I figured out awhile back that making something cool that introduces your reel is a free and easy way to create something completely unique on your own, without any clients being involved. You have the first and the final say in however it looks. It’s important to have something cool at the start of the reel to set the tone for the rest of your work; you want anybody checking out your stuff to have a positive first impression of what you are capable of designing.
So clearly the only correct answer in this situation is to create some sort of cylindrical, rejected, mechanical prop from Tron 2 and place a flat screen TV inside it with some glitchy video.
I started out just trying to create some sort of video revealer, and I watched and loved a lot of graphics on NFL Network this year so I think this sort of procedural-building-mechanical animation style was on my mind. If only all my work could look like Big Machine’s instead…
I made the basic a shape and cranked up the details, making some sort of sliding space tube. I imagined the TV inside presenting my reel, so I attached it to the inside with these robot claws and pieced the whole thing together. I experimented with different materials, and toyed with a sort of all white, clean room kind of look, but I love the super reflective black look, it probably makes people think I’m super-dangerous and slick. Maybe.
It was a heavy render out of Cinema 4D, I applied Ambient Occlusion to get some shadow detail inside the crevices. I used an External Compositing tag to replace the edit I did to introduce my reel with the footage inside the screen. It’s a more interesting way to introduce myself and tease the contents of my reel.
Finally, I updated my reel with some new stuff and final;ly scrubbed it of all those nasty car commercials. BIg day for me. I also added some new music from the Vimeo Music store, it’s a track by Human Factor called “Step on Back.” Well worth a $1.99, I love this track.
Here’s a Cinema 4D train moving through a subway station.
The subway platform comes from istockphoto. I modeled the train in Cinema 4D and brought it into After Effects to fit it into the scene. By moving the train so quickly with a heavy motion blur, you can get a way with a relatively basic model of a subway car with not a whole lot of detail. I added some HDRI lighting to simulate the fluorescent lights above and color corrected the train to make it blend in with the color and feel of the environment.
I mean, the clip isn’t anything earth-shattering; you could easily just get a clip of an actual subway train passing by. But sometimes the best part about being a designer is making something out of nothing. A still photo becomes alive with hopes of convincing the audience that there is no animation at all and it goes unnoticed.