Digital VFX artist wants to go practical

Hello, my name is Olivier, I'm from belgium. I have been working in the CG VFX and animation industry for about 10 years, mostly doing character/creature modeling for movies. I like my job, can't complain too much, but the old practical effects from when I grew up is probably what got me into this industry in the first place. I grew up dreaming about working on the next star wars or alien some day. Now I get to do that, but not in the way I imagined.

I have been watching videos on youtube from Stan Winston or studio ADI for a while, I really feel like I'd prefer doing practical effect instead. At first it was thinking "well that looks cool too" but now it's more like "Man I really want to do THIS instead". I know that's probably what most people think when they see those videos, but I'm really serious about it, to the point of taking some time off my work and focus on this full time.
I'm already familiar with some sculpting and painting technics, I have used super sculpey and clay in the past, I built some props for cosplayer friends, I own a 3d printed, an airbrush, I have done some electronic with adruino and raspberry pi, including servo controls (something simple to control a remote camera over the internet). I'm also familiar with character design and anatomy because that's part of what I do on a daily basis.

So, while I still have a whole lot to learn, I'm not a complete beginner who does not know where to start.
Well actually that's not entirely true and that's the reason I'm coming here: I'm already familiar with sculpting and painting, now I know I want to learn the secrets of molding, casting, animatronics, but that's about it. I don't know where to start from here. I want to take a subscription to the Stan Wiston school and watch those on-demand webcourse. Since I'm serious about it, I don't have any problem with paying to learn this kind of things, but there are just so many tutorials available that I don't know where to start, it's overwhelming! I don't even know if a yearly subscription would be enough to watch them all !

So that's my question to the more experienced of you out there: Which are the videos you'd recommand one MUST watch to get started? Now I know you'd say "just watch them all if you're serious about it". I get that, and ultimatly maybe that's what I'll do. But some look very specific (painting an eye), while others sound more generic (making a monster) , and many seem to cover  similar things. I probably want to get the basis first. I know advanced stuff like animatronics should be saved for last.

So yeah, for those of you who have watched it all or most of it, which videos are your go-to, the no-brainers, the must-watch to get started?

Thank you in advance,


(the private live webcourse is another story, we'll see later for those)


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