First ever animation reel

Made with a mix of Blender and Maya (because a course I’ve just been on was taught in Maya)
Click here to see the reel

Glad to see you got the Bruce Lee scene done :slight_smile: I didn’t realize it was going to be so “toony”, but you did a nice job in the fight scene . A bit of shoulder deformation issues there, but Bruce’s expressions were pretty dead on .

Overall pretty good, but you might want to pay more attention to adding more gravity in the walkcycles and in the overall animations and maybe add a bit more squash and stretch . The lip syncing looked good too, but was kind of hard to see with the exaggerated jaw …

Hope you got a good grade in your class :slight_smile:


Yes - I saw the weight painting issues. My tutors didn’t want me to spend much more time tweaking models as animation was where the major was. I also made Bruce’s hand pullbacks much more snappy, but those keys must have gone to a prior save at some point because they are now smoothed and kind os slow on the final render.

I’m not sure that I’ll get that good a mark for it. There’s a lot wrong with the reel and there was a difference in opinion between myself and the tutor who will be marking it at the end. He’d already made me cull a lot of other scenes to the point that there was no longer anything in lighting, supposedly my secondary option for the reel. What’s there now is lit terribly. When I tried to make some quick lighting shots at the end of the reel I was out of time (I had not worked on them since he said not to, and now had to build and light a whole kitchen so decided it would be better to just pull them). When I said on the class reports (bbs) that I was brassed off (I meant but did not specify “at myself”) for not getting them done, he must have taken it personally because he replied with a fairly nasty end note saying he’d told me not to have two of the scenes which are there now (he actually had said to leave them until last. I still think that with any more pulled, any employer would think that I must have wasted time for the twelve weeks). I made and rigged a few other characters… one fat elephant in particular he told me to modify to the point of restarting once it was all up and rigged. That character never made the final cut. Oh well.

Still, I am glad I took the course and I’m glad I had this tutor for animation. Regardless of my somewhat crappy results, I have learned heaps. The reel is just a start: can still fix it up and even add new stuff. The tutor was somewhat of a perfectionist / negative / disagreeable type at times but then he was a genius in spotting things that could be fixed etc so I’m really happy I was on his course. (As long as my mark reflects the effort I put into those 12 weeks ;))

You probably need to decide what you want to do. I’m guessing NZ is a bit like Oz in that you kinda have to be jack of all trades …and end up being master of none.

If you really want to be an animator, I would suggest grabbing, say, Mancandy and really practicing animation. You have work to do there, getting weight and posing etc.

If you want to focus on lighting, maybe grab some elephants dream (or BBB) scenes and relight them.

Above all, decide.
If you want to end up working for a big studio, you definitely wont be doing all of it.

Thanks freen… I was wondering that my 12 weeks of work must have been so bad that I wasn’t getting much (as in many people giving) feedback.

Yes, the jack-of-all-trades thing is an element. It’s more complicated than most people realise. Add that I like using Blender and Gimp in my pipeline and things get more complex again. (side note… I uncovered a UV unwrapping / import problem in Blender which has since been fixed in latest release).

Ultimately, I would like to keep my Teacher Registration up, and teach Blender in schools, although I would like to get some experience first, say, make a couple of TV adverts or something to give me an air-of-authority.

To be truthful, I’m more interested in character design and modeling than hard core animation, although as far as the course is concerned, if I’d majored in modeling, I would have been denied the knowledge given to animation majoring students. I can still fix up my reel (adjust weight paints, smooth movements, add more expressions, add extra scenes and rerender)… at least I’ve gotten the most from the course in terms of looking at each of the elements through picking the hardest.

Unfortunately, rerendering the reel is going to mean using my illegally-obtained version of Maya which goes against my personal ethics as I am against piracy. Apparently I was the only student the school has come across in years who was.

Well personally I don’t think the lack of response has anything to do with the quality of your work . Most likely some are put off with the use of Maya, but your course instructor limited you to animating in Maya for the course …

And I didn’t realize that a course instructor had so much editing rights over a student’s own demo reel … certainly puts me off on ever taking a course like that … Occasionally I run into something done for Animation Mentor and am usually disappointed … all bland toony “life” by the book …
Anything short as a 30 sec (usually shorter) lip-syncing exercise is not animation . It is an exercise - a silly, “go sweep there while I try and think up something to say”, sort of thing used by “professionals” to get tuition and a salary … Not that I am naive, I know getting to know and “impress” these people can get you a job in the industry . But that is something quite different from having talent and being able to do quality work …

Sorry about the ranting, but I am really put off about how the reel demo got assembled for you …

But I would have to say I kind of disagree with freen’s “jack of all trades” comment … I mean if you have the desire and the talent and the intelligence to do something and be able to realize it and you need to know a lot of skill sets to get there then what’s wrong with being a “jack of all trades” ? But then again my personal ambition isn’t to be animator #64 at some company either … But where is the non centralized creative Blender spirit ?

Did you rig any of the characters in Blender itself ? … I am guessing not since you are talking about rerendering in your illicit copy of Maya … Well maybe you should rig your characters in Blender and rerender and edit (on your own terms) a pure Blender demo reel when you have time . Rigging in Blender from what I remember after seeing a Maya rigging tut is a lot faster, even if it is a bit quirky .

You have a pretty good eye for modeling (even if a bit poly heavy ;)) and characterization . You have all the tools you need in Blender to model and rig and animate . The more you do the more you learn and hopefully get better and better …

TOTALLY disagree with you. For a start, if anything as short as 30 seconds is not animation, well there goes all of us who do TV ads (typically 30 secs or less).
Apart from that, doing 10 seconds of polished character animation can take ages to get right, and there’s a lot to fit in. 30 seconds in animation time is AGES.

I’m guessing (from your spelling) that you’re American. The point I was making is that in countries with small populations such as New Zealand and Australia, you are forced to be a generalist. While there’s nothing wrong with that, it can be limiting when you aren’t getting the opportunity to really develop your skills in one area.
Now, you might disagree, but I consider character animation to be a very advanced skill that requires specialisation in order to really do it properly. The subtlety involved means you really have to know your stuff, and it helps to not have to worry so much about rigging, lighting, materials, etc.
I’ve worked in the industry for almost 14 years now and still consider myself a novice at character animation. Why? because in order to pay rent and keep food on the table, I’ve had to do everything from web design to motion graphics as well as character animation, and the standard of my character stuff has suffered as a result.

Our tutors always said that how many different jobs you do depends on the size of the company.
If it’s a large movie making project, then you do one thing… like you would only be texture artist… one among a few, or an animator for a brief moment of the entire film, or you could be a modeler for a few miscellaneous objects among their many props. To get those jobs, your reel would be better off showing that you really specialise in one of the areas they happen to have a vacancy for.
On the other hand, if it’s a small time advertising agency, you could have to do everything yourself from storyboarding, modeling, texturing, right through to lighting and animating. If you’re freelancing then you can guarantee this would be the case.

I hope nothing I’ve said has really put anyone off doing animation courses. The tutors are the industry specialists here and I was learning under them. Yes, I came across different attitudes among different teachers, some welcoming the use of Blender, and some against, although all showed caution as Blender is not recognised in the industry here and it could potentially make me unemployable if it meant I was not well familiarised the ones the companies would be expecting. I actually think it was pretty good that they had a meeting and decided that they should support me using Blender alongside Maya, even though they had to warn me they would not be able to assist with Blender specific problems.
Yes, I do think my Animation reel was kind of hammered by my animation tutor’s own bias of style… he could have shown me in an evening how to fix up a certain walk-to-run cycle instead of taking the negative angle and telling me I wouldn’t do it in time (this was some several weeks ahead of the deadline). He also should not have spat the dummy at me on the class intranet forum after the course deadline, claiming he’d told me not to include the bulb title or the ladder climb when he’d actually said to leave them last because he considered low priority to the other animations (which is what I then did). I had resigned from my previous teaching job and relocated across the country for the $10,000 course (my life’s savings, and then I still had to borrow to keep paying my board), usually working at campus from 8:30am-9:00pm Monday-Saturday, so yes, I was a bit put off when he would take such a critical approach, or point the finger back in my direction when I tried to follow his advice literally and it didn’t work out. Perhaps he was he preparing me for the soul-kicking crits many people face once they hit the real world?
However… I can see where he is coming from, and he has certainly givgn me loads of knowledge along the way I would not have gotten on my own, nor perhaps if I had gone elsewhere in New Zealand. The fact that I can see loads wrong in m own work, is perhaps a sign that he has succeeded in making me a better animator as the learning is an ongoing thing. For that matter, the reel is only itself meant to be a “first effort” which gets better as I keep modifying it with better and better work.
I hope I can get a job soon. I hope I get better than just a “pass” for all my effort. But we’ll just see how things go.

I think I’ll work on claymation and get back into 3D animation a little later, now that I’m only just back home.