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Thread: Should someone like me make a career using autocad?

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    Default Should someone like me make a career using autocad?

    Please bear with me, this may be long, but I feel its important I give you folks all the facts in order to be able to give me the best bits of wisdom. I am a student currently taking courses at a community college. All my life I have been artistically inclined, and for a year I was at this community college aiming to get a degree in graphic design. For various reasons, I didn’t enjoy graphic design, it didn’t appeal to my understanding of art and what I would want to see myself using art for. Recently my mother mentioned AutoCAD, and recommended I take some courses because of the visual way you are dealing with information. I just started taking courses, a drafting class, and an AutoCAD 101 class, just getting our feet wet in the program… I have no idea what I’m getting into. I talked to the teacher about where specifically to take AutoCAD, whether it’s a job in and of itself, or whether its just a tool to be used with another specialized field, like firefighting or engineering or something. She really was very frustratingly vague, despite my efforts to get a larger understanding of what AutoCAD is all about in todays economy, and even more importantly, what area of AutoCAD someone who is artistically inclined should go. Currently she has me set on a course towards mechanical drafting, but I am coming to the community here to ask those with experience and wisdom whether this is a good direction? Is there jobs doing mechanical drafting? Is that an area that would be fun? What would a day in a job like that look like? Am I going about this the right way by reaching out to the online community for help?
    What exactly am I getting myself into here?
    Any wisdom from the community would be incredibly valuable to me. Thank you to those who took the time to read my story.

    Heres some of my art:
    Screen Shot 2013-04-14 at 9.17.21 PM.png

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    Certified AUGI Addict jaberwok's Avatar
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    Default Re: Should someone like me make a career using autocad?

    Hi, welcome to AUGI. I wish I had some artistry.

    AutoCAD (like all CAD programmes) is intended for technical, not artistic, use. That's not to say it can't be used that way but it will be harder than necessary.
    It might be usefull for creating component parts to be incorporated into a larger work with flowing lines.

    AutoDesk also publish 3DStudio Viz and 3DStudio Max which are less technical (as in less dimensionally precise and more "freehand") and might be a better fit for you.
    The content of many computer/video games is produced with 3DStudio.

    Edit: You might take a look at the Design Visualization forum.
    Last edited by jaberwok; 2013-04-15 at 11:29 AM.
    John B

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    Mod / Salary / SM Wanderer's Avatar
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    Default Re: Should someone like me make a career using autocad?

    Quote Originally Posted by nathanadamenos371163 View Post
    what area of AutoCAD someone who is artistically inclined should go. Currently she has me set on a course towards mechanical drafting, but I am coming to the community here to ask those with experience and wisdom whether this is a good direction? Is there jobs doing mechanical drafting? Is that an area that would be fun? What would a day in a job like that look like? Am I going about this the right way by reaching out to the online community for help?
    What exactly am I getting myself into here?
    Any wisdom from the community would be incredibly valuable to me. Thank you to those who took the time to read my story.
    Welcome to AUGI! I think coming to ask the community is definitely the right way to go. There wasn't much information available online back when I was in community college, so I envy your ability to do so. There are so many options for tools and niches in technical design that it's hard to be anything but vague.

    I'd recommend checking out the results of the Salary Survey to get an idea of some niches, then maybe hit up Indeed.com to see what the job openings are like in your area for fields that sound good to you (pages 6 & 7 on the 2012 survey might be a good place to start when looking at niches that are hiring, then pages 13 & 14 for advice on being valuable in the design/visualization field.).

    John's got a good suggestion with checking out the Design & Visualization area of the forums, the galleries there might inspire you. Of course, learning how to render well could serve you well in architecture and interiors, too, so, perhaps search for the 'gallery' area for each section of these forums. You'll be getting well out of the realm of AutoCAD in most of those cases, though, so you might have to pursue online training instead of local classroom training to get really ramped up.
    Melanie Stone
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    I could stop if I wanted to Iceberg's Avatar
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    Default Re: Should someone like me make a career using autocad?

    Autodesk has some products that you may want to do some research on that is used in the Film and Video Game industry that I think you might find more to your liking do to the intense detail of the art piece you shared with us.

    The software that you need to look into is:

    3ds Max
    AutoDesk Maya
    AutoDesk Mudbox
    Autodesk Motion Builder

    If you are familiar with the video game Prototype 2, the above named software was used as part of the creation of that video game.
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    Administrator Ed Jobe's Avatar
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    Default Re: Should someone like me make a career using autocad?

    Autodesk does have software that is used in the movie industry that would be more in line with the picture you posted. On this page, look at the section on Media & Entertainment. As far as jobs go, first you need to answer the question, "What do I want?". Some feel that they have to pursue their passion full-time. Others would be satisfied to do art as a hobby and have a "day job". AutoCAD is used in many technology related fields, mechanical is just one. AutoCAD is just a tool for drawing. When I was your age, we used paper/pencil. The work is the same, but the tools change as technology itself changes. A community college usually isn't going to be all that supportive of art as a career. They usually tailor their curriculum to focus on the markets that hire the most. Most of us like our jobs. Maybe not the workplace we are in at the moment, but the line of work. For me art is a creative process. While my job wouldn't be considered "art", it does satisfy my creative side. I supplement that with other hobbies like woodworking and photography.

    So you just have to figure out what you want. If you want a career in art, you might consider entertainment, e.g. movies, video games, etc. If you don't want to do art full-time, then a CAD operator is not a bad way to go.
    C:> ED WORKING....

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    Default Re: Should someone like me make a career using autocad?

    Thanks for the reply jaberwok,
    Is it harder to find work using programs like 3DS Max and 3DS Viz than it is to find work in some other field like mechanical drafting? I want to enjoy the work I do, but I also want to find work. Based upon my work, do you think I should probably first start with a more freehand program like 3DS Max?

    Wanderer – Im glad you pointed me in the direction of that salary servey, interesting read, very insightful. It mentions that Designers were the largest number of people surveyed. Silly question, but are Designers those who work with the 3DS Max and they are doing more freehand design? If not where does that fit into this industry? Also, its interesting that you mention online schooling. Is that what you recommend over a physical environment? Will I run the risk of not having any connections since I can’t physically reach out to others in the class? Are there any online schools you would recommend?
    Sorry if I’m asking a little too much, I’m just very interested now.

    Iceberg – Thanks for pointing out some programs to check out. Is there one you would recommend I start out with? Is there one that would lead me into the next? Or one that is most highly regarded? Or do they all kind of serve different purposes?

    Interesting points Ed Jobe. I don’t really know whether I would want to do 3d art full time because Ive never really delved into it, or any CAD field for that matter. I may play around with a few of the programs and get an idea on whether its something I would really enjoy doing more frequently. I went to your link, and it says that there are like 20 different programs for entertainment purposes. Is there one you would recommend starting out with?

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    Certified AUGI Addict jaberwok's Avatar
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    Default Re: Should someone like me make a career using autocad?

    Quote Originally Posted by nathanadamenos371163 View Post
    Thanks for the reply jaberwok,
    Is it harder to find work using programs like 3DS Max and 3DS Viz than it is to find work in some other field like mechanical drafting? I want to enjoy the work I do, but I also want to find work. Based upon my work, do you think I should probably first start with a more freehand program like 3DS Max?
    AutoCAD is almost exclusively used in technical situations by people with technical training and knowledge - mechanical engineering, electrical engineering, architecture etc..
    Designers design sytems in these fields whilst engineers make sure that the designs will work.
    This is NOT the same as "design" as in drawing pretty pictures. There are designers who produce good looking, smart, efficient products but, first and foremost, it's the technical knowledge that matters to make them successfull.

    So, to me, AutoCAD is not the ideal software for you but that doesn't mean that you cannot make it work for you; and knowledge never hurts.

    You talk about "work" but exactly what kind of work are you anticipating? You obviously have artistic talent so technical illustration might appeal to you if you also like to know how things function.

    HTH
    John B

    "You can't convince a believer of anything; for their belief is not based on evidence, it's based on a deep-seated need to believe." - Carl Sagan

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    Default Re: Should someone like me make a career using autocad?

    Firstly WOW that is some seriously good artwork mate. I think the others have pretty much explained things for you regarding software.
    You might like to think about animation perhaps you could be creative with your art work whilst getting to use some rendering software etc.

    Good luck whatever way you decide to go.
    AutoCAD 2012, Revit Structure 2012

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    Certifiable AUGI Addict tedg's Avatar
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    Default Re: Should someone like me make a career using autocad?

    I will "pile on" to this discussion too

    Nice artwork! You are talented.

    I guess it depends on what you want to do for a living and what interests you.
    And what is practical for you career-wise.

    I was in a similar situation (about thirty*cough*years ago) that you are in now ..
    I had been very artistic and had geared my high school career toward being a commercial artist/graphic designer.
    I went to art school right out of high school, but only attended one year, it wasn't really for me and so I got a job.

    [I also had taken several drafting courses in high school, and worked for a sign company during summers and and after high school, learning that industry.]

    After working in a technical field for about 14+ years, as well as taking more advanced drafting courses, I went back to school at a community college and got a degree in techinical graphics and design. Went out in the work-force and learned everything I could, and have been employed doing what I like for over 15 years.

    I still love doing graphic design and I own and operate my part time sign business, which isn't my full-time gig, just extra money and I like doing it.
    And I love drafting and design, I started out in architectural design and now mostly do structural drafting and design, and also have recently got into mechanical design working in Autodesk Inventor while mentoring a FIRST robotics team.

    Sorry, trying not to make this "about me"
    But as Melanie mentioned, it's good that you can ask these questions here in AUGI, where we couldn't when we started out.

    As I mentioned, it depends on what interests YOU and what is practical for YOU.
    Your talents lead me to belive that techinical illustration would be a good fit, probably more marketable then graphic design(?)

    As others have mentioned, to work in the drafting/design industry, you can't just "get on AutoCAD and do it".
    You need techinical training, drafting training, etc.
    AutoCAD is just a tool to help create technical drawings.
    I've worked with n00bies right out of school who can "use AutoCAD", but can't draft, don't know what they are drawing, and their drawings look terrible.

    Good Luck!!
    Last edited by tedg; 2013-04-16 at 12:51 PM. Reason: spelling issues- can't type ;-)
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    Default Re: Should someone like me make a career using autocad?

    Quote Originally Posted by nathanadamenos371163 View Post
    Wanderer – Im glad you pointed me in the direction of that salary servey, interesting read, very insightful. It mentions that Designers were the largest number of people surveyed. Silly question, but are Designers those who work with the 3DS Max and they are doing more freehand design? If not where does that fit into this industry? Also, its interesting that you mention online schooling. Is that what you recommend over a physical environment? Will I run the risk of not having any connections since I can’t physically reach out to others in the class? Are there any online schools you would recommend?
    Sorry if I’m asking a little too much, I’m just very interested now.
    A word of caution with training. If you do choose online schooling make sure that the school is a credited meaning that you will get a legitimate degree once you complete the course work. Also too, I have found it in my experience that companies hold not having some form of college degree against you. I have a degree from a technical school for CAD and graphical design but that doesn't seem to hold the same weight as an Associates degree or bachelors degree. There are schools out there that do offer these degrees for drafting.

    Quote Originally Posted by nathanadamenos371163 View Post
    Iceberg – Thanks for pointing out some programs to check out. Is there one you would recommend I start out with? Is there one that would lead me into the next? Or one that is most highly regarded? Or do they all kind of serve different purposes?
    All of the programes need 3dsMax to run. Here is a link to the Autodesk website where you can download free software for 30 days. I would suggest to download it (check your system requirements) and play around and see if it is something that you like. This software contains all of the other software like Mudbox etc.

    http://www.autodesk.com/suites/enter...luded-software

    3d-layer-capabilities-large-1152x704.jpgadvanced-retopology-tools-large-1152x704.jpg

    Click on the attached images above to see what kind of stuff you can produce and do using the Mudbox program from AutoDesk.
    ~~ You can run all your life, but not go anywhere ~~

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