I'm getting into motion graphics and a bit of compositing. I have a ton of fun doing it but would like to be on the cutting edge and increase my knowledge base. There is a gentleman I work with who uses the smoke system. I have taken on Apple Motion and have learned a lot. Motion is powerful but does anyone have suggestions on steps I should take to increase my knowledge base so I can begin entry into the more advanced compositing and FX industry (name a few programs), that is where my heart and "niche" is at and would appreciate any help on where to start from you guys.
If you want to learn the Smoke, I would suggest taking classes directly from Autodesk. I took their classes, and I learned far more then I would have if I just did the tutorials on my own. You could also pick up a copy of combustion, that will help you get familiar with Autodesk's line of compositing products.
If you are not married to the idea of working on a Smoke or Flame, you could also learn a program like Nuke or After Effects. I know you can get a demo version of Nuke, and they have lots of tutorials on their website. If you want something you can play around with everyday, I would recommend going the free Nuke route for now. FYI ILM bought a site license of Nuke, so it is something that big companies are using in their workflow. At least for features and such.