Looking for guidance for a junior sailor of mine

TL;DR - I have a subordinate who is interested in studying gave development, mostly interested in 3-D animation. Halp, pl0x!

Longer version: I am in the US Navy and have a junior sailor who is interested in getting out of the Navy and beginning a path towards 3-D animation. He has his G.I. Bill, so college is definitely a plausible scenario for him. I’d love to set him up for success whether he stays in or gets out, but while I am more than equipped for helping out with Navy career guidance, my knowledge in game development sits somewhere between “Jack” and “Shit,” with my animation knowledge somehow managing to be even less.

If anyone has any advice (preferably even works in the field), it would be immensely appreciated! Animation advice would be most beneficial, but anything to do with game development is super welcome.

Also, hi @NavyFish because I haven’t in awhile and because I can.


These days a lot of universities offer degrees in 3D animation and film. In fact there’s so many you have to be careful as many of them are borderline scams. I don’t know off the top of my head which ones are the best, or most worthwhile, he’s a short list of programs in New York: https://www.gamedesigning.org/animation/new-york-schools/

My recommendation would be try to find a reputable public university that offers 3D animation programs. To be honest with you, when artists send us their resume I don’t even look at their education, I go straight to their portfolio to see what they’re capable of creating. The best thing he can do is be proactive about his own education and begin reading online tutorials and modelling right now. Blender is free. Most major professional 3D art programs, such as Houdini, have free education versions. He should read every tutorial he can get his hands on and model/texture/animate everything he can every spare second of every day until he has a demo reel and accompanying portfolio that will blow everyone’s socks off. That is the single best way to get ahead in this industry. People want to be shown your creativity and what you can do, they care little for paper credentials.

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Seconded. My dad was a graphic designer for years (very similar field really and even involved 3d work). He kept examples of pretty much everything he created then filtered the relevant and best stuff out for interviews. He got there by just practising his skills constantly.

He also went to art college, so that was a good step to getting started, but more about learning the skills than the paper qualification. As Keith said, it was the assets he created that got him work.

The military background reminds me of Sean Tracy who started out in the Canadian military and decided to create a mod - Mechwarrior Living Legends, with his brother Dan as a way to learn. That project got them both headhunted by Crytek for their work. I’m not personally in game dev, but I always hear about modding as a good way to get started and learn techniques especially nowdays with semi-free high quality game engines.

As with any design field, it’s best to dive into something you are interested in and literally play around. It’s the best way to learn because it generates questions you can ask experts (alongside formal education). That will in turn give a set of contacts to network with and build from there.

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