Willpower, online-learning and dedication
Good morning, good day or good evening to you! For me, it's good night when I'm done writing this!
The days are moving fast and the schedule is more full than ever before. Right now, I have two computers rendering out scenes for a project I was hired to do side by side my studies. It turned out to be a really fun project containing simpler and more advanced After Effects FX combined with some 3D and character animation. It's actually the first time I feel that it's hard to shift focus from the Head of FX or FX Technical Director role in school and then just shift to this private job. It's the first time I have this much to do when it comes to visual effects - and it feels great. I've longed for these kind of problems for as long as I can remember. This may sound weird, but these are my problems. Problems I've chosen. Problems I want to solve. Problems that will give me relief and knowledge when they're solved. Maybe even proud in the end!
This makes me think back to when I started learning visual effects. I wanted to be good at this so much that I took on jobs way bigger than my skillset at the time. I just said that I could do certain things, and sold my name higher than my real worth. I mean, every problem can be solved on a laptop with After Effects installed, right? The point is that you got to take risks and believe in yourself to succeed as an artist. I have been nervous so many times, but always managed to deliver on time anyways. Even if I stood in front of a problem I had no idea how to solve. And that's basically what it is. It's all about solving problems. Very fun problems if I might say so myself. It's these kinds of problems that will push you to learn new things because you have to. You have just made a promise to a client to deliver, and that is exactly what you must do. Otherwise it's shameful and embarrassing. This is at least how it has been and is for me.
Be aware of what time we live in! It's easy to forget what good times we live in when the news are force-feeding us with horrific news all days long. Imagine if they just decided to take one day with only good news and progress instead of misery and doomsday prophecies. One article could perhaps touch on the subject on how great opportunities each individual actually has to affect their lives just by leveling up their googling in 2019. In this case I can swear that there is many artists out there suffering inside, just like I did before I managed to take control of my own life. Once I decided to give everything to become a VFX-Artist I met (watched his tutorials of course, not really met) guys like Andrew Kramer from Video Copilot online. He helped me to get going quite fast and was a great coach in the beginning - he actually still is if After Effects is the main software for you. Andrew is one of many great teachers out there, and there are thousands of FREE TUTORIALS on YouTube. If you just want to see how you would look waving a lightsaber (who doesn't?) Video Copilot provides free plug-ins and tutorials to make just that. I will not dive deeper than this right now, but I just want you to know that there is a lot of free assets, materials and videos for you to get started. Once you get a hold of how the software works, everything is just going to lift by itself. The only thing you really need, is willpower. Everything exists on the internet except your own willpower!
Today I have a much wider knowledge and experience than when I started, obviously, but I never would have gotten here if I didn't took the leap of faith and believed in myself. Once you get a real job, the client will have a certain vision of the video he or she wants you to create. This is where your problem-solving starts. You'll search for answers online and will find almost everything you search for in online tutorials, forums and chats.
It's pointless to read and do online courses by the book if that's the only thing you do. That's basically just following steps instead of solving problems. By solving problems, you'll learn. Of course it doesn't hurt to read or follow tutorials just for the sake of following tutorials, but the real knowledge comes when you really need to deliver something. You need to get out there and just do it. Experience is key! If you search for answers you'll find it!
The last thing I would like to say is this: I could never imagine 3 years ago that I would sit here as a VFX-Artist Student and study advanced 3D and simulations in the leading industries most advanced and awesome software such as Maya, Houdini and Nuke. It was hard to imagine just by opening After Effects for the first time. I really remember when I opened it up and just felt that everything was written in elvish language. I didn't understand anything at all. But I started. And that's all that matters today.