Our Master's Degree animation students will soon start their final animation module: DA704. Their final animation assignment, DA704 PR1, is titled "Demo Reel and Final Project" and students are expected to do a piece of character or creature animation, showing the skills they have learned over the last 18 months, and also cut a demo reel that will help them to find work in the animation industry. The demo reel above is by Bucks New Uni MA animation student Amedeo Beretta.
|Animation by Amedeo Beretta|
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.
Animation Demo Reel
A demo reel is an animator's shop front, a display of talent and skill, and also 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, specialising in broadcast graphics animation.
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|
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.
|Jellyfish animation by Joe Gamble|
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.
|Animation by Jeton Lakna|
Students are not expected to model or texture their own sets and props. 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 for review. Remember that animation is an iterative process; constant refinement and tweaking is part of the process.
|Animation by Jinng Hwee Tan|
Students' final submission should be in the form of a video file (MP4 or .mov) and 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 7th December at 2pm.
Right now our students have the summer off. Module DA704 starts on 14 September, when students should begin to plan their animation, and also review the work they have done over the past 18 months.
DA704 PR1 is due on Monday 7th December at 11pm. Please upload your video to YouTube and email the link to me at firstname.lastname@example.org Students are also assessed on their development and pre-production, so please attach to the email a single PDF document showing evidence of planning, such as thumbnail sketches and/or live action reference. Alternatively, this can be uploaded to your blog or website.
Video Introduction to DA704
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.