Try to learn new difficult software

Maybe you’re like me. Maybe you spend your day in front of a computer screen. You’re using 2–3 programs most of the time. And you’re very good at them. They piss you off sometimes, when they don’t what you expect them to, but overall you feel comfortable using them.

Maybe that’s the MS Office suite. Maybe it’s Adobe Creative Cloud. You know your stuff and try not to mess with the dark magic that happens outside your sphere of competence.

You should install and try new software, preferably difficult one, and of course trial/educational license.

Because:

  1. You leave the comfort zone and your brain gets exercise.
  2. You get a new perspective on what other people have to cope with daily.
  3. You may actually like it and find it useful.

Example.

Recently I had to pass a 3ds Max course at my university. I hate 3d. It’s ugly, slow, complicated and totally unrelated to my work. But I needed the grade from my professor.

Two weeks later I can’t wait to get home so I can play with its physics engine and shape creation tools. Because it’s not part of my job and nobody is expecting anything from me, it feels more like playing a video game than work.

I also got a perspective on what heavy computer software really means. I hate Adobe CC, because it’s buggy, always updating, lagging or just behaving strangely. But I’ve never seen it continuously use 100% of the CPU. And compared to the 3ds Max UI, Adobe’s UI is actually a thing of beauty.

Lastly, I now have higher respect for some of my friends, who earn their living making 3d stuff. This software requires much more planning and structured thinking in an hour than your typical Photoshop / Illustrator in a day. I can only hope that if they have to learn kerning, grids and wireframes — the stuff I do daily — they’ll find it at least a bit challenging.

Now I can’t wait to try AfterEffects, Excel and whatever the future will throw at me.

January 2016

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