Teachers vs. Tutorials

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  04 April 2013
Teachers vs. Tutorials

Now I know there are lots of threads about tutorials and it seems stupid to compare them with teachers in the classroom since tutorials are just one-on-one with a virtual teacher. But, my big question is in your experience, how much do teachers actually cover in terms of computer software curriculum versus outside classroom work being taught by tutorials? Which is more helpful in regards to learning a program? Tutorials are good on the one hand, yet if you have any questions you are kind of screwed since they don't answer back. I also realize that teachers can't teach you everything in the classroom since there's not always the time and you have to learn more on your own.

I'm just wondering because where I went to school the classes were hit and miss. Some great teachers some awful ones. I guess it all depends on the experience of the teachers but for a lot of my classes the teachers are like "here are great places to learn the software: Go to digital tutors or Gnomon workshop. Teach it yourself" Then they just teach you a few things here and there and the rest is on your own. It's a like a huge slap in the face since why did I sign up for this class just to be told, "Here you go, teach yourself. Give me money." I guess for me it seems like a rip off since it would be cheaper to just learn everything with tutorials except if you had a question.

Granted every school is different and some are better than others but in terms of teaching you the software for CG- how much did they actually teach and how much did they tell you to watch tutorials?
 
  04 April 2013
If you have a 1on1 teacher it's great since you'll have the time to learn and ask questions.

In my classroom experience, it wasn't really useful because the teacher had to spend most of the time in class dealing with students who were really bad at following instructions. I think that's going to be the case with most classrooms because a lot of the students in there probably aren't really dedicated. Unless you go to a school where the students have to prove themselves before being accepted.

One thing is that the online tutorials can give you training from really experience professionals where you might not be able to learn those things from a teacher even if you have the time.


My opinion is that schools are only useful if they're the really good schools, otherwise it's much better to save your money and do tutorials.
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  04 April 2013
You are answering your own question, really.
Some teachers are crap, some are great, and there are the shades inbetween. Much like in the real world once working you will have some great producers, and some awful ones, some great heads of department, and some awful ones, and were you to make it further up the ladder and be good at what you do, one day you will have some great staff, and some awful laggards.

Do schools in general have merit? They provide a way to network personally, deadlines, a certain environment and a number of other things the internet sphere doesn't quite deliver the same way.

Is that worth anything to you? If it is, stay there (possibly pick courses based on which are good and aren't which often means skipping software specific ones).

If you are driven, perspicacious, enterpreneuring, motivated, a good self-learner and all, and maybe even not too fond of random team dynamics (coping with peers not up to your level of knowledge or raw aptitude), and willing to forego those hard lessons (you'll have to learn later in life to cope with a bad hand when it comes to people around you, though) then get out of there ASAP, and save the money to spend it on workshops and tutorials handpicked between the best, and have money to spare to not dig yourself a debt trench you will spend the following ten years digging your way out of.

Simple as that, really.
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  04 April 2013
There are tutorial creators out there who are glad to answer questions and help out anyone who needs it via email. It all depends on which tutorials you are dealing with.
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  04 April 2013
Originally Posted by teruchan: There are tutorial creators out there who are glad to answer questions and help out anyone who needs it via email.


Some have forums too for answering questions. You can pick the best parts of anything available and work them to your advantage.
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  04 April 2013
Learning is always a question of helping yourself, you need to pick whatever works for you, there are four main avenues in my experience:

Tutorials
Cheap, free, huge variety of quality, but covering almost any topic you want. If youre able to learn what you need, I would suggest this as the main route for most people so long as youre able to soak it all in.

Uni
Expensive, huge variety, but the easy option. Uni is a spoon fed, go with the flow choice. Some teachers will be great, others... too many usually, will be there pulling the bare minimum possible. You must keep in mind, some teachers will be learning it all from scratch 2 pages ahead of you in the manual. If you have one of these, I'd question what youre paying money for.

Work
Free, absorb knowledge from others, its slow, but over time youll probably get the bulk of your 3d knowledge from here

Private
Expensive per day, but youll learn as much in a day as you will in several weeks of uni. Hire a private tutor and youll get a huge kick start, also quite good later on when you have a whole series of annoyances you want ironing out in one go. Employers often pay for these.
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  04 April 2013
I think Tutorials are the best for learning the technical aspect of 3d cause you can rewind them over and over until you grasp the concept. Thats why lecturers refer students to do them otherwise it would be very annoying and tidious to repeat again and again for thick sculls

Teachers are the best for explaining the theory part of the concept. And they can give you many examples and share their personal experiences through out the duration of the program/semester. And ofcoz they come in handy when u have questions after the tutorial.

All in all you need Both. The key to learning is
1.study 2. Practice/do it 3.Get feedback 4.Apply feedback
 
  04 April 2013
Learn a software = tutorials
Learn 'art' = a great school

Research the great art schools and universities not the software they 'might' teach. They might not teach you any software. But you'll have a foundation to make great art not just pushing buttons. Scripts can push buttons too.

Never pick a school as 'great' because it costs a lot-some of the very *worst* cost the very *most*. Try and find out where the industry greats went to school.
 
  04 April 2013
The biggest thing that's missing from a lot of people who apply to work in vfx is the ability to break a problem down and solve a task in bite sized chunks to get a result because there is not a tutorial for everything. It is a skill in its own right and requires practice !

B
 
  04 April 2013
Many great posts, I don't think they should be compared as "vs" because both are essential. Tutorials and online training provide foundations just like learning to draw, working on actual projects with a mentor or guided instruction leaves that room for troubleshoooting. Most of my school work has been fairly open and up to me, the instructor may give certain guidelines and leaves the rest up to me with just how much detail I want or aproaching to making a shot. If I run into probems (which is a good sign because I am pushing personal limits) I get her advice or guidance, generally I get to solve them myself which gives me the most learning though she is there as a sort of safty net. The other advantage of having a teacher is a +1 to everything I do, she gives guidance and suggestions to make a great render,animation,model, etc even stronger and better.

As also previously mentioned there is networking, online this can be done somewhat though it is far from comparison to in person relationships. After just a few months of reloacting to a physical school I have made friends in every field and there is plenty cross-over. These connections provide a personal grid for critique and guidance as well as potential employment in the future, always keep in mind that no matter what you think of someone personally they may work with you, below or above you in the future.
 
  04 April 2013
Originally Posted by circusboy: Learn a software = tutorials
Learn 'art' = a great school


This pretty much sums up my own thoughts on the matter. Software can very easily be learned through tutorials, but the whole art and creativity aspect is best taught in a great learning environment from an inspiring and challenging teacher.
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  04 April 2013
Google, a curious mind and good search parameters give most schools a run for their money. MOST schools these days, because most schools these days are focused more on pushing knowledge than real education and desire to have students think.

- The effectiveness of tutorials is based on your own curiosity and willing to achieve.
- The effectiveness of schools/teachers comes down to their methodology, outside of the students will.
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  04 April 2013
I know this was an open ended question and I'm just curious to learn people's opinions on it. I'm not bashing teachers or tutorials as both have their place. I guess I was more interested in what would give you the most bang for your buck in terms of using money to take classes vs. using the same money to buy a bunch of tutorials.

Originally Posted by darthviper107: If you have a 1on1 teacher it's great since you'll have the time to learn and ask questions.

In my classroom experience, it wasn't really useful because the teacher had to spend most of the time in class dealing with students who were really bad at following instructions. I think that's going to be the case with most classrooms because a lot of the students in there probably aren't really dedicated. Unless you go to a school where the students have to prove themselves before being accepted.

One thing is that the online tutorials can give you training from really experience professionals where you might not be able to learn those things from a teacher even if you have the time.




It definitely makes sense for 1 on 1 training, as for me in high school, tutors can really help you understand stuff that either you miss in class or it wasn't properly explained in a way you could understand. That said I wish I knew about this website back then to make a better decision about my future.

Originally Posted by mr Bob: The biggest thing that's missing from a lot of people who apply to work in vfx is the ability to break a problem down and solve a task in bite sized chunks to get a result because there is not a tutorial for everything. It is a skill in its own right and requires practice !

B


This I can relate to in terms of tutorials. They show you just one aspect of doing something yet if you want to do something similar yet dissimilar, it's hard to figure out how you can do that. For example, say you're watching a tutorial on maya fluids for ocean locators and wakes. So I watched a digital tutors tutorial on this and it was great and all for learning how to make a buoy float and interact in water but then I wanted to replace the buoy with a ship. Yet then the ship doesn't float right and interact with the water and waves. The tutorials are specific for making a certain thing but then when you want to tweak it and use what you learned for something else it doesn't always work out that way.


As for private 1 on 1 tutors, where would I go about finding them and finding out what their fees are?
 
  04 April 2013
Could you specify what area of cg you are interested in? It matters.
If for the buck, nothing can beat tutorials, both paid and free ones (free are worse, but often give some interesting and in-depth thoughts by bored aspiring artists. Rarely seasoned professionals make free tuts).
Maybe further learning the software can answer your immediate questions, with both help of forums. Mostly at the beginning it's hard to figure out many things, but later they become obvious, you just have to spend more time with help files and tutorials. I don't know what kind of serious problems you've encountered though. Anyawy don't give up and continue learning until you really feel the help files and tutorials don't help anymore.
Generally you shouldn't expect from teachers helping you on every bit, they give you 20% of knowledge and advice, and the rest you're learning on your own. It's just your questions may become more difficult to answer with time, and the more difficult they are, the more you benefit from having a really good teacher. Though I think hiring a teacher for learning software isn't a great idea, personally, the routine mostly is too simple for assistance. Anyway, it depends on your personality, and some people will learn from others when they can, and others will learn on their own until they feel they can't proceed any further.
 
  04 April 2013
Originally Posted by ebbandflow: For example, say you're watching a tutorial on maya fluids for ocean locators and wakes. So I watched a digital tutors tutorial on this and it was great and all for learning how to make a buoy float and interact in water but then I wanted to replace the buoy with a ship. Yet then the ship doesn't float right and interact with the water and waves. The tutorials are specific for making a certain thing but then when you want to tweak it and use what you learned for something else it doesn't always work out that way.


As for private 1 on 1 tutors, where would I go about finding them and finding out what their fees are?

This is called context. Its what doing CG is all about. Its where you spend your time finaling a shot in a production environment. Its understanding a tool well enough to know 'what' to tweak to have an effect work for your shot's context. If it were plug and play a monkey could do CG.
And this is why a monkey can't do CG.

Private tutors?! not sure this is an easy find.
-someone who is good with cg.
-who has the time to just sit with you and show you stuff one-on-one
aka why aren't they working?!
- someone who you could convince to do all this for a reasonable cost (by your standards). aka their normal daily rate will likely scare you off.

This is why online or group classes are a more likely available choice for you.
 
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