Home 3D Art Showcase & Critiques

Environment Art Portfolio Critique

polycounter lvl 2
Offline / Send Message
b_beauchamp polycounter lvl 2

Hi everyone, I’m looking for some feedback on my portfolio. A few weeks ago I sent out some job applications and received radio silence in response, and one offer of an art test which I failed. At this point I know I need to improve further, but I don’t know “what” I should focus my efforts on. Currently I’m slogging through a (mind numbing) Gnomon Workshop environment modeling tutorial and working on improving my vertex painting skills.

Regarding the art test, I’d like to share my work and get some critique about where exactly I screwed up, but I don’t know what the protocol on sharing art tests online is. I wasn’t required to sign an NDA or anything, but I have not asked permission to share it. Since they did not respond to my request for feedback I don’t want to bother them anymore. Thanks!

You can view my current portfolio here: https://www.artstation.com/breannabeauchamp 

Edit: I’ve decided to share my art test. You can access it here: https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/1BsjcHu2e55AatMe_1UQHaoY60wk64ay6?usp=sharing 

The folder is exactly what I submitted to the studio, minus the test document.

After thinking about it for some time I’ve made a list of what I think were my main errors. In addition to these things, the whole art test was plagued with every technical issue possible, from regular engine crashes to power outages that corrupted my save file. I would have probably been able to submit my project three days sooner if not for those problems. I don’t think this would have changed anything in the long run though.

-Prioritizing visual realism too much over optimization/clean modeling techniques

-Not snapping models to the grid/having random dimensions for meshes

-Misinterpretation of the term  “modularity” 

-Bad mesh optimization for a game environment

-Bad/lazy lightmaps

-Too many meshes with unique UV sets compared to modular pieces

-Overreliance on decals compared to other texturing methods

Replies

  • Ashervisalis
    Offline / Send Message
    Ashervisalis godlike master sticky
    I think the lighting in your latest scene could be improved a bit. A lot of the images are overly dark.

    Your portfolio is pretty good! Don't get discouraged, there will be a looooot of radio silence. The fact that you got an art test shows you're somebody worth looking at. Don't view an art test as 'failed', view it as they got ahold of someone who did their test a little better than you. You will do art tests and not get the job, it's a part of this industry. If you did not sign an NDA for the art test, I don't see any reason why you couldn't show it here.

    Keep moving forward and making more art! I would personally like to see some complex sub-d modeling in your portfolio. Your environments are built with trim sheets and small props, which you've proven you can do. If an animation studio approached you, could you model a sub-d car? Would be cool to see a more complex asset added to your portfolio.

    Is your location OK? Are there a lot of studios near you?
  • b_beauchamp
    Offline / Send Message
    b_beauchamp polycounter lvl 2
    @Ashervisalis Thank you for the feedback and encouragement. :) I found lighting the basement scene to be pretty tricky. Looking at it now, I see that I put too much weight into matching the concept art versus visibility in the engine. I’ll link the Google Drive folder where my art test is stored in my original post along with my personal critique of what I think went wrong. The folder is exactly what I submitted to the studio except for the test document which explains the guidelines I was given.

    I’ll admit that I am a bit intimidated by complex sub-d modeling. There is one fairly complex robot model I’ve been working on and off for a while now as a practice project. I’ll link an upload of that project below. The current mesh has some issues, but if you or others say it looks alright I can press forward and finish it. The prop for the Polycount environment art challenge this round is a pretty complex looking steam carbine so I’ll have a go at that and hopefully end up with something decent. 

    There are a few studios in my area but the selection is not too good. I’ve only applied to local opportunities and studios that offer remote work so far.

    Robot practice project: https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/1Q13r3re7LGzj9ayk64mvTkfI8Ce8dqVw?usp=sharing

  • JamesBrisnehan
    Offline / Send Message
    JamesBrisnehan polycounter
    I think your art test looks pretty good too. I agree with Ashervisalis that someone else's might have just been a little better, or even same quality + longer resume. The only thing that looks off to me about the scene is that the windows look a bit too opaque. Also, I think the wall textures could use a bit more color break-up to match the ref.
    By the way, did you end up using any photogrammetry assets or texture libraries? The wording of the brief almost sounded like they wanted to see that kind of thing in your finished scene. Maybe that studio uses asset libraries in their day-to-day workflow and they wanted to see how you might incorporate pre-made stuff into your work. . . Or maybe I'm reading too much into it.

    If you have the time, you could try participating in the newest Artstation challenge starting in a couple of days. It could get you and your portfolio some extra exposure, as well as bragging rights for your resume if you get 'honorable mention' or higher.

  • b_beauchamp
    Offline / Send Message
    b_beauchamp polycounter lvl 2

    @Ashervisalis Thank you for sharing that tutorial and offering to help if I get stuck. I look forward to working through it, my sub-d modeling skills could definitely be improved. Is there a space here on Polycount where I can join a chat community for art tests or would I find one elsewhere? 

    The “Art_Test_Doc” file in the folder I shared was all the information I was given to work off of for the art test. The scene lighting is pretty washed out because I didn’t see any shadows or directional lighting in the reference I was given. I tried to cast really subtle shadows a couple of different ways, but I couldn’t figure out how to make it look realistic with an overcast sky.

    @JamesBrisnehan Thank you for the feedback! I agree the windows/doors definitely look off. I tried making them slightly transparent at first, but the result looked pretty bad. The main thing that bothers me about them is that they are just stuck onto the wall without any recess. I really wish I had learned vertex painting before getting the test. I would have been able to break up the textures on the walls and ground much better instead of just using decals.

    I actually used a ton of megascanned assets and textures from Quixel for the scene, and some stuff from Substance Source. Everything that you see in the renders that is not uploaded in my art test folder is a megascan asset or texture. Probably the most prominent examples are the piles of scrap around the edge of the building and all of the decals I used.

    I’ll take a look at the Artstation challenge! Are you referring to the “Grand Space Opera: Light Age Game Environment/Level Art” one?

  • Ashervisalis
    Offline / Send Message
    Ashervisalis godlike master sticky
    The Polycount Slack chat has a smaller community, which I like. We've all gotten to know each other pretty good, and there are some really good artists on there. If you pop in there, just introduce yourself and I'm sure you'll get a friendly greeting.

    The Polycount Slack is quite a bit bigger, but I've not really ventured in there;

  • JamesBrisnehan
    Offline / Send Message
    JamesBrisnehan polycounter
    Yep, 'GSO: Light Age' was the one I was talking about. You could choose either Environment Art, or props if you want to get some sub-d modeling practice in (or characters if you want to try something different). If you decide to join, be sure to post regular updates throughout the challenge. That will increase the chances of other contestants dropping by your thread to offer advise and encouragement. You can post W.I.P.s here on Polycount too if you want.
  • b_beauchamp
    Offline / Send Message
    b_beauchamp polycounter lvl 2

    @Ashervisalis Thanks for sharing about the Polycount Slack chat. I’ll introduce myself over there sometime soon. I’ve also started going through the Pluralsight tutorial you recommended. It’s been really helpful so far!

    @JamesBrisnehan Thanks for explaining the Artstation challenge. I think I have a better chance of succeeding with the Environment Art one but I do need to get better at sub-d modeling. Maybe the challenge brief will help me decide. I will definitely post updates on Artstation and Polycount for whichever one I end up choosing.

  • birb
    Offline / Send Message
    birb interpolator
    @b_beauchamp Are you okay with me accompanying a critique of that art test with quick edition of it? I believe a number of minor adjustments would greatly improve the realism, but trying to explain in writing would take three times the what it takes to show them. Being an art test though, I won't touch it unless you're okay with it.
  • b_beauchamp
    Offline / Send Message
    b_beauchamp polycounter lvl 2
    @birb You are more than welcome to do a visual critique of my art test. I look forward to seeing it! 
  • b_beauchamp
    Offline / Send Message
    b_beauchamp polycounter lvl 2
    @birb Thank you for the detailed breakdown! I’ll be keeping these notes for the future to hopefully avoid these mistakes in future projects. I think one of my primary errors when I started working on the test was modeling the modular pieces of the building as complete elements instead of creating simpler pieces to work with. This locked me in to using certain proportions and made it impossible to create important scene elements like door insets and continuing corridors. I also used pretty arbitrary dimensions for all of the models, based on what I thought “looked right” which created its own host of problems as you have pointed out.
  • valentin_baguirov
    Offline / Send Message
    valentin_baguirov polycounter lvl 3
    Seriously I woudlnt get discouraged. Some of the applications I sent out, took like 3 months or even longer for them to get back to me, maybe they were just waiting until I added new pieces to my portfolio, but idk.

    I agree your stuff looks pretty good, however maybe focus more on coming up with something thats not based closely to a concept? Like it cool to take ideas from other peoples work, but I wouldnt fill too much portfolio with something thats close to 1:1 to a concept.
  • teodar23
    Offline / Send Message
    teodar23 sublime tool
    Nothing wrong with using concept art created by someone else. In fact most environment art jobs require this exact thing. If you can muster some original concept, great, but no one is going to discard your portfolio because you recreated concept art made by someone else. You will probably not have a concept to work off all the time but from what i can gather, recruiters like to see that you can reproduce something, either from real life refs or concept art.
  • b_beauchamp
    Offline / Send Message
    b_beauchamp polycounter lvl 2
    @valentin_baguirov @teodar23 I've entered the Artstation environment art challenge. My hope is to apply all the critique I've received here in that project. Thank you for the feedback! 
Sign In or Register to comment.