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[PORTFOLIO] Stefan Lipsius - Animator

Well, finally graduating. Here's what I ended up with. Im gonna make a basic website as well, but for now its just the vimeo link.


Ill be scouring around for a Junior animators job very shortly. Im from just outside of Toronto, but willing to relocate.

Thoughts? crits?

I only did the animations, Models were found online. Music by Kings of Leon (ill be adding a slide for that info so no one gets mixed up)


  • ru4it
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    ru4it polygon
    looks good for the most part..

    the first kick with the chick is a little to quick, you cant really tell what kind of kick its supposed to be. also at the end of that kick (0:43 second mark.) she has to much hip movement.

    the kneeing to what looks like might be the head or the ribs looks a little stiff.

    just my 2 cents.
  • dubcanada
    I don't generally look a animators portfolios, but for the most part that was a really pleasing demo reel. The music was not taking away from the reel and in most parts actually added to the visual aspect.

    Very well done.
  • Avanthera
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    Avanthera polycounter lvl 10
    wow, I remember you posting the muay thai chick a while back, you have really improved!
    I think those bits with her fighting and the bad doggie bit are probably your two weakest links.
    the rest of the reel looks pretty good in my opinion.

    Those walk cycles are really sexy btw :)
  • KyleJensen
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    KyleJensen polycounter lvl 12
    The animation 0:27-:029 needs more work. The character doesn't seem to be affected by gravity at all. When you're hanging on (or swinging on) monkey bars, the weight of your body will hold you down. When your body is holding you down like that, your arms will have to be extended. When you're swinging from monkey bars, it's not just your arms that are moving you from bar to bar, it's the momentum of your swinging body that is helping you reach the next bar. :)
  • slipsius
    Hey, thanks for the crits guys! Its kinda funny how it works out because all the crits are about my older pieces, which makes sense. But ill see what i can do to fix those.

    The bad doggie was actually my latest piece. But thats ok too! outside eyes always help. May I ask what about it made it a weak piece? I watched an animated movie a couple weeks ago, and there were alot of times where a character hit a pose and froze dead, so the bad doggie animation was me trying to see if i could avoid that. But if there are ways to improve it, im all ears (eyes).

    Also, im wondering if what I have now shows potential. My reel will never be DONE, seeing as i have no experience, fresh outta school, and with every piece of animation I do, i get better. But there comes a point where I`ll have to bite the bullet and apply with what I have and hope the employer sees potential. If i dont take the leap, I`ll never apply, you know?

    thanks again guys. Ill be working on what you told me to fix :)
  • d2king10
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    d2king10 polycounter lvl 12
    It looks like a pretty good basis for a demo reel, however I still feel that all of the animations are very stiff. Try to go back and loosen up the animations so they have more fluidity to them.

    A good example is when the guy falls off the ladder and hits the ground, there is no sense of weight as he hits the ground, he just kind of stops there. This is just one example, but most of your animations seem to suffer from the same thing.

    Keep up the work, you aren't far off :thumbup:
  • James9475
    Hey, I'll give ya some crits!

    First off, I would stress this. There are three rules that you MUST follow in order to get interviews:

    Your very very very best piece of work should come first.

    Every piece you show that is worse than the best piece will lower the employers opinion of you.

    If you take a look at an animation in your reel, and it's not as good as the animation in a game like God of War or Call of Duty, why on earth would anybody hire you? Junior animation positions are not for animators that are worse than seniors or leads, they are for animators who dont have as much experince making games/movies. If you ever look at an animation and don't think it would be good enough for 'Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs' or 'Resident Evil 5', the employer won't think it's good enough either.

    Now for more specific crits.

    Sequence 1, facial animation. This isn't the strongest piece and shouldn't start the reel. Facial animation is the area in which I have least experience so I won't crit you deeply. While the mouth shapes were good, I found there was very little expression in the top half of the face. This is partly b/c you cant really follow the movement of the eyesbrows since its all smooth flat shaded, you can tell the brow is moving but you don't really feel it at all. The eyes felt quite lifeless. I also think the fact that the head and neck are completely stationary hurts the piece.

    Sequence 2, acting. Poses slightly weak, hands feel glued to the table. The body mechanics of the thrust forward at the start feel wrong. Not sure tucking his arms back like that really feels natural. When he moves forward again it looks like the IK is moving the pivot of the elbow without you really intending it to, I'm not sure why his elbows bounce out like that. Does it feel natural to bounce your elbows like that when you move your chest?

    sequence 3, obstacle course. Take a look frame by frame at the little walk she does before jumping on the pole. Does that feel like a cool dynamic way to move before doing an acrobatic pole slide? It's a very stiff walk and there's no need to have it in my opinion. I would either cut out that 1 second or make her really launch onto the pole. Take a look frame by frame as she puts her hand out and then spins around the pole. Does it feel like the spin is reflective of the amount of energy put into her grab and jumping onto it? I don't know about you but I don't feel like the energy getting onto the pole matches the energy of the spin, it's like shes being driven by a motor to spin around it.

    I guess what I'm getting at here is the problem with most of the animation in these action sequences. Your animations are not following this rule:

    Every action has an equal and opposite reaction.

    If in your animation, the action and the reaction don't match, the movement will look false and you will lose all sense of momentum.

    Another example of this is how she lands from the pole. As you play it back frame by frame, do you feel like her recovery time and the amount of force she absorbs feel relative to the energy she has gathered while falling?

    The run to the left feels very stiff and pose to pose, also, I don't buy the momentum of the leap because there was no pressure built up over the run. It's kind of like she snaps into a walk cycle then presses the jump key. The roll, leap and pole swing actually feels like it has a sustained momentum which is good, but once again the reaction at the end of all this build up feels false. She just kind of attaches to the wall with a tiny bit of secondary force bouncing her on it a little, but when you watch it back, can you FEEL her hitting the wall? Does her reaction feel in line with the action preceding it?

    Sequence 3, bookshelf man. He feels pretty pose to pose, and when he falls off the shelf, the reaction feels wrong, like he's sliding right into his kneel on all fours pose, not like he's hit the ground after a clumsy fall.

    Sequence 4, monkey bars. The problem here is, this basically looks like a bad cycle from a game. It's OK to explicitly make a cycle because being able to do that is so important for a game animator. However, it's much harder to make a cycle feel natural than just being able to go all out. Before you start animating anything, try to really understand what you're trying to express. I'm not talking about ''I'm trying to express a monkey bar swing'', I'm talking about the sensation of being that person, the sensation of what it's like to watch. For this animation, it feels like the intention for the animation was to get this character from A to B. What if you had started by really trying to express that this person is struggling, feeling the entire WEIGHT of her body pulling down on her wrists and she wrenches her body like a pendulum from bar to bar.

    Sequence 5. The legs feel stiff, like they have splints on them. He doesn't feel particularly like he's moving like an ogre. When you're doing a walk cycle, you're starting with a few key frames of the passing, contact, etc. When you have done these keyframes and before you go about doing all the stuff that comes after that, take a look at them. You should already feel all of the characters weight and personality in a few measly frames. If you don't already feel it, the best inbetweens in the world will make almost no improvement. I personally don't feel the dynamism in this characters movement.

    Sequence 6, Golf club guy. At this point in the reel, we see the strongest piece of animation. The third part could be gotten rid of, but the first two actually demonstrate what every animation needs to have. Anticipation, Action, Reaction. You could definitely push them more, but the basic pieces are all there, it's a shame we have to wait 35 seconds to get to the best piece.

    Sequence 7, picking up heavy cube. OK first off, the process of him tipping the cube slightly to get his hands under it makes no sense. He bends down, then somehow magically tips over this heavy box with his right hand in about a millisecond with no effort. Both his hands then kind of snap into their IK position. This animation almost feels like's its in fast motion. Take a look at the start, then take a look at the end when he falls over. Look at his arms coming up to push/grab the cube and then falling down. Does that feels like it's at the right tempo, portraying the breathlessness and struggle and weight? The lift itself feels sound enough mechanically, but it almost feels like this guy is super strong. We're shown that the crate is heavy b/c it puts him off balance etc, but he lifts it so incredibly fast for a heavy object. I really want to stress again that the part at the end where he moves from the 'on his back' pose, to 'lifts up arms and head' and then back again feels so pose to pose and accomplishes nothing.

    Sequence 8, kick boxing. Body mechanics feel stiff, but the move generally gives reactions to its action. The second attack is better, feels slightly pedestrian but mechanically sound.

    Sequence 9, alien and dog. I don't think you should include this piece. I understand you are probably trying to put in some more acting stuff, but I don't think this piece holds up. It's very transparently pose to pose. Having a quadruped would be nice but the dog is barely animated and doesn't really accomplish anything (in terms of demonstrating an ability to animate four legged creatures).

    Sequence 10, monster walk cycle. You probably put this last because you think it's the best and want to end on a high note. Wrong thing to do. If you put your best thing last, the employer will have closed the window already. I'm not exaggerating. This is possibly the strongest piece, it should be at the front (or the golf guy should be). Also, the ogres run in this is so much more interesting the his walk earlier in the reel. The arms are not in a good pose but despite that he's still hugely more interesting than before. This is probably because you were trying to make it funny. Why not inject personality like that into all of his animations, why does his walk have to just be a walk? Now, here's a fuller crit on the monster.

    The front left leg feels like it hits the ground a lot harder than the front right leg. The body mechanics on the legs aren't quite right. Take a look at this video [ame]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=INQx-Lzs8mU[/ame]
    See how as the horse walks the back legs sort of 'kick' the front legs forward. It's slightly different here because it's a slower, heavier creature than a horse, but the same body mechanics apply.

    I hope you take these crits well. The reason I've taken the time to write this is because I really care deeply about people trying to get into the business. I promise you I know what I am talking about, and I really don't want you to be upset if you found this harsh. You need to work on this to get a job, but if you genuinely put your back into it, spend 50-60 hours a week making new stuff, you could get a job within a few months.

    Believe me when I say, once your reel is good enough, it is not difficult to get a job. Companies are constantly looking for good people. The truth is, there aren't very many good animators around. However, this reel needs a huge over hall to get a job.

    If you want more advice, especially about getting into games, please PM me and I will give you some details so you can email or IM me.
  • Serp
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    Serp polycounter lvl 11
    lol jesus that shouting at the start made me jump. I don't know anything about animation but I'd listen to the guy above.
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