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Self-learning vs pro teaching


Active Member
Hi guys,

Read an interesting article in Computer Arts this week about self-learning vs pro teaching when it comes to learning software skills with the leading design packages, thought it would make an interesting thread to have here at DF!

So with University aside, how did you learn to use the software you use everyday? Have you ever been on any professional training courses? Do you miss out on anything by teaching yourself?

Interested to hear your experiences/views :)


Senior Member
Im mostly self taught in it all, though I now top it up with some Lynda.com tutorials, which are mostly peer led.

I can reccomend them!

I have to say I feel a lot of my base knowledge came from my software engineering degree, which helps me to grasp theories then its just implementing the language/tool
I'm almost entirely self-taught, filling the gaps with professional advice, forums, lynda.com and books. It's worked well for me, but can be a tough curve for some people I think.


red tiger said:
but [it] can be a tough curve for some people I think.
I totally agree. I think its what works best for each person.

But for me its self teaching all the way, nothing beats being able to learn as fast or as slow as you feel you need to without either being held back or falling behind.

I taught myself by diving into client projects. Nothing gets you up a learning curve like a clients breathing down your neck.


Active Member
I'm with the self-learning route too, although have to say the tutor we had for workshops at Uni was brilliant, he did training sessions for Adobe to professional designers about best working practices, and some of the methods he taught us about getting the best from the software and working in the most efficient way I think would take a lot longer to learn from self-learning.


Junior Member
Im more on self-learning. A friend, teacher or an acquaintance will only teach me the basic, the rest is for me to know how...lot of resources around the net


Junior Member
I really love tweaking web and graphic designs . But due to my work<s>(seo)</s> (wuhahahaa) which is too faaaarrrrr awaaayyyyyyy from what i'm really interested with. Im doin my designs only at home when i have nothing to do...
Im an old school self taught person, litterally pressing buttons until it works... bu as the net grew, so did I (looks a little corny I know) nowadays theres online training, forums like this, google and other search engines, no need to keep pressing buttons..

I find in my courses that Ive done/doing everyone is at different levels, which quite often slows my learning down on the computers, and likewise, I probably slow them down on the art side.. but a 1 on 1 professional lesson would be perfect, self paced, with the ability to learn professionally..

but then again, a 10million dollar car, and room full of computers and a super model as a girlfriend sounds nice as well.. :) too sarcastic? :D
I am self taught aswell, flicking through all kinds of websites learning how to do things. But i can safely say, do not underestimate professional teaching, I have learned alot from my tutor at university and I have learned stuff that i probably wouldn't have learned by just flicking through websites, so professional learning is as valuable as self taught learning in my opinion.


Junior Member
I am self taught in the software that I use.

A friend got me started in photoshop but for the last 6 years I have just been exploring new techniques to improve my skills in this software.
With regards to vector based software, I got started when I was very young in Corel Draw, then I moved on to Illustrator in the later years.

I did go to university but I must admit that they didn't teach me any software skills.
University is a good source for feedback on your work and if the tutors like you they will put you in contact with the professional design business.

I suppose there are positive and negative sides to everything, including university :)

Kind Regards


Junior Member
I think for me it depends on the program. I taught myself how to use Photoshop and Illustrator. And I find that he way those software are being taught in school and colleges may not be the best way. Most of the time, instead of teaching them where the tools and effects are and what they may be able to use them for,they would hand out assignment like: make a photograph in a summer time looks like it's snowing, and they would have these steps that the kids must follow. May be like, reduce the saturation to this number, then increase the color balance of midtone blue to about 40% or some stuff like that.

But then again, I learn After Effect and Maya with the help of my teacher. Before I took the class, I tried on my own several times but fail. I know there are many people who taught themselves how to use Maya and After Effect. But for me, for some reasons, I needed my professors.