I remember back when Maya was Power Animator, and we had to (gasp) read the 6+ physical manuals
Talk about papercuts
...lets put aside the fact that we had to pay $10,000 u.s. for Maya as well back then.
Thats how we old-timers learned back then.
By teaching ourselves.
We would just literally mess around until something broke, or didn't work the way we wanted, then we would read the help to learn how to fix it and not make the same mistake again
Then in 1999 we were able to take Siggraph Maya Master Classes (no longer Power Animator as of 98'), we would read the Physical manuals, buy books (rare then), magazines, and if we were lucky, vhs tapes from Alias|Wavefront themselves lol.
If you were REALLY lucky, and the post house you worked for could afford it, your local VAR (hardware/software dealer) would setup training sessions.
Then around 1999-2000 the internet as we know it began to mature to the point of being able to download (but not stream!) small videos from folks who would charge as little as $50 u.s. per month for it, such as Alex from Gnomon.
(This was before Gnomon Online, etc.)
At the time, other than Alex at Gnomon and a few other freelancers or VAR's, there weren't any "schools" you could go to for an education specifically to learn Maya.
It was simply far too expensive then.
Now, with the advent of educational price points for software, non-accredited schools can just worry about simple hardware cost.
The rest is history
PS: The following is just a general note to ANYONE getting into this business, not you personally Christen20:
So the point is, in the very very beginning, if you do NOT even have the patience to simply hit F1 and read the help and/or learn as much as you can on your own until your head hurts, and you gain 30-60lbs from doing nothing but sitting at your machine day and night for years on end learning and learning...
....because you WANT to, not because you HAVE to...
...then my friends, seriously, this is just not the industry for you.
It may sound insanely harsh, and in some respects it is, but keep in mind, there WILL ALWAYS be someone willing to do your work for HALF the price.
...and sadly the studios LOVE cheap work.
(for examples see every movie you thought had crappy cg/vfx in the last 10 yrs)
So, not to sound too much like a disgruntled old man, but if you can survive that, (including a few deaths and a divorce or 2) this industry should be a piece of cake for you
PSS: Don't take me too serious, otherwise I'll beat you with my cane you whippersnappers! hehe...
Israel "Izzy" Long
Motion and Title Design for Broadcast-Film-DS