Portfolio Tips and Guidelines

​W​hat aspect of game design are you most interested in? Whether it's animation, visual effects or something else, it’s important to have an amazing portfolio to help you stand out from the crowd.

After all, people from all over the world apply to gaming jobs in the United States! Find tips on creating the best portfolio for the job you're interested in by clicking on the links below.

 

  • Have a fresh and up-to-date animation demo reel.
  • Put your best work first and close strong.
  • Include performances where there is a change of emotions.
  • Be specific and organized, and include original ideas.
  • Tell a story with your reel; don't be a shot animator.

  • Keep a GitHub profile (your primary resume).
  • Showcase problem solving through a technical blog or other means.
  • Include relevant details for each project, such as its name, a description of what the code does, a high-level description of how it works, the skills involved, the programming language used and the tech stack used.

  • Place your best work on the homepage with a small gallery of work to look through.
  • Use a consistent theme, showcasing your specialty; if you are best at environmental art, then this should be what fills your portfolio.
  • Do not crowd your portfolio with too much art.
  • Check out the book "The Big Bad World of Concept Art for Video Games: An Insider's Guide for Students." This book was created by Elliott Lily, a past instructor of Richland and an industry expert. The book has many useful tips on developing your portfolio.

  • Like most demo reels for portfolios, keep it short and highlight your best work first and foremost.
  • Showcase your rigs and how functional they are.
  • Demonstrate what the controllers do.
  • Show your organization and groups.

  • Explain your level from the top down and highlight design elements and your theory behind why you do what you do
  • Have a target company you want to work for, and make levels that cater to their projects.
  • Everything you post should be supported with your thought process throughout the project. Employers want to see how you use critical thinking to solve problems.
  • If you make a video, try making a walk through with commentary that includes the premise, challenges, solutions and postmortem stuff. It also helps to mention (in the video description) the programs used, length of the project and any collaborators.

  • Create a video resume, demo reel and a visual resume.
  • Keep your demo reel short, around the two-minute mark. Anything beyond that may not be looked at.
  • Create a reel specific to the job you're applying for.
  • Show that you know and understand the fundamentals.

  • As well as modeling, you will also want to showcase that you can properly UV and texture your work. 
  • Don't go overboard, but try to elegantly include as much information about your workflow as possible.
  • Show your wire frame, especially if you are a new/junior artist. Employers want to see the cleanliness of your work.

  • No music. You're applying for a sound design position. Don't put music.
  • Have a good mix. Things should sound clear and understandable, not mushy and confusing.
  • Have a dynamic range. Don't send me a flat mix of chaos. Ups and downs are good.

  • While no one will read a massive game design document, no matter how great it is, game designer portfolios can have blogs and short documents detailing a relevant experience. Recruiters love seeing designers who can effectively document their process while building a game, brainstorming rule sets and figuring out solutions to design problems.
  • Include anything from images videos of games you have worked on, to mods, levels, prototypes and anything else related to the game design process. A portfolio where you just talk about your favorite games or explain why you’re good at game design (without any proof) will almost always be overlooked.
  • A designer who has level design or modding experience can add a few projects to their portfolio so others can see their work. You can even include links or downloads so people can actually play your levels and check them out firsthand

  • Producer portfolios are pretty straightforward. Make sure to have the projects you are proud to have worked on, and list how you were involved in them. List the projects details as well.
  • This is a role that requires experience, so you will most likely start out somewhere else in the industry before ending up here.

  • Lighting is all about composition, color and intensity. Take a very simple blocked-out scene and try to give it as much atmosphere and life as you can, with just the lights telling the story.
  • Showcase your knowledge of materials and shaders and how their physical characteristics affect your scene.
  • It's not uncommon to get a reel where multiple people have worked on a project, so just make sure information on what you worked on is provided.

  • Less is more. Learn to self-edit and be consistent with the type of work you are showing. Three good characters are better than eight okay ones.
  • Take multiple shots of your character in nice, then neutral lighting with a model/material breakdown. NO DEMO REELS.
  • Add in game art. Sculpting is only 33 percent of the job; you need to show the whole process.
  • Flesh out your designs and have them tell a story.