I have to preface this review by stating that I have a bias toward Digital-Tutors because I’m already a subscriber, and I can’t count the number of times they saved my butt—not to mention hours and perhaps days of troubleshooting.
Now, Digital-Tutors has been around for a while, providing us with top notch courses in animation, modeling, etc. I like their style. And the fact that their instructors themselves have to go through instruction in instructing shows that they care about providing clear and concise information. I can’t tell you how many online tutorials I’ve seen where the instructor says, “You turn this dial to .86, and that spinner to about .02357, and then it works!” It makes me want to kick small children. Digital-Tutors, on the other hand, takes time to explain why you set the parameters to those values, so that in the real world of production, you can tailor the settings to the needs.
But, this is not what I’m here to discuss. What I am here to discuss is that Digital-Tutors recently released Vault. This is a way to be able to download the streaming content to your hard drive, so that you can peruse it offline. What’s the big deal, you may ask? Well, DT and others like it stream their tutorials over “the Interwebs,” in part to protect the content as best they can. But, this proves to be an inconvenience if you are traveling, hiking across Sudan or if your Internet connection simply sucks. Now, if you need to know how to use the MIA shader in mental ray, you can go through and choose the appropriate tutorials and they will download through DT’s interface into a playlist that you’ve set up. This is also handy for training new people; you can setup the playlist of the things they need to know, and you let ‘em run through it.
The downloads are based on credits that your account receives monthly with your subscription and there is a limited time frame that the downloads are active. I assume this is to prevent a mad rush to download every one of the 800+ tutorials that DT has sitting on their servers.
All in all, I recommend Digital-Tutors to anyone in the animation/visual effects industry. Anyone who says they don’t need it and thinks there is nothing more they can learn is deluded and you should no longer be friends with them (no, not even on Twitter). And now the ability to take learning with you on the go makes it just that much more valuable.
Price: Free monthly credits with subscription: Per month, $45 (100 credits per month); six months, $225 (125 credits); one year, $399 (200 credits)