If you’ve mastered Maya and learnt your Edge from your elbow, it’s time to show off your skills and experience in a showreel. Maybe you’ve made a reel before, but it lacks the pizzazz to accelerate your career. Or maybe it’s your first one. Either way, you’re in luck.
Escape Studios – which has 15 years’ experience of helping budding artists to turn their passions into careers – has worked with its leading industry partners at Framestore, Rushes, Blue Zoo and Bithell Games to create the resource, packed full of ‘reely’ good advice.
Blue Zoo Animation Director Will Cook, like the other working pros who contributed to Reel Talk, draws on his experiences of watching applicants’ showreels to offer some dos and don’ts. He says in one video: “The main thing I look for in an animation reel is how the characters move. It’s all about the body mechanics – if you nail the mechanics in a showreel you are a pretty good animator and all the rest can be taught at a studio like Blue Zoo.”
Such inspiring and actionable tips run throughout each strand of the guide, helping you see where you can stand out for the right reasons.
Reel Talk not only offers tried and tested advice for showreels across the whole VFX industry, it also describes specific, technical must haves and must nots for each separate discipline, to help you tailor your showreel to the area you’re most passionate about. Consisting of text guides, illustrations and videos, Reel Talk is packed with pearls of wisdom.
So for budding 3D VFX pros, Framestore Lead Modeller Chris Cook says: “You need to show you have a good understanding of the VFX pipeline as a whole. If you’re making models, we’re looking for you to show that you also understand how a model will be textured and shaded further down the pipeline. It’s very important that you can show us you can work with other departments in mind.”
Showing that you can consider the bigger picture crops up again when Mike Bithell, Founder of Bithell Games, advises game artists: “Put showreel content into Unity or Unreal Engine and render off for your showreel. Make sure you tell us this is being rendered in real time – it demonstrates you understand the pipeline and you can take what you’ve made into a games context.”
Another step that Mike Bithell suggests is showing a breakdown of how you’ve put your work together, to show potential employers how you’ve done it. “It shows you can work in a team and that you understand process and production,” he explains.
Escape Studios also offers a range of invaluable courses delivered by inspirational tutors with professional industry experience, all of whom have worked or currently work in the VFX industry. It offers all students career development support from day one, including help and advice on showreels and job applications – and the help continues for up to a year after finishing a programme, if you need it.