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It takes a lot of pride swallowing to ask for help here. We are at a point in the streaming and download educational program where we must begin to ponder how things go from now on. Soon we start our school but with such low support of the streaming and download videos we are faced with the reality that this low priced and high quality content is reaching it's end.
We finally have excellent teaching technology, and have continued to surprise with stellar faculty choices for this art program. I know there are many who wish to come but have no ability to do so.
With little support of these videos and this excellent content, there cannot be more released.
That is the reality of it.
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wow... I really though people were throwing themselves over these classes? Do you guys have numbers of how many are actually participating and such?
Jason, if I could pick up a class, I most definitely would, but it's nearly Christmas, and even if I had $90, I just couldn't justify spending it on myself right now, much though I do want to.
Is there any chance that we could maybe have, say, a month's warning of when each class is coming up? Something like that might let the poorer of us save our pennies for a class we really wanted to see instead of seeing it announced and thinking "Damn! I'll have to miss that one..."
That would really be sad, these are great classes and I've learned things there that I wouldn't have in school. Like Craig, the only problem for me has been the fast pace that they come out at (although I get why they do), I've missed several that looked awesome and I've had to watch most of what I did get on demand.
IMO some of the more recent streaming classes have been too specialized. Things like the Lighting for Photography for example is something that is not as helpful to most of the people here as say, the Color and Composition classes. These more specialized classes would probably be better suited as downloads, I think. It doesn't help that the streaming classes are 2-4.5 times as expensive as the downloads. I don't know what your numbers are, but I suspect that downloads have sold significantly more successfully than recent streaming classes. People don't understand how helpful a class like Simplicity or Point of View can be, many would rather watch Chan or Nox draw an illustration. Also, a lot of the recent streams have been focused on traditional illustrators... while this is a great thing, I think that it loses a lot of interest from people who are simply interested in painting digital concept art. I understand you have good reasons for proceeding the way you have, these are simply my thoughts on what may help.
I hope people will support this cause. I've already spent more money on this site than I probably should have, but it's been absolutely worth every penny to add new words to my vocabulary of art.
Last edited by Ian Barker; December 12th, 2009 at 09:06 PM.
Portfolio-reviews where massive as far as viewers came. I have no idea how many came only for on-demand (since they aren't up yet some people have mentioned they wish to see them but I have no idea if that is the total sum of people who just bought for on-demand purposes or not) and I think you guys should at the very least put up more portfolio-reviews.
In my own portfolio-review session- George Pratt and Jason Chan- there where 33 people getting reviews.. I am quite sure there where at least 5 that where only watching.
It lasted long and we are all in awe of Jason and George's stamina, but they where well visited.
How many visitors per streaming class do you guys need for it to be worthwhile?
I've been following quite a few streaming classes by now, and I have to admit I was shocked at the low number of participants yesterday. Almost as many students as there were teachers.
Even so, I learned a TON and it was more than worth it. Which goes for every single class I've attended so far. I don't follow any art education and to me these classes are invaluable.
Some thoughts -
I'd have to admit I'm not quite sure why support declined. I do have to say the classes got increasingly specialized, I'd also add that sometimes, it was not always clear as what to expect of an upcoming class. Recently, they have been getting more cluttered as well, and some of them were announced on a short notice. I've been having trouble freeing up time and money just a few days in advance.
I absolutely wouldn't want this to stop. Each of the streaming classes so far was both exciting and of extremely high quality. I think I should pick up some dl's...
I think there were possibly 3 reasons why there was a dip in people attending this weekend, and there probably will be this weekend and the next.
1) The recession. Jobs are scarce. In my local paper this week there were 2 jobs advertised. No job = no money= no spending power.
2) Christmas. Money isn't as elastic as we'd like it to be; especially at this time of year when people are spending on each other rather than themselves.
3) Christmas again. This is the time of year when work colleagues get together for a meal and a drink. This weekend and next. (The following weekend is Christmas, and the one after that is New Year) These meals tend to be booked about a month in advance because restaurants and party venues get booked up quickly. If you've already budgetted, say, £30 to £40 for a night out, and then a streaming class is announced and you've already prepaid the meal and drink, you'll be very unpopular (not to say out of pocket) if you attend the streaming class and forgo the meal, thus losing the money you've already paid.
I'm sure it's been a blip and things will pick up again in the New Year.
First off, I find both the downloads and streaming classes very informative. The missus (Dragonflyrina) and I purchase them for her self-education and I sometimes watch out of interest but she's the artist in the family. We find it very invaluable and look forward to what the Art Department might offer. Thank you, Jason, staff and instructors at CA.
That said, I have some comments and suggestions.
I've found that the scheduling of some of the events somewhat erratic. I've often only found out about a session by a banner or Jason's e-mail mere days before the day where we might have something scheduled, work or personal. I know it is probably a struggle and juggling act at CA's end to fit in their instructors' voluntary free time and organize the streaming session and promote it. I find the prices reasonable, too but I can understand students or those not working full-time cannot keep up with the pace of the offerings. I understand the cost for keeping the streaming classes up but once 30 days has passed, their potential is lost to those who hadn't a chance to attend.
I'm not making excuses for lack of attendance but rather think that there may be a way for the CA community to come together to help Jason and staff figure out a way to better make these sessions feasible to attend. It could be pricing, timing/scheduling, format, whatever. Jason seems to be Atlas carrying the CA community on his shoulders. Is there a way we as members could help with planning or at the very least spreading word about events with some lead time? Some communities such as web development of which I am a part inform people months ahead of online or in-person events in order to generate word of mouth and exposure. Perhaps, we could help start an events-only mailing list or community calendar, offer to help create banners to hang on our own sites to promote events.
I think there may be additional ways to help CA on top of attending and buying CA products. As people have mentioned, not everyone can afford it but it would also be a shame if 10% of the members (staff included) were supporting 100% of the site. However, the solution is sometimes not about throwing money at the problem but re-thinking it and getting feedback (surveys, polls, etc) to better identify specific problems that may not be obvious.
I would be willing to offer some of my time to provide feedback or have a dialogue with a more business-oriented slant to it. We all need to help figure this out so CA continues to be our go-to community for professionals and aspiring artists.
My internet is a tad too slow for the streaming classes, else I would be supporting them without a doubt. Perhaps the classes could be released as downloads a while after their initial debut?
I know I would buy a few this Christmas, for what it's worth. The classes look amazing.
I don't post here regularly, but for what it's worth here's my $.02.
The first couple of classes regarding illustration business and composition I jumped on cause they sounded pretty cool and I did learn a bit. But they really ate up alot of time going through all the 5+ hours of video and writing down my notes. Probably a huge chunk of it was stuff that could have been simply written down and posted honestly.
Not to devalue a live streaming class, but I'd personally be alright with just a well written article with video clips for demos, and then a sub forum for it dedicated to asking questions for a couple days.
have bought 2 so far, but theres just no way i could buy more often, even if i wanted to. dont know if spacing the classes out further apart would bring better economy to the venture, but speaking personally i have no way of attending more than a fraction of these at the pace they are coming up.
loved both of the classes i bought, tremendous value for money in my opinion.
I think spacing them out would help as well as something like a sidebar for general announcements on new videos/official contests. A lot of the opportunities offered are done so in various forums. If there was a news sidebar, people who stick to only a couple of forums might find access to these events sooner.
All that said, such a feature might be coming with 4.0 for all I know. I'll be purchasing some on demand classes in the near future (possibly this week), and I hope this thing works out for all of us.
Good luck, Jason.
I'm really sorry to hear that... I want to let you know what my thoughts are in all honesty, maybe this could help you in future strategies.
1] I've bought the 80% of the available downloads (the last one has been Donato Giancola) and all of them worth the money I spent. The downloads are cheap, very well edited, simple to look at and really informative. I've never been disappointed for having payed for a download.
2] I've bought 5 live classes and though they was very informative noone of them can be compared to a download. They cost much more than a download but they don't offer more in terms of informations. The classes are longer in time but there are too much silences in them so 6 hours of class give the same information of a 3 hours download (of course I'm talking of only the 5 classes I watched so maybe I've been unlucky).
3] It's clear that in the art field you all have a lot of things to teach and that you're great in doing that but as far as I can see you're not so good with this new tech and you can't expect that people will pay $95 every week for having a service which is not so good. I understand that you're trying to raise funds for the new site as fast as you can but I want to let you think about just one thing: many of us has paid for a portfolio review a month ago but noone is able to watch it on demand so far. Even if I can understand all your motivations and tech changes I really can't deny to myself that this in not a professional behaviour. You work for many lead companies as illustrators and character designers and I'm sure you won't get paid and then will deliver the work to them 2 months after the deadline or deliver half work in high definition and half in very poor quality, etc. When people pay something people want to obtain something.
4] Money. I work 40/45 hours per week but I really cannot afford $95 for each week of the month plus the money for the downloads. I have to buy food first. I have to pay bills. Art is great but I have to be able to live to make art.
Personally point 3 is the major cause for me not joining any other live class after the portfolio one. I really would like to look at Jon Foster class but apart for the price I'm wondering if the class is available in high definition in its entirety or if half of it is in poor quality and so I decided to not buy it and to not partecipate at any new classes until the portoflio review will be available on demand and you have familiarized with the new tech.
I don't want you to take this as a critic to your work. This is only my point of view and maybe can help you in some way, or at least I hope so.
If there'll be any other dl in the future I'll be more than happy to buy it and I'll also donate something from my pocket just for the new website because I love CA.
Hope better times will come for everybody.
The Christmas excuse is bullshit unless everyone you know is poor and refuses to pool for gifts. Ask for the downloads as presents.
Jason, I believe in you and I believe in CA and its importance. Committing myself to helping this site is an investment, not just for me as an individual artist, but for art history and the prosperity of art. Everyone who uses this site knows that it would be a great loss if it disappeared.
Want to see someone become a master? (My Sketchbook)
This quote of yours is quite offensive and you should really have thought of a better way of speaking your mind then to be as offensive.
And- quite a lot of people DO only know poor people or have families that are poor.
Think before speaking is a good rule of thumb.
this is major bummer, i feel i've grown since the 2 years i started especially with the help of the excellent educational content available for purchase =(
Not to start a war between Gnomon and CA.org but I can't justify the prices that Gnomon charges and I know I can come here to get quality learning by professionals in the industry for a fraction of the cost compared to Gnomon.
Can't believe it, all it would take is $1 donation from every member on this site in order to keep this site a float with the 150k+ members on this site. It's better to $1 donation from each member than to have incurring yearly membership fees. Come on people tis the season to be giving!!!
I agree with what has been said: even if the streaming classes are more expensive than the downloads, they are tremendous value for money, BUT as a poor student I just can't buy everything that's cheap. I've been to a few live classes and they've been great, and I've downloaded quite a few of the downloads (the latest being your on composition - loved it), and I really really want to buy more of them, but it is just not always possible...
It would be sad to see these things disappear, and I don't think that's the way to go. I hope these resources will be here especially for those that will not be able to afford the art department.
I'm in the same boat as a lot of people I suspect. The streaming classes/vids are just a bit too expensive and/or specialised to tempt me at the moment. I love the downloadable video tutorials and have picked up a fair number of them. Downloadable content has been great value for money for me and I'd even be willing to pay $5 - $15 more per download if it made a difference. Being able to watch them over and over again has meant that they paid for themselves in terms of inspiration alone.
Streaming classes just don't tempt me in the same way. I suppose it's similar to someone who would rather own several really good books on a subject versus someone who would pay to sit through one live lecture on a topic. I like books.
Mostly, I just love watching videos of people drawing and painting. It is not something you get to see often enough. The experience is entertaining, inspirational, and educational. Watching people talk about drawing and painting... not as much fun. I am only sharing my point of view, but I assume many other people feel the same way. We artists are visual thinkers and visual communicators. We are the people who skip through a book and just look at the pictures. In fact, we tear out those pictures and hoard them like pack rats in our bloated reference libraries.
I might not be the target audience for these, anyways. I feel as if I have already had way too much instruction, and studied too much design theory. For those who haven't had access to this information, it is an invaluable resource that is not available anywhere outside of design school. Especially not at this price and quality.
I'm not complaining. Just sharing my point of view as both a design professional and a CA member (who never posts, but lurks like crazy, goes to all the local MB related art shows, and devours the downloads). Maybe this dialogue can help solve the mystery of why people aren't gobbling this tasty stuff up the way they should be
I was putting off getting some of the videos til after xmas, but what the hell. I bought some just now, that should keep me off the streets for a few days, and add a weeny bit to the ca.org coffers.
I really want to watch the portfolio review stuff on demand, but I can't find it anywhere. if/when that appars I'll grab it in a shot.
I could spend a lot on these things, they are so informative and fun to watch, but as much as everything massive black produces is such good value for money it's still money which has to come from somewhere! I have to ration it at the moment, I'm sure many others are in similar positions.
I tell myself to more I learn the better I'll be, the better I am the more I can earn!
Thanks be to massive black, I hope you can continue to do what you do for a long time to come.
Here's some of the issues I've had with the classes:
1. Last minute scheduling / inconvenient times - generally the recent live classes have been announced rather late, the week of, so it's hard to clear my schedule for 5+ hours on such short notice. Other classes such as the portfolio review, not something you can really attend if you work full time.
2. Not enough timely information about the new classes.
I don't have time to visit the boards that often, so I may not find out about a class until fairly late. The information about the class can be tough to find also, sometimes it's in the banner graphic on top, other times you have to dig thru to a specific section of a subforum and a specific post to get a link to where you might purchase or find more info about a class.
I think the timeliness of the class schedule also makes it difficult for people trying to budget their learning. I'm sure many people don't have the disposable cash to spring for every $100 streaming class, so it would be enormously helpful for people budgeting for the classes they really, really want to take. I'm sure the current lull is a result of this - everyone sprang for the first few courses that came out, but no one knew that there'd be a new class coming out every week after that, so for many the extra cash was used by the time the later classes were announced.
3. Delays and lack of updates or information about on-demand version of popular classes.
I know I for one am very interested in both the portfolio review videos and the Jon Foster video, but there hasn't really been any information on when the videos will be available on demand. Only sparse announcements that they'll be available "soon" ... but with the holidays coming around many are diverting their funds to vacations, holiday plans, parties and presents. So I know I might have to wait until next January before I might have the funds again.
4. The holidays - as I said, this is the time of year when many are strapped for cash. On top of the increased heating bills, rent, mortgages, vacations to warmer climates, and holiday gifts, there's definitely not as much money to go around. Also time is a lot less available, meeting up with friends, holiday parties, company parties, holiday shopping, there's just not that much time to sit around for half a day in one go at the computer.
5. Which I suppose all leads back to benefits and flexibility of on-demand viewing - the ability to fast foward, pause, etc. But unfortunately many of the most recent videos aren't out on demand yet.
I certainly hope the streaming classes can continue, but unfortunately unless there is more of a release schedule and calendar developed, I don't think participation will increase.
Also I would guess that if a solid calendar of scheduled streaming classes was available, you guys would be able to more easily acertain how many people would be attending, people would be able to pencil the class into their calendars, register and pay in advance (perhaps at a discount), and any classes with very low attendance could be cancelled. Not only would it be easier on members interested in the classes, but I think the advance and predictable revenue would make it much easier to make the whole thing more profitable.
hey what do you know, it looks like a schedule of classes was added recently, and some stuff I was looking for on-demand is now available. I don't visit often enough I suppose.
I really have to agree with the person who said they would rather watch someone paint than watch someone talk about painting. Color and Composition are the exception because they are such essential topics. Mark English was great, and I'm certain Anita Kunz will be too, but it is easy for me too see why it is far less appealing to many people than say, watching Nox or Chan paint characters. Watching slides is not the same thing, especially when you are paying twice the amount as a download.
The price, time investment, and scheduling problems are issues too. Downloads were cheap enough that I might have bought some of these more specialized classes like Lighting for Photography out of curiosity. They were also far more convenient... 4 hours at a specific time is a big investment, and for some of the classes the information could easily be condensed into a one and a half hour download.
That is not to say the streaming format is all bad... In some cases the stream format was irreplaceable, such as with Marko. People were asking many questions and asking him to draw things, so the stream format worked very well. However, the other 4 classes could have been downloads just as easily as streams.
Bottom line: I think right now that there are too many streams and not enough downloads... a better balance of streams and downloads, with instructors and themes specifically chosen to take advantage of either format would help sales. Currently those who can afford streams are overwhelmed and those who can afford downloads are underwhelmed. $95 to watch slides is a tough sell for low income individuals if the theme is at all specialized (which is why Point of View and Mark English didn't sell great despite having great artists, while general themes like Color and Composition did much better)... people are much more likely to impulse buy these specialized, slide based presentations as $20-$30 downloads. Just my thoughts.
I also want to clarify to everyone that everything I've bought on CA has been GREAT... even though the system is not perfect right now, there is no reason why you should not be attending these classes if you can afford it, they are more than worth it!
Last edited by Ian Barker; December 15th, 2009 at 05:45 AM.