Animation/3D Graphics Education
I'm looking to educate myself (both theoretically and practically) in 3D graphics design and virtual reality programming. Can you recommend any resources that would help me in my education?
Hey Darren, sorry it took so long...the dumb email was buried in a folder that I wasn't paying attention to.
I am a 3DS Max guy, so I preach that, but to start out with understanding animation, you could try to grab an old copy of Poser. That is a great way to start getting an understanding of character animation, keyframing, etc. without having to build and rig your own characters.
There is a free 3D software out there as well, called Blender. In my opinion, it is the closest thing you are going to get to platforms like 3DS Max, Maya, Cinema 4D, etc. without spending money. You can find blender tutorials all over the internet. Start with simple building manipulation and animation, then work your way up to more complexities. Search for tutorials like "building a car in Blender tutorial" or "creating a head in Blender tutorial" etc...again start simple, and study often. You'll know after weeks if it is something you REALLY want to do...talk is cheap ;#
At the point you feel you want to spend money, before you go into a full-blown 3D program, you may want to look at Adobe Creative Cloud, and start working towards and understanding of compositing and editing software like After Effects and Premiere, as well as Photoshop. Those are all industry leaders that will complement any 3D designer. After effects now incorporates things like 3D camera trackers, so that you are able to match 3D and 2D objects in a composite with live footage. The best source HANDS DOWN out there right now to get a grasp on what After Effects can do, and how to learn it is VideoCopilot.net. Andrew Kramer is giving away Hollywood FX secrets for FREE!!!
There are tons of resources out there, including going to a bookstore and finding a 3DS Max or Maya book...Blender may even have some authors out there.
Good luck! This is not something that you can master without TRUE diligence. You will be learning this stuff for the rest of your life! I am self-taught, so I know what path that you are embarking on. I have done free-lance work for companies like Turner Studios #Cartoon Network, TBS, TNT, etc# and now work in the professional sports industry doing this stuff. I've even been asked to teach at a local institution before as and adjunct professor. It's been a 14+ year journey getting here, but I wouldn't trade it for the world!!!