Master the Art of 3D Modeling
After some years at Rhythm and Hues Studios, I became a senior and lead modeler there. As a senior modeler, one of my task was to review 3D modeling portofolio submissions. We would grade them, A to F, and put aside the A’s and B’s for possible future hires. Having seen so many portfolios, I am going to share with you what we looked for in a 3D modeling portfolio. Different studios have different portfolio review standards, but these are solid guidelines that I am sure will apply to most if not every game and visual effects studio out there.
1. Organic, organic, organic. It is all about organic modeling. Organic modeling should be the core of your skill and portfolio. The average 3D modeler can build a hard-edged model, but only the advanced modelers can build great organic models. To showcase your organic modeling, show a human body(or parts) or some sort of creature. For human face models, faces with wrinkles and age are more complex and therefore more impressive to see. For creatures, make sure it’s anatomically sensible.
2. No military vehicles with hard edges. Don’t bother including anything like a tank, a missile launcher, or anything with super hard edges. Those models are composed of boxes and cylinders. Anyone picking up a 3D program for the first time will be able to build them. If you want to show your hard edge modeling skills, show a sports car with some complex curves with clean beveled edges. Just one of these will suffice.
3. You don’t need to dress up your submission. All the fancy eye-candy stuff like glossy folders and flashy DVD covers are not important. Your portfolio is ultimately viewed by seasoned professionals who are trying to determine your 3D modeling skill, not your presentation. So don’t spend too much effort on the fluff. Just keep it neat and clean. A simple cover letter with resume and DVD is perfect.
4. Your portfolio does not need sound. Again, we’re trying to determine your modeling skill. You don’t need to put the viewer into an emotional roller coaster ride.
5. Submit your portfolio by DVD. That’s the best way to do it. It’s simple for the viewer. We just pop it in and it’s there. Remember that reviewing portfolios takes time and the easier you make it for them to view, the better. Don’t include any additional videos or mesh files on separate CD/DVD. It’s a hassle and most of the time we’ll just skip it.
6. On your organic models, in addition to showing your high poly sub-divided version, show your low poly model with a wireframe overlay. If you work in Nurbs, then this doesn’t apply. But most studios use polygonal modeling, so box modeling should really be your primary skill. The low poly wireframe model is the key. Modelers can tell very quickly where your skill level is just by looking at the wireframe. If we see that your low poly wireframe is efficient with great edge control, then we know you are a great modeler. If you’ve got excessive polygons everywhere and your edges doesn’t flow with curve of the geometry, then you probably don’t have a good understand of modeling. If you got the goods, show the wireframe.
7. If your portfolio has images that are a result of a collaboration, make sure to provide a breakdown of your contributions.
8. Do not submit original materials on your portfolio as they are not returned to you.
Most studios accept portfolios year round, regardless of their current hiring needs. They set aside good ones for future hires. If you have a portfolio ready, there is no better time to submit it then now.
I hope you find this helpful. I wanted to give you these tips so that you can have a better understanding of what studios are looking for in your portfolio. Hopefully this will help you focus your efforts on the more important aspects of your modeling portfolio. Please contact me with any questions you might have. My email is firstname.lastname@example.org.