View Full Version : My First Demo Reel
11-19-2004, 10:39 PM
Well I'm about to graduate from my Computer Animation program and this is what I have to show for 14 months of CG training and my first 3 months of focused animation. I'm happy with how the reel came out and I'm trying to be optimistically realistic about my chances of getting an interview off of it. I already have new projects in the works and plan to do a series of shorts based off all the stupid stuff I did when I was young.
I'd like to hear what you have to say about the reel, it's strong and weak points and what I can do in terms of presentation next time to be more effective.
The file is a 720X480 Divx .avi and weights in at 31.8 megs and is around 2:15 minutes long.
720X480 Divx 31.8 Megs (http://www.3dvoodoo.com/movies/ChrisCard_Demo04_Divx720.avi)
11-20-2004, 01:41 AM
well i'm just going to pass along what the advice i've internalized about portfolios and demo reels: in this case, as it's an animation portfolio, make sure the whole reel is about that. which is to say, cut out anything that distracts from showing off your animation. your reel is a good start, but there is far too much camera action going around that distracts from your animation. you're not getting hired to make little 3d movies (i'm assuming), you're getting hired for your animation. the worst offender for this is the joust sequence where there is a lot of camera swooping around that either is showing no animation or is obscuring it. a big no-no in either case. so strap that camera down--what seems like a more 'bland' reel is actually a better one, because it allows whoever is watching it to evaluate what they're actually looking for, which is the animation.
other crits as i recall them:
- the intro 'skipping' animation is a cute idea, but isn't convincing at all. go outside and skip. in fact, shoot a video of skipping and study that. an animation of a big lug like that skipping and then picking and smelling a flower is a great idea, but your animation shows none of the weight you'd expect. this is a big dude, in armor, skipping; the animation should crystallize the fact that this is a tremendous amount of weight getting propelled up and then falling down. think of it those terms and hopefully you'll come up with a more convincing animation, right now it just isn't believable.
- same as the previous comment about buckling down the camera, the second animation where he slickes the pillar you can't hardly see because the camera is flying all over the place. you're not using the camera for dramatic effect or show you can move the camera, the point is to showcase the animation.
- on the sword stab animation, the timing needs to be refined. the man struggles on the ground for a beat too long, i think. and i was distracted by the noticeable clipping of joust guy's right leg into the struggling guy's leg. and perhaps most glaringly, the sword piercing itself was not convincing; the sword appears to 'swim' in the chest a little. i don't believe the sword has just been thrust into his chest, it looks like he's dipping the sword into some viscous pudding or something. try to make the downstroke and the pull out much more exaggerated and crisp.
- i don't quite get why you repeat the next animation; again, the timing needs work.
- i've already commented on the joust segment--it looks like some pretty good animation, but we're really not at liberty to study it because of the camera.
- the showcase of the joust anim cycles are probably your strongest work here. unless you really improve the skipping animation, you might consider moving these cycle anims to the front of the reel.
- what's the little psycho butcher kid doing during his (presumably) death anim? shaking his head no? shaking invisible tatas like a stripper? it's a curious animation and repeating it twice doesn't really help the impression. but the backflip animation is definitely better.
- the character 360s/breakdowns are nice, but one really nagging detail is that neither butcher kid nor generic space marine guy is actually holding their weapon at all. this being an animator's demo reel, if i was evaluating this i might consider it a deal breaker--a weapon glued to the palm of the hand barbie doll-style just is not going to cut it in a game. unless you go with the ever popular 'potato fist', you need to rig the hand to at least somewhat more believably grasp the weapon than that.
- i'm also not too crazy about the music, but hey, really a very minor detail.
i hope you don't take these crits as too hard, but i think if you address the points i mentioned you'll have a much, much strong reel. right now it bears out the fact that you are about to graduate. it'll be a good marker in the future when your animation skills advance further.
oh, and with regards to what i said about timing and weight, for reference check out the portfolio of a triple A animator: www.johnroot.com (http://www.johnroot.com) . now it's not quite a fair comparison as many of these are mocapped samples, not as much hand-made animation, but they have a definite sense of weight and timing. study up, and i hope this crit helps. /images/graemlins/smile.gif
11-20-2004, 10:12 AM
Thanks for your crits gauss I absolutely agree with you about all the camera moves, originally they were all static and I animated the characters to look best from that viewpoint so any errors there were, were hidden. Unfortunetly my instructors said "Your reel is to bland animate the camera" so in order to pass I had to put the moves in thus making some of the masked clipping apparent. Sucks my first reel had to be "make the instructors happy" as apposed to "do what the industry says and what will make your animations look the best"
Animations yeah I know there are problems with most of them. They're the best I could do and the majority where done with 1 month of animation experiance, the rest in a 4 hour time frame with 3 months behind me so I'm proud of them but do know they aren't perfect by far.
Thanks for the critique, I'm looking forward to starting my content for my next reel. I had a bunch of good ideas for this one but didn't have the time to put them in and I'll hold onto this reel so a year down the road I can look back and ask myself what the hell I was thinking.
Hi Chris let me in on a little secret, most schools make you do all these cute little 30 sec to 3 minute animations to pass their animation class but that won't really get you a job. It takes about 3 to 6 months work to get a nice polished 30 sec animation, with story and all, if you know what you are doing. When companies look at your work they want to see how you animate characters, etc, and not the camara. From my experience in school, professor's don't really know how to prepare you to get a job in the industry.
I liked the guy with the hockey mask the most. Was he the last guy you animated and textured. I remember your gun from another post... I also liked the bird flying seemed pretty natural, the guy on top seemed to stiff though. If you are looking to be a character animator I think you'll benefit the most by showing walk cycles, running, talking. I found the backgrounds a bit distracting, you might be better off with just having a solid background, just showing off your animations. You may also want to show a side view of your characters moving. Hope to see more. Later.
11-20-2004, 12:35 PM
Thanks alex, originally I did have neutral grey backgrounds but that was another thing they made me change. I am planning to take some time after school to just work on my own stuff. I really would like to do game art and animation but chose animation because there were 4 other kids doing it as apposed to about 45 game art reels. I've always tried to go on the path less taken and this was a great way for me to spend 3 months just animating so I could get a pretty solid albit rushed foundation.
My next couple of projects I'm pretty excited about I think they'll be a lot of fun to make and I'm hopeing they'll be good for some laughs for you guys too. And I really cant wait to start modeling again =)
As always thanks for the critiques, you pretty much confirmed what I was thinking.
11-20-2004, 08:25 PM
well best of luck to you, voodoo. my condolences for you having to undo the work of your instructor's muddling. /images/graemlins/smile.gif
11-20-2004, 10:22 PM
haha just part of learning I guess =) and thanks =)
11-21-2004, 04:14 PM
Perhaps you could go back and explain to your tutors what the industry professionals had to say about your reel so that the next poor bastard who comes through doesn't wind up having to go back and redo his again too.
11-21-2004, 05:33 PM
Already done. We'll see what he says. I like the guy but sometimes he gets an air about him.
11-22-2004, 11:19 PM
nice choice in music!! wooooooooo!
of the parts id do away with, mainly the joust scene, or at least edit it down to have a little more action. i almost fell asleep during the elevator lift, thankfully In Flames was there to wake me up /images/graemlins/smile.gif Other nitpick, in the intial pan, the elevator on the left is further along than the one on the right, yet after the cut it appears the elevator on the right beats the one on the left by a long shot. just a minor continuity thing /images/graemlins/wink.gif
if and when you go back and touch this up, id suggest including more cycles, and if you repeat a give animation, show it the second time from another angle maybe.
I'm no animator, but overall the motion seemed to generally be a little jerky, and forced at times. Maybe go in and really loosen the characters up and make their actions seem less forced.
Some of my buddies who went on to work at Blue Sky had reels with just simple box models doing complex things. Id suggest focusing on having a character act and really come to life as opposed to having fairly detailed and textured models.
The animations aren't bad by any means, you've come a ways since the first ones you showed me a while ago - but there is always room for improvement and more ass kicking. The skeletor guy axe swinging and kneeling anims are pretty sweet, but the axe swinging one seems like it is a little restrained in the motion. I also think the daisy picking anim should be closer to the end of the reel, after you establish that the skull guy is a badass. would have more impact imo.
on the camera moves, i really like it on the idle stuff - with the mask kid bloody guy. The one quick whip pan type thing you do (when coming up from the feet) is a cool idea, but it needs to go by quicker i think, the timing is a bit off. It feels like it should move much quicker at the pan, get to its position, and follow through to the next movement. I gather you're using after effects to put this together, maybe a subtle motion blur/dir blur there would help it out (when made quicker).
keep on chuckin man!
11-23-2004, 03:52 PM
The way the demo real was put together works great!
I noticed you fancy yourself as an animator, and you show a range of animations, which is good, however there is a wide range from good to not so hot animation being pimped off. Always show em your best, and nothing less. If you are applying for animation jobs I think you need to make some tweaks.
- Open hands
Always bothers me when characters don't grip weapons. It also bothers me when weapons or items are just atached to the hand bone and the item or weapon seems to cary no weight. People don't have locked wrists and open hands when they carry weapons around, you want to carry this over and express it in the animations also.
- The animation when the smaller guy gets knocked down by the larger and gets stabd, not very believable.
I would do a quick, short jerk animation when the guy on the ground gets stabed. Toss his legs and pelvis up, jerk his head toward his belly. And have his arms try and grab the sword as if reacting to the force of being run thru. Make sure where the sword meets the model stays pinned to the ground. Maybe have him wrieth around in pain, then slow it down as he dies.
The sword jumps around too much, and the hands are open. Its like he is stabbing jello, not armor/solid muscular soldier. If you stab a pop can the knife goes in and doesn't wiggle around as it makes its way in.
Another thing to keep in mind swords are hard to pull out of people (I learned this in history class when we studied the short sword). Muscles tighten and grab onto the sword making it hard to just pull out. Even after poeple die, thier muscles don't relax right away. So it would be alot harder to just pull the sword out and not have the body come with it. It would be impressive to see him step on his shoulder or face as he pulled the sword out. His belly would lift slightly as if the body was not letting go.
Work on the hands, most places are looking for people that can animate hands on models. The jobs that are out there, the jobs you would be applying for are looking for someone who can handle complex animations, including hands, on player models. Show them what you can do.
The textures on some of the models are GREAT! But the Joust stage, really needs some work. It screams 10 second texture job.
The pan up on the little kid is great. Perfect technique! BUT it does show the open hand and the cleaver hovering in the palm, which made me notice the whole floating object/hand thing.
just a few things to tiddy up and I think you are ready. You have a great reel started just have to bring the level of content up to your currrent skill level and maybe push yourself a bit =)
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