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Gerry

Putting together an animation reel

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You should lead with the gingerbread house, and close with the dancing gingerbread men.

 

2 questions:

 

1.) What do you want from this reel? (character animation job? Freelance work?)

 

2) are these definitely your strongest clips?

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1) Mainly I wanted to have a reel of some character work. There is a place nearby that has an opening for an animator and it would be mostly character work I think. but seeing the job listing was just a motivation to put some kind of reel together.

 

2) Sadly, yeppers.

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1) are you open to polishing anything?

 

2) I recall some of your other Christmas stuff that had some anthropomorphized objects that might be candidates for this reel.

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Yep I need to go in and rework some of these. I feel like I put in some pieces that weren't really finished. I'm also going to reconsider some of the clips that I've included and excluded.

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One thing I'd do for sure it ditch the bouncing words/letters at the start and end. A simple fade in/fade out is much more clean and professional looking. (Could be worse though, at least you're not using Comic Sans!!)

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Good luck Gerry. Making a demo reel is a sobering experience...

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Comic Sans!! THAT'S what was lacking! Thanks for the tip!

 

Actually I've already ditched the bouncing credits, that was the first comment I got yesterday. So the hard part's done.

 

Holmes, I've only scratched the surface, just threw this together yesterday morning and I feel like I posted it prematurely, but I guess that's the best way to improve it. I posted a link on CGTalk and got 62 views and NO comments, which is valuable in itself.

 

I'm seriously thinking (again!) about Animation Mentor...it's a chunk of change but I really need to improve in the basics.

 

I've also been extremely lazy about using squash and stretch, I guess because I'm afraid I'll overuse it and won't be able to tell. But I really need to get more cartoony and exaggerated with my animation in general.

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Comic Sans!! THAT'S what was lacking! Thanks for the tip!

no-darth_vader.jpg

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For the front of a character animation reel I'd just do the name and contact info with black letters on a white screen, or possibly use a piece of your artwork to one side of them.

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But with Comic Sans, right? That seems to be the consensus.

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Maybe you should use slighty longer clips of some of your projects. I feel like just when I'm starting to see whats going on and how well you do it, the scene changes.

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I agree. i can see it better after a few days of looking at it and the comments I've been getting.

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Thanks Spleen! dude, that music video you've got up over at makeastar.com KICKS! I'm extremely jealous of your ability to crank out whole projects at the pace you do.

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Hi, Gerry,

 

Here is an alternative order, and what changes I'd make. As always, these are just suggestions or things to consider.

 

1. Gingerbread house. Maybe cut it slightly shorter.

2. Santa's feet. They slide to the left when they hit the ground; make it so they are planted still until he lifts them again.

3. Boy's surprised look

4. Bus Stop

5. Cricket in head

6. Green army alien

7. Wasp woman with splineage. Her center of gravity stops moving when she does the kick; keep her body moving a bit as a "recoil" of her leg being kicked out.

8. Wasp woman landing. Her arms look a little too symmetrical. Maybe change both the final pose, as well as the order the arms come to rest at that pose.

9. Gingerbread dance

 

Hope these ideas help a least a little.

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Thanks Spleen! dude, that music video you've got up over at makeastar.com KICKS! I'm extremely jealous of your ability to crank out whole projects at the pace you do.

Thanks alot Gerry

my secret is once I start I don't stop till done.

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Mouseman, that's great input. Thanks for giving it that much thought.

 

Gene, whatever works for ya!

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You'll be disappointed in how little I cover in so long a time, but here are some comments:

 

GerryComments250.mov

 

Remember, as I say in the screencam, the screencam doesn't really capture the motion well so you need to watch it in this PRJ to really see it:

 

FalloverExamplesF.prj

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Robert, that was a really excellent analysis, I've downloaded the .prj and I'll look at it tonight. Thanks.

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One more idea ... Robcat didn't have ideas for the head turn ... one thing I noticed is that his mouth and eyes don't seem to move (maybe the eyes do a little bit, but it's not really noticeable/readable).

 

If you really want to fill that up with lots of acting, here's my long-winded suggestion. Just before the bottle hits him, have his mouth close and his eyes squint ("I see it's coming - even though I'm drunk" - give some anticipation for the audience). Right after he's hit (with a slight bit of recoil), scrunch up his face a little more ("yeah, that did hurt a little"), then relax and open his mouth in disbelief ("she hit me!"). Then close it again, have his eyes look forward and his head face forward. Then have him open his mouth as if he's going to complain to noone ("why I ..."), and then freeze open ("wait a moment, it occurs to me that ..."), and then his mouth slowly becomes a smile ("I'm in love!").

 

I'm starting to notice when real-life actors are on screen without any real dialog. Sometimes, for the really good ones, you can write a script for everything they're thinking in their heads. That's why I interspersed the descriptions of his faces with text telling what he is thinking and why he is doing those actions. Do you think that is a helpful approach? I have not yet tried this on any of my own projects, but I want to do it for my Hit And Run project.

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Great video analysis Robert. Me likey! :)

 

...and Chris, I like your additional tips here on the head turn. Spot on Commentary.

Having some movement in the face would definitely sell the shot.

 

The standard tip out of Richard William's TASK when the head is relatively stationary during a head turn is to push the head out, then down and around.

I understand what Robert was saying about the down and around part not always hitting the mark... that's not what I'm trying to relate here. It's that displacing outward that sells the shot. To my way of thinking it's something of an anticipatory setup. In animation its the change that counts. Diplacing the head outward gives you more change in shape.

 

For instance, if you've got the two key poses, 1, Looking Left and 2, Looking Right, the next inbetween (or breakdown pose) pushes the head or distorts it a little over to the left. This gives the sense of dimensionality to the turn as that makes the characters features turn around versus travelling around. The example is on page 87 of TASK (both editions).

 

I recall some debate about Comic Sans but for the life of me cannot recall the outcome or suggestions that followed. My memory says that it was something to be avoided but that was for use in comic books, not animation reels.

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Thanks for comments, guys. As you prolly noticed by now I took the link down, as I've gotten the feedback I *wanted* (I think), that it NEEDS WORK.

 

Rodney, as for Comic Sans, it is widely reviled (and rightly so) for being an unattractive, overused font. There are whole websites devoted to hatred for it, which I wholeheartedly support. In addition to its clumsy, generic design, I strongly object to the lack of a non-serif capital I, which makes it all but useless as a comic book font.

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The standard tip out of Richard William's TASK when the head is relatively stationary during a head turn is to push the head out...

 

That is somewhat similar to what I've been doing. William's book is a great resource, I think you could get just about everything in the first two quarters of AnimationMentor from TASK also. It's all laid out there but 3D animators seem to have trouble putting it into practice. Of course, a book can't tell you if you're really getting it right, which hopefully a live teacher would do in a class.

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I need to pull out the Williams book again, I got it and looked it over but never studied it closely.

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I need to pull out the Williams book again, I got it and looked it over but never studied it closely.

Don't just study it, have it open at your desk with A:M running and a rigged model ready to animate. As you read through a section, practice a few times in A:M before moving on to the next section. There is a bunch of information crammed into those drawings.

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Rodney, as for Comic Sans, it is widely reviled (and rightly so) for being an unattractive, overused font. There are whole websites devoted to hatred for it, which I wholeheartedly support. In addition to its clumsy, generic design, I strongly object to the lack of a non-serif capital I, which makes it all but useless as a comic book font.

 

I had no idea it was such a reviled font. I used it recently for the "QuickStart" Expressions tutorial splash screen...maybe I should have gotten suggestions on the font first. Oh well, the damage is done.

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I had no idea it was such a reviled font.

 

I too am shamed. I like to use this font on any images/screen captures I post (on which I've added explanations to forum questions) because it's readable and isn't as boring as Arial or Times Roman types of fonts.

 

Do tell, what font do you suggest using, so that we won't be so uber-pariah-ish?

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Do tell, what font do you suggest using, so that we won't be so uber-pariah-ish?

 

I'm not much one to say when it comes to Pro work but I find myself continually returning to Arial for readability alone.

I've been using a font called Lafayette Pro for anything comic related but it doesn't have caps (actually it's all caps... I need non-caps) , italics or bold so I have to create them on the fly if I want those.

In order to use it commercially I think I'd have to pay for it. (I double check on that)

 

Below is an example of text in Lafayette Comic Pro.

The final commentary and illustrations (using Arial because I didn't take the time to convert it) can be seen on my blog.

I'll guess that people don't like Arial because they find it boring. I find it readable which is rather important and the whole point when reading words.

 

What I've also found is that regardless of the text used it often seems too stark for my tastes so in the finished product I often copy a burred duplicate of the text over the top of the original and then adjust the transparency of that blurred layer.

 

Bottom line as far as I'm concerned; if going for the final reel and really trying to land a job it may be worth the money to pay for the perfect font. Otherwise it's mostly just preference. I would steer clear of anything even remotely unreadable. Also take into consideration that it takes time to read text on the screen.

 

 

Added: While looking for a reference on ideal time to leave text on screen I stumbled upon one that suggests .33 seconds for every word over 14 words on screen. This suggesting that a change occurs in our brains when we see larger masses of text and we adapt to better read it. Obviously if the text is harder to read or stylistic it may take longer to recognize and comprehend. (I never did find the reference I was looking for though)

wLafayetteComicPro_sm.png

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Yes, Helvetica. Very readable.

 

Found this reference in a write up on the comparisons between Arial and Helvetica:

 

 

Helvetica

Designed in 1957 by Max Miedinger, Helvetica’s design is based on that of Akzidenz Grotesk (1896), and classified as a Grotesque or Transitional san serif face. Originally it was called Neue Haas Grotesque; in 1960 it was revised and renamed Helvetica (Latin for Switzerland “Swiss”).

 

Arial

Designed in 1982 by Robin Nicholas and Patricia Saunders for Monotype (not Microsoft), it’s classified as Neo Grotesque, was originally called Sonoran San Serif, and was designed for IBM’s bitmap font laser printers. It was first supplied with Windows 3.1 (1992) and was one of the core fonts in all subsequent versions of Windows until Vista, when to all intents and purposes, it was replaced with Calibri.

 

No wonder people are tired of Arial... they've been staring at it on computers for two decades.

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hmmm... calibri is not a choice on the forum.

 

the biggest difference I notice between it and Arial is the loose ends on e and s are shaved off more vertically

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Do tell, what font do you suggest using, so that we won't be so uber-pariah-ish?

Anything but Comic Sans! Do a Google search on Comic Sans and see what comes up.

 

Nothing at all wrong with Arial or Helvetica, the all-purpose, do-anything, always-looks-good fonts.

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Tahoma and Verdana are my current top choices for professional, readable type. The old standards Arial and Helvetica (or Helvetica Neue) also work nicely.

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Here's a comment I like from a BBC news article on Comic Sans:

"It does have a use: rather like Dan Brown books or baseball hats with beercans attached, it marks the user out as someone to be avoided."

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-11582548

 

Long story short: I may opt for another font for my reel.

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Here's a comment I like from a BBC news article on Comic Sans:

"It does have a use: rather like Dan Brown books or baseball hats with beercans attached, it marks the user out as someone to be avoided."

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-11582548

 

They've convinced me. No mystery why Comic Sans fits me to a tee-shirt. I shall continue to use it for all things tooney, but never, ever, in a bazillion-jillion years for when I need to put on my grown-up face, use my indoor voice, write a ransom note, or eviction notice.

 

EDIT: I take it back. I'm switching to Boopee.

comicsans.gif

Boopee.gif

Edited by NancyGormezano

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I think it's time to move this thread to "Off Topic"!

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I think it's time to move this thread to "Off Topic"!

 

Awwwww...perhaps to get back to more "On Topic" (even tho you took your video down) - I found this short interview and one person's opinion of what makes a good animation demo reel.

 

If you are looking to change jobs (while you are also in pursuit of improving your animation skills), I would think that you could get a job as a storyboard artist in a heartbeat. You have exceptional skill in that area already. It looks to me that 2D is making a comeback, and that your skill set also shines there.

 

Forgive me, if I reopened a topic if you really wanted to drop it.

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Not at all Nancy! It was just the way it took a turn into a discussion of fonts. As for your comments, I think I'm going to get all my storyboard samples together and see what it looks like, got some opinions on what I've got, and go forward.

 

I've been fixated on looking for another job in the legal field since that's what I've been doing, but I believe I should look for work based on my skills rather than my work history. I feel like I'd be limiting myself otherwise.

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