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Everything posted by Carey

  1. To partly summarize what's being said here: -Look at a lot of stuff and make a lot of stuff. Search for the things that inspire you the most, the work done by others that gets you the most excited, and watch it over and over and over, trying to figure out what makes it so good. Not so much HOW it was done, but WHY. And then test out your theories by making your own stuff. -When you've made a bunch of stuff that you really love, use some of it as raw material to make yourself a reel. And like before, watch lots of reels, and figure out what makes the good ones good. -Make your reel as visible as possible. Post it everywhere you can, and make sure your contact info is in it, or associated with it at all times. Remember that "motion graphics" is a sprawling field, with lots of different disciplines. There are artistic aspects, and technical aspects, and you won't get it all from one source. Study what interests you, first and foremost, and you'll fill in the gaps by necessity.
  2. You have some really great stuff in this reel, and that goes a long long way. But I don't know if you're using it as well as you could. You have some sequences that are hanging on for a really long time without continually providing anything new to the viewer, and in a reel, you generally want to give your audience just enough of something so that they want more, not so much that they're grateful to have moved on. You're also including some stills and other work that you clearly feel isn't active/interesting enough on its own, and trying to compensate with the split screen diagonal wipe and effect overlays. If it isn't active or interesting enough to be included, that's probably a good sign that you should choose different material altogether. Trying to put a band-aid on it isn't going to make it suitable for a reel. Your intro animation is really well done and the reel-appropriate work you're showing is really good, but the reel itself just suffers from a lack of editorial prowess. That's not such a big deal to fix, but fixing it will really improve the overall impression you're creating when your audience is watching. Make conscious decisions about what you're showing, in what order, and how precisely it's cut to the audio you've chosen and you could have a really impressive reel!
  3. Carey

    Mograph reel 2014

    Hey Mauro, so a couple of things that will help to remember going forward: 1) As a corollary to what AromaKat said about being proud of your projects, it really helps to keep in mind that a big part of your job is to bring value to the projects you take on. Your clients come to YOU because if they did their project themselves, it wouldn't turn out nearly as interesting or compelling. So, for the most part, when they come to you, their project isn't exactly fabulous. It's probably unimaginative, confused, not compelling, and any other lackluster adjectives you want to throw at it. That's how it starts. Most projects have very humble beginnings. And the measure of the designer/artist is how far s/he can take it. How much value s/he can add. You will generally be given garbage, and when you make something wonderful of it, everyone's delighted. In a sense, that's your job. So the point is that we all take projects where we start with something relatively meager. Don't ever let that hold you back, and don't ever use it as an excuse when you're failing. You get paid to turn duck shit into gold, so always be trying to make gold. 2) A reel is not a business card. If you want to present potential clients with a business card, then give them... a business card. A reel serves a different function. Where a business card merely TELLS the recipient who you are and makes CLAIMS as to what you do, a reel SHOWS them who you are and what you do. It is inarguable evidence of what you are capable of. But maybe more importantly than that, when done well, a reel can inspire a client to partner with you in a creative endeavor greater than they had imagined. It can compel them to trust you to take their projects where they didn't know they could go. So think of your reel as an experience that you're crafting for your audience, the way a director does. Give your audience something to enjoy. Right now, you're thinking of your reel as a resumé that someone dutifully reads in order to assess and catalog you as a potential business partner. Instead, use the very skills you're trying to get paid for to create something that inspires that person into a collaboration with you. 3) The way that you present your work doesn't necessarily have to be defined by the work itself. You could make a version of your reel, with the exact same work included, set to death metal music that would still make sense. You could make a version set to fax machine noises. Maybe you've seen some examples of those fake movie trailers that people have been making lately where they take a well-known movie and cut the footage into a trailer that makes it seem like a totally different kind of movie? Like, cut a trailer for Fight Club that makes it seem like a romantic comedy? Yeah, you can do that with your own work. I made a video about kind of doing this exact thing, and not that it's great but it might help illustrate this point, along with a few others (skip part 2 unless you're really into it). https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RLSLGoisg54 4) If you want an example of an intro that has some charisma, just start looking at the reels that other people are looking at. Heck, RVA8 just posted his reel right after you and his intro is charismatic. http://vimeo.com/95474820 But when you say "reels with intros that convey something about the artist more than the content of the reel itself," you have to remember that EVERYTHING conveys things to your audience. A reel is NOT a slideshow of your work sandwiched between two business cards. It is a short film that no one should feel obligated to watch, but that everyone should WANT to watch nonetheless.
  4. Carey

    Mograph reel 2014

    Hey, so your audio choice is kind of slow and languid, which is great because both your work and the way you've cut it together are kind of sleepy. But it needs to be noted that everything is SO slow that it's sliding into the realm of boring. You're really asking your viewer to watch stuff that, for no particular reason, takes a LONG time to unfold. That would be totally fine if the things that were unfolding were highly novel, and we needed time to understand them, but in this case they're pretty standard, so we get the idea real quick. That means that your audience is left to sit watching events play out, despite the fact that those events aren't communicating anything beyond what we already understand, and that doesn't make it enjoyable to watch. So there are two things you might think about when considering each shot: 1) If something happens in a shot, and then there's a space of more than a few frames where nothing significantly new happens, you should cut away or cut out the inactive bit. 2) the old gem, "cut on the action, not on the pause", which suggests that you always cut away from the shot before the significant actions are completed, and never hang out on frames that aren't evolving. Lastly, consider making an intro for yourself that conveys something about you or something about what your audience is about to watch. Just… something. What you have now is the equivalent of a business card where we have to wait for the text to appear. This isn't a business presentation. This is a short film of your work. So open with a film title instead of a powerpoint slide. Convey something. Get us excited. You'll find that people respond to your work much differently when the reel packages it well.
  5. I think you're starting off right with that intro animation. It's of a quality that sets an expectation of professionalism for what's to come, and that's great when that idea is attached to your brand. But I think then following that directly with another brand or product prohibits that idea from lingering. It transfers some ownership of the real estate of my attention to that new brand, which takes away from yours. It feels like changing the channel. Like it's not so much about Ember as it is about Clubland now. Maybe that's insignificant to you, but I felt, as a viewer, that it didn't provide time for you to introduce some of the value of your brand before deferring to another. Give your reel a bit to establish itself before you start name-dropping. In addition, the clubland shot is a "transition in and sit" sort of animation, which kind of kills momentum right at the moment when you want the adventure to start. It's like revving up the car at the start of your road trip but just sitting there for a while not going anywhere. The kids are anxious, let's get a move on. I also think the footage that the clubland logo transitions to is weird because it doesn't sit with your audio very well. They exist at a different energy and beat, so the net effect is that they feel poorly paired. But it seems like this is more of a general issue across the reel, and I think you'd either have to re-cut to a more appropriate or complementary piece of audio, or move your current cuts to be more relevant to the audio that you have. Another general comment is that your edit is not very objective about what the viewer does and does not need to see. You're treating your work as if it's precious, when it's really not. It's hard to cut those 20 frames that you worked hard on, but if they don't do enough to evolve the viewer's understanding of your work, they should go. Give us enough to get the idea and then move on, and assume that we get the idea preeeetty fucking fast. Basically, the viewer is bored unless what you're showing is communicating something, or is so astoundingly novel or beautiful that it takes a second for them to wrap their head around it. The instant they "get it", they're bored. Because there's not a lot to get. So keep feeding them as fast as they can eat. Fast. You may also want to consider an embedded player that doesn't put its own watermark over your work. A real studio would never allow it, so neither should you. I think you certainly have enough stuff to make a really compelling reel. What you have now is useable, but a bit lackluster where pacing is concerned. As is usually the case, you could trim this down to 1 minute and stand only to benefit the viewing experience. It's all in the last 5%.
  6. I don't know how immediately useful this is, but it's fun anyway!
  7. Carey


    So from what I understand, you can't paint right on the model, so this is maybe not as powerful as bodypaint, but you do get really high quality previews really quick and right in photoshop? Is that sorta the trade-off, you think?
  8. Yeah, the arrogance is definitely a barrier here. I sort of want to punch him in the throat. Part of ChrisC's awesome Michael Beirut talk (at 10:45) highlights the same idea without all of the self-importance, which is that it's the client's job to know their business, and your job to know design and communicating to an audience. In getting together, you both need to make sure the client is fully articulating their business goals, which should then allow the designer to go achieve those business goals by making something for the client's audience. This really puts more focus on the process of articulating the business goals, otherwise known as the development of the brief. I think we've all kind of experienced what goes wrong when the brief isn't well-conceived or the goals aren't stated well, because it's an oft-maligned cause of changed minds, late-arriving info, unsureness, revisions, etc. Of course, the designer could also just be doing a shitty job, but we'll assume we're all doing our best here with what info we're given. And that also puts the second onus on the designer to do that work and come to an arguably great response to that brief. If both sides understand their role in the process, and both have played their roles well, there should be some level of success in speaking to the audience and thereby achieving the business goals. And it shouldn't require lots of changes and additional input near the end. Excluding all of the huff n puff, for me the call to action is "A professional designs for the client's audience." Because what that highlights is the designer's responsibility. If the client and the designer both understand the client's goals, it's not the client who should be making design decisions in the end, it's the designer. The client should be able to sit back and be well cared for, and the designer should be working for the client's audience at that point. So the problems are usually either in: 1) The stating and mutual understanding of the goals, or... 2) Understanding each other's roles, or... 3) Someone didn't play their role well. So a lot of the iterating should actually happen at the beginning, and should involve stating and re-stating the goals until everyone is on the same page, which is something our industry is laughably bad at. Then it should be the designer's responsibility to go communicate to the audience, because that's his/her job. (That doesn't imply that design is objective, but we shouldn't then assume that the designer's subjectivity is invalid.)
  9. Well I think that very point is what he's really addressing. And again, this is restricted to design, but it's that the expectation should be set forth in the beginning that what they're paying for is your expertise. If your expertise is in design, aka making design decisions, then they're negating the value they've paid for by taking those decisions away and trying to make them themselves. It's an apt analogy to think about paying your doctor a bunch of money and then having him go "well, it seems to me you've got endometrial ulceritis. What do you think? Any suggestions?" No, you're the fucking doctor! You get paid to make as highly informed a decision as is possible!
  10. Thought I'd throw this out there. Our industry, as a whole, kind of bends over for clients. This guy is coming from a logo design perspective, but I wonder if it's equally applicable here. http://seanwes.com/2013/the-one-concept-approach-how-a-professional-designs-a-logo/
  11. Carey


    Just curious if this is of any use to anyone. Photoshop-based 3D texture editor.
  12. Carey

    Logo animation...

    There's some nice animation happening here. But I can't really say that I know anything more about Shine Asterik than I did before I watched this, though, so there's kind of a strategic problem with the whole thing. Abstracted roller coaster parts terminate in a sphere thing that uncovers an asterisk? Cel-shading and dust/smoke and graphic shapes and wipes? I don't know if it's the idea or the execution, but it's not telling me anything I understand. And if you're going to take a logo into animation to tell a story about it, however abstract, it's kind of key that the story convey something. Formally, the qualities of the elements are kind of nice, with the hi-con cel-shaded look and touches of dust or smoke or whatever, but at the same time, you're kind of ignoring the rest of the frame, compositionally. And that's not necessarily a downside, but in this case, it feels bare, in a kind of unconsidered way. You could do with some subtle background elements to give your foreground elements a sense of context and space. But mainly, I'd be concerned about the camera move. The camera seems undecided and frenetic, which of course can be useful, but again in this case, it really signals that the camera just doesn't know what the fuck is going on. It's kind of just weaving back and forth while the coaster track is whipping about, and the combined effect is that my eye is bouncing around because the camera isn't doing a good job of showing me what I need to see. I know this is one of those projects you do because you want to learn a new tool. But the tool doesn't matter to your audience. As always, if you want someone other than yourself to look at what you made, make it with them in mind. Not with the tool in mind. That's not a harsh criticism of your experiment, it's just a strategy for thinking about why you did it.
  13. Something to consider, that RVA8 is kind of hinting at, is that while motion graphics utilizes design principles, and refers often to graphic design in its methods of communicating visually, it's really a filmmaking medium, and on the whole has more to do with that. So, coming into it with a graphic design background is great, but that's kind of like trying to move into homebuilding with training as a lumberjack. You may understand wood, but there's a massive new number of concerns, contexts, and skills at play. And you're probably starting to get the feeling that motion graphics is really a HUGE set of disciplines all kind of collected under this umbrella term. So what will really help you, along with doing lots and lots of projects, is starting to familiarize yourself with the principles of editing, directing a camera, visual effects, the massive subject of animation and movement, and the much more massive subject of storytelling in all mediums and in film especially. You'll get lots of different perspectives from people on this kind of question, because there are lots of specialties within the field. "Motion graphics person" is the catch-all label, regardless of whether someone is more on the side of compositing or storyboarding or editing or modelling or typography or particle systems or more likely some random mix of whatever. But if you want to author stuff by yourself, you're going to slowly be working toward a bunch of these things all in service of storytelling through filmmaking. So you're best off if you take filmmaking as your basic concern, and learn to solve the problems you're confronted with in trying to do that.
  14. Yeah, there's some nice work in there, but the reel isn't presenting it very well. I made some videos a few months ago about making a reel that might serve as an example of some strategies you could think about in refining yours. It's a little rambling, but there are probably some take-aways. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RLSLGoisg54&hd=1 (it's in parts)
  15. I don't know why I'd be the one to have an answer to this question, but you could use dynamics. Make your circle, put it in a cloner. Add the random effector for variable size. Then put a rigid body tag on the circle. Then make the shape you want to use as your container and make a transparent material for it. Then put a collision tag on the container. Press play. You'll probably have to fiddle with the number of clones and such once you see how it's working.
  16. Yes, if you're freelance, typically your services will be rented by the day. Offering smaller increments of your time usually just means loss of income for you because it's unlikely you'll book 5 hours at one place and 5 at another in one day, so no one does it. Overtime is an argument for being indispensible. Most days are not going to end right at 8 or 10 hours, because we're not factory workers producing widgets. Laws regarding freelancing may be different in Australia, but in the US it's your call whether you charge your employer overages for working beyond the agreed number of hours. In turn, it's your employer's call whether they want to keep having you in to do work. If someone else can do what you do just as well, and they don't demand overage charges, you might be out. But being indispensible, being uniquely capable, and providing some kind of value that others can't, well that puts you in a pretty good position for negotiation. If they can replace you the next day, you have no leverage. Don't be the replaceable drone and you'll be happier.
  17. Vitaly Bulgarov models a robot. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4ct9voyU3h0
  18. Carey

    The Dark Sphere

    So, before the shitstorm hits this thread, I just thought I'd ask the critical question here, which is: what exactly are you trying to do here? What is the point of what you've made? In other words, did you make this thinking that other people might view it and get something out of it? And if so, what?
  19. Old reel is better, in my opinion. Audio complements your content, and the editing/pacing supports that marriage. And I think at moments the editing approaches a narrative quality that ties disparate shots together into something that feels meaningful, or at least has intent. If you can create more of that by changing out some of the shots, that's great, but it's still a good reel as it stands. I think everyone has that urge to put their favorite stuff in, regardless of whether it's actually good for the end product. Listen to film directors talk about having to take their favorite shots and leave them behind. There's a reason why we have editing advice like "kill your darlings". Now, if you feel like you aren't representing yourself the way you want, by not having enough variety, then that's a legitimate concern, but hopefully you'd be able to at least maintain the integrity and interest of what you have when you go hot-swapping shots. You're in a real fine-tuning phase, because it's already working.
  20. Newer isn't always better. And I think you're fairly convinced of that already. What you could do is keep the old reel and plug in anything you think warrants the attention and will improve the reel for its being there. It can always be better, but it's pretty great as-is.
  21. Saying that you need more dynamic camera moves is like saying that you need more frosting on a cupcake because it doesn't taste good yet. It's like adding an action scene for some momentary drama; it doesn't really make the movie any better. What you really want to do is treat the camera like you do any of the other elements, namely as an actor whose job is to impart something to the viewer. The special role of the camera, however, is that the entire spot is seen through its unique and very specific perspective. So it is really in charge of actively or passively telling whatever story there is to tell. That shouldn't be confused with the idea that its job is necessarily to be whizzy. Sometimes the camera is going to stand in front of an oncoming truck, quaking, about to leap out of the way. Sometimes it's going to pass over tiny objects like a microscope being handled by someone with unsteady hands. Sometimes it's going to fly through impossible structures like it's strapped to a fighter jet. Sometimes it's the eye of god, or of a newborn, or of a rock watching the weathering of a shoreline over thousands of years. Point being that it's more productive to think of camera animation as a way to convey information, attitude, perspective, than it is to think of it as a way to layer more candy on a boring cupcake. It's the same set of concerns you'd have if you were shooting real live action elements with a real camera, but instead of carrying a camera around, or bolting it to a dolly, or flying it on a quadcopter, or having a webcam on a laptop or a gopro on a bmx helmet, you have to keyframe it. Same process of planning out what you need to do with it, but animation is the execution of that plan. So you may want to redefine your goal to something more like: this year I will explore animation as a means to convey things to an audience, and I will begin thinking about the camera as an important element to be considered in that exploration. That might be a good start.
  22. Cool man. You have some nice shots in there. They're testament to your developing skill. I think the montage itself stutters a bit, though. I would imagine that, given that this reel spans 6 years of work, you probably have enough material that you can keep moving from one shot to the next without ever landing on, or making us watch, something static. Granted, most of these shots are logo/statement reveals, but the edit should pay more attention to the action of the reveal than what it is that's revealed. Because if you're going to use a video montage presentation, it should be a presentation in which how things move is important. Otherwise, you're showcasing static designs, in which case you probably want to present them in a static medium. Point being: a motion graphics montage is largely about things communicated through motion/action/movement, so maximize on that. Secondly, I think the character of your audio choice is mismatched to your work in almost every way. That's a fairly subjective comment, but it's coming from the perspective of a member of your audience, so that bears some weight. I'm not saying it couldn't work, either. But you'd have to really compliment or juxtapose the character of that audio in your shot choice and your editing. Because right now it's kind of like "I like dogs, and i like ice cream, so i'm going to make dog-flavored ice cream". It's very possible to take two things you like and make something that no one particularly likes.
  23. Ash Thorpe did/does that Collective podcast. I remember it being fairly rambling, with moments of insight. https://soundcloud.com/the-collective-podcast I think they put it on itunes, but I'm so ludicrously lazy right now.
  24. Quick Look is a monumental time saver when it comes to looking through video files, so that codec snobbishness is a real bitch. I've seen no significant benefit to the upgrade, and on the downside, some apps are busted, the Finder sometimes decides not to display folder contents, and I've had the first system crash ever on this MbPro. Could be worse, but I'm thinkin real hard about restoring to my pre-upgrade backup until this version is nice and smoothed out.
  25. When you see a job through a post studio, or a motion design studio, animation studio, etc. that says "designer", that's in the realm of what you're looking for, because those studios want the skillset of a designer to fashion the boards. Most studios who want this kind of work, however, will not frequently post these jobs. They pay the day rate of a designer to create frames instead of having someone in-house do it because they either 1) are short staffed and need help immediately or 2) are looking for something exceptional, and beyond the typical limits of what their staff people are accustomed to. That means they usually need it quick, and they need it done extremely well. So most producers do their own headhunting and keep lists of go-to freelancers for these cases. I market myself as a designer, which allows some room for things other than strictly storyboards, and that makes me more useful to studios. But I do that because my background is in design, and I'm capable of concepting, branding, visualizing, directing, etc. The way to convey that that is your strength, is to make your portfolio about that. I haven't published a reel in a long time, because I don't want to introduce myself to new studios by suggesting that I'll do a bunch of animation or production work for them. I want to set up the expectation of what our relationship will be, and if we've worked together and a project requires it, I'll bring those extra skills to the front. So, in response to reel requests, I tell them that I mostly do storyboarding and pitch work, and send a link to a flickr page. All things being equal, it's just as easy to judge a designer as an animator. The work is there, right up front, to be seen just like anything else. But remember that although they are related disciplines, they require very different skillsets. As a designer, you're focused on ideation, branding, visual communication, typography, composition, etc. and there's not a lot of necessary overlap with production skillsets or concerns there. To be successful, it's certainly not about creating "looks", or "styles" for clients, it's about engaging the design process. So if you've been on the production end, and want to crossover into the design stage, keep in mind that the people you'll be running with and against likely have design backgrounds, laced with illustration and photography and layout and type design and storytelling and so forth, and if you want to be competitive you'll have to devote yourself to that.
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