It doesn’t matter what software you use and how many years you’ve been using it, it’s always worth going back to basics and working through some beginner’s tutorials.
What you use a certain application for and how you’ve learnt it has a big affect on your skill level. What do I mean? Well, I first started using Photoshop in the early 90s, there wasn’t any internet at work back then, so if the person sat next to me didn’t know how to do something I’d have to work it out myself (odd, I never really remember using the manual – looked too thick and intimidating). Now with YouTube, you can search just about any problem or task, and find a video (not all tutorials are equal) explaining how to do it. Easy. In a commercial setting your skills are normally built on achieving good results in the quickest time possible. You don’t normally learn every last part of an application, just the parts you think you need to get the job done. With deadlines to meet, you can end up working the same way you’ve done for years, and often overlook new (or old) tools and processes that could make your life easier.
I did the fishbowl tutorial (from Cineversity) as most of my C4D work involves creating still images and this short course included some simple animation techniques. But I came away with more than just a few animation skills. Following a good instructor is a sure-fire way to pick up lots of valuable titbits, whether that’s quick keys or better ways to organise your projects, there are often really simple things a pro (when I say pro I mean anyone who uses an application more than I do) will know that makes you feel a little embarrassed you didn’t.
Early in my career I learnt so much so fast. I was lucky to work with some talented people. Over the years I’ve sometimes felt that the pace of learning has slowed. But it doesn’t have to, however much I think I know, there’s always going to be someone better with more knowledge and experience. The key is to find them out and remember to never stop learning.
Every day is a school day … if you want it to be.