Tips for Creating an Amazing portfolio
I didnt really know where to put this so Im going to put it here.
Be wary of his (the article's author) advice. He has never been employed to a creative role nor been in the position to hire someone else. That screams "blind leading the blind" to me.
Its actually a lot of advice I have heard from others. Ive also read alot of books on making portfolio's I just put it in my own words.... Just trying to help :(
Heres my quote in the first paragraph:
"So after reading many articles and a couple of books I have compiled a list of what I think to be the best tips for creating an amazing portfolio that will stand out from the competition."
I will post my references as soon as I get home
Oh, its yours... hmm this is awkward.
The advice is valid but your credentials don't put you in a position where you can judge what advice will make someone's portfolio stand out considering you have never been in that position to make that decision.
The advice you give is high level and doesn't detail what employers want to see in a portfolio. For example, a character animation portfolio piece would be accompanied by supplement detail on how it was constructed such as screenshots of the rig, texture layouts and model complexity (wireframe renders). Maybe even concept drawings,
One thing to avoid in portfolios are cliches. In my experience, nothing turns off a viewer then seeing another 'generic space marine' or 'space fighter'. Be as original as you can and emphasise work that you have done in your own time over coursework done in education (only if it is the same level of polish).
"The advice is valid but your credentials don't put you in a position where you can judge what advice will make someone's portfolio stand out considering you have never been in that position to make that decision."
I know that I have never been in the position to look at employee portfolio's but there are certain things I do know that will make everyone's portfolio better. I just went through a portfolio class and it motivated me to right this article on what Ive seen a lot of people do wrong or right.
"The advice you give is high level and doesn't detail what employers want to see in a portfolio. For example, a character animation portfolio piece would be accompanied by supplement detail on how it was constructed such as screenshots of the rig, texture layouts and model complexity (wireframe renders). Maybe even concept drawings,"
"One thing to avoid in portfolios are cliches. In my experience, nothing turns off a viewer then seeing another 'generic space marine' or 'space fighter'. Be as original as you can and emphasise work that you have done in your own time over coursework done in education (only if it is the same level of polish)."
Yes!! I will add something about that to my tips :)
The article is generic, it wasnt just for 3d, although some of the examples are 3d. A lot of it I read and I was like hmm.... I remember my teachers talking about that.
Thanks for the Crit :) it was very helpful. I wasnt trying to sound like I new everything. Just wanted to help out some of the people working on portfolio's like I am now.
Actually that's a bit of a misconception. When applying for a job (entry level for most people here) you want to show them the plain old things. This goes doubly for modelers. No robots or space aliens or sci-fi buildings. Instead make things that you would see every day but make them awesome. A few examples would be:
couch, table with dishes, pool table, trash can, wooden crate(you know how many of theses are needed for games!) Lamps, Toasters, Cell phones. Just model them and texture them to the tee. Specular, normals, bumps, diffuse, reflection and ray tracing. Use a skylight to light everything and make it look as real as possible.
They want to see these things because that's what an entry level modeler will be doing. It's great if you can create a transformer that has all it's parts fit perfectly together but both a transformers game and the Sims are likely to have a table in it somewhere. And somehow I don't think a company will trust a junior modeler to model Optimus Prime right off the line.
A general rule of thumb is to customize your portfolio for each job. IF your going to be doing 2d pixel art don't show off vast landscapes you created. If your applying to a company that focuses on racing games show them car models. (Pseudo interactive comes to mind)
Animators have it easy i terms of what to do. create a short 5-10 min Demo reel and show it around. This should include some sort of combat, interaction, walk/run cycles transition techniques and you can blend it into some video captured Maya work to show the technical side as well.
I thought demo's were only supposed to be around 3 minutes? Is this a common misconception or is it just me?:eek: LoL
my Demo is only going to be 4 minutes
You are right, entry level modellers may need to do a lot of basic props while they are learning the ropes but when you hire them, you want to know they are capable of so much more. A portfolio of chairs and tables, regardless of how well they are rendered doesn't show this.
Put your name on everything.
6 years ago I was Digital Layout (Pre-Vis) team lead at Stardust Entertainment GmbH in Germany. As part of that I was tasked with doing the 'first pass' reviews of applications & show reels. Stardust was not a games company, rather a TV animation company, doing their own Intellectual Property 3D cartoon animation series, plus occasional music videos.
So, my top tips, having sat through several hundred reels and printed submissions:
1. Put your name on *everything*.
Items might get separated and passed to others for comment and depending how big the company is, that might take a few weeks and be in a different building or even half way around the world, and if it turns out that one particular picture is what gets you the job offer, we'd better be able to contact you based purely on the info on that printout. So name and contact info on everything please. We had one decent submission that had no contact info at all. Not even the sender's name... No possible way to contact them. Which was sad because they'd gone to all the effort of finding us, assembling a pretty decent package, and posting to to us...
2. In a reel, put your best stuff first.
I know, the advice is always to put only your very best on a reel or portfolio and that's true, but even among your best, you have to choose the order to put the various sequences. Impress me with what I see first and I'll be inclined to give you the benefit of the doubt if there's any shaky material later on.
3. You don't have to have done everything in a shot - but you do have to tell us what you did.
Especially if you have professional experience behind you, you'll likely have been part of a team. An admittedly extreme example now, but if you worked on Lord of the Rings then probably over 100 people contributed to a shot for which you provided say, a chain mail texture on that middle distance Orc. Have a separate sheet that we can read while watching your reel that says what element of a given shot or sequence you did. Modelling, Animation, Textures, Lighting, Rigging, whatever your contribution was. If you did it all then that's cool too, but be clear about it. It does not diminish you to say that on a spectacularly animated, beautifully lit shot, you just built the geometry of the gun, animated a motion blur in post-production or whatever your contribution was. On the contrary, that experience of working within a team, either in a professional, educational or private project context is good to have. Moreover, most places aren't looking for arrogant primadonnas. That you have the class to acknowledge the contributions of the others on your team will speak well of you. It's more than just about the work you show, it's also about what kind of person you're going to be to have working with us.
4. Copyright acknowledgement notices.
Suppose you were working on a published game and have permission to use images for your portfolio. Put the company logo and copyright symbol on the picture. It speaks to your professionalism to acknowledge such things, it may even be a condition of useage, and it makes your work even more impressive.
4a. Aside to my point 4 above - you may not get it, but when you get a job contract - ask to have a clause in there granting you permission to use images for your portfolio. Nothing is forever, teams and companies dissolve and the chances are that 10 years from now you'll probably be working in another company. So make sure up front that you can use images with permission, for your portfolio. If nothing else it's nice to show your family & friends what you've working on. A proviso might of course be that you can only use images after a title is published, or is cancelled.
5. This is going to be a little counter to what HagNasty said about tailoring your portfolio. Yes, tailor it, but if you're applying for a racing game, and have some racing car stuff to show, you don't have to chop out all the other cool stuff. Show that you've got wider talents and yes, that can include pencil sketches - but only if they're good of course. You never know, the place you're applying to may be publicly hiring for a car racing game this month, but internally they're planning another title to follow on and hey, your underwater seascapes and submarines may be just what they're looking for...
6. Process matters.
Finished rendered imagery is nice, but seeing a progression from pencil sketches, through prototypes, through wireframes, lit, render passes and the final composite, it's all interesting stuff and it demonstrates your wider knowledge.
7. Put your name on everything.
Maybe I said that already. Put your name on everything !
>> Dave Sattar <<
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