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11-12-2011, 08:18 PM   #1
Jay
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Show Reels - A Guideline
Just wanted to post up a little help thread with regards to showreels. There are a few members posting reels and they are in need of attention so here a few do's and don'ts.


1) Be clear about your skills -what you want to do or what you see yourself as, ie:animator, fx td, generalist and so on. Keep the reel to the point of what you are.

2) If you are a modeler like myself, 360 degree turntable models are essential. Usually with shaded wire frame models fading to AO renders.

3) Dont display models with bases. Its films or games you are after not games workshop or dungeons and dragons

4)Models with textures...as above but show the textures and UVs in a flattened state between each model shown

5) Playblasts of animated objects are allowed. I've seen this on many animator reels...but makes sure the res is high enough

6)Backgrounds....mmm always a tricky one. Alot of people render on a black backgrounds....looks cool but dont do it. Render on a 50% grey. It means the model is neither in progress or finished. Its only finished once its on the movie screen.

7) Reel Time....4mins or less....otherwise its gets boring

8) Show your latest and best work first

9) Music....if you want...it usually gets turned down or even off. Not everyone has the same taste in music so bear that in mind

10)Your details. Put them on the end of the front and the end of the reel. Email addresses and a phone number. And keep them up to date!! Also put contact details on the dvd face and on a cover if you have one. This will save any potential employers fumbling around to find the details. As they'll be in front of them.


Okay so thats the first wave of guidelines. I'll post as I think of more.


Start posting your reels in here for some crit.......
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11-12-2011, 09:04 PM   #2
stwert
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I'm not so clear on the "no bases" rule. What should be there? Nothing; floating in space? A ground plane? Some small piece of environment perhaps? A curved backdrop? These still sound like bases. I get that the pedestal or cylinder is overdone, but I would think having something would be better than floating in space, unless it's something that would actually float in space, like a spaceship or a bust (head).
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11-12-2011, 09:40 PM   #3
Jay
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Good question. I knew there was something else. Vehicles would have a ground plane as would a character. As they are kind of relative to how the model sits in the real world. But are optional.
The cliched and overdone cylindrical base is not part of the model. I know it sounds hypocrital because Ive mentioned putting a ground plane in, but the base...thats a maquette thing or something to be 3d printed to make it a final product look cool.

Generally though all turntable models would be framed well and rendered out 'floating' just as it is in production...so when in Rome....
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11-12-2011, 10:53 PM   #4
David
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Thanks for taking the time mate, sure it will come in handy to a lot of people

Dave
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11-12-2011, 11:06 PM   #5
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Nice thread Jay, I'll add some stuff!

Quote:
1) Be clear about your skills -what you want to do or what you see yourself as, ie:animator, fx td, generalist and so on. Keep the reel to the point of what you are.
Keep in mind that if you're starting out as a junior artist no one is expecting you to have tons of production work because how could you? It's much better to have 1-2 well made scenes than 10 scenes with flaws so focus your efforts. Here's an example of this from Sergej Zlahtic at Media Design School. You can read an interview with him about his student experiences here.



Quote:
2) If you are a modeler like myself, 360 degree turntable models are essential. Usually with shaded wire frame models fading to AO renders.
6)Backgrounds....mmm always a tricky one. Alot of people render on a black backgrounds....looks cool but dont do it. Render on a 50% grey. It means the model is neither in progress or finished. Its only finished once its on the movie screen.
In terms of color unless you know exactly what you're doing stay within grey scale ranging from black to white because it's safe and looks clean and professional.

Tutorial on how to render ambient occlusion in mental ray

How to Render Wireframe on Shaded


Quote:
5) Playblasts of animated objects are allowed. I've seen this on many animator reels...but makes sure the res is high enough
Most animators I know tend to update their reels a lot and add things during the blocking stage. For some examples of this, you can have a look at these interviews which contains good animation reels, tips and resources;

An Interview with Gabriele Ranfagni - Senior Animator
An Interview with Josh Burton - Senior Animator


If you want to work in VFX in the UK, read this;

Junior Artist in VFX - An Interview with Dominic Edwards
Senior Artist in VFX - An Interview with Jason Edwards
The Core Skills of VFX Guide


If you want to work in the game industry, read this;

Working in the Game Industry - An Interview with Mike McKinley
A Game Artist's Blog 2000-2011


Finally look at reels posted online from junior artists at the kind of companies you want to work for, and make sure your work meets the industry standard so you don't send it around and end up wondering why no one ever gets back to you. And keep in mind that applying for runner positions as well as junior artist will increase your chances and it's a good way to get a foot in the door.
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11-12-2011, 11:15 PM   #6
Jay
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I would really avoid black as a background though.....grey is generally better and more common place where I have been.

Also if you haven't worked in any of the industries as yet and decide to do a reel. Dont do a tutorial that you bought from a website. Ive seen it happen a fair bit. They are recognizable from most sites, are not your work and are above all, copyrighted.


Jay
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11-12-2011, 11:38 PM   #7
Nilla
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No pure black (or white) backgrounds it's hard on the eye, I meant stay within the grey scale and don't add lots of colored text. Most text you see on websites that looks black is grey to some extent (or should be) and it makes a huge difference. This page is off-white, not pure white. Also never use primary red, green or blue for text or in textures it looks like a clown house.
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10-10-2012, 01:09 PM   #8
dustykhan
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There are some really nice points here and thanks for the links Miss_Nova, interesting reads.

I currently work as an artworker for a design company, whilst building up my skills in the realm of 3D in my spare time, as one day I would like to work in the industry. Im still young at 23 and would like to make the move in the next couple of years, but I don't know when or where to start focusing my learning in a particular area.

Quote:
1) Be clear about your skills -what you want to do or what you see yourself as, ie:animator, fx td, generalist and so on. Keep the reel to the point of what you are.
How or when should you start focusing on one particular area? Obviously I know what areas I find more enjoyable and interesting, but when/how do you know that your skill is to a level you can focus your time specialising and making sure your reel is up to scratch and you can start applying for jobs?
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10-10-2012, 01:24 PM   #9
Jay
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A good question.

Skill level is going to be down to experience in general, but obviously there will be exceptions to that rule. I began specialising in modelling years ago, I could make generally good clean meshes, but my biggest problem was my initial observations of things.

Some people can grasp things quicker than the next guy, and unfortunately thats life so I would compare your work against other peoples, check out therir show reels and see what level they are working at and decide where you stand.

Despite being a senior Modeler, I see other modeler reels that knock my worjk into next week and these guys dont even work in the industry but are busting their balls to get their work out there. I do wonder why they arent in good positions workwise, it could probably be down to inexperience....its a catch 22 situation
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10-10-2012, 03:42 PM   #10
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Funny thing this thread should pop up, I was just reading something on another board on the topic of modeling reels and someone quoted a post from RFXU's facebook page. It's very sound advice and more people should think about this, so here it is.

Quote:
Yesterday I was asked to crit' an applicants reel who wanted to be a modeler - I wrote the following and sent it along its way. I thought I'd post the email here as well. A word of warning - it was late in the day and I've had a sinus thing for a week now that has me looking longingly at an ice pick top open things up so it may come off as a lil, ummm, shall we say cranky. Still I stand by the opinion offered.

R.

Ok, my thoughts – please keep in mind that I am hopped up on Dayquil as I write this:

At an animation or vfx studio modelers (which is what this guy wants to be) model what we show them we want built. If we want a turkey built, as a timely example, we don’t just say, “Hey, build me a turkey” and then head out to lunch. We give them drawings of what our turkey should look like. We show them maquettes that we paid top dollar for to show them what our turkey should look like. And on and on – at no time does the modeler really get to make their idea of a turkey – they build our turkey. Period. End.

90% of recent graduates who want to be modelers fill their reels with stuff they have made up. They will build a fantasy creature, a cartoony car, a scary tree, whatever strikes their fancy – this tells us nothing. Case in point this guy’s reel. He’s built a bunch of stuff but shown me nothing of his skills. He should, in my never to be humble, opinion throw it all away and do this instead:

Show reference of a car – I don’t care what kinda car; just make sure it’s a real car. Then he should build that car in CG. Not his idea of what the car should be, not his artistic interpretation of the car – just build the damn car. And build every teeny-weenie detail, if there are 5 lug nuts in reality – there should be 5 on the model, etc. I should look at the model and say, “Wow, that’s a _________ and look at all the detail, that’s awesome”.

Next, show reference of a movie star – pick one, anyone, male, female – I don’t care, just make sure they are a big star that everyone will recognize. Then he should build a model of that movie star – every detail. If he or she has a gap in their teeth or a cute lil dimple in their chin that detail must be in the model. Extra points if it’s a girl, girls are harder than guys. Ugly is easier than pretty. Don’t believe me? Draw me a very pretty girl, now draw me a monster – what was easier?

Next show me a hand prop – a gun, a cell phone, whatever – but it should be really complicated – lots of detail, then build it, etc. See comments above – I should be able to look at the CG model and say, “Well, looky there, that’s a ____________________ and look at all the detail – it looks real!”

Building stuff that you make up is easy because who can dispute it not looking like you intended it to look? No one, that’s who! A modeler who can model stuff we recognize is a skilled modeler.

The original post can be found here https://www.facebook.com/pages/Reel-...U/200141175201 on September 19th.
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10-10-2012, 05:05 PM   #11
NextDesign
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Dono Reel 2011 (Best 3D Demoreel Ever) - YouTube

It had to be done.
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10-10-2012, 06:05 PM   #12
David
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Dam that guy does everything! Rare to see someone that covers every area lol
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10-10-2012, 06:25 PM   #13
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awesome ND! How could anyone compete with that?
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10-10-2012, 07:09 PM   #14
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Thanks for your responses.

So say I feel my work is up to a level that matches others applying for jobs, how do I know that it doesnt take me twice as long as the next person to create the same model/scene, or that my workflow is all wrong and wouldn't fit into a production pipeline.

I still feel I have a way to go before applying for any jobs, but when taching myself I dont know if I am doing things in the 'worng' way or the ' correct' way, or does this not really apply as long as the model/scene takes you X amount of time and is suitable for use?

That post from RFXU's Facebook is realy helpful and has a lot of things that I will remember, and I guess that don't just apply to moddeling reels. I will bear in mind a lot of what was said there when I come to create my own show reel.

Wow thanks for sharing that video NextDesign. What an asome reel I hope mine will become that good one day haha
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10-10-2012, 09:19 PM   #15
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Quote:
What an asome reel I hope mine will become that good one day haha
No, no, what you should be aiming for is this it's more refined

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FiARsQSlzDc
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