Making a paint or buying canvas and stretching it for an oil painting is far easier than making an emulsion and coating it in the darkroom. But you don't have to be an engineer to do either.
The big difference is that there are a lot of sources for learning how to make the paints and stretching the canvas, but few on making and coating gelatin. In fact, Silver Gelatin is out of print and it was the only relatively current book on the subject that I know about. That delineates the current level of interest to some extent here.