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Learning Path for "Programmer Art"

I've been wanting to get into game development for ages. I'm a software developer by trade, so programming is more my skillset than art, but I'd like to have some skill in 3D modeling and animation as well. 

When toying around with Unreal and Unity, my biggest hangup usually came from not being able to find a good free model or animation to approximate what I need for learning or prototyping. I'd like to be able to throw together some "programmer art" for that sort of thing. 

What's the best learning path in CG Cookie for getting up to speed on the basics needed for programmer art and animation? I'd like to learn detailing and polishing eventually, but for now I'd like to get experience doing the basic stuff needed for prototyping and learning an engine.