great question for your first post.
Short answer: roles can be great, but if it's just one role, it really takes a lot of effort to be informative without wasting time on the viewer. It often takes more effort, time, and editing skills than a straight portfolio. In my opinion, roles should be short and clear as an "introduction". But in the end, not what your main focus should be.
The most important thing to sell is you. As Torbach said, it should show that you have the knowledge and artistic vision that is being sought.
Here are some pointers on what I think a good portfolio needs:
Think about how you can group your effects so that each group has a common heading. If possible, quickly navigate to these groups. (In my portfolio as a TA I had: projects, effects, materials, tools, other projects)
I want to see pictures (moving and still pictures). Effects should be shown in context and additionally in a test environment.
Describe what I see and what you did with it. These should be short.
This is not required for all effects. Pick one or two from each group and create a more detailed description with some additional images (UV map, 3D program scene, packed textures, or something similar).
This shows that you actually know what you are doing.
Easy to navigate
This is a general one. If I have to review 10+ portfolios in a short period of time, I will most likely skip people who are making it frustrating to flip through their folio (it might be an overkill website or video that I skipped too many times). Your portfolio should be easy to access and navigate to a specific part.
I hope this helps
Edit: Here are a few more topics related to portfolios:
To continue the topic of choice for now, I wanted to start a thread with some general advice on creating a VFX demo reel for freshman students. Perhaps, after discussing a little bit of the best advice, we could use it as a resource for future students to refer to?
First up, two great videos of GDC lectures with general advice:
Killer Portfolio or Portfolio Killer 2016
Killer Portfolio or Portfolio Killer 2017
Get to the point quickly – we want the …
A lot of people seem to be wondering what to put in a role, so I figured I'd try to answer from the other perspective. What do I look for when hiring in a role? Disclaimer: I haven't made my own reel in many years. However, I've checked many of them.
A role is supposed to do two things. First of all, it should show that you have the skills we are looking for. When called for an interview, it also functions as an interview tool. You will be asked to go through and explain how to use the Pi …
Good luck with your portfolio!