- Harrison Stanley
5 ways to stand out with your art portfolio | XR Futures
If you’re looking to land a job as an artist in the games industry, nothing is more important than your portfolio. It’s the best way to display your artistic skills and qualities, and convince potential employers that you’re worth hiring, so make sure to give it the time it deserves!
Here are five quick tips to help you put together something that shows you off in the best light.
1. Don’t make your work hard to view
When employers go to check out your portfolio, yours is probably just one in a long list of hundreds - if not thousands - of others. Because of this, it’s really important that the process of viewing and assessing your work is as smooth as possible. Usually this means uploading your work to somewhere that is both easily accessible and reliable. I highly recommend making an account on artstation and putting your work up there. When you’re competing against so many other applicants, first impressions are everything. So be sure to make your thumbnails eye-catching, and make sure the first thing anyone sees when they click on your artwork is the best thing they’ll see in that whole project.
2. Show your process Being an artist in the games industry means more than just being able to make stuff that looks nice; it means being able to produce technically sound work that can fit into a studio’s workflow. In other words, make sure your portfolio includes pieces that show the process of your creation. If you’re a concept artist, show all the different thumbnails and sketches that led to the final design. If you’re a 3D artist, show your wireframes, textures, and always include a polycount. It’s a good idea to make it clear what software you used to create your work too. Remember that employers are not only trying to judge how capable you are, they’re also trying to judge whether or not you’d be a good fit for the team. Letting your portfolio show how you work is just as important as showing how skilled you are.
3. Remember you’re judged by your best and worst pieces Having a lot of artwork on your portfolio is nice, but it’s important to make sure all the pieces included are worth viewing too. When someone views your portfolio, they often judge your ability by the best and worst things they can find on there. It’s nice to see older work and see how your abilities have grown over time, but the worst piece of work on your portfolio should still be something you’re proud of, at least to some degree.
4. Make art for the kind of jobs you want Make sure your portfolio has work that is relevant to the roles you want to apply for. If your portfolio is filled with a bunch of photorealistic artwork, you probably won't be landing many jobs for stylized projects and vice versa. Showing that you can work in a range of styles is an excellent quality to have, but it’s also important to show your strengths. A portfolio that gives you a pretty good idea of where the artist's interests lie is usually a very insightful one.
5. Presentation matters! This is a huge one! There are plenty of great artists out there that make amazing characters, props and environments, and then present them in flat, sterile ways that puts all the focus solely on the asset. This makes sense, because as an artist you’ll spend the vast majority of your time on the creation of these assets and consider it finished once it’s all textured/rendered, but this isn’t true; you aren’t done yet! The presentation of the piece is your chance to take all that work you’ve done and make it feel like more than just an asset on a portfolio - Try and showcase your work as if it actually belongs in a game. This means good lighting, interesting composition, and stylish backgrounds. Showing that you’re capable of thinking beyond just your own work and through to the end goal of the project is a great skill to display here. Remember, you aren’t just being hired to make 3D models or cool drawings, you’re being hired to contribute to a full game. Any work that shows this level of thought will quickly stand out from the rest. And that’s that! Landing that first job can be tough, especially when there’s so much competition, but keep making art that means something to you and your unique talents will shine through. Good luck, I hope to see many more awesome portfolios in the future :)