Looking for pointers on creating a portfolio

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Old 02 February 2013   #1
Looking for pointers on creating a portfolio

Hi!

Im trying to put together a portfolio for CG modeling / rendering. I am note a pro and have never had a job specifically as a 3D artist. Ive not done any large projects myself and I am pretty much starting out. Since creating work for a portfolio is time consuming I have a few questions I hope to get answered to save myself time and trouble.

- What kind of work should I focus on? What does employers look for and what impresses? This is off hard to answer since it depends on the job. But I am aiming at "general" work with 3DCG, rendering still images and simple animations for commercial etc.

- How much time/effort should I spend on each project for my portfolio? The projects Ive been working on myself usually just ends up in a dead end since I tend to be overly ambitious and set my goals sky high - eventually I will loose interest in the project and start something new.

- Are there "quick and dirty" ways to put together a portfolio that impresses w/o me having to spend more time than I have (I have work during daytime, so its evenings and weekends I can use for this).

- Examples on good portfolios for "general" 3D CG might help if you have any to share
 
Old 02 February 2013   #2
Hej, všlkommen! I guess what stands out to me in your post is this:

Originally Posted by stormfrog: Ive not done any large projects myself and I am pretty much starting out.


If you're just starting out, don't you think it's perhaps a little too soon to be worrying about putting together a portfolio? Most people are working in 3D for quite a while before they are ready to start thinking about doing it professionally. Perhaps if you posted a few shots of things you've done so far, it'd help people to gauge your current level and give you more specific advice.

At any rate, I'll have a go at your other questions...

- What kind of work should I focus on? What does employers look for and what impresses? This is off hard to answer since it depends on the job. But I am aiming at "general" work with 3DCG, rendering still images and simple animations for commercial etc.


To demonstrate a good generalist skillset, simply put together a few projects that show off modelling, texturing, lighting, animation and possibly also some compositing. If you're unsure of actual subject matter, try to cover a relatively broad spectrum; ie put together a few different environment pieces (showing indoor and outdoor environments), and one or two character pieces. Employers want to see you demonstrate your ability to create something from start to finish, so make sure all the pieces are of a consistently high quality.

- How much time/effort should I spend on each project for my portfolio? The projects Ive been working on myself usually just ends up in a dead end since I tend to be overly ambitious and set my goals sky high - eventually I will loose interest in the project and start something new.


You spend as much time and effort as it takes to get things looking as good as you can. Being overly-ambitious is a problem faced by probably almost everyone when starting out, which is another reason why I feel concerned that you may not actually be ready to be looking for professional work.

Remember that when you're working for an employer, you don't have the luxury of getting bored and simply dropping whatever you're doing - you have to get the job done regardless of whether you like it or not. So you need to get used to finishing what you start.

- Are there "quick and dirty" ways to put together a portfolio that impresses w/o me having to spend more time than I have (I have work during daytime, so its evenings and weekends I can use for this).


No.
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Old 02 February 2013   #3
Originally Posted by leigh: Hej, všlkommen!


Thanks! (You know Swedish?! :-) )

I agree my post wasn't very specific so I understand its hard to give any specific advice. Your answers are valuable. Its true that I should have a couple of completed projects to stand on before starting to marketing myself and apply for jobs. Ive been a dabbler at 3D since I used PovRay for the first time like ages ago, since then Ive been trying my hand at Truespace, Blender, Lightwave, 3DS, Cinema 4D and lately Maya which is what I prefer to work with now. And yes, I have a lot of ambition but lack the commitment so maybe thats where I should start.

Last project I did was trying to render a landscape photo I shot. It ended up damn near impossible, nature is a lot more complex than what meets the eye at first. Ill try something simpler next time.

P.S. Well... There are quick n' dirty options, but I doubt anyone will hire someone only proficient in DAZ / Poser
 
Old 02 February 2013   #4
I speak a bit of Swedish :-) I'm not fluent but I speak enough to get by when I visit or when I'm with Swedish friends. It's kinda my favourite country in the whole world.

It certainly sounds like you've been spreading yourself a little thin, but at least it seems as if you've settled on a piece of software you finally feel comfortable with. That's a pretty important step.

Trying to tackle overly-ambitious projects is something that probably everyone does at some point, so I know exactly what you're talking about with regards to the frustration you've felt, as I've been there too. Outdoor natural environments are definitely a challenge. Start smaller; you need to challenge yourself incrementally. Set yourself smaller goals to begin with, and then you'll feel satisfied and inspired when you complete them. Once you've done that, gradually increase the scope of the challenge until you're able to actually tackle really ambitious stuff, because by that point you'll be in a better position to actually finish the really grandiose ones. Get a couple of those big ones under your belt and then you'll be ready to start putting together a kickass portfolio.

Just be patient. Nobody succeeds in art by rushing things. I understand that ambition tends to make one impatient but just take things one step at a time. Even Leonardo Da Vinci wasn't instantly a genius ;-)
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Old 02 February 2013   #5
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