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Careers in CAD/3D Graphics?

Discussion in 'Off Topic [BG]' started by Thunderscreech, Apr 29, 2010.

  1. I've recently decided that I am tired of being a useless bum and want to do something with myself. last spring, I was taking classes toward a hopeful CAD certificate at a community college +/- 50 miles from my house. This semester I decided to be brilliant and not go back there.

    I want to do something where, after a small amount of time spent doing classes, I can actually get a job in my chosen major. Drafting class was the only class, aside from History and Science, that I was any good at in high school, and it's something that I can stand doing and even actually find a bit fun. I also would like to start looking into 3D graphics, cause I've kinda been fascinated with them ever since I played Lego Island and used AutoDesk Inventor.

    I also find something appealing about having to have a rediculous computer system with a 6-core processor and 10 gigs of RAM, and running dual or triple moniors on an SLI graphics set up, just because I can.

    So, anyone do stuff like this? What's it's like? How do you like your job? How much money do you net? How hard is it to get a job in this field?
  2. DudeistMonk


    Apr 13, 2008
    Newark, NJ
    I've never done 3D animation and modeling professionally but I dabbled in it in school...

    It's intense, those guys get paid a ton of money. The programs are incredibly complicated (we used Cinema 4D), they make photo shop look like MS paint. It took me at least 2 hours to craft a texture-less 3D stapler (a tutorial).

    It was a digital arts class and this was the last thing I did
    http://webstudiodelta.com/files/shalom/sphere.swf it was larger than that, but that animation is run again in rewind using pro-tools because the original animation wasn't long enough for me and I didn't want to stay up another 4 hours rendering in the lab...About 7 seconds of glowy sphere took 45 minutes to render.

    There are multiple programs out there for doing 3D and as far as I know there is no real industry standard like in 2D, different studios want people working with their chosen program.
  3. UncleFluffy


    Mar 8, 2009
    Head Tinkerer, The Flufflab
    There's a big difference, both culturally and technically, between the engineering CAD and the game/movie CAD/CGI worlds. I've been in both industries, not as a CAD guy but have worked with people who were. Are you interested in designing stuff for manufacture or for animation? There's quite a bit of stuff in common but there's a different overall mind-set involved.
  4. I guess I'm looking more towards the manufacturing side of things. I mean, I've never considered animation before...so I'm not sure. I say manufacture cause I know that most of the Inventor stuff I'd be doing would be in that field.
  5. I take AutoCADD in school, mainly 2D stuff right now. Lots of careers out there for it. Be prepared to be designing stuff as well. AutoCADD is the industry standard in 2D stuff, Solidworks is the leader in 3D modeling in the mechanical side of things, Civil3D/Inventor is the leader in the building/structural side of 3D. You will make more money if you can design and draw, you wont make a whole lot if you just draw.

  6. UncleFluffy


    Mar 8, 2009
    Head Tinkerer, The Flufflab
    For my hobby + side business stuff I use Alibre Design, which is a parametric modelling package like Solidworks, but cheaper and rougher around the edges. They have a basic version called "Alibre Express" that you can download from their website for free.


    Have a play, see if you find it fun.
  7. Simo98


    Jun 18, 2009
    QLD, Australia
    My Cousin is a Draftsmen (women), and it was something I was quite interested in (and still am).

    After talking to quite a few people, it seems you can get jobs quite easily for city councils ect. as long as you have the qualifications, be it through something like Tafe/University, or a Trainee/Cadetship.

    I personally decided to go down the path of engineering as while I absoultly love the drawin side of it on paper, I quickly tire of it on a computer, and my cousin told me that its very rare that she actually gets to drawn anything by hand.

    My advice is to get a Traineeship or something similar if you can, I don't know about in the states, but here it is almost impossible to get any public sector work unless you have some qualifications. That and networking, talk to people in the industry, go to any meetings or presentations in your area and get to know people, let them know you are looking for some work in the industry. Eveyone love employing a trainee that is useful, because they are cheap :p
  8. THand


    Jun 9, 2008
    I do the AutoCad thing for a living.

    It becomes just a tool, much like a pencil and paper are tools on the hardboard, the hard part is picking the field you go into.

    I do design/engineering for a heavy equipment and systems manufacturer, and we have projects all over the world.

    Cad is just a tool, software, like Word, Excel, Photoshop. The thing that is important is learning your product once you get a job, and general people skills, too.

    All employers assume all applicants can handle AutoCad equally.
    Your personality plays a huge roll in this field, because you need to be able to follow instructions to the letter, only to have 2 weeks worth of work thrown in the trash and have to start over, without taking it personally...and still be able to work as a team player for your company.

    Hope this helps.
  9. I'm working on my people skills, but everything else i'd be good with I guess.

    How well does that kinda work pay?
  10. THand


    Jun 9, 2008
    Not being a smartass, but that's going to depend on who you get a job with, and how good you are.

    Kinda like asking how much you can make if you learn photoshop & illustrator & maya.....you can make a good living, you can get rich, you can scrape by, or you could nearly starve...
  11. I concur!

    I took a couple years of engineering graphics (Drafting/Cad) at a local tech school as I tried to decide what I wanted to do with my life (which engineering discipline to pursue). Yet before moving on to a four-year program I was sucked into a career to do design work by CAD.

    I ended up designing fire protection systems for a living and have been doing so for 17 years. It wasn't what I was expecting to do, but it's worked out just fine for me.

    I'm not rich by any means, but I'm self-employed and getting by. Granted, commercial construction is flat right now, but I've been seeing some signs of improvement...yet it will take years of steady growth to get to the point it was five years ago.

    It's tough out there right now...so really work at learning as much as you can about various fields and trades, plus get good grades...put in any extra efforts you can to have a well rounded skillset when you start passing out resumes.

    Now, if for some reason you're looking to draft by hand...give it up.

    CAD is far to fast for you to even attempt to keep up with. The actual 'AutoCad' has just become so much smarter over the past 10 years that I couldn't imagine trying to go without it.

    I knew two men who refused to learn to use it. They were old school gents who just didn't grasp it or were just stubborn...they have no work, because a decent CAD monkey could do in a day what would take them weeks, plus do it with far greater accuracy.

    When you add in the fact that damn near everything is transferred via e-mail, a hand drawn print is a dinosaur.

    Blah, blah blah...I need to stop before I get long winded.

    I do contract work now...so I have no idea what a hourly rate for a new draftsman would be.
  12. I use 3D drawing programmes every day, mainly because of my major and project. I study mechanical engineering and build a formula student car (www.dutracing.nl). This is the 3D model we made for the car shown in a fancy vid:
  13. I had to take a hand drafting class this semester, just so we know what it is like. I drew the first project by hand, took way too long. Every project after that, I drew in AutoCADD and traced it. Hand drawing is almost to the point of being useless. With CADD, you can draw it once and print it in 10 different scales before the guy drawing it by hand can even get his page laid out. Although, it is nice to be able to sketch something out with a scale on a blueprint if you are not near a computer.

    As for hourly rate, a friend of mine has a summer job doing CADD work for $18 an hour, and he is just done his first year. Granted, he is amazing at CADD. Once graduated, he could probably easily make $30 right out of school.

  14. Simo98


    Jun 18, 2009
    QLD, Australia
    Sad but true. I always enjoyed the hand drawing much more. Our highschool unit was supposed to be 60/40 CAD/Hand drawn.. I went to a cheap school though so we didn't use CAD the whole two years ;)

    Unfortunatly, hand drawing is all but useless in the industry nowdays. :crying:
  15. :drool: $30 and hour....

    Hand drawing, while fun, is a pain. I like AutoCAD cause it's easier to erase your mistakes.

    I wonder what AutoCAD would be like with a drawing tablet...
  16. For the CADD aspect it wouldn't be that good, but from a design aspect, it would rule. 3D stuff would rule with a tablet.

  17. This is most encouraging.
  18. THand


    Jun 9, 2008
    I don't like using CAD on a laptop, haven't tried it with a tablet, but I don't think I would like it...I wouldn't have enough screen real-estate ...I like at least 22" monitors for AutoCad...anything smaller and it starts getting frustrating(for me anyway).

    That said, I have it on my laptop, but avoid using it there like the plague. I would rather drive to the office than deal with AutoCad on my laptop. If I am on the road, well then I don't have alot of choice.
  19. Not that kind of tablet, this kind:
    I really need to learn to clarify.
  20. tycobb73


    Jul 23, 2006
    Grand Rapids MI
    Are draftsmen still being hired? My dad is an engineer who uses Pro E and he just does it himself. Is this where things are going?

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