Artist portfolio questions

I have a set of questions that I will be sending out to Art Directors, Creative Directors, Lead Artists etc in the local games industry, so those who are building a portfolio have some good advice and tips. These are the questions I will be sending out - if there are any questions you want answered, let me know in this thread and I will add it to the list. I'll be sending this off at the end of the week... Questions should be 3d modeller and concept art related..

Slight introduction about yourself.
What is your preferred way of receiving a portfolio? CD, Video, Website?
What do you NOT want to see in a portfolio?
What kind of skillsets do you like seeing in a portfolio?
What sets apart a good portfolio to one that you'd toss to the side?
What are the common mistakes that applicants make in their portfolios that you have seen?
What is the general opinion of the standard of work sent in from applicants? What areas do you think need general improvement?
What tips can you give for applicants?

souri's picture

I guess I have it all covered then.. [;)]

Fluffy CatFood's picture

Does the material have to be 100% original? ( will a nice looking Batman model be acceptable? )

souri's picture

Just a note to say that I haven't forgotten about this. I've just sent off a tonne of emails to a lot of local developers, so hopefully I can compile a really nice guide for aspiring local game artists!

unknownuser1's picture

. If applying for a game development studio, is high poly work acceptable to submit? or just low poly?
. Most studios say VHS tapes. No CDs. Is a video DVD acceptable? ie. a properly authored DVD that can be played on a set top box.

Other than that, I think you have everything covered :)

J I Styles's picture

it's very rare to find an australian company that does VHS - only Europe and some backwards studios in the US still request vhs

unknownuser1's picture

Blizzard say to only submit VHS for demo reels. That is their cinematic department though. I would like to know if this is a comfort reason (chill out on a big couch watching someones reel), or a jogging issue (instant ff/rew).

Jeremiah's picture

Cant wait to see the results, I was thinking of this a few weeks ago, and was going to to do it myself.Doing it this way will likely get more responses then if one person was just doing it for themselves. Its a great idea and will help out so much its not funny. With this information you can take out a lot of the guessing involved. I would love to see what the indusrty thinks of concepts artists/3d animators having higher education behind them ie...

Do they only employ people with a University Degree, or can someone with a diploma, or self taught with a great portfolio have an equal chance as the person with a University degree?

Whats there prefered software, Ie, Photoshop or Corel, Maya, Max, or Lightwave etc...

unknownuser1's picture

I'm pretty sure that if you hand over an absolutely amasing reel that makes them sit back with their mouth open and say absolutely nothing. You will have a job. They won't not give you a job just because you don't have a printed little piece of paper. Anyone can study, but not everyone can create absolutely brilliant work. Don't worry if you don't have any certs behind you. Just work on your art :)

souri's picture

I have some answers back already, and there's some real eye opener stuff. I'm sure once the article is up, it'll be *essential* reading for new artists who want to work in the local industry, especially art students from places like the AIE and Qantm. I wouldn't be surprised if they overlook and improve their course in some way from the insights revealed from the article. They'd be silly not to.

What software local developers prefer would have been a good question to include, but as you might have gathered, I've sent the questions out already.

I think it'd be very beneficial if we have a similar article for programmers sometime down the track.

Blitz's picture

Too true. Personally i think AIE could improve their coding side of things in a number of areas, hopefully they will improve next year! These courses are still very new (1-3 years old) so it's only natural that they still need to evolve in a number of areas. I'm sure it will still be a few years before industry looks at AIE and QANTM as THE place to pinch new coders from :)
CYer, Blitz

Jacana's picture

You went into second year Blitz! What coding side? They don't teach you anything in second year ;)

Blitz's picture

Thats part of the problem. At this stage they don't seem to teach enough in the first year of the course to just leave the students to their own devices in second year. The experience/knowledge of software design and management is just not there.
CYer, Blitz

Malus's picture

A few guys I work with were 'pinched' from qantm after a one year coding course, if they were skilled enough in 1 year imagine how good they'll be in 5. Its not so much the time its what you acheive in that time, I guess some people are just more attuned to code than others.

kit's picture

Hi this sounds really interesting! :)
Has this gone up in the Articles section?
I had a look but couldn't find anything...

souri's picture

It's not up yet, I'm still waiting on answers from a few people. The creative director of Auran is overseas but I should be getting something from them soon, and it's pretty hard getting any responses from Rat Bag and Micro Forte (going through their press email address). I should be getting responses from Blue Tongue and Atari Melbourne House, and the rest I will have to follow up. I have answers from Irrational Games, Torus, Sidhe etc which have been incredible to read..

JonathanKerr's picture

Now you're just torturing me. How about providing a snippet or excerpt of the interviews?

Brain's picture

Yes!! I'm salivating here Souri. PWEEEEEEEEEASE! @:-D

Me109's picture

It should be good to see the varied views of games industry professionals posted soon. I think getting into the industry has to be one of the most interesting and sometimes most difficult thing to do. I know when I look at portfolios that come across my path, i see alot of talent and skilled prospective employees, normally the portfolios concentrate on the strengths of an individual, this can make it difficult to judge one person from another. I always like to look at the lesser skills of an individual to base a decision, this give me insight into what motivates a person, and can make the difference. With the size of alot of companys theres a great need for transportable skill sets, the need to know modelling, texturing and some code can be really important, and enables for you can get a multi role postiton, or more to the point to interact with everyone in a company. Interpersonal skills is obviously the largest contributing factor to scoring a job at an interview level, and if you make it that far, do make an effort to iterate your work ethic, and abilities to relate and foster good working relationships, this kinda of attitude will make the difference when it comes to selectiing someone from a short list.
for all you artists out there, I feel that there is a need for more skilled photoshop / texture artists.. it is the most lacking thing I see when looking at peoples work, who often concentrate purely on modelling... this isnt enough! at the end of the day its the work of the texture artist that can make a crap model a bloody excellent one. And remember don't give up trying, dedication to landing a job is the only way to get one, and be confident! anyhow my rant ends here.
cheers

MoonUnit's picture

insightfull, what company do you come from?

tbag's picture

quote:


Originally posted by Souri

It's not up yet, I'm still waiting on answers from a few people. The creative director of Auran is overseas but I should be getting something from them soon, and it's pretty hard getting any responses from Rat Bag and Micro Forte (going through their press email address). I should be getting responses from Blue Tongue and Atari Melbourne House, and the rest I will have to follow up. I have answers from Irrational Games, Torus, Sidhe etc which have been incredible to read..

The Micro Forte crew always seemed to answer my emails and one of the guys who works there was kind enough to write me an article on how to get into the games industry [:)]. I cant remember exactly who but i would probably need permission from him to distribute it. I found it helpful, im not sure what others will think, but i'll try too get permission to give it too Souri then he can upload it too Sumea [;)].

souri's picture

Just an update with how this is going, I'm just waiting for about 4 more responses. I have answers from about 6 creative directors already - more than enough to put up really, but I think the article will be more rounded with the final 4 (some who were away on holidays and are probably getting back around about now)..

tbag's picture

quote:


Originally posted by Souri

Just an update with how this is going, I'm just waiting for about 4 more responses. I have answers from about 6 creative directors already - more than enough to put up really, but I think the article will be more rounded with the final 4 (some who were away on holidays and are probably getting back around about now)..

/me giggles like a schoolgirl [;)].

Me109's picture

Hi.. I thought I might post some notes I wrote on getting employment in the games industry. I compiled this essay for a talk I gave a bunch of students from Hong Kong City University, it was well received so I thought someone out there would like read it also.

http://kubrick.cdes.qut.edu.au/~n4675215/misc/employgames.rtf

Its an interesting read and covers a little history and the creative industrys.. so enjoy!

supagu's picture

quote:


Originally posted by Souri
I think it'd be very beneficial if we have a similar article for programmers sometime down the track.

how about now? souri, keep them emails of local developers, or send the list to me, and ill start a new thread...

souri's picture

The email addresses I have are for the creative directors, and it's probably not a good idea if I pass their email addresses around. Get that programmer question thread happening and I'll see on sending the questions.

An update on the artist portfolio questions, at this point I have replies from Irrational Games, Torus Games, Sidhe Interactive, Halfbrick Studios, Discreet, THQ Studio Australia, and Micro Forte. Plus I have some old forum posts that I'll put in the article from Brad Wlech at Pandemic, and Steve Wang from Micro Forte. Blue Tongue's creative director is on holidays, but I know the questions have been passed on to the creative directors over at Atari Melbourne House, Krome Studios, and Auran, so I'm hoping to get the answers from them soon!

spacecaptsteve's picture

I hope to get mine reply in any day now.

souri's picture

Thanks Steve! I know all you Creative Directors are busy people who aren't sitting around waiting for things to do, so I'm sure everyone appreciates your time in doing this for us!

MoonUnit's picture

lol talk about suspence, youve got me hyped up here!!

Alti's picture

dam this thread is in my faves because i want to read this list as soon as possible.

tbag's picture

I just want too know what they DONT want too see in a portfolio.