Everything Digital, Everything Art

CG Cookie : An Alternative Education Hub

I know in previous articles, like the How to Become a Professional Artist With Educational Sites article, and at the time CG Cookie was providing a lot less than it is now. Granted, at the time of that writing, they had thousands of videos covering many different digital art techniques for 2D, 3D, and Game Development. Since this summer, they have changed the way they wanted the company to move forward. With that said, I want to really go into that in depth, as I feel anyone reading this will appreciate being informed. Anyways, let’s get to it!

First off, if you live in the US, and want to become an artist, you will definitely want to read about this. The reason is, in the US, the minimum college education for an art degree is 2 years, and at least $30,000 (usually much more). The majority of the time, those same degrees are very slow paced, and do not even help you get a job in the digital art field. Now, before you comment how wrong I am, there are places like Pixar, and Dreamworks that will require a degree, but what gets you the job is your portfolio. Aside from those places, this is how it works almost every other place. Your portfolio is the most important thing, and it should not cost $30,000 to do that. Moving forward!

CG Cookie Flow List

The different “flows” of CG Cookie

So, to combat this issue, many of us have setup blogs, and Youtubes channels to help you learn more and more about whatever area of digital art you want to become a professional in. This is where the new CGC really shines. This summer, they switched over to a whole new format, which they called CGCookie 5. In this version, the entire site would revolve around giving you an actual learning path, depending on what “flows” you wanted to be a part of. These flows consist of CGC’s four main focuses: Blender (3D Modeling/Sculpting), Concept (2D Art/Rendering), Sculpt (Clay Sculpting), and Unity (Unity Game Engine). You can join any of these flows, and then be taken down a road where you are taught everything from start to finish, without missing anything in between. This is especially important with 3D modeling, as before, you would watch a single video on, “How to Make X”, and learn a little bit more each time you made something different. Instead, you spend the same amount of time learning much more useful methods, instead of repeating content. If you look at the above picture, you can see that each flow has a lot of courses, and each one of those is without any overlapping content, and teaching you something new in each one.

CG Cookie Navigation Menu

CG Cookie’s Navigation Menu

To expand on that idea, they recently released the new CGCookie 6, where you now have a much better dashboard to help you view your progress, upcoming courses, new releases, new blog posts, and even notifications telling you when livestreams and new courses are released; now it is even more like an actual college layout. You have everything you need right at your fingertips, as well as links to each and every section that is incorporated into CGCookie. Instead of just having the school portion, you have an endless supply of various resources.

Just looking at the navigational menu on the right, let me go through them quickly. The Flows are the different workflows, the Courses, are various courses outside of the flows, testing your ability. The resources are various 2D and 3D references to help you study (3D bipedal human rigged model, 2D reference sheets, etc), the exercises are the various exercises that are also incorporated in the flows. If you remember CGCookie prior to CGC 5, most of that content you can now find in the Archive, which you can download everything for free! The Community is CGC’s new online forum. If you ever need help with any of the flows, that is the place to go. If you post there, you will certainly see me shortly after answering questions (I live there it seems). Lastly is the online user Gallery, which is where users share their work with everyone on CGC, and can receive comments, likes, and even be picked as a favorite by the CG Crew. So, it’s very easy to say, it’s extremely hard to stay bored at CGC.

CG Cookie Dashboard

CG Cookie’s Dashboard

Before I finish this, I want to point out one other thing about CGC, and the one thing that has always had me constantly watching their site, and that is their workshops. If you do not know, CGCookie offers online workshops, where you work with an instructor, and usually 14 other students, all working on a certain type of digital art. At this point in time, CGC offers two different workshops, one for Blender for Character Art, and one for Concept doing 2D Rendering. I have attended both of these (in the middle of one now), and I have never felt any regret at all. These are the workshops to help push you past that moderate threshold, into professional territory.

If you look at the price of your local college, and then look at the cost of CGCookie, even with the workshops, you will notice you do not have to go into debt to get a great education. First off, CGC runs around $20/month, and the workshops around $500 for 6 weeks. Even if you looked at my past history of payments (3 workshops, and 2 years subscription), I have not even come close to that college cost. A matter of fact, I’m not even to 15% of that cost. So, if you really want to push forward towards being a digital art professional, I high recommend

Just to give you a bit of a real-life scenario for CGC. I have been a CGC citizen for almost 2 years now, and almost everything I know now, I can give most credit to them. Even though they did not teach me everything, they at least gave me the questions I needed to move forward looking for answers on my own.  I do have to say, I’m quite jealous of people starting now, as you have this awesome layout with fundamentals, whereas when I was learning, I had to pursue those fundamentals myself. Now you can go one place, and learn it all, without really needing much help figuring out the bits in between. If you do, you’ll probably find those answers here.

So, if you want to really push forward, I really suggest checking out CGCookie. Use any of the links in this article (it will help me), and check it out. They offer a two week trial I believe, so at least give that a shot, and see what you think. I really do not think you will be disappointed. Until next time, enjoy, and have fun!

CG Cookie
Reviewed by Dennis Brown (3D Esprit) on.
Summary:CG Cookie has proved to be a whole new way of getting into the game development, and digital art industry, providing training at a very small fraction of the cost of a college tuition.

Description:The New CG Cookie: An Alternative Education Hub
Rating: 5