Demo reels, the Good and Bad

I’ve been looking at a lot of Demoreels/Showreels, trying to distinguish what makes a Demo reel work. There are a lot of good examples that are easy to find, though I feel a lot of the time it comes down to experience, more time working in the industry gives you more opportunity to create high quality polished work compared to someone just starting outand has yet to find their niche.

It’s been slightly difficult to see past the big quality gap and work and look at the nuts and bolts of putting a Demoreel together, but here’s some examples that exhibit strengths and downfalls.

Joe Han, Animation Demo Reel 2016

Now obviously this artist has a lot of finished work, but there’s some good editing in this. The music adds to the tempo of the animations mostly being action fast paced movement, it gives it a burst of life, in the beginning it’s in time with the music which I’ve read is actually something you should avoid. They show a good variety of work between stylized and realistic, sticking to roughly the 2 minutes guide. They showcase more of the individual game characters as this seems to be the industry they work in more. They’ve also included a Demo reel Breakdown in the description of their video clarifying what they worked on.

Possible criticisms I would have is that there isn’t enough breakdowns of their work, what they’ve done isn’t always at the forefront. Also their isn’t a lot of contact information, it would be nice given the quality of the work to be able to see a website or portfolio as well.

Kim Hudson, My Animation/Art Showreel 2007

Again I’m aware this demo isn’t produced by a professional and I believe it’s their first demo which is also quite dated but it’s good to point out some pitfalls.

Now first thing is that their opening is far too long, there’s some minimal animation but it’s far too static, it lasts for 16 seconds and considering I’ve read that some employers may only look at 10 seconds of a demo reel there is nothing there to grab their attention. This continues through the animation, shots and transitions drag too long and the music choice makes it all feel slow, nothing is exciting. They don’t include any information about what work is theirs (only mentioning what isn’t), even if it’s all their own work I feel it’d help to define their skill set to the employer.




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