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Critique Please

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Larry Norton
Critique Please
on Jun 15, 2007 at 11:46:43 pm

It's my first demo reel so your critical assessment would be greatly appreciated.

http://www.flashmind.net/reel.html





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dnavarrojr
Re: Critique Please
on Jun 16, 2007 at 2:26:10 am

Had a hard time watching because the buffering was so bad. Had to close it and reopen it a few times before it played through without issues.

Very nice. I see a lot of techniques from CC and other tutorials put to actual use. Thanks!



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Larry Norton
Re: Critique Please
on Jun 18, 2007 at 8:52:22 pm

Thank you so much for your comments Farm Out and dnavarrojr; it is greatly appreciated. I was afraid I wouldn't get any critique.





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FarmOut
Re: Critique Please
on Jun 18, 2007 at 5:12:00 pm

Since you want critique, I'll try to offer some good advice.

A lot of people, when learning After Effects, try to practice any effect they can get their hands on in any scenario possible. The problem with doing this is that effects are meant to impress the senses or trick the eye. That means that effects need purpose. Without purpose, the viewer does not believe what they are seeing.

I feel as if your effects are somewhat canned and used in the wrong context for most of the samples you show. For example:

The first thing we see is a farm sign floating in space. Got it. Doesn't make sense, but got it. What could have worked better would be an actual sign attached to a post with a 3D layered farm world behind it, out-of-focus, and use your camera to fly by the sign instead of animating the sign itself. This would be a cool effect and also your sign with your name makes sense.

I could go on through the demo, but what I'm getting at is that if you're going to make a demo of effects, try to apply real-world applications and thinking when designing and animating. You will end up with a more impressive product and better practice for you.

Hope that helps, don't want to sound too negative.

Good luck!

farmout


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nateboston
Re: Critique Please
on Jun 19, 2007 at 2:23:05 pm

I thought your demo had some good stuff in it, but you should def try to cut it down to the very best of the best. It was just too long for me. And honestly, I didn't even watch the entire thing.

However, it interested me enough to go to your actual website - which I must say is far more impressive than your reel! You are very talented with flash and quite creative. I would, and this is just me, "brand" your demo reel to tie in more with your website. Use one to highlight the other. Add a cool watermark with your URL, or maybe give your reel a unique border that constantly change throughout your reel, but looks like it's from your website.

Either way, cut down the reel and by George, I think you've got something!



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Rob Webster
Re: Critique Please
on Jun 23, 2007 at 6:42:11 pm

As already noted, there are some effects for effect's sake that don't really have purpose. The flying arrows at the beginning and end of the video take way too long and are kind of strange, IMHO.

I think a demo reel should show not only what you can do, but also why someone should pick you to do it. A number of shots are fairly standard After Effects visuals that anyone can do, such as the baseball player done with the scribble effect. So again, having a context for the effect shows that yes, you know how to add an effect, but also when, and that you can do it creatively, not just technically.

Some clips don't help you. For example, the Patriotism text - it has what looks like an underwater displacement effect, which makes no sense. What's the connection between a watery look and patriotism? And the Days of our Lives text that gets blown away by the wind has an issue on the right hand side of the effect, where you can tell it was done on a layer with an edge. And the movement on the grunge text is too much. I know you're not looking for critiques on your footage as much as critiques on your reel, but my point is this: Use only your very best footage. You may have been working for a creative director that wanted a watery look for the patriotic bit, so you may have delivered exactly what was needed, but I'm not sure I'd put it in my reel.

All that being said, your talent for effects is there. I'd make cuts quicker with more selective use of footage.


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John Cuevas
Re: Critique Please
on Jun 25, 2007 at 8:00:10 pm

Is this honestly a demo reel to send to prospective employers? If that's the case, then I can't believe nobody else is willing to say, what the hell? In at least 4 cases you've just taken ENTIRE TUTORIALS with no changes from here or Trish and Chris Meyers book and just repackaged them as your own.

What I saw would be a better demo for DVD entiled "Learn How to Use AfterEffects by the Creative Cow".

If that comes across as harsh, tough, if that demo crossed my desk, it'd be tossed in the trash.



Johnny Cuevas, Editor
http://www.ckandco.net


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Larry Norton
Re: Critique Please
on Jun 28, 2007 at 12:23:39 pm

Since I found your comments confusing when compared to dnavarrojr


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John Cuevas
Re: Critique Please
on Jun 28, 2007 at 2:13:41 pm

Is this in response to my post? Not exactly sure how you tried to contact me, but I have not received any mail in regards to what I previously stated.

I have no problem articulating my position, nor do I understand what you found bewildering. The demo you posted, if being used as submission for employment, is a compilation of other people's work and creativity. At least 5 different clips were tutorials found from either the COW or the Meyer's books on AE.

If you posted this demo, just to get critiques on your ability to use AE, that's one thing, but if this is to gain employment, you are representing the work of others as your own.


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Larry Norton
Re: Critique Please
on Jun 28, 2007 at 2:33:49 pm

Sent to ckandco@ckandco.net Subject:For John Ckandco RE: Your Critique
June 27 @ 8:13 AM.

If you don't find it, I would be happy to forward another copy of it off list. And no, I have not sent it out for employment. I am not even sure of my skill level, much less providing my reel for employment. That is why I asked for a critique. For me motion graphics is a passion.

I am in my late 50s and I find it doubtful if I would be hired as a junior designer. My wife says I look younger but her birthday is coming up.



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John Cuevas
Re: Critique Please
on Jun 28, 2007 at 3:21:42 pm

Then I'm appologize for my harsh critique.

I've seen people post reels here that lifted quite a bit from tutorials. I myself had a former associate steal my work and pass it off as his own, so I'm a bit sensitive when it comes to the subject.

If you wish to contact me, johnny@ckandco.net


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cowcowcow
Larry Norton
Re: Critique Please
on Jun 28, 2007 at 12:55:33 pm

Thank you all so very much for your comments. First, about me; I am a retired financial executive with over 30 years of financial/consulting experience. Like many baby boomers I am too young to retire from life so I went back to college to earn a second degree, so I have a BFA from an art school in addition to earlier degrees. But since I still have consulting blood in my bones, I would like to share with other forum members some insights of what I have learned.

1. Determine who the reel is for. Art directors with print backgrounds were very impressed but if it is for a motion graphic studio it has to be superb and polished.

2. First time reels should be shorter than what I heard recommended, 2 minutes; it is very unlikely that the first reel is going to have that much excellent material.

3. Farm Out


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adguy31
Re: Critique Please
on Jul 12, 2007 at 4:17:02 am

Well, I will comment too since only one person gave you honest feedback. Yes, most of your work was done by following tuts on the COW. Then you used the Dean Velez tutorials about sky and lightning twice. I think that all the people are saying here is cut, cut, cut and don't use other tutorials to show us that you can follow instructions from a book, PDF or and Aharon Rabinowitz podcast.

Seth

Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work.
Thomas A. Edison


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Larry Norton
Re: Critique Please
on Jul 15, 2007 at 6:27:12 pm

Thanks adguy31.

Yep, using Dean's sky tutorials twice for a demo reel would be like telling my wife that I was two times a virgin. Seriously though, my request for critiques was to somehow determine my skill level. In addition to the Cow, there needs to exist a better way of jumping from one course in art school to the "reel" world. However, I am gratefully appreciative of all the comments I have received. Especially off list, where one in particular was more substantive than the whole semester of Broadcast Design.







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