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Thinking of doing an Digital Media diploma/degree? Read this first.

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  #1 (permalink)  
Old 26-03-2011, 11:40 AM
Join Date: Mar 2011
Posts: 204
warning can only hope to improve
Default Thinking of doing an Digital Media diploma/degree? Read this first.

I ascertained that the course I have interest in and also qualify for is a digital media course. My initial perception of acquiring a diploma that seem cool, awesome and different from the others. The way how they propagate the course to the public is deceptive, they merely displayed the nice animation vids and galleries, but the thing they missed out is the painstaking toiling process of how they get there. And letting you to know the fact of how far would you go with that cert

But reality gives me a brutal knock on my head after completion of my year 2, yes I realize this course was not the one for me

In summary:
-the prospect is bleak in singapore, our country's market size have no room to deliver to the number of graduates(just do a simple search in jobscentral in the digital media field)
-the industry standard expects divine godly quality work
-mostly underpaid with long working hours
-specialisation in this course means that there's no room for mistake.(if you have want to jump ship to other field, those stuff taught in poly will be irrelevent, unapplicable, all going down in vain)(wasted 3 years of poly life)

In conclusion:
Take this course only if
You have infinite passion and determination in this field, else you might fizzle out halfway through (there’s a lot of quitters in my course) or you really deems that you are have the talent to be cream of the pop .
Animation/design is fun and interesting, but definitely not a practical and steady ricebowl unless you really got what it takes

from: Read: Those who have intent to take up a digital media course - SGClub Forums - Connecting Youths

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  #2 (permalink)  
Old 26-03-2011, 11:52 AM
Join Date: Mar 2011
Posts: 204
warning can only hope to improve

I've a nicer resume than lots of other people in my line (game design), have had overseas work experience in a big company that many can only dream of... and when I'm back, I realized how small the industry is and how little jobs there are to go around.

...I've friends who have worked 3-4 years, starting pay of 2k, right now, they are still drawing 2k. No bonus this or last year due to bad economy, some forced to take a pay cut or take unpaid leave... I won't even go into OT (and there's no OT pay)

...I work in the Games line, I do 3d models. And it's a line of work where 2 years down the road, technology upgrades, the workflow of your job changes, the demands on gamers gets higher and higher, while us the artists, gets less and less time to work on what we are doing.

...The government has been trying to push this industry for years (8-9 years now)... this industry is developing too slowly (even if it is developing), there's a lack of companies to choose from, the pay is low cause those companies prefer to fund their next project (we certainly don't get the kind of pay I see in the U.S.), and from day 1, everyone tells each other that to survive in this line, you'll need to have PASSION. But passion doesn't feed, that's the sad truth. So when I do have a family, am I going to have them worry about my job security all the time?

...First of all, the games industry in Singapore is not going anywhere. At least not in the next five years. We will not be able to produce any AA games with our local pool of artists. Their standards are nowhere near the level that companies like Blizzard CA hires. All the reports about which local companies developing what games are just media hype. MDA wants to attract more games companies here, and although some did, they are having trouble finding local artists who are up to the standards. They tried hiring foreigners of course, but with the law of having a certain ratio of local employees to the number of foreign employees have left a lot of game companies floundering now in Singapore.

You think Ubisoft Singapore is developing some AA titles? I'm not surprised if the employees here are just doing some backend work for the big titles that the main Ubisoft office in France is working on. That's the cold, hard truth about the gaming companies here are facing. How many game companies have you read in Digital Lifestyle that were developing XX games in one year, only to read that the companies have closed down in the next?

...What of the local artists here? ... Most of them joined this industry simply because they like to play games. Passion for playing games is not enough. What you need is a passion to MAKE games. You need to know what does developing a game means, and what it entails. Students here flocked to apply to Digipen without understanding that, and even I can't help but go "-_-;?" at their work. At the rate they are going, they won't be going anywhere after graduation.

... the games industry here is really not going anywhere. Not in the next 5, or even 10 years...Unless our local students can change their mentality about this industry and start working really hard to be one of the best, instead of thinking that "hey, game companies here need to hire a xx number of locals here anyway, so I'll definitely have a job when I graduate".

...I actually get worried for all the students joining digipen/game degrees, without understanding the industry first... I was like that when I joined my poly course, and didn't think about job opportunities until I got out to work. Your work can be good... but you won't be hired unless you're exceptional.

from: Advise about jumping from design to accounting

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  #3 (permalink)  
Old 26-03-2011, 11:55 AM
Join Date: Mar 2011
Posts: 204
warning can only hope to improve

Well, if you compare being a CG artist to being an accountant, personal banker, lawyer, civil service etc, yes it is definitely considered "underpaid". If you were to compare it to the amount of time you spend on your work with the amount of pay you're getting, then yes again, it is definitely "underpaid" and you'll have hardly any personal time and lots of OT

...Ok, since you asked, here's a realistic field report of an animator's life and problems you might likely have to face:

(1) Your relationship with your gf/bf. Sooner or later they'll complain about you having too little time for them... and your gf will ask how long she'll have to wait before she can get an LV bag from you. Also, be prepared to take some time off your personal time to work on improving your skills regularly. Again, be prepared to handle your gf's complaints when you do that.

(2) Society's pressure. This is especially so whenever you attend gatherings with your secondary school/army mates. When they ask what you're working as now and you tell them "animator", the polite ones will go "wow, cool." and the not so polite ones will go "oh." And the rest will probably scratch their heads. Also, you'll feel a bit lost when they start discussing about the fat bonuses they're getting. There're also those who'll ask you "you're still in this line?" EVERYTIME they meet you at a gathering, as if it's like they're anticipating you to quit and get a "proper" job just like the rest.

(3) Nagging parents.. things your mom's probably going to ask or say "So when're you going to get a proper job?" "What? Break again??"

The examples I gave above are only some of the worst cases you have to deal with and they're real life examples. If you can be mentally prepared for the worse cases, then hey, welcome to the club! I think one very important question you should ask yourself is what you considered most important when it comes to your career choices. If money and stability is on the top of your list, higher than job satisfaction then I'd advise you to think twice.

from: CG-3d Forum - View topic - Question about taking CG as a career.

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  #4 (permalink)  
Old 26-03-2011, 11:55 AM
Join Date: Mar 2011
Posts: 204
warning can only hope to improve

The long hours started to take its toll on the team; people grew irritable and some started to get ill. People dropped out in droves for a couple of days at a time

...The current mandatory hours are 9am to 10pm -- seven days a week -- with the occasional Saturday evening off for good behavior (at 6:30pm). This averages out to an eighty-five hour work week.

from: ea_spouse: EA: The Human Story
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  #5 (permalink)  
Old 26-03-2011, 12:01 PM
Join Date: Mar 2011
Posts: 204
warning can only hope to improve

For animation/ Game design

1. If you dun have any art bg (anime/cartoon style not counted as a lot will be done on life drawing) pls reconsider your choice as they focus a lot on visual and aesthetic.(so if you draw **** they give you **** grade) They sort of start from intermediate level so peeps with no art bg will suffer coz cannot catch up. (I failed drawing module) If not, go private.

2. if you dun like to work in grps pls reconsider

3. you will do 3d modelling which is technically heavy intensive (a lot of hot keys etc to remember)

4. a lot of things is not taught but you have to figure it out yourself (eg: drawing technic, where to bump for modelling)

5. assignment date is crazy packed with most of the materials you have to buy yourself (expensive course...)

Conclusion: 1 and half yr is mostly individual work but from then on is grp work. one cranky person can bring down the whole grp. and it is not easy to score a 2.8 gpa unless you are cream of the crop...

...Summary: Therefore, Design courses is already very tough and no life even before you step into the industry. If you are not able to put in A LOT OF efforts to research and observe. Dun go into the course no matter got passion or not.

from: SGClub Forums - Connecting Youths - View Single Post - if you are clueless about which diploma to choose, I would recommend...
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  #6 (permalink)  
Old 26-03-2011, 12:04 PM
Join Date: Mar 2011
Posts: 204
warning can only hope to improve

a diploma animator does not do the animation stuff. He only does the hand modeling and stick figure crafting in the animation company. It is however the NUS computer science 2nd Honors graduate who does the real creativity side of the animation because of his expertise. The diplomas do the bootleg work ; The graduates do the processing work.

Kids are too "myopic" in them being tunnel minded and brain dead to the aspect of career advancement.

from: Talkback - View Single Post - For those interested in taking psychology because you want to be a school counsellor
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  #7 (permalink)  
Old 26-03-2011, 12:06 PM
Join Date: Mar 2011
Posts: 204
warning can only hope to improve

I'm a newbie designer, I regret taking design diploma, and I think we're freaking underpaid in the industry.

I dont think and neither will I want to enter into the design field when I ORD.

Design is pathetic in Singapore.

[Designers] Are you being paid enough?
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  #8 (permalink)  
Old 26-03-2011, 12:13 PM
Join Date: Mar 2011
Posts: 204
warning can only hope to improve

When his company saw that he could work fast, they piled him with more work and he ended up working 16 to 18 hours a day and on weekends - all for a salary of S$1,500 a month without overtime pay.

Not only that, they owed Noel Ng (not his real name), a junior animator, six months of wages. The 26-year-old has since lodged a complaint with the Ministry of Manpower (MOM).

The creative industry - which includes digital animation, film-making and the performing arts - is an emerging one, but unionists are already concerned over the absence of union representation for those involved in it.

It is easy to see why.

"The creative industry is very small and there are only that many jobs. Whether they freelance or not, many fresh graduates put up with long hours, poor wages and a heavy workload just to establish themselves," said Mr Liew Chin Choy, vice-president of administration at the Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts.

Television commercial director of 14 years, Mr Patrick Ong, agreed.

"There is no minimum wage, wages are pushed down - locals lose out when firms hire Malaysians and Thais."

from: Absence of union representation for creative industry professionals raises concerns - Channel NewsAsia

Last edited by warning; 26-03-2011 at 12:15 PM.
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  #9 (permalink)  
Old 27-04-2011, 06:59 PM
Posts: n/a
Default Our local Animation industry

I could no longer tolerate the silence of our local artists who are unwilling to speak up when they knew the “truth” behind our misunderstood industry.

What is the truth regarding our local Animation industry, you ask? The truth is… our local industry… is dying. Dying from foreign competition from giants. Dying because our locals are not supportive of our native talents. Dying before we make an animation that is truly made in Singapore.

Perhaps you would think that I and many students who study animation are naive brats. But no one can deny the many man hours and money is pumped into the making of many of history’s most beautifully animated works. Just like any industry, the animation industry is a SERIOUS industry that is far from mere child’s play.

Without further ado, I shall set people free with the truth:

4 years ago, I, like many other animator- wannabes, joined the bandwagon of a series of upcoming courses that promised us a lot of things. They promised us that if we take their diplomas, their certificates, we will join the ranks of animators around the world. With honeyed words, advertisements and more, me and my cohorts were misled and fell into a trap, a conspiracy. Unlike most polytechnic students, I and my like-minded friends saw animation not as a fan-boy obsession but a true career. We worked hard in our modules, some of us managed to graduate. But no one not even I suspected anything wrong with the system.

After we graduated and completed our National Service. We set off to find jobs in our industry. We met this man, an industrial veteran who is the managing director of a local CG firm in Singapore. He offered to critique our work and we were for a nasty big shock.

“You want to know something? The polytechnics have not prepared you for the industry. This kind of portfolio is below the standard of what the industry is looking for.”

Later conversations with lecturers from his studio and accounts from my classmate who have been training in his studio only seek to erode my initial faith in our tertiary education in Singapore.

In one sentence, our education system has failed its citizens to make sure that we are up to the mark for the various requirements of the job market in whichever industry. This made us much more vulnerable to the influx of foreign animators, who can accept lower pay and produce higher quality work than the locals; effectively starving out the local animators and animation companies.

To make matters worse, the government managed to woo top foreign animation companies to set up shop in Singapore, effectively killing the local companies. Many of these foreign animation companies hire lesser locals and receive government funding while local companies are left to fend for themselves. If you think about it, with the billions of dollars it makes every year, does Lucasfilm Singapore require that government funding to set up shop in Singapore?
My mentor’s studio once had courses that only costed $2K with government subsidy. But now with government funding cut, the courses now costs $10K. These put a lot of financial pressure on artists with the passion for the animation industry but are financially tight. I was one of the last batches who were under the $2K scheme. Many artists like myself have already been financially drained studying in tertiary education. What they need is a job to feed themselves or in some cases repay the bank! It is not helping given the fact that our locals are being out competed due to an incompetent education system.

My mentor’s studio was far from the only victims. In 2010, Egg Story Creative Production led by a local talent, Nickson Fong, has closed down in light of the recent downturn that hit the industry It has laid off about 30 employees and rendered a major production; Kung Fu Gecko, dead. A word with a former employee there spoke of funding cuts from the government which hastened its demise. Nickson Fong is now nowhere to be seen or contacted.

To add cockles to the mee siam[Singapore’s take of adding salt to wound],
There has been grim talk of the 3 Flops of Singapore produced animation: They are: Zodiac, Legend of the Sea and Sing to the Dawn. The poor quality of the 3 films has made Singapore look like a laughing stock in the international animation scene.

While many industrial veterans here put the blame solely on the “bo chap” attitudes of the students, I wish to point out the fact that those industrial veterans in the animation industry are just too afraid to admit that it was the fault of the tertiary education systems. It is true that while some students have an attitude problem, the lecturers in the polytechnics and universities have their fair share of the blame too. I also wish to speak up for students who have the passion for the industry but they are not shown the right path. Otherwise how do you explain that it took my mentor 2 years and only half the price of the poly fees to teach me all that I needed to know to find a job in the CG industry?

You argue that this would be equal to spoonfeeding. But I disagree…
A life drawing teacher of mine once told me that it would not be considered spoonfeeding if you do not know what you do not know. He also said that self learning cannot compare with the guidance of an excellent teacher. Sometimes bad habits during self practice can hamper one’s effective learning of a craft like life drawing, playing the guitar.etc

But one thing I am unable to keep a secret anymore is the fact that the industry was literally ruined in the hands of our government.

By a Patriotic animator with Passion

The writer is a graduate of Nanyang Polytechnic’s Digital Media Design. He hopes that this article will be that wake up call to ignorant students now studying in animation-related courses in the local polytechnics and very costly private courses.

“Do not join this industry just because it’s cool. Unless you have the passion for the industry, your presence in the polys/universities will waste your own time, your/parents’ money and taxpayers money meant for training truly talented and really passionate local artists.”
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  #10 (permalink)  
Old 27-04-2011, 09:18 PM
Posts: n/a

the local market is simply too small.

in usa, a small group of support is enough to keep you surviving.

from the apps i've published on the itunes app store, i see more generous american buyers than singaporean buyers at the ratio of 50:1.

now i've changed my strategy to target the usa market.
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