Dos and Don’ts For Developing Your Character Animation Reel

We hope these tips come in handy when it comes time to create your animation demo reel. But before you get to that point with your character animation, you’ll need to expand your skill set. At Animation Mentor, we can take your skills to the next level and help you build connections with working industry professionals. For more information, please contact us today.
Start your animation journey today by learning from animators at studios like Pixar, Blue Sky, and ILM! Get more information about Animation Mentor’s Character Animation Program.
To that end, we’re sharing a few dos and don’ts for designing your character animation demo reel. By having a clear idea of both how (and how not) to market your work from the start, you’ll be able to keep the big picture (pun intended) in mind to ensure your future in animation is bright.
That’s especially true for 3D animation, which is just one good reason to enroll in a 3D character animation school. Taking courses at a 3D character animation school won’t merely teach you the necessary skills to develop these works. In addition, at some schools like Animation Mentor, your character animation course instructors will also help you create your own animation reel in order to land the job of your dreams.

When Creating a Demo Reel For Character Animation, Do…

  • Tailor Your Reel to the Job: A lot of young animators make the mistake of trying to use the same exact reel for every job application. While you might think that’ll save you time, the reality is that it may end up wasting it! If your reel isn’t a good fit for the specific position for which you’re applying, the studio might assume that you lack attention to detail or overall experience.You need to possess some objectivity and ensure you showcase your best work rather than everything you’ve ever done. Figure out which aspects of your reel are the strongest and select those. That way, you’ll make them want to see more instead of leaving them bored to tears.Make sure that if the job specifically involves character animation, your reel reflects the work you’ve done in that area, rather than with lighting or other unrelated aspects of animation. Be sure to keep the relevant animation studio’s style in mind when you’re developing your reel. Just like you should tailor your resume to a traditional job, your reel should be customized for every position.
  • Video game demo reels (like those for Fortnite) are more focused on body mechanics
    An Epic Games demo reel will focus on body mechanics.
  • Include Only Your Best Work: Whether you’re relatively new to the world of animation or you’ve been in the game for years, it’s only natural that you’d want to show everything you have to offer. But editing is important when creating an animation reel. Ideally, your reel should be only a minute or two in length. This might mean cutting clips that you might feel attached to, but aren’t right for the job.[embedded content]
    This animation reel from Ryan Pfeifenroth is clear and straightforward

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When Developing an Animation Demo Reel, Don’t…

  • Get Carried Away With Presentation: The presentation of your character animation matters, but how the physical reel is presented isn’t something you should spend too much time worrying about. In an effort to get creative with how the reel is packaged when presenting it to a studio, some animators forget the actual purpose of the reel.That said, including animation created by someone other than yourself is a big no-no. Although the industry is growing, stealing another animator’s work won’t go unnoticed. In the event that you feel your animation reel isn’t as strong as it could be, enrolling in courses offered by a 3D animation school can help you build your skills and ensure your work is the best it can be.
    Rather than get hung up on a gimmick, work on making the content as special as possible. A studio will be far more impressed with the quality of your work than the package in which your reel is delivered. Generally, you should steer clear of any elements that will distract someone from appreciating your character animation, like loud music or bold motion graphics.

    A Sony Animation reel will look different…
    Pixar Animations' Up
    …than a Pixar Animation reel.
  • Lie About Your Work: You should never stretch the truth when you’re applying for a position. This might seem like it should go without saying, but failing to disclose is a bit more nuanced with animation projects than with your average job resume. Since many projects require a team effort, it makes sense that some of the work in your reel may involve the skills of other animators. You don’t necessarily need to exclude this work from your demo reel, but you will need to be transparent about who did the work.
    Demo Reel Dos and Don'ts

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The field of animation is becoming more popular with each passing year. As the demand for unique and entertaining content grows, the demand for skilled animators is also on the rise. But there’s a catch: this sector is also remarkably competitive!