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6 benefits of online courses you may not have considered

5minutes read

08/30/2019

In an increasingly online world, remote learning is gaining popularity. However, not all online programs are built the same or offer the same amount of interaction (if any!) with mentors or teachers. We explore the many benefits of CG Spectrum’s online courses.

As an online animation, VFX, and game design school, the internet makes it possible for CGS to connect you with top industry mentors, regardless of your geographical region or time zone. We've also found the freedom and flexibility of studying online from the comfort of your home increases engagement and students get a lot more out of their education.

I've always wanted to learn how to make VFX for films, but coming from the traditional education system, I wasn't given the right tools or knowledge for that,” says Laura who took the Houdini FX Course. "Then I found CG Spectrum, and I can honestly say that the amount I've learned in a year studying here is more than I could've ever learned in a traditional school or by myself."

Work by Paulius as part of the Advanced 3D Animation Course

Advanced 3D Animation student, Paulius learned a lot and felt supported by his online mentor, Spectra, throughout his course.

She put a personal interest in my success which kept me motivated throughout the term.

"I became more confident in animating, making decisions by myself and most importantly having the willpower to start and finish any given shot. With Spectra as a mentor, I have corrected my unstable workflow by adding logic, focus, consistency and ease."

 

Student work by Houdini FX student Laura Lekavičiūtė 

Here are six benefits of online digital art courses for you to consider:

1. Small class sizes and one-on-one mentoring

When deciding if studying online is for you, there are two major factors to consider:

  • The number of students per class
  • The course structure

Not all courses are built the same or offer the same amount of interaction (if any) with mentors or teachers. Many online courses are completely self-guided with limited or no contact from mentors.

CG Spectrum gives students a more personalized experience with ample one-on-one time with their mentor, individualized video critiques on their homework, regular email check-ins, and support via live chat and forums.

“Having never done an online course, I didn’t expect to receive this level of personalized learning and quality teaching,” says Richard Shilling, who took one of our online animation courses.

The amount of one-on-one is second to none.

CG Spectrum class sizes are capped at four students maximum. For those who want an even higher level of attention, one-on-one mentoring is also available.

2. Flexible scheduling

Whether studying full-time or in the evenings, having the flexibility to schedule lessons and study time can make a huge difference. Many students have family or work commitments and online education allows them to study wherever, whenever. 

Take Lawrence for example. He was in his thirties when he decided to change careers and pursue an Advanced 3D Animation Course. Quitting his full-time job was not an option. So he enrolled in CG Spectrum’s one-on-one mentoring program and scheduled classes around his commitments. Though it was challenging at times to juggle both, Lawrence’s hard work paid off when he got to work with the Oscar-winning Blade Runner 2049 team.

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Lawrence holding the Oscar for Blade Runner 2045

3. Save money and time

One of the biggest benefits of online courses is the money saved on travel and accommodation. Not to mention the other hidden costs that come with traditional university and college courses.

When you factor in moving, transportation, food, and rent (particularly in major cities like Melbourne, Vancouver, or Los Angeles), costs add up fast. And it’s not just the dollar value. Time spent traveling to and from school each day could instead be put towards study (and rest!).

The advantages of studying online are especially evident for those living in remote areas, where education options are limited. Katinka experienced this firsthand.

I always wanted to pursue training in concept art, but living rurally I never had the opportunity, until I came across CG Spectrum. It allowed me to study from home.

Katinka successfully completed the Advanced Concept Art Course without having to move to a large expensive city, or commute long distances each day for school.

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Environment by CGS student Katinka 

Other unexpected costs to watch for include: software, books, and other required supplies. With traditional college or university courses, students are already paying upwards of $10K for courses and are expected to buy all the extras as well.

For CG Spectrum students everything is included in the upfront course price—videos, reading materials, and even software—so there are no nasty surprises.

4. Access to international industry experts 

Regardless of timezone or location, online education allows CG Spectrum to match students with mentors working in top film and game studios all over the world.

You can learn from accomplished professionals who have won awards and accolades, and actively work in the industry today.

CG Spectrum is the closest to giving me actual industry experience since I’m working alongside an industry vet whilst being taught the fundamentals of my trade. - Alumni, Subhaan Asif

Mentors offer insider knowledge of how actual studios operate and give feedback on assignments the way they would be approached in a professional studio environment.

“It's not just about finishing the assignment and moving on to the next lesson, it's about fully understanding why and when not just how,” says Chris Ely, a CG Spectrum student. “Mentors take your lesson file, open it and give a video critique while they work on your file. They’re showing you options, different approaches on what needs to be done to improve your workflow, making sure you fully understand the lessons being taught. Each lesson is building you up for the next.”

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5. Higher engagement, fewer distractions

According to CG Spectrum alumni Stephen, “Studying in an online capacity makes for a more dedicated and uninterrupted learning experience.”

With such small class sizes, students aren’t competing for the mentor’s attention. They often feel more comfortable asking questions in this intimate group setting (versus an auditorium with 60 students). Mentors also have more time to provide detailed answers. There’s also no need to take notes or chase materials after lectures. All lessons and assignment critiques are recorded and can be revisited as needed.

Stephen Clark Optimised

Soldier model by Stephen

Overall students report feeling more engaged in lessons, experiencing increased concentration without traditional classroom distractions.

On top of these benefits, online learning prepares students to be self-starters with excellent time management, critical thinking, and problem-solving skills. These transferable skills make graduates an asset in the film and games industry where artists are expected to work independently just as well as in a team.

As with any form of study, you get out what you put in. CG Spectrum alumni Lawrence offers his advice: “As a student, if you’re willing to put the work in, listen to instruction and be honest with yourself and your work, you will succeed.”

6. Join in an inspiring and supportive online community

When you enroll in a course at CG Spectrum you are joining a vibrant online community where students, mentors, TAs, and alumni share tips and tricks, ask for advice, share their work, and join in lively discussions. This nurturing environment and makes it an ideal place for new artists to learn how to take on, and grow from, constructive criticism. 

Dagmar, who studied 2D animation, loved the community aspect of CG Spectrum, "Whenever I've posted my animations on their community channels, I've received very helpful feedback from fellow students, alumni, other course mentors, and teaching assistants. They're all very encouraging and friendly, which really helps when you're feeling a bit shy about sharing your work in progress."

They help you improve your skills and grow. And I think it's a great plus that you can still have access to that amazing community even after you graduate.

Being part of an online community—filled with people equally as passionate about digital art and animation—can help students to feel empowered, grow their networks, and further their education. Having ongoing access to this community is a great way to continue to be inspired, even after you've completed your course!

New to online learning? See how our animation courses work at CG Spectrum:
Want to learn more about our courses in animation, VFX, 3D modeling, digital illustration, and game development?

CG Spectrum offers specialized beginner and advanced online training courses and mentorship from industry professionals who have worked on blockbuster films and best-selling games. Enjoy a more personalized educational experience. Let us help you kick-start your career!

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Tags:   Concept Art ,   Animation ,   Visual Effects ,   Tips & Tutorials