Marcus Meler - Environment Art Portfolio

Hey all! 

I am a game developer and artist. http://www.marcusmeler.com/environment.html

Recently went to a review at a studio and was told I was lacking. I felt really down about it and felt like giving up (I know, the worst thing one can do). I can take critique and have a thick skin, but the reviewer did not really look at my portfolio as far as I could tell. They were no real help in telling me how I could improve (which is why I am here). I am but a lowly peasant, but I am hungry, and wanting to prove myself and start my career in the game industry. Was considering focusing on design and shifting away from art after the experience I had. 

Anyway,  I am looking for some more positive feedback and suggestions on what I could do to really beef myself up. I want to get back at the artist who roasted me, prove my worth, but I know I have a ways to go. Any suggestions on what I should make next? What am I worst at? Where am I strongest? How can I improve? I want to start to specialize and find my niche. I am not really sure where I fit in the machine which is why I am considering going full game design. Any and all help/advice I will take.

Thank you for your time :)


Replies

  • Budd
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    Budd polycounter lvl 2
    Whilst i am not qualified to critique your work, first thing that i notice is that your portfolio front page is too cluttered, front and centre is a video which often people don't want to see straight away, the images for me at least (Australian internet lol) had a load time and weren't very large, simplifying the layout with be a good step in the right direction imo.  :) 
  • BagelHero
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    BagelHero polycounter lvl 6
    Okay, well. First and foremost; your portfolio is quite unintelligible! Do you have an Artstation? If not, get one, if so, link it.

    In the meantime I'll crit your layout and what I can see;
    • I'm not going to watch any videos until I know it's worth my time, for a position where it's likely that your work is static. Bombarding me with several videos without context is a great way to confuse and upset me, the simple viewer.
    • Don't mix content from your blog onto your portfolio. I just want to see finished pieces that reflect your ability to do art RIGHT NOW. I'm seeing these WIPs and I don't really care when I can't seem to see anything actually finished. Their place isn't here. Add a blog tab for that stuff, I'll check it after you hook me in. Don't make it mandatory to get through before I can even find the good stuff.
    • Your substance stuff seems the best at a glance, but I can't make it bigger.
    • Corridor Toolkit looks totally out of place, student-y and blatantly/poorly photo-sourced. Remove it, it brings the whole folio down. Would also remove the flower/plant, it's not well done enough to be interesting on its own.
    • Tile's okay, can we see it in an environment, maybe? Dino doesn't have a place, cute, but unfinished and irrelevant to your Environment Artist goals.
    • Your 2D stuff is largely irrelevant. Character concepts that aren't up to scratch, and other rough concepts that just aren't relevant full stop. I'd say remove the entire section until you have concepts for your environment projects.
    • Three column layout is giving me hell. Look at other artist's portfolios, please.
    • Add the stuff from Foglands into your 3D section at the top to replace the corridor tileset. Not everyone will sit through your entire reel, though it is actually reasonably impressive in motion. Also, why do you have two separate links to the cinematic?
    All in all, I think you have promise. Its kinda hard to tell, from the state your portfolio is in, though. I think once we have access to all of your newest finished pieces on a clean layout, it'll be easier to tell you what direction would be good to head in. :smile:

  • Buchananball
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    Buchananball polycounter lvl 5
    The only other things I can think of to mention are:
    • Move the youtube reel video to vimeo and consider shortening it, you want it short and sweet showing your best work.
    • If you do want to specialise, do whatever you enjoy most as your going to be spending a lot of time working on it!
    • This is more website related but it needs to be way easier to find details to contact you, swap that contact form for gmail links and make sure its somewhere on every page. 
    A simple & effective layout for a portfolio is Simon Fuchs' (http://www.simonfuchs.net/folio/) so check that out and consider something similar. Keep up the work though, as its already been said you have promise so keep improving and refining!
  • Chronic_Combine
    Hey thanks a lot guys. The critical analysis is really helpful. I did not even realize that the website design was so upsetting. Honestly, I tried to make it look like pinterest since I am an avid user, but I completely agree, it sucks. @BagelHero I will make those changes and let you know when I put it back up.  Did not even realize one could not make the substance photos bigger, and I put two links to make sure people didnt skip over it since It says a lot about me, but I think that comes back to poor design on my behalf. I have a lot of WIP because I work a lot with universities and small teams and take on many roles for vertical slice demos. I suffer from doing too many things and it shows. My favorite part of the process is polishing the layout from cubes to final detail and ensuring it fits the overall game/level design. @Buchananball very good link.

    I am really glad I came here! :)


  • DweenieTodd
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    DweenieTodd polycounter lvl 3
    Hey there!

    I'm assuming you're a recent graduate as myself? I agree with these guys, you really need to sort that Portfolio out. Employee's will only look at your Portfolio maximum 30 seconds, and need to see as much as possible to say that they can take to you to art tests stage. I've linked my Portfolio, and this is what you should go along the lines off:

    http://dweenietod.wix.com/deenmugalart

    In terms of the work itself. Now, i'm quite inexperienced but i've of course worked extremely hard over these past 6 months (still no luck with the industry :() but i can tell were you're lacking in areas:

    - Although the corridor assets look interested, and shows good modelling skills it needs to be pushed. The modelling could be pushed further, and the texturing really needs work. In some areas in looks boring and too messy. Considering you want to be an environment artist, avoid taking final renders in Maya, and place them into Marmoset toolbag or a game engine. 

    - Although normal maps can be seen, it's hard to tell how they're working, simply because you've not added any lights to the scene. Same with specular maps, i can't tell if you've added any.

    - I can't view any of your substance work unfortunately, the images won't load D:

    If you're like me, a recent graduate, i feel quite harsh giving critique because i'm in the same boat as you. However, i can tell far too many problems with the website alone, which needs to be fixed. You'll then need to start pushing your work further, such as adding the work into a level editor, pushing the modelling and texturing, perhaps learning some high to low baking techniques. You may use my Portfolio as a template, and build from there if you'd like :3 

    All the best dude, and remember don't give up! I've had 6 months of no luck and haven't given up! It's about working hard everyday, posting your work for the beautiful artists of polycount to critique and showing that you've learn't from your mistakes.
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