View Full Version : Demo Reel, Don Vance

07 July 2008, 12:01 AM
Hey all,

I just graduated and I was hoping to get a some critiques on my demo reel, sense friends and family don't seem to always know what to say.

high quality link:

low bandwith:

07 July 2008, 10:13 PM
Hi Don,

Okay here are my notes on your reel starting with the robot ape vs the robot walker thing...

Even through you used mental ray, subsurface scattering and indirecting lighting, this first section didn't really show any of them off, so I'd probably leave those off the bullet pointed list at the start, on your shot breakdown you could probably just list that you used Mental Ray to render the sequence.

On the ape robot I noticed some weird skin deformations and interpenetration starting to happen around the arms, but as soon as that happened you transitioned to show the underlying rig. Now while this is fine, the animation did seem to pop on the right arm of the creature during this part and I was more interested to see what effect this would have on the skin. So my advice would be to not show the rig during this shot and maybe show a brief demo of the rig as a separate shot.

On the other robot the cockpit is faceted, is this a design choice? If it's supposed to be subdivided then make sure it is.

On the second section with the guard and the assassin, I think you need to think through this sequence a little bit more, think of it in terms of story and drama - because as an animator that's what you need to do.

The guard seems to be going about his patrol a little bit too quickly, almost like he's being paid by the number of rounds he does instead of being paid to on the look out for trouble. For this shot start to think of the anticipation and suspense (the drama) of the shot, start with the camera on the guard as he makes his rounds, put back out over the edge to see the assassin poised on the wall, waiting for his moment to attack, then follow in with the assassin as he hauls himself up over the wall and leaps on the guard, killing him in one move. The leap over the wall by the assassin looks like a bit on the lite side, add more weight to the movement and slow down his movements once he's killed the guard - it's a little on the quick side, make the movements more delibrate and focused.

If you haven't already walk yourself through the motions of both characters, act out the scene yourself - film it if you can, try to think of the drama in the scene. I know this sounds a bit cliche, but consider what the motivation of each character is.

I'm not sure what the final section is trying to show, so I'm not going to comment on it too heavier, but I think either rework this section or remove it. I'd rather see another section like the second part which shows some dramatic element then some odd looking dance moves and some foot sliding that probably shouldn't be there.

Overall I think you've got the technical side of animating down, but now you really need to focus on the artistic and dramatic side of animating.

I hope that helps in some way, I'm not an animator so I can't give you any further advice about improving your skills in animation, but do let me know if some of my points need further explanation.

Keep up the good work.


07 July 2008, 10:58 PM
what a great day!
I started a new face rig. Its raining!(i live in arizona) and I get a stellar crit on my reel. thanks for the thoughts.

07 July 2008, 09:12 AM
The first thing that got me was the camera moves. You don't need them. At all. They actually bring down the rest of your work, which is not too bad. I don't even think you need more than one angle on each shot - just a good positioned static camera.

Animation wise, you need to work on your weight, particularly on the white cube guy - as he's a little bit on the floaty side. Try tightening your poses up in the graph editor with quicker curves and see how that turns out.

Your work isn't bad - just keep doing timing exercises. I recommend you grab a copy of Richard Williams' Book, "The Animators Survival Kit" and try a few of his exercises.

But defiantly, defiantly re-render without camera moves.

07 July 2008, 09:44 AM
Hey thanks for the thoughts Obraxis.
Im gona go check out that book you mentioned I need a good general animation resource and that pretty affordable to take a risk on(the last one i considered was 80 bucks). im not sure im gona keep the white dancing character anymore, its older work and it seems to be lacking. and Im still working on a lip synching piece which i want to plug in before all that fighting something a bit lighter and less violent. So im probably just going to cutt him out. and re-examin those animations when i have more free time. I should have an update in a week or two. but everyone should feel free to continue adding their thoughts, I need all the help I can get :thumbsup:

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07 July 2008, 09:44 AM
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