Why Artists Should Learn Python?
Why Artists Should Learn Python?
Why Artist Should Learn Python

As an artist you are using python without even knowing it, but why learn python? In the VFX and film industry you are often at the cutting edge of technology. You might be at a studio that is a global leader of the industry, or your studio might be pushing their own boundaries of what has been done before. Whatever your situation is knowing even the smallest bit of python can open your mind to new possibilities.

What is Python?

Python is an interpreted, object-oriented, high-level programming language used across the VFX and animation pipeline. It includes a high-level of data structures, dynamic typing, dynamic binding, and other features that make it versatile for developing tools and applications. Python's simple, easy to learn syntax lowers the barrier to entry. Debugging is easy, python's interpreter provides a stack trace. Having an integrated debugger allows inspection of variables, setting breakpoints and other features. With support for modules and packages, it quickly encourages developers to think modular and reuse code. With programing, especially in the VFX and animation industry, Python makes it easy to open source and distribute packages; as it can be run on almost all operating systems.

For more information visit Python.org

Why Learn?

We now understand that python is a large part of the VFX and animation industry. So as an artist why should you learn it? Don't studios have developers and TDs to create the pipeline and tools? Of course, however the aim is not to turn you from an artist to TD. Learning python is valuable skill to empower you to problem solve autonomously. As someone who supports a team of artists with technical issues, over 70% of the issues that arise could be solved with a simple understanding of python.

Understanding Errors.

Errors in python will print issues as useful messages, explaining what went wrong. If you are unsure what python error types, are check out this page on python error messages here.

Go Beyond.

If you want to go beyond the basic understanding it can be a long and challenging road, especially with python. When I started learning python it was used as a vessel to my end goal to reduce repetitive daily tasks as an animator. When starting, like with everything, you have grand ambitions that can quickly be squashed. Python is no exception, you feel like a small fish in a large ocean! Start with small bite sized chunks, but also don't feel discouraged when things aren't working as you expected. It all started for me with a python script that was only a few lines long. Thinking back at it now, it took me longer than I wanted to admit but the feeling of self-accomplishment was brilliant. Building excitement and confidence helped ultimately lead to my learning of python to a higher level.

Going beyond the basic understanding of python is not for everyone and that is okay.

What Does This All Mean?

Should you or shouldn't you learn python? I truly believe it's in the best interest of any artist to have a basic understanding of python. Problem solving is the key skill and almost daily task of working in the VFX and animation industry. So YES take the time, learn even the smallest bit of python you will not regret it.

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