Free tutorials! What an idea! Back in the ‘good old days’ of 3d tutorials, all you needed to do was release a video tutorial – sometimes even with you explaining what you are doing – then wait for all that student adulation and sweet advertising revenue to roll on in.
So, what is stopping you from firing up Camtasia and getting that tutorial you always wanted people to learn from? Well… probably nothing however a lot has changed in 10 years and the tutorial scene is a wierd place now…
5. Self hosting your video is a nightmare.
Ten years ago if I had recorded a tutorial set, I would let my userbase know, usually by a forum post and then upload the tutorial into a download respository. There were no streaming services that were affordable at that point for people running their own sites, so downloads were all that was offered. Usually allowing the user to download each individual part so they could watch in sections and download more using their precious bandwidth later.
Have you visited any legitimate sites to download tutorials lately?
Most everyone now uses Youtube simply because it is both free and already has a large audience. You upload it to youtube, put in your embed code on your own site and then voila – free hosting of a streaming video is done. User’s are madly lazy compared to what they used to be like and will not download anything unless;
- It’s pirated
- It’s porn
- It’s something that you never wanted anyone to have access to ever
The other problem is that once users discover that your content is on youtube… well they ain’t coming back to your site any time soon. They can just subscribe to your channel and wait on seeing a notification if you make something new – thus avoiding your site, any revenue funnels you may have and instead watching endless 15 second non skippable ads on your youtube videos that might net you 5c at the end of the month. Which leads us to…
4. You won’t make shit.
Free tutorials used to actually be a legitimate way to make an income. You could put out ten hours of free content and it would act as an advertisement for any commercial work you were producing better than getting a dancing anime girl to hand out suggestive shaped potatoes at a convention.
Referring to the previous entry however, the only person getting any form of recognition for your work is usually Mr Youtube. Tutorial authors get a tiny amount of views compared to people who are basically playing minecraft badly and posting videos of that instead. Those views directly convert into advertising revenue which, for about 30,000 views in a month may net you perhaps about $15 perhaps. And your tutorial will not net 30,000 views.
Plus YouTube viewers rarely leave YouTube at all, being basically inanimate. Therefore they are never going to come look at your tutorials that cost money unless they go to…
3. Everything Gets Pirated.
And good luck stopping it happening too! I used to get about 200 DCMAs to send out per week at one point. Most of these people are not even watching the tutorials and the fact that they are uploading the free ones to a torrent site is frankly mind blowing (and probably to do with upping their ratio so they can get more Hentai).
Most every tutorial author has been hit by piracy issues – I know for a fact that every single one of my tutorials has been uploaded to the various piracy sites multiple times and in fact I have been able to use one of the sites as a useful emergency backup when I lost the master of one of them, however that is beside the point. Tutorial sales plummet rapidly as soon as people are seeing your free work listed on google next to a handy download link and next to a collection of all your commercial work ready to fire down the old world pipe at a second’s notice.
2. The YouTube pundits are whiny mouthbreathers.
So, everything is uploaded to youtube and you are off to bed. Next morning you log in bright and early to see if people enjoyed your free tutorial that you spent many hours preparing for them.
- Day one. 17 views. One thumbs up. Two thumbs down. No reasons given.
- Day two. 43 views. Three Thumbs up. Two thumbs down.
- Day three. 48 views (it slows rapidly). Three thumbs up. Three thumbs down. Comment; “lol this is terrible i could do it in maya in 10 minutes” from someone who – on checking their youtube channel appears to hold Colin’s Bear as a masterpiece.
YouTube users are a split bunch – some are polite and helpful and yes they will leave a nice comment now and again if they REALLY REALLY REALLY like it. Typing is hard remember folks and needs a lot of energy… unless you are typing a paragraph on how the tutorial author and his content is terrible in which case you rarely even stop to consider capitals and punctuation in your haste to mash POST!
And the lack of interest wears you down after a time. It makes everything you do when you have spent literally months on developing a tutorial just worthless because no one looks at it and no one cares.
1. Everyone does it.
I think people have not cottoned on yet that the free tutorial scene is basically horrible. A lot of tutorial authors have little to know understanding of what they are teaching, as you can usually tell from their high pitched voices and their inability to do much above a basic level. Most tutorials are in fact a slow video of them making something while house music plays loudly in the background. No explainations why they do things a certain way, no explaining why something works better than something else, no. You are going to watch FREDDY65334_L33T make this bottle using Blender for 4 hours and like both this and his love of Finnish dance music.
And because the pool is so diluted even less people are now watching your videos.
And because they are not watching your free tutorials, they do not know about your commercial ones.
And now you have no income because you spent months developing tutorials that no one sees.
And that my friends is why the tutorial market is dying, why old sites like eat3d, 3dbuzz, 3d-palace are all running down slowly. I used to get asked on a daily basis about how someone could set up their own tutorial site and I can remember a few of them off the top of my head still. Idealists that wanted to teach and change the way people learned. Some only lasted literally as long as the free hosting trial…
Making free tutorials is something I still do and plan on doing however it can’t be like it was now. I used to make tutorials for 3d applications – thousands of hours of tutorials in my time. Now I see a timelapse I made that is less than two minutes long getting people excited when the full length version with audio was virtually ignored because most people like pretty and fast.
So when the 3d industry is full of retards and no one knows how to make anything good anymore – well, sorry. 🙂