Help me with my Animation Reel PLEASE!

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  11 November 2012
Help me with my Animation Reel PLEASE!

I'm having a very hard time getting back into the animation industry. Below are 3 reels. The first is a reel with some old stuff that got me some work but I don't think stands up very well today. The second reel is a more recent all-around animation reel and the last is more character and physical action focused stuff. So far, none of these are getting me anywhere.

Old Reel:

New General Reel:

New Character-Focused Reel:

In need major help because I've decided that I'm just no good at judging my own work. Would you change the order of the shots I've got? Change the shots themselves? Throw everything away and start new? What?

Any suggestions would be much appreciated!
"Have you ever just stared at it.......Marveled at its bee yooty?"
  11 November 2012
Dude, I think your animation is just fantastic. Not quite sure why you're so hard on yourself.
Software Used:
3D: Cinema 4D, MotionBuilder
Finished Work:
  11 November 2012
Character Animation shot 2 critique

First I would like to start off with things slightly unrelated to the animation itself but areas of improvement that would greatly affect the quality of your work. Think about composition, camera angle and focal length of the camera, as well as the rule of thirds. Also the environment is a little ambiguous, is this a library, a study room at school, or a couple at home. I’m gonna go with a study room/lobby in school. Whatever you decide, it will affect the way his eye and head moves at the start of the animation. Right now, you have the animation start off with his head and eyes supposedly in the direction of this girl. Now also ask the question what is this girl doing, is she passing across the hall? If she is, then his eyes should probably follow her. Also you might want to add a change in his head direction at the start of the animation; if you look at the guy from the perspective of his girlfriend, the way you have it right now, there is no way that she would know that he is checking this girl out. I’m not saying have him do an exaggerated blatant turn checking this girl out, keep it subtle but enough so that his girlfriend realizes what he is doing. You do have his head moving up a bit, but again thinkin about it from his girlfriend’s perspective, she would not only have to be terribly insecure but also obsessive, and intrusive. From the animation and dialogue, I think his girlfriend sounds more insecure rather than an annoying girlfriend so I suggest having his head motion towards the girl that he’s looking at a little more obvious so that his girlfriend realizes that he’s checking this girl out. You also have her saying ‘Do you like that girl?’ without ever looking from the corner of her eye to realize that there is a girl and he is checking her out. Also her pose and lips seem to come to a dead stop after she says do you like that girl, maybe go for a little moving hold there. I think his placement is a little too far from the girl although I like the beats of his walk when he says oh no no no, but again think of the backstory and environment, why is he standing that far away from the girl. Is he looking out a window, are they at home? Also, right before he says how could I like a girl like that, she does a weird shifting away from him; not sure what’s the motivation behind that, but I think you should probably tone that down.
Really awesome animation and acting. I think you just need to put in a little more time into preproduction and thumbnailing camera angles. Also, you probably have too much stuff on your reel, just step back and look at it as if it is someone else’s work and choose n keep the best stuff.
  11 November 2012
I appreciate that but I REALLY need some constructive criticism here.

I'm not really looking for a major, in-depth shot-by-shot critique here. I'm just trying to get some kind of consensous of what shots are worth keeping and which should go.
"Have you ever just stared at it.......Marveled at its bee yooty?"
  11 November 2012
Hey Thanks a lot Jason! Your post for some reason didn't pop up until several hours after I made that last post. I definately get what you're saying about the beginning of the man/woman dialogue shot. There is actually another second or two more at the beginning of that shot. The whole thing can be seen at: I may end up adding even more.

I'm really glad you brought this up. I ended up cutting off the beginning for my reel because I was trying to get to the action quicker but I see now that doing so has lessened its readability.

As for the environment, when I first started animating years ago I'd spend a lot of time modeling very detailed environments for my characters but it seemed like I was wasting time doing that when I could be animating. So, I ended up putting a lot of my characters in front of very simple or blank backgrounds. I'd really like to get other peoples input on this. Is modeling better environments and even maybe rendering them out really going to help my reel or am I just ignoring problems with the animation in doing so? I've gotten to a point where spending a lot of time on anything but the actual animation feels like I'm doing so to distract from the animation rather than help it.

Also, Jason said I have too much. If others agree, what then should be cut?

Thanks again for your suggestions! You've gone above and beyond what I was expecting.
"Have you ever just stared at it.......Marveled at its bee yooty?"
  11 November 2012
You really need to think about where you want to get a job. Smaller places like advertising studios would appreciate a generalist who has an awesome environment along with awesome animation. But bigger studios are very specialized and they only care about your animation, but here's the catch, storytelling is what they care about and what they expect you to care about.
Having an environment, having ambient sound, paying attention to camera angles is gonna make your reel stand out, cause these are things that are incredibly important for storytelling. Having said that, again bigger studios really only care about your animation, so you don't HAVE to do detailed environments, keep it simple but put some thought into how it relates to the dialogue and the story. You also mentioned time is an issue, but if you don't have a job in the industry right now, technically you might have the time to make detailed environments and lighting. I don't think it would hurt you at all if you do it with sensibility-i mean dont go modelling the inside of the vatican and put a simple cartoony rig on top of that. Think of the art style, think of who you are applying to, think of how it relates to the story.
I ask people the same question about how much to put on the reel, and they tell me that that's a terrible question Quality over quantity, Keep em wanting more. Now for a game reel, they are also very specialized, they dont care too much about ur environment modeling skills if you are applying to be an animator. Guys at a big studio game company told me have at least 12 pieces done in their art style. For Feature film animation, its much less. You probably haven't applied to enough places. Good luck
  11 November 2012
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