I’ve signed up for Train2Game.
I’m doing the Games Artist and Animator course.
Train2Game are an online learning organisation who teach people the practical skills needed to work in the games industry. The courses last three years, although you can finish them quicker if you are able to, and they are entirely home study-based. They call it ‘blended learning’, meaning you fit it around your day job, family life, etc. I’ve only just signed up for it and have the initial lesson booklet, but it’s just an introduction to the history of games and the role of the artist/animator, nothing taxing so far.
They teach modelling and animation (as well as related topics like texturing and rigging), using 3ds Max. The whole point of the course is to be almost entire practical, to equip students with the kind of skills that game studios are looking for. The idea isn’t to give you a background in theory, it’s to teach you how to do the job so you’ll be able to hit the ground running.
It’s good that they teach using industry standard software: you’re far more marketable that way. It does mean I’ll be learning a new application, though, and that takes time. However, the kinds of things I was learning with Blender weren’t application-specific: mesh modelling and animation, things that are the same across most 3d apps.
The strange thing is I’ve never been a massive gamer. I played games when I was young, and occasionally as an adult, but before this year I hadn’t played anything for a couple of years. I got back into it in May this year though, when I (somewhat randomly) downloaded the Humble Bundle (the one with Braid, Limbo and Psychonauts), and was hooked. Since then I’ve bought an Xbox and started playing a mixture of classics and new games, to get up to speed, as it were.
The level and quality of animation in modern games is quite astounding. They’re incredibly realistic at times. I guess the major difference between animating for games and films is that for games you’re mostly going to be animating movement cycles, such as a walk cycle, a run, a jump – something that can be repeated.
Anyway, I can’t wait to get stuck in and start it.