Demo Reel Critique Episode 6

July 27, 2010 - By 

In this episode of GSG Demo Reel Critique, I asked my twitter friends “who wants their demo reel critiqued?” and got a great response. Thanks to everyone who offered up their reel. My hope is by talking about others work, there is something in YOUR reel that can be made better. Let me know what you think!

Reels Critiqued
Daniel Barros
Ali Karim
Andy Needham

  • Hey Nick. Thanks a lot for the tremendous tips.
    Just answering some questions about the live footage in my reel. These stuffs are there becouse I’m not an motion designer exclusively. I also do some editing and directing roles.

    • You may want to consider having separate reels for each of your roles. If someone is looking for a director, they probably won’t care about your motion design work and vise-versa.

  • Nick, great u brought the reel critique back! How to make things better.., maybe u could bring other motion artist to share there opinion, like u did with previous reel critique episodes. That way you will get 2 opinions and critique or tips. I don’t know if it’s a good tip, but I guess it’ll work.

    • yeah, The guest crit was cool, I always enjoy the back-and-forth similar to what you all do at

    • I would love to add more opinions for these for sure. But, I think they work with just me too. Remember, these are only opinions and suggestions. The goal is to help. Not to be a know it all or pretend that I have all the answers. I would love to hear your critiques of their reels, too.

    • I totally understand. I thought you presented your viewpoint well, I have some more film-focused friends that may have saw novelty in the live action shots that you sorta skipped over. But that is totally cool, cuz you have very accurate motion and design critique.

      I agreed with almost every point, the car flatness didn’t bother me as much, but I really like the idea of “animating” the shine/shimmer.

      And I think the greenscreen stuff(and the dancing) needs to go, haha. It is fun, but it is so easy to SCREAM amateur when working with keying, might as well not show it until you can setup something really nice.

  • hy!
    I really liked Daniel Barros reel. Nice job!

    • David Biederbeck July 28, 2010 at 1:25 am

      I did too, good work daniel, your intro made me not forget your name, and I am a sucker for type so I thought the going into the e was cool, then out into the packaging was even cooler. I loved your use of black in the intro, but you def showed your ability to use strong color.

  • by the way Nick, i like your style 😀

  • oustanding article.thank you!

  • Hi nick .

    Ty for your critique …. i need the same for me plz …

    If u can , i will be verrryyyy happy 😉

  • It was really interesting to see how you analyzed these reels. By the way, they were already “advanced”. And i’m not agree with you about concentric circle. Ok it’s all about show off and graphic but i think artists have to listen customer too and not privilege graphics in front of content.

    Nick tell us more about this guitar behind you? Are you a secret guitar hero?

  • Trevor Williams July 27, 2010 at 4:56 pm

    Hey Gorilla,

    I am a beginner trying to build a reel, so this was really good to know and have some questions answered. I hope that you can do these more frequently though I know they must eat away at your time.
    I was getting the impression that we need to push every scene further than just going with the defaults of a plug in, or settling with the images we find/take than refining them further. Would you agree?

    • Great point. Remember, anyone can use the defaults or follow a tutorial. What sets you apart is how you solve problems creativly. Show that on your reel and you will be on your way.

  • That one is really good too Nick. I really want to my reel in critiques and damn to my luck I missed your twit. (Damn again) I like your taste and Its also give new ideas. For me that I learn when dealing with cut out pictures, light and reflection technique to manage something really good and realistic in pictures. Also I know I need to learn a lot of stuff but the important thing is while you are learning you need to able create something different or tricky techniques to do things, because life don’t stop and you need to work somehow. 🙂

  • Trevor Williams July 27, 2010 at 9:34 pm

    Hey Gorilla,

    Thanks for responding though I forgot to ask, if we have something we want to show off but it is long, I have seen reels showing one segment, then another later on in the reel like bread crumbs on a trail. You said that you like to see things happen quickly, but if one thing keeps popping up every now and then, is this alright? Or should we show the best part and call it done and dusted?

  • Hi nike this my demo reel

  • Audio out of sync in this video or is it just me?

  • Brilliant Nick

    Really enjoyed this episode, I’ve been putting off making mine for sometime now and this has spurred me into getting mine sorted.

    I have to ask you though, My strengths are 3D modeling and photography and not really motion graphics. What is the best way to show off my modeling and photography skills in an energetic and vibrant showreel?

  • Kevin, yeah looks a bit out of sync.

    Nick, Love the critiques thanks for bringing it back!

  • NICK thanks soo much, ur words were like gold, yeah i am a beginner, only started motion graphics in november last year, well im gonna take ur advice and try and create more motion graphics videos, then when i have alot i will recreate my reel.
    When i give you it again you will see the difference.

    well keep up the great videos and i will always keep watching them. thank nick.

  • Great ep Nick!

    Two suggestions for future RC’s…

    1.) Find out what direction the individual is heading in. If they’re selling more to corporate clients then you may be able to help them improve in more specific ways…or if they’re wanting to go in a more artsy and creative direction, you can help them look to be more original and imaginative. There’s probably a much better way to put that but there you go 🙂

    2.) As has been said, get a panel together, maybe one or two other guys to critique the reels.

    Keep’em coming bro!

  • Hi Nick, Im a MotionGrapher from colombia, and I would love if you give me your opinion and hard critique aboult my reel, its some of the South America Motion POWER, from the argentina and colombia school, thanks a lot.
    here is the link

  • Nice advises, Nick ! I’ll follow this one first : ask my friends what i should keep or not in my reel. Cause you’re right, most of them say “it’s nice” or “not bad” or ‘i like it”…and it doesn’t help to improve my reel.
    Last thing, I often thing “I should propose my reel to be criticize by the gorilla”…And every time I show your critics, I feel “Hum…I should work harder before I propose my reel to the gorilla” 😉
    So, I go back to work !

  • realy nice that you spend some time to critique some reels!

    awesome as always :]

    greetings from germany! ;D

  • this question is for Nick, but anyone with the answer can help….What program are you suing to record your sessions?


  • what a mug – sending in his reel with a gorilla tut in it!

  • Hi.
    I am a cinematographer and in my spare time I watch a lot of tutorials on the net.
    Having to put together a reel for me as a dp is really hard, because as you mentioned I never get critique from friends. It is always something like: OK, Good …
    This post gave me some new insight on how to look at my reel and judge it as if I was a customer.
    I know I have shot some interesting things, but it is hard to sell myself..
    So thanks again for this.
    And I am also watching your tutorials (and all the others mentioned) but I hide my experiments inside my blog, because they are just a hobby.
    Keep it up and bye from germany

  • We are lacking a bit in the experimental animation department these days. I think motion graphics can incorporate well with older techniques.

  • nick you are doing an awesome job and I really appreciate it. kindly let me know that what is your criteria of selecting reels for critiques? select my reel for next reel critique episode 7 If my work is up to that mark. here is link of my work.


    • I think I will get all future reels from asking on twitter because reels can go out of date so quickly, and I would hate to review an old reel. Stay tuned on twitter and I will ask for links next time I am recording a new critique.

  • Nick, i think you are absolutely right on this one. The idea is that you learn and adapt and creatae uniqueness in your work is paramount. People putting tutorial stuff on there will get found out very quickly as youve just shown.
    Im a producer in London and i am constantly looking for that little bit extra punch. If i see a videocopilot or another tutorial on there i immediately disban the entire reel.

    Well done Nick, and good advice given.


  • Hi, Nick!
    Special thanks for the notes about putting free tutorials’ results in ones reel.

    that really sucks and there are tons of this stuff in reels all around.

  • Hey Nick and fellow Mo-grapher’s,

    Great idea Nick, I wish you had done this a month ago, before I did my most recent showreel…!

    I think the critique was good Nick, just a little too slow. Was hoping to see more than 3 reels in 36 minutes!

    I’m glad you mentioned designers adding tutorial based designs to their Showreels, I’ll keep that in mind as I have a couple of your tutorials in my Showreel!

    Please Check it out! Thanks!


  • Excellent…. Those things you say about the tutorials examples on demo reels are so true, but are so everywhere on demos, even mine would have something made from a tutorial. But Ill twist it out to something new

  • hey amigo nick you r soo hyper on this tutorial LOL! wath happened to you? what are you drinking? thanks for this tutorial is very useful

  • Hey Nick, new to your site, very cool.

    I like the premise of no nonsense critique.

    Suggestion: Reels are there to win work. Give a conclusion addressing that – would you hire them? Would you not? Perhaps a glimpse into the arena they might play well in, ie, local spots, ad firm, not yet commercial enough, etc.

    This may be more hardcore than you want, I know you don’t want to beat anyone over the head, but we’re all watching for YOUR opinion. I’m interested in learning that point where “good” becomes “I’d use him (or her)”.

    • Believe it or not… On my first Reel Critique, I did a “Your Hired” “Your Fired” thing and I stopped doing it since. People can get work at different levels of work for different jobs with different expectations in different cities. Plus, connections and attitude is a HUGE part of hiring that has nothing to do with reels. I could say “Digital Kitchen probably won’t hire you.” But that’s not too helpful either. So, I decided to just give everyone a hard critique and tell them what was great and what could be be better. I think this is more helpful overall then telling them that they wouldn’t get hired.

  • Great as usual Nick! I have a question about one of your critic on the compositing of the sport car, when you’re talking about animating reflections. I do a lot of videos based on compositing and animating photographs but I have to say that I am very confused about what you mean by “animating reflections”. Is that something like painting out all the brightest surfaces on the car and then trying to emulate new ones with an adjustement layer with higher contrast or a layer based on HDR-like photograph to suggest the environement around? To me it sounds like trying to make the hardest part of a realistic lighting on a still 2D frame and, even if I would really looooove to be able to animate reflections that way, i definitely cannot imagine that it could be done efficiently by a standard human being! And more than that, on a car picture for example, if the car turns, reflections won’t follow a linear path along the car but every “illuminated” part of the car would behave differently, delaing with the material and the shape of each of the reflective surfaces! My english might be a little rough, sorry for that but, Hu, it’s probably worth “chewbaccing”! If never you read this and have any suggestions about how to achieve this technique, i would definitely be your padawan for ever!

    • Right, you have the right idea. It’s going to be hard to fake for sure. Any time you have a reflective object as a still that you are trying to pretend is moving, it gets hard. I do a bit of this fake reflection in my car tutorial and in the Dodge piece in my reel. Overall, if you push stills to far it will look fake, but there are things you can do to help.

    • Oh thanks for answering so quickly! I got it for the Dodge one, it looks like animating noise with a bit of transfer/blur/glow or something? Nice result by the way. I’ll put an eye on your tutorial, (I missed this one). The thing is, it’s still very tricky! (Which is good in that case). I am currently working on compositing a flying steel can picture in a slow motion shot and as the can spins out and around, I was wondering about how to be as realistic as possible, I mean by following the light source and animating the actual reflections, which are, obviously, realistics because part of the original picture. Well then, I should probably be working on it, I just hopped that you, crazy experimenter (I love your 3D “what-ever-the-time-I’ll-spend-on-this-rollercoaster”) would have experiment on more realistic way of animating reflections on more detailed and “moving” still frames! However, I’ll do my best to achieve and may give you all feedback on that if I succeed, I mean if I succeed enough! :p Have a nice day folks!

  • figured I’d throw my student reel out there for critique:

    thx !!

  • Hi from Paris Nick,
    here is my 2010 reel:
    all comments are welcome!


    Hi Nick, so I decided to base my intro on one of the tuts you posted. I think it maybe exemplifies what you always stress about moving past the initial tut and making something kind of unique with it. thought I’d share with the community here.

    Would love to hear a few honest words. thanks a bunch.

    Lastly, since you asked, I’d love to hear more of your thoughts on IDEAS in these critiques. You have extensive feedback on execution but it seems like you could talk a bit more about the concepts behind the reels.

  • Awesome stuff! I’m very eager to get some feedback on my reel too:
    Find it really hard to look at it objectively after seen it a million times!

  • you are the most!!

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