In our fast-moving world, as artists we must keep up with the tools we use. So, getting quickly acquainted with new software, or staying up-to-date with the latest tricks and workflow tips is essential. Of course, in this digital age there are plenty of freely available trainining resources, and free tutorials abound on the net. There are also a number of professional training resources available for a price, whether in subscription services, or shippable training DVDs.
But, among all of the available training resources, I recently discovered how one subscription site really stands out in the crowd. With a continually growing library of training, and exciting new courses each and every week, Digital-Tutors is an excellent choice for staying ahead in the creative arena. And it doesn't take much to see that they are, indeed, the world's largest CG, VFX and digital art training resource available.
Whether you are a designer, illustrator, or create for movies and games, Digital-Tutors offers everything you need in one well-designed website. But, even if you are just a hobbyist it is well worth your time and money to discover the vast wealth of knowledge there is to be obtained in your particular area of interest.
But, besides all of the great content that is available at Digital-Tutors, there are many things I found that really make the site shine. One of them is how well everything is organized. You can find just the training you need at Digital-Tutors, browsing by software, subject, or learning paths.
Digital-Tutors offers training in everything from the Adobe products (Photoshop, After Effects, Illustrator, etc.), to the Autodesk products (Maya, 3ds Max, Softimage, etc.), on to ZBrush, Vue, Cinema 4D, and even UDK and Unity. If I didn't mention a software you use, it's probably covered. Just check out the full list here: http://www.digitaltutors.com/11/browse_by_software.php
Browse by subject to find your general area of interest in these categories:
2D - Illustration, Image Editing, Digital Painting, etc.
3D - Animation, Modeling, Sculpting, Lighting, Scripting, etc.
Video and VFX - Compositing, Motion Graphics, Matchmoving, etc.
Game Development - Asset Creation, Programming
CG 101 - Learn the fundamentals of 3D, Design, Animation, VFX, etc.
Digital-Tutors provides a fantastic organizational approach to learning a software or subject through learning paths. I absolutely loved this about their site.
Let's say, for example, you are interested in learning how to paint in Photoshop. You can, of course, select your own courses to view, but if you want a well-rounded education in this area, you might try the Digital Painting in Photoshop learning path. Going this route, you are presented with the courses you should take in well-organized levels. In this particular learning path, Level One covers what you should know in getting started, the basics of color theory, and shading. Level Two covers skin tones, hair, and contrasting elements. Level Three covers light and color, depth, and texturing. And, finally, Level Four covers environment concepts.
The Digital-Tutors website is so well organized that you have other filtering options as well. So, let's say if you are looking under Photoshop Tutorials, you can filter your search by the most recent, most popular, or even by courses or lessons.
Playlists and Other Tools
Playlists are a fantastic idea on Digital-Tutors, for a number of reasons. One, is that you can make several lists by category, like I did here:
Let's say you are browsing through and see something you'll want to check out at a later time. Just go ahead and pop it into your playlist. Especially with tons of new courses each month, you are bound to fill your playlist quite quickly.
But, as neat as playlists are, there are other tools on Digital-Tutors that make learning easier. While you are watching a course, you can tag certain spots in the training. Say, for instance, you know you'll want to brush up on a certain section. Just click on the 'Add Tag' button and plug in a description, so you'll know exactly why you marked it. Also, you have the ability to make notes along the way in your training. Just click on the 'Add Note' button and type in your notes.
Quizzes & Tests
There's know better way to test what you've learned then...well...with a test! There are a large number of courses that are Quiz & Test enabled on Digital-Tutors. How this works is that after each lesson you have a quiz question to answer, and after you've completed the course there is a full test. So, you'll not only know if you've got the material down, but will also know if you need to rewatch a particular area before going on.
There are also opportunities for subscribers to contribute their own questions for certain courses. This not only helps out others, but could be beneficial to you, as you accumulate points for every question and answer you provide that is accepted.
Once you complete a course, you can download a certified document from Digital-Tutors that shows your achievement. It includes a unique code that can be verified with CG Verify, and you can include it in your own portfolio.
With a subscription at Digital-Tutors, you also gain access to their Asset Library. Assets are completed models available in OBJ, FBX and .MA, that you can use for additional practice, and even include in your demo reel.
So, now that I've covered the general workings, let me talk about the actual content. With each course, you get access to all of the project files, so you can easily follow along with the training. Just a simple download, and you're ready to start learning with the first lesson.
In the month I spent nosing around Digital-Tutors, I completed a couple of courses, while also watching bits of several others. I found that Digital-Tutors is made up of knowledgable instructors that are very passionate about what they do. It really shows. Every course and lesson I watched was clearly taught and very professional. The instructors don't just show you how to do something, they also make sure you know why you are doing it.
Digital-Tutors is highly organized and offers you plenty of options to customize your own training path. You even have a full record of what you've watched, what you've completed, and when you log back in you can see right where you left off and can jump right back into it.
Digital-Tutors has something to suit all levels of artists, from the complete beginner to the advanced. Their training ranges from Beginner Guides, to a Professional series, as well as a unique Creative Development series.
In a very short time, I found tons of training I was eager to check out, and new and exciting courses just keep coming in each week. It's all very exciting and my playlist has grown very large.
I really can't say enough about them. At Digital-Tutors, it may be their job to help you succeed, but it's their passion in doing so that really stands out. Learning should be fun, and it certainly is at Digital-Tutors. I highly recommend giving Digital-Tutors a go with a free demo account, which you can sign up for here.
Also note that Digital-Tutors has recently redesigned their website so what you first see is actually a guest site to get you quickly acquainted with how Digital-Tutors works.Pricing
There are 3 very reasonably-priced subscription options. You could choose to pay a monthly $45.00, or go with longer options at a significant savings. A 6-month subscription is $225.00, and it is only $399.00 for a full year.
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