Stalling progress

Hi everyone ! :sparkles:

I’ve been learning VFX for about a year now and lately I haven’t been feeling great about my skill level (or, more specifically, about my improvement) so I wanted to talk a little bit about that :smile:

For context

I recently graduated from a Game Design school that had absolutely 0 hours of classes about VFX, so I’m mostly learning by myself using as much resources as I can find online (like many people here I suppose).
When I look back at the effects I was doing a year ago VS now, I can very well see the improvements made along the way of course. The problem lies within the now.

The problem

For the past 1 or 2 months, I feel like my progress has stalled quite a bit, which I guess is probably normal. My effects are feeling bland and amateurish and I just don’t know really know what to do. :sweat_smile:

New skills…

Should I start learning a new software ? After Effect is the big one on my mind right now as I know it is very commonly used and I know next to nothing about it.
I will eventually do it anyway, I’m just wondering if what I’m feeling comes from that kind of lack in technical knowledge or if it’s something else entirely. :upside_down_face:

…or back to the basics ?
A few days ago, I posted my most recent VFX on my sketchbook thread and @Naerly made some great feedback on it, especially on the timing and trying to focus on what the effect makes me feel like rather than how it looks purely visually. They linked me the video to the timing episode of the “Artistic Principles of VFX” series which got me thinking after watching it again : Would the best move be to go back to the basics rather than trying to learn a new software ? It’s not like I would be going back to square one after all. :thinking:

The VFX in question

As a last note
I know that I’m very much still a beginner and that it’s probably normal for me to feel a bit confused after feeling like I’m not improving as much anymore. I also know that we, as artists, are often our biggest critiques. :melting_face:
It’s just that, I often see how cool & beautiful the VFX of my favorite games & movies look and I want to do everything in my power to be able to reach that level of quality someday.
I’m just lost at how I can elevate my skills further. Having yet to work in the industry probably doesn’t help with the feeling either :laughing:

That’s it for my little anxiety rant :melting_face: If anyone has tips and/or want to offer me their opinion on this, I’m more than willing to discuss it with you all ! :smile: :sparkles: