Video hosting and useless lectures
Tool up with just only YouTube, you can perfectly master almost any graphic editor at an acceptable level. You should always keep in mind that this is an entertainment resource, and the likelihood that you will switch your attention is extremely high. It is nearly impossible to build long-term and consistent learning. And if you approach the choice of material consciously and provide your own training plan, it will become much easier for you. What video hosting sites are really good at is in solving simple tasks: how to find this or that menu bar, where to set up the render, how to make a simple character rig. You can solve all these problems instantly provided you just enter a search query correctly.
There are a huge number of channels in which the authors make up their training program very competently, create thematic playlists, and show clearly which buttons they press during the process. But there are also lectures that are over saturated with conceptual knowledge. These lectures are difficult to apply in practice. It is very important to distinguish where you are busy with entertainment and listen to hour-long streams of how environmental design is telling a story, a series of lectures about the visual language, videos about the creative path of this or that 3D artist ... and simple things that you are able to repeat right now.
The classical structure of education consists of three parts: obtaining conceptual knowledge, comprehending received information and applying the acquired knowledge in practice. As a rule, it seems that we are lack of knowledge about the subject, but often this is not the case at all. Exactly the practice is often the key moment which push us to rethink in the process everything what we have learned before.
Greed versus laziness
Sometimes we do not have enough external motivation to assimilate the material diligently, and online schools will help us here. You will have to spend your money that you honestly earned and it will be far more difficult for you to abandon education due to the discomfort that arose when meeting new and incomprehensible material. Online courses help us to concentrate on the practical implementation of assignments. The feedback received from the teachers is one of the most valuable experiences of any novice specialist. A structured presentation usually makes it easier to understand the material, and the student forms a more specific understanding of his subject. Unfortunately, the market is over saturated with online courses, and it is quite difficult to figure out what is really trustworthy. Some schools issue certificates, what adds confidence in the high quality of the taught material, but today it is rather a pleasant bonus. First of all, you must be attracted by the teacher of the course himself and his works have to be extremely close to you. It is worth paying close attention to the manner of the presentation of material in the demo lessons if there are any. It will be a big advantage if the course builds a community around itself, creates channels in messengers or in the discord messenger. Mutual help among students will be beneficial, and psychologically it is very valuable to feel like a part of the team. There is no universal way to determine whether this course is right for you or not, we all are very different. However, it is worth understanding the general picture: knowledge dumping today provokes to rivet courses for a penny, and the low price only attracts attention. That allows the authors to quickly get a profit without large investments.
Regular work is another extremely valuable source of experience should not be overlooked. One must approach the search for new vacancies with this view, whether it is an office job or a one-time freelance job. Some programs take almost years to master. Exactly motivation to gain new experience will help you to maintain interest and in general can broaden your view of the CG industry. Choosing difficult tasks on the verge of your capabilities, you risk not manage to cope with your goal, lose interest in work and experience discomfort from the whole process. You have to take these risks into account and assess your strengths sensibly. But if you stay within the usual framework, rivet the same things for years, you risk of becoming an extremely inflexible creative one. In our dynamic time it will have an extremely negative impact on your career.
And a bit more
A personal project can become a field for your own research, and you should give free rein to your imagination to the fullest here! This is a great reason to evaluate all of your existing skills and try them out as you see fit. The received result will get to your collection of completed projects. The funny thing is that even an unsuccessful result can give you a lot of useful information. You might have gaps with the organization of the entire workflow or a lack of practical skills. In my opinion, this is one of the most relevant ways to upgrade your own skills.
As a result, I would like to accent that it is very difficult to study effectively. Watching streams or video tutorials in the background can create the false illusion that you will learn more and more new things, but learning is not just conceptual knowledge, it is also their practical application, which helps to understand them on a deeper level. It is essential to find an approach to yourself, but I am sure that if there is both time and desire, you can provide high chances of a positive experience.
Author: Ural Vazirov, concept designer. Author's portfolio