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View Full Version : What would you like to see in a Demo Reel?



ShadowMystic
11-16-2011, 10:58 PM
So I got the basics such A well detailed and textured model and animation but what else? should it be fast paced? Or weighted forward with your best stuff in the first 10 seconds? An animated intro with my name acceptable or should it be in a legible font on a static background?

Discuss.:newtek::lwicon:

This wouldn't just apply to me. I think a lot of new artists looking to get into the industry would benefit from this thread so please keep your post orderly.

djwaterman
11-16-2011, 11:28 PM
I'm as guilty as anyone of making fast paced music driven showreels, it's a habit I picked up from working at agencies who have production showreels that are like that, to impress clients.

But for someone who wants to get work as an artist, just go with your best work, a good solid example of something you think you are pretty good at.

If it's modeling, then some clean slow rotations or nice stills fading from one to another.

If it's animation then just some good examples of a character doing a few specific things, a walk/run/dance cycle even. Of course the more impressive the better so if you have something that shows good acting, performance or degree of difficulty use those. These don't need to be fully rendered, just clear.

When you are starting out you won't have a lot of stuff to throw into a reel so my advice is to do one or two things really well and present them
in a clear no nonsense way. Keep the music minimal or don't have any at all.

Keep it short.

I've seen a lot of reels, and mine is one of them, that have good stuff in them but jammed right next to stuff that isn't so good. I'm pretty sure it's best to just keep the good stuff and turf anything else. And anything that might look like a first time test (realflow filling wine glass for example), don't put it in unless it is actually really impressive and shows mastery.

I'll sum it up this way, when people are hiring they are looking for specific abilities.

Netvudu
11-17-2011, 01:23 AM
"Animated intro with name"---> bad idea

ShadowMystic
11-17-2011, 07:51 AM
"Animated intro with name"---> bad idea
It's not a cheesy my name spinng and bouncing about the screen. I'm going to keep it the animation sinces its done but I'll reconsider using it in my professional reel.

Ryan Roye
11-17-2011, 08:54 AM
I'm not really in any position to criticize... but I have seen a LOT of demo reels out of my evergoing curiosity on how people work differently. Here's something I want to see:

Better animation. If you can't animate, don't put it there!

Too many demo reels pair up really... REALLY fancy models but then tack on some crappy animation and think it looks good. Too many demo reels have this balance problem... and often times it extends to other areas as well (IE: excellent architectural design, but poorly constructed character models).

If a given skill isn't the focus and/or you cannot do something that meshes well with your work in general, then don't put it in there: it does more harm than good. Balance around what you're good at.

ShadowMystic
11-17-2011, 05:53 PM
I'm not really in any position to criticize... but I have seen a LOT of demo reels out of my evergoing curiosity on how people work differently. Here's something I want to see:

Better animation. If you can't animate, don't put it there!

Too many demo reels pair up really... REALLY fancy models but then tack on some crappy animation and think it looks good. Too many demo reels have this balance problem... and often times it extends to other areas as well (IE: excellent architectural design, but poorly constructed character models).

If a given skill isn't the focus and/or you cannot do something that meshes well with your work in general, then don't put it in there: it does more harm than good. Balance around what you're good at.

Good point. I've seen a couple where one model was good and the rest was terrible. It would make me question if they even created the good one if I was an art director receiving the reel. I'm pretty well rounded and plan on showcasing animation(CA ,mechanical) and modeling.

Mr Rid
11-17-2011, 10:27 PM
Yes, best stuff at beginning.

Abrasive, 'driving' music is annoying. For years, myself and supers I view demos with, always turn the sound off.

Use tough love and narrow down to your strongest pieces. Before sending out, ask friends or other artists what they think are the weakest parts, then consider removing it.

bazsa73
11-17-2011, 10:56 PM
I agree with the above said.
+Don't cut a long sequence into smaller fragments and scatter it all around you reel

ShadowMystic
11-18-2011, 09:22 AM
Yes, best stuff at beginning.

Abrasive, 'driving' music is annoying. For years, myself and supers I view demos with, always turn the sound off.

Use tough love and narrow down to your strongest pieces. Before sending out, ask friends or other artists what they think are the weakest parts, then consider removing it.

What if you have sound effects with your animations? Should those be left in or just a quiet reel focused on the CG not the music?

Dexter2999
11-18-2011, 09:55 AM
I read somewhere where a guy who was supposed to review reels actually turned the audio off and watched them. Now that isn't all people but there it is. Audio not that important. Especially when you take into consideration that most of it is either royalty free stuff they have heard over and over or illegal use of more popular material. (Again not all)

I see on here over and over where people include weak material because they are worried about the reel being too short or wanting it to match up to a song. I think it is a mistake. Just show the good stuff and let it go.

I also bet that the people viewing the reels get tired of seeing demos that are all class projects because they will see the same thing over and over.

If you really want to get their attention, make them laugh. Professionals in the FX industry have seen cool and cutting edge. Show them something they haven't seen. Show them how clever or funny you are.

Mr Rid
11-18-2011, 03:52 PM
What if you have sound effects with your animations? Should those be left in or just a quiet reel focused on the CG not the music?

The audio is as irrelevant as a degree :). If the work stands out, GL renders with no sound are all you need. You just need to show what you are best at. On my first reel, I added sound effects in attempt to stand out, and I continued doing it for my own amusement. But when I interview, they turn the sound off. The only time sound editing is relevant is when demoing special previz' I sometimes do.

If showing modeling, organic character stuff is more relevant, while hard surface is the most common skill, and recruiters have seen enough rotating cars and tanks.

You might also look at reels online, pretend you are hiring, and see what makes an impression and what doesnt. You'll get bored as recruiters do. I can tell in about the first 10 seconds what the rest of the reel will be like. Unless its just blow away, I either fast-forward or stop, not necessarily because its poor, but because I got what I needed to know.

A more experienced artist may have different demos, each tailored to a specific area- CA, FX, etc.

If you feel you dont have enough standout work, you may want to do some shots just for your demo.