Before you begin as a 3D Artist, I strongly urge you to buy Modeling a Character in 3DS Max by Paul Steed, even if you use Maya or Lightwave or anything else. This book will cover many terms and explain the why’s and how’s of game content creation. I have a copy and I always keep it near by as reference.
If you are doing a web based presentation, which is recommended, here are some things you may want to show:
Show wireframes of your 3D model and try to show them as shaded with wireframe. Just showing a jumbled mass of wireframes is too confusing and it’s hard to tell how the “flow” of geometry works. This shows your employer that you have a good understanding of how to model complex shapes with a proper amount of polygons.
Always show the front, side, back and ¾ view of your model if possible.
If your model is textured, show the model textured. If you did not do the texture, make 100% sure that you give credit where credit is due.
Modeled by Samuel Crowe in Max.
If the model is animated, have a downloadable movie of the model animated. Again, make 100% sure that you give credit where credit is due.
Show any concept art that you have created. It’s very good if you can show that you drew the concept art and created a model based on your own concept art. If your concept art isn’t that great, you can make up for it with a kick butt model.
If you have a friend who is an animator, have him or her animate some of your models. This shows that you can “model for animation.” Make sure to give credit where credit is due.
Show a variety of models, including:
- Characters: heroic, evil bad guy, generic, male, female, cartoony
- Ambient models: trees, bushes, couch, chair, desk, TV
- Use your imagination—if you’ve seen it in a game, try to model it.
Show a variety of polycounts. With today’s game engines and hardware, it is possible to push around a great deal of polygons on screen at one time. So it would be a good idea to show that you can work within the restrictions of a low polygon budget as well as a high polygon budget. There is still a need for very low polygon characters in games, either as background characters or LODs (level of detail). Yes, some engines calculate LOD for you, but in some cases, you will be called upon to create these manually.
Show that you are capable of Mapping (UV mapping) your model. Some companies have their 3D artist do the mapping and then hand it off to the texture artist.
And remember: it’s quality, not quantity.