Best Advice for Getting Into CG

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  10 October 2017
Best Advice for Getting Into CG

Hi, first post into a cg community
I don't want to become a master (I'm a film director with no money to hire a proper fx artist), but would like to alter backgrounds and perhaps add minor enhancements to in our foregrounds to boost production design.
From little research, looks like after effects then blender would be good softwares of focus? My plan (unless advised otherwise) is to create a few mini-projects and find tutorials to achieve them.
I'll put in the hours to get there, but don't want to waste those hours if possible—if you have any directional/learning habit advice, would be greatly appreciated
  10 October 2017
I am big fan of fundamentals.
If you have done so, learn to draw and learn core photo concepts.

For visual effects, I would go old school.
Learning to do 3d well IS A BEAST. If you want to apply FX to your films NOW, I would learn photo manipulation in Photoshop.  The techniques are applicable for a composite programs like Fusion, Nuke or After effects. 
Blender is a great program, but getting to the point of doing photorealistic renders takes years. 
:Daily Sketch Forum:HCR Modeling
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  10 October 2017
Learn by doing, You've touched on it yourself.
It's easy to fall into a pit of completely learning a piece of software before getting into things.
But if you go into a software just to do something simple then you're forced to learn what you need from that software to do that thing, Over time as you go in for various things you'll learn/ gain perspective of the overall picture.

 Cinema4D is an easy 3D application to get into compared to the others but if you don't intend to spend any money then Blender for sure.
Besides that learn of Topology first, If you don't know already get a good perspective of forms, basic forms you create etc.
From Ama to Pro, manipulation of the basic forms is what everyone does in 3D and art in general so fooling around with those, creating simple objects will get you there sooner than later.

There are several traps you can fall into, But if you keep your main goal in mind you can cut through the cheese. One thing that will never change is that feeling of missing out/ Not knowing or being capable of doing what the "pros" etc do. Until you learn every nook and cranny of software etc to be able to disect very 3D image or video you'll see everyone above yourself when in truth just like drawing etc anyone can learn and do it. Experience over time makes the bigger difference but that doesn't stop you from making a very good basic thing at the same level a pro can.

It's all the same.
  10 October 2017
If you do not have multiple years to learn 3D, and need software that "just works" and is user friendly, I would take a look at Cinema4D.

It isn't cheap, but it is the most user and artist friendly of the Professional 3D packages by a far shot.

Everything else - Blender, Max, Maya and so on - is a bit of an adventure. You are looking at months of learning basics and doing tutorials with those.

Cinema4D will get you from "doing your first simple 3D" to "putting CG elements into live action footage" much faster than the other choices.
  10 October 2017
Cinema 4D/Blender are cool options but if you're just looking to alter backgrounds and enhance foregrounds then you'll probably have all your bases covered by just using Nuke or Aftereffects and Photoshop.  
  10 October 2017
I think the process of learning kind of parallels the development of CG. Having a good sense of the order in which things were innovated and became commonplace would give a good sense of how to approach CG from scratch. By this I mean do not start out sculpting million polygon meshes, but rather try recreating the simple scenes of a few decades ago.  Play with primitive shapes and simple materials to get a feel for 3D space and lighting. Make a few scenes with a single object and work up to complex scenes.  Try a landscape generating program, and look at the figure posing tools. Develop a good understanding of the vocabulary of CG, understand the importance of normals and the difference between 3 and "n" sided polygons, the differences between NURBS, CSG, manifold meshes etc.
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