Critique my portfolio


#1

Hi guys,

I just got back from Siggraph and I gained a bit more confidence in myself. This week (Friday, Aug 31) I am applying for Disney’s TD apprenticeship and am putting the final touches on my portfolio and was hoping to get a bit of feedback for some last minute tweaks.

so if you have some time I’d really appreciate you taking a look.

moodiew.github.io


#2

Hi @Moodie,

I had a look at your link, and presentation-wise I think it’s looking really well. There’s positivity and humility in your post above, straightforward design and content on your website, includes a photo for a personal touch and large and to-the-point video, hosted on Vimeo. Those tick all the boxes so far I think for anyone looking to hire anyone.

Portfolio wise, for an apprenticeship position, I think it is also very strong. There are some not-so-last-minute-changes I might critique - such as that auto rigger not appearing to provide any customisation, but rather a chopped up script with buttons (that must be pressed in a specific order?) for each function - but overall the pacing is good, the descriptions are clear.

It’s a good demonstration of your interests and what you’re capable of, which is what a portfolio is all about, and doing one for code is always a little more challenging than one for inherently visual content, like animation.

If there was one thing you could potentially address before sending it off, it would be the matrix constraint. I get what it does, but I didn’t get why it does it. What’s wrong with native constraints? What problem(s) is it solving? If you could either include the problem as text, or better yet demonstrate it, I think it’d strengthen the portfolio further.

Oh and here’s a hint; for the “built in sine wave” of your ribbon deformer, have a look at replacing that with the cmds.createNode("membrane") deformer instead; it’s similar, but a little more “how did it do that??” for those that aren’t familiar with this (undocumented, but awesome) node.

Finally, before I forget, I expected sound in the video. What sound won’t matter and Disney is unlikely to listen to it, but not having any distracts from what you are presenting. I honestly couldn’t remember the first few seconds of the video as I was trying to adjust my speaker settings to find the right volume.

Hope it helps!


#3

For sound, there are royalty free options such as https://www.bensound.com/ but if you really wanted to stand out (in a positive way) I would recommend you do a voice-over to complement your visual descriptions. It’d not only fill it with more data, but more importantly add yet another personal touch by letting them hear your voice. Just keep in mind that not everyone have access to sound whilst watching it, so don’t depend on just voice. (i.e. you still need those descriptions).


#4

That’s quite a nice reel, there’s definitely a good amount of diversity in the things you’re showing.
A few comments:

  • Get someone to spell check and grammar check your on-screen text for you. There’s a number of spelling errors and it never hurts to make sure that’s 100% correct. Maybe it’s less relevant for a TD job than others, but I know that when there’s lots of applicants to a job, typos and spelling errors can result in a rejected application on their own.

  • This might be personal preference, but I’d rather see a single movement of a control more slowly, than many fast wiggles. It’s something I see quite a bit in rig reels, and with sped-up footage it can be hard to see what’s going on. The fist clench is a good example. Take the same amount of time to present that slowly just once closing and opening. To save time elsewhere you can cut out more of the camera navigation.

  • Minor point, but be consistent with your text treatment (font, style of presentation). Part of a TD’s job is being clean, organized, and consistent.

Great work and good luck applying to the apprenticeship job!


#5

Random aside, but I’ve heard a few people say that membrane is really slow, that it hasn’t been improved since maya early days etc. Is it actually viable in rigs, or is it better to use combinations of other deformers if you don’t need full cloth-like behaviour?


#6

Best not to derail his thread; happy to chat about it in private or a separate thread.

Bottom line is, I believe it’d make for a more interesting result in this particular portfolio, and more positive impact on its viewers.


#7

Hey @Moodie,
I thought I’d reinforce @marcuso 's points. Letting the viewer know that a tool or process you are demonstrating is a “WIP” does not present it in the best light. Would you send out this tool into production as it stands? No, of course not. You obviously have an API for an auto-rigger. I’d spend the extra time designing a suitable UI that presents it as a solid production-worthy tool.

Now I’m glad you cite your research in how you came up with a tool. The matrix tool is pretty nice. I’d like to see it taken further. How would you solve space-switching with this system? Take a rigged character and show a profile performance between traditional constraints and matrix ones that translate in faster FPS.

After seeing 1000’s of reels, I too get really tired of the whole “wiggle control” demo. I’d already expect the control to move. Take it step further and show the controls deforming a character. Let the user know that you took the time to design controls that make it easier for an animator to pose and create pleasing shapes. Along that note, if you are looking for a rigging role then it’s imperative to show deformations. Disney already has a robust toolset. They really look for technical artists. An artist that knows anatomy and what makes characters aesthetically pleasing. When it all comes down to the end, character rigs are not what’s shown on screen. Clean deformations and poses that keep the character on model is what the audience sees. Rigging reels that have caught my attention is when I see great examples of deformations first then showing a robust deformation rig with controls overlaid on top. You could then show a progression of the rig creation process that helped you quickly get to this setup.

Best of luck with your application and the start of your career!
Cheers!


#8

Thank everyone for the good feedback. I took a bit of what everyone said and tried to apply it with the little time I had this week.

@marcuso I really appreciate the in-depth thoughts on everything It for sure helped my confidence as well. I took the matrix advice you gave and added a new section in the text to explain why this is useful. I took a look at the “membrane” it for sure is something I could take a look into, but with the time I had this week I was only really allowed to do little changes. As far as the music I will try to change that when the school opens up again, I don’t have premier.

@stwert I looked over a bit of my grammar and spelling and while I’m sure I might have missed something. I took as much time as I could to get everything in order. I agree with your last point as well and I will try to maintain consistency with content.

@snolan I agree with your sentiment completely. I do not think this autorig tool is ready to be deployed into a professional production environment. The only reason we deployed it on our pipeline was that the lead rigger knew what he could and couldn’t use it for. Honestly, I would totally redo the tool and improve it, but the time constraints won’t really allow me to and it fits the riggers needs. He pretty much lets the tool do a lot of the major lifting, but changes things manually still. That was not the goal and I came up short when trying to reach the goal. As far showing the skin geo, the rigger is doing the rigs at the moment so I can’t add them in until they are complete.

Maybe I’m thinking wrong, but I wanted to show this tool as a way of highlighting my thinking and that is really only obtained through reading the breakdown. Which I was hoping the video breakdown of the tools would entice a viewer to dig deeper into my work through the breakdown and ultimately the github links.

I am not doubting/ignoring any of the critique put forth that I have not addressed. I just needed to pick the battles that could be won with my time limit. As for the rest, I have internalized it and will use it as I go forth

Again Thank you to everyone who has given their thoughts on my work. Thanks for being awesome and giving me your honest opinions