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3rd Year: Major Project, Animation Showreels Breakdown

So in order to first create an animation showreel, what needs to be understood is what is expected of an animation showreel?

Well breaking this down into simple terms are these key points:
  • The main focus is on the animators skills
  • Observation in animation techniques
  • Intriguing to watch
  • Good post production.
So let's start with the main focus, animation. Whether it be 3D or 2D the main content of an animation showreel is to showcase animation, henceforth the name, 'Animation Showreel'. In this example, it's important to watch not only the quality and detail of animation in this showreel but also its post-production.

So the quality of animation is to a high standard, but more importantly is the clean post-production that can be seen, showing that the animator is not only a skilled animator but a skilled editor too. This showreel is mean to focus on character animation, so focus on the face, body language, composition, and timings with the selected audio is important in a sense that it shows an animators strengths, as well as their creative interpretations of the audio. This sort of animation showreel would be most suited for movies or short films, it could still be used for games, but it plays to what an employer like Pixar/Disney would be looking for.

Now the next showreel is focused towards videogames, now whats interesting is once again is the focus on post-production.

So the animation in this showreel is of good quality, but once again, there seems to be a lot of post-production in order to capture the attention of either a client and a viewer. Things like a difference in the animations themselves can keep the quality of your work fresh and exciting. Another factor to take into consideration is the music made to accompany to your work, if the music can't compliment the work produced, then its a good idea to keep looking until you find something the really compliments your work.

The red dot in the lower corner at certain points, (0:16s - 0:24s, 1:06s - 1:11s, 1:24s - 1:27s) also shows techniques like motion capture as are also an asset that this animator can use, showing that he not only has knowledge of his field but that he can learn new techniques.

Now, if this isn't obvious yet, the reason there is such a heavy emphasis on post-production is to encapsulate the viewer, just like a game or film, any showreel is meant to entertain. If the showreel doesn't amuse its viewer, then already there is an issue. This is where the post-production makes the work shine because of its quality if no effects are added to a batch render or even a playblast the animation within that video would still be good, but for a viewer, it might be hard to watch. Like any other form of media, a lot of work goes into making the work look as aesthetically pleasing or easy to read as possible.

Emberlabs created a film known as 'Majora's Mask - Terrible Fate' (2016), the film was created to celebrate the game known as Majoras Mask, and how amazing it was. The film itself is impressive, to say the least and is worth a definite watch, but what I found very useful is the behind the scenes or making of this film, as it was very insightful into not only how to make an animation showreel look better, but make any product look better.

Without getting too technical, toward the end it shows how a few layers can make an image look much more different, the same would also apply to any animation showreel. Now in order to make your showreel look as professional as possible, then it might be worth dedicating time to post-production, but this needs to be managed well because if you had a single batch render with no layers, editing smaller parts or your render may be difficult. However if managed correctly with render layers and enough time has been dedicated to these small issues then it can make your work look so much better, henceforth why AOV's and render layers are so helpful. [LINK]

Below are other animation showreels which I've seen and I think to a degree are good, others are just there for self-reference as I find either their animation skills impressive, or their post-production is well executed, but before that the main things to take away from this research is in order to be successful, there need to be three main things. An animation showreel needs to be refined, creative and entertaining, which is what I've set out to do.