Portfolio Pages (revised and updated)

October 27, 2020 garrison ims228, worldbuilding, assignment 9 minutes, 10 seconds

Portfolio (overview)

Update: See additional useful video content here.

Every week, for the next few weeks, you'll be rendering pages for your portfolio. You may not use them all; they may change from week to week. But as a general rule, you'll want to add two new "projects" to your Adobe Portfolio every Thursday ("project" is a poor term here, but that is what Adobe's Portfolio calls them, so we'll stick with that for the sake of clarity). While there is no norm -- you're all building your own worldframes out of your own diverse skills and interests -- each "project" page might feature one of any of these items:

  1. a series of close-ups of an invented map;
  2. an animated 16-bit sprite of a villager (maybe an idle animation; a running animation; a sword-swinging animation);
  3. a page of text from your novelization of your world (together with an appropriate explanation of what we're reading);
  4. audio clips of someone speaking in the language you've invented;
  5. video of someone wearing a costume you've created.

It is highly doubtful you'd eventually have all of these things, even by the semester's end: That's a lot of different skills. But aim high to start, and we'll rein things in a bit as we go along.

Summary

  • Two projects/week (described below) put into the Adobe Portfolio content management system (which is clunky, but simple to use).
  • To whatever degree is possible, I'd like to see you post two projects per week, by Thursday night.
  • By the end of the semester, you should have a total of eight "project pages" in the portfolio related to your world.
  • The specifics of those posts are described in detail below. At the end of the day, this deadline is arbitrary, and I have built in room to be flexible about it.
  • Even so, I strongly suggest you aim for two "project" pages per week: if you wait until late November to start, your output will be the poorer for it.

The rest of this document describes things in greater detail.

Portfolio Element

We're working to create pages for a world-builder's portfolio. Keep in mind that these pages walk a fine line between showing off your world-building skills/ideas and showing off your world: Every element of this portfolio is about your world, but it is ultimately also about you, the thinker, inventor, world-builder.

Each week, you will add two new projects to your portfolio: An artifact page and a process page. These projects are merely the polished, formalized versions of the work you've been doing all semester long in your process books: Inventing details about the world, sketching tiny architectures, imagining events, mapping regions, whatever. Now we want to try and get your world to gel: to move past the "endless invention" phase and into the "concrete plans" phase. It is not easily done: Sketches are always easier to share than final plans. But nobody wants to listen to your ideas for a song: They want the song itself. And so our goal here is to use potential audience (future employers; the rest of the world) to encourage quality work.

Investment: We will forego at least one in-class meeting per week in order to give you extra time to devote to your efforts. It is reasonable that you should spend 5 hours on each new "project" (you have 2 projects/week). Then an additional hour/project for uploading, re-configuring, and communicating with me (and others) about the material.

Project types

Artifact

A well-wrought thing or artifact. "Thing" here can be broadly construed. If you think of your portfolio as a little museum exhibit, "thing" means anything the museum puts under plexiglass to protect it from our grubby fingers: Documents, axes, photographs of seeds, charts about seasonal rainfall, an animated cat, the design of a starship, a family tree, etc. This "thing" (artifact, object, item) offers us material evidence of your world.

In this case, I would encourage you to present material in forms consistent with your own long-term goals or current skills (as an artist, designer, writer, developer, hobbyist, or future employee): Do you want to be a game artist? Then (for example) take your sketches of the town's layout and consider turning them into a single, polished top-down map; or create a 4-cel animated sprite of one of the monsters you've envisioned, etc. If you're thinking about a career in writing, then maybe consider including a few sketches of your world's capital city (images always enliven the page), but feature a few highly-polished paragraphs that introduce that city's aging rulers to your reader. Into 3D modeling? Awesome. Create a few 3D models of (say) the Emperor's Hyper-Throne. If you can print them out as ABS platic models, then do so, and photograph them in a flattering light; if you can't print them out, then use images of digital renderings, and show off the wireframes, too.

Process

A process, documented. People want to see more than just the end result of our work: They want to know how we work, too. (That's the "process" in "process book.") To continue our "museum" metaphor from above: If the artifacts are the things under plexiglass, then the "process" pages are the explanatory drawings, photographs, and texts that accompany an exhibit: Pictures of the artist at work, or images of an early draft of a novel, or a series of sketches showing how the monster evolved from one draft to the next.

If the artifacts show what you've created, then the process pages show how you create.

Again (and we cannot emphasize this sufficiently): Your portfolio will feature interesting bits and pieces from your world, yes, but these pages are as much about you, maker-of-things and designer-of-worlds, as they are about your invented world itself. One class in a semester is not time enough to create a world; but the work you've done is sufficient to hint at that world, and imply something impressive about your abilities.

Naturally, this is where material drawn straight from your process book does the heavy lifting (although you'll still want to tweak and arrange things to your best advantage).

As was the case in the first part, think strategically about the kind of process you wish to emphasize: Do you want to show us how a certain aspect of your world has evolved as you've dwelled therein? Do you want us to see early sketches for a significant artifact, and watch you reflect on these and think through them? Do you intend to show us a dead-end in your world-building: A once-promising idea that eventually you abandoned for one reason or another?