Got Experience in 3D Characters (7 Years) But no Portfolio, Want to Freelance, Any Help Please?

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ComplexAce polycounter lvl 3
I spent years experimenting around, creating character works for game, nothing finished (at least not within the last year) but I have enough experience to build AAA characters, reasons why are at the end of the post, I'd like any feedback or help you have regarding the topic.

what I have at the moment is this (Old):
http://complexace.cf/

This is a recent WIP (Yes, Unity, Can't run other Engines easily on my hardware):



And this is an old face I sculpted (Without the detailing):



I got better now from all I have to show, especially the stuff on the website, right now slightly in a hurry because of my failing hardware, though I'm willing to make a name and living from Freelancing over jobs, heard that Polycount has many character commissions too so I figured it's my ground.

My Basic Plan is to do the work with late charges instead of front pay, Hourly rate with estimated hours required per character, I'm not willing to underprice myself at any costs, and in case the client doesn't like the work, they don't have to pay anything but they won't get the files, how do you find this plan?

But I'm also willing to go ahead and make a AAA quality sample character for portfolio, just not sure I can pull off more than one character before my hardware fails, so I'd like your feedback and suggestions here as well (I'm already dealing with a lot of crashes that aren't supposed to happen)

I'm mostly skilled with:
1. Organic Sculpting, Anatomy and such
2. Clothing
3. Topology and Optimization
4. AAA Character skin materials (Game-Ready)
5. Procedural Texturing / Materials

I'm also fine with these:
1. Hard Surface
2. Standard PBR Materials

Reasons why I don't have a portfolio:
1. Health issues, I've only recovered a little recently (enough to work that is, but not completely) and this is a whole big topic that can be shortened to: I'm in Syria, Most doctors only know how to diagnose cold, and leaving isn't close to easy.
2. Hardware issues, only could get into rendering after 5 years of experience in characters because I was on a Core2Duo and some other potatoes failing, however I was scammed with the high end hardware I got again and it's dying, I got some experience but it's gonna be real tough to do a whole set of characters for a portfolio without pay, that IF I could pull it off before the hardware dies
3. I'm working on a Game Project, This one: https://zeon.itch.io/sotv and since I got a team I had to devote all my little energy for it, though it'll take a good while till it gets finished, and I need some cash before
4. Syria, Basically almost everything is Sanctioned by the US, including payments and such (Even Freelancing sites), I could hardly find someone to receive the cash for me recently, not to mention there's barley any support around here regarding information, industry experience or anything

I'm open for any sort of discussion, thanks in Advance.

Update: I forgot to explain about the idea of getting a job inside Syria, as well as why One Character
1. Syria has a monthly wage of 80$ a month at most jobs, barley enough for survival, let alone getting hardware, it was hard enough getting what I have, and work hours are 8 minimum + like 2 hours on the road at least because I'm not in the city
2. my health condition still doesn't help getting a full time job, especially with the distance, let alone doing it WITH freelancing

as for One Character: I put a safe margin for making another for any sort of freelance, the total is around two characters then idk what happens, and even in the case my hardware fails completely, I can borrow someone's hardware, however I can't do it long enough for a full portfolio
in short I get enough from the character payment then use it for the hardware.

Replies

  • rollin
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    rollin greentooth
    Freelancing is quite difficult imo. It depends more an who you know and who knows you than your abilities. 
    In my experience it can be very difficult or very easy.
    So my advice would be to try to get in touch with smaller outsourcing companies far away from AAA to try to get a foot into the door.
    As soon as people know you are reliable, fast and cheap (enough) you'll get more offers

    Best of luck from me too!
  • slosh
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    slosh ngon master
    Pixelmasher is spot on.  It's going to be tough for you to get a gig with ur current folio and announcing your computer is going to die doesn't help in the slightest.  First off, do that sample AAA character.  Your current folio doesn't demonstrate that you are even at AAA level for jr character artists.  If money is tight, get a job doing something else just to get by while you improve ur folio.  You are in a really tough situation which sucks but no one is going to hand you a job out of sympathy.  You just have to buckle down and do the work.  Good luck!
  • ComplexAce
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    ComplexAce polycounter lvl 3
    this is going to sound harsh, but no one who is in charge of hiring is going to care about the reasons you don't have a portfolio, they are just going to see your lack of portfolio and move on. It's literally all about what you can SHOW you can do, not what you SAY you can do. 

    I empathize with your current situation, it clearly sucks, but I think you are basically trying to ice skate uphill by trying to get work without a portfolio. If someone says they have 7 years experience but don't have a portfolio to show for it, that is a huge warning sign to most HR and lead artists. 

    In your post, you say you might be able to make one character before your hardware fails, so how can you be expected to deliver professional quality work and reach deadlines when it sounds like your PC might die at any time. That sounds like added risk if someone was to hire you on as a freelance artist. 

    your proposition of doing work for a company and only getting paid if they like the results, that's a huge gamble for a company, and more importantly, a potential waste of their most valuable resource: time. If they need a character in the game ASAP, and its going to take a month of time to produce something that they end up not liking and not paying you for, that's a double loss for them. 

    Right now it sounds like you are spread a bit thin and it's holding you back from your end goal of doing paid character work for games. If money is an issue you might have to get a job to pay the bills and fund new hardware, and in the short term start making characters for your portfolio, and switch your portfolio to artstation, where more people will see your work and the chances of you getting work organically will go up :) 

    I know it's probably not the advice you want to hear but you have to realize you are going up against other artists with experience and a good portfolio, so I would personally focus all your energy and spare time into building your portfolio. If that game project is taking all your time but not giving you enough time to produce portfolio work, I would stop working on it and refocus your time and energy to get a portfolio up as soon as possible that can bring in some money. 

    another thing you could do is build character/asset packs and put them up on the unreal and unity marketplaces to bring in some income, and learn a bit about marketing to help with the sales and driving traffic to those packs. think of ways outside the typical box of making money off your 3d skillset.

    Dude, I know your situation sucks, I can't even imagine the complications and headaches the fact you are located in Syria brings to the table. i hope there was 1 or 2 helpful thoughts in there for you, keep at it and don't get too down, communities like this are a great resource, and I am super happy to see you taking advantage of that by reaching out :) best of luck!
    Update: I forgot to explain about the idea of getting a job inside Syria, as well as why One Character
    1. Syria has a monthly wage of 80$ a month at most jobs, barley enough for survival, let alone getting hardware, it was hard enough getting what I have, and work hours are 8 minimum + like 2 hours on the road at least because I'm not in the city
    2. my health condition still doesn't help getting a full time job, especially with the distance, let alone doing it WITH freelancing

    as for One Character: I put a safe margin for making another for any sort of freelance, the total is around two characters then idk what happens, and even in the case my hardware fails completely, I can borrow someone's hardware, however I can't do it long enough for a full portfolio
    in short I get enough from the character payment then use it for the hardware.

    and the Unity Asset Store might be a possibility IF it only relies on PayPal, if anything else (Like proof of residence requirement) I can't use it. still, a generalized store asset will take lots of work, and I'm hesitant to do it on unstable hardware, no idea what bugs it'd cause.


    Thanks a lot for taking time to reply though, I guess my best bet right now is to make at least one character for the portfolio, and combine it with the "pay if you like" method, if you have any ideas / comments about this, or any new alternative solutions in mine, it'd be great

    Thanks again 
  • ComplexAce
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    ComplexAce polycounter lvl 3
    rollin said:
    Freelancing is quite difficult imo. It depends more an who you know and who knows you than your abilities. 
    In my experience it can be very difficult or very easy.
    So my advice would be to try to get in touch with smaller outsourcing companies far away from AAA to try to get a foot into the door.
    As soon as people know you are reliable, fast and cheap (enough) you'll get more offers

    Best of luck from me too!
    slosh said:
    Pixelmasher is spot on.  It's going to be tough for you to get a gig with ur current folio and announcing your computer is going to die doesn't help in the slightest.  First off, do that sample AAA character.  Your current folio doesn't demonstrate that you are even at AAA level for jr character artists.  If money is tight, get a job doing something else just to get by while you improve ur folio.  You are in a really tough situation which sucks but no one is going to hand you a job out of sympathy.  You just have to buckle down and do the work.  Good luck!
    Thank you, I'm aware it's difficult and that no one will sympathize, which is why I posted the details here looking for a solution, and it doesn't have to be AAA companies or anything, I just said that it's my skill level, and I also mentioned the one character thing as a last resort, but as I said in my previous reply if my own hardware fails I'll need to borrow some and that'll cause some delays, which I prefer to not get into

    in short, indie or small companies are very fine with me (I just have a few personal issues with cartoony style so I wouldn't do it anymore even though I can) point is, where to find them? and what can I show them in one character?
  • pior
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    pior insane polycounter
    What's your question ?
  • ComplexAce
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    ComplexAce polycounter lvl 3
    pior said:
    What's your question ?
    1. would the way I suggested work with a one character portfolio? (if you don't like the work you don't have to pay)
    2. in short, indie or small companies are very fine with me (I just have a few personal issues with cartoony style so I wouldn't do it anymore even though I can) point is, where to find them? and what can I show them in one character?
  • Taylor Brown
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    Taylor Brown polycounter
    I think Pixelmasher made it fairly clear why the "pay if you like" model likely wouldn't get you anywhere. 
  • NikhilR
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    NikhilR greentooth
    I think Pixelmasher made it fairly clear why the "pay if you like" model likely wouldn't get you anywhere. 



    There's a possibility that it might work in an emerging market like the syria and the middle east. 
    For instance if the pay disparity is already that great between there and the west, its unlikely that people have a capacity to pay, so a pay if you like method may be good to start with.

    I'd think of it as more a collaborative, get project but retain rights and if acceptable pay to get rights approach.
    Again its only owing to the setting, similar to working on unpaid/collaborative work, but some small guarantee of payment towards the end. 

    Maybe some seniors here should commission something to give his career a head start, if anything work with him in your free time and help him build some experience. 

  • slosh
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    slosh ngon master
    NikhilR said:
    I think Pixelmasher made it fairly clear why the "pay if you like" model likely wouldn't get you anywhere. 



    There's a possibility that it might work in an emerging market like the syria and the middle east. 
    For instance if the pay disparity is already that great between there and the west, its unlikely that people have a capacity to pay, so a pay if you like method may be good to start with.

    I'd think of it as more a collaborative, get project but retain rights and if acceptable pay to get rights approach.
    Again its only owing to the setting, similar to working on unpaid/collaborative work, but some small guarantee of payment towards the end. 

    Maybe some seniors here should commission something to give his career a head start, if anything work with him in your free time and help him build some experience. 

    Umm...sounds like your volunteering.  
  • NikhilR
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    NikhilR greentooth
    slosh said:
    NikhilR said:
    I think Pixelmasher made it fairly clear why the "pay if you like" model likely wouldn't get you anywhere. 



    There's a possibility that it might work in an emerging market like the syria and the middle east. 
    For instance if the pay disparity is already that great between there and the west, its unlikely that people have a capacity to pay, so a pay if you like method may be good to start with.

    I'd think of it as more a collaborative, get project but retain rights and if acceptable pay to get rights approach.
    Again its only owing to the setting, similar to working on unpaid/collaborative work, but some small guarantee of payment towards the end. 

    Maybe some seniors here should commission something to give his career a head start, if anything work with him in your free time and help him build some experience. 

    Umm...sounds like your volunteering.  
      Yup, if that's all that's available. Atleast that way you are building some connection that might be meaningful in the long term. We should all do what we can to help.

      Though its important to know what the end result of that is like any post project compensation/royalties/collaborative work.

      Like the country's been through a horrible war, it will be a while before top tier talent there is recognised to get job in AAA.

     Right now even being from there can make them think of you a security risk let alone get a visa to migrate. It is important to do what ever is possible to encourage the local industry or make something that resonates internationally.

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