Thibaut Bourbon (tbrbn)

76 replies · posted

Your CG routine - how do you keep up the pace ?

Hi :) I registered for around 6 months now, and have sometime hard time to maintain a good training tempo. Some weeks go really well and I can complete several exercises or course, and then it also happens that there's couple of weeks where nothing really happens. 

Of course there's always moment where one does actually not have time, but I would be interested to know what are the community's routines and learning process. Do you have any tricks or technique to get yourself started? Do you allocate a certain moment of the day to practice ? If CG is a hobby or a side-job (that's my case, I have a "regular" employee job AND work as a freelancer in CG), how do you find a good balance ? 

The motivations is almost always there, but I find the hardest to both get started and to go eventually complete a given course, without being distracted by other tutorials.

Please share your experience!



  • I also have a regular job and just take my first steps in CG, because I want to work in CG and quit my current job. Well.. anger at my job is strong motivation to practice in something I really LOVE. I don't have enough free time to practice at work, so I do this at home. I wouldn't risk my life saying to my wife "Hello honey, this evening I'm not gonna spend time with you and our daughter because CG Cookie lessons are waiting" - so I work in Blender at late evenings and even night hours when everyone is sleeping.

    And sometimes it's really hard especially when it's not weekend, and I have my alarm lock-n-loaded on 6:30 AM. So I usually practice from 10-11 PM till 00-02AM. It's hard to sleep 4-5 hours per each night, so I use usually 4 days per week for Blender. (My record was to start at 22 PM and to go to bed at 5AM. And then after an hour and a half I heard my alarm rang and went to work).

    Later I noticed that my activity lacks of structure, I tried to learn of everything at a same time. So I've made some schedule (e.g. Monday - modeling, Wednesday - texturing in Substance, Friday - animation, and so on), because I think 3 hours of "scheduled" work are more valuable than 6 of "random". I get involved in the mobile game project, just with 4 enthusiasts like me, so I have quite a tight schedule, and my motivation is not to let the others down.

    • I like the schedule idea, dedicating a day to a specific technique! I will give it a try.

      Luckily I do not need to practice late at night, it's more finding a balance between different projects I work that is the challenge. But scheduling and prioritizing seems a good and smart advice :) 

    • I like your spirit but keep in mind that you need at least 6 hours of sleep a day.

      And if you don´t take breaks regulary you will start to lack efficiency in your work. As a human being we can only concentrate 100% for 45 min. After that we need a 5 min break to refresh our brain. The longer we work a day the longer the breaks should get.

      So keep in mind to refresh your energy and take a day off. The sunday is there for a reason ;) 

    • arthur shapiro you are my motivation for today men

  • Resilience is important if you wanna progress.
    Take a course you really wanna finish and stuck to it.

    Bookmark your pratice routine as if it was a sports training or so.

    For  exemple, allocate 3x2 hours in the week like monday, wednesday and thursday from 7P.M to 9 P.M.
    Keep on having free time to meet people and have a social life. But force you to follow your program.

    Then you'll see that once you've started working, these 2 hours will go very fast.
    Then if you can work 2x4 hours on the weekend that's great.

    I use to train 4 hours every night and 15 hours on week end when I was employed.
    But try to be more reasonnable as it's not good to get too tired, you'll go burnout.
    Also training when tired is not as efficient as when you're fresh.

    If you switch one day to full freelanceing, then just pratice in your office hours whenver you don't have any commissioned project.

  • crew

    I'm really glad to see a thread about this. It's been a pain point for me as an instructor and for CGC as an educator. In fact the majority of members tend to lose motivation and bail after a few months. Which is a bummer to me personally because I love CG and I do my best to teach clearly and passionately to pass along my love for the medium.

    Some weeks go really well and I can complete several exercises or course, and then it also happens that there's couple of weeks where nothing really happens. 

    The crew has been discussing this reality for a while now. Our data suggests most members are hobbyists, which makes sense that "I don't have time" probably means "I've got other stuff I'd rather be doing." Whereas we'd like to think most members are like zzickkie in that they're trying to develop professional-level skills. With this approach, members show signs of being motivated and passionate, able to make it through courses, interact with the community, answer questions, apply what they learn and post images/video of their work to the gallery. Not that there aren't understandable peaks and valleys through the learning process.

    But I think you hit on something, tbrbn that keeps bouncing around in my head:

    The motivations is almost always there, but I find the hardest to both get started and to go eventually complete a given course, without being distracted by other tutorials.

    I'm starting to wonder if our "buffet" approach to offering training is more negative than positive. A huge collection of courses can be distracting and overwhelming, as you imply. It makes me think that reformatting course offerings into guided learning flows is best. I.e. Learning Flows on steroids.

    Do you think that could help keep you on pace and motivated?

    • For me it would be totally helpfull if cgcookies had more learning flows (guidance in general) and better time estimation to complete a course, sometimes you don't know if you are doing things slow or it's normal.

    • Whereas we'd like to think most members are like Z zickkie in that they're trying to develop professional-level skills

      theluthier In that case, wouldn't it make sense to teach professional software pipelines? At least for people trying to get a job in the 3D industry, I would think their chances would be better if they were learning things like Maya, Nuke, ZBrush etc.

      More than anything, I think Blender shines for independent artists and independent game developers. While it may never give you the best looking results on its own, it works amazingly well as a jack-of-all-trades kind of 3D software and costs nothing. Bearing that in mind, instead of focusing too heavily on highly detailed, professional-standard, sexy models, I think there should be more focus on utilizing Blender for what it is: a jack-of-all-trades, master of none. I also think emphasis should be placed on video game related material, because gamedev is starting to become very popular and there are too many newcomers in that market looking for good learning material.

      Er what was this thread about again?

    • Why I chose cgcookie was mainly Blender course.

      Not many choices when I wanted to learn 3D software. 

      I wanted to develop games and create animation on my own, and had little fund for living and not much for industry standard software. So I wanted legally cheap or free software.

      With searching, I realized Substance painter and Blender could do professional jobs enough for me. Substance bundle is less than $200 when it's on sale.

      Another problem was difficulty of learning Blender. It seemed less artistic and more mechanical than others. I learned Unity Editor and C# for few months, Blender was still hard to understand.

      However, after watching Andrew Price's video and some cgcookie tutorials, I feel comfort to learn. (Funny point is Andrew have his own site and recommended cgcookie. Blenderguru is also awesome, but It doesn't offer all fundamental things)

      So I started membership, decided to be a 3D artist, bought display tablet.

      So, $1000 for getting started(substance + membership + tablet)

      It's less than half of 1 year subscription for Autodesk things.

      I believe that dedicated artist on this site can surely succeed.

      I'm starting to wonder if our "buffet" approach to offering training is more negative than positive.

      Buffet style is fine for me. Just doing beginners course by force is maybe boring and offer poor vision for result. If I want lip sync, I look over it first. If I'm not ready to do that, I'll go more fundamental. Motivation initiates like that.

      Maybe it could help if community members share his or her own progress on courses. I would share it and it's what community is about.

      Showing some statistic data will help people feel overwhelmed. Though I don't need it and I just do what I want :D

    • I'm starting to wonder if our "buffet" approach to offering training is more negative than positive. A huge collection of courses can be distracting and overwhelming, as you imply. It makes me think that reformatting course offerings into guided learning flows is best. I.e. Learning Flows on steroids.

      Do you think that could help keep you on pace and motivated?

      I definitely fall into the "hobbyist" category. I have no plans to be a professional 3D artist; I've done the pro designer thing as a theatre set designer (why I wanted to learn 3D in the first place -- soooo much easier to visualize that way) and a freelance graphic & web designer. It was a ton of fun, and I still play in that sandbox, but it's cured me of any need to insert myself into a full design pipeline. I like working quietly out of my own studio around my family's schedule. Most film or game dev jobs don't allow for the flexibility my life requires. 

      That said, I still like learning new things and have found digital art to be a great way to visualize my "real world" projects -- not to mention more easily explain them to others. (It's also a whole lot easier to clean up after than a full paint easel or maquette build.) I'm also a "grazer", so I don't actually find the "buffet" style to be a problem. But, then, I tend to digest one thing at a time and come back for something else later, once I've satisfied my current needs. Consequently, I work on stuff here on CGC in fits and starts, "as the spirit moves", so to speak, but always with a goal of learning something specific pertaining to an off-site, unrelated project I'm working on. Once I've found what I was looking for, I go back to that original project. So, you could say I use CGC as a sort of library, rather than a college.

      Thus, I find the Learning Flows as they stand really helpful. Most of them are concise enough I can scan down, find what I need, and implement it in fairly short order. When I have the time, I go through the lessons in sequence. I don't always complete the exercises, because I'm extrapolating and applying what I learned or refreshed to an off-site project, but when I know I have a good block of time, I go through the videos and resources. (Christmas vacation for the next 2 week! Woohoo!) 

      I, for one, though, would like some of the Learning Flows to be fuller -- or at least to point to "where to go next" in a more sequential or even a branching fashion. I'm methodical (and somewhat completionist) in my approach, which means I ultimately go through even the most basic courses in sequence, even if I'm already very well familiar with and practised in the techniques they cover (e.g. a lot of the concept art traditional art techniques and colour theory stuff), before I go on to the intermediate or advanced courses that are closer to what I'm actually looking for or the level I'm actually working at. And sometimes, I pick up a technique on CGC that I research elsewhere for a fuller or deeper dive into the subject, if I haven't grasped it well here. 

      (E.g. I've recently been poking around the Unity flow, but find that jgonzalez can sometimes speak too fast for me to easily follow... and I get impatient when I have to rewind and listen too many times just to sort out what's being said. So, I go back to the Unity site and poke at their tutorials for a while, before I come back to CGC and pick up where I left off.)


      Basically, I like the "buffet", but I'd love to see some fuller, deeper Learning Flows, too, to improvethe somewhat hit-and-miss coverage of topics.

    • Hi Kent,

      I have been taking your courses since a year and a half now. I feel at the very beginning the big offer of courses was a little bit overwhelming but by the other hand I decided to become a citizen because there was a lot of courses. When you are paying, you want to take advantage of your money, so the big variety of courses from the selling point of view I think is attractive.

      Once I started to take classes, I was totally a newbie in Blender and Unity, I didn't really know what to do, the offer is big and confusing, so I was taking all kind of classes, from modeling to sculpting, and I didn't really know how to use what I was learning, so I discovered the Learning Flows, and that was really helpful because organizes the classes and gives you a goal. So you know what you will learn.

      As a conclusion I would say, for a beginner the flows are great, it's probably the best way to go, for more advanced users, when you exactly know what you want to learn, the single classes are better. So maybe you guys only need to communicate that in a clearer way, so when you get to the site you know which your options are. 

      And to make everything a little bit more complicated, hehehe, I would like to suggest even a new format of course. I realized I often don't have enough time to take a full course, but I do have time to take 10-15 min classes, it would be great to have really short classes explaining for example how to sculpt a nose, eyes, etc. not in detail obviously, but to have a good foundation. And then those short classes can be a part of a flow, for example anatomy.

      Hope it helps :-)

    • Hi Kent,

      I am new to CG Cookie since a month and I have to say, I am really in love with this. I don´t have a problem with the buffet of tutorials. It gives me the freedom of choosing what I want.

      But I would appreciate more learning flows as additional option. Some structure for newbies isn´t bad at all.

      I guess the major problem with people loosing the motivation is not your structure of the side. Moreover it is their organization talent and mindset. We all get overwhelmed by the demands of our daily life. Sparing some extra time for self development can be too streßfull in long term. It is not their lack of motivation that makes them loose track. It is their lack of knowledge how to organize and/or schedule themselves. Because all good will is meaningless if you don´t have the tools to make it.

      So how about you and your team try to give your students this tools of selforganization. Help them to relocate their mindset and priorities. Maybe by an well writen article, by introducing the people to your daily routine and organization methods or even by a own tutorial. 
      We as artists have one of the most demanding and stressfull work. If we don´t master ourselves and our work we going to work incorrect, loose motivation and loose track of other important part of our lives such as family, relationships and time for ourselves. But these are essential to deliver quality continuous.

      I personally use the time around christmas and new year to reorganize myself and my priorities. I try to establish a schedule for tutorials, studies and exercises so that it correlates with the demands of my daily life. It is a time consuming work to get your own priorities and values straight. But it´s worth it.

    • Just to throw in my 2 cents, I was immediately drawn to the cgcookie site structure. With the new learning flows (like MMBootcamp) and live-classes, I'm happy with where the site's going.

      Compared to Plural Site, & (one from my industry), I haven't seen any other site formats that come close to what you guys are doing.

    • I also just started on CG Cookie. I would also dig the even more Learning Flow minded approach. I always feel lost in the loads of video's on most learning sites without a structure to guide me through my learning experience.

    • I'm starting to wonder if our "buffet" approach to offering training is more negative than positive. A huge collection of courses can be distracting and overwhelming, as you imply. It makes me think that reformatting course offerings into guided learning flows is best. I.e. Learning Flows on steroids.

      Do you think that could help keep you on pace and motivated?

      I have been going through the courses for about a month now. I originally joined with a specific goal in mind. After seeing all of the content and training available, I started to get excited and overwhelmed. However, the learning flows have been the jewel here allowing me to put a plan together for which courses I want to take and in which order depending on how it is recommended in the learning flows.

      Regarding keeping on pace and motivated, there are a couple of things I have taken note of so far. 

      First, and again, the learning flows have really helped out. Seeing myself progress through not just the courses, but also my progress in the entire learning flow is reassuring.

      Second, the length of the videos are generally appropriate, with 10 - 15 minutes being the sweet spot for keeping my concentration. Shorter than that and I am left with a feeling of "was that all?" while more than that finds myself thinking about how I will apply what I saw to project x.

      Third, the biggest speed bump to me keeping pace is the scope of the exercises. This is not the say there is a problem with the exercises, and in fact I look forward to them. Rather, I know that for each exercise, I will be spending hours or days completing each one as I plug away at whatever issues comes up as I try to implement what I just learned for the first time. When I balance the time it will take to complete the exercise vs going through a new course and learning something new, I find myself struggling.

      On one hand, I want to complete the exercise and reinforce the knowledge there by tattooing the knowledge in place rather than just applying it like a stencil. On the other hand, I very much want to get to the next course and learn the next skill that will bring me closer to my ultimate goal.

      This very well might just be me, but I wanted to at least add my notes for consideration.

    • theluthier

      Honestly I think that motivation and a sense of "purpose" (being part of a community) is the real answer to these issues. As a society, in general, we suffer from severe attention deficit spans as the whole world around is designed to make it so. As a result we soak up an incredible amount of information which we want more and more of but which most of it is completely meaningless, it is there just to chase. To counter this "addictive" effect of information people need a sense of purpose. A sense of actually striving towards an achievable goal.

      The live classes are a fantastic step in giving members just that: a community of motivated friendly people who strive towards a similar goal. I would take this "class" concept and work upon that. Maybe split off classes so people can focus on their specific goal (animation/game art/concept) and really grow towards their desired destination.

      Also, have you thought about making an official CGCookie Discord ? It could be a fine addition to the live classes.

    • crew

      mmrdojo I'm  thrilled to read this feedback from you. Thank you! 🙇🏻‍♂️

      EDIT: And I agree about the attention issues our culture faces. Community makes the dream work.

    • I realize this thread is over two years old, but I just wanted to offer some feedback: 

      I see that you have now implemented  learning flows, and they are WELL DONE. The progression is good, and it absolutely makes sense.

      That's actually how I primarily navigate the site. I'm currently on the Learn Blender 2.8 flow (modeling, texturing treasure chest). But I love looking ahead and thinking about what flow I should learn next.

      Backstory: I've been coming to cgcookie as far back as I can remember (10-12 years ago-ish?). And I love the direction it's been going (the new community building, learning flows, etc..). I have fond memories of CGC, beer, and me drunkenly attempting to model a gun.

  • Main motivation for me still is to get into the industry full time. That is the driving force there. however, it also means that I realised things won't happen overnight. 

    for me cgcookie has been tremendous resource, and ofcourse i've scoured other places too, the more you have resources the better you are learning wise. 

    since i do got fulltime dayjob and around hour long commute with a bus, I've watched lot of videos during that time. so doing the course gets bit double take that way, I've already watched the video when i'm rewatching them on the evening and continuing which ever the course is going. looking back the first year, I pretty much did everything cgcookie had to offer. results weren't that great though. what I realised though was that i could really lose track of time if it werent our dog that comes to poke me when i need to take him out and 5 hours had gone past. :)

    So having healthy obsession of this also helps, you don't get de-motivated so easily. 

    Lately though, since i got part time intern for 3dconcepting and ue4 shading, my learning has tend to gone towards what they need and i go about and try to learn it as fast as i can and get something that might be usable. 

    how i manage all this; wish i could say its easy, its not. having deadlines helps though. and when you are doing work for someone else, your ego must go, if something needs to be changed, you'll change it and move on to the next task. and speaking of deadlines, they are easy when someone else sets them, if you do you own work, putting a deadline for that is different, since you can always talk yourself out of it, beware of that. :)

    this next is more for the cgcookie crew. Personally its bit hard to answer which one really is better, this learning flow or the previous version of cgcookie. Problem to articulate is that both worked for me at the time i was learning. and oddly enough, i've gone and re-watched some of the really old ones when I was thinking that "hell i remember seeing this problem in one tutorial" and found it pretty easily. for example the scifi paneling tutorial, though i'm not using it exactly same way but it had the base stuff i needed to solve. and then there is the scifi helmet series, as a flow that whole thing works brilliantly.

    so many good stuff in here that i forgot most of what i was going to post, however, one last thing i'd say: It's A Journey, embrace it and enjoy it, it takes its own time.

    and patience, which i've gotten lot more these past three years, and progress. which i hope this next 2picture set shows. :) Thank you Cgcookie!

  • I'll tell you what I've been told by many when it comes to online education. "You get what you put into it." The person that puts 4 to 8 hours a week into these courses isn't going to get the same out as the person that puts 12 to 24 hours. I'm not trying to tell ya that there is a magic number to hit but if being a professional is a serious goal then finding time to dedicate to it won't be a problem. That's not to sound mean or anything, I hope it more motivates you to really analyze your time and your goals. If its something you really want, you WILL find time. For me I carve out 2 or 3hrs every night after my wife and kid go to sleep. I find its much easier to concentrate when I'm the only one up and I don't have to split my attention between what's in front of me and whats around me. Doing it this way also makes sure I'm devoted to my family during the day. 

    The motivations is almost always there, but I find the hardest to both get started and to go eventually complete a given course, without being distracted by other tutorials.

    For this in regards to starting, I can understand this feeling. I wish I knew what psychological thing does this to us. Its a mental block that can only be taken down by doing the very thing its trying to keep us from doing....and that's to just start. Do anything. Agree to yourself that you will watch 1 minute of a given tutorial and really listen to what that minute has to say. *Spoilers* I bet you will get farther than a minute. If its a project, agree to yourself that you will get one edge laid down if your modeling. If animating tell yourself you're going to get one pose keyed in. Again *Spoilers* I bet you get more than that done because now you've taken down that barrier and the fun of learning and creating something is taking over.

    theluthier I like your idea. I know based on the way I learn, I'm more confident moving through a Learning Flow than making one on my own. The "buffet" style would still work great for hobbyists and self starters. Having flows based on professional discipline (generalist, texture artist, character designer, animator...) would be kind of cool. 

    A final note. Never underestimate the power of a good list. To jot down what you want to accomplish during your next learning session will keep you focused and goal oriented. I was introduced to a very helpful site called Trello and I use this to create my daily lists. Check it out.

    I hope this helps you out some. Happy learning my friend! :)

    • Yes, you've mentioned a briliant thing: just try to launch Blender, and you'll see - all these vertex and edges will hold you for hours! Even if your are not in a proper mood for practicing, just listen to a very beginning of any tutorial. Because sometimes the only first 3 seconds are the hardest

  • crew

    I'll link to an article I wrote a while back that might help others:

    Even before I started working with Unity and CG in general on a more full time basis I always tried to keep a schedule going for things I wanted to learn. I think one of the big things to help you out is having an actual deadline to get something done. When I finally decided to really pursue this more I was teaching through videos on Youtube. It was a weekly thing and I wanted to teach something new. I always tried to do bigger and better things and that pushed me to continue learning. Even now it's a continuous process of learning. If you have no real reason for learning something it's much easier to put it off. 

    Above my desk I have this quote, I like looking up at it whenever I'm feeling like I don't want to continue with something:

    I post it because the more engrossed you get into something the easier it'll be and the more you enjoy it. You don't have to spend hours a day working on something. We all have busy lives, but you must be willing to give something everyday. If you really do want to become a great artist, create something small everyday. Even if it sucks, if it's hard, just do it and feel good that you accomplished something that day that moves you forward. 

    Start small, really small. If you said, today I will just delete on face on this model, would you do it? Once you get started you start to realize "oh I can do this too". Take the pressure off by ensuring you'll do something incredibly small, anything else will feel like extra. I do this with game projects I work on. I say "I'll just add this one idle animation", soon enough I have a fully functional moving character because I had already started.

  • Wow I wasn't expecting so many answers, it's heartwarming! Thank you all for sharing, it feels nice seeing most of us went through similar phases. phoenix4690 , no offense taken at all, on the contrary !

    Since I moved from hobbyist to "wanna-make-a-living-of-it" mindset, my goal is quite well defined: mastering techniques. I can actually feel the before and after registering to CGC, my workflow really improved. So I need to keep on the effort, I liked the program/schedule idea, it's after all exactly like when practicing any activities: simply define when and commit!

    I guess I will also eventually have to make a decision also with my job since it will not be sustainable to work 40 hours per week in parallel. Already went on the edge of burning out, need to be careful :)

    theluthier , regarding the "buffet" offer, it's difficult to have a sharp opinion on it. It's sometime really nice to wander through the courses and discover something new, especially if you are not really looking for something. But the learning flows are really important as well, and maybe you could consider making some more "career-oriented" (or professional, you name it), like complete workflow from concept art to photo-realistic animation (it's just an exemple). Or broaden the application fields of CG, it feels quite oriented toward VFX and video games, there's plenty of other possibilities maybe? It's just suggestion out of the blue, I'm not complaining though :D



  • I found out in life that, when you are learning something new, you are growing.

    Whatever grows needs fertility and fertility happens to be a typical female property.

    Whatever you are afraid of or fighting, you can’t use to make your happiness. 

    You will experience this fear or battle as inner resistance.

    The power of men is the unity with male and female, the gender war, is the killer.

  • Hi Thibaut,

    I have experienced and still experience your pain. I was deeply engrossed in CG as a hobby a couple years ago. In fact, my engagement in CG has peaks and steep valley plateaus where I won't touch Blender for months at a time. I have a 40 hour a week job and three school aged children. 

    Here is what I noticed personally: I will start learning something specific. Like modeling, for instance. In the course of modeling, I want to delve into some other discipline, like texture painting, or sculpting. I think, because I expend so much engagement in modeling, when I go into something else, it feels overwhelming. After all, I just came out of developing muscle memory for all the keyboard shortcuts. But when I expand into another area, I just quit. 

    But then, I pick it up again, because it is fun to create things. So I wake up early in the morning and I have some "things" that I want to make. So I get back into using Blender. I hone different skills to reasonable competency and then I get trapped in this weird space. With my limited amount of time to develop these skills, I also find I'm engaging with the CGC community or digging into a new tutorial that comes out.

    Now I'm back after about an 18 month hiatus. I want to make a game and I am doing it presently using Blender and Blend4Web. I create. Then I realize, I don't really texture paint things so good. I have to learn that. So it has been a balancing act of working on my project and yet, learning something new. And when you lean on tutorials, there is a comfort in the tutorials and it's hard to escape. It gets better as you gain competency.

    So what I need to do is time blocks. I evaluate on a daily basis. I have the mornings and the evenings after the kids are in bed. I will use those bookends of the day to either plow forward on my game or engage in an exercise. I can certainly stand to do this better as I fall to the temptation of catching up to theluthier on the CGC Leaderboard... (shakes fist vehemently)

    Do you write your goals down? When you are not motivated so much, is there something small you can do? Often, when you start doing something despite not feeling motivated, you'll find the drive to keep going with it. Try to get away from doing tutorials if you can. I know, it's so tempting. I see all sorts on BlenderNation via my twitter feed that are enticing.

    Sorry for the ramble. I feel like something in my experience for the last 7 years as a hobbyist with a full time job is not uncommon to other folks out here. And, I just don't know how to "fix" it. There is probably not a magic solution. It will take self-discipline and just pushing for your goals. It ain't pretty. 

    I'm rooting for you!

    • sweenist many thanks for sharing, I can relate to most of what you describe indeed. What currently helps me is to accept that what I'm producing right now will not be perfect but I must be done with it regardless its quality. That way I believe I will avoid fine tuning over and over the model.
      Then I can move on to a new project which hopefully be 1% better than the previous one. That's what I understood was a good way to progress, but the theory to application gap is pretty large !

      Do you write your goals down? When you are not motivated so much, is there something small you can do?

      I have my own goals but not written, maybe it could a source of motivation to see them written black on white, good point!

      Thanks again for sharing, and good luck to you too!

  • Most of the time it feels as if you're fighting your biology, like you're predisposed by your genes to procrastinate, some weird glitch in the brain that is running the wrong lines of code and some subroutine that is supposed to kick in, isn't kicking in. Then at the end of the day your brain runs the "lets make you feel guilty for wasting so much time" code. And you're like "oh thanks brain, why throughout the day didn't you ran the "lets make good use of our time" code""

    So you have to make a very conscious and hard effort to get into that headspace of "Alright, lets do some work!", only to have it last for an instant before you're browsing through some news website and looking at countless headlines and youtube at the channels you're subscribed to. 

    So for me, personally, is a balancing act, you have to make some sacrifices, because it feels as if modern life routines are highjacking your motivation.

    I believe a big one is doing a mayor cut off the things that create those small dopamine dependencies that make you doze off into nothingness. Those are all inside the computer and cellphones, "social networks" youtube rabbit wholes, web surfing, reddit, etc. It is so much easier to sit in front of the computer to watch a tutorial when your day has been spent off of the chair elsewhere.

    It is not being physically tired that gets you, is being mentally overwhelmed that is the problem. Tired muscles are nothing, keeping the mind sharp is the key I think. Out mental wit is what we work with in Art and most of the things these days suck your mind dry, they require mental awareness and before you know it, you deplete your days ration.  

    Hacking you brain also works I think. There's the simple act of just starting, just start, as simple as that, start. Turn on your computer and have CG Cookie as your default starting tab, make it a habit of the first thing you do is to open Blender, just have it open there, quickly start a tutorial in the background, open Artstation, etc. Another thing I like is holding in my head the feeling of a finished project, of how awesome it'll turn out. It is a hard path from stat to finish but the thought of getting there is motivating.

    • I believe a big one is doing a mayor cut off the things that create those small dopamine dependencies that make you doze off into nothingness. Those are all inside the computer and cellphones, "social networks" youtube rabbit wholes, web surfing, reddit, etc. It is so much easier to sit in front of the computer to watch a tutorial when your day has been spent off of the chair elsewhere.

      I think Simon Sinek describes it super well, check it out if not already done :) I disconnected for social networks a while ago and it's crazy how tempting it gets anytime. There's peak and plateau as well, moments when you just want to space out on youtube... Good tips and habits you describe, just updated my default starting tab :D Thanks!

    • Nick Seluk's comic series "Heart and Brain" seems to have a finger on the pulse of this topic. I certainly can relate. Taking Kent Trammell's BC1-1801 class has helped reconnect my heart and brain tremendously. 

  • Wow, such good insights, and I have little advice that differs. I started using Blender in 2005, because I wanted to do 3D and didn't have money. Plus I wanted to show my classmates at university some cool things I could do! I got into tutorials and such, but a big habit I've gotten into since then, is trying to learn every facet at once. Never failed, and I ended up progressing so slowly from then, till even now, that I feel like I'll never be a master at anything.

    I sometimes hate liking so many things, because my discipline flies out the window! However, I like that I like many things because I can understand a good amount of the things I enjoy. So Blender, with all the modelling, lighting, rendering, sculpting, that iota of animating... I love playing with it, but can get tangled in the decision-making of focus. What thing shall I focus on now?

    I also love to draw, but I've had to ease down on all the things that I work on, because I end up overwhelming myself, then envying those who have mastered so aspects of their work. Even when I have plenty of time, thinking too much really has gotten in the way of doing a lot.

    I did make a "Sketchule" that a friend and mentor taught me. It was for concept art, but I could incorporate whatever practice I wanted, plus free days of fun. That might be a good idea, too! So, I'd practice on character, figure drawing for humans or animals, environment, objects, composition, colour, etc. I'd break this practice down into different days and durations. While I was really disciplined, this helped a great deal!

    Now, when big things happen, whether good or bad (in which both happened and shattered my world in different ways), I won't lie, it was really hard to climb back up and have the energy to do anything. But I've started again, and I feel like I'm new at Blender again, and everything else I enjoy. But I like the climb! I'm enjoying it this time, and I'm unsure why. :)

  • i don't keep up the pace. 3D is just one of my interests, i  don't have the luxry of working a 4 day week or less so things get left  to gather dust. still haven't been able to make a start on my spider  animation, have left a plane in mid-build and several other projects  haven't even been started, on the 3D side. on the art side, i have about  8 pictures thumbnailed and on the writing side my novel is being worked  on now, and i'm plotting another couple of screenplays.

    not enough hours in the day or days in the week.

  • The greatest obstacle on my way of learning, developing, producing really good things in CG - as well as keeping the pace - is "Launch Fallout 4" logo on my desktop.

  • Hey, it may be different from other members of the community but whats driving me is really my standards and dreams,s.

    Im currently a media design student, that said, i prob have more time than ppl having to work in their jobs. But since it is really my passion, i want to be an expert in every aspect. What i think most people don't realize is: Success isn't a straight line. Once you commit to succeed the line gets all shaky. 

    I really searched a long time for a thing in my life which really sets my soul on fire.

    Its CG, its creating worlds and influencing peoples emotion with it.

    That said, i did realize that i really started to hate going to sleep. I sleep for 6 hours. Wake up in excitement and go on improving skills on this website. Seeking answers, asking questions, researching information on other websites. Trying to fix problems on my own.

    After i get back from university around 5 PM, i Review the stuff i learned from university, then i just open blender and start working. I realized that i at least spend 3 hours learning and improving my skills. EVERYDAY. On the weekends i wake up early just to work on blender, reviewing the things i learned the days before, maybe rewatching videos if i don't remember something. On weekends i just split my time in two 3-Hours session. One in the morning and one in the evening. 

    Dosent sound very healthy since my sleep schedule is messed up right? But i can see my progress and feel better everyday. I realized once i get started, which is the hardest thing for many ppl, it just takes over. I forget the time and have fun. 

    All in All its a combination of dreaming, and working towards it with everything i have, and accepting the fact that it isn't easy. On some days i don't feel like it too but u just have to start.

    Also im not someone who is sitting all day in my room as u may think, i am able to keep my social contacts going and have a loving girlfriend in a happy relationship.

    Time Management and sacrifice is a part of it.

  • It inspires me how thorough schedules some of you here have, currently I'm learning Blender and I'm almost done with the fundamentals learning flow (I love the learning flows btw, they're great for when you need guidence) so far it's been about about a month since I've started CGC and I've been doing generally about 3-5 hours a day, what really slowed down my progress was that I would take through notes of each lesson, but I found myself growing tired of doing that and instead have just decided to do many small projects that incorporate what I've learned so they settle in my mind better. I also generally tend to put alot of time into the exercises because I generally enjoy them and like to put my own spin on them as well. I'm hoping to get into CG professionally and CGC is defintely a nice stepping stone to getting there.

  • I have a normal job in security (I work 3rd shift, 11 pm-7 am). I have been learning 3D for about close to a month now so (obviously) I am very new and green lol. I am in a somewhat difficult life situation right now because of trying to fit in life responsibilities, family time, and personal learning. (No kids yet, just a wife.)

    I get home around 7:30 AM and i get started on my courses whether its here or from Udemy. I learn and do as much as I can until 11:30 AM where I put up shop and go to bed. I then get up around between 3:30 and 4 PM, get myself situated to go to my mother's house for dinner and time with my wife. To explain, right now my wife lives at my mother's house because they work the same hours and same shift and my wife doesn't drive so my mom is her only transportation. The only time she gets to live in our apartment is on her days off.) So after dinner I spend much needed and limited quality time with my wife before I get back home hopefully before 8-9ish PM where I take either a power nap or get household (as much as I can) before I leave for work, about 10:20 PM before the cycle starts all over again.

    On my personal days off (my days off and my wife's days off don't sync up) I like to keep to my schedule so I stay up the time when I'd normally work and I crack open blender + Udemy or Youtube and learn as much as I can. So I pretty much start my Blender kick from 10:30 PM is to 11:30 AM with pizza roll and Game Grumps breaks in between to keep myself motivated.

     I realize my time management needs improvement but there are a lot of personal history with me, myself and my discipline to persist and finish what I start. Recently I have become fed up with myself and I really want to finally do what I've always have put off and said "tomorrow" for the past 5 years. So right now I'm on a a educational sprint to learn and improve as much as possible but man am I really starting to feel the candle burn at both ends. I know I'm at risk of total burnout but I'm tired of my job, I'm tired of not achieving my dreams, I'm tired of putting things off, and I'm tired of not getting good. It's just really hard for me to put the wacom pen down whih I suppose is a good and (really) bad thing? I'm just afraid of slipping back into my old ways. I've spent the last month on Udemy+Youtube(Blender Guru) so my CG cookie stats and progress is on the leaner side but I hope to change that.

    I'm so sorry for spilling my guts out to you guys, I know you guys didn't sign up to hear my life story so again, sorry guys..but thanks for hearing out my story if you stuck with me this far. I guess telling someone my story makes me feel better, a little more hopeful motivation that someone out there knows whats going on.

  • So - As mentioned before I am currently working on my selforganization and I´ve done some research for that. So let me share with you the method that I found myself useful:

    • Get your values and priorities straight. Define what you want to achieve and what you want to learn. Write it down. Get from general to more specific. Do that for all areas in your life: "I will learn blender" (specific: "I will improve in modelling." "I will become a master with color and lightning."), "I will take care of my relationships" (specific: "I will spare some time of the week for my wife...")  ...
      Once you know exactly what´s important to you, you will have an overview of your tasks that are important to you and you will stay true to them. Take your time with that and really find out, what´s important to you and what really matters.

    • Prioritize and sort your tasks. There´s this method. It sorts the tasks we have to accomplish in a matrix of four sectors categorized by "urgent" and "important".
      "important" means all the stuff which has value for yourself. Like investing time in your skills, spending quality time with your family or doing some exercises.
      "urgent" contains all task which the daily life is demanding from you. Things that need to be done as an adult :)

      - The first sector is Important and Urgent. This is the place where all your running deadlines which are coming closer belong. Thing´s that need to be done! And quick! This sector is the most streßfull and many people overload it. They are doing crisis management and are stumbling from one streßfull project into another catastrophy. Don´t overload this sector and plan in advance.
      - The second sector is "not important but urgent". This one contains all the task we need to get done but are not important to our life goals and values like going to the doctor, answering urgent mails and paying the bills. Try not to spend too much time there.

      - The third sector is "important but not urgent". This is where CG Cookie belongs and all that stuff that will pay of long term if you invest in it. These are your heart projects and your skill development.

      - The last sector is "not important and not urgent". Put all the unnecessary daily tasks in there. Don´t waste your time with them and throw them away if needed.

      I set the goal to spend at least 1/3 of my time in the third sector "important but not urgent" to develop my skills and spend time with my family and friends. I really need to discipline myself not to waste time with the sectors two and four.

    • Make a weekly schedule. Plan your time on a weekly basis and set a specific date to think about your week. A weekly schedule has his advantages. I take my time to relax and do stuff for myself on a Sunday. This is the time where I get inspiration and look at some art magazines and other artists. I need to work in a supermarket during the week. So I have created a schedule to get a small amount of exercises and tutorials done each day.
      You can and have to adjust your weekly schedule on a daily basis.

    • Do the unpleasent and biggest tasks first. We all have limited energy throughout the day. At the start of our work day we have the greatest concentration so attack the hardest work at that moment. Don´t waste your time and energy with answering mails or doing phone calls.

    • Treat yourself. Doing creative work is a lonely job. If you don´t treat yourself and take breaks, you will loose motivation and your passion.
    So. This is the stuff I have worked on the last days. Maybe you find it useful. If you want to dive in deeper, you can read "The 7 ways of highly effective people" by Stephen R. Covey. It is a bit idealistic and too philosophical sometimes but the essence seems pretty handy to me right now ;)
  • I try to do something every day. Some days I model, other days I watch a video. Even if it's only 15 minutes - do something.

  • I too have some days or weeks where I pause, mostly for lack of inspiration. I know it's not good (I feel rusty sometimes) but I try not to beat myself too much about it.

    These days I go to pinterest for inspiration, and open up my project's file whenever I have time, even if it's just a few minutes in the evening before bed time.

  • There are a lot of good suggestions here, and I'll throw my hat into the ring, too.

    I started CGCookie because I wasn't going anywhere I wanted fast.  My Maya student license expired, I had no money, got student loans breathing down my neck, just kind of floating.  I was floating because my SO made enough money to cover living expenses for both of us and I could pursue freelancing.  Well, it wasn't going anywhere fast, and I needed to learn something free, like Blender, and a community to keep me going is certainly nice.  Things have changed since then once I realized how much time I was wasting in a day (just in a haze, pissing the day away).  I focused on my goals by writing them out, creating a daily schedule with a grading system to keep me honest, and have really picked up my daily improvement.  My SO and I want to go to grad school for game development (because we're both not achieving our dreams fast enough), and it is hella expensive.  My SO can pay for one person if we nickeled and dimed the one income as hard as possible, but that wouldn't be fun or fair to both of us.  So, I've got to join the 9-5 workforce, hopefully make enough in the next 3 years to pay for anything leftover for both of us to go (not a huge deal breaker, but grad student loans are way harsher than undergrad; don't really want them), and I'll be working at night alongside my SO on our skills that we need for our portfolios.  This is a huge motivating force for us.

    I've found picking up little contests and challenges have helped to motivate me.  I took part in the Artstation challenge called Beneath the Waves for preproduction, and it was so fun and invigorating.  I'm a shit drawer by comparison, so going into it for my own personal goal was way more fun for me and the deadline helped keep me honest.  I would've done game production, but I wasn't comfortable enough in Blender to continue.  The new Weekly CG Challenge was announced a couple days ago, and I think I'll draw something for that, too.  Having an end goal really helps, take small steps along the way, grade yourself if you think that'll help keep you honest, and eventually it'll become second nature.

    When pondering if I should start my day, I'll start with something small, like 1 CGCookie video.  I like starting with small tasks because it primes my mindset for the rest and helps get me in the zone.  Oh, also important, I use a time tracking app, like Gleeo.  It really opened my eyes to where my time was going and how much time I've wasted in a day.  I always tell myself when I'm not feeling up to doing something, "If not now, then when?"  I have the time now, why not just do it?  If I don't do it now, when will I do it?  Also having friends who can critique your work helps keep the motivation.  I showed my friend the hammered metal shader I made, and it inspired him to get back into Blender!

    I guess it also depends on how you're motivated.  Are you best motivated by outside forces (extrinsically) or are you best motivated from within (intrinsically)?  Take a look at yourself so you know how to motivate yourself.  For me, it's been mostly intrinsic, but extrinsic forces certainly help propel me farther than just my will alone.  So, understand yourself and find what works for you.