Independent Study - The Year from Hell

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  07 July 2011
Independent Study - The Year from Hell

It's with embarrassment, and some anger, that I'm posting this. About a year ago, I posted here with grandiose plans for learning on my own. Suffice it to say, things haven't gone exactly as I had planned.

I started well enough, but as is typical for many of us, I think, I began to loose steam. I moved into an apartment for the first time, and my studies took the back seat to work and 20-something debauchery. Worth it? Not a chance.

I won't divulge too much, however, my personal life began to decline towards the end of last year, culminating into a complete nosedive in February, forcing me out of my apartment, back home with the 'rents, at essentially square one.

Things have quieted down quite a bit, and I'm back where I was around this time last year. Worried about my future, my career and my education, I've been trying to take proactive steps to remedy these things.

I feel terrible asking for advice again, especially after letting myself down already. I have terrible work ethic (there, I admitted it), I'm easily distracted, and often times I have trouble prioritizing things in my life.

That said, I call upon you Gods of the CG 'verse, whom I admire and envy more than you could possibly know, for advice on how to change these things. Where do I begin? What should I plan to do, in what time frame? Are there independent study curriculum available somewhere, where I can at least get an idea of the learning path I should be taking?

As it stands, I have no artistic background. I've recently started working through Betty Edward's Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain to get my feet wet with drawing, as it appears to be one of the most important skills to creative CGI. The idea is to be through that book in 5 days (the approximate length of the intensive workshop that it's based on), but what then?

The most important question, though, is what can I do to keep myself from slacking, if not completely ignoring, my education?

And finally; an apology for my post so many months ago. I've called on you before, and while you may not remember it at all, I certainly do, and it's eaten at me every time I see a new CG society article pop up on my facebook feed.

This ends now.

.themumm
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.themumm
http://www.themumm.com
 
  07 July 2011
Here are your options:

1. Go to College/University
2. Specialize in one area (animation/lightning/texturing/modeling...) and when you've done that, make own little projects that would take 3 days. Try to finish them.
3. If your drawings are bad now, stop trying to learn it. you are 20 years now. really, i've seen people trying to learn it at that age and while they got better, it wasnt up to a level that would have improved their cg skills, not even talking of making money with it. all good drawing people i know (concept artists mainly) started drawing at a very very young age and kept drawing all the time.
4. Really do specialize. If you want to do animation, no one cares about your other skills.
 
  07 July 2011
Originally Posted by Alpert: Here are your options:

1. Go to College/University
2. Specialize in one area (animation/lightning/texturing/modeling...) and when you've done that, make own little projects that would take 3 days. Try to finish them.
3. If your drawings are bad now, stop trying to learn it. you are 20 years now. really, i've seen people trying to learn it at that age and while they got better, it wasnt up to a level that would have improved their cg skills, not even talking of making money with it. all good drawing people i know (concept artists mainly) started drawing at a very very young age and kept drawing all the time.
4. Really do specialize. If you want to do animation, no one cares about your other skills.

College/Uni is out of the question for me right now. It's too expensive and I goofed around in High School too much for scholarships to be an option.

My drawings aren't bad. I did some pre-instructions for the book I mentioned, and they're definately up to snuff, I'm at least going to follow through on that and see how far I can get. I'm just talking about a basic understanding of form.

Thanks for the advice, though, I will keep it in mind. Keep it coming.
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.themumm
http://www.themumm.com
 
  07 July 2011
Originally Posted by Alpert: 3. If your drawings are bad now, stop trying to learn it. you are 20 years now. really, i've seen people trying to learn it at that age and while they got better, it wasnt up to a level that would have improved their cg skills, not even talking of making money with it. all good drawing people i know (concept artists mainly) started drawing at a very very young age and kept drawing all the time.


I disagree strongly with this. First of all, there are plenty of brilliant draftsmen who started fairly late in life. Secondly, any amount of drawing expierence is going to help your cg skills. Whether you're modeling, texturing, or animating, careful observation is essential, and drawing is one of the best ways to train your observation skills.
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kevinbakercg.com
 
  07 July 2011
Hello again. I gave you advice in your original thread, a loooong time ago. I re-read all of that thread, funny that most of it is still useful. Don't make me do this again next year.

Originally Posted by TheMumm: I won't divulge too much, however, my personal life began to decline towards the end of last year, culminating into a complete nosedive in February, forcing me out of my apartment, back home with the 'rents, at essentially square one.
.themumm

Everyone has problems, man. I have friends who have had parents die while they were in school, and despite that they still managed to graduate and get jobs. I have known people living in small apartments with 8-10 other people, who have gone on to be successful CG artists through nothing but sheer motivation.

Originally Posted by TheMumm: I feel terrible asking for advice again, especially after letting myself down already. I have terrible work ethic (there, I admitted it), I'm easily distracted, and often times I have trouble prioritizing things in my life.
.themumm


Well, then maybe this isn't for you. Everyone talks like they want to be a game artist, or work in movies, and at the end of the day that doesn't get you very far. Everyone doing this stuff struggles to stay motivated, because this takes years of work. There really isn't much else to say. If you wanted to be a doctor but you weren't motivated to learn anatomy or medicine, what would you expect people to tell you?

Originally Posted by TheMumm: As it stands, I have no artistic background. I've recently started working through Betty Edward's Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain to get my feet wet with drawing, as it appears to be one of the most important skills to creative CGI. The idea is to be through that book in 5 days (the approximate length of the intensive workshop that it's based on), but what then?
.themumm


Good idea, and the key here is to seek some kind of plan. While it's true that you can learn the same things online as you can in school, the difference is that nobody is laying out coursework for you. If I had to do it from scratch, I would start with every single Gnomon, Digital Tutors, and Lynda video I could find. Especially some of the project based ones. This should take several months, and boy will it test your motivation. Take some time in between videos to practice what you just learned to help you remember it.

Originally Posted by TheMumm: The most important question, though, is what can I do to keep myself from slacking, if not completely ignoring, my education?
.themumm


To answer that question personally, I would say you could get hungry. CG is really just like any other job. The people who really study it well and get interested will be the most likely to get jobs. We are not some special industry with a magic secret to success. Hard work (and smart work) and time. Take note sometime when you are shopping of all the people working around you. Working in grocery stores, fast food, movie theatre, best buy, wal-mart. There is nothing at all wrong with these jobs, but is it what you want for yourself? If it isn't, then you better get to learning CG or some other trade.

Originally Posted by TheMumm: And finally; an apology for my post so many months ago. I've called on you before, and while you may not remember it at all, I certainly do, and it's eaten at me every time I see a new CG society article pop up on my facebook feed.

This ends now.

.themumm


Prove it.
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www.psvisuals.com - 3D Visualization and Content Creation
 
  07 July 2011
I understand the lack of work-ethic when you're on your own. Generally this isn't a problem for my animation because I go to school and I have deadlines, however, I recently started trying to take my health into control and I have found a few key things to help keep you going and it should all work for animation and homework and everything else too. The thing with learning or doing anything by yourself is that lack of accountability and discipline. When you don't have someone on your butt demanding your work, you have to demand it of yourself, which is a lot harder.

First: Schedule it. The earlier the better. Tell yourself that when you wake up in the morning, you're going to work for one hour (often one hour turns into four without you noticing it!). Its best to do this in the morning if you can because then you're less likely to put it off and not do it. If you can't do the morning, then make it some other time, but you have to commit to it and you have to make it non-negotiable. If you're going to work at 8o'clock at night and your friend wants you to go out, you have to say sorry, you're at home doing work. Its tough, but will-power can be exercised and it gets easier and easier.

Second: Write it down. Make a blog or start a journal. If you make a blog, try to get some friends to follow it or people online. Use that to hold yourself accountable and tell yourself you have to write it down everyday. It can be one sentence, but just write something like "Today I animated the bouncing ball." If you don't write it down, it often feels like you didn't do anything or that it didn't, or doesn't matter. Not only will it be good to keep you going, its a good thing to look back at and see where you've come from, what you've done, and where you're going. Its like a process journal and it will also help you feel accomplished.

Third: Make weekly goals. Each week write down what you plan to accomplish, ex "This week I will animate a bouncing ball and a walkcycle" and then at the end of the week, recap. Write down the goals you met, what you could have worked on, and how you felt that week, and then some other notes.

These may sound silly, but when I was doing these, my productivity shot through the roof and I felt good about it. When I stopped for a week or two, everything started to slip. These are great tools to help you stay on track and keep going, but the most important thing is your attitude. You have to approach it like its non-negotiable and you have to think every time that deadline comes around that you HAVE to do it because if you don't, you'll only be hurting yourself and letting yourself down and that it DOES matter. Think of something bad, like if you don't, you'll be living with your parents forever! haha

You CAN fix your work ethic, it won't be easy but after a few months, it does get easier. The hardest part is that you have to start and you have to DO it and you have KEEP DOING it. That'll be most of the battle. Other than that, I recommend that if you can't go to college, try getting your hands on a Digital Tutors subscription, or if you're into animation, consider Animation Mentor or iAnimate. Good luck!
 
  07 July 2011
Decency, Damn thankful for your second posting.

Well, I got paid this morning, so I think I'll start with a DT subscription and work through some of the videos there, which was the original plan.

I was talking with a friend of mine last night about work ethic, and he mentioned something he heard about Jerry Seinfeld doing; He had a calander, and would X the days that he wrote. As the 'chain' of Xs increased, it became a game to keep that chain going (which makes a lot of sense, I read an article in Wired recently about the power of feedback loops, and this was a classic example).

I do like the idea of a blog. Tumblr being what it is that may be where I start, my friends are all on there anyway.

I do come bearing good news, however. I made a point, a hard point, to myself last night before I almost went to bed to do something productive. This was my third day in a row drawing, and I've already seen some serious improvement. What was supposed to be an hour job, in bed before 11 turned into a 1:30 am bedtime. And boy, did I feel good about myself. Not stopping now!

And again, guys, thank you so much for the advice. Means a lot to me. I'll post a link to my blog when I have it set up and I play catch up on posts.

Cheers for now!
__________________
.themumm
http://www.themumm.com
 
  07 July 2011
so many things to learn, so many subjects to cover...it's hard enough to be good at one area, let alone try and master all...pick one, and focus on just that.

keep your goals reachable...anything that can be accomplished in a day...as long as you're constantly producing something...the more you're exposed, the better you get.

don't procrastinate. good luck!
__________________
 
  07 July 2011
Wow so many awesome advices

I can relate to you OP , because from past 7-8 months I have done nothing
I watch TV shows, movies, play games, BUT NO CG

But I'm gonna change all that & starting working now. Let's hope we could stay on this path

Update this thread with what you are doing

Cheers
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  07 July 2011
Well, the blog's all set up, complete with first post and all!

At work now, so I will check in with the internet later after I've been home.


http://www.themumm.tumblr.com

Fixed the link, Sorry about that. Real briefly while I'm here (I don't have long, at the office), I thought I'd check in at tell you what I'm working on - a 4 month cirriculum for myself covering drawing, photoshop in production and basic Maya skills. I'm also developing a longer-term cirriculum to help me assess timetables and thus budget my time accordingly.

What's more, I'm dialing back my sleep time, hopefully I can get it to around 4 hours a night. I was up until about half past one drawing last night until I finally gave in.
__________________
.themumm
http://www.themumm.com

Last edited by TheMumm : 07 July 2011 at 01:55 PM. Reason: Change website
 
  07 July 2011
your link doesn't work . . .
 
  07 July 2011
Originally Posted by Torr: First: Schedule it. The earlier the better. Tell yourself that when you wake up in the morning, you're going to work for one hour (often one hour turns into four without you noticing it!). Its best to do this in the morning if you can because then you're less likely to put it off and not do it. If you can't do the morning, then make it some other time, but you have to commit to it and you have to make it non-negotiable. If you're going to work at 8o'clock at night and your friend wants you to go out, you have to say sorry, you're at home doing work. Its tough, but will-power can be exercised and it gets easier and easier.

Second: Write it down. Make a blog or start a journal. If you make a blog, try to get some friends to follow it or people online. Use that to hold yourself accountable and tell yourself you have to write it down everyday. It can be one sentence, but just write something like "Today I animated the bouncing ball." If you don't write it down, it often feels like you didn't do anything or that it didn't, or doesn't matter. Not only will it be good to keep you going, its a good thing to look back at and see where you've come from, what you've done, and where you're going. Its like a process journal and it will also help you feel accomplished.

Third: Make weekly goals. Each week write down what you plan to accomplish, ex "This week I will animate a bouncing ball and a walkcycle" and then at the end of the week, recap. Write down the goals you met, what you could have worked on, and how you felt that week, and then some other notes.


This is really good stuff.

Speaking from personal experience, worry less about the planning/organization/end goals and more about the do-ing. If you keep on with the do-ing the skills will come.
__________________
figdigital | @figdigital
 
  07 July 2011
Originally Posted by fig: This is really good stuff.

Speaking from personal experience, worry less about the planning/organization/end goals and more about the do-ing. If you keep on with the do-ing the skills will come.


I agree, the do-ing is definitely the most important part. I just tend to find that the doing comes out of the planning/organization/end goals. If I don't do that first, then the doing gets lost somewhere. Its really whatever works for you, this method has really helped me to achieve some things I didn't think I'd be able to do
 
  07 July 2011
Played my last didge show last night, managed to get in about an hour of tutorial watching before hitting the sack. Tonight, the adventure begins in practice, and earnest, according to my plans. I've said my 'goodbyes' to my friends, let them know what I was planning on doing, and they all understood why I'll be in hunker-hermit mode for the next few months.

Posting the day's goals momentarily on the blog, check it out!
__________________
.themumm
http://www.themumm.com
 
  07 July 2011
Originally Posted by TheMumm: What's more, I'm dialing back my sleep time, hopefully I can get it to around 4 hours a night. I was up until about half past one drawing last night until I finally gave in.


This is an absolutely terrible idea. You will remember much less from your tutorials, become less healthy physically, and overall greatly hinder your progress, not to mention likely burn yourself out. Remember last year, when you couldn't keep this up and ended up wasting time? The goal this year should be to work at a SUSTAINABLE pace, so sustainable is the key word here.

Trust me when I say that staying up all night drawing and doing CG doesn't mean you will learn anything faster. You need time to re-charge your spirit a little, or else you will lose motivation extremely quickly. To get good at this stuff you need to practice for years, and on 4 hours of sleep you will probably drop over from a heart attack before that.

Your goal for some serious training should be between 20-30 hours a week. It's difficult to do more than this and keep it up for any lenght of time. You can watch movies, you can play games, you can hang out with friends, just keep leisure time in check overall. Maybe 1 hour a night, and more on weekends to start with.

Remember, this is a marathon, not a sprint. I greatly disagree with your signature... if you have to kill yourself to be an artist, you are doing it wrong.

Also, how old are you?
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Last edited by Decency : 07 July 2011 at 02:10 PM.
 
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