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[Portfolio] - Christopher Catalano-Environments & Props

ContrivanCe
polycounter lvl 10
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ContrivanCe polycounter lvl 10
www.district-c.com
I'd say I specialize in props and environments.
I use Maya, photoshop, zbrush, painter and a bit of after effects and premiere.

More environment shots coming soon in the 3d section (yeah, I know. An environment artist with no environments to show).

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  • Farfarer
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    Farfarer Polycount Sponsor
    First things first, drop the Flash. It makes your site slow to load, slow to navigate and hard to link to. Keep it simple and keep it all HTML. You can pull all kinds of cool tricks with CSS to get it looking nice without the need for Flash. It'll load, render and scale faster, too.

    Think of your portfolio's sole purpose as being to let the visitor to see all of your best work as quickly and as easily as possible. So you want something fast, lightweight and accessible that puts your best work right there on the front page, prioritised above everything else. The more times people need to click to see your work, the less they'll look at (sometimes to the extent that they will just close your site without looking at anything) and the more you will annoy them (imagine annoying potential employers before they even look at your work?). Currently I count 3 clicks and about 20 seconds until I get to see a full image. Usually, if people can click on a thumbnail and see the piece that's fine - every click after that is just that little bit more of an annoyance.

    Same goes for contact info. Every page on your site should contain both your name and a link to your email. If you want people to get in touch with you, you have to make it as easy and accessible as possible.

    Keep the renders simple. You're doing real-time art, so show the art in it's real-time state (i.e. screengrabs from inside an engine or 3D app viewport). Include wireframe overlayed views, texture flats, polycount and texture info, etc. If you're not confident enough to show the model laid bare, then it's probably a sign it shouldn't be in your folio.

    And on a final note, ditch the "favourite techniques" section of your about page. It's redundant and it makes it look like you consider standard techniques as something special. I can't see that "specual mapping" will be doing you any favours either :P
  • Proxzee
    Yeah flash is annoying! The low poly boxes you made aren't that impressive. you should take that out.
  • Emil Mujanovic
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    Emil Mujanovic polycounter lvl 13
    I re-named your thread to match the naming conventions listed in the portfolio rules thread.

    -caseyjones
  • Jeremy Lindstrom
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    Jeremy Lindstrom polycounter lvl 14
    You also show your 'speed modeling' but no times, or any information on them. Some of your 'photo manips' dont show up.

    You can also probably get rid of your 'favorite' techniques section.
  • ContrivanCe
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    ContrivanCe polycounter lvl 10
    Talon wrote: »
    First things first, drop the Flash. You can pull all kinds of cool tricks with CSS to get it looking nice without the need for Flash.

    It's the only way I know how to make sites.
    Talon wrote: »
    The more times people need to click to see your work, the less they'll look at. Currently I count 3 clicks and about 20 seconds until I get to see a full image.

    I made the portfolio page the first one that loads.
    Talon wrote: »
    Same goes for contact info. Every page on your site should contain both your name and a link to your email. If you want people to get in touch with you, you have to make it as easy and accessible as possible.

    I'll find a way to squeeze it in each page later.
    Talon wrote: »
    Keep the renders simple. You're doing real-time art, so show the art in it's real-time state (i.e. screengrabs from inside an engine or 3D app viewport).

    Shoulda stated somewhere that I'm in animation, not game art. My bad.
    Talon wrote: »
    And on a final note, ditch the "favourite techniques" section of your about page. It's redundant and it makes it look like you consider standard techniques as something special.

    Done
    Talon wrote: »
    I can't see that "specual mapping" will be doing you any favours either :P

    Fixed.
    Proxzee wrote: »
    Yeah flash is annoying! The low poly boxes you made aren't that impressive. you should take that out.

    The boxes stay.
    caseyjones wrote: »
    I re-named your thread to match the naming conventions listed in the portfolio rules thread.

    Thanks,
    I had no idea how to format it.
    Dekard wrote: »
    You also show your 'speed modeling' but no times, or any information on them.

    Will add later
    Dekard wrote: »
    You can also probably get rid of your 'favorite' techniques section.

    Done.

    Thanks for all the crits guys.

    EDIT:
    If you go to the site again and it looks the same, try clearing your cache.
  • Ferg
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    Ferg polycounter lvl 14
    Flash repels employers instantly. You spelled "environments" wrong in your page header. Drop the "about" section. Drop the non-art jobs from you experience field.
  • ContrivanCe
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    ContrivanCe polycounter lvl 10
    Ferg wrote: »
    You spelled "environments" wrong in your page header.

    Thanks. Will fix.
    (Typos are a pain)
    Ferg wrote: »
    Drop the non-art jobs from you experience field.

    I have no experience in the art field. Should I just get rid of that "experience" section?
  • carlo_c
    If flash is the only way you know how to make sites I really suggest that you brush up on some basic HTML. It's really not difficult at all and you'll have something which is not only faster loading but also easier to update.

    Once you got the basics of HTML down picking up CSS like talon suggest will come. But its better to have an an ok looking fast and accessible website than a slow, flash site.

    Less can be more when it comes to a portfolio, your speed modelling objects for example I have no clue what they are so I would consider removing those. If your object can't visually convey what it is due to the quirky nature of it or its just a small piece in a larger puzzle consider writing a couple of lines to say what it is and/or used for.
  • Ferg
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    Ferg polycounter lvl 14
    I have no experience in the art field. Should I just get rid of that "experience" section?

    Yah, having non-art jobs there is often worse than not having any, it kind of underscores the fact that you don't have any experience. Nothing wrong with being new to the field though, we're all at that spot at some point or another.

    Easiest way to beef up your experience section is doing simple assets for game mods, or other independent non-paying projects. You'll get practical experience for yourself, and your resume will look better. It also shows that you give enough of a shit to go out and work on projects on your own, even if you're not getting paid. Self-motivation is a huge asset, and that's a great way to show you have it.
  • Farfarer
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    Farfarer Polycount Sponsor
    It's the only way I know how to make sites.
    Then remove all that fade-in stuff at the start (but really, HTML is easy as pie, it's not hard to pick up). It's an extra few seconds wait that serves no purpose at all. Just go all-out on streamlining the site and removing as much of the time (loading/transitions) and effort (clicks) that occurs between someone clicking your folio link and seeing the full-sized jpg of your work. All the fancy stuff should be taking a back-seat to the content.
    I made the portfolio page the first one that loads.
    It's an improvement, but it'd be even better if you took the user straight to either your 3D or 2D work (whichever you wish to specialise in). Then have an option to go to the other galleries at the side (there's loads of space there you're not using for some reason - could easily fit the gallery menu option down the sides there). That's one less click and one less loading time gone instantly. Along with the mis-matched 2D/3D/Sketch buttons.

    As ridiculous as it sounds, every second and every click really does count. After about 3 clicks and getting nothing or 10 seconds of waiting... people will start to just close the browser window.
  • danr
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    danr interpolator
    man, your content is confused ... it's kinda objects and ... er ... things ... a warhead all done out in bleached white making it look like a nerf missile ... and a blobby zbrush helmet thing ... and some more ... stuff

    ey up, here's a weapon, an axe, i can recognise that ... can't really see it though. The background pattern is sharper and more in your face than the render you're trying to show, like my dad's windows XP background which means he can never find his own icons. But he's 66 and doesn't really understand stuff that doesn't have a two-stroke engine, we'll forgive him. And here's some cogs. Cogs? Oh i see, "combined maps" ... nah. Can't see it. Background again. Skip on.

    and here's some 2D ... environments ... ah, concept? Sort of. Shapes. Colours and that. Generic cliche. Actually, scratch that, it's not concept, it doesn't really show any imagination on your part or inspiration for others. And some photo stuff ... it's like Photoshop and *everything, with all masks and that. Done on a modern computer. Fuck a duck. And here's storyboards ... oh hang on, they're not ... it's a frame of a storyboard. That ain't a storyboard. It's a drawing.

    look - employers don't want to see a random dump of whatever jpegs are hanging around your hard drive, they want a considered portfolio that displays an understanding of the sort of job you're applying for. They want to see specific skills presented well, and if those skills are not fully developed yet and/or you don't have the volume of portfolio content and resume experience to show, they want this explained and then they want to see the POTENTIAL of what you could do for them. Really, honestly, go now to a couple of posts up and click on Talon's portfolio link for a properly good example of how to do this.

    practical suggestions right now : ditch everything and work back through with an empty site, adding only what you think is your very best and most relevant work for what you want to do. Add a few notes of explanation - don't slather it in text and bollocks like "time to complete", it's deeply annoying and irrelevant - polycounts and map sizes will do, with a couple of words of what the piece actually is. Fuck the copyright and the web address, if you really want to keep them for reasons, make them tiny and get them in a corner somewhere, no-one cares. Include all relevant maps, wireframes etc as part of the information you need to show.

    If, at this point, you don't really know what you want to do, if you think that photo manipulation and storyboards are relevant for your portfolio, then you really could with some notes on this. Show why you think that is - What are the skills you think you can show with this content? You tell the employer what you're about - don't leave them to try and figure it out, cos i can tell you know they simply won't be bothered to do this.

    sorry if some of this comes across as harsh, i'm back in portfolio-scanning hiring mode at the minute cos they're coming in thick and fast and most of them are SHITE as per usual and it's pissing me off a bit.
  • Ghostscape
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    Ghostscape polycounter lvl 13
    I can't middle click or scroll the window since it's flash. All the images open in the same new window so I can't open them all in new tabs or whatever and scroll through them. Flash sucks for websites like this.

    You have no finished environment work. Your see-through environment would be an interesting effect but really has nothing to do with game graphics.

    There are no wire frames, no texture maps, so it's impossible to see how efficient you are.

    everything has a similar sort of specularity and material to it - it's all kinda plasticy.

    You don't have any finished pieces that really demonstrate a strong understanding of the various maps you're applying. Everything looks plasticy.

    you have a bunch of heads that are incredibly blobby zBrush sculpts.

    Overall the content looks like a bunch of learning exercises, but not finished, professional work. The stuff you do to learn new techniques will always be riddled with mistakes and problems that you learn to overcome by going through the process. It's necessary to create those learning exercises, but they don't belong in a portfolio.

    Take me directly to your work, your work is what I'm interested in, not splash pages.
  • Yozora
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    Yozora polycounter lvl 11
    Ok agree with most of the comments about the work... onto the site itself;

    Remove the updates page, no one cares
    Remove the links page, its useless - and so are the links to your "community profiles". People want to see your work not your various forum posts (which you also don't have much of anyway).

    The only place I can find your full name is title of the tab in my browser, should put your name somewhere on the site as well...

    You claim you have a good chunk of texturing practice in your signature, I'm wondering... where does it show this? I don't see a single texture sheet anywhere on the site. Speaking of your signature, the link to your site doesnt actually go to your site... instead it goes to polycount, might wanna fix that too :p


    Actually danr is right, just remake the whole thing from scratch, this time without using flash. HTML is really easy, you can learn to create a basic functional site within a day.
  • Xaltar
    Agreed with most of the comments here. A portfolio is something you work on not something you throw together from random incomplete/old excercises. Scrap all the stuff you have from the site, get some HTML tutos and start actually making stuff FOR your portfolio. Push yourself and your limits to achieve the very best work you possibly can. Post your work on these boards for critique and in the end you will have a real portfolio.

    These comments sound pretty harsh but you have to understand that a lot of the guys commenting here are in the biz and know what the employers look for. I took one look at your portfolio and thaught "next", odds are, so will any prospective employer. Most won't even get past the splash page.

    In the end you are better off having a single well made asset on your portfolio than 50 of the quality you have now. Its quality that provokes interest not quantity.

    Good luck
  • aesir
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    aesir polycounter lvl 13
    instead of learning html (which was kinda daunting for me) pick up macromedia dreamweaver and make the site with that. Took me a couple days to figure it all out and make a site.
  • Ajax
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    Ajax polycounter lvl 13
    I agree, the site design should probably go. The CSS thing took awhile to load, I almost left the page after clicking 3D/2D since nothing happened (it was preloading the images I guess). Simplicity is usually go, you don't want the site to detract from the work. Showing more wireframes/texture sheets would go a bit farther for 3D work too. As a director I really enjoyed seeing 1-3 things done really well in their entirety rather than quantity of mid-range work with no way to inspect the details to see how you work.
  • ContrivanCe
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    ContrivanCe polycounter lvl 10
    Alright, I re-did the site.
    Here's a shot of the old one:

    OLD.jpg

    More crits welcome.
  • System
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    System admin
    First thing that came to mind is darkening the Grey youre using... just by a notch to up the readability.

    Also your banner seems to be going every so slightly out into the page on the right hand side?

    - At first glance it seems like you have a lot of images but if they are of the same thing but from different view points, wouldnt it be a better idea to group them into one file in photoshop... resize them a bit/border and possibly add your email to them. (some of those pngs seem big - http://district-c.com/images/checkpoint4.png being a perfect example, 1mb for that is a bit over the top.)

    Tis quite a nice layout though, and i think if you cut down on the image number by grouping them into their projects rather than just seperate thumbs for each itd help browse it.
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