Tuesday, 25 June 2019

DA704 - Demo Reel and Final Project

Our Master's degree animation students are tackling their final animation project, part of DA704, the penultimate module on the course, and the last module which is primarily of a practical nature. The final project is titled "Demo Reel and Final Project" and, as the name suggests, students are expected to do one last piece of character or creature animation, and also cut a demo reel that will be their showcase as they begin their search for work in the animation industry.

DA704 PR1 - Demo Reel and Final Project
DA704 is the penultimate module on the course, and assignment PR1 focuses on the creation of two elements: a final animation project, and also a demo reel to showcase the student's best work. A demo reel is the student's shop front, their display of talent and skill, and is the single most important factor in finding work in the industry.  To find out more about what goes into a great demo reel, follow this link.

To see an example of a student demo reel, check out the work of Bucks graduate Neil Whitman, below. Neil is currently working at the BBC doing broadcast graphics work.

Blog or website
Students are also expected to create a blog or website to showcase their work. Students can create a website for free at wix.com or a free blog at Blogger or Wordpress.

Kiwi animation by Oliver Canovas
Final animation performance
Students are expected to create a short piece of animation of their choice. It should be around 11 seconds long, and can include use music and sound effects.  This could, for example, be an entry in the monthly 11 Second club contest.

Alternatively, the final project could be an animal or creature animation, if the student wants to focus their energy on working the visual effects industry, where realistic animal and creature animation is a priority.  To see more on how to plan and block out a piece of animal or creature animation, read this post.

Be Creative
Students should always consider the creative aspects of this project – what kind of performance are you trying to create? Imagine a scene which is technically skilled but also both entertaining and interesting to watch. Animators are performers, and we have to give the audience a reason to look at our work.

Students can use any rig they like, but should always make sure to test the rig out fully in advance. What are its strengths and weaknesses? Can it perform physical actions? Does it have a full range of facial expressions? Don't find out half way through the shot that the rig won't do lipsync.

Students are not expected to model or texture their own sets and props - this is a distraction from the business of animation. So we recommend either creating a very simple set or downloading one of the many free sets available online from websites such as www.turbosquid.com and www.tf3dm.com. 

Feedback prior to submission
Students are encouraged to seek informal feedback on their work-in-progress (WIP), by uploading drawings, or thumbnails, or a movie file to the class Facebook classroom at any time. You can also send your Maya file to me for review. Remember that animation is an iterative process; constant refinement and tweaking is part of the process.

Final Submission
Students' final submission should be in the form of a video uploaded to Vimeo or YouTube, embedded at your blog or website, and the link emailed to your tutor. You should also send a single PDF document showing your development work, including any thumbnails or live action reference that you used to plan your animation.

DA704 PR1 Deadline
The deadline for submission of DA704 PR1 is Monday 9th December at 11.59pm.

For more on the experience of studying at Bucks New University, come and visit us at one of our Open Days, take a virtual tour of one of our animation studios, check out what our students think of our course, and see why we're ranked in the top 12 creative universities in the UK.

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