First Animation Demo Reel - Critique needed

Hello everyone,

I'm currently in the process of putting together my first demo reel after graduation. Any critique is highly appreciated.
Bear in mind that this is a very rough version of the reel. I'm going to render out the animations and add my contact info later on.


  • KyleG
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    KyleG polycounter lvl 2
    Couples notes:

    The run cycle needs lots more up/down in the COG & more twist in the upper body

    Vault Animation - Similar note to the run cycle - I would get more up/down in the COG

    Stewart Jumping Animation - His main pose feels a bit off - I would have both his knees pointing so far out

    I would only include 1 of the sneak cycles as they are both very similar

    "I'm going to render out the animations and add my contact info later on."

    I wouldn't render it out - playblast is totally acceptable - I would spend any extra time you have polishing what you have

  • Fabulous_Fab
    Thank you for your quick reply :)
    I will post an updated version by the end of the week.
  • Fabulous_Fab
    Hey guys,

    here's an update:
    - Removed one of the crouch cycles
    - Added more up/down movement and upper body twist on the run cycle and speed vault
    - Pushed the knees on the jump animations closer together
    - Sped up the handspring animation

  • Arturow
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    Arturow greentooth
    Hello Fabulous_Fab

    - The first walk cycle looks strange that his whole body just transition forward not a bit to the sides, place some weight on the character by translating his cog <---> according to each stride :) also his feet are doing the same thing. The hand that is holding the weapon looks like it don't have animation and just follow the upper body :)

    - The second looks good! it feels like a little pop in the transition from the walk to where he place his hand

    - The jumping feels a little too soft when he goes down

    - The one who is climbing it doesn't feel the force to push him up

    - The back of the quadruped translation might be too much or add more to the front

    good work :)
  • DellBarnes101
     Good Work so Far Its just a couple cycles of polish away from really shinning. The good first!

    - The animations on the first guy for his scarred sneaky crouch are very good his eye movements and over all posture telling a lot of visual information quickly. This slight hesitation between each step really sells it.
    -The cover change animation is very nice.
    -The second Guy's animations all have a great bounce to them and remind me a lot of the animation work on Raz from psychonaughts.

    -On both the run cycle from the spear carrying character and the sexy walk I would push the shoulders movement to sell the momentum of the run and the over all movement. I think focusing making the upper body move more will really help a lot of your animations. The upper body has a tendency to anticipate the action of the legs before it happens. I'd refer to the animations from assassins creed as they blend from the jog to sprint to see what I'm talking about.
    - The foot sliding on the ledge grab seems slow , I'd take a look at the timing on it.

  • Fabulous_Fab
    Awesome! Thanks a lot for the detailed feedback guys :) I will keep you posted on my progress.

  • Fabulous_Fab
    Hi Guys,

    i did another pass on the Run, Walk and Quadruped Cycles:
    Feedback is highly appreciated.

  • tiagosol
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    tiagosol triangle
    Hi @Fabulous_Fab,

    Nice work :)
    My main feedback is to have some kind of back story in each of your characters. Try to give them a purpose.
    (ex:RUN CYCLE - he just fought some demons and it´s tired and wounded, he is scared and running away from them)
    Besides that I like how you are aware of having a smooth transition at the end of the cycle to start a new one.
    I think is time to focus more on weight and play more with their heroe role.
    Keep it up ;)
  • Fabulous_Fab
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    Fabulous_Fab triangle

     appreciate the feedback. Definitely something I will look into.

  • AGoodFella
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    AGoodFella polygon
    Still needs more movement. More up and down, more side to side. more arm swing. Feels like its a cross between a fast walk and a jog.

  • Fabulous_Fab
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    Fabulous_Fab triangle
    I did another pass on most of these:

    Let me know what you guys think :)
  • Archanex
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    Archanex polycounter lvl 12
    Hey nice work man, here's some things you could do if you'd like to help step it up a notch.

    -I think you made the right choice for your opening piece, the sneak cycle is one of the stronger pieces on your reel IMO

    -the run cycle is very weak, it looks like it's not sure if it wants to be a walk or a run. I'd look for some good reference 

    -the box jump feels like it has a hitch in it when he kicks at the top of his jump arc. Again, I would try to find some good reference for this, I remember Jonathan Cooper has some similar stuff on his reel, but even this isn't ideal because of the way it goes to slow motion at that part. He does have some good run animations as well if you wanted to use those runs as reference. - [url]

    -guy rolling and attacking, it feels like he's rolling in a sort of unnatural way. There are several different ways people can roll, but usually when people roll, they're actually rolling on their shoulder and it's more of a side roll than butt over head kinda roll, but not point is to do you research and choose the appropriate type of roll you want your character to do and double check your reference (sorry to sound like a broken record) 

    -I would remove the jump anims from the reel. It seems like you're going for a game animation type of jump, except that you wouldn't  want to have a jump animation like that in game for a player character because you want the jump to happen immediately, and including the anticipation before the jump in a player controlled character feels a little sluggish in my opinion. I guess you could argue that you could use it for an NPC, but I can't really think of a scenario where an NPC would jump like that either. 

    -female walk, not bad overall, the hand opening and closing feels a bit too repetitive for a walk cycle to me, I'd either have the cycle loop multiple times and only have her do that maybe one in every 5 cycles or just remove it entirely. Also, I'm not sure whey she would be holding the gun that way except to say "hey look, I'm a sexy lady" which feels a bit silly to me.

    -guy hopping up on the box could use some more weight, there should never be any frames where all 4 of his limbs are in the air

    -quadruped walk - I know this really isn't your fault, but I just feel like the design of that quadruped character is weird because his hind legs are much longer than his front legs, which means his hind legs never really get to fully extend in a walk. This is very odd to me.

    Anyway, I hope that helps. Keep up the good work!

  • tiagosol
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    tiagosol triangle
    really great feedback from Archanex! i would follow his advice.
    Overall I think you still need to have good references and planning on your shots. I like the ideas and where they are going but need more time to study those forces and weight. Keep it @Fabulous_Fab you are going in the right way! ;)
  • Fabulous_Fab
    Thank you very much for the detailed feedback. Helps alot indeed :)

  • Fabulous_Fab
    Hey guys,

    I'm currently working on a new run cycle. Before I go into polishing any kind of feedback would be awesome :)

  • Hito
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    Hito interpolator
    great looking cycle!

     I'd phase the torso twist and clavicles 2 frames earlier, phase the hands 1 frame earlier. and maybe the pelvis roll one frame later, depending on how the previous two changes affect the overall feel. just set all the curves to cycle, and push those curves in graph editor without changing any poses and see how things feel. For more finesse you can try turning off frame snap in graph editor before pushing the curves left/right.
  • Fabulous_Fab

    Really helpful feedback, thanks a lot. Will post an updated version within the next couple of days.
  • Fabulous_Fab
    Tweaked a couple of things and added some secondary animation.

  • JonathanAnimates

    Fabulous for your run cycle....add more up and down. A lot more. if you focus on your com (center of mass) from front view... it's literally flat-lining. You want to add more bounce and exaggerate more. Without up and down, you have no weight in your animation. The rest feels good. You'll have to do a side view to me to give you better feedback but from what I see, feels good so far. 

    Also, I'm not going to go into the subtleties of a run to make it pop even more. When someone is starting out, the important thing are the general body mechanics. Not nit picking on details that are for more advanced techniques. Yoda "patience thy animator"... ok fine... he didn't say that but you get my point! ;) hehe
  • Fabulous_Fab

    Thanks for the insight :). Added more up and down movement. I also uploaded a side view to the syncsketch.

  • JonathanAnimates
    Fabulous_fab, here's my thoughts.
    This animation is a success, now you can move on, let me explain.

    1- The goal of doing run cycle is to get comfortable with body mechanics / locomotion. It feels good overall and there's absolutely no point in nit picking on details at this stage. There are plenty of ways I can show you to make this animation pop even more and be even cooler but these are more advanced techniques that come only with time and practice. Showing you shortcuts doesn't teach you anything and serves you no use. This comes with time.
    2- When I evaluate juniors animators on my teams I want to see that they are going in the right direction. As long as there's no major faults in the animation (bad timing, poor arcs, glitchy, overall appeal...etc) and in your case you are good, I see nothing bothering me at this stage. Your run in general looks good. 
    3- What I highly recommend you do now is continue with this run except I want to see him do a RUN to Stop. A good solid pose. This will help you develop a good understanding of weight transfer, overlap, timing, drag, secondary motion.
    4- Once you've done this run to stop, you will then revisit doing a run again from scratch. It is not because you do 1 run that you now understand run cycles. Not at all. You need to at least do this 2 - 3 more times to get a good grasp and you will notice how much faster you create the animation the 2nd time around ....3rd time around...

    ps just for your reading pleasure:  If I were to mentoring you like the those who mentored me, I would tell you ok good, now Delete the entire run and redo it! That's how I was mentored and trust me... it hurt my ego at first but made me understand a lot. When you do things 2-3-4 times over again.. it REALLY SINKS in. 1 time, nothing sinks in. =)

    Keep it up! looking forward to seeing the Run to Stop.


  • Fabulous_Fab
    I really appreciate your taking the time to guide me in the right direction. Will start with the Run to Stop animation tomorrow.
  • Fabulous_Fab
    Hey guys,

    I've finally found some time to work on a run to stop animation like Jonathan suggested. Would be super happy about some critiques :)

  • AGoodFella
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    AGoodFella polygon
    I think it could use a bit more time to come to a stop, unless a quick stop is what you really want. I feel like it comes to an abrupt stop too quick and the transition isn't as smooth as it could be.
  • Fabulous_Fab
    I wanted to make it as responsive as possible but I can definitely see where you’re coming from. Thanks for the reply :)
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