Chris Learned how to build 3D websites right out of Treehouse
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Chris’s personal website does everything a normal personal website does - but it's way cooler. Of course, the site displays his accomplishments, blogs, interests, and work experience, much like other personal websites. However, it’s all done with 3D graphics.
Chris’s website is a 3D model of a fictional solar system, where you can zoom with scroll and click to adjust the camera view.
Check it out here!
Each planet is a link to a page, so you can click into his blog and portfolio pages to get more information about Chris.
There’s even a couple of cool easter eggs hidden in the site’s code. For example, if you’re on a planet the sky will turn dark at night. Also, the trajectory of the planets follows real orbital physics - tough stuff to code!
How to build a 3D website
After graduating from the Techdegree Chris knew he wanted to keep pushing himself. Chris learned Three.js and made a 3d website.
Chris felt he wanted to do something that when an employer saw it they would think “Wow this is different”. He didn’t want to build a normal site - he wanted to totally stand out from the crowd.
Therefore, Chris made a 3D website that looks like the solar system. You can fly around in the solar system, and each one of the planets is a different category. The “about me”, “the blog”, “the projects”, and the contact form are all accessed by clicking on a planet icon.
It has a scroll-to-zoom function, so as you “scroll down the page”, it zooms into the solar system.
If you click and drag, then you can rearrange the camera view. This allows you to see the planets from a different angle, and even get the planets to collide with your camera view as they move through their orbits.
The text reorients to follow the camera, which is very handy as you play with the different views.
“I’ve got to do something to stand out, like coding a site with Planets in Space” - Chris Carver
The site is using real physics which took a lot of research to actually figure out what all of the equations were to calculate these orbits. Chris even had to do a bit of trigonometry!
The site is hosted on Netlify for the front end, and it’s run on React. The framework is React-three/Fiber, which combines React and JS together by using components.
Components are useful tools to bring chunks of code so you don't have to do it all on your own. For example, Chris used a component called stars that he added on his React app, and that brought in the starry night view that you can see on the site now. Using components saves a lot of time and energy!
The backend is built on Heroku and Express, which enables users to quickly deploy apps to their sites!
The Techdegree portfolio
This portfolio proves that Chris knows how to code and that he has the experience employers are looking for.
A big change in career - from Oil to Tech
Chris has been working in the same job in oil for the last 9 years. This shows incredible loyalty and perseverance.
His daily work includes site maintenance, daily production, monitoring daily production, and fixing minor things. He goes through a big checklist, checking each location one-by-one.
It made sense to go into oil because he grew up in oil. It’s something Chris has always known, but it’s not one of his favorite dream jobs. Now that Chris has mastered his current job in oil, he feels unchallenged and is looking for a new direction.
“The oil industry is something Chris has always known, but it isn’t one of his favorite dream jobs” - Chris Carver
During the Covid pandemic, Chris started to think about “what else is out there”. He wanted to do something completely different.
“I always told myself, if I was going to leave my job, I would leave the oil industry completely - I’d find something totally different”. - Chris Carver
“I’ve always been a geek and a nerd growing up, I’ve always loved the movies and videos where people are hacking at the computer and typing really fast.” As a result, he became inspired to tackle learning to code as something to do during the pandemic, but also as a life-long dream to be good at technology and to change his career." - Chris Carver
In summer 2020, Chris picked up the intro to Python course, and then he’s been programming ever since.
“There’s a lot of times when I come home from work and I don’t feel like doing anything.” - Chris Carver
But the desire to learn and change our lives is stronger than the hard work. Even if it takes a couple of months longer, it’s important to keep going and keep learning how to code.
“I could have had the techdegree finished in 3 months, but it took me 8 months because I kept taking little breaks. 1 week would turn to 3 weeks, then I would think “oh I got to get back into this” - Chris Carver
In the long run, there’s no difference between 3 and 8 months. Getting it done is all that matters. This perseverance is what it takes to avoid failure and keep learning as your career grows.
What was the biggest advantage of the techdegree?
The biggest advantage of studying with Treehouse was the videos. Chris chose Treehouse because there were tons of videos, and he was able to watch and learn rapidly.
Guil was Chris’s favorite instructor. Check out some of the courses by Guil here: https://teamtreehouse.com/guil
The biggest push of the techdegree was the projects. Getting all of the 10 projects done was a big challenge and was the source of a lot of learning of the course.
The thing is, you can watch all the videos all day long and not learn anything. They call it “Tutorial Hell”. Tutorial hell is where you watch a video, and then watch another video, and never actually apply it. Treehouse isn’t like this.
The projects really pushed Chris forward as a developer, and made sure that he really learned and used what he saw in the videos. These projects resulted in Chris developing a portfolio for job applications.
Check out Chris’s portfolio here!
Working, raising kids, and studying code
Not only is Chris studying code - he is balancing a family and keeping an income as well. Although it’s tough, it is definitely possible to study at the same time as living your life. Ultimately, learning new skills and building a career in tech makes your life better and easier!
You don’t have to give up everything to study, just a little bit every day will result in you being able to achieve your goals!
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