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View Full Version : Student Demo Reel, Critiques Wanted!


PaleCow
12-17-2004, 05:21 PM
Hello out there. This is just a student demo reel, and I am looking for good old-fashioned constructive criticism. I should point out that I am more interested in lighting, since I used to do that in the real world (stupid multiple shadows). I need as much input as I can get on trying to get lighting conveyed the way I would like in 3D. So much to explore, so much to do....

Thoughts, questions, hopefully no flames?

http://www.palecow.net/animdemo.html

Thanks in advance!

HenningK
12-17-2004, 11:25 PM
1st is a silly little thing. Don't display your demo reel quicktime on a page of bright blank glaring white. Since many scenes in your reel are dark, it hurts my eyes to try to see them.
2nd yeah multiple shadows suck. Get rid of em.
3rd and most importantly: you seem to have a few good pieces sandwiched by a lot of not-so-good filler. The middle part with the weird dark chicken and soccer player? tableau and then the weird glowing symbols that looked chinese?... those were the most intriguing bits. And you should always lead and close with the most intriguing bits, not tuck them away in the middle. The rest of the stuff is kinda at such a lower rung on the quality ladder that I would say toss em... until you have more stuff to show off like those two bits I mentioned.
Good music, though,
HenningK

PaleCow
12-18-2004, 05:20 PM
Note taken on the white background. Already fixed to a lovely dark grey.

As for the rest, I very much appreciate the input. Might I ask, however, for a little bit more specific information? To just hear that there is a lot of not-so-good filler in there is a broad criticism of the work overall (with the notable exception of the small bits you liked,) and to improve work it is best to have more input on possible direction. And to anyone else out there, does anyone else agree, disagree? Just trying to squeeze every last drop of critique out that I can, from as many different viewpoints. All are appreciated.

Thanks!

HenningK
12-18-2004, 10:29 PM
Certainly.
-Think about lighting to create a mood. That's why the tableau in the middle is such a standout. The lights werent just there to make things visible, they had a sad, foreboding mood to them.
-Study color. Look up Itten. Every shot should should have a harmonious pallete.
-The green and blue lights in the first shots are moody... thats pretty good. There's a lot of detail in them lost to gray-green muddy shadows. For example, the structure of the cart in the very first shot... I have to really look to see what it is. Highlight it for me, bring out the details.
-The glass tube that seems to be prominently featured in the mouse-trap style game in the middle... that needs to look like glass. Lighting is about materials too.
-The last general crit is about gray, muddy shadows. Every shadow should have a color cast. (by shadow I mean not just cast shadows but any portion of the scene thats not in direct light, usually controlled by ambient color on the shaders) Look at the last shot of the reel, for example. The colors are terrible and the shadows are gray and it looks like a default lighting setup to me.

Im not a lighter, but I know generally what they think about after being on this forum for a while. Hopefully you'll get some other crits.
-henning

Bleen
12-18-2004, 11:14 PM
Hi there... saw the reel, I'm not a lightning specialist... but I can say a few things about the animation itself... in some parts the animation feels rough, either characters' or camera animation... like you didn't pay attention to curves and just put some keyframes... like for example the camera changes its movement suddenly instead of easing in/out, or there's characters that have movements which are way too slow or you don't have anticipation or enough exaggeration where it should be (ie the man carrying the carriage seems to "leap" instead of falling, or when we see him up close we can't really tell what he's doing (at least I can't), because of the weird movement...). You should also check the strage flickering shadow inside the glass structure.
Also try not to hold movement absolutely.. for example the hand that points to the ball when it's going down the slide... it finishes its action and "freezes" absolutely. If you want to hold a pose, make small movements, not complete freezing...
Also, like in the final sections with the two chickens, try to get rid of obviously tiling textures... I'm not saying you can't tile a texture... just don't make it noticable...
Those are a few things to entertain yourself with... :-)

blueglitchman
12-19-2004, 04:39 AM
great work so far... but i do agree with HenningK ;)

anzibon
04-22-2005, 03:36 PM
the comment about putting the best stuff in front and back is valid.
music choice is good.
as for the actual work in the reel, my advice would be USE REFERENCE.

reference, reference, reference...
not just for modeling, lighting and texturing, but for animation as well.
try videotaping your self trying to pull something heavy on a rope. count frames. steal as much as you can from real life and then add extra life as needed.

your lighting in plate looks really nice. keep developing that skill, it's a great one to have.


keep up the good work,
~B

PaleCow
07-01-2005, 06:03 PM
I believe all the comments put forth are valid, and they are appreciated, believe me, but frustration is constant. I don't actually want to be an animator, and yet that is the primary element commented on. There is animation in there solely because I went to school and that's what you do. And I realize you should use reference, and I actually do use it for everything, but maybe not literally straight from reference all the time. Again, I know I am not the world's next great animator. As for the lighting and texturing, I think the comments are still valid, but I am not trying to be a photoreal person. I like playing around with other things. I realize lighting is texturing in this world, but in my version of it, I am not trying to mimic reality. Which of course means I am not getting any jobs and being almost 30, starting over, and unemployed really sucks. Especially when all of your professors were so convinced that you were going to fly. They are like parents... very biased. I hear Starbucks is hiring.

The unfortunate part about critique is that it is always subjective, and unfortunately I am finding that people do not tend to look at 3D imagery as imagery, rather as technical parts that make up a whole. Which is rather sad. Granted, for things such as movement that works. That being said, I know I do the same thing. So thank you for your comments, I will continue to try to improve my work, but in the meantime, do you want a latte?

KevinKraeer
07-01-2005, 06:41 PM
I believe all the comments put forth are valid, and they are appreciated, believe me, but frustration is constant. I don't actually want to be an animator, and yet that is the primary element commented on. There is animation in there solely because I went to school and that's what you do. And I realize you should use reference, and I actually do use it for everything, but maybe not literally straight from reference all the time. Again, I know I am not the world's next great animator. As for the lighting and texturing, I think the comments are still valid, but I am not trying to be a photoreal person. I like playing around with other things. I realize lighting is texturing in this world, but in my version of it, I am not trying to mimic reality. Which of course means I am not getting any jobs and being almost 30, starting over, and unemployed really sucks. Especially when all of your professors were so convinced that you were going to fly. They are like parents... very biased. I hear Starbucks is hiring.

The unfortunate part about critique is that it is always subjective, and unfortunately I am finding that people do not tend to look at 3D imagery as imagery, rather as technical parts that make up a whole. Which is rather sad. Granted, for things such as movement that works. That being said, I know I do the same thing. So thank you for your comments, I will continue to try to improve my work, but in the meantime, do you want a latte?

Your frustration is definitely warranted, believe me I have felt the same way. I am 27 and still not in my "dream job"; and nothing on my current reel was created in school (went to Syracuse). School is great for getting your feet wet in a number of different areas, but at least for me, I felt like a Jack-of-all-trades, Master-of-none when I came out. Not only that, but I had practically no training in what recruiters would be looking for so I just tried to advance steadily in all areas towards a more 'generalist' type of role.

The problem is, some guy over at company A will say "Yeah, what you want is to be a generalist, that's what everybody wants....be able to make characters, environments, etc. We only hire those kinds of people." Then some other guy is like "Specify please. We only want animators, and we don't care if you're using IK Joe or that blue headed guy, or the guy with the hinge jaw that everyone else uses. Just be a good animator." So it's almost like there's no common denominator. If you look at my current reel, you'll see that I am still struggling with this.

The bottom line is, you can't please everybody out there who's looking at your reel, but you can try to tailor your reel to a specific area that interests you. That's the overall idea I've culled from the people I've talked to (people who are actually working). So if you really want to do lighting and texturing, drop the animation and make a reel just based around that, or if you're all about compositing, just show some nice compositing shots with breakdowns.

Again, my reel has been taken back to the drawing board twice. None of what's on there came from Syracuse, but was instead created afterwards on my weekends. In the meantime, I've been fortunate to find work in a peripheral field (web design). My advice is to pick your focus and re-work the reel from the ground up...that doesn't mean that you should ditch everything, but just leave the stuff that gets you your dream job, rather than leaving stuff like the animations on there that confuse the issue since you don't want to do animation.

As far as critique, I think your work is very good, the lighting and mood is great, and the color choices and composition are excellent. It's the animation that detracts a little from these great qualities.

Hang in there, and good luck.

voodoofactory
07-01-2005, 07:01 PM
Might I suggest you buy some books about colour theory and lighting. The lighting in your reel seems to add very little. It makes the environments and models look flat and muddy, it doesn't really make for a particular mood and it has no narrative function.
You say you don't want to do anything photorealistic or 'mimic reality' and I respect your opinion, but I think it's better to learn the traditional lighting techniques first and when you've got a good grasp on that, begin to experiment with it. Before lighting a scene, think about what you're trying to accomplish, what mood you want to have, what narrative function the lighting has in the particular scene etc. Make coloursketches and light schematics.

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