lol, Sharks skin is made up of Millions of tiny Knives
I'm not saying its impossible, I'm just saying that its unlikely you will be able to get that kind of detail in any type of displacement.
In terms of Polycount, for an effective Portfolio you need to show your skill in 3 Area's.Set Peices
For some reason a lot of artists forget these very important
these are objects that are higher than usual detail and polycount but need to be game ready and optimized as much as possible to retain that more realistic look. A good example is things the player will be interacting with. Low Poly Models
These are models that have the least amount of polygons for their silhouette as possible while still supporting any type of normals you may or may not be using.High Poly Models
This is very important to show your ability to pay attention to detail, show your reference, show your model, and show your bake if possible with this.
Truth be told, that trash can would be fine as 175-200 Triangle Model, but I would make that LOD1
LOD0 should be around 400-500 Tris. These days your budget is higher, and with better LOD blending, developers are starting to make more use of this system then before.
Both sides of the argument are right, but one is getting out dated.
Pretty good looking model there mate, the texture needs a little work though I would adjust the material so it will look better in the water, you need to lighten the top a little more to get it looking correct. Also, I would shove it into Zbrush or Mudbox and paint out those texture seams so you dont see them. It really improves the look, and will impress potential Job offers
And with that I will show some of the stuff Im working on.
More refined Structure level update, notice the right side if you will
And some LP Hallway modules that im currently making Decals for to blend it all together nicely, oh and get rid of that nasty plaster texture! YUCK hehe