which order?

hello everyone.

i’m a teenager in highschool totally in love with product/industrial design, and i definitely want to pursue it as a career. i’ve been lurking on design websites for years, so i know quite a bit (for my age, at least. i haven’t even gone through college yet). i’m teaching myself basic things like drawing and sketching, and i’m very early in the process of learning programs like photoshop and illustrator (i have adobe cs3). i also have my hands on a free version of autodesk inventor, which i will hopefully get set up soon.

my question is: what order should i learn these kinds of programs? should i be fluent with CAD before i start learning to render, or will it be easier if i already understand some rendering programs then start diving into CAD, or should i just wait until i’m good enough at sketching? i don’t have many courses avaliable to me to learn this stuff, so i’m teaching myself. i could really use some advice as to what programs i should get and in what order i should learn them. i have quite a bit of money from my summer job, so that is not an issue. i just don’t want to overwhelm myself with learning this stuff and give up because i am having a really hard time.

any advice is welcome and very appreciated.

thanks a ton!

In terms of physical toolsets, master your sketching, it’s extremely important. PS+IL would be next but they’re not that hard so I would concurrently get familiar with your 3-d program of choice. The modeling concepts are the most important part of those to understand, then they’ll transfer to most programs you’ll need. Shape some foam while you’re at it, things that look nice on a computer screen don’t always translate well in real life (although depending on where you work, being able to sell the picture may be the main priority but that’s another discussion). I’d put 3-d rendering last on the list (it’s important but not as immediately necessary as the others).
But first and foremost, make sure you can analyze problems and think through solutions. Those other tools are just ways to communicate good ideas but you have to have good justified ideas to start with. Understand the business aspect of design, where we fit in in the grander corporate scheme of things. Schools teach a good deal on the social and consumer side often neglect business realities, so study those also. Good luck.

alright, cool. thanks. i’d also like someone to clarify what exactly rendering is. i have the impression that you sketch something on paper then scan it, or sketch something on a tablet, or design something in CAD, and you put it into a rendering program to do things like add color and change textures and stuff like that. is that correct? i’ve read so many threads ABOUT rendering (eg. what programs are best, how to do a specific function, etc), but i haven’t come across an exact definition as to what it is. i think it might be wise to know exactly what it is before i attempt to do it :wink:. and do PS and IL fall under the rendering category, or are they a completely different step in the design process, because skinny had 3D rendering last on the list but PS and IL up near the top.

i’ve got a basic idea of what a lot of things are by reading so much on the internet, but i’m kinda sketchy on lots of details, and so i just want some clarification to prevent confusion when i try to learn this stuff.

i could always use more help, so any answers to these questions or my original questions or just any tips in general would be awesome; doesn’t matter if you’re a student or a design prodigy.

thanks again!

Yeah, sometimes the wording can be confusing. The rendering that I had last in my comment was in reference to computer 3-d model rendering. Not everyone will get to or need to use those programs. But almost all ID’ers will sketch and do manual renderings (if I can call it that) using illustrator, photoshop, etc.
But it’s a good idea to be familiar with them all if even for the ability to clearly communicate your intent to a specialist that may actually be doing it. For instance, if you don’t really do 3-d computer modeling, knowing the concepts and language will help you describe what your intent is to the guy who may be modeling it for you. So you should know basic things like continuity, 2 rail sweeps, etc, to be able to communicate back and forth and not expect impossible things if it’s not your specialty.