[Portfolio] Tim Lewis, Environment Artist

Hey everyone, my name is Tim Lewis and I graduated university earlier this year with a focus on environment art. You can find my portfolio here. I’m currently not working in the game industry, but I do the occasional 3-D work in the form of product renders where I am at. While a lot of this work on my site is outdated, I’d appreciate any feedback you can give me and suggestions or tips for any future work. I'd love to work in the game industry one day, but I know that I've got push my skills further. Thanks!


  • mLichy
    Well, I feel if you're going to promote yourself as an Env. Artist, you should have mostly all Env. work. Right now it feels like your showing yourself as a 3D Artist instead. You only really have one env and then a partial one, if that.

    If you're not part of a mod team, that would be a good thing to get into. But you have to be careful where you go with that, because you might end up doing all the work, only to get the mod fall apart and have it go to waste. But if you can get a good portfolio piece from it, then that's still useful.

    Or, you could take an Env. Art test from online, and do that for another example, or try and re-create a scene from a game you like/that would be challenging/ well known.
  • Alex3d
    Hey pretty cool folio.
    I would loose the vases all together, they look really basic :P The uzi and binoculars are your best pieces, now you need to make more art and replace the outdated environments.
    Edit:Ignore my previous statements to prevent any more misunderstanding.
  • mLichy

    This is more what I mean. Yes it can be props/objects as that's what makes up the Env, but I mean arrange them into an Env, and not just show a crate by itself.

    Edit: I'm not confused, just to me, showing single props on a page doesn't prove to me you're an Env. Artist. He does have a partial scene in there though, so that does help.
  • myles
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    myles polycounter lvl 8
    Alex3d - I think you've just given this guy some pretty bad advice, at least from my perspective. So for lewist's sake, here's another oppinion -
    Alex3d wrote: »
    You are partially correct. Yes it is a good idea to show a couple of complete&complex environments just to show that you can do it. But the majority should be high quality props that would work as samples for various styles and environments. In fact 90% of studios prefer to see that as opposed to full environments; the idea is Quality not Quantity...

    Of course its important that you can produce high quality assets on there own but it is a necessity to be able to make assets that fit together in an over all composition and in a budget. The majority of studios outsource the mundane 'filler' props anyway, so being able to put together a scene well is very important. Once more a lot of what an Environment Artist should know is how to make the most of tiling textures/ modular meshes and reusing textures - you can't practise these on small, high quality assets.
    Alex3d wrote: »
    Actually no, joining a MOD team is an utter waste of time. For one thing, they almost always fail and fall short of completion. And since the common requirement would be consistent work, you will never get any above average work done. The majority of MODs out there are overcrowded with hopeless n00bs desperately trying to munch off some skill from an unfortunate experienced guy who came in. And irregardless to motivation levels, experienced artists would get bored and quit for better opportunities...

    A mod team can be a very good way to learn how to produce assets at a specific rate under time constraints. Yes at first your quality will suffer because of this but this are the exact same constraints you are going to be put under when you get your first studio/ freelance job.
    Mod teams generally don't finish the project, but there's no reason why you can't produce good art for them - just try joining a mod team thats respectful, it's probably best to talk to other people about what mod teams they suggest. Afterall, doing any art at all, for whatever cause, is never a waste.
    Alex3d wrote: »
    And it is almost impossible to get hired as enviro without previous experience in the industry (either modeler or texture artist)

    Actually, environment artist is a very good starting position in the industry because of its broad focus.

    As others have mentioned, your vase scene is probably the weakest, and also its not realtime which makes it even less useful. It looks like you've made a good start on the spillway and if you keep pushing it (have you got a WIP thread for it?) you could get some nice results. The site layout is fine too, though you probably could do breakdowns on the pieces.
  • ParoXum
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    ParoXum polycounter lvl 9
    Alex3d, I think you should think twice before giving all those 'advices' to our friend here. half of the stuff you said would be totally misleading/false.

    As the other posts above me just demonstrated.

    lewist: I think from a resume point of view you're overselling yourself in terms of wording. "Exceptional, Highly skilled, etc" yet I don't see what you describe there in your portfolio. If you're going the environment artist route you should make at least one kick-ass complete environment from start to finish, which is a tad bigger and more thought out in terms of composition than what you have right now. Just my two cents.
  • Alex3d
    Wow wow, here comes the 'love'

    All I was trying to say that he should have some variety in his portfolio something like this http://orbart.free.fr/index.php?Gallery=105
    No need to teabag and vilify me. Everybody has different experience and I was simply speaking from mine. I had bad luck when it comes to mods. And my statements about Environment art perks hold true, as they are referenced from my friends in the industry who are currently holding that position...
  • mLichy
    Well, they responded the way they did because of how you quickly tore into my response and basically said how its wrong and how he really should go about it, when your info. really isn't right either.

    If you're going to dish it out, then you have to expect to get something in return.
  • PixelMasher
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    PixelMasher quad damage
    I think the bottom environment piece is the most interesting although the execution feels halfway there. there needs to be another pass of finer details/props like trash or crumbled chunks of concrete or something, and the textures could use some more love right now they are all super uniform and a bit bland. some larger shapes in the concretes normal map like cracks and stuff would help.

    for something like that fence, you should probably put the actual chain link texture by itself as a tileable little 256 or 128 and then the poles as a seperate material. having a huge 1024 mask seems like a big waste and is inefficient. by re-using the poles and having the link texture be tileable you could make all sorts of lengths and shapes of fence, which would be ideal.

    the vases scene is probably your weakest piece, mostly because its just kinda boring subject matter and doesn't really seem to have a purpose.

    on looking to hire an environment artist, fully realized, well lit and composed scenes are what most of the recruiters and fellow artists in charge of hiring look for. thats the job title, environment artist, not prop artist, which is a seperate job usually and most of the everyday props are being outsourced more often than not. so really try to show you can assemble beliveable environments which are made up of a bunch of high quality assets, and you should be on the right track. hope this isnt too blunt and hope it helps.
  • BluPanda
    uhm... Back to the OP, you have a really nice layout imo. easy to see your images and its nice and clean and simple so props there. I know pdf resume's are the norm, but id love to see a web based one, in addiiton. just makes it easier to view for everyone. Also it's not a bad idea to put your name in the pdf file name I noticed it downloaded as "resume.pdf"

    my suggestion on content is I would lean towards a full env or two with lighting and stuff if your going for env. art what you have is a great base to build on, as it demonstrates great fundamentals in a 3d package. so good job! keep at it.
  • Alberto Rdrgz
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    Alberto Rdrgz polycounter lvl 9
    Of course its important that you can produce high quality assets on there own but it is a necessity to be able to make assets that fit together in an over all composition and in a budget. The majority of studios outsource the mundane 'filler' props anyway, so being able to put together a scene well is very important. Once more a lot of what an Environment Artist should know is how to make the most of tiling textures/ modular meshes and reusing textures - you can't practise these on small, high quality assets.

    Haha Thanks myles now i don't have to type. :) [that much]

    Telling an ENV. Artist to NOT work on whole environments is sooo counter productive... i forgot the punch line.

    Benefits of working on whole environments are Composition, Lighting, Atmosphere, Mood, Modular Texture practice, Modular Assets Practice, Point of interest Practice.

    I hate when people confuse Environment art with Level design. And it is almost impossible to get hired as enviro without previous experience in the industry (either modeler or texture artist)

    Um, it pretty much is. Except for 'Designing' you work pretty close with Level Designers and other Level Artist on the overall design. It is almost impossible to get hired? Env Artits are one of the most abundant positions when studios seek to expand...
  • nick2730
    be careful with the binocs, i know over at cgtuts there is an in depth tutorial on creating them. Typically you want to do something original anyone can follow a tutorial
  • lewist
    mLichy: You’ve brought up a really good point. I’ve completely failed to convey what environment art is through my selection of work. I really appreciate your honesty!

    Alex3d: Thanks for the feedback! The vases are getting the axe as soon as I have something better to show. Also, I appreciate your opinion on mod teams and props vs. environments; it’s an interesting discussion you’ve sparked.

    myles: Thanks for your opinion. I’ve looked at mod teams before, but it’s hit or miss with what you’ll find. On the bright side, I currently work with several people who are skilled with both art & scripting inside of UDK. We’re currently working on drawing up a design doc for a UDK mobile game in our spare time.

    ParoXum: Thanks for the two cents. Wording resumes definitely isn’t a strong suite of mine, so I’ll be sure to take some time to evaluate what I have written and run it by some others. There’s a fine line between confident and cocky, and my work needs to live up to what I write.

    PixelMasher: I’m still on the fence if I want to salvage that piece or not. I was just starting to get off the ground with it before I graduated… and never got to finishing it. What little assets I have displayed are embarrassingly simple. Oh, and don’t worry about being too blunt - how else am I going to improve if I don't get a honest critique?

    BluePanda: A really good idea for a change/addition to my site. I wouldn’t have even thought of that otherwise!

    Alberto Rdrgz: A good reinforcement of what others had said earlier. You may think it’s a joke, but during my time at school I was told by many instructors to focus on just making props. :(

    nick2730: I’ve seen parts of this tutorial before, but the decision to do binoculars wasn’t related. Still, this isn’t what I want others to think when viewing my portfolio so it may be for the best that I remove that piece.

    A couple of questions for anyone to answer…
    • Is there a place for non-realtime (such as mentalray) renders in a portfolio? I only mention it because my latest 3-D work is product renders done for a client and while it’s not environment art, it does demonstrate a 3D skill set.

    • What are some better formats to display my work online? I feel my website does a decent job displaying my work, but I am not a web developer at all and updating it is painful. Is something like a blog appropriate?

    Thanks for the feedback so far, it's been really helpful!
  • Jowens
    never seen another person from etsu on here
  • Joshua Stubbles
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    Joshua Stubbles polycounter lvl 13
    Although mod teams are hit and miss, many people (myself included) got their start there. Working on mods, teaching myself and coming to Polycount is the sole basis of my art education. As some have said, even if the mod is no good in the end, doing some art is better than doing no art.

    Looking at your portfolio, I'd say you're a prop artist, not an environment artist. You have lots of individual elements but no real scenes. Take the time and build a nice full scene. It doesn't have to be fully flushed out 360º but at the very least, great from one angle (kind of like the Unearthly Challenge entries). Get some real env stuff up there if you want to be considered for such.
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