Portfolio Critique Please. I have having trouble getting a job.

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Hello everyone. A month ago I posted my portfolio here for a critique. I got some advice, used it and would like a critique to see if I am going in the right direction.  My portfolio is here:  https://www.artstation.com/artist/austinlabarbera 

I am still struggling with finding a job, and can't seem to break in anywhere. Here is the post from last month where you can see what my portfolio used to look like: http://polycount.com/discussion/186508/stylized-portfolio-feedback#latest  

I hope its better, and the advice given such as poor lighting has been improved. Any other advice would be greatly appreciated. 

Thanks everyone! 



  • JordanN
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    JordanN greentooth
    This might be my own by insight, but I think your portfolio is juggling 2 different artstyles, with 1 of them not really matching what certain hand painted studios may be looking for. There's nothing wrong with doing both realistic and stylized, but unless you're really committed to getting both up to high standard, it's 2x the effort versus someone who made a portfolio with just one artstyle that was really good. 

    If it's not that, it's the level of complexity in your props/environments. For example, this guy made a very detailed hardsurface tower. If you had to apply for the same job as him, which piece do you think would give you the edge over his?
  • Brian "Panda" Choi
    I'm gonna get nit picky given the last critiques.

    Bad, obvious texturing oversights are visible,  Awnings aren't "textured' that way.

    That's not what most Shermans look like.  This is what bothers me the most about ther tank piece.  The rendering lacks a nicer lighting of say a 3 point set up, and the only details added seem to be metal scratches.  It could usde a remodel and more love.

    A large chunk of your handpainted textures feel flat and lack body.

    What it looks like to me is that you have a habit of adding white or black to change the value fo a hue, whereas changing color temperature while chanigng value would be a better, more realsitic adjustment to a hue's value.  Try taking exisinting WoW texture flats and run an increased saturation operation on them, and notice the number of hues that go into an element that is "gold." or "brown."  They use more than one color, usually ina  subtle way, on top of the local color to make the textures pop and have more body.

    What have you been doing to look for game develoment positions?  Have you made any games?
  • AustinLabarbera
    I would love to stick to stylized hand-painted look rather than realism. I started trying realism because of the pressure of all the job (both games and simulation) desire photo-realism PBR based models. Also a friend, who is a traditional artist advised me that all artist should be able to do realism.

    I agree with the Sherman. It felt doomed from the start but I also pressured to have a vehicle on my portfolio (especially a military vehicle  since I apply to a lot of simulation places). My favorite pieces to work on were the new UMP45 model, the hand-painted house scene, and The Smithy.

    I have worked on some games. I lead a team in my senior year, and it was a disaster to say the least. 

    Thanks for the input guys. 
  • JordanN
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    JordanN greentooth
    Also, this thread may be very helpful:

    The competition for working in the industry is beyond intense. Look at everyone's work and realize you have to be exactly on their level, if not, one step ahead.
  • RustySpannerz
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    RustySpannerz polycounter lvl 7
    Okay, I'm going to be quite honest because everything I'm noticing is exactly what potential employers are noticing. 

    I started looking at your tank. To start there are a few points where you've just not bothered finishing the model. The tank treads clip into the side of the body of the tank and gear wheel things (can you tell I know nothing about tanks :P: ) clip into the treads. 
    The albedo map in the viewer looks very dark, I'm not sure if the materials have been set up wrong or what's causing that, but your materials look off. And I think the tank is overall too shiny.
    The tank treads normal map you used in your hi-poly and the normal map you added in quixel clash, choose one. Although I will say neither of them looks like a tank tread. 
    Other than that your normal map bake looks a little messy, I think your edges are too sharp on both the high and low poly. You can find resources to brush up on normal baking on this site. 

    And across the rest of your models its the same few issues cropping up. 
    - Texel density is all over the place. Try to keep it more uniform. 
    - A lot of your surfaces, in general, are overly shiny. Especially the stone. 
    - Sometimes you need to use extra geometry. If something looks overly blocky, even in a low-poly scene you need to sometimes add a little detail. 
    - Still, your lighting is not great. I quite like the Magic House but the purple light is too much. Maybe make the purple a secondary colour coming from the cauldron and windows. And have a different colour in the atmosphere. 

    I'm telling you all this because it's often hard to notice where your work is struggling. And honestly, once you fix these few small things, your art will be a lot better! 

    If you're struggling to see what I mean look at some other prominent handpainted artists on ArtStation and see what they do, and how they do it. Often they'll have material breakdowns and wireframes that can also help. 
  • Brian "Panda" Choi
    Show the game you worked on.  Shows you "shipped" something. Don't care if it's a disaster, better something than nothing.
  • AustinLabarbera
    Was actually just looking at that post. 

    Thanks for the feedback. It seems I need to start a new portfolio for scratch. I have yet to try Zbrush (Normally use Mudbox) out yet, but will be picking it up soon.  I want to continue going down the path of hand-painted textures. 

    And yeah the game was just a small FPS for our final project. Wasn't shipped anywhere haha. I have it on my YouTube channel, but I don't think any of it is good for ArtStation. Here's a "trailer": 
  • Brian "Panda" Choi
    Whatever you're making next for your portfolio, make sure it's polished.  You're not competing locally; you're competing globally.

    You keep mentioning stylized, but I really encourage you to figure out a better vocabulary for that umbrella topic.  Because this is stylized.

    But also this:

    But they're obviously different.
  • AustinLabarbera
    Oh sorry when I mean stylized I'm talking Blizz-like hand painted.
  • Brian "Panda" Choi
    Even then, Blizzard's vary from game to game.  Heart of the Storm's art direction has different goals they hit compared to Overwatch's art direction.  

    It will help immensely if you have a conscious, concrete handle of the style you do.
  • Eric Chadwick
    Portfolio crits belong in Showcase, not in Career & Education. Moving it there for you.
  • nukakola7
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    nukakola7 polycounter lvl 4
    Even then, Blizzard's vary from game to game.  Heart of the Storm's art direction has different goals they hit compared to Overwatch's art direction.  

    It will help immensely if you have a conscious, concrete handle of the style you do.
    I think he means stylized as in everything that is not Realistic or Photo-Real.

    Altought you make a good point, "stylized" is kinda hard do define, even Naughty Dog Artists say that Uncharted is stylized, Realistic but with their own style. I would say that the only thing that can't really be stylized is if you're aiming for photo-real Art
  • yiannisk
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    yiannisk polycounter lvl 7
    nukakola7 said:
    even Naughty Dog Artists say that Uncharted is stylized. 
    It is stylized of course. Uncharted is not photorealistic. You could say it is Realistic, but Realism is still "stylized". Photorealism is not. 

    Others would argue that they are all stylized since they are done in a certain style. 
    It is a long, and confusing discussion that always revolves around semantics. These links below might bring some clarity. 


    On topic:
    Austin, you have a long way to go. Practice and practice more. You are not there yet.
  • jewski-bot
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    jewski-bot polycounter lvl 3
    I concur with many of the things said here.  I would seriously consider focusing on a particular genre / style that you enjoy more than the others and use that as your focus.  If you're applying to EA to work on Battlefield, you don't want to have stylized assets that look more like they belong in Overwatch or Zelda.  I know it sounds counter-intuitive to the notion of casting a wide net, but when you are starting out or trying to make a career change, you need to focus on one style so you can more rapidly improve on that.

    With that said, some of your models have various errors and inconsistent texture quality  (Your texel density is really disproportionate on Grub's Tavern where the scaling off).

    As noted by others with the Sherman Tank; it's well known and there's tons of reference available online and in print, so this really needs to be improved upon with regard to accuracy.  Also, you should be familiar with both high and low resolution modeling since many of the details that are baked into the normal map will require a high res model to act as your source.  Additionally, the low polygon model could stand further optimization since while looking at it in Marmoset Viewer, you have redundant rows of polygons where a lot of edges can be deleted without compromising the silhoutte.

    I think that for now, you might consider focusing on building props rather than full-fledged environments to help up your skill without over-burdening yourself with a lot of props.  Right now it should be about quality vs. quantity.

    I think for right now your two strongest pieces are probably the gun and tank (in spite of the errors).  Depending on what you want to focus on, it might be worthwhile to focus on some weapons, or mechanical props like shovels, radios, etc. before tackling vehicles, and if I had any sense, I'd probably follow my own advice since I'm still struggling in my own right to improve and determine a focus.

    Don't get discouraged, everyone goes into the Valley of the Suck (to borrow a Ryan Kingslien term), many stay in there for a long time (like myself), but if you persevere, you WILL succeed.  So, go forth and conquer!

  • Youshi
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    Youshi polycounter lvl 3
    I think your issue is the job role, prop artists are very competitive, you know how many guns recruiters get to see on a daily, people like to know you can create any kind of weapon an artist might present to you, so you either need to be really creative, or be absolutely meticulous with following a blueprint for a real weapon. As for environment work, it's a a very specific job role, it's not just making set pieces. You don't really have any evidence that you're a capable environment artist. Most companies want you to have pretty good engine experience, blueprinting is a great skill to pick up these days, and material creation. A lot of people can model, but it's about modeling for games, and as an environment artist there is a lot of niche skills that put you above everyone else, there isn't even evidence that you know how to problem solve, modular creation is highly employable.
  • Zi0
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    Zi0 polycounter lvl 4
    Generally the quality of your pieces is very low. I would suggest picking a specialization first and try to become good at it. If you really enjoy creating stylized pieces then try to ace that. Its good to be focused at one thing at the time instead of multiple styles. On the internet you can find great tutorials that will help you!

    Good luck :smile:
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