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Nate White Portfolio Advice

The following was originally posted to the LinkedIn group Jobs in Games by Nate White, on October 7, 2010.


I have been apart of this group for some time now and I have noticed a trend among people who seem to be struggling with getting a job, and that is over all quality. Whether it is website styles, layouts, resumes, or just your work in general. I have spoken with dozens of HR and recruiters and they have given me great advice and I hope this is useful to some of you. I am an Artist so most of this is tailored to that, but there should still be some useful tips for others about your websites.


If you are not a good web designer, do not create your own website. Use a template (not deviant art), or hire someone to make one for you. Bad websites shows that you do not understand presentation.

Do not post WIPs on your home page, EVER. If you are going to have WIPs on your site put them in a subsection. WIPs make it look like you do not finish things.

Your HOME page should be your work. Not a BIO or something "quippy." Put all that in sub-categories.

Typos and spelling error show a lack of attention to detail. You might be able to get away with one or two, but spell check your site. NO BROKEN LINKS!!!

Portfolios and Resumes

ONLY PUT UP YOUR BEST WORK!!! quality over quantity always. I know some companies request a certain number of images, but it is better that you blow them away with 3 really good pieces rather than bore them with the 10 they ask for.

Understand your competition. Artists are a dime a dozen, if you are not constantly keeping up with the talent out there, you will be left behind.

Trim the fat. When you add a piece to your site, consider your other work and eliminate the wost one (provided that you have a few pieces on your site). Do not get attached to work.

Learn gaming engines. UDK is a good place to get your feet wet, but there are plenty of other free engines to use and get a good understanding of pipelines.

Game companies do not care about your grades. All they want to see is good work and experiences. Grades are nice, but do not need to be a feature of your website or resume. Just because you have a degree does not mean that you are entitled to a job.

Do not try to be too versatile. Like I said earlier only your best work.

Character Artists

If you do not know zbrush/mudbox, LEARN IT. Character Art is the hardest category to get into in the games industry. If your models are not incredible make sure that your Textures and UV layouts are.

Environment Artists

Understand efficiency and limitations. You are not going to be awarded the luxury of 2048 textures and multiple UV sets on everything. This goes for geometry, textures, and UVs.


You need to be able to Rig and Paint Weight your own stuff. Do not over use pre-rigged characters. DO NOT SHOW THE BOX MOVING ANIMATIONS. You know what I am talking about. Do something interesting and use good camera work (no stationary cameras).


Show moods. Be able to convey an emotional feeling in your scene without telling the viewer what it is supposed to be.


LEVELS, LEVELS, LEVELS, LEVELS! Write ups help, but you have to show it in action. Learn some scripting and put together prototypes. If you do not know what a white (blue,orange) box level is, FIND OUT! MODs are a good way to build levels and prototype ideas.


Learn the business side, and what it takes to operate a game company.

Programmers and Tech Artists

Clean and efficient code goes a long way. You are in the most demand so as long as you are competent and can display your work you should have very little trouble in your search.

End Note

Sorry that this is so long, but I hope that this is useful to some of you. There is some good talent in this group, but there are some that still have a long way to go. The games industry is very hard to get into. Do not get discouraged, be patient, and be smart with your timing when you apply. If you have questions please feel free to ask away, and good hunting!

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