Last year, I wrote a grant for the a lab package for the software called
Maya and have been busy preparing a curriculum for a 3D Animation course
which we will offer next year. We already use Flash, Dreamweaver,
Photoshop, Illustrator and Fireworks. For those of you not familiar with
Maya it is a 3D software, and is the same professional program that was
used to produce the special effects for movies such as "Lord of the
Rings", "King Kong" and animated features like the Disney production
"The Wild." My upper level Independent Study have been working with it
already, and they say it is awesome!
So here are some statistics for your parents who do not want their
children to go into art because they cannot make any money.
* Over 400 artists worked 1.5 million hours to produce Disney's new
animated feature "The Wild".
* Starting salaries for Graphic Designers begin over $30,000. - for
3D Computer Artists they can begin their careers in the low
$40,000.s. If you know the code and can program for game design
your starting salary will be above 50K (survey from Game Developer
Magazine). I have a student who studied Animation at the Art
Institute of Dallas (2 year program), who was trained in Maya and
was hired for his first job at 42K, and three years out of college
is headed out to California with a salary in the mid 50s.
* Job opportunities for 3D artists outside of the Entertainment
Industry are growing at an alarming rate. Your students with a
scientific or medical background can consider Medical Illustration
and Scientific Visualization. Doesn't it make sense that a surgeon
could explore the human body in a 3D virtual environment before he
takes up the knife or that we can utilize 3D technical
illustrations for Aeronautics, Architecture, and even in
Education. Take a look at professional 3D artists who use Maya ,
not all of them are making animated cartoon features:
* Check out the opportunities for both of the above fields at some
of our most prestigious colleges and universities: MIT
, Texas A&M University
<http://research.cs.tamu.edu/bnl/publications.html> , and other
internet resources on Visualization
All of this is very different than when I graduated from the University
of Texas at Austin in the late 60s and my friends who were trained as
Commercial artists were so happy that they were going to make $7,000.
My own son is headed off to college next year. Besides preparing him to
handle the studio classes I know he will have to take as a Freshman and
Sophomore art student, I did two other things. I bought him a high end
Macintosh computer and Maya Unlimited - I want him to be able to send
all of those future grandchildren to college.
I urge you to select some of the programs available in your area and see
just how things have changed for artists and designers. You will
discover even the names of the majors have changed - you will find
majors in New Media or Art and Technology. I toured with my son to see
several college programs in Texas and was excited by what was offered.
Thanks, Mary Hensler
Art and Technology
Sherman High School
2201 East Lamar
Sherman, Texas 75090