Rookie Game artist

Discussion in 'Art Portfolios' started by Anne, Jul 20, 2010.

  1. Anne

    Anne New Member

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    I'm a Game Design student looking for improvement. :)

    I've got some experience in 2D and 3D art and I'm planning on getting
    better right now.
    I usually focus mainly on gameplay design and I've got a flair
    for storywriting as well.

    I'm looking for some freelance work and since this is my first try rates
    are both low and negotiable.

    As can be read in the replies to this post, my current website is far from professional and I plan to do something about that very soon but until then my portfolio can be found at:
    http://student-kmt.hku.nl/~anne0

    I'd also really appreceate any hints anyone
    can give me since I'm quite new at this. :)
     
    #1 Anne, Jul 20, 2010
    Last edited: Aug 4, 2010
  2. richtaur

    Indie Author

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    Hi Anne,

    Your site took a long while to load for me. While flash can be impressive, it's often not as easy to access. I'd suggest putting as much of your work as possible "on the cloud" as they say, which means uploading your content to various websites such as Newgrounds, Flickr, Picassa, DeviantArt, etc.

    That way you'll get some organic traffic and people will be able to more easily access your work.

    Best of luck!
     
  3. Wrote A Game or Two

    Wrote A Game or Two New Member

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    Anne,

    In short, love your artwork, but I can't stand the site. I'd completely redo it. It takes far too long to load, it's confusing to navigate, and it just doesn't do your wonderful sketches justice. You're a phenomenal 2D artist, and that's SO RARE of a quality in a game developer (google "programmer art" for a point of reference). Any fool with a 3D program can make something look decent but to create art with nothing more than a piece of paper and a pencil or pen takes real talent and skill. You have that in abundance, so stop hiding it behind 2 layers of flash! You want to take your best sketch and put it right up front where everyone can see it and go "WOW" and want to click to see more.

    Take a look at this site for an example of a professional artist's online portfolio: www.marasmalley.com

    This is my cousin's website. She's a professional graphic artist and has worked with some of the biggest advertisers in the world, on artwork for major clients like Nike, Toyota, Nickelodeon and Disney. She's wildly successful, far more so than I am. I keep telling myself that someday I'll catch up. Or convince her to fund a game - I bet she could. ;)

    Anyway, if I were you, I'd build your site more like hers. Keep it elegant and simple, so that it loads quickly, looks good in any browser and so that people will focus not on the site itself but the wonderful artwork inside - THAT is what you want. The site you have now will only serve to chase potential clients away.

    Best of luck!
     
  4. Anne

    Anne New Member

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    To Richtaur

    Thank you for the tip.
    I didn't know it took so long.
    I guess because I've mainly used this site as portfolio to find an internship and at game studios the computers are fast.

    The thing I like about flash though (besides the way it looks) is that the pictures are harder to copy. Someone in my class put her work on deviantart and had someone copy it. She found out about it and it was sorted out but I'd still rather not have the risk. (though my work probably isn't good enough for people to want to copy yet)

    Is there a way around this?
     
    #4 Anne, Jul 21, 2010
    Last edited: Jul 21, 2010
  5. Anne

    Anne New Member

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    to 'Wrote a game or two'

    Wow, thanks!
    I think I might take your advice.
    I hadn't made a site with actionscript before and the computer I use is pretty
    fast so I just wanted to make it something interesting. Also, I'm still a rookie so I'm not that confindent in my work. (not confident enough to put it on the front at least) I just keep seeing these phenomenal artists on sites like 'conceptart.org' and even at school so my 2D skills do'n't really seem like anything special to me (there's so much room for improvement).

    Still, you've given me some real motivation to remake my site. I can always make a link to the old one if I don't want to waste the work.

    Thank you for your reaction!
     
  6. Wrote A Game or Two

    Wrote A Game or Two New Member

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    We are often our harshest critic. ;)

    Confidence in your abilities is a must. You are selling your services - i.e. convincing guys like me to part with our cold hard cash to hire you instead of just attempting the artwork on our own to save a few bucks (guilty - but I'm an artist too, so I can get away with it). You're trying to convince people you're the best person for the job. Who cares if there are better artists out there than you? They charge a high premium for what they do, and are often unavailable unless you schedule something months in advance. By contrast, you can put out the message that you are available TODAY, you charge less than they do and you do good work, without the pretentious "I'm an artiste" bullshit ego. That's a big plus for you. Remember, you're not trying to convince people you're the best artist in the world, just the best one for their project. They are often mutually exclusive.

    Don't sell yourself short, and don't worry about someone stealing your artwork right now. Trust me, no one's going to steal it - they can't FIND IT! :D You want to be found. Once people start finding your art, then keep it secure with a watermark or something like that.

    Once your site is in order, DO THIS: Sign on to a game project at school as an artist - I'm sure your school is chock full of teams who want to write games in their spare time between classes. Forget for the duration of the project about being a developer. Just focus on the artwork, do your absolute best, and do it for free - why? Because then you have something worth it's weight in gold for your portfolio.

    It's one thing to say "I'm a video game artist, look at my sketches" but it's quite another (and much better) to be able to show screenshots from a completed game and say "I created all the graphics for Space Critter Blasteroid Blitz, including initial concept art, backgrounds, special effects and character animations". As a developer myself, if I want to hire an artist THAT'S what I'd be most impressed by because it would show that you not only have the talent, but the organizational skills needed and can meet a deadline and deliver artwork I can actually USE. That's far more important than being able to draw a lifelike, photorealistic ink & pencil sketch of a horse with giant wings or an exact likeness of Chii from the anime show Chobits wearing a negligee and sprawled out on the floor, or other such sillyness I see all the time on sites like Deviant Art. Sure that stuff is neat and takes talent to create, but it's not an asset I can use in a video game, so for me, it's useless. If you'll refer back to my cousin's site, you'll note that most of the artwork she has on display is actual projects she's done, and this is why.

    Again, I like what I see, Anne. You've got some potential. Keep at it.
     
  7. Reactor

    Moderator Original Member Indie Author

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    Just a bit of feedback about your artwork-

    - take a bit of time to learn about fonts, and how to use them. They'll make a huge difference to your future websites. The font you're using on your site is (if I'm correctly identifying it) the most hated font in the world. Check out places like this for some modern web design standards. Good designers know that less is often more, but also know how to make that simplicity work for them.

    - also watch that your text is readable. So, for example, no white text on complex backgrounds, or primary red on dark blue.

    - with your 3D work, try taking a screenshot (or rendering) in perspective, instead of an orthographic view. People view things in perspective, so anything that has a flattened field of view looks odd. Your lighthouse is a prime example. The perspective on it just looks weird as anything :p

    - With the above, you'll find a lot of 3D artists post wires of their 3D models to go with their rendered/textured view. This is important because the model's topology is often just as important as the final look of the model, especially if the game creator needs to meet a certain polygon budget, or wants to see how an object might deform during animation.

    As for other things, when I noticed your Quotes page, I thought, "Ah cool. Let's see how much she charges." How wrong I was :)

    I completely agree with what Wrote A Game or Two has said. A portfolio is pretty much a place where you put your best works (usually one type, such as art) so a potential client can come and see if you have 'teh skillz'. You can have a link to a personal site from there. Some guys have blogs, and some have sites like yours that talk about other things they enjoy.

    This is just the rule when you mention the word 'portfolio'. You can have a website that showcases your work and has all the other information about yourself you think they might find interesting, but the word portfolio isn't the word to attach to it. I hope that makes sense, and the above info helps.
     
  8. Anne

    Anne New Member

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    To Reactor

    Thanks for the advice.
    I do know theres a lot wrong with the stuff I make and how I present it but it was kinda hard to know where to begin so this really helps.

    About this:

    It's kinda hard putting down rates since I've never charged for something in my entire life. (or at least not for my artwork)

    Any advice on that?
     
  9. Qitsune

    Qitsune New Member

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    Anne, it isn't about having a fast computer, it's about going through the little useless transition animations. It might be funny the first time you see it, but if you try to find your way on the site because the labeling is not clear, or if someone bookmarked your site and they want to refresh their memory before hiring you, they will have to click around quite a bit and see the transitions way too often. I have had art directors at bigger companies tell me that if a site is clunky and they don't know the artist, they don't bother checking. The get enough resumes and portfolios that they can concentrating on the clean portfolios or on artists whom they know to be awesome.

    Add to that that Flash doesn't index properly in search engines and that someone can't link directly to the part they are interested in. Flash is good for games, or applications, not for the whole content of a site.

    Oh, and Reactor knows what he's talking about.
     
  10. Reactor

    Moderator Original Member Indie Author

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    A first, I assure you :p

    EDIT: Oops, missed your post Anne.

    No worries. In time and with practice we all improve. On a side note, I completely agree with Qitsune's thoughts about flash for portfolios, and not just because he agreed with me :)

    That's a hard one. There are lots of artists out there who aren't completely sure of their pricing. I'm one of them. But, I'd say a good rule of thumb for beginners would be to charge between $10-$20 an hour, yet remain flexible to negotiate pricing with clients. As you gain experience you can raise your hourly rate. If a job needs to be done in a really short period of time and you think the hourly rate doesn't suit the amount of effort you'll need to put in, you can charge more. Likewise, if you like the person you're working for, understand they lack cash, or you personally find the job braindead easy, charge them less.
     
    #10 Reactor, Jul 21, 2010
    Last edited: Jul 21, 2010

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