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Unity Or Ue4 To Use As A Show Reel For My Portfolio

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Hi,

 

I have just graduated from University with a Bsc(Hons)Computer Science(Games Development)Degree about a month ago and I've been working on another Demo project(creating hopefully my best environment assets using Maya, mudbox and ZBrush). I have two Demos of my work on my portfolio website but they are both shown in Unity with C# scripting. Below is what i'm looking to achieve in my demo. 

 

e.g.

 

Having several cameras following a character i created walking around the game environment to show hopefully to game dev companies I'm worth employing, I was kinda thinking maybe I should swat up on UE4 (and my C++ coding)even though I have not used that IDE before because it will look better(as I have put a lot of time into it and want it to look as professional as possible) and show i can be flexible.

 

Any feedback would be appreciated good or bad....

 

Kind Regards,

 

Carl

 

 

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Having several cameras following a character i created walking around the game environment to show hopefully to game dev companies I'm worth employing,

 

What you're describing is basically slightly tweaking the stock functionality and content demos for Unreal and Unity. It won't do a very good job of demonstrating that you're "worth hiring" I'm afraid. At least not as a programmer, which is an assumption I'm making based on the "computer science" part of your degree.

 

Your portfolio should consist of work you've done yourself, because you were interested and excited about doing it. That work will reflect your interests far better and you'll be able to talk about it in interviews with far more zeal. Your portfolio should also include work you did while in school, because it demonstrates the techniques you were expected to master, shows some variety, and shows you can finish what you start. 

 

By contrast, work that you generate just to "show off in a portfolio" almost always ends up looking sloppy and phoned in, partially because you just don't have the same level of time and polish put into it.

Edited by Josh Petrie

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Thanks for the advice Josh but my main problem was during my second year at Uni I realized that I was a lot more passionate about the 3D modelling side and it really hit me during a group project when the level artist/designer (decided not to show up after the third week of the module) so I took on the role as well as being the mechanics programmer, I enjoyed the art side much more than the programming(my degree was about 80% programming) so I'm trying to "show off" my 3D modelling skill set more. As i recently found out at an interview for a small software company I was successful at the first stage interview and with the programming task i was given, then when I was asked back for the second stage interview It quickly became apparent to them that I was much more passionate about the 3D modelling side of games development and subsequently in the feedback I got from the company as the reason why i did not get the job.   

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If you are more interested in art or design, then what you're talking about as a portfolio is really more of a venue to show off the art or design you can contribute to the game. That is a much stronger case for simply doing it in Unity or Unreal. But I'd pick the one you are more familiar with, as that will likely lead to better results.

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I probably didn't get the question across as a should have done meaning would my work look better if I showed it in UE4 than Unity as I'm currently creating a City landscape in Maya and will be adding several characters iv'e created in ZBrush and rigged/animated in Maya.

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Whatever you do, don't send mixed messages -- Apply as a programmer and showcase your programming, or apply as an artist and showcase your art/modelling. These will be distinct Portfolios for sure, and should be distinct resumes as well -- even if they draw from the same education and experiences list, each resume should have a different angle focusing either on your programming or artistic prowess.

 

Now, an important question to ask yourself is whether or not you actually have the requisite background and skill level as an artist to compete for jobs against those with an arts background. Its entirely possible you might have the talent, if not the paperwork, but be aware that there's a whole different background expected of an artist -- even if they're title is "modeller" its still usually expected to have some level of competency with traditional art (sketch, painting, etc), digital 2D art, concept development, and a general familiarity with art history, terminology, and all the foundational techniques a pure artist would have gained.

 

If your modeling skills are strong and your general art background/capability not lacking, your ability to program might make you uniquely attractive to a small team looking for a first/only artist because you'll need a strong ability to interface with programmers on a technical level. In the industry, there's a title something like "Technical Artist" who performs this same kind of function for a larger team -- being the liaison between the art and programming sides of the house, working with programmers to specify what the art team needs of the engine, and helping the artists work towards what the programmers enable. On a larger team this person doesn't usually do art themselves, at least not primarily, but for a team with only 1 or 2 artists, a similar capacity to collaborate on a technical level can be useful -- it could be a programmer who understands art, or an artist who understands programming.

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Why decide? Why not create portfolio pieces in both engines?

 

Thing is, Unity and Unreal are two of the most used engines among hobbyists and Indies, and are also quite wellknown and used among bigger studios. Both have their Pros and Cons, but that shouldn't really bother you. You want to show potential employers that you can make ANY engine shine, and not that you are good at picking the engine that makes your work shine.

If you find work in a bigger studio, chances are higher than 80% that you will not work in either of those engines. There are a ton of other engines being employed by bigger studios, some not as hobbyist  / Indie / Beginner friendly because of price or features... others not really available to people outside the studio, or at least without working for a certain publisher. Frostbite comes to mind.

 

Now, getting back to the wellknown part, people in the industry know both those engines even if they do not work with them. It doesn't matter much if your UE4 showcase looks better than the Unity one (and let me tell you, if you are good, and have the right tools or enough time, both will look just as good)... as long as it looks good for the engine it runs in, people will react positive to it.

Don't forget the people that will look at these portfolio pieces are not consumers/gamers... they are not looking for the most shiny effects... thos effects actually can get in the way of seeing the work you have done (e.g. strong postprocess effects).

They want to see what YOU did. And that has nothing to do with the glitz the engine adds to your work. They want to see passion, hard work and skill. No engine no matter how advanced can make up for missing passion, and a simpler tool can make it actually easier for you to show hard work and skill.

 

You want to show your potential employer that you have the basic skills to use modern engines, and that you are able to adapt to ANY engine thrown your way. Because you WILL have to adapt, the studio will not adapt to your wishes. So showing work done in multiple engines will most probably be a very good idea.

 

 

Now, getting 3 to 4 steps back, I have to ask why the question of which engine to use is even important if you are trying to apply as a 3D Artist. Your tool is Maya, or 3DS Max, or Blender, or ZBrush (or all of them together)... it is good to show you are also able to find your way around in a game engine, so you are able to import and test your models yourself and the level designers can be sure to get well tested and working models from you, without having to send them back 3 times for fixing bugs you would have spotted immidiatly if you would have tested them in-engine.

But really, your job as a 3D Modeller is NOT to create levels, or game logic, or hook it all up. If that is what you are interested in, you might want to go for level designer.

 

If you are actually more interested in everything together, then working in a bigger studio might not be ideal for you. If you can go with a most probably slimmer paycheck, such jack-of-all-trades might be in higher demand in small Indie shops and studios...

 

Don't get me wrong, having an animated or even ingame showcase for you models certainly will make your work look even better, and show additional skillsets above and beyond what is expected of a 3D artist... but really, this is all nice to have. Before layering all the glitz on your showcase by "picking a better engine", "that has better postprocess effects", "has better performance" and whatnot, make sure the foundation is in place. Good models, no import problems, a very good showcase showing off your models, and enough variety to make sure your future employer has one example that might match what is expected of their future artist best.

 

In the end, its the quality of your 3D Models that counts.

Edited by Gian-Reto

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Thanks for the advice guys i'll take it on board  :D, maybe i should have made a post "It look me until my second year at Uni before i realized I wanted to take a different direction now i have to spend the rest of my working life in an area I like but I'm not passionate about".  

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now i have to spend the rest of my working life in an area I like but I'm not passionate about".


Wrong. You do not have to do that. And you shouldn't. While you may have to do something that you like
(but are not passionate about) for a few years (as many of us did or still do), it is not a life
sentence. Keep working at it - keep doing your best - keep pursuing your passions on the side - and it
will work out.

And there can be worse things than working in a job that you like but aren't passionate about. Much
worse!

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It look me until my second year at Uni before i realized I wanted to take a different direction now i have to spend the rest of my working life in an area I like but I'm not passionate about".  

 

Perhaps you will make another realization:  people change careers several times during their life.

 

Most professionals change careers 5-7 times during their lifetimes.  I don't mean change jobs, which these days takes place about every 3-5 years, but a change in occupation, industry, or both. There is no exact number because there is no exact definition: transitioning from surgeon to standup comedian is clearly a career change; transitioning from programmer to manager of programmers is considered a career change by many people but not by others. 

It is fairly rare for someone to pick a career path during their school years and stick with that same career path through retirement.  I've known a small number of people who remained in exactly one from school to graduation, such as an accountant who remained an accountant to retirement, or a programmer who remained a programmer to retirement, but they are the exception.  The vast majority of people I've worked with who are over the age of about 40 have changed career at least once.

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