View Full Version : cliffhanger demoreel

01 January 2005, 01:17 AM
Burn me down to the ground. This is my first demoreel. It contains some of my best stills and my best animations -of which I have not a lot, it's not my specialty. I've been working as a freelancer for three years. Tell me what is wrong with it and don't hesitate to me what you like.

Viewtiful Baker
01 January 2005, 03:27 AM
I'm not really sure how much room I have to talk, here. Since I'm still a student, and am only now working on my ownn reel, but here goes.

Ok, bad news first, then the stuff I liked.

I don't know, but it seems a little long to me. Not sure what the exact time count is, but it was a pretty hefty download. Overall the content's good, but it seems like you build up to some of your best stuff (the eyeball animation). We've been told that we should plan our reels to put our best foot forward. Put some of your best stuff (maybe not ALL of your best stuff) at the beginning so it catches the attention of someone watching it. Some employers might be impatient, and if their socks aren't rocked in the first 30 seconds or so, then they might not give your reel time to get around to the sweet stuff. In all honesty, the first two models you show weren't the best stuff on there. It seems like saving the best for last doesn't really work for reels...

Also, in some of the rain scenes (only some), it seemed like the rain was falling a little slow. Maybe that was an effect you were aiming for. I don't rightly know.

Now, the good. Well, as I said above, I really liked that eyeball animation. Pretty slick looking, and animated well, too. You said you had little experience with animation, but I think it's quite good, honestly. I'm not sure what it was but I liked the cardboard plane in the rain as well. It had good reaction animation to the raindrops hitting it, and just the concept of the plane itself interested me (makes me sound a little simple, but I like it anyway).

I thought the bicycle looked really nice, too. I just noticed though that the shadow moves with the bike. I'm geussing you animated the lights, too, in order to keep it lit the same all through. It's a very small thing, but it just caught my attention at second glance.

But, as I said. It just feels a little lengthy. There are some things you could probably cut out without having a negative effect on your reel. That wedding garden's a little odd. Doesn't seem to mesh with the other stuff. Good camera composition, though (maybe that was the purpose).

But I digress. I honestly feel a little guilty critqueing your reel when I've barely started my own yet... I'm still in concept stages. Working on character design right now, actually.

Well, I think that's all I have to say. At least for now.

Seeya eventually,

01 January 2005, 05:06 AM
Cool stuff! Here are my suggestions...
Lose the color bars and replace them with contact info, if I like your stuff how am I supposed to know who you are and how to get ahold of you? Repeat your contact info at the end too.
The models are good, but they are all fairly simplistic, and I don't know that you need them all. Maybe work on some more detailed models to put on your reel. Same with textures, your textures are well done, but I want to see something that really stands out and grabs my attention. I think your animations look good, the only thing that bothers me are the props on the airplane, and the lawn gnome. I think you have a good start on him, but his expressions need tweaked as well as the lighting in that shot. I would tweak the gun render, move the mac-mini from the begining and also cut out the bed and board room shots, they aren't as strong as some of your other work. I like the feel of the airplane/car animation(although why the odd texture on the plane?), and the eyeball animation is IMO easily your strongest animated work. I also really like the bloodcell still, I saw it on here before, very nice image! Overall I think you have a lot of really nice work, I would just rethink the order they are presented and the amount of things you include. Great work and good luck!

01 January 2005, 05:27 AM
Disclaimer: This critique is from a narrow business client perspective.

I like your work. What kind of freelance do you do? Im probably the least talented 3d person in this forum, but I am one of those people who look at demo reels for a small business.

The models of the mac, bike, gameboy and skateboard are nice. It shows you can create realistic models of a product.

If your showing the reel to a business, or the ad people in a business, the building is better shown with full texturing in a very well done natural environment. But unless you can make it look truly fantastic, its better just to have the model.

The car looks great for certian types of animation. I got the impression of it not being quite finished (not sure why). Again thats fine for various styles of art and animation. But a photorealistic model of an actual consumer car, rendered with nice reflections on the surface and put into a real background would be awsome. Do one of those car renders where you cant tell its not real. You seem like you could do that if you chose to.

More photorealistic models of everyday products that people sell will impress anyone looking to make images of thier product. Also do animations of those products. THe last animation with the maginfying glass and eyeball was very nice, and reminded me of a good product animation.

If your showing the photorealistic model stills to a TD type they may be fine by itself (I dont know). But if a commercial context, showing off those beautiful models with a short 180 degree or less spin would be more impressive, particularly if your lighting skills are awsome.

Your animations feel like impressionistic art. THis may be great in many forums, but business types dont necessarily have much imagination. A TD can look at a reel and tell exactly where that artist will or will not fit into the company. But many business types need to be pointed more directly to your usefulness. Even if they think your stuff looks great, if they are not sure how to appy it, it can hurt you. If you think your may cater to the corporate training crowd, have animations that tell them in no uncertain terms that you can handle that type of work. If you want to attract forensic animation work, then put something of that in. Advertising? Put more product models and product animations into it.

The airplane and car animation went too long. But I liked the part with the car driving through the papers. Keep that and cut the rest.

At the risk of sounding prudish, from a business client point of view, the nudity shot was not done well enough to cover the risk of any negative impression that may make.

The train spewing things out...I would drop that.

The aniamtion with the cardboard plane was interesting. It was somewhat abstract but very evocative. The quality of the ground texture seemed to detract significantly from the plane animation.

The animation of the little munchkin guy detracted from the reel. Not because it was bad (it was not bad, not state of the art, but not bad), but it detracted because it was a one of a kind in your reel. If you are going to show off character animation, do at least a few different animations that reflect the diversity of your abilities and what those abilities can do for your client. With that one somewhat quick and jumpy facial animation, I could not evaluate your ability in that area.

Currently your demo reel seems to lack focus. Some of what you do is better than the rest. Cut the reel down to your best stuff. If I edited your reel today, I would cut the title shot to 5 seconds. Then I would cut everthing and jump to the middle of your reel and include from the spining bike to the game boy model (also include that plastic church). Now add in the car driving through the papers (just that, nothing of the airplane), then show the eyeball animation. If the reel ended right there it would be much more impressive than your current reel because the client only sees your best work. (and at this point "best" is just my opinion).

If you edited your reel as above, then you could add more material that is exclusively focused on the type of work you want to attract.

Perhaps you dont serve clients like me at all, in which case you may promptly ignore much of the above. However, I think you have the talent to be able to put together a focused demo reel for business or ad oriented work that would be very impressive. Your best stuff in the reel (the realistic modeling and the eye animation) lends itself to that kind of work (as well as other kinds im sure).

best of luck to you.

01 January 2005, 01:33 PM
I really hadn't expected this thorough kind of feedback. It surprises me. Thanks for watching, viewing and scrubbing the reel. I've only just installed an extra monitor and I know what a hassle it can be to give some structured critique, clicking back and forth between your post and the work you're trying to asterisk.
The thing that comes back in all three of your comments is the lenght of the reel. I will definitely reconsider it. What many in a small business want to convey is that they are a solution for any other business' demands. That might have been two years ago but at the moment I feel the 3D world is rapidly falling into smaller pieces. You'd hire a craftsman for just the occasion instead of trying to find someone with mere 3D-skills. That means I have to also reconsider the position of the column I'm standing on, which would have a definite effect on my reel.

Before I knew it some ideas came up to get it both shorter and more interesting. (What about a fly-around through a series of objects instead of just zooming in on them...)

Thanks again for watching. And Dialector: You remind me of my father. Incredibly educational comment. Artist shouldn't always listen to what business people have to say but I want to make a big exception for what you wrote. I printed it out and I read it three times. Thanks again. It gave me some good understanding of where to go from here. :thumbsup:

01 January 2005, 02:16 PM
sorry for being lame but i thought it was fantastic. i really loved the attention to what the models meant and their context. i dont have a lot of 3d skills and even less when it comes to demo reels so i reckon you should listen to the other guys.
from a punter's perspective though, it woz huge. really nice work.
ps: i liked the soundtack too. do you have the name of the band?

01 January 2005, 03:29 PM
Hi Blink, thanks for your nice comments.

The music is from Dutch band Stuurbaard Bakkebaard. ( Don't tell them I sent you because haven't yet asked their permission. :-/

pepe de lucas
01 January 2005, 04:33 PM
Hey man, you're an artist!,
I have enjoyed your reel like if I was seeing a short film, the rhythm, the colours and the music work fine together...

Good luck!

01 January 2005, 05:35 PM
He Pepe,

Coming from you, that is a huge compliment. Just watched some of your work. Really funny. :thumbsup:

01 January 2005, 05:50 PM

First off, your work is pretty strong. However, you have some presentation issues. #1, for still images, try to have some motion. Even though the image are static, if you translate the image -- or zoom in and out, it will add a certain dynamic to your reel. MOTION IS ALWAYS BETTER THAN STATIC IMAGES.

The main thing that I found wrong with your reel is that you spelled visualizing wrong. You put "visualising". If a potential employer saw a spelling error on your reel, chances are you will not be hearing back from them.

Sorry to be harsh, but you work is strong--it can be much stronger if you re-work the editing.

01 January 2005, 06:15 PM

this is very solid work. :thumbsup:

Like the previous poster said, there's a problem with stills in a reel - they tend to look boring. And while I certainly disagree with the statement that motion is always better than static images, I do agree that in the case of presenting stills in a video clip, you can do with some subtle zooming. Not too much, you don't want to overdo it. Zoom towards the picture's point of interest, not necessarily the center of the image.

Many images would benefit from a slow turnaround animation, but if they're crafted and meant as stills, I guess you should present them like that.

And yes, the typo should be fixed too. It's just one of those application things. It doesn't really say anything about you, cause we all make typos, but for a job application (or freelance recommendation or whatever) they might look down on it. :shrug:

- Jonas

01 January 2005, 06:17 PM
On a sidenote I just wanna add, that if you do EVERYTHING people in this thread advice you to do, like shorten it down, and zoom on the stills, then the next time you post the reel, some other people are gonna post "that's too short", and "what's with all the zooming!". :D People are different. ;)

01 January 2005, 06:32 PM

When I say "Motion is always better than static images"--I am referring to a demo reel. Static images in a demo reel are boring no matter how amazing they look. You should print your work out if you want to present a static shot--let the viewer determine how long they should look at a still. For a 3D animation demo reel I believe that motion is always going to be stronger and come across more powerful than static images tweened together. Like you said, it doesn’t have to be a lot of motion, but subtle movement will do wonders for static shots.

01 January 2005, 06:49 PM
I liked overall is very interesting
a bit long but I like the idea that is almost a music video cut
U are in europe and I did work there and U have to be a good generalist first and eventually U can get specific into a particular area
now I work in california and is a little bit different ,infact here they go for the specialization so U can just do character animation if U want to without ever care what UV are
back to your demo I will target more the area U want to show your skills and condensate everything in a shorter time
but my compliments by the way


01 January 2005, 08:04 PM
mschrd110: okies, sorry for the misunderstanding. ;)

01 January 2005, 10:37 PM

Thanks for telling me that I have the word "visualisation" wrong and that it should be "visualization". I've been in this business for some time and no one ever told me that it is spelt that way. My cheeks turned red untill right under my knees. And now I don't know if I have "untill" correct. It must be quite a gruesome(?) task to read your mother's language written by foreigners. Thanks again. That wasn't harsh.

01 January 2005, 12:26 AM
And now I don't know if I have "untill" correct.

Yea, I think that should be "until", with one "l".

The other word is "till", as in "From Dusk Till Dawn".


- Jonas

01 January 2005, 04:20 AM
Hey Seger. I liked it a lot. Parts that grabbed me were the plane, car, and fliers sequence, the carboard plane. As I watched it, I found myself wishing more of it moved. I was taken with the concept of a moving illustration. I say the more you can take your existing illustrations and make little scenes out of them... just make a windmill turn or some grass blow in the breeze or something... the more compelling to watch. I personally didn't like the character animation you included, the gnome and the eyeball? I don't think these pieces are good enough yet to be on the reel with the rest of your outstanding stuff and they don't show off your design/illustration skill. Also some pictures were incredibly small. The blood vessel one and the island through a telescope one. Find a way to zip in there and show more detail.

01 January 2005, 11:44 PM
Technically speaking I also expected a lot more animated sequences instead of stills.

But I really dig your style, it's very original and meaningful! Definitely enjoyed all those gags you pulled, very funny.
De WET het glazen huis, echt mooi om andere mensen met dezelfde opinie te zien.
You're very good at putting a slightly different look in your renderings, and the textures are very nice imo. If you want to animate things for your professional work, I suggest adding more animations. You can pull it of, I saw the animated character, very nice.

Good luck!

PS: NEVER, the eye cutting gag, I saw Dali's movie un Chien Andalou and it's horrifying to see that again, even the suggestion. lol. You're giving me nightmares again!

02 February 2005, 10:52 PM
I think most of what can be improved in your reel has been covered, so I'll just say what I liked.
I liked the cardboard plane, and the moving car very much. You have some good modeling skills --Keep at it! :wip:

(By the way, what software was used to create the reel?)

02 February 2005, 10:22 PM
If any of the readers of this thread are still following it: I replaced my reel with a new one that is less lengthy and followed some (but not all :) ) of your other great advice. Tell me if you think it's better (if you can remember the old one) Once again: burn me down.

You can click on my URL below and enter the site, you'll find it right there. It's streaming so you don't have to wait a lot..

02 February 2005, 11:54 PM
Yes, I remember the first version and this one is a definate improvement in MHO.
It's more cohesive, and flows very nicely. I think it also showcases your many abilities well.
I wouldn't mind seeing some wires here and there, but I think it's a very nice reel. Very enjoyable to watch. Well done! :thumbsup:

02 February 2005, 12:35 AM
That was good.

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