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I'm a truck driver, I have been for a looong time, I'm also and artist though and I'd love to be a concept artist as my full time job. I've seen a couple of industry jobs advertised recently that where "No industry experience needed", but they did ask for indepth knowledge of photoshop. I've been pottering around with photoshop cs2 for ages now and I can get by with it but I wouldn't say I know it intimatley, what's the best way of learning it inside out?, go on a course?, I feel that to be able to illustrate properly on cs2 I need to know it better, that way I won't spend most of my time trying to work out how to get a certain effect rather than just doing it. Am I likely to need any other sort of software knowledge to be able to function in the industry?, I think what I'm really asking is what do I need to get my previously none digital tallent kicked up the arse and into industry standards?....
There are a lot of very talented individuals working that only have limited knowledge of software. I would say get okay at a 2d program and a 3d program so you know enough to use it to speed your process up. But the main thing you need is to be able to render realistically; the software never helps you do that and I'm sure you've seen the horrible concept art out there where the talent was all in the software. photo manipulation only gets you so far.