Monday, 20 January 2014

What does Bucks look for in an online portfolio?

Life drawing - excellent training for animators
One of the most common questions we get asked by students applying for the Animation and Visual Effects course here at Bucks is: What should go into my portfolio? The answer is - a bit of everything. Drawings, Painting, Life drawing, sketches, scribbles - and especially 3D digital artwork.

Our course at Bucks is increasingly digital, reflecting long-term changes in the industry, and we find that applicants with solid computer skills tend to flourish best. For a full description of what might go into a good application portfolio, check out this post.

Nowadays, we are doing a growing number of online interviews with Skype, generally for applicants from overseas. As a result, a new and slightly different question arises - what should go into an online portfolio?

The answer of course, is pretty much the same as if you were being interviewed in person. We are looking for candidates with good all-round art skills, including drawing, design and animation. You should also be familiar with computers and computer software, and be curious enough to want to know more.

It also helps if you don't get too frustrated when computers go wrong - which they do all the time - and see this as a challenge to be overcome rather than as a reason to stop work. of course, we also want to see signs of creativity and visual invention. Animation is not just about mastering the software, it's about having ideas, and giving a performance.

The best kind of digital portfolio is a website or blog showcasing your work. Check out our post here on how to create a free blog and/or website, and start uploading your work today. It's never too early.

However, if you're not ready to put your work online, or you simply don't have the time, email us your stuff. This could take the form or a JPEG or a PDF document; something that is easily opened with standard software. Movie files in simple formats like .avi or .mov are also welcome.

Quick sketches help to capture movement, and can be used for animation poses
What we don't want to see are specialist program files like Maya files or 3D Studio Max files, or Flash, or AfterEffects files. Specialist files like this take too long to load up and the person doing the interview may not have the software on their laptop.

So, just like if you were applying for a job, make sure you present your work in a format which is easily opened. Do a quick tech check before you send it out - do the files actually work? And can they be opened in standard software like QuickTime or Adobe Acrobat?


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