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Having trouble breaking into the games industry, where can I improve?


I've been trying to break into the games industry quite recently and I've been having some trouble with having my work stand out compared to other applicants. I was wondering where I could improve so I could get the job I want (3D hard surface artist). I've attached some renders of my work below. Any help would be greatly appreciated! Thanks!


  • Meloncov
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    Meloncov greentooth
    Right now, I think your work is competent enough that you'd be worthy of consideration, but you're not doing much to stand out from the masses of other aspiring artists. The three big things I'd work on:

    1. It looks like you're putting too much information in your diffuse channel, and not enough in roughness. This is especially apparent in the orange and white gun, but I think it's true in all of them to some degree.
    2.The weathering and damage on your items feels a bit bland--like you slapped on some even scratches and dents, put a few extras on the corners, and called it done. Look very closely at reference for ideas for details; where use has worn it smooth, where oils tend to build up, where scratches would form from breaking down and reassembling the weapon, and so on.
    3. It looks like you've got some normal baking errors in the wooden gun, such as along the magazine.
  • poopipe
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    poopipe grand marshal polycounter
    I'm pretty much with meloncov on this.
    Your surface treatments just make me go meh. 
    Your textures need to tell a story, where has it been? How long was it there? What happened to it on the way here? 

    Don't put a mark on an object unless you can explain how it got there to a grumpy bastard in an interview
  • YF_Sticks
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    YF_Sticks polycounter lvl 5
    Hey man, here a few things.

    Look at professional portfolios. From Weapon Artists or other Hard Surface artists. Does your work and portfolio reach the quality that they have? How are they presenting their work? How are they structuring their renders?

    From what I'm seeing is that you just haven't put in enough time yet. And I don't mean this in a bad way by the way! Study other people's work. If you can, learn from them. Take a mentorship or a course. 
    I'm not a weapon artist, but your bakes, texturing and presentation is where it's lacking. You seem to know how to do the necessary modelling, so now it's just about getting it to a clean and professional level. This is where repetition and studying comes in.

    Look at it from an employers eye. They need to see that you can do the necessary work (especially in AAA), so your portfolio needs to represent that level of quality. It's hard work, but you'll get there. Put in the time ;-)
  • NikhilR
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    NikhilR interpolator
    While the portfolio improvement advice is all very good, what are you doing besides that to get yourself noticed?

    Meaning networking and socializing?
    With the pandemic in person is difficult so it does help to scout around local studios and contact any artists there through LinkedIn keep them updated on your work.

    There are artists with work at your present quality that have found employment where their responsibility is retopology and settting up existing assets with textures from libraries.

    They may move into something more specific to what they want eventually but being in studio helps with this.

    Also be aware that a lot of props are outsourced and reused but because many on the hiring process aren't too clear about what they actually need they rely on notoriety and having someone vouch for you as a determinant of whether you're a culture fit. Its a big issue in our industry today.

    This forum being mostly art focused will usually end up giving you advice for your work when most of the time you are hired for very different reasons given the circumstances prevelant at the time.
    So its important to address that.

  • PixelMasher
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    PixelMasher veteran polycounter
    from an artistic standpoint, you work looks like someone who is almost at junior level but not quite. as others mentioned, the overall generic weathering and even amount of scratches across the guns makes them feel kinda bland. the other thing that is holding the work back is the material definition. In a lot of your screens the materials dont read super well. on the district 9 gun, the main surface material looks super flat with almost zero spec information so it is impossible to tell what its supposed to be....plastic? metal? the wood on the ww2 gun lacks surface definition and breakup as well. 

    your overall presentation of the models is pretty lackluster as well, just a blurred background screen from marmoset/substance etc. not super compelling. and the lighting setups are not showing the materials or form of the gun as well as it probably could. You might actually have nice materials, but the hdri/lighting setup you are using makes things look super flat. 

    if you are looking to be a weapons artist, not only are you competing with insanely good outsourcing studios in china, but also a smaller pool of extremely good and well established hard surface artists state side. the good thing about hard surface work is its still possible to get it as an external solo freelancer as compared to most environment work which is now almost always in house or outsourced for props/kits.  

    so you really need to drill down on your competition and try and hit the bar they are showing. Here are some examples of portfolios of people who are consistently getting work for call of duty, farcry etc. 

    Reno Levi - this guy is working for himself as far as i know as a freelancer and has worked on a bunch of high profile titles. 

    Tim Bergholz - awesome tutorials and has some good stuff on presentation etc on his youtube channel. the lighting in all his gun shots looks super nice, well defined shapes and highlights etc. 

    Eugine Petrov - super nice presentation and has a full weapon tutorial you might find useful, the ligting, details and materials on his work are awesome. 
    https://www.artstation.com/artwork/DxoeNR -  gun tutorial

    Nikita Buyanov - one of the best out there, insane attention to detail

    here is my whole artstation collection of weapons i have liked over the years, filled with great examples, tutorials and pretty much anything that stopped me and made me say "wow" 

    Really dive deep and see what separate's your work from those guys, and then try and close that gap. Those are people who are consistently getting work as professionals. To me, it looks like you have the modeling/baking part of the workflow down pat, and i would spend some time doing a deep dive on materials, attention to detail with things like panel connections/seams/localized wear and tear etc and finally lighting/presentation. 

    and like Nikhil said, you can work on networking. I would DM a bunch of awesome hard surface artists on artstation asking for a quick critique on ONE of your guns (a whole portfolio review is asking too much time) and you will probably get an answer from 2/10 of them. that's a great starting point of building a relationship with that person. or ask them about their lighting setup on their own work etc. most people are happy to quickly share some info about their own projects that could help you, just gotta ask, even if it seems scary and intimidating (99% of artists are teddy bears! dont be afraid :) )

    this part is super important:
    if they give you a bunch of advice and pointers on what to fix, actually go and do it and then hit them back up showing you actually followed through on it. you will be 10x more likely to be able to continue to chat with them in future if they see you are taking action on their feedback and they are not just wasting their time. The amount of people that hit up pros for advice and critiques and then reply with "thanks! ill keep it in mind for my next project" is really high, and you dont actually have the option of doing that in a studio environment. follow through is huge, and you will stand out from the pack. 

    finally, go hang out on the dynusty empire discord or similar places, you will mix and mingle with all sorts of people from the industry and over time people will probably take notice of your work if you are steadily improving. 

    hope all this helps!
  • ZacharyMarik
    Hi all!! I finally had the time to read all of your comments. Thanks for the advice everyone. I've taken a look at the bakes I've done and I realized I made a lot of mistakes like you all have mentioned. I've changed up my modeling process recently so I'm starting with high poly models first then going to low (it was the other way around originally). I'll post some images of my new weapon that I'm working on when I'm finished with it, but it may be a bit before I get it done. If you guys have any more feedback I'll try to integrate it into my new project. Thanks again guys!
  • sacboi
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    sacboi high dynamic range
    Good info on bakes, aside from other hard surface insights:

    Interesting aspect to note, is also an artist not necessarily reliant on current gen tools to achieve a akin quality of output.    
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