We've covered a few points for digital portfolios for 3D modeling in our article "8 Tips to Boost Your Portfolio", but now we'll give some specific tips for those seeking to break into the world of art for the games industry.
Remember that for every role, there are hundreds of applicants. The key to success is to ensure that your portfolio shows off your work at its best and that it must tick all the boxes of the studio you apply to.
3D Games Art
Your 3D games art portfolio needs to show game-ready assets. Studios do not want to see just high poly sculpt renders. A qualified games art portfolio will include a handful of finished game-ready pieces.
Be sure to show the final renders of your characters, environments, or props with high-resolution images. Ensure that textures can stand out by considering the direction of lighting.
To ensure the employer knows what you are thinking, you should include a range of renders to show off what you can do. These can include:
- UV map renders: Demonstrate how well you make use of UV space.
- Texture map renders: include screenshots of all your texture maps. Doing so helps prove that you understand the workflow and use appropriate settings.
- Wireframe render: This is especially important, given that it demonstrates how well you understand muscle topology that is appropriate for animation. Include a polygon count.
- High poly renders: Demonstrate how effectively you can sculpt with your chosen software.
Use Marmoset viewer alongside your high-resolution images to demonstrate to employers what you can do. Employers want to see interesting, well-designed characters and environments that showcase your enthusiasm for the projects you have contributed towards.
The beauty of the marmoset viewer is that, while it only supports lower resolution assets, employers can freely rotate and view your creations and get a really good closer look.
Anyone can present their characters in a t-pose gesture. Consider giving your creations a little more life by ensuring their postures match their archetype; for example, a classic hero might have a straight back, chin raised. For more relaxed models, ensure the body speaks to viewers in the same way, perhaps with a more rounded posture or nonchalant gesture.
You do not need to repeatedly include massive environment scenes for those of you who specialize in creating environments. As an option, you can include just one or two full scenes as main portfolio pieces and then several smaller dioramas for the remainder of your portfolio.
In addition, include renders of some of the favorable assets from the scenes, especially if you are particularly proud of them.
Character Concept Art
Many students often get confused by the requirements for concept art portfolios. Concept work is primarily blueprints that show off the construction of a character or asset. While it does not hurt to have a few illustrations (fully rendered pieces with lighting) along with these concept pieces, your portfolio should not be JUST illustrations.
The employers will be looking at the quality of your work and how your creations can easily be interpreted as part of the game development pipeline.
Take time to consider the design of their emotions or the accessories that are essential parts of their character. Little details help bring your character to life and help the game development pipeline when 3D artists take over from you. To further aid them, include a front and rear three-quarter view, which helps understand how your character is fully developed.
Show the construction of anything associated with your characters, like weapons, hats, or armor. Doing so aids the 3D artist in constructing the character into 3D art.
The ultimate time-saver
Our final point is this. You don't need to fully paint or render any materials on your character. Instead, you can simply outline and fill with plain color while providing separate images or photographs of your reference materials. As a bonus, doing so allows you to see how well the contrast levels work on the character.