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The portrait is Charles Darwin, age 31, in 1840

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Comment Wall


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Comment by Rodrigo M Vasquez on December 31, 2009 at 3:49am
I work with 3D and VFX and , while Math is very very important to run the "hardcore" stuff ( creating scripts, shaders, and simulations from scratch,) what matters is the ability to learn AND the dedication to search for, and use, the RIGHT TOOLS FOR THE RIGHT TASK.
Math is a beautiful, but if what you want is to illustrate, Computers nowadays don't build those high walls as they did 20 years ago.
There is a lot of help on sites like Gnomon, and Digitaltutors and Lindacom, Books and DVD's, to learn how to use software for illustrative purposes.
Buying books about Digital paint, and illustration , is a good start. Books of design, sketch and Color theory to expand your knowledge and so on.
Formal education is important, you can't get on the big names without it, but looks like you already have a background on illustration, so why not go for it on Digital. It changes nothing from paper to digital, but as any business you need to make a name, showing your work, and reach a level of mastery and performance that grants you the big $$$.
Comment by Jason Spicer on December 31, 2009 at 1:09am
Steve, I think you should talk to an academic adviser about what kind of education program you really want. From what you say, it sounds to me like a graphic arts degree might be more your cup of tea. It's true that certain kinds of visual art require a good mathematical background, but other kinds really don't, even if you're using a computer as your canvass. It sounds like you know what kind of work you want to do, but I don't think a computer science degree is quite the right fit for it. Don't waste time banging your head against the wall for something that doesn't support your goal in the first place.
Comment by Kevin Bladsacker on December 31, 2009 at 12:04am
Steve, don't let the math intimidate you. I make a very nice living as a developer and can tell you that the handling of text strings is more important than the level of math required. Most of the math is quite minimal and harrdy ever what you won't find on a basic calculator. A degree in computer science is not cessarily what you need. I can tell you from experience that I've seen many computer science guys fall on their face because they never learn business rules and worry about things that higher languages just do for you. If you want to make a living in computers you need to be able to provide someone with answers for the worries that occupy their mind in trying to make effective business decisions.
Comment by Steve Nelson on December 30, 2009 at 8:29pm
Hey everybody, maybe a little clarification could help a little. It was sometime last year that I tried a computer course at the local ATC utilizing a Pell Grant. I did real well in the computer class with 94-95% on all tests. I learned about basic computer usage, the components, slide show making, and lots of other stuff. I went through about 3/4 of the book provided. The course came with a cd as well as the book. I asked one of the two teachers that sat right next to me, What do I do with this cd? The answer was, don't worry about it, it's not important, you don't need it till later. I took him at his word. I atteneded the math class as well. I can add, subtract, multiply and do some division but when it came to trying to figure out how much y + z -d +p x T=? I could never get how numbers come out of letters. It was all GREEK to me. I bashed my head against the wal day after day the teacher was frustrated with me as well. I did develope elaborate systems of arrows and Boxes and = Signs to help me remember what letters stood for what and what action needed to be taken at each juncture of each and every new problem but my symbol system kept getting bogged down because there was never any way to resolve the problems the same way the answers were written. It was like diagraming sentances with lines and numbers with meaningless letters by them and letters with meaningless numbers by them. I was so frustrated bashing my head against the wall and getting nowhere. I couldn't see what these letters and numbers had to do with operating windows or making nice graphs in EXCEL or anything. After a while I got a notice that I was failing a class and I just knew it had to be that D_ _ _ Math class, that everyday Headache! I asked the math teacher but she couldn't tell me. I asked the computer teacher but he couldn't tell me. I asked again after a while of not asking everyday, What do I do with this cd? Still no answer. I decided to put the cd in the machine and see what was on it. IT WAS THE EXACT SAME COMPUTER COURSE I HAD BEEN DOING ALL ALONG! With no word from the teacher, I figured that the paper book work version never counted for anything and only the cd counted, so I crammed 3 or 4 chapters a day for the last week of my grant to try and catch up. I passed every test again but it wasn't enough. The final report that I heard from a councilor as the Computer teachers would not speak to me was that I Wasnt Competant enough to understand computers, BS!
I believe that at that school they were simply running a scam to get Government Money. Heck the computer keybord that I am typing on right now has a row of number keys, 3 rows of letter keys and a bunch of other symbol keys. I just don't understand what the meaningless endless numbers and letters of the math class, have to do with creating slide presentations and nice graphs on EXCEL or typing an entire book, ect... There's 0 Math involved in choosing colors, shading with charcoal and painting or drawing a straight line.
Wheather you use brush or pen and ink or pencil it's a matter of hand eye coordination and practice. There's no math involved. When I ran a convenience store, the only math I came across was in operating my cash register. Till the Mormon's began their lying Boycott of my nice Family friendly store, I made $120.00 per day. I had a future. I looked forward to starting others in a similar business of their own. (Franchizing is the term). I used little or no math in making quality Key copies and paper copies and Laminations and selling soda pop and candy bars and sending faxes. Then they Lied and I, just like Joseph of Egypt, was thrown into a Black pit of economic slavery. Gosh everyone, I am sorry to go on and on like this. It just hurts a lot. Can you nice people understand?
Well thanks for listening anyway, Steve Nelson
Comment by Marc Draco on December 30, 2009 at 2:17pm
Steve, if you want to learn computer science (at any level) you'll need a good grounding in mathematics - there's no getting around that. Computers do everything by manipulating numbers - modern operating systems protect the users from a lot of that with fancy graphics.

Even computer animation (and 3D animation in particular) requires a good understanding of the mathematics involved - which can often be quite difficult for a right-brained thinker which is what I suspect you are, being a creative.

Perhaps a better way would be to look at which areas you could excel at - when you say Disney, do you mean 2D or 3D work? 3D is a non-starter unless you have a very good appreciation of the maths involved but 2D is a distinct possibility: and Uncle Walt started with very simple 2D cell animation.

There are several 2D animation systems you might try which require differing degrees of expertise - if you're on Windows, you might try Swish - which is an Adobe Flash system for non-programmers. Then there are a multitude of 2D painting systems for anything from line art to cartoons and even fine art.
Comment by Steve Nelson on December 30, 2009 at 1:25pm
Hi Dr Meaden, Maybe you can tell me, is there any private groups that offer grants for education?
I tried the Government way last year. I got a pell grant and studied computers, but the Math Requirement is the main thing that killed me. I was doing really well in the computers getting 94% on every test. But my Gov. Grant was cancelled and a significant part of the problem was Math.
I would like to study computers again if I could do so with out a Math requirement. I want to learn Computer Animation. I am pretty good already with hand drawn art as everyone can see with my nice cover art for my book Tomorrow's World #1. I have been an asistant Draftsman at a sign company and in 1992 I painted dozens of billboards in the presidential campaign. Today as mentiond I am a maintenance man fixing and cleaning Toilets. I want something Better! I think I could do Disney Quality Animation and be an asset to any studio in the country. If I could just learn the computer techniques associated with Computer Animation. I could have a future again.
I can't go on cutting grass and fixing toilets indefinately. I don't want to beg anyone, I just want to be pointed in the right direction to get a grant from some private outfit and get the education necessary. Thank You Dr & Everyone. Steve Nelson

Comment by Dr. Terence Meaden on December 22, 2009 at 7:58am
Thank you Matthew for posting these video films.
To make them more prominent and easier for others to find, you may put them into a "discussion slot" ----
above, where it says +Start Discussion.
Comment by John Donaldson on December 21, 2009 at 2:12pm
For anyone interested, the full transcript of the trial is to be found at:, and there is a book, written by a local reporter "The Devil in Dover:an Insider's Story of Dogma V. Darwin in Small Town America" by Lauri Lebo
Comment by John Secular Smith on December 2, 2009 at 10:51am
Larry doesn't do civility Sara, let it go.
Comment by Ogden Lafaye on December 2, 2009 at 8:29am
And then, maybe not.



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