Demo Reel and Portfolio Tips from Game Industry Professionals
Over on Digital-Tutors we have a great resource for creating your demo reel or portfolio, but there's always some industry-extras you can add to help you step into your first job or successfully move on to a new opportunity.
Today, we are taking a look at what you can do to get your work noticed in the game dev industry. Learn from the professionals as they share secrets to help showcase your work and leave a last impression with a potential employer.
Antony Ward, Freelance Graphic Artist, Animator and Digital Tutor
(Over 20 years of experience creating games, including: Sonic & Sega All-Stars Racing Transformed, Strangers Wrath HD, Superman Shadow of Apokolips. Courses including: Creating a Transformable Flying Car in Maya and Silo, Real-Time Vehicle Creation in Maya and Silo, Creating a Low Poly Game Character in Maya and Silo, Aircraft Modeling and Texturing Techniques in Maya and Silo)
+ Show the Progress of Your Work
Final renders are great, but they can be misleading and also used to hide any errors beneath the surface. As well as your work needing to look great, it also has to be built the correct and most economical way. Something an employer will want to see. Adding a second wireframe image can help you to demonstrate your grasp of the perfect game topology and I can guarantee this is something you will be asked about in an interview.
+ Take the Time to Pose Your Creation
A traditional t-pose render is so last decade, and let's be honest, a little boring. At this stage you want to show your character in the best possible way, so pose them. This not only improves your work visually and gives the character much more personality, but it will demonstrate to your future employer that you like to take that extra mile with your work.
+ Show Something Different.
Imagine how many portfolios the company will be looking through to fill the role you are applying for, then think about how many Lara Croft, Master Chief or Marcus Fenix type characters they will see and discard. Take a chance and move your work in a different route so your creations are more unique. This will mean they stand out and linger in their memories rather than fade away into the generic pile.
Gabe Selinger, 3D Artist at Liquid Development
(Batman: Arkham Origins, Firefall - Creating a Game-Ready Monster Insect in ZBrush and 3ds Max)
Gabe Selinger, 3D Artist at Liquid Development
(Batman: Arkham Origins, Firefall - Creating a Game-Ready Monster Insect in ZBrush and 3ds Max http://www.digitaltutors.com/tutorial/1215-Creating-a-Game-Ready-Monster-Insect-in-ZBrush-and-3ds-Max
+ Make it Easy for Them
Keep your portfolio simple, quick, straightforward, and high resolution. The individuals looking to hire you don't have a ton of time on their hands and just want to cut straight to viewing your work.
Clinton Crumpler, Environment artist at KIXEYE Game Studio
(Heavy Gear: Assault and America's Army: Proving Grounds; Creating Game-Ready Chains, Ropes, and Vines in Maya and UDK,
Real-Time Environment Materials and Textures in UDK)
+ Branding and Marketability:
With so many people looking for work within digital art, every artist needs to know how to not only make amazing artwork but also how to market themselves. Establish an identity, make a logo, and decide on a color palette that transcends your portfolio, your business cards, your demo reel, and everything you put online. Brand yourself and make your work easily recognizable at a glance. When someone sees artwork online and immediately recognizes the artist based on the work and the presentation, there is real power in that.
+ Get Exposure
Get as much exposure as you can as a artist. Post on forums, post on YouTube, post on Vimeo, post on whatever site will allow you to publicly display your work. It not only gives you the opportunity for feedback but also makes your work more recognizable an more popular as an artist. Google yourself and see how you come up. Make it so if anyone Googles you they immediately can find you and the work you want to be seen.
+ Less is Often Better
Often you want to show off all the work you have collected and done within the last couple years and show your wide array of abilities. Often times this seems like a good idea but actually fights against you. You are only as good as your worst piece in your portfolio. Less work is OK if the quality is high. Making a more concise and smaller portfolio will allow employers to see your potential quickly and efficiently and no one is going to say "wow this person has no work" as long as the work they see is great!
Keep practicing and learn new skills and keep learning to help you get to the next level.
You can also take advantage of our free PDF guide full of tips to make your demo reel come to life: