Demo reel vs portfolio

Hi there!
I am currently an art generalist thinking of branching into VFX more. This website has been very inspiring and helpful!
I have a question about portfolio preferences though. Do you guys prefer demo reels or just a regular portfolio to click through?

Reason I ask is because personally, I dislike reels when viewing portfolios. (It takes forever to go through, there’s no clear overview, I can’t inspect at my own pace easily etc etc).
But within VFX, reels seem very common. So should I set this personal issue aside if I want to focus my portfolio on VFX, and just make a reel? Is a compartmentalised portfolio even hurting my presentation? What benefits of the reel have I not considered here?
Curious about your thoughts!

tech breakdowns can be the most valuable; in this regard I never see value in a straight reel for RTVFX

i suggest demonstrating technique / understanding is just as crucial as visuals – problem solving - Imho you want it to be 1/3 of your portfolio submission; Capability includes performance awareness targeted for the product, not just hardware, but gameplay & feedback it serves.

even links that bring people to this site and notice your sketch/posts/breakdowns/feedback it’s valuable – When people see you working visuals among peers it can make you a stronger candidate.

Hi Lotta!
great question for your first post. :slight_smile:

Short answer: Reels can be great, but if it is only a reel it really needs a lot of effort to be informative without “wasting time” of the viewer. There is often more effort, time and editing skills required than a straight portfolio. Reels in my opinion should be short and clear as an “introduction”. But in the end not the thing you should mainly focus on.

Long answer:
The most important thing to sell is you. As Torbach said, it should show that you have the knowledge and artistic vision which are searched for.
Here are some pointers on what a good portfolio needs in my opinion:

  • Clear structure
    think about how to group your effects that each group can have a common headline. If possible have some sort of quick navigation to these groups. (In my portfolio as TA I had: projects, effects, materials, tools, other projects)

  • Visuals
    I want to see pictures (moving and stills). Effects should be shown in context and additionally in a test environment.

  • Descriptions
    Have descriptions on what I am seeing and what you did with it. These should be short tho’

  • Breakdowns
    This is not needed for all effects, choose one or two of each group and make a more detailed description with some extra pictures (uv map, 3D program scene, packed textures, or similar)
    This will show, that you actually know what you are doing.

  • Easy to navigate
    This one is a general one. If I have to review 10+ portfolios in a short time frame, I will most likely skip people that make it frustrating to look through their folio (may it be an overkill website or a video that I have skip around too much). Your portfolio should be easy to pull up and navigate to a specific part.

I hope these help
Edit: Here are some more topics about portfolios:

Good luck with your portfolio!

A VFX artist portfolio usually requires a lot of video’s anyway, due to the nature of our job, so maybe people go for the reel since they already have all of the clips?

Nothing stops you from doing both, just to be on the safe side :wink:

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Thank you for the indepth replies! I’m glad to hear a reel is not the main focus point, though I like the idea of it being a short ‘intro’ to your work, like a portfolio trailer. I have nothing portfolio worthy yet but I will definitely keep the advice in mind!
Maybe joining a sketch or challenge here once I’m a bit more confident in my skills :slight_smile:

Also I’ve been asked before to compile my work into a reel. So it depends on the company what they want to see. I prefer a webpage somewhere, like artistation page, where you can see each piece and maybe there’s a little breakdown on that same page, but at the end of the day a reel can be a preference for some people, so I’d go with both to be honest if your looking to increase your chances of a job and not hinder it just because somebody prefers you to have a reel.