Education

Wednesday

-Heartbreakingly true.

-In the last week or so, there have been new versions of Houdini, modo, Mari and the announcement of the 2014 versions of the Autodesk suites.  One of the things that I love about this industry is that there are always new toys to play with.  One of the things that I hate about this industry is that there are always new toys to play with.  Trying to keep up with it all can be overwhelming at times, and maybe that's the secret, you shouldn't try to keep up with it all.

It's trick though, since all the new stuff promises that you'll be able to do things quicker and easier than ever before, which is probably true.  I can do things in Nuke that I could never have dreamed five years ago.  But you have to measure the cost of this as well, the cost of studying, practicing and learning new tools and techniques during your downtime.  I personally haven't been able to really find the right work/life balance yet, because I always have 'the fear' in the back of my head.  Fear of failure, fear of unemployment, fear of being left behind by the industry.  

That fear has served me well over the years, but at some point that fear is counterproductive.  The trick is to know when to listen to it and when to ignore it.

Nature of Code

I've often complained about the way that I was taught math.  When I was in school, I really couldn't understand the relevance of a lot of the formulas we were supposed to memorize.  I can clearly remember talking to my friends, wondering why we were being taught coordinate systems and logarithmic math.  Which makes it all the more ironic that I deal with these things almost every day when I'm comping.   

Now that I'm older and hopefully wiser, I really try to learn anything that can help me do my job faster.  Comp tips and tricks are great, but I have pretty substantial gaps in my basic understanding of math, which is kind of the basis of everything we do in Visual Effects.  

So it's great when you can stumble upon a resource that can fill in those knowledge gaps.  The guy who wrote The Nature of Code has put up a Vimeo channel full of math/graphics related lectures.  I really like these videos, he explains things pretty clearly, and a lot of the concepts are universal, no matter what application you're trying to learn.  So far I'm up to the part where he talks about Vector Math, which will be very helpful when I'm trying to wrap my head around VOPS in Houdini.

F*ck you, pay me...

-This is a great talk given by Mike Monteiro.  He is one of the co-founders of Mule Design, and this talk should be listened to by anyone who gets paid to do creative work. He has a book, called Design is a Job (which is fantastic, and goes into more detail than this talk).  You can listen to his podcast, 'Let's Make Mistakes' here.

-On a related note, this is a service that I'll be using in the future.  It's 'Contract Gurus', a web service that describes itself as 'An attorney will review, summarize and explain your contracts for a fraction of the cost of a traditional lawyer or law firm.'  Probably not as good as a lawyer, but much cheaper.  I have yet to use it, but once I do I'll be sure to let you know my experience with it.  God knows I've signed several contracts without thoroughly reading/understanding every line.