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How to Create a Successful 3D Animation Demo Reel

Posted: August 17, 2011
So what makes a 3D animation demo reel successful? Here are a few tips to keep in mind as you 're compiling your animation art to present to potential employers:

1. Include only your best work.

Your demo reel is your "Greatest Hits " album. Only include work that is polished and highlights the skills you need for the job you 're hoping to get. Also, put your best work at the beginning. Time is money—especially in the entertainment industry. If your 3D animation demo reel doesn 't grab your audience 's attention in the first few seconds, they may not stick around to see the whole thing.

2. Make it quick.

A good demo reel is meant to open the door for you—not stay for an extended visit. Save something for the interview. Your demo reel should be long enough to intrigue your audience and show that you have a body of work and a variety of animation skills to bring to the table. Make it three minutes or less. A longer demo reel only indicates that you don 't know how to edit yourself.

3. Be clear about the job you want.

It 's important to be specific. For instance, if you really want a job as a texture artist, make sure that is clearly communicated in your résumé and at the beginning of your demo reel. Also make sure that your demo reel showcases your texture work. Don 't expect prospective employers to know what you 're looking for in a job. If you have a specific interest, spell it out.

4. Give credit where credit is due.

If you collaborated on the pieces in your demo reel, make sure to call out exactly what your part in the project was. This helps employers understand your strengths and what to look for in your work. It also shows that you 're not trying to take credit for other people 's work.

5. Be unique, but don 't go over the top.

It 's good to show that you have creativity, problem-solving skills and a unique way of looking at things. However, there 's a right way and a wrong way to express your individuality. Include pieces that set you apart from the competition by using unique concepts or technique. However, don 't include pieces that might put off potential employers by addressing controversial subject matter or including music or other elements that might appeal to too narrow an audience.

6. Don 't make your audience work.

This is just a good overall rule of thumb. Don 't make your audience work to figure out how to contact you. Don 't make them work to understand what work you did in your pieces. Don 't make them work to get past titles that are flashy or highly stylized. Simplify. Make it as easy as possible for your future employers to figure out that you are the right candidate for the job.