Although I will be learning a lot of valuable skills as part of the modules on my course, there are still other software packages I'd like to learn about and techniques I'd like to explore.
At the moment, the range of skills I'd like to learn about is rather broad and probably too ambitious, so I definitely need to narrow my focus if I want to really develop.
- Digital painting. I'm interested to learn more about the tools of Photoshop that I haven't yet got my head around, such as masking. I'd also like to have a look at other programs such as Corel Painter (which is rated #1 in a 2012 Digital Painting Software Comparison!).
- Drawing. I need to practice drawing and colouring anatomy, landscapes, buildings, scenery, non-human creatures. Storyboarding, sequential art... Anything that's involved with it, really.
- 3D Modelling. I'd like to learn more about creating models in Maya, and also try software that allows more organic sculpting like ZBrush or Mudbox.
- I'd like to become more involved in the online art community, by creating and uploading more work, taking part in competitions, etc. as I think this is probably the main way to discover opportunities, meet potential clients or collaborators.
- I definitely need to become better at "putting myself out there" and having the confidence to establish relationships with other people working in the industry. This will also involve attending local art-related events and meeting contacts that way.
These are the main ones, though I'd also like to explore:
- Writing. I'm very interested in writing stories but I don't really know all that much about it. Studying what makes a great story or character would be very useful.
- Traditional cel and stop-motion animation
- After Effects for 2D digital animation, I've also been interested in digital compositing, i.e. blending CG footage with real-life footage to create interesting effects.
- Traditional art. Particularly painting, I think that would help me learn more about colouring as I wouldn't be able to use digital shortcuts. I'm also curious to try sculpting clay models or making puppets for animations, but I'm not sure if I'll actually get the chance to do that. Another thing I've always been curious to try is creating prosthetics / costume make-up, but again, I don't really have the space/resources to try this.
As I said I know time will be strained so I'm not sure how I'd try all of these things, and it'd be more effective for me to focus on only a couple of new software packages. It's going to be a busy year...