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bug_ugly

Technical artist: Shaders and Tools in portfolio tips

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Hey guys and gals, 

I am hoping for a little bit of guidance. 

I am finishing up my portfolio and I have an extra month before I start applying for jobs. I will be aiming for technical art jobs/internships. 

So far in my portfolio I have some 3D sculpting, modelling, programming (a lot of different stuff, including the games I made), some particle effects, texturing, painting.... Lots of fun stuff, BUT what I don't have and what I consider important are tools and shaders. 😯 

I would like to add them to my portfolio, but I lack exposure to them, therefore I can't tell what's considered worthy of being in the portfolio and what's not. For example if I use a tool in Unreal Engine to create a shader, instead of programming it, is it as good as making your own shader in GLSL or Unity shading language? And if I make a shader for a rock, it's probably not as challenging as an ice or magma shader. Is it better to show basic things? In which case, what are the basic things? 

With the tools, I don't even know where to start. I was told that a tool for maya is ok, but I can't think of anything that sounds sane... 🤯 I could learn all that super quick, if only I knew exactly what to do. 

If there is someone actually working in the industry who could give me an advice of what kind of stuff they like to see in a portfolio at the entry level, I would be super grateful.  Also, if you have any resource you could share with me, it would be awesome. 😊

I know the questions probably sound stupid to people who are already there, but I've been aimlessly going back and forth between openGL, maya scripting and unreal engine for the last couple of days knowing that the time is ticking. Scary times 😧 

Edited by bug_ugly

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Since it seems you have no experience with it, why are you trying to put it in your portfolio?

I mean you literally say "I lack exposure to them", so why are you trying to showcase them among the skills you are best at?

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5 hours ago, frob said:

Since it seems you have no experience with it, why are you trying to put it in your portfolio?

I mean you literally say "I lack exposure to them", so why are you trying to showcase them among the skills you are best at?

It means I can do it technically in terms of my programming skills and I would like to show it to my employer. If I lack exposure to the mentioned things, it doesn't mean I shouldn't try and expose myself to them. If I have no experience with it, I am trying to create it. It's the entire purpose of this post - requesting advice with basically creating experience. 😘

 

 

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I assume that means your real question is: How do I gain experience with shaders in art tools?

The answer there is the same way you gain experience in anything else. You study them, you practice using them, you evaluate your results of using them, you compare what you did with what other people did. 

Don't put it on your portfolio until you've actually gained skill with them.  If you try to make it look like you're in a technical artist role, that's the job that creates and manipulates shaders in addition to creating art assets), then companies that are hiring for that need will either pass over you in the interview or fire you when they discover you don't have the skills they need. Trying to put that in your portfolio prior to gaining the experience is unwise at best.

I'd consider creating an entirely new post over in the Graphics Programming section or the 2D/3D Art section of the site. Ask your real question about gaining experience, not your question about slipping it into a portfolio.

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You’ve just made an assumption about me and then you extrapolated from it. Then your mad road had led you into a castle in which you assumed position of a righteous crusader and criticised my morals. 

My real question is in my original post (paragraph that mentions my lack of exposure). 

———-

To those who come here after, I shall explain my problem a bit more. Perhaps my original post sounded a bit frantic, for what I apologise. 

My goal is to accomplish a list of tasks that were set for me by my future employers. I need to make a shader and a tool. I am cabaple of implementing both in varying degrees, however, I would like to produce something special in order to showcase it in my portfolio. Now, would an employer prefer something basic, to show basic skills and capabilities (as i am applying for entry positions or internships), or is it better to show off in order to try and impress them?

Edited by bug_ugly

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Show your best work. 

It is backwards-looking to try to predict what an employer is looking for and then filling that supposed need. Employers are looking for their own unique needs, and no two employers have exactly the same needs.  Put forth your best work, and either it matches or it doesn't. 

You should also be aware that "technical artist" and "internship" are rarely seen together. Technical artist typically begins as a mid-career title. When a studio is hiring for the role, they look for multiple completed games in your work history.  Typically they are experienced artists who have spent extensive time working with the code and/or developed a math background, or less commonly experienced programmers who have spent extensive time and training in the art world. Putting them together dramatically reduces your potential employment pool, probably only to the studios who cannot pay or are unstable and are willing to throw around job titles in lieu of money and security.

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Thank you so much. I've heard that employers have particularly different needs when it comes to technical artists. In some companies it seems like it is more of a vfx role, in others it is more of a tool programmer. I totally understand what you mean by experience being required. And seems like it's true that the employers "will only know that they need it when they see it".

I will keep trying and being persistent so let's see what happens. I am not particularly locked on a technical artist role, but because I have both art and programming backgrounds, I would like to develop them further in a professional environment. 

By the way, your book is brilliant, it helped me a year ago with my game design class. I made a game very similar to "Papers, please". 

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