“I’ve always been entranced by movement. Be it an extreme action or a subtle gesture, both can speak volumes about a character, set a mood, or relay a message. Since we as people don’t even think about how we move, animation plays into our subconscious, telling a story that our active minds cannot really pick up. Therefore, it ingrains itself deeply into the viewer and leaves an impression that other art forms can’t really do.
I only began animating in the fall of 2016, so although I have a long way to go, the prospect of learning more drives me to push myself further. Since movement isn’t really something we think about much, I think the reason my animations are succeeding is because I’m working purely off instinct and making everything look as natural and readable as possible. Of course, I still have quite a ways to go, which is why I’d love a good critique. I haven’t really gotten any about my animations yet, so I’ve just been trying to seek out my own mistakes and fix them.
I’m a natural leader, and although I’m not in the place to do so yet, I’d love to someday become a lead animator for a feature film (or perhaps even direct one). For now, I’m just trying to build up skill and creative vision, but I definitely won’t give up on my goal. I’ll always strive to improve, because in my opinion, there’s not nearly enough time to capture everything about life in one lifetime.”Purchase a portfolio critique
Tomek Baginski, Bill Plympton, Peter Chung, Don Hertzfeldt, Mike Judge, Caroline Leaf, David Oreilly, Gianluigi Toccafondo, Evert de Beijer, Chris Landreth, Alexander Alexeieff, Wladislaw Starewicz, Cordell Barker, Jonas Odell, Koji Yamamura, Mark Baker, Hayao Miyazaki, Marjane Satrapi, Sylvain Chomet, William Kentridge
“Hi! So I will be doing a portfolio critique on your traditional and digital animation demo reel. How this is going to work is I’m going to go over some general comments, stuff that I’ve seen to be true throughout the entire film, and then I’ll jump into some more specifics regarding specific pieces, details, and stuff I talked about earlier on in the general section and so on and so forth. So let’s jump right into it.
First of all I want to say that I think you’re off to a great start for having just started animating. You said in your artist statement that you started animating in the fall of 2016 and I think that you are showing a lot of natural talent, enthusiasm, a lot of exploration, and just general excitement for animation and the medium that it is. So I think that’s a great place to be a year into animating and looking into the future.
I just mentioned that you are exploring various media. Right now I’m seeing a lot of traditional hand-drawn 2d animation and digital 2d animation which I think is really great and I would encourage you to continue exploring various ways of approaching animation.
For example, what can After Effects or stop-motion do for you? You could work in the format of just simple shapes or something in After Effects, and then in stop-motion you can explore with puppets or you could explore with clay. There’s a bunch of different options, and that being said not necessarily for your demo reel but just a way of enhancing your abilities and just trying out new things.
You’re at a point where you’re clearly very good at movement and timing and hand-drawn animation, so if it does happen that you’re successful in other media, putting this in your demo reel can show versatility and just enthusiasm and eagerness to explore. It can also open up a door of doing, not collage is the right word, but integrating multiple media into the same film.
As I look through this everything except for this piece with this wolf like bear character kind of sticks to the same aesthetic throughout, and it would be really cool to see more of this where the visuals change, and you could even try this is all digital but you could even try hand-drawn with digital stop-motion with digital so on and so forth.
Moving on, some areas that I think you can work on in general are color and the environments and backgrounds. What I mean by that, and I’ll go into further detail, is that you are exploring color but I think that it works better in some areas than others and we can talk a little bit about it a in a couple of seconds. How you can easily find a solution to work on color and work on backgrounds when it’s not tedious and it’s already utilizing the skills you already have, but makes it more interesting and dynamic for viewers.
Another area I think you could work on is character design. Like I said earlier it’s working way better in some areas than other areas but I think there are some things we could talk about about what’s working and what’s not so we’ll get into that in a little bit. And finally I think that structuring your reel is something that you could also be working on.
I’ll go into further detail but just something that I have noticed in general in demo reels is that having a very strong beginning, a really strong middle, and a very strong end is really important and so let’s just jump right into structuring the reel and start from the beginning and then go into the more detailed critique.
So to start right off one thing that I noticed that you could really benefit from is having a title card and an end card, and what that means is you want something in the beginning, the first thing that you see, to be a kind of identifier of who you are. You want your name and your contact information. It could be as simple or as complicated as you want, but you really want it to be concise and clean for the people that you’re sending this out to you are probably employers or internship coordinators, whoever it may be.
I notice in the beginning you have this wonderful opening burst right there and I think that this would be a great spot to instead of going into your real immediately to have your name. What I mean exactly by a title card is to have your full name and the easiest way to get a hold of you so this could be all or a combination of your email address, your website, your phone number, just one of those things, all three of those things, but definitely a way of getting in contact with you so that it’s in the reel itself and employers or whoever it may be that’s looking at this real doesn’t have to go digging to figure out who’s reel this is and how do I get in touch with them if I’m interested in speaking to them about something.