View Full Version : 2005: The Year of Kev

12 December 2004, 07:27 PM
Hello, friends. I'm not sure if you heard about it on CNN: Headline News, but 2005 has been deemed "The Year of Kev".

So, 2005 is it. The year that I make a real career in this industry happen. For five years, I've done nothing but job search and practice, practice, practice, pushing myself to learn new skills, methods, and techniques. I've moved to LA, and established a professional foothold on the West Coast. I have not, however, achieved my primary objective - to earn a position working as part of a team on things that are fun, that inspire, that innovate. 2005 is the year that that will happen.

To start off, I am going to re-cut a new demo reel for the new year.

I would greatly appreciate any feedback you can provide regarding my OLD demo reel: (16 MB)

Other stuff I did, planning to put on the '05 reel:
RoboCop vs. ED-209 (Will show completed shots only w/credits)

10 Second Club Entry, Aug 2003:

Indiana Jones fighting three guys (music credit required):

A guy who hates Colonel Sanders:

Animated logo for a freelance gig:

Any preliminary feedback on the old reel and what you'd expect to see on an awesome '05 'Character Animation' reel would be much appreciated.

Thanks, friends.

- Kevin Kraeer

12 December 2004, 03:07 PM
I checked out the old demo reel.

Pretty good stuff!

My favorite characters were the medievil ones. I reckon that style is the one you should concentrate on.

Couple of things I noticed.
If you have gone to the trouble of lip sync then mix it in with the soundtrack. Let the sound track drop in volume and the lip sync on top.

Your track music is very domonant, I'd try something a little softer, remember these guys have been watching this stuff for hours.

Are you going for low poly game or high poly film? Not clear.

Your movements are a bit even. More variation to add emphasis, like speed and type, start stop, and much more secondary movement as animating movement is like varying detail in a painting, if everything is too alike it becomes flat (this is tough to achieve and I'm still working on it). A good example is the dragon, His head would be heavy so it would also bob up and down in counterweight to the flapping.

In general get you camera angles and camera movement more dramatic, lighting too to add more interest.

These are my opinions, not truthes as like you I am working on 'breaking into' these fields as well.

Well Tiger 2005 is gonna be our year:thumbsup:!

12 December 2004, 04:46 PM
Hey Kanga, thanks for all the useful advice! This is exactly what I'm looking for as I start to take the next step forward and put the new reel together.

Good luck to you too!

12 December 2004, 08:04 PM
Hey Kanga, thanks for all the useful advice!......

Good luck to you too!
Ok, glad you took it the right way:).
Like I said I'm not there yet, so lets keep an eye on each other's stuff!

12 December 2004, 01:08 AM
in the first shot the camera is shaking so much that it's hard to tell if the animation is good or bad... i'd either fix the camera or just take it off your reel.
the second and third shots with the boats don't really show any character animation. i don't know if that's what you're advertising yourself as, but if so, i'd take those off too...

on most of your character work there's a lot of floating going on. it's especailly noticeable in the sean connery clip. his hand at the start is floating really slowly toward his body. and then his head is doing it after he pulls out his eye. i'd throw in some moving holds. if you watch someone in an interview, theyre hitting poses and holding them, whereas your guy is floating from one to the next really slowly. looks way unnatural.

get rid of that lighter animation. it's definately your weakest. it's hard to read what's even goin on. if you're going for a certain emotion then i have no idea what it is... there are also some weight issues when he jumps.

in fact, it may sound silly, but i'd seriously go back to the basics. Start with the bouncing ball and just nail down the principles of animation. it looks like you skipped all that and jumped straight into full on characters. almost all of your movements are very linear.

your strongest pieces are probably the walk and run cycles with the knight guys, but even those don't link up. there's a jump in the cycle when it starts over, like your first and last poses are off slightly.

hope this doesn't sound too harsh, but i think everyone on here deserves an honest opinion. I think that since you've done so much work with characters already, that if you just go back to the basics (bouncing ball, timing spacing tests, weight, non-linear movement) and really get in and finesse those curves, you'll see a BIG improvement in your character work. good luck and keep on truckin.

12 December 2004, 01:20 AM
Whoa, thanks for taking the time to write all that.

This is exactly the sort of critique I never got when I first put that together, because I didn't know this place existed! That reel is almost 2 years old at this point, and your critiques are going to be incredibly useful going forward with the new one.

There is a lot of truth to what you said about skipping the bouncing ball animation and going straight into characters. I went to art school at a traditional university (Syracuse). The undergrad basically laid a groundwork for 3D animation, but that's it. So everything I've done over the past five years has been developed through self-teaching and experimentation.

I'm thinking about positioning myself as a '3D Generalist', instead of a character animator. Your thoughts?

Did either of you guys get to see the new stuff I'm planning to cut into the new reel (the links near the bottom of the first post)?

Thanks again for checking it out.

12 December 2004, 01:37 AM
If you haven't already, i'd get "The Animator's Survival Kit" by Richard Williams. Awesome stuff.

I looked at all your other stuff, and i have to say it's a HUGE imrovement from your old reel. in fact, i'd just ditch the old and replace it with this newer stuff. There are still some issues, but if you're going for more of a generalist position, then it might be okay. How much did you contribute to each shot?

Animation wise, there's still some floating going on with shot 2 of the robocop stuff. the man in the suit is walking back VERY slowly, and his hand gesture at the very start of the shot needs to slow into a stop. right now it looks too snappy. Shot 1 with robocop is at a weird angle. it'd be nice to see the camera focused more on him. good motion in that shot, but it doesn't read very well. looks like he's falling over or something. i dont' know, probably because of the camera angle.

the indiana jones clip is really long, and i think it fades in and out from good animation to bad. it's weird, cuz everything will look reallly nice, then all of a sudden someone will defy gravity or suddenly lose all their sense of weight.

try to keep everything consistent. don't rush anything, even if it means you're getting half as much work done, finesse finesse finesse.

do you spend a lot of time in the graph editor tweaking curves? if not, then you should be. anyway, you've improved a lot and that's a great sign. keep it up!

12 December 2004, 01:52 AM
Excellent, thanks again. Yes, actually over the course of the past year I've been using the Graph Editor quite a bit. Probably an integral part of the overall improvement.

The answer to the question of what I contributed to each shot is, well, everything. Which is why I think positioning myself as a generalist is making more and more sense.

I'll have to pick up "The Animator's Survival Kit". I've heard nothing but good things about it.

So, maybe my new reel should be shorter. In addition to what I've shown in the links above, I'm planning to do more improved/realistic cycles...perhaps I should drop large chunks of Indy and Robo, show only the stuff that really pops, and create some kick-ass cycles and environment fly-throughs.

Thanks for all your help.

12 December 2004, 02:46 AM
I checked out the Indi one.

Think I'll get one of those kits,... it will probably put into words what I am seeing. Althought the distances of the movements change the timing seems very even. I find snappy movements the most chalenging because even tweaking the graph its hard work not to make them look artificial,... however they are vital and need to be mixed properly with the whole symphony. I think that is what Capel means by linear.

Your guys spend way too much time in the air. Especially an action scene, shock, anticipation and the ever elusive wieght are the keys.

Models are pretty good.

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