Did you ever asked yourself if scripting is something you should pick up for yourself?
After seeing posts and videos of scripts in action, watching TDs and developer do their magic on your scenes and sitting through countless hours of repetition didn't you wish to had a magic spell to make things go faster, easier or just disappear with a push of a button?!
1. You have to believe it first
I love to work with artists! This is also the reason I am a Technical Director and my first scripting series was called Scripting for Artists. They have a passion and pursue to get better and spend countless hours chasing more beautiful results. Every day they try to learn new perspectives and techniques to improve. But when it comes to scripting: You first have to convince them!
Like the believe that women are good in languages and men are good in math we have the same believe for artists and technician.
"I am an artist I can NEVER do that!"
is something I hear daily when I suggest to someone that he can script too. It is partly true that women and men think differently but most limitations are self created. The same applies for scripting. If you spend 10.000 hours doing ANYTHING you will become a master in it. (see The role of deliberate practice in the acquisition of expert performance)
Or just ask most artists how they got good at their craft:
2. Define your goal
How would your (professional) life look like if you learned scripting? What would be different? It is extremely important for any new skill to know the outcome. Make the skill accountable for bringing more happiness into your life in whatever shape or form. Decide what you want to achieve BEFORE you start a course and focus on that goal during the learning phase. It will become much more rewarding that way and you can check in the end:
"Was it worth my time (and money)?"
3. How should I start?
Online courses arrive currently in their golden age. You want to learn something? Just watch a YouTube video! As someone who creates online courses I would agree and disagree at the same time. Jein! Not every online course is made from the same cloth.
Online courses have a big advantage: You can watch them whenever you want, how every you want and how often you want. This is great! Since everyone learns slightly differently it is fantastic to give visual and audio aid while being able to stop, look closely and rewind. But since information became more accessible and free there is a trend to just consume of whatever you are watching. The result is
"I watched the whole 40 hours tutorial but I cannot replicate it!"
If we go back to the 10.000 hour studies there is a vital detail about becoming a master in any craft: deliberate practice. This means to focus on the task at hand and practice it. No skill arised from just watching. Every single one of our skills came from practice.
Reading and writing? Practice!
Making art? Practice!
File our taxes? Painful practice!
The same applies for scripting. If you want to really learn scripting you have to have practice AND feedback to anker the new material and pivot them into the right direction. That is why I would always recommend guided online courses where the lecturer becomes a coach and gives you personal feedback while focusing on your goal. There are amazing free videos out there but the best once are still in paid courses. The logic is simple: If it is a paid course the lecturer can focus on making a kick-ass course instead relying on the view count and how catchy the topic or title is. Additionally you get some personal time from an expert in your field to give you constructive feedback which saves you an enormous amount of time.
Scripting can be a valuable tool for everybody. It doesn't mean it is for you. It takes a driving reason and effort to get to the "It solves my problems for me!" moment. If you feel this is for you check out my Python course down below.
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Python for VFX and Animation in Maya
I teamed up with CGMA to create this Python online course with weekly assignments, personal feedback and Q&As. This is the most effective way of learning Python.
Jacob DeRemer created an Auto Limb Rigger for his final assignment:
Aaron Raeck created a texture app for his final assignment: