Does anyone else get the feeling that they're reliant on tutorials for everything? Or just not retaining knowledge in general?

Sorry if it's rephrased in a silly way, but I meant reliant on tutorials that you cant really make a project by yourself, from scratch, practicing the knowledge that you learnt from the tutorial.

It's quite an "icky" feeling. Kind of like a catch 22? That feeling when you're a beginner, few months/years in and you've watched  tutorials and learnt concepts, but when it comes to making something from scratch you kinda just, well....crumble.

Your mind is split between: Oh no! we didn't learn anything! And "But we so much time studying!" So you're ultimately left with low self esteem and feeling like you're going in circles, wasting time.

It feels like i'm not really retaining the knowledge, just copying. Is there a way to grow out of  this stage, and if anyone's been there, do you have any advice?

Thanks for listening.

  • been there. practice, practice, practice, practice. like every skill you learn in life, repetition makes it stronger. Also kick your ego out, create things that you can finish in 2-3hours, or even less. Until you can realise that any project how big it is, breaks down to the small things you do in 2-3hours.

  • Absolutely been there. Maybe consistency is one key; if I do something almost daily, it sticks. If it is really important to me, it sticks better.

  • It's certainly a familiar feeling, I think what really helps is thinking up projects of your own that rely on the same techniques you've covered in tutorials. Applying techniques in your own projects always throws up a few obstacles that, as you figure out (and google) ways of overcoming, really help nail the concept in your mind and give you confidence in your own abilities to apply techniques. So if you just did the Sci-fi helmet course, for example, then maybe try creating a Sci-fi gun using the same techniques or if you just did a lighting tutorial then dig out an old .blend file you have from a previous tutorial and try relighting the scene using your new techniques. The more you think of fun new applications for the techniques you're learning, the more familiar and confident with those techniques you become (especially if, like me, you have to go back and re-watch the tutorials a few times during the course of your own project :P). Good luck and don't get demotivated, it's a feeling we've all felt at one time or another! :)

  • Very well said randomfraff - exactly what I meant.

    Learning "what I need", "when I need it", and applying it immediately, makes it stick.

    General learning "what is out there" is also a good thing. But the specifics tend to fade away quickly. If I need it in the future and go back to it, then it sticks better.

  • I agree with Kaj Suominen, tutorials are just a base that show you workflows, there's no real right or wrong way to do things when it comes to 3D. You could make a weapon by sculpting and then retopo or you could just do it with polygon modelling. You just need to practice and practice.

  • I put my tutorials in a library under major group heading...then when I am working on a project that requires a refresh I rewatch them..... 

    the one set of tuts I need a yearly refresher on is the fundamental of just the basic mesh or sculpt objects....like bevel, etc....

    so i appreciate it when CGC group keeps their fundamental up to date within 2-3 rev of the current blender....many improvements have been in incorporating things into modifiers...like the boolean and bevel ....the founded cube is a real god-send....

  • You'll feel that at first. I gave myself a 20 day challenge where for 20 days I'd create a model each day in about an hour or two (sometimes I'd get carried away). Keeps you from getting too ambitious and you're always modeling something different. Some of my best models came from those sessions. Consistency is key and that technique really broke me out of exactly what you're feeling. Now I feel like I can model almost anything.

    If you're lacking ideas, just steal them and recreate scenes. That way, you don't have to think about it the creative part; just the technical part.

  • The first time you see a tutorial, follow it perfectly.  The second time, give it a variation.  The third time, make it unique.  Then, apply your skills to another project.

  • Practice makes perfect. Which makes sense scientifically, when you want to get better at something the longer you do something, the more structural changes to your brain occur. There's a fascinating TED talk on it ... https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LNHBMFCzznE

    I've had to do some of the beginner tutorials more than once to really get some of the information to sink in, it's a long process, which requires patience and persistence. 

  • I absolutely agreed with your statement ihatelemons!
    Here is an overview on how my personal Blender learning curves progresses:

    A - I first started out by seeking and watching random Youtubes on various subjects:
    Like you I crashed badly, since every teacher is doing it different (and not all of them can really educate).
    Personally I only found a handfull of good Youtube video channels.

    B - I watched the official Blender tutorial videos at blender.org and their Youtube channel over here:
    - https://www.blender.org/support/tutorials/
    - https://www.youtube.com/user/BlenderFoundation
    First these tutorials were not so good, but fortunately - they got a lot better since end of 2017.
    For a first time somebody inside the Blender foundation is:
    - starting inside the viewpoint and/or shoes of the absolute Blender beginners.
    - taking the time to show and explain all elementary steps hidden inside Blender.
    I must say things are getting better - but to my personal opinion - can be greatly improved!

    C - Scraped the entire Internet dry, documenting every Blender related website I was able to find:
    Downloaded over 10+ GB of free e-book, courses, found over 200-300 website and bookmarked them.

    D - Of course I followed the Introduction to Blender course here on CGCookie:
    This courses helped me to paint a bigger and more structured picture, but is not complete yet.

    E - I also decided - being a good noob - to RTFM = Read The F***** Manual:
    This left me with an even emptier feeling, since I encountered the same KNOWLEDGE GAP as you do.

    It feels - to me - like the official Blender foundation manual writers - (with all! respect! to! their! current! efforts! and end-results) are good people (for doing this voluntary) job but they are:
    - not (cap)able to start from the viewpoint of an absolute beginner.
    - not willing/(cap)able to stand in beginners shoes and start from there.
    and this is - to my personal - opinion the biggest teaching hazard!

    Final comment on the current level of Blender documentation (online):
    From being an experienced programmer and ict-expert myself for over 35+ years, I do SENSE / FEEL the internal raw power which houses inside the awesome Bender package. But I can not (yet) find the ultimate cookbook / tutorial / manual which enable me to help me understand how-stuf-really-works under the hood.

    I do not want to just learn .. Blender tricks.. , I want to be able to fully understand what i'm doing an how I can customize Blender to suite my own personal need (and not adapt myself to the current manual content and limitations)

    That is why my next step will be: (taking the manual matter into my own hands again)

    F - Learning straight from Blenders own open source code:
    I'm now busy learning from the Blender Developer blogs. I want to:
    - learning how to read and code in Python,
    - understand the Blender internal software architecture,
    so that i'm (myself) able to read and fully understand Blender's own source-code.

    This approach will take more time but in the end... it will enable me to step into the mindset from the Blender software development team, and start to fully understand how-Blender-stuff works from there.. and perhaps start to write my own Blender manuals some day. 

  • IDEA / SUGGESTION (for CGCookie crew, forum admin)
    How about building an Open Directory / internet website link-repository (for example in the for of sticky thread or a separete new forum section) where everyone can add their own favourite Blender-learning spots on the web  too?

  • crew

    This is often a crutch not just in CG but in all aspects of learning. It can be difficult to branch off and start using what you've learned in a completely new way. Our goal is to help you learn the techniques and skills to be able to do just that, but it doesn't always work. 

    One of the things I would encourage you to do is to have a project in mind. I find that learning is best done through actually building something, no matter what it is, you'll learn it far better if you have an actual purpose to it. 

    Chances are you are watching tutorials because you had an interest in learning how to build something. Maybe a tutorial was 100% what you wanted, but it's unlikely. Maybe you had an interest in building a very unique character and you watched a tutorial that covered some of the concepts for building a character. Challenge yourself by learning through the tutorial first, then going through it again but applying some changes. 

    Combine techniques learned in a few different tutorials to create something more unique. Instead of a human character, create a zombie character that has realistic clothing. Instead of a shiny car material create a grungy and rusted looking vehicle. 

    When I was learning Unity I wanted to learn small game mechanics here and there. First I learned how to create a trigger, then how to play an animation, then I applied those two to create a trigger to play an animation. I kept compounding things until I had a somewhat fun and unique game using various mechanics I learned from a handful of tutorials. 

    If you're a beginner it may be more difficult to "connect the dots" and you feel like you need to follow a tutorial to a "t" but as you get more experienced you'll start to watch content online and start thinking about how you would approach something in your own projects. Learn to challenge yourself. Use the techniques learned in a variety of different ways.