I have just attended the Blender 2018 conference in beautiful Amsterdam, which was very inspiring and motivating! But also; I learned that I still have a LOT to learn.
My most important take-home-messages are:
1) Computer Graphics (CG) based animation and illustration is – despite much technical complexity – still a very creative process, so it makes a lot of sense for me to still also spend time “offline” doing sketches and paintings. And the messages from the old Disney-animation teams in “The Illusion of Life” are still going strong. A computer can help, but it won’t draw for you!
2) I need to learn how to script in Python! I have already started this….but I need to spend more time on it.
3) Open Source rules! Don’t go pro! PRO means PRO-prietary, not PRO-fessional!
4) Like with drawing – spend more time observing! Good reference material is gold, especially real pictures. Other people’s illustrations and animations can be an inspiration, but don’t trust that the way that something in biology is typically depicted is how it really looks. A good example of this is the SYNAPSE, where the typical way of illustrations is not overlapping with the truth.