ihatelemons

6 replies · posted

How do you learn/ how did people learn things in cg by themselves?

I'm asking this because right now I can't renew my cgcookie because paypal isn't accepted yet, but I also got curious about something in the process.


The question first  came to me as I often hear that; from teachers and general long learners of cg, that they had
to learn things by themselves. If you have done that, what would you say helped you
figure everything out/ develop your skills? How did you fit the pieces together? How did you do it when resources weren't as many as they were now? I'm still going to be using places such as blenderguru and general youtube tutorials, but I was curious as i'd like to develop "intuition" in a sense, and how to figure out things that might not have tutorials yet. Thank you! 

  • What I've always done for learning on my own was much the same as setting goals of any kind. I decided what I wanted to learn, found the resources from which to learn it, and then dove in. It's harder these days because there are so many online resources to choose from and not all of them are high quality. It's easy to waste time going over the same material multiple times with difference instructors, or learn bad habits from people who really shouldn't be teaching.

    Perhaps the easiest (and maybe the best) thing to do is get yourself a credit card so you can renew your membership (BTW, I'm not an employee of CG Cookie, nor am I affiliated in any way) even if you have to go with a pre-paid card. Then you'll have the benefit of the learning flows, etc. available here.

  • crew

    No one really ever learns on their own, they eventually pick up things from random sources or possibly through one good source such as a mentor or class. When I first started learning game development it was a bit tough. Not too many great resources online, even from the companies that created the software. So you'd learn enough from a tutorial, but not enough to really move forward. 

    Eventually you pick up small pieces here and there and you start bridging them together. You learn one tip from someone and then another and you put them together to make something completely new. With learning there's always going to be that risk that what you're learning isn't ideal or even a great way to learn something, but I don't believe that will ever go away. You eventually learn what works best through time and experience. 

    I would say these days it's a bit of a double edged sword. There's far more resources these days to learn from, which means you have many ways of seeing how something was created, but that also means it could give you analysis paralysis in trying to decide what method you should stick with. Not to mention that some people are just not well suited to teach. 

     You'll get the "intuition" over time. Unfortunately no one can give you a definite path, but what I would say is look for those that are doing what you want to be doing. Also look for the outliers. How you can achieve something quicker by focusing on the real "meat" of what you should be learning instead of the fluff. 

  • (PART 1 of 4)

    A - I'M ASKING THIS BECAUSE RIGHT NOW I CAN'T RENEW MY CGCOOKIE BECAUSE PAYPAL ISN'T ACCEPTED YET,

    Nothing happens spontaniously, Everything happens for a certain (higher) reason in life.

    B - FROM TEACHERS AND GENERAL LONG LEARNERS OF CG, THAT THEY HAD TO LEARN THINGS BY THEMSELVES. IF YOU HAVE DONE THAT, WHAT WOULD YOU SAY HELPED YOU FIGURE EVERYTHING OUT/ DEVELOP YOUR SKILLS?

    That is what real! and independant! autonomous learning is all about "@ihatelemons".
    One only needs to gain access to basic-knowledge to understand its principles (and or the bigger picture) and off YOU go.
    One does not truly learn anything by replication someone elses work.
    I must admit, it is nice to get started, but essentially you have to find your own way (in CG and in real-life too).
    Nobody can learn something for you, since it is your internal process to master.

    Only learning from perfect pre-cooked class-room examples, NEVER will take your thinking patterns outside the classroom-box. Real life often requires you a deep (under-the-hood) understanding of how stuff really work, above and beyond the regular manuals (if they is present at all). Only then, when you fully master your skill you are able to improvise and encounter any event with success.

  • (PART 2 of 4)

    TIP: I ALWAYS TRY TO HACK THE MINDSET OF THE CREATORS TO FULLY UNDERSTAND HOW STUFF WORKS:
    You can see 1 example of this process over here (regarding wanting to know how Blender Cycles works)
    https://cgcookie.com/t/974-blender-cycles-technical-developer-question-about-various-types-of-cycles-shader-data-streams
    https://blenderartists.org/forum/showthread.php?446798-Blender-Cycles-Technical-(developer)-question-about-various-types-of-Cycles-Shader&p=3291018#post3291018


    Yes I've started follow the relevant CGCookie classes (Blender Basics, Lighting, Composting, Rendering).
    These nice beginner-level courses got me started into understanding the "Cycles mindframe-work".
    Now, I'm on a quest to FULLY LEARN how Cycles works at the GPU HARDWARE  LEVEL of thing, so I can fully control it the way I WANT IT TO and being  dependant on the fragmented bits and pieces of information that  somebody else is willing to share (for free). So I have:
    - Searched for, gathered, and read all types of Cycles "manuals" online.
    - Look on the internet for free e-books on Cycles.
    - Watched many tutorials (beginners, advanced, expert) on Cycles.
    - Contacted some Blender developers since i prefer to always go to the source of things.
    - Asked a couple of questions on BlenderArtist-forum and BlenderStackExchange.

    Only to find out - during this Cycles Learning Journey - that
    "Sourcecode never lies, always paints the complete picture".

    So I continued my Cycles Knowledge journey, quest and:
    - Installed Git on my computer.
    - Downloaded the latest blender Open Source repository.
    - Bought a few books (learning C and Python the hard way).
    - Refreshed my old C and C++ Coding skills.
    And now I have finally arrived at the level I want to understand Cycles, the SOURCE(-code)

    Yes it took me a _little_ longer then I expected, but now I have what I WANT.
    All materials needs to really start learning the way I want it too.
    And look what I ALSO have learned ALONG THE WAY.. It was worth it too.

  • (PART 3 of 4)
    C - HOW DID YOU FIT THE PIECES TOGETHER?
    By first hunting down the bigger picture of your learning topic and its context.
    Do not get stuck in the tiny-little details-mud from the beginning, ever!
    First look for everything from satelite view, orbit and only zoom in/down when needed.
    And learn from as many sources as you can get your hands on
    Do not ever limit yourself by design and default in any way.

    D - HOW DID YOU DO IT WHEN RESOURCES WEREN'T AS MANY AS THEY WERE NOW?
    This question includes some kind of personal bias / assumption.
    TIP: Start with an unbiased mindset. Never assume anything on anyone or anything!
    For example: If you first learn how to execute a good internet search, learn to find the right tools for the job,then you soon find yourself submerged in all sorts of free resources on a given topic.

  • (Part 4 of 4)
    E - I'M STILL GOING TO BE USING PLACES SUCH AS BLENDERGURU AND GENERAL YOUTUBE TUTORIALS,
    Nothing is wrong with learning from multiple sources, since it keeps your filter-bulles and biases away.
    This only helps you to learn and filter out which resources at the best suited for YOUR (OWN/PROJECT) NEEDS.
    TIP: Do not even be statisfied with somebody elses offered menu, Learn to create it yourself.

    F - BUT I WAS CURIOUS AS I'D LIKE TO DEVELOP "INTUITION" IN A SENSE,
    "The-thing-called-intuition" comes from going out on that knowledge quest and from gaining your own experience in the field on the go. It is an end-product of hard work on your entire learning-journey.
    OR...
    Sometimes things, ideas, concepts simply pop up in your head... and you need to learn to follow those leads. Never judge anything, stay open for everything, expect the unexpected and learn to go with the flow.

    G - AND HOW TO FIGURE OUT THINGS THAT MIGHT NOT HAVE TUTORIALS YET
    See my point C above
    Always aim/go for the bigger picture first (if present), so you know the entire landscape before zooming into the forest-of-details.


    I hope that sharing some of own learn experiences, will be helpful for you to.

    And remember what they say about lemons:
    ... Once squeezed propperly, their juices from the basis of great lemonade recepies ;-)
    ...... I wish you good luck with your upcoming new learning experiences.. they will be worth it.