Advice on landing a job

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  10 October 2012
Advice on landing a job

Hey guys,

I wanted to get your advice on how to break into the industry as a junior artist. I have been out of school nearly 2 years now and still haven't been able to land a position anywhere. I've had 1 part time gig (lasted 3 days with very low pay) and 1 remote internship (no pay) and that's it. Needless to say this has been very depressing and leaves me questioning every decision I make. I believe that the work I have is good but no one seems to want to give me a shot. I'm pretty sure I've contacted every VFX company in the Los Angeles area as well as all of the ones in Atlanta (where I currently live) and most of the southeast. For the most part I don't get any response from the companies, and when I do it's usually just an auto response or "we're currently not hiring but will keep your info on file".

Now I will admit that I got a little lazy with creating work awhile back (had to take a job to pay bills and it mentally drained me), but I jumped back into it recently to add more content and still seem to be getting nowhere with companies. I've even been trying to learn new software and techniques to make myself more appealing, but its been hard to stay focused with the new software when my passion is modeling.

So I guess I would also like to know how you guys deal/dealt with constant rejection when you were first starting out. What are some of the things that you do to help keep yourself motivated and have a positive outlook through all of it? Also what are some of the things that you did to get your first job?

I would love to get your opinions and feedback on the topic and hopefully we can keep an open dialogue on the forum for all of the other artists looking to break into the CG/VFX industry that are dealing with the rough times.

Thanks guys,


  10 October 2012
The 3D models in your Portfolio look fine from a modeling standpoint. But why aren't you using better looking GI rendering, better shading and some post-processing for your renders?

Your porfolio images look too plain - straight renders - and could really use some physical rendering + colour correction + DOF effects.

You should expand your portfolio with more models/renders.

Have you tried looking at jobs here?
  10 October 2012
Originally Posted by DePaint: The 3D models in your Portfolio look fine from a modeling standpoint.

Yep, gotta agree here, the models look very competent. There is not a lot of them though.

I have to say my heart goes out to you. I have the feeling there are not that many positions available. Hopefully you will get better advice than mine that relates to what you really need to do. I think much of the normal work has transfered to less expensive countries so making things that can be made cheaper elsewhere puts you in a difficult position. Add to that the ease by which many models can just be bought on turbosquid and the like (also something you could do in the meantime is make stuff to sell). A couple of things that might help is a book called : getting a job in computer animation

When Ed wrote the book times were not that great for creatives either and it is full of Super pointers.

There is no shame in doing something to pay the rent. If you are serious about modeling or 3d in general try land an activity that is part time and just covers your costs and spend the rest of the time working on getting your job (enter Ed Harriss ). That also means networking and researching folios of successful artists.

Very best of luck to you.
The terminal velocity of individual particles is directly related to pink rabbits on a bank holiday.
Characters, Games, Toys
  10 October 2012
I'm going to have to respectfully disagree with the two posts above; my honest opinion is that your work isn't good enough yet. The work in your portfolio shows competence but not excellence. You don't need to be a CG god to get a job in this indusy but your work does need to be good enough to stand out from the crowd, and yours isn't quite there yet.
  10 October 2012
Originally Posted by leigh: I'm going to have to respectfully disagree with the two posts above; my honest opinion is that your work isn't good enough yet.

I think that his portfolio needs another 8 - 10 3D models that are more interesting/intricate than smooth iPhone models and such.

Also, he needs to invest some time into more polished looking physical/photoreal GI rendering with better lighting/shading.

For his style of modeling, which is industrial-design oriented, I would recommend that he learns to NURBS model in Rhino or Moment of Inspiration.
  10 October 2012
Originally Posted by DePaint: Also, he needs to invest some time into more polished looking physical/photoreal GI rendering with better lighting/shading.

That depends from his professional goal, if he aims modelling job he doesn't need some fancy renders.
Maybe those models in portfolio are OK but they are masked with poor render in which case I suggest clay renders.
  10 October 2012
Wink need to improve more

I have to agree with Leigh and DePaint here.

There is rooms for improvement.

- iphone 5 background / plane / floor should be removed and uses the same background as ipad.
- Planet. Was it mist or cloud? If cloud it has to be higher than the trees, unless the trees in on a mountain range.

and of course, everything leigh and depaint mentioned.
  10 October 2012
Originally Posted by LuckyBug: That depends from his professional goal, if he aims modelling job he doesn't need some fancy renders.

He does if he wants his portfolio to be over and above everyone elses. Why wouldn't you do everything you can to make your portfolio look the best it possibly can?
  10 October 2012
Because modelling department usually don't care about his rendering skills, and vice versa. I know the guys who got some best modeling jobs in the industry with just clay renders, or some very basic setups.
BTW I don't have problem when the whole package is amazing ( model plus render ), but if render is really bad, imho you should skip that part until you are really good, or you can pay someone to do that for you, because I feel that bad render will be counterproductive.

Last edited by LuckyBug : 10 October 2012 at 02:19 PM.
  10 October 2012
Yeah, I don't think flames have to shoot from your fingertips exactly Even the 'King of Lightwave' earned a living at 3d for a time! On the other side maybe you might also want to check out exploring less ordinary subject matter as well as taking a look at sculpting software to throw some more organic forms into your mix.

Always always always remember to have fun and it will shine through in your work.
The terminal velocity of individual particles is directly related to pink rabbits on a bank holiday.
Characters, Games, Toys
  10 October 2012
Definitely need more variety and models that can't just as easily be purchased online. You probably need to become a generalist if you want to work in Atlanta or anywhere on the east coast. Try some organic models as well.

ART BUYER/Creative Director perspective;
I scout and develop creatives for my group and have been doing so since 1997 and at various jobs. When I look at a recent college grad portfolio or rookies, I expect to see more as well and if someone expects a "chance" to break in, I expect them to show why I should risk my decision to say yes and convince my employer to spend the money. The only thing that sucks more than searching for talent, is getting rid of them if they can't cut it.

Keep developing your portfolio. I'm a little surprised it's not fuller. I was under the impression that universities guided students on what to show to be more marketable. I was fortunate in my early career to receive harsh critiques and portfolio advice from industry leaders.

Don't get depressed and definitely get a thick skin, hunker down and build a portfolio with depth and shows brilliance. Remember that this is a talent based business, you dont have to be the best, but it is every bit as hard as any other other talent based business (arts, entertainment, pro sports, etc).

Last edited by XLNT-3d : 10 October 2012 at 03:11 PM.
  10 October 2012
I'm actually in the same boat as you. I'm a modeler that graduated 2 years ago and I still struggle to find work sometimes. Here's my 2 cents:

I think location could be an issue. If you contact a LA studio and they see that you live in Atlanta, they will just move on to the next person. There's already tons of talent in LA, why would they bring you in? Try to focus on those Atlanta studios and try to get in touch with their producers. Call, email, do whatever you can.

Expand your Skills
Its tough to get by in the 3d/VFX industry as just a modeler. I've worked at plenty of studios where lighters did most of the modeling. Making iphones and ipads is not hard. Those kinds of models can also be bought at turbosquid. Try to improve at some core VFX disciplines like surfacing, lighting, or compositing to up your value.

Become a CG God
15 years ago, your portfolio could have gotten you into ILM. Today? Not so much. That's because the market is being saturated with competition. To rise above the competition you must challenge yourself to model stuff that few would attempt and even fewer would finish. You seem to like hard-surface modeling, why not look for a really cool concept of a vehicle from CGHUB and try to model that? how bout this CGsociety competition winner?

It'll get you more attention than an Ipod
"You do modeling? ...but you're too ugly."
  10 October 2012
Thank you everyone for taking a look at my work and giving me honest critiques and feedback. I'm still working on getting more stuff modeled and rendered, so I'll definitely keep posting updates so I can continue to get your critiques and make my portfolio better.

@DePaint - I never really learned and lighting or rendering when I was in school so I'm just now getting into it. Starting to do more Image-based Lighting with Final Gather, just don't know all of the best settings. Also going to be setting up Render Layers and Render Passes from now on to work on getting better results through post-processing.

@fablefox - yeah I got that iPhone critique the other day just haven't gone back to fix it yet, been trying to push forward with a few new models. As for the Planet, I was trying to stylize it a bit and make it seem like the trees were abnormally large, but I guess it didn't work

@XLNT-3d - I never made it to any Portfolio classes when I was in school. Spent 2 years at Art Institute before realizing I wasn't getting the skills and training that I needed and paid for (Sorry to everyone if I just opened up a huge can of worms with that statement). Then went to Gnomon as a Professional Studies student which means you pick the classes you want to take and I tried to focus my efforts on improving my modeling skills. I guess in hindsight I should have diversified my class load a little more to pick up other skills.

@razorbjc - Yeah I have always known my location was gonna be an issue. Even moved out to LA last year for 6 months with no luck. Also been telling those LA companies I reach out to that I'll move on my own dime wherever I'm needed. As for the hard-surface stuff, yeah I definitely love doing that, especially vehicles. but as you know sometimes these complex models can take a bit of time to finish, and since I need to get more stuff posted I figured I would give myself some "tiny victories" but choosing small stuff that might only take a few days to finish as opposed to spending 1-2 weeks per model. I am planning on creating a scene with a lot of the smaller stuff though, once I get a few more things finished it might turn out pretty good once I put them all together.

Again thanks for the honesty. I know there are a lot of people out there who can't really take constructive criticism but I appreciate it. Definitely gives me a better reason as to why I'm not getting responses from places.
  10 October 2012
I think Atlanta might be a tough market for someone who is only trying to model. You may be able to get freelance gigs here and there though. You really have to stand out from the crowd if you ONLY want to do modelling. If you can do 3d animation, motion graphics and also model, then your chances of being useful to a studio is much greater, at least here in Atlanta. There's more opportunities for motion graphics artists and designers I think.

BTW, I'm at a studio in Atlanta and I've been starting to look around to hire someone, but I need a 3D Generalist - someone who can animate, design and composite. We're a small studio and a modelling specialist just isn't what we really need. I don't know if this is the case with other studios, but thought the insight might be useful.

Another BTW, you haven't applied to our studio, so maybe you have missed other studios in Atlanta too. Just thought I'd mention that. Really try to search out every single studio here and apply.
  10 October 2012
Overall you need to get some pieces in there that stand out. Here are portfolios from two friends that recently graduated from my school. They both have been landing jobs. Hopefully this will help.

Last edited by narenn : 10 October 2012 at 06:27 PM.
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