Documentation / Tutorials
Industry / Case-studies
In late 2019, I saw a senior motion designer position at my company; and thought to myself what it takes to be one. I don't think it was a matter of technical skills because everyone on my team seems to able to perform at similar levels. That's when I thought to myself that it was a matter of "experience and the 'eye'; it means being able to spot mistakes and have confidence to approve a design . That is why I decided to write my own guide of what I deemed is good as a way of training my understanding of what it takes to be a senior level designer.
What makes a work good? Great? Amazing?
Ease of use
Not overloaded with content
Easily navigate to your reel and your portfolio
Readability (Headings & body)
Content (Stay away from mind maps, or weak sketches)
Visual documentation - Photos, WIP, process, behind-the-scenes, happy accidents
Process GIFs are bonus; quickly identify what you want me to look at repeatedly
tem / Score
Motion / Animation
Illegible due to how it looks and its on-screen time
Storytelling / Narrative
Great communication on milestones, request feedback, and mishaps, problem solving
Minimal effort in communicating any problems in the project
Keywords: Repetitive, inconsistent, poorly-timed, unnecessary, distracting, unappealing
Above is good way to set parameters for what makes a work good.
Text regarding project details (eg. film name, role) placed consistently at a fixed location
Scale should not be too distracting
No animations that is obviously from a tutorial (eg. Video CoPilot, Greyscale Gorrilla); you only highlight the person's tutorial not your skills.
When you are making a showreel, you have to ask yourself:
Who is your intended audience? Who is going to watch your reel? What are you trying to sell yourself as? The criteria and content of your reel will change according to your answer and who you send your reel to.
Here is a general rubric to measure the success of your reel:
Item / Score
Selection of shots
All shots are best parts of your portfolio
Great selection but some shots could be better
You put everything you make in there
It looks like everything is drawn from watching tutorials
Showcase different techniques or applications of a software
Visuals & music syncs perfectly and evokes an emotional response or curiosity. Bonus: Add SFX to each shot in your reel
Shots are synced to the beats of your track
Production value / Marketable skills
eg. Great demonstration of C4D usage..
Has high amount of high-profile project
Here are questions you can ponder as you review your reel.
What are the weakest shots?
What is the strongest piece?
What do you want to see more specifically?
What part of my reel makes me desirable as a motion designer?
I did a project collaboration in which I was responsible for secondary elements (eg. background) but the production values lies in the the 3D rendering and animation that was not done by me. Can I still put that shot in my reel?
You have to ask yourself what are the implications of putting that shot in the reel:
Clients or employers will definitely ask if you did the 3D stuff or if you can recreate it
You are promoting your peer's work rather than yours so he/she will get the job instead
You are highlighting your weakness rather your strength; you are wasting screen time to showcase your skills and talents!
My peers want to put a shot from a collaborative project you did together in his/her reel even though you were the one responsible for more than 80% for that shot. Should I give them permission?
The situation is reversed now in this case and so is the answer. If they want to put it in their reel sure; they are promoting your work.
However, do have your peer credit you for that shot wherever he or she post the work eg.website process page or showreel video description.