Learning new skills

by Dean on March 8, 2010

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Have you ever turned down a job because you didn’t have the necessary skills?

Clients are increasingly expecting more from freelancers as new design projects criss-cross different media platforms. It’s why many illustrators and designers are keen to boost their creative know-how by trying out new things such as animation, 3D modelling and web design.

This typically means jumping in at the deep-end with new software, such as Cinema 4D, Maya, 3dsMax, After Effects, HTML or Flash. But it’s not as hard as you might think and the long-term rewards usually outweigh any short-term pain.

Crucially, diversifying to pick up new skills can open up new commercial possibilities. “I’ve always believed in an on-going education”, says illustrator Ben O’Brien (www.bentheillustrator.com), who studied animation at university and originally started his career as an animator.

“Around six years ago, I started becoming interested in what people were doing with Adobe Illustrator. So I got myself a copy and dived in to see what could be done. I was amazed. For a couple of months I dedicated all my spare time to learning it inside-out, while at the same time building up a portfolio of illustration work completely separate to my day job.”

The full text of this article about learning new skills appears in Computer Arts Projects, issue 133 (February 2010).

It also features interviews and advice from Matt Dent, Jeremyville, visual effects supervisor Sean Farrow, Chris Malbon (McFaul), Mark Verhaagen and Rod Hunt.

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