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Thread: Trevor Smith fantasy/sci-fi portfolio.

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    Trevor Smith fantasy/sci-fi portfolio.

    Howdy everyone. I am a long time member here and a frequent participant in CHOW and the critique section. A lot of my best art in the last year has come from CHOW and some of you may recognize them

    My dream is to do book covers for companies like TOR and Wizards of the Coast. My secondary goal is to do other freelance work for whatever I can find involving fantasy and sci-fi subject matter.

    I graduated in 2009 from the Academy of Art University. I have found VERY little work and made very few contacts. I hope to turn that around. Please view my website and tell me if you like my work, but also if you like the way my site works. I have spent a lot of time evolving it and I want it to be right. And would it benefit me/my site if I included a sketches section?

    http://www.TrevorSmithArt.com

    And here are a few to preview:
    Last edited by Artfix; August 26th, 2011 at 02:35 AM.
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    I'm no expert on portfolios so I won't say too much about that, but I think it looks good, keeping in mind that it is geared towards book covers and illustration.

    As for your site though, I do have a few comments.

    The site is pretty slow for me. Especially the fading in and out of pictures gets pretty tedious pretty fast.

    I also got a little confused by your main page. I started out clicking "Digital", then went to see "Oil paintings", and then when I clicked on "Illustration" I got the same page as "Digital" - I hadn't realized that it was actually "Fine Art Oil Paintings" and "Digital Illustration". I'm not sure the different fonts within a heading is a good idea, or maybe it could work if you space things so that it is clear that there are two headings, not four.
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    Hey thanks man. This is great feedback. Is the site slow for anyone else?
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    The images on the background are loading real slow. The pictures themselves are not loading slowly, but the fading effect when you open / close a picture is annoying. I like the design except for the next / previous / close buttons. They look like from windows media player and dont go with the artsy design. Just an honest critique of your website, best of luck with your work.
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    Nrekkvan Thank you its great feedback. I will change the arrows and close buttons. I will also see about reducing the fade to be much faster.

    Do you think a sketches section would be beneficial?

    Feel free anyone to reply to this question
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    Quote Originally Posted by Artfix View Post
    Do you think a sketches section would be beneficial?
    Personally (always just my opinion), I don't think it's a good idea unless you've got really well done and well presented sketches. I know the whole idea of your portfolio is to give art directors an idea of your work, but I also think you need to make your stuff look as good as possible.

    I know maybe with mine I went a little overboard with SIMPLE and SHORT, but you've got a lot of work that is really lowering the value of the portfolio as a whole. One such image is here. I think you should cut your images down and simplify your portfolio to less images. As a personal standard (just for an example, not a suggestion) I put eight images up and won't add more until I feel the work is consistent. I've still got pieces I'm replacing before I want to add more. Diluting quality is not good. If you have too much the art director isn't likely to look at it all, and you want to make sure he's looking at what you want him to. What if he clicks only your older/less developed pieces?

    I don't mind the two categories, but I was always told to leave out an introduction page. Daarken has many different categories, but starts out on his professional work, for example.

    You've got some really great work, man. I just don't think it's all to the level of your greatest, and those that fall short should get dropped in order to offer more view time and interest in the better ones. I know a lot of illustrators and concept artists have huge portfolios, but those guys are all established and have set "looks" and stuff that was developed over years of working commercially. We're little swatted flies, we get a few seconds to entertain a guy who looks at work from people who want to work for him all day. You want your few moments of attention to be the best they possibly can.

    My opinion, maybe a little overboard .
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    Quote Originally Posted by Artfix View Post
    Hey thanks man. This is great feedback. Is the site slow for anyone else?
    Yeah, it's very s-l-o-o-o-w. That fade in/out gets annoying pretty much immediately. The artwork is good but the way in which it's offered will turn everybody off. The quality of the work will be lost on people frustrated by the glacial pace of the display. The fix should be easy enough, just access the javascript and drop the fade in/out time from 5 secs to 1 sec.
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    Quigleyer Thanks for your opinion! I will try to digest it even tho I disagree on initial reaction lol. The post-apocalyptic one that you linked was left looser on purpose but several people have commented that its too loose. I will tighten that one up because I like it--I'd like to keep it.

    What others fall short do you think? I looked over them all carefully and decided I liked them all. I have replaced several already. They are all from the past year except for five which earned praise while I was in school and consistently receive compliments. Those ones are the indian statues, the tribal tracker, the conan barbarian, war of the worlds, and the green alien envionment.

    I have read that a portfolio should be 10-12 and I have about 24 right now. But I don't know which ones to keep--I like them all!

    And I need the introduction page because my website really needs to be BOTH illustration and fine art separately. I am trying to make a career of them both, and people who like my oil paintings almost always do not like my illustration--thus they need to be separate. Maybe one day I can have a separate website for both, but right now that would only confuse me and make my name more convoluted on the internet.

    Sgt Spanky I will be adjusting the fading. The fade is about 1.5 seconds right now and the rest is load time. Its loading while it fades. I added the word loading to the window for the first image opened in case people thought it was stuck. So changing the fade time is not actually going to make it any faster--the images still need to load. The other option is to make all of the images load when the digital page of thumbs is opened instead of one at a time in the viewer. Try using the viewer now on the ones that your computer has cached, and you should see the real fading instead of loading.

    Thanks very much for all feedback guys.

    Who thinks I should add sketches section to my site OR have a link to my blog which is http://www.trevorsmithart.blogspot.com

    What images would everyone recommend cutting from my portfolio/website?
    Last edited by Artfix; August 30th, 2011 at 01:33 PM.
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    Hey man, the ones I would cut are...

    http://www.trevorsmithart.com/Digita...entConcept.jpg
    http://www.trevorsmithart.com/Digita...urHorsemen.jpg
    http://www.trevorsmithart.com/Digita...mith-Fairy.jpg
    http://www.trevorsmithart.com/Digita...lTaleHeart.jpg
    http://www.trevorsmithart.com/Digita...ndMarauder.jpg
    http://www.trevorsmithart.com/Digita...pioWarrior.jpg
    http://www.trevorsmithart.com/Digita...OfAtlantis.jpg
    http://www.trevorsmithart.com/Digita...fTheWorlds.jpg

    I went through your gallery 7 times and these were the ones that I felt didn't quite fit the bill. I'm trying to use the ones you posted up top as examples (because I feel that that's some of your stronger work). Other examples of strong work are:

    http://www.trevorsmithart.com/Digita...aspenAltar.jpg
    http://www.trevorsmithart.com/Digita...ith-Firaxe.jpg
    http://www.trevorsmithart.com/Digita...ldOfSpring.jpg
    http://www.trevorsmithart.com/Digita...urningBack.jpg
    http://www.trevorsmithart.com/Digita...B&WStatues.jpg

    In my opinion those are like your top works (with the first two posted here).

    Your blog would be great to link. You've presented stuff well there, and I think the sketches you're showing are WORTH showing, at least for a period of time, as exists on a blog. I am still against committing to keeping any sketches around to show permanently on your professional website though.

    I understand if you don't agree with all of this. I think you and I see eye to about giving and taking advice here on these forums, but opinions are plenty and easy to give . Good luck with this, I'll be checking in every now and then.
    "She took the ice cube trays out of the freezer. What kind of a sick bitch takes the ice cube trays out of the freezer?"

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    You know what Quig, you're right. Let's show my BEST stuff. My other problem is that I have some artwork which suits books, and some that suits games. The ones you recommend cutting I would say are good game concepts except for tell-tale heart. Meh...I don't know what I'm doing. I hate promoting myself. I hate that being good at painting is not enough.

    Is the site slow for you at all Quig? You haven't mentioned the fading being too slow?

    I am going to make all changes that have been recommended. It will take me some time.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Artfix View Post
    You know what Quig, you're right. Let's show my BEST stuff. My other problem is that I have some artwork which suits books, and some that suits games. The ones you recommend cutting I would say are good game concepts except for tell-tale heart. Meh...I don't know what I'm doing. I hate promoting myself. I hate that being good at painting is not enough.

    Is the site slow for you at all Quig? You haven't mentioned the fading being too slow?
    Yeah, also you should probably keep in mind my whole objective is pretty much to break into the illustration world. I know that that and concept art are, at a lot of times, one in the same- but I would say that what I want to do is "illustration" over "concept art". This is probably skewing a lot of my views.

    Judging simply from what I get as an "average" for most websites I've seen, 10-14 does seem like good a gap for images to show.

    Yeah, the whole promoting yourself thing is such a pain. I feel like I'm too busy painting right now to do it properly, but sending out like one portfolio every day, or maybe every other day, might help you to get kick started. I heard this advice recently, I'm not like a saint about promoting myself, quite the opposite . This is to remind myself, as well!

    The fade and stuff earlier was quite a pain (meant to mention that), but the whole issue seems to be fixed. It's going pretty smoothly now, in all honesty.

    What do you think about making the box that images appear in always cut to the size of your largest image? That way I could keep my cursor over the next arrow, instead of going to look for it every time the image changes size. I also think you might wanna try to standardize your thumbnail size, but this looks like something you intentionally didn't do, so I'll just bring it up as a thought.

    Ok, I should go paint now. Have a good one man!
    "She took the ice cube trays out of the freezer. What kind of a sick bitch takes the ice cube trays out of the freezer?"

    LOOK AT MY WEBSITE!
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    LOOK AT MY BLOG!
    LOOK AT MY DEVIANT ART PAGE!
    LOOK AT MY FINALLY FINISHED PAGE!
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    Hey Artfix- nice looking stuff you have there on your website. It sounds like you and I want to work for the same clients I agree with Quigleyer that some of your work is dragging the rest of it down. I too think you should cut down the number of pieces you have in your portfolio.

    I noticed when looking at your portfolio a lot of your figures seem to be the same "distance" from the viewer. You might want to put some pieces in that change things up a little, like zooming in or out on a group of figures inside of some impressive dungeon/palace/city whatever. It's never a bad idea to show off your architectural and perspective skillz.

    As for the sketches, Irene Gallo came down to Ringling one year and gave a presentation/lecture on breaking into fantasy/sci-fi illustration, and she talked about what she liked on people's websites and what not. She too said to keep the sketches and preliminary work on something like a blog. Even when the sketches are really nice, she said most art directors aren't going to hire you based off of sketches, at least in the book cover illustration world, and if they're bad then you might screw yourself over.

    As for your website, I really don't like the fade in fade out of the images. It gets irritating when you want to look a lot of images quickly.
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    Thanks a lot guys.

    You all are familiar with lightbox right? It is a very common viewer which I based mine on. It resizes to images and fades just like mine. Its is extremely popular. You can see it on Kekei Kotiaki's website for example.

    Unfortunately I don't know squat about javascript, so a friend has been helping me, so it takes time for us to iron these things out. The fade time is not fade time--it is load time. The actual fade time is just over one second. It looks perfect if you have the images cached already. I don't know how to overcome slow load times...that is the fault of the viewer's internet frankly. I've compressed them all under 100 KB already.

    The last thing we could try is using a preloader so you load all of the images when you open the thumbnail page. Then you could view them all quickly...but you will have waited to load all the images which you may not even want to look at.

    Here is something additional I could use some feedback on. These are two tearsheets I will be mailing. One for publishers which I have put illustrative images on, and one for game companies, which I have put two game characters and an environment on. I like them but I gotta get these right since its my only contact with these places.
    Thanks!
    Last edited by Artfix; September 3rd, 2011 at 01:43 AM.
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