Onegai shimasu (おねがい します) 🙇
I recently finished an assessment on Lighting and Compositing with the Game Art students. Normally, the assessment calls for using Nuke to compositing the render passes. My VFX students did this, however I know that game artist will never use Nuke in the industry. So I changed it up for the Game Art students to use Photoshop instead for the final compositing. Without them knowing it, I taught them how to build textures using layers. It's the same as compositing an image, with minor differences. One of the things I told them is that the more they know Photoshop the better, and more valuable, they will be as an industry artist. What all industry artists MUST understand is that the more they can apply the basics the less they will rely on specific apps to do certain jobs. In their case I don't want them relying on Substance as a crutch. Because there WILL come a day when they won't have Substance available and they will have to create textures.
The more an artist knows about basic techniques the better an artist he/she will be and the less reliant they will be on apps to do one job. And the better they will be at using that app, like Substance. For artists I'm talking about using layers, basic design principles, color theory, understanding how light works, composition, etc. I have a friend who is a traditional oil painter and his photoshop paintings look just like his oil paintings. Quite astounding. He can achieve this because he knows the principals of traditional painting and can apply them to photoshop. As a photographer I have a deep understanding of how light and shadows work together. That knowledge transfer easily to 3D.
When I was in college I was trained in the Classic art styles, as an abstract artist, a graphic designer, and photographer. I also took art history and psychology. All of this taught me how to view the world through a critical eye and provided an insight into how people perceive art. Only towards the end of my schooling did I start to learn 3D (on SGI machines using Softimage). I was able to apply everything I learned to the new tech that was being implemented in the industry. All of my high-end tech skills I learned on the job (there was no school for video games at the time).
If you already took higher-ed art classes then you'll have an advantage. However, you can still learn the basics at home, on the internet. There is no end to tutorials and learning materials. You have to go that extra mile, though. And practice. Every day. Even if it's a small thing just to keep you sharp. It's the small things that will give you the edge over everyone else.