October 9th, 2019 marks the official announcement of another program produced by Chronos Global Academy: CGA Youth Mixed Reality Development. This program is designed for ages 8 through 15, which is an age group Chronos did not serve before. Now we have an all-encompassing program that serves people as young as 8 years old, and which includes youth and adults, individuals and corporate groups. Since 2015 we have been offering introductory and advanced courses for VR/AR development. And now we have a new program, which is largely about 3D modeling.
What is 3D Modeling?
3D Modeling is the term we use for the creation of a virtual three-dimensional model of an object.
3D modeling is used in many different industries, including virtual reality, 3D printing, film production, video games, construction, architecture, aerospace, automobile, and others. Check out the bottom of this article for a list of useful web links.
3D modeling is an extremely useful skill that will never become obsolete. It’s what I call a universal skill, that is, a way of thinking and understanding the world that is independent of any human language. Like mathematics, computer programming, physics, or engineering.
If you learn a skill or subject that is not universal, let’s say law, or Greek literature, or even how to play baseball, then if you find yourself in another country, continent, or part of the world — that skill will not prove useful to you in terms of helping you with a career or a job. More importantly than moving to another country with a different culture, however, is the ability to contribute to a project or company that is based in another country. With the ability for people to work remotely (as in another continent) that we have today, learning universal skills is more important than ever because it’s not just about the possibility of moving to another country, but rather being a professional who could can work from where you are and provide value to any company or project that needs those universal skills.
A universal skill, however, such as mathematics or even being a surgeon — is something that makes you useful to practically any society no matter where you are in the world. It makes you more marketable and valuable as an individual and professional. 3D modeling is one of those skills.
What are students expected to learn in this program?
In this program students will learn the fundamentals of 3D modeling. As pointed out earlier, 3D modeling is a skill that is useful in a wide-variety of industries. There are literally hundreds of software applications for 3D modeling, and for a variety of specific uses and applications. In our case, we are teaching the basics and most important concepts. From there, students can choose the direction they want to go, and which industry they want to go into.
It’s the design of our Academy to produce talent for our own projects. Many people don’t know this, but our company has and does create educational content for Virtual and Augmented Reality. As we produce more advanced courses, we will be using 3D modeling for Virtual & Augmented Reality as well as 3D printing. These are two different areas but again, we are focusing on fundamentals. Students that want to go into VR or game development will naturally apply themselves and specialize in those fields. Students who care more about producing physical objects or manufacturing will naturally find themselves working more with a 3D printer.
And yes, it’s our goal to produce students that can do both competently. This will not happen overnight, but that’s the idea: we are investing in developing minds that are capable of and have the skills to do 3D modeling for more than one industry.
With so many software applications for 3D modeling available, which is the best and which one(s) will students be using?
Yes, there are quite a lot of useful 3D modeling applications available and being used. The original application we all hear about is Autodesk AutoCAD, which is used for engineering. That program is almost like designing free-hand, which means you can design almost anything with it. But the learning-curve for AutoCAD is very high, and AutoCAD was first released in 1989. A lot of other 3D programs have entered the market since then, and some are easier to use and/or address more specific needs.
For the VR apps we’ve produced, including VR Guest — we used Autodesk Maya which is considered industry-standard. Maya is a very powerful application, but it requires that each user pay Autodesk a license fee for using the software. That license fee is now monthly (Autodesk has done away with perpetual licenses), and Maya costs about $200 a month. We have also used other software such as Autodesk 3DS Max, Blender, and other others. When we were experimenting with architecture we used Inventor, 360 Fusion, SketupUp, Rhino, Revit, and probably others I can’t remember.
For this program we decided to start with Blender for the simple reason that Blender is free and open-source. This means that students can learn the necessary skills, and continue to make progress on their own by downloading Blender which is free to use, so they don’t have to worry about any licensing they would have to pay.
Now, some people will say “how can you teach Blender, which is not industry-standard, or as powerful as Maya?”
And I’d like to say something about that. First, Blender is on the way to becoming industry-standard. Blender is a very powerful suite that has benefited from an amazing team of developers that have done a great job making it what it is. Second, Blender has a bright future: the Blender foundation has received substantial funding/grants from significant players like Epic Games and Ubisoft. This will ensure that, with the winning development team and proper management that the Blender Foundation has enjoyed, that Blender becomes a formidable competitor in the 3D modeling industry, a force to be reckoned with for sure.
Moreover, I’d like to make a very important point: one might argue that an application like Maya is has an edge over blender, but to truly take advantage of such benefit you likely need to be a very large studio working with a very large budget and with a complex pipeline. If you are working on a movie that involves CGI and 3D modeling that is costing tens of millions of dollars, then I can see the argument of using Maya over Blender as valid. But this is not the case in what we are doing, and especially in the VR industry: VR apps are for the most part produced by small teams studios and teams of people, including indie developers. Indie developers in particular are not interested in paying thousands of dollars for the use of software to produce an app that they don’t know if it’s going to return the cost of development. As for VR, the user base right now is still very small, so the people who are doing the work are taking a risk (they are heroes in my book), and Blender will provide practically everything you need, from asset production to animation and a lot more. And keep in mind that Blender, while already quite powerful, continues to evolve and get better.
Lastly, keep in mind that what we are focusing on are the fundamental skills that one should know when doing 3D modeling. Such skills are independent of the software, which means you can quickly and more easily get up to speed with other software applications should you find a need to switch. And in the future we may teach Maya or some other application that has widespread use.
Who is going to be teaching this program and where?
The instructor for this program is an amazing individual and accomplished 3D model artist named Drew Daleo. You can check out his portfolio at www.drdaleo.com. Drew not only has vast knowledge of and experience with 3D modeling, but he has a passion for teaching as well. And he has 3 kids, which means he knows what he’s doing when it comes to teaching kids.
What other thoughts or ideas are worth mentioning?
There are a couple of important things worth mentioning. This program was not easy to produce. It’s our best program. It’s a program that is worth doing more than once. It’s a program with more applications and for more industries than just VR/AR, keeping in mind our expertise is with immersive technologies.
This is an amazing program that will continue to grow and evolve. It’s for this reason it’s called Youth Mixed Reality Development. It’s a program that is good for adults also, but we want to focus on kids. I believe in kids.
We have not yet worked with kids younger than 14, and so at first I was somewhat apprehensive. This is one of the things that made the program somewhat challenging to produce. I did not want to make any mistakes, and I wanted to get it just right. The results is that this is in my opinion our best program yet. And I’m very excited about finally being able to work with and teach a younger generation.
“For our first Youth Mixed RealityDevelopment program ever, to be offered in November 2019, I want to offer each student a 3D printer that they can take home with them. No, I don’t mean a 3D print. I mean a brand new 3D printer that students can take home with them, that’s right. Sign up by October 25 to win one. We will have free and fun weekend sessions where we will set up these printers and print 3D models.”
Ricardo Parker, CEO & Founder of Chronos Global Academy
Second, I think that 3D modeling for other industries is very important. It’s important that we have a program that is not just VR. So we have worked to create a program that serves other industries as well; in this case 3D printing. This made the program harder to produce.
And as a final note, I’d like to thank the people who supported me and made this program finally possible and available. The list is long, but I will mention Seaton Gras, from SURF Incubator, James Porreta from Neighborhood Heros, Greg Bulmash from Seattle Coder Dojo, Adam and Andrew Powers from Keytech Labs, Emilion Morales from Renton City Retro, Oscar Baechler from Seabug (Seattle Blender User Group), James Wilson from Mountlake Terrace High School, Sean Siem, Anika Sinha, out friends at Logo Unlimited and many others (you know who you are).
This is a unique and creative program that does not focus on coding. Therefore it works well with all the coding schools and programs that already exist in our area.
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Guest post by Ricardo Parker, originally from https://medium.com/@ricardoparker/youth-mixed-reality-development-program-by-chronos-global-academy-9dcbc271f389
check out Ricardos site here: https://www.chronosga.com/