FYI, I am also a student in this course. So I am well aware of the entire course experience. Here are some of the things that I am going to talk about -
- The Course Content
- Community engagement
- Community support and
- The major selling point
I wrote this article because some of my friends were asking me whether or not they should enroll in this course. Since the upfront investment is quite high, I thought writing this article will help clear things up for everyone.
Also, I shared my 1 month progress video on my YouTube channel👇
The overall course delivery is great.
I like the instructor’s voice — soft, clear and professional.
I also did some background research on the instructors and they all have years of experience in the industry. They definitely have enough credibility to launch a course like this. They are all from one startup so that means they already know each other and hopefully there are no communication gaps among the team members.
The 2 major tools that are being taught in the course are -
- Unreal Engine
Shaper3D is a 3D modeling tool.
To be honest, I didn’t like it as much as I like Blender.
Blender is a powerful tool, used by indie 3D artists all over the world and it is completely free. I even launched my first NFT with Blender on OpenSea and Ajnalens Marketplace. If you have enough Ethereum consider buying this plate of laddoos (a beloved Indian sweet).👇
Unlike Blender, Shaper3D is a paid tool and has too many limitations. I talked to some of the other students to know their thoughts on Shaper3D. According to them, Shaper3D is simpler than Blender and it does not require a computer with a high configuration.
So I guess Shaper3D is good for anyone just starting out with 3D modelling but I am going to stick to Blender because I already know how to use it and I have created a few projects with it. At the end of the day, I can create 3D models, and animations with it. It serves my purpose well.
Check out some of the things that I created with Blender👇
Unreal Engine is a game engine.
The amount of realism that you can achieve in your games or 3D experiences is remarkable.
I have already used Unity before and I do like it but Unreal feels 10 times better than Unity. This is especially because of the number of premade assets that Unreal provides you with. With tools like Quixel Bridge, Megascans, and MetaHumans you can get amazing results like this 👇
It seems like Unity is great for people who are just starting out with game development and want to focus more on the programming side of things; whereas Unreal seems great for someone who is more inclined towards the design or artistic side of things. I have only spent one month in Unreal. So before I write a long comparison article between Unity and Unreal, I think I should spend some more time with Unreal.
We get assignments almost every day but that doesn’t mean we get assignments every single day of the week because 7 assignments per week would be too hectic. It’s a good thing that the course creators thought of it beforehand.
Update (12/10/2022) — Now we are getting assignments every day except Sunday. It has become hectic now. The consolation is that you don’t have to finish off the course in 6 months because you have “lifetime access” to the course.
Plus, the assignments are in alignment with the course. Not too easy. Not too difficult. Almost no restrictions. So you can be as creative as you want.
By the way, students cannot proceed to the next day’s content unless they submit the earlier day’s assignment and it gets approval from the course instructors.
In one way, it is good because it forces a student to learn and solidifies concepts using a more hands-on approach.
However, students are paying for the locked and unlocked lectures. Let me reiterate 👇
You are paying more than ₹60,000 for a course that has locked and unlocked lectures. You can only unlock the locked lectures by completing daily mandatory assignments. Do you really think it’s fair?
Update (12/10/2022) — I am lagging behind now.
Update (24/02/2023) — Most working professionals won’t be comfortable with daily mandatory assignments. Here is a poll👇
Ajnalens uses a community page where we post our doubts and based on the number of posts on the forum, the engagements seem pretty good.
We also have an official and an unofficial WhatsApp group. The official group provides important announcements related to the course. The unofficial group is something that we as the students of the course started on our own to discuss issues that we are facing while doing the course and also have fun conversations sometimes.
It always feels good to connect with fellow peers and like-minded people. Some of them are professionals with a few years of experience in the industry. Others are undergrads from different universities. So it is a combination of undergraduates and professionals from all over India.
This could really see some improvement.
Honestly, the community members are interacting with each other, but we don’t get much support from the instructors yet.
Doubts are posted on their forums but they take too much time to get resolved or even get a response.
Some of the students are still stuck with their assignments.
The response that we get from their side is that they have created a course like this for the first time and the instructors are often busy with some other work.
Well I understand, but students do expect their doubts to get resolved. If there is no mentoring, how are they going to learn?
Plus, if we don’t submit our assignments, we don’t proceed to the next day’s content. This makes students lag behind in the course.
Even though the students have lifetime access, think of a scenario like this — if you are in a cohort and all others except you are moving forward in the course, how would you feel? So realtime doubt resolution is something that they should definitely focus on. They should have a Slack(highly preferred) or a Discord group.
Update(21/09/2022/) — The Ajnalens team now has a Discord group for the students of the course. But you can’t expect every doubt to get cleared via text. There has to be video calls or one to one mentor support🤷♂️
Update(1/04/2023) — The team just introduced live doubt sessions with mentors every week. Basically, the students can post their doubts and then the course instructors show the solutions on a live video call. All announcements regarding these live video calls are provided via their Discord Channel.
The major selling point
One of the biggest reasons why I enrolled in this course was that I will get an AR/VR headset that the Ajnalens team made themselves.
The headset’s cost will be pretty high (exact figure withheld to maintain confidentiality) but all the students who enrolled in the course will get it for FREE. Being an AR/VR enthusiast, I was sold on this point. Even though I could learn Unreal Engine from cheap courses on Udemy and Skillshare, I wouldn’t get this headset. I want to experiment around with it.
FYI — I haven’t received the headset yet because I was told at the time of enrollment that I will receive it in January or February 2023. This is because they haven’t launched the headset publicly yet. They are going to do the public launch in the CES 2023 event.
Update (6th January 2023) — I got to know now that the headset will only be available to those who complete level 5. So that means you can only get the headset when you complete level 5. Also there are 2 headsets — AjnaXR and AjnaXR Enterprise. You will get the former one i.e AjnaXR. Make sure you do a thorough comparison between the two and then take a wise decision
The rest of the details you can find on their website. They also have flexible payment options.
If you have any other queries, you can discuss more with their experts or leave a comment on this article and I will try my best to answer.
Do you recommend this course?
It is your decision! There is no coding involved. It is very different from Software Engineering. So please don’t think that just because you are an amazing programmer, the course will be easy for you. It doesn’t work that way. Programming is more about solving problems whereas this has more of an artistic approach, being creative and how well you can present things in 3D.
The course content is excellent but it’s NOT worth $1000. The headset along with the course is worth $1000. This is with respect to the Indian audience in mind.
Update 13/10/2022 — If you have enough free time to grind and complete this course, go ahead but remember that you will face issues with Unreal Engine. You might even have to pull off all nighters every month. It doesn’t take just “2 hours” per day to complete the course. It can definitely take much more than that. Think of the number of issues you will face during the course. Then you have to describe that issue (in detail) so that the doubt support team understands the problem that you are facing.
Update 24/02/2023 — Here is a poll👇
This poll was public.
So anyone from any company could have voted.
When I went through some of the people who voted “Yes. Definitely!”, I realized they belong to one company.
Who do you think would have asked their friends and families to vote “Yes. Definitely!”?🙂
Can you recommend me any free alternative?
Sure. Here is a full Unreal Engine Course by FreeCodeCamp on YouTube 👇
What does the Global XR Community have to say about it?
Professor Bob Stone is well known in the XR space globally. Read what he said👇
Prof Bob Stone on LinkedIn: Home | Ajna Creator Program
Why prepare for boring jobs when you can learn to build a Metaverse and get a job starting with high paying jobs? A…
What is the price of the course?
I enrolled in August 2022. At that time the price was around ₹60,000+.
Now they have 3 different packages. The pricing and the offerings are all mentioned in their website 👇
Metaverse Creation Course | Start Your Career in Metaverse | AjnaLens
Introducing Ajna Creator Program is India's first XR content creation program that provides hands-on learning of all…
I liked the course content but NOT the course policies.
Additionally, I faced certain other problems —
- The videos are quite long. They could have trimmed down the length of the videos.
- Unreal needs a high-configuration computer. Otherwise, it is bound to lag and becomes frustrating to work with. The Ajnalens team said that they will launch some kind of virtual workstation. I enrolled in August 2022 but I still haven’t got access to that virtual workstation. They are still “working on it”.
- I thought (like most other students) that I will get the headset in the 6th month i.e (January 2023). I was wrong because I can only get the headset if I reach Level 5 of the course. I am still in Level 3 as I hardly get time to do the course.
Overall, if I could go back in time, I wouldn’t pay for this course.
That’s all that I can say.