General / 25 November 2016

3D Chronicles – University, or Better Not?

Last time I introduced you to my CG heroes and described how I became part of the Czech 3D community. I was about 16-17 years old at that time and I was attending high school. Something called Grammar school in English speaking countries. That meant quite deep general education but no specialty at all. The time to decide about my future was quickly approaching.

Self teacher

As I mentioned in the first chapter of 3D Chronicles, my dad brought me to 3D. Since then I was spending my spare time learning. There were very limited resources mainly very slow internet connection and lack of tutorials in my native language. There were few books in Czech which helped a lot, but the most of my learning was trial and error or asking community. We had some computer classes at school, but they were mostly about computer theory and basic programming. To be honest guys at my age already knew  almost everything they tried to taught us. After a year or so I found that there is a 3D course at a technical high school in my home town. I was really happy to join in and finally meet people who are interested in the same subject. Another but, I was already ahead and I was able to do much more advanced stuff then they were starting to learn. So my only way was to stay self taught.

Behold my short film

Made for high school art leaving exam. Back online after 8 years.

Know it all

When you attend grammar school, you basically know everything and nothing. You’re not specialized or focused on any particular area. There comes a problem, you’re supposed to move to university to finally decide on your career. Breaking point came in the last year of my high school studies. What to do next? There was no university teaching 3D in the Czech Republic and to study abroad was impossible because of finances. I was already making some money doing freelance jobs at that time. Logos, posters, archviz, small models. Based on that I knew that I actually can make some money with 3D, that it can become my job. My parents were skeptical about it, especially my beloved mummy. It was really hard, I chose to apply for two universities and one vocational school. All of them art focused and very hard to get in. To be honest, I cannot draw and I was rejected by all of them. My parents were really desperate and it was a rough time for all my family. I was the only one from the class not going to university, but I decided to follow my dream and to prove my parents that I can make it on my own. It took me two years to finally convince them. More about it later.

Grown man

My high school studies came to an end. Few freelance jobs came over my last holiday and I started to look for a job. It was obvious that I have to leave my small home town and move to the capital. In the meantime I was working on few freelance jobs with my friend and enjoying summer. That was a that time when I briefly met another important lad, Tomas Kral. Just for few minutes, but we will meet again soon and work together for years. After few weeks I was lucky enough that my friend and one of giants Martin Vocet helped me to find a job in a small game studio where he was working. Jan is leaving to Prague, starting to do follow a path to his dream job.

To study or not to study

As I’m looking back, it was a destiny not to be accepted for those universities. I’m glad for it. From my point of view learning from experience and during actual jobs is far more valuable. On the other hand it can be a little bit painful sometimes. To study or not to study is really hard question, but I would not change my decision. I hope you will start to understand it from my future blog posts, which are going to be less nostalgic and more about opinions. Let’s talk about my few first years in the industry and finally touching VFX next time.