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I already watch and learn many tutorials about graphic design programs (for example Inkscape, Blender 3d, MediBang Paint, etc). But after I go through them, I realized that the more I go through the tutorials, the more I fear that what I learn now will be obsolete once these programs release their newer version.

I also learn tutorials everyday and I experimenting on them. I even make list of project I learn based on tutorials. It make me nervous about when I will master the graphic design programs if this going on.

Is there something in my method of learning that need to be changed? Should I really watch and learn every tutorial that available on Youtube?

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  • It would be an impossible task. Every minute there are 500 hours of videos uploaded on youtube. Ok; only a fraction would be graphic design tutorials. but still... 5 minutes after you posted this, there are 2500 new hours of material on youtube.
    – Rafael
    Sep 12 at 19:25
  • Ok, I get it now that is impossible to learn from new tutorials everyday, while I am not even finishing the old one. Also by the answers below, I now learn that learn the basic is more important than learning the tutorial whether it's old or new one... Thank you for your comment, I really appricate your advice as well as others Sep 13 at 8:23

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What's much more important than watching tutorials is gaining skills. You can watch all the tutorials in the world related to a subject and still be bad at that subject because you're not applying the learning. The best way to learn is through doing.

So do projects! They can be ones that you make up for yourself or ones that you find through freelance services. Going from nothing through the whole process over and over again -- that's where you'll really learn and grow.

At the least, do all the steps in a tutorial then continue modifying to customize it in some way(s), i.e. remix it. That will deepen your understanding of what's happening.

Once you gain the core skills, learning the newer versions of software is easy.

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  • Hey... I think you are right about learning by projects. I often thinking about searching for help in forum when I encounter problem just like this question, I never really trying to solve my problems on my own, but now I realize it because you mentioned it to me. Sep 14 at 11:52
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Stop right now. You are using tutorials wrong, which is admittedly common. I will first explain how to use tutorials and i will then explain why and why you feel like the info will be obsolete.

Ok so how to use tutorials. There are two main usecases for tutorials:

  1. When you need the absolute minimal intro to a tool.

    Now it is important that you do not just watch the tutorial, because that gives you a false sense of accomplishment. You actually need to follow along.

  2. You know how to do a thing, atleast mostly, but want to verify what your doing makes sense, find new tricks or follow the reasoning of somebody else.

    Again the important part here is that you do it first then look at the tutorial. Youll get much much more out of the video or better yet text.

Anything else is atleast not good for you, its like consuming any other entertainment media.

So why not base your existence on tutorials? Well its not terribly useful to learn a hodgepodge of different shorcuts and interesting techniques their applicability is questionable at best.

What you instead want is to learn one boring surefire way to get you where you want to be 80-95% of the time. This knowledge does not have an expiration date because its not a trick that uses a obscure feature X. It works as a foundation to getting you anywhere on any tool with minimal reteaching. You will also now start to be able to see alternate workflows and generate tricks daily.

Unfortunately youtube tutorials are often entertainment or repetition of much better done explanations.

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There's rarely anything such as an "obsolete" tutorial. Applications don't typically remove features. So learning even the base features is helpful. And should any app add a feature which results in a better overall process, having the knowledge of how to accomplish something without the latest, greatest, feature can be exceptionally beneficial. Example: There's really nothing in Adobe CC versions which can't be done in CS versions... the only difference is how easily a particular task may be due to additional features in CC.

I agree a great deal with other answers here. Tutorials can be bad at times because they focus on the "whiz-bang" end result and not really the process of getting there. Tutorial authors often seek to show off their knowledge, even if subconsciously. This leads to tutorials using shortcuts without explaining why or providing non-shortcut methods or skipping over some basic knowledge they aren't even aware they are skipping over. There's no focus on understanding what any application is actually doing. After using any app for a period of time, everyone starts to forget the things they do on sheer instinct but are completely unknown to new users.


To be perfectly frank... the best way I know to learn on your own and gain a more proper understanding of an application is via https://www.vtc.com/ -- now it's not free and I realize that can be a hurdle. But if you're serious, simply spending for a single-course is minimal and will ensure you actually get up to speed on a particular application. Years ago I had a friend needing to learn an application - I had no time to teach them. So, I gifted a course to them and they were up and running with the app in only a month or so - and they started with absolutely zero knowledge of the app or anything which may be considered remotely similar. They, quite literally, started from nothing.

I have zero affiliation with VTC. I merely have experience with one of their products and was very impressed with how easy it was to follow and how well it taught the application. I knew the app well and could see the lessons and how they progressed. It was a very fruitful and logical manner.


Barring VTC, quite honestly reading the documentation for an application - while often dry and unexciting - will get you better acquainted with the actual tools and features of an application. For example, going through Adobe's help files for something like "gradients in Illustrator" will by far teach you more than any YT tutorial will.


I would also point out, you need to ensure you are researching applications actually used in the design profession. The only place I've ever heard about "MediaBang" was one or two questions at this site. I've never heard of it used in any professional circles. Now, that's my experience - perhaps it is used more in other parts of the world.

If the gaol is graphic design, you need to probably first get acquainted with Adobe products. While apps such as Gimp, Inkscape, Sketch, etc can be useful, you need to be aware that Adobe has been the primary source of graphic design software for more than 40 years. If the goal is to be employed then you better know Adobe products. If the goal is freelancing, being able to provide Adobe files will only be beneficial. Not having even a basic understanding of Adobe apps in graphic design is almost equivalent to not knowing how to use a pencil.


Be aware...

Merely learning software in order to be a Graphic Designer seems to be a common misconception.

Trying to achieve a career in graphic design by learning various software products is akin to trying to learn how to build a house through the study of hammers, screwdrivers, drills, and wood. Ultimately one does need to know the tools... but the tools themselves have very little to do with any actual design.

Graphic Design is not all about software. There's myriad knowledge which goes into effective design that has nothing to do with any software package.

Learning the tools of the trade is, quite frankly, minimal in the grand scheme of things. Effective design is created by using the tools as an extension or mechanism in order to achieve the overall concept of any design. Tools won't tell you how to solve visual hierarchy issues, where to place elements, what size to make something, color choices, proximity, visual balance, how to be a critical thinker, .... etc.... Being the most knowledgable software user in the world does not, and never will, make anyone an effective or good graphic designer.

More: Tips and resources for beginning designers

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While it is true that graphic design software often changes as updates and improvements are made, that doesn't necessarily mean old methods you learnt will be obsolete, at least not unless some functionality is physically removed or changed significantly. Luckily, that is something that doesn't happen very often.

Changes in software are something you just have to get used to, and learn to deal with. The same thing happens in all industries as technology changes. The learning never never really stops, and you will never "master" everything.

I'm not sure that tutorials on youtube are always the best answer. Sometimes if there is an update to software, it's enough to just check out the documentation for a new release to see what has been changed, or perhaps just view a few tutorials on new features that you are interested in.

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