Tuesday, June 1, 2010

#0037 Updating skills with Lynda's Help

My friends   Darren Kiner and Steve Wright and others have been telling me to visit lynda.com for their great technical tutorials.  Lynda.com may seem like old news to some, but for some time there I only had time for the projects I was working on.  When I checked it out I was busy that day and it slipped away from my attention.  That was a big mistake --because I really love the site and believe that it, or another like it, should be in your CG Supervisor's toolkit.  I consider it a leadership issue.   
I liked Lynda.com so much I arranged for my readers a free 24 hour pass to lynda.com.   If you've never been there, schedule yourself a long, quiet day, pack the family off if necessary, and try out Lynda's tutorials.   Now let me tell you about my experience there and why it's important to have in your toolkit.

The Visual Effects Society's Linwood Dunn Online Training Scholarship got me moving.  This scholarship gives VES members who apply two-weeks of premium access, on a rotating basis as slots are available. 

lynda.com Shortly after I applied, my number came up. and I headed over to Lynda.com.   At first glance I was a bit overwhelmed by the range and length of course viewings available.  I decided to start with Final Cut Pro, an application I use for some jobs and lots of demo editing, and began Larry Jordan's  eight hour Final Cut Pro 5 Essential Editing.  I chose FCP 5 because, well, that's what I have at home.  There are newer versions of FCP available, and I'll view them to know about the features.
Knowing features is what its all about.  And of course, being familiar enough to help the actual artist.  The tutorials are great because you don't need to have the software.  I won't touch bootleg warez, so having access to learning software I don't want to buy is a great boon.  I've written before about the CG Supervisor's job is to know how to manage people and understand the technology enough to guide artists and help with troubleshooting.  This makes it easier to learn new software and to get updated on new releases.
Further, there are multi-user accounts, so a company can use Lynda.com as their in-house solution.  Even if not offered, the price is small enough that most working artists can afford a premium annual pass.  Buy the annual, because if you're not working, you don't want to spend the money, but you have plenty of spare time for the lessons.

So my experience was great.  Of course, Jordan's Final Cut Pro lesson really took me a bit closer to 16 hours with stops and starts for coffee, phone calls, emails, and other interruptions.  And going back a bit to hear it again.  At first I thought I'd just listen to the parts I "needed" and skip the excercises.  But as things progressed, I became more familiar with the site and discovered that they give certificates you can print or link to from your website.  This meant finishing all the lessons in the course.  And while  I thought I could get by without the excercise materials, when I got to the audio section, I just had to do the lesson excercises.  They downloaded in a snap and made a huge difference in my learning.  

cert_bannerAfter I finished this class  I can say that my skills --and confidence --are greatly improved.  I decided I had to have Lynda in my life.  So I bought myself a month's gift certificate.  Gift certificates are nice, there is no automatic renewal, but the drawback is that they don't offer a premium gift certificate.  Remember, premium has the exercise files.  I hope to upgrade to a premium annual pass soon.

Once I finish Jordan's second editing class, I plan to brush up on my After Effects with the latest version.  A few months ago I taught myself NUKE by doing the NUKE 6 tutorials on the Foundry website.  I might just go back and do Lynda's Nuke 5 lessons just to stay on top of the game.   (Not much, afterall, I did just teach Nuke 6 in Mumbai, India.)  I also want to brush up on the latest Maya and if there's time maybe look at some of the 3D software I've not had time to learn.  

I say HAH  to summer TV!


Billy Pittard, PI said...

Hey Isa!
I totally agree about the great courses on Lynda.com! I think it is the absolute best way to learn software. And be sure to check out the Creative Inspirations series (which I exec produce). You'll recognize several of our mutual friends from the Post Group days as guests of the series!
Billy Pittard