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How To Make CG Portfolio 1) - More Important Is How To Think

How To Make CG Portfolio 1) - More Important Is How To Think

What is the number one requirement to become a 3DCG artist?

If asked this, Toha would say portfolio.

To become a 3DCG artist, it doesn't matter what your education or work history is. Your portfolio is super important.

Not that the portfolio is everything, but if the portfolio is not good, there is a big chance that you will be out of the game from the very beginning.

Toha has created three 3DCG portfolios for employment.

Since becoming a 3DCG artist working for a company, I have been on the side of looking at submitted portfolios.

In this article, I will write about what I think is an important "How to think" when creating a portfolio.


The article is primarily intended for paper portfolios. It often does not apply to digital portfolios.


What is a Portfolio? Know its role


For a 3DCG artist, a portfolio is like a compilation of multiple CG works filed together. More than just a compilation of works, a portfolio has an important role to play.

What is the role of the portfolio?

Communicate "what you can do now and what you have done so far" to the person you are looking at.

Here it is.

A portfolio is essential if you want to get a job as an artist, not only in 3DCG. I think it is the same when you apply for a job at a company or when you want to get a job as a freelancer.


Let me give you an analogy.

One client is looking for an artist who can be asked to create a 3DCG of a robot.
There are 10 artists in front of that person who can be asked to do the job.

9 of the 10 artists brought their portfolios, but only one artist did not have his portfolio.

When choosing an artist to work with from among these 10, who do you choose?


If Toha is the client, I can't choose a designer who doesn't at least have a portfolio.
If a designer doesn't have a portfolio, you don't know what he/she can do.

I don't know = I can't make a decision.

Even if one person without a portfolio is actually very good at making 3DCG of robots, they will not get a chance to appeal if they are not an option from the beginning.

That is why a portfolio is an essential item.


And, the role of the portfolio is to communicate to the viewer what you can do now and what you have done so far.


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Think about who will be looking at your portfolio


A portfolio is an item that communicates "what you can do now and what you have done so far" to the people who see it. It is not for you to look at, but for someone else to see.

When creating a portfolio, it is very important to "think about the viewer".


Let's think about the robot 3DCG client I mentioned earlier.

The client wants to commission a 3DCG production of a robot.

If possible, we would like to work with an artist who has experience in past productions and is good at robot 3DCG.

If I'm going to create a portfolio to show this client,
I better have some 3DCG work of robots.


The client has other work to do and is busy.

It seems unlikely that we will have time to take the time to look at every page of every portfolio, all the way through to the end.

Thinking about the busy client,
I like to put the 3DCG of the robot in the beginning page.


The client is busy going through the artists' portfolios. Every artist is thinking about the client and including 3DCG work for the robot.

In such a situation, if you have a portfolio that has a lot of hard-to-read explanations in fine print, or if you have a portfolio with clear, concise explanations, which would the client want to see more?

If you think about the client,
I like to make the layout and description easy to read and understand and arrange.


As you think about the people who will be looking at your portfolio, you will naturally decide which works to include in your portfolio, the order in which they should appear, the layout, and so on.

What is important here is whether you thought properly about the viewer.


Bottom line, how big should the font size be, how much text, and how many pages should the portfolio be? You might ask.

But there is no 100% correct answer for a portfolio.

If you have created your portfolio with the viewer in mind and paid attention to the order and layout of your works, then I think it is an "OK" portfolio.

I believe that the results of our thinking are properly reflected in the contents of our portfolio.


Think about what you want to convey most in your portfolio


What we want to convey in our portfolio is "what I can do now and what I have done so far.

How can we get the message across?
I think this can be conveyed by "actually showing them the work you have created.

Seeing is believing.
Rather than explaining in words what you are good at, it is better to show what you are good at by actually doing it.


Then put everything you've ever created in your portfolio!

You may be like. Of course, it is "OK!"

But I mentioned earlier about "thinking about the person who will be looking at your portfolio". If you include that many works, the number of pages in your portfolio will be quite large.

Considering the person you are dealing with, you may want to narrow down the pieces you include a bit.


And as much as you think about the other person,
with that portfolio, It is also important to think about "what you want to convey most".

When you have many things you are good at and many accomplishments to date, it is natural to want to make them known as much as possible.

But I have 100 things I'm good at! and what happens if I tell you 100 things I am good at all at once?

The person being told, "After all, what is it that this person is really good at?" and then they become confused.
To convey the most important message, it is also necessary to dare to convey less information.



Now, if you think about what you want to convey most in your portfolio...

Please include the work that best conveys this on the first page of your portfolio.


The first page of a portfolio is the first impression of that portfolio.
The first impression of the portfolio is the first impression of the designer himself/herself.


First impressions are quite important.
It also makes the image easier for people to remember and recall.

The primacy effect is a psychological effect in which "the first characteristics presented are more likely to remain in memory (impression) and have a greater influence on later evaluations.

Source:What are the beginning effect and the new proximity effect?


So on the first page of the portfolio, I want to include the work that conveys the most what I want to convey the most.

If you don't have such work can try to create a new one from now on.


I'll think about it again with the robot 3DCG client.

The job the client is asking me to do is to create a 3DCG of a robot.
What you are best at and what you want to do most is to create 3DCG of animals.

You have never made a 3DCG of a robot, but you have the best and most confident 3DCG of an animal.

In this case,
I think the first page of your portfolio should be your best and most confident 3DCG of an animal.


What the client wants is a 3DCG of the robot, and as a result, he may not ask for the job this time.

But is that a bad outcome?

Unless I wanted to do this robot 3DCG work, what I am good at and want to do is to make 3DCG of animals.

If a robot 3DCG is offered a job under the pretense of being good at it, wouldn't that be a worse outcome?

I don't enjoy making 3DCGs of robots, I can't make them well, and the client may not be satisfied.


And even if I had not been asked to work on the robot this time, the client might have been left with the impression that I am an artist who specializes in animal 3DCG.

When there is a job to make 3DCG of animals at another time, the client may remember "an artist who is good at 3DCG of animals".



On the first page of your portfolio,
I would like you to include the work that best conveys what you most want to convey.

For this reason, it is important to think about what you want to convey most in your portfolio.


Is it what you are best at communicating? Or what do you like the most? Or is it something you are not so good at but would like to do the most?

If you are good at, like, and want to do the same thing, it is the strongest.

"I'm still not sure what I'm good at or what I want to do!" I think there are times when you are not sure.

In such cases, I try to pick one favorite piece that I have made so far that I think turned out the best.

How about making that work on the first page of your portfolio?


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Summary: If know the how to think of a portfolio, know how to make one

I see

In this article, I wrote about a "way of thinking" that I think is important in portfolio creation.

When creating a portfolio, it is most important to think properly about two things:
what the viewer is looking at and what you want to convey most.

The reason is that as you think about these two things, you will gradually understand how to create a portfolio.


The client of the robot 3DCG, which I have used as an example many times in this article, is a fictitious person.

For those who are going to create their own portfolios, please consider replacing the fictitious client with a real "company you want to work for" or something similar.


I've thought about it, but I'm not sure if this is the right thing to do... you may be worried.

Don't worry! There is no such thing as a 100% correct portfolio, to begin with!


And if a portfolio has been created after much thought and consideration, then I think it will be "OK" in terms of its content.

If you've thought about them and what you want to convey, and you've made it right, but it doesn't work...

In this case, I think it is just a situation where "the client wants 3DCG of a robot and I am good at 3DCG of animals".

There is no need to feel depressed that your portfolio is not good enough.

I am sure someone will be interested in your portfolio in time.



I was depressed when I was rejected by companies with the portfolio I worked so hard on. But now I think so.


Now, in How To Make CG Portfolio 2), I write about "things you don't have to think about" and "things you do without thinking about" when creating a portfolio.

Let's move on to the next article.


Incidentally, the reason why Toha came up with the idea that "finding a job is also a matter of compatibility and timing", I wrote at What Are 3 Things Absolutely Need To In Life?

If you are interested, please read it:)

List of comments

  1. みずしろ says:

    I fell out of about 30 companies, so if I had found this article first, I might have changed something - ;-).

    • Toha トハ says:

      Mizushiro, thank you for your comment~.

      It's still depressing when you fall down a lot...><
      Since you applied to more than 30 companies, we assume that you must have put in a lot of effort.

      I am very sorry that there is not a single thing in the Toha article that says that 100% will be adopted if practiced.
      However, if the contents of this article made you think of something, I think it was worth writing.

      I can only imagine what kind of situation Mizushiro-san is in right now, but I can only imagine what Toha
      We hope that your efforts will bear fruit and that things will get better from here on out!

  2. みずしろ says:

    Thanks for the reply.
    Immediately after that, I asked an employment agent what he thought of my portfolio, and he told me that there was a bias in my work. (It could be that they focused too much on ZBrush and too little on MAYA.)
    I guess it wasn't a good idea that I didn't put up one item in each genre, perverting what I heard somewhere about "not putting up what you are not sure about". (I was told that they wanted realistic-looking uncles and weapon buildings. I was sitting on the assumption that they would understand that we had stock and that if we could make mechs, we could make buildings.)
    I believe this is the result of being in a hurry and not having the time to think about the "other person to see" as Toha refers to in her article.
    I will take some time off to cool down, rebuild my portfolio, and try again. Of course, I don't intend to blame Mr. Toha because things didn't go well.
    I hope to read another good article.

    • Toha トハ says:

      Mizushiro, you were right~!
      From what you've told us, you have a lot of works, and a lot of different types.
      As you say, I feel that if we take a break for a while and then start over, we will see the light of day. (This is also a selfish wish of mine...)

      Impatience of mind can narrow your vision.
      In fact, when I was rejected by several companies, I thought to myself, "I can't get a job at all... I'm getting tired of it...
      When things go wrong, they go wrong in rapid succession, and when they go wrong, they go wrong in rapid succession.
      I'm just going to assume that the timing wasn't quite right right right now, and I hope you'll relax, refresh, and try again!

      We are taking it easy with our blog at Toha, but it is very encouraging to know that there are people out there who read it.
      Mizushiro-san, thank you very much for your comment.

  3. ソラマメ says:

    I am a self-taught 3D production student while attending vocational training to learn web design. Your blog is very helpful to me as I have no experience at all in 3D production or the industry.
    I would like to ask you, what is the best number of works to include in a portfolio? Also, I would like to know if it is better to have a consistent theme or genre of work, or if it is better to have a variety of different types of work in the portfolio. I look forward to reading your blog!

    • Toha トハ says:

      Thank you very much for your comment, Solamame~!
      Thank you very much for reading my blog!

      So, what is the best number of works to put in a portfolio? Well... it's a tough one - to be honest, we at TOHA don't know what is "best"!
      But you may be able to get some "better" choices. I asked Silicon Studio, a recruitment support agency that mainly handles game and video-related jobs, to help me find a job.Articles about the number of works and pages in the portfolioThere was a
      It says here that "the number of works is generally 10 to 20 works and the total number of pages is 12 to 30 pages. Incidentally, when I counted the number of pages in the portfolio I created when I changed jobs for the second time, it was 18 pages. However, there were only a few works that were not for business projects, so I used 3 or 4 pages for the works I wanted to show as the main part of my portfolio.

      Also, should the theme or genre of the work be consistent? I think it depends on the situation of the applicant.
      For example, if you are applying to a place that explicitly says "character modelers wanted," you don't need a background model. But it might be better to have a wide range and variety of character models. Rather than a designer who can only make girls, a designer who can make women, men, and beasts may be more welcome.
      On the other hand, if the job description does not specify the type of work, it may be a good idea to include a well-balanced portfolio that includes a variety of work, such as characters, backgrounds, etc. In some offices where 3DCG designers do not have a division of labor, they may welcome a variety of work.

      The "better" choice depends on who the portfolio is intended to be shown to. However, I think you can get some hints by considering who you are going to show your portfolio to.
      On the Silicon Studios website I mentioned earlier.Game Creator Portfolios ArticlesI think it's a good idea to take a look at this page for reference - I think it's a good idea to take a look at this page for reference.

      That is all.
      I'm doing a slow update on my blog, but if you don't mind, please continue to visit my blog at Toha! ^^^^^^^^^^.

      • ソラマメ says:

        I am Solamame, I sent you a comment yesterday.
        Thank you for your time and reply.
        I was worried about how to create a portfolio, but thanks to Toha's advice and the reference articles he introduced, I think I have a shape now!
        We would like to continue to ask you questions whenever we have problems in the future, and we thank you in advance for your continued support.

  4. しゅう says:

    Nice to meet you. I am currently looking to change careers in the CG industry from having no experience in the CG industry.
    I'm thinking of making character models for my portfolio work, but should I not make copyrighted characters to put in my portfolio?

    • Toha トハ says:

      Thanks for your comment, Shu.
      As for your question, in Toha's personal opinion, you can make a model of a copyrighted character and put it in your portfolio~!

      The main reason for this is that if you want to create a completely original character model, you have to start by thinking about the character design and giving it shape. It is not easy just to draw a character design, and it is not easy to create a 3D model that looks good.
      In the case of copyrighted characters, especially if the 3D model already exists for a game character, the above difficult part can be shortcut and the focus can be on modeling alone.
      However, as copyrighted characters, the copyright holder has the right to use them, so I think it is best to create them as studies or fan art.
      If you include a copyrighted character model in your portfolio, it is a good idea to clearly state the title of the work and the name of the character, while also providing information about the source, such as the URL of the official website where the character illustration is posted.

      Also, if you put yourself in the shoes of the person looking at your portfolio, "Why did you create this character?" and they may be happy if the reason is written down.
      However, in the real world of work, it's not enough to just create your favorite character, so it's a good idea to think about how you can respond to questions about that in the interview.

      Incidentally, Toha once modeled a robot called Tachikoma from the anime Ghost in the Shell for his portfolio.
      This was an assignment from a vocational school that required students to create a 3D model of their favorite plastic model as a reference material.
      In fact, one of the programmers at the company that hired me was a huge fan of Tachikoma, and after he joined the company, we had a brief conversation about the Tachikoma models in the TOHA portfolio. (Laughs).

      And, leaving those old stories out of it...
      If you look at the quoted retweets of this tweet and others, you will find many other people's opinions helpful - it depends on the company you are submitting your portfolio to, so please take a look at the various opinions!

      • しゅう says:

        Thank you, I will try and get back to you on this one! The tweet you posted was helpful! I will try my best to change jobs!


Please feel free to comment~!

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