View Full Version : Can I get a studio Job in SF/Bay Area with this reel?

07 July 2008, 03:13 AM
Hey guys/gals

I recently had a contract end on me and I am now in the open job market again. I'm going to post my reel here, and i want to know if you think it is good enough to land a job. I'm going for entry level again, as I don't have a lot of experience.

I have gotten critique before on the models, but a ton has changed in the look since then. As I finally brought them from Zbrush into Maya, and started using SSS and Mental Ray. Some of you may have seen a similar reel I made 2 months ago, but I updated it again. I really could use the critique, because I haven't used this reel or the models yet to apply to studios.

link is here (


07 July 2008, 07:57 AM
I have one suggestion.... is it sensible to make demoreel with Quictime when there is no animation? Same quality or better you can make with Flash-movie and under 1 meg?
I have many times questioned myself why people make Quicktime-movies to internet, long time loading and not so good compared example flash-movie?

07 July 2008, 08:52 AM
Hey, lately it seems hard to get a demo reel critiqued, but I'll gladly give you my thoughts.

I would start with the head shot of "xenois(sp?)" the thin alien guy. its by far your strongest shot, and then do the distant body shots, I would put the first character, the human, in the middle or end.

I watched the medium version so some of this could be compression but, ocasionally the shots(particularly the human) looked washed out you might want to check the gama/levels on it and bring back some of the dark values.

the music was ok, I might have gone with something less industrial, more generic...

hope this helps.

07 July 2008, 06:34 PM
Your skin material is a tad too waxy for my tastes, but overall I thought your textures and materials were pretty good. If you want a job as a texture artist, I think you need more material types though. Metals and woods etc.

I liked your models, but I think your portfolio needs a realistic human. The one human you had was pretty stylized. Get a realistic human (preferably a girl since you dont have any females) and I think you'll be sitting pretty well with the reel.

07 July 2008, 09:22 PM
I think you're right Aesir. I definitely need a female. Or maybe an aged female for a real challenge.

as far as gamma levels go. I think it's the H.264 codec. I edited the reel on a mac. The colors and gamma look perfect on a mac, but when I viewed it on a PC it looked washed out, and it didn't stream.

07 July 2008, 10:50 PM
see that if you had made it on a pc you would have less surprises.;)

I think an aged female is great idea if your planing on expanding, there are far to many yonger females circulated in the 3d world, and I honestly don't recall the last time i saw an aged female model.

Im not sure if the compressors will cause a problem, but every studio I've been appling to has been with online demo reels only. so you might try and find a solution that works for both or offer both.

best of luck.

07 July 2008, 11:01 PM
Hi Jesse,

On a whole I think the modelling and texture work here is very good, although the designs themselves aren't exactly my cup of tea (side note: I don't drink tea), if possible you might also want to include the concept art as well, show you can model to concept art.

I think you also need to reconsider the presentation of the models and show each of the characters in a turntable or at least put some movement on the camera to show what the form and shape of the characters looks like - kind of how you've done the close up on the last guy there. The 2D moves don't really show off anything at the moment.

Only modelling note is the legs on the last guy there - Anarach, look a bit lumpy, especially compared to his well-defined body (never through I'd ever say that about a green monster), unless the guy only really does crunches every morning?

Seems you've already taken Aesir advice, but I'd also go for a more realistic proportioned character - clothes and all, even if it is only in simple digidouble form and not in super zeebrushed mode, so don't spend much more than a month on it. If your going for vfx or games work then you need to consider what studios are looking for in a modeller or texture artist and weird creatures are only a small part of it, I guess the main part of it is showing you can do the work that they do.

Keep up the good job.

07 July 2008, 09:59 PM
I think you might have difficulty finding work in the bay area with this reel. The thing is, even though there are alot of studios there, there's a lot of people getting educated and graduating and looking for jobs around there. A small army is set forth on the workplace every couple of months.

i think I saw you post pretty much the same reel a year ago. You must have improved in that time. Instead of adding a fast skin shader to your old models, you might be better off making some new models.

i think you would benefit greatly from studying more anatomy. You're sense of anatomy seems pretty remedial and I'm sure that would turn off employers. Also, you're muscle deformations are off. You dont have to pose your characters. Bind pose is perfectly acceptable for a reel.

Lastly, You need to show your wires. I know it's not the most exciting thing to look at but it's important to employers.
I hope that helps! Sorry if I seem harsh. Good luck!

07 July 2008, 06:34 AM
Thanks for the crit Dr. Monkey Fist. I see that you are in New England. I'm a former Masshole myself. Born and raised in Brookline.

I've had 1 other comment on my anatomy, and how it is off. Yet no one has told me specifically what is off about it. Saying to study anatomy is vague to me. I have read countless anatomy books, both medical and art related. I have taken human and animal anatomy courses at college. I'm aware of all the bone and muscle articulations. I know how muscles deform when flexed and what not. Apparently I'm not translating that knowledge well in my models. I've been staring at these so much that I really can't see the anatomical inconsistencies, right now, so I will need specifics. I could drop these and go ahead with new ones, but being a bit of a perfectionist I have trouble letting sub par models go. There is always a way to make average things great with persistence.

Also keep in mind, with Xeonis I was going for a more natural look. while he does have defined abdominal muscles, I wasn't going for a super ripped look in the arms and chest. I guess I could convey that better by softening the abs a bit.

If you could reply to this that would be great. Thanks.


07 July 2008, 11:09 PM
Jesse youíre doing good work don't let yourself get caught in the self doubting spiral of death and doom!

These characters are great, any "errors, flaws or bad anatomy" in them is clearly arguable as design (and you shouldnít argue about it btw), at best the issue is that they are all fantasy based. So make a character thatís not fantasy based and let it do the arguing for you. You know this an issue in the arts out of time itself. How far do we take artist intent? As artist how much do we abstract? Well I think itís a stupid debate. Show people what youíre capable of, and people who need that will take it. I donít know where youíre setting you sights or what you are willing to work on. But your sense of anatomy is clearly good enough to do the job. The question is can you weigh in with the competition. And thereís only one way to answer that question and thatís to compete! If you donít feel confident with these characters than make another. I still think the old lady idea is good direction. And remember sig graphs only a month away!

alright im done pep talking to strangers;)

07 July 2008, 12:00 AM
if youre making an old lady, dont make a generic super old wrinkles everywhere and looks like death lady. Make a realistic awesome old lady like this:

07 July 2008, 07:38 PM
Hey Jesse. I'm sorry if I offended you. It's just my opinion. I'm from Brockton but I went to school in San Fran. You can aim me if you want.

07 July 2008, 07:21 PM
No offense taken at at all, I as just hoping someone could give me specifics about the anatomy. I've come a long way in that department, and i'd still like to know where I can put improvement.

Sometimes it's hard to figure out intentions through text. I wasn't upset though.

07 July 2008, 08:12 AM
I've looked at your reel a few times just from viewing other threads. Personally, I think your modeling is fine and your surfacing is nice too. You obviously have the technical skill to build characters and map/surface them. If I had to guess what might be hurting you it is appeal and presentation a bit.

I agree with starting with the Alien head. It probably looks the most appealling. The Jackson human like guy has that look on his face which says, "I'm a big slow dumb guy but really strong." However, and I mean this in the least offensive way possible, it also has a strong message of retardation and I think subliminally people are turned off right away. Starting off with a negative impression is hard to recover from and you only have 3 peices pretty much. It's not that the model is poorly executed(at least to me), it's that it doesn't have instant appeal and actually works the opposite direction. It might help to flesh out the shoulders a bit to get rid of the over-sized head on a too small body feeling. I realize it's just a bust, but you still get that feeling from it. Getting some camera movement or spin would help too.

In terms of presentation, something is going on with your black levels in certain areas. When the alien head comes on, it gets washed out until Anaroch's body comes on. I know others have mentioned that. Just something to look into if you haven't. You might have to check actual RGB values if you can't see it on your setup.

I think it would be worth it to have some more motion in your presentation. Turntables with zooms always work and personally, I do like to see wire frames. So, some combination of blending and fading with different angles or half turns would help. I'm not crazy about the backgrounds and overall black you chose either, but that's just me. It feels sort of space-y and floaty. Grounding them with shadows on floors and walls might help make them feel more substantial. Even with the last guy, it's like a pedastool floating in space. It's just an overall feeling I get from everything.

Maybe this is just me, but I don't think you need to make any more unique characters. You can if you want to but you risk people not liking the design and overlooking your modeling ability as a result. That's what I mean by appeal hurting you in the first paragraph. Instead, you might want to pick an intersting subject and enhance or stylize it in some way, or just build it 1:1.

Mostly when I look at your reel I want to see more. More motion or angles, dynamic poses if you can, some more elements, and maybe one or two more pieces. With the title before each character, you might want to show that in grey shade or wire, just to contrast the revealing of the model with surfaces. Right now it feels a little redundant, especially the first piece.

If you're going for game jobs, I think you might have to get very specific for them. Show the game res, show the normal mapped version, high version, uvmap, etc. Just to "prove" you're doing it at least somewhat like they would want.

I still think it's mostly about timing and being qualified for the desired position. The competition is stiff for sure. Spice things up and I'd say you have a good shot of getting in somewhere. Maybe not ILM, but you have to start somewhere. Sometimes crappy jobs where you get to learn and grow a bit are better then hard core production jobs.

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