven't seen a 3d model in years lol. The last time I did was when I was writing an import script for 3ds max. I never in my life have done any animating.

Either way, if you want to make games with it. Learn Unity3D and make some indie games.

But you don't want to make games because the pay sucks...... Compared to almost any other field when it comes to programming.
As a career choice doing software development will give you greater opportunities if in like 6 or 10 years you decide you would rather focus outside of games. Not only that, but having computer skills as a whole is a rather useful trait to have and doing software certainly boosts your computer knowledge beyond simple every day to day desktop environment.

Many people end up doing paper work even in technical fields. However, not all have a solid programming background. If you did you can better realize where you might be able to automate some redundant or repetitive tasks where ever you end up working.
full stack software eng.

ez 200k/year
I am in the Software Field.

I would suggest trying some basic coding first and see if you like it. Lots of people want to be game coders because they like playing video games. However playing games and writing code are very different things.

You are basically using Algebra to manipulate shapes on a 3d plane step by step. You really got to like it if you want to do it as a career and it is not for everyone.
Coder salaries start at about 90,000 for entry level, and go up quickly from there.
Animators might be half of that.

Coders are always in high demand - but NOT in the video game industry as much as in web. But you have the flexibility to switch between these and other options. Keep your skills current and if what is hot changes, so can you.

Animators mostly are going to be making TV commercials for dry cleaning products in China or something... and be super lucky to ever get a video game spot. You will also spend a LOT of your career filling in the 'extra background stuff' on movie projects that are in post-production.

Coders and Animators in the game and movie industries are hired as contractors, and laid off at the end of projects. Coders might be able to see the game through its whole lifecycle. Most of the animators will get churned every new 'mini-project'.

In the rest of the software industry, coders tend to stick around for 1-3 years in any job if fulltime. Or about 6 months if contractor. There are no animator jobs in this side of things. Coders don't leave because they get laid off so much as because dong so tends to add another 10-50% onto their salary...

When animators leave a project, they tend to have to negotiate down their salary just get on a team. Only the project leads will have any security from avoiding monthly, quarterly, and in some companies, weekly layoffs...

Animators are basically like pro-athletes who top out with the salary of a plumber... You are hoping to 'make the big leagues' where you can finally land a job that pays what your brother that dropped out of school gets paid.

Coders are like street hustlers that get paid what investment bankers make. You hustled your education in community college and some home-study. You made a blog for your mom. Now you're driving 3 BMWs you bought with cash while your brother that got a Ph.D is paying a mortgage that he won't pay off until 2087...

I really admire my animator friends. They have some sweet skills and I wish I could do that stuff and make art that looked that nice. Though one of them had to move out of the USA to find work, and the other lives in a basement in Oakland near the area that was the 'killzone' ghetto I grew up in. Me, I live in the San Francisco hills with 4 cars parked out front. I do have that post-masters degree, but its in another useless since 2008 field: law. My coding skills came from 'messing around'.
If you want to give 3-D modelling a try, you should head try blender. It is free and has a lot of nice features. It has a fairly steep learning curve, but once you get used to it, it is immensely fun to play around in.
Also what courses are required to be a good programmer that i have to take in college? So i can get a head start. And if possible maybe link a site that has videos then has me solve problems?
I wouldn't go to a college for either of those fields.

What you want to do is find an IT school that delivers courses by modules. Also keep a portfolio of everything you have completed both on and off of school time. Emphasize on portfolio, since most companies in video gaming want proof of work over certificate(s).

If you go to a normal college or university, they'll expect you to do the entire course roadmap in one go, rather at your own pace which sets you and many others who delve into it up for failure.

But yeah

Portfolio, and IT course modules. Also depending on the course, if you go to a tech school that divides each module equally it should be about 450 ~ 600$ a module, over like.. 30 to 50 modules. Of course you won't need ALL of them, but if you want to make the serious dosh from software sciences, it takes time, and lots of it.
Coders are like street hustlers that get paid what investment bankers make. You hustled your education in community college and some home-study. You made a blog for your mom. Now you're driving 3 BMWs you bought with cash while your brother that got a Ph.D is paying a mortgage that he won't pay off until 2087...


If you work for a large bank and get involved in quantitative development, you can make a ton too. Even moreso if you develop you go into high freq trading development.

That's assuming that you're willing to keep up with the workload and disillusionment. Most of the CS majors that I know personally would enjoy game development a lot more than working in finance, despite the lower pay. They're passionate about it and it offers better working schedules.
3D artist/animator/generalist here. If you have a programming mind but like animation, I'd suggest rigging. It's a very logical process of setting up an entire system for the animators to use. Be a good rigger, animators will love you.

It's pretty difficult, but it pays well. It is also really satisfying, since you are essentially taking a T posed, lifeless model and bringing it to life. Think of it as creating an internal puppetry.

Also, 3ds Max is pretty industry standard (or Maya? Don't have a lot of experience with it from a rigging aspect so can't comment there), and you can use it for free for a couple of years under a student license.

I would do terrible things to get my hands on the Overwatch rigs. Dat squash and stretch.
Ok... what math subjects should i be looking for to learn? And what animation classes?
Hi Karma,

I don’t know if this will help you but here’s my input on the matter. If you want to do computer animation do NOT go to school to study it. I am currently working on a dual major with computer science and computer animation because I was on the same boat as you and I wish I just stuck with computer science.

Just about everyone I know that has a job in computer animation or as a 3D modeler wishes they didn’t waste their time on a degree because what it boils down to on a job application for computer animation is whether or not you have a good portfolio. Now I understand that school helps teach you the tools for modeling and animating and what the industry standard is but you can learn all of that for free with YouTube tutorials. Before I went to college I was teaching myself 3D modeling in Maya because I wanted to be a character modeler for game studios and learned everything from YouTube and a trial account to Lynda. After that I taught myself ZBrush, an industry standard for sculpting game characters, and started producing decent results.

When I got into college I started working on my degree in computer animation. Everything they taught me in the major though I already knew because I spent the same amount of hours that they teach in class on YouTube learning the same material.

For my computer animation major they require us to take at least one programming course but they allowed us to take more as an elective if we wanted to. So I took my first programming course and quickly learned that I had a passion for software development. The only problem is that I already got so far into computer animation so I added a second degree in computer science and pursued that.

After being in computer science for so long I came to the realization that having a degree in computer science will score you a job a whole lot faster than having a degree in computer animation. This is mainly because computer animation requires you to have a decent portfolio of work to show off before you could start applying to places.

So in conclusion I say if you want a good chance at getting a job at a game studio, study computer science. But this doesn’t mean you should give up on computer animation; just study that in your free time and work on personal projects that you’ll enjoy doing. That way when you graduate you will be able to apply for both software engineering or a 3D animation position.

****edit****

I would also like to add that a good resource for practicing your 3D animation skills is cubebrush. They’ll have free/cheap tutorials that really dive into the material and teach you a lot. If you want to do 3D character sculpting I recommend buying any of Marc Brunet’s tutorials from cubebrush. He’s an ex-blizzard employee and has taught a lot more valuable stuff in the tutorial than any of my college professors have taught me.
im a software application developer and i gotta tell ya, game programming is hard damn work but is so is animating. Hell, id say download unity and start by buying some char model pack then get programming. After a while you can start replacing those models with ones youve made. Now youve done both.
11/16/2016 04:51 PMPosted by Karma
So i wanted to be a game coder(software engineer) for a while now. Now since i started playing this game and i saw the animations i kinda wanted to go into the field of animating. Now I know there is alot of work to be put into these fields of game development to become really good. I want to know of animators/coders in this field of video games, what u think i should do to either prep for one of these fields or not bother and go into the other one. Also tell me about your adventure and when u started and what i should do when/if i start.


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