Are timelapse training videos really instructive?


Hi guys.
Just curious, do you find timelapse training videos helpful to you, or those explaining principles on simpler examples to be more useful?
I’m personally a bit suspicious on timelepse videos, as they seem a simple way to make a buck without spending too much time preparing the course. Which would otherwise be much more demonstrable.


They CAN be helpful, but it all depends.

  1. If the instructor has got it at 20x speed then, no, it’s pretty much worthless unless you crank the speed down on your player. For me, 4x seems to generally be the sweet spot. It minimizes those dead zones that typically occur when we’re thinking a problem through or picking the right tool for the job.

  2. The instructor skipping steps or bypassing boring, repetitive parts is okay as long as the viewer is on the same page, so to speak. If it’s an intermediate skill level course and the instructor starts off a retopo job and then jumps to the end then that’s fine. The viewer saw the basics, knows that the process is repetitive, and will be okay going forward. If, however, the instructor moves from the sculpt to retopologized model without showing the student how it’s done then there could be a problem if they want/need to understand the process…

  3. If the app has a lot of (sub)menus or buttons then it’s almost always helpful if they have the cursor highlighted so that you can follow along. You can still follow along without this feature, but you may have to replay segments more often.

  4. If the instructor is a fan of keyboard shortcuts, as is typical in the Blender world, being able to see what key combinations are being hit is always a major plus for the newbies. Again, it’s not strictly a deal breaker if they don’t have this feature enabled, but it’s certainly a bonus.

Here are the deal breakers for me…

  1. Don’t put on stupid f-in music. I know that this sounds rude of me to say, but nobody gives a damn what metal song you love. It’s distracting and annoying. More than that, you run the risk of not being able to understand the instructor.

  2. False advertising. If, for example, you see a course in a Blender section that promises to walk you through the full game art pipeline in Blender and the quietly fail to tell you that Blender is only used for one section and that 5 other apps are really doing the heavy lifting… Yeah. Go to hell with that. :smiley: Nobody wants to spend $50+ on a course that requires you to maybe have $5,000 of additional software you might not own. Fess up so that buyers know what they’re getting into. Of course, you could adapt techniques from one app to another, but that’s a big ask on the part of the student if it’s a newbie course.

  3. Ads. I get it. If it’s a free video, you have to pay the bills somehow. Still, nobody wants to have their instructional video with a 5 minute promo on this web host that you’re shilling for. Drop it at the end or just include it as a bonus video, if this is paid content.

  4. Don’t talk to me like I’m an idiot. Even if it’s a beginner’s course that I might need to watch because it has to do with some new oremerging technique, you can treat me like I don’t have a brain injury. I’m a big fan of the KISS (Keep It Simple, Stupid) method, but it has its limits. It’s one thing to break it down in simple terms. It’s another to pretend like you’re teaching a 5yo.

  5. Accents. Okay. I know. This sounds bad. Hear me out. I don’t have a problem with accents. We all have one even if we don’t recognize it. Still, when somebody’s accent is SO thick that I might as well need close captioning or an interpreter, the value of the course goes down. Nobody wants to learn about trim sheets from a guy who sounds like, maybe, Sean Connery with a mouth full of cake.

IMO, paid content is fine. Just know your sources and read the reviews. Certain sites like Lynda or Udemy dump some truly terrible content out there that sounds nice on paper, but is worthless in practice. Look at the sample vids and screenshots. See if you can find info on the instructor; Maybe even check to see if they have an ArtStation page or personal site. Don’t automatically rule out a course because the end product is terrible though. I’ve learned that over the years. Some people are TERRIBLE artists, but amazing instructors. How they never take their own advice is a mystery, but it happens.

As for whether I prefer timelapses or deep dive explanations… A bit of each, actually, I don’t mind timelapses in general on, say, YouTube because much of it would be retread for me. However, I prefer more in-depth material when a new technique pops up or somebody has a different, super clever method of doing something that I’ve done a totally different way for the past 25 years. It all depends on what it is I want to see or need to (re)learn.


Personally, I’m fairly picky I’ve only found a few to be informative which in the main are authored by pro’s with voiced over narration added during post editing. So in turn content that’s typically of interest can be a bit advanced however simple addition of screencasting keystrokes throughout a given clip is entirely welcomed, especially when ones powers of recall is not what it once was.


Thank you for your valuable comments!
Cookepuss, I found that DT are good at technical courses, but not as good at artistic ones.
Sacboi, when I watch timelapses of artistic videos, I get a feeling that I might not be as advanced at the course requires, hence I might miss the point. I personally would prefer a course, which explains some artistic tips in a concise way, but I guess some schools release promo timelapse videos, while retaining hot stuff for students.