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Reel 2010 - Philip Aigner


Philip writes:

This is all material from the last year. I have lots more material but only wanted to include only the best stuff, also didn't include any still images or anything as it's an animation reel. I also did the modelling, rigging, and rendering, all in Blender.

About the Author

Bart Veldhuizen

I have a LONG history with Blender - I wrote some of the earliest Blender tutorials, worked for Not a Number and helped run the crowdfunding campaign that open sourced Blender (the first one on the internet!). I founded BlenderNation in 2006 and have been editing it every single day since then ;-) I also run the Blender Artists forum and I'm Head of Community at Sketchfab.


  1. Very good stuff! Modelling, rigging, texturing, rendering... all parts of the job are really well done!
    Hat off!

  2. No.1 Advice: 'please use the z axis more.'

    The first piece sets a very restricted tone for the whole reel by limiting all movements to x and y axis.
    Eg the character walks across the screen/stage but doesn't interact with us in any way.
    If he would suddenly jump to us and do a 'high-five' on the invisible screen between us or even splatter on us, it would be more entertaining - and show more creativity.

    That's the point - as MarcoA writes, you have the technical basics down!

    But you need to re-assess what you have, spend some time on 'real' project(s), and bring more creativity to this reel.

    Start with the last scene - the mountain 'thingy! There's a WHOLE story there! Make that boring character walk up the mountain path and fall off! Anything! But use that style - it's 'reely nice'!!

    You obviously have talent, and I thank you for sharing, but save your future professional reputation by building on it - from what you have shown and repost a superior reel in 6 months showing not just technical merit but creative insight too.

    Spend 20x what you have on this reel producing creative content and you'll have a reel that will get you a job matching your inner creative talent.

    I'm being generous in my appreciation of what you've done - not mean - but 'constructive'.

    Considering the huge number of people that visit BlenderNation and will have viewed your reel, feel lucky -

    It would be easy to rip this reel apart for being 'boring', 'basic', ... etc.

    But you've just scraped in!

    And yet it's obvious you have talent.

    Now get some rest - it's taken a while for you to get to this plateau, but we want you to climb the mountain and show us what you 'reely' are capable of!

    When will you know your work is good enough for another reel?

    When it's close to Big Buck Bunny or perhaps Sintel.

    That may seem too high, or seem harsh, but I guess it depends on what you want from your reel?

    Adulation? Admiration? Respect?

    We respect you for getting this far! Admiration? Hmm... from some here because you made it this far - you made the most basic reel I've ever seen. Adulation? Sorry - not yet. That's Team Sintel standard.

    So... young Jedi... go and CREATE!

    And come back in 6 months to a year and show us!

    You know now how to hold a sword!!?

    Show us you can use it to make SUSHI!!!

  3. Just gonna chime in after reading Uplifter's comment, which seemed to me more of a harsh review embedded in the pretense of motivating critique. I mean, the comments "save your future professional reputation" and " made the most basic reel I’ve ever seen" just sound cruel.

    Phillip: anyway, because Uplifter mentioned Sintel as a mark of high achievement that somehow stands in contrast to your work, I just wanted to counter it with some well-deserved praise. I've animated several shots on Sintel and my animation work is weaker than yours. Your animation sensibilities are excellent. Keep up the great work!


  4. Philip, I agree with Colin here, you got some talent ! Keep it up, you're doing great !

    I don't think someone would want "Adulation, Admiration, Respect" out of a demoreel. People wants to get a JOB out of it. I'm confident you are gonna get it :)


  5. It's awesome that you've commented Colin!!!

    I wasn't meaning to be 'mean' - just give Philip some 'real' feedback compared to the usual mediocre comments such a beginner reel would attract.

    I whole heartedly agree with you, and hope that overall message of my first comment concurs - keep up the great ... [start] Philip!

    But, Colin - you are formostly a director, are you not? Not an animator, as it appears Philip wants to be.

    If Philip just wants to be a director - even then I would suggest the same advice - put more into the direction of his work!

    And a great animator certainly should have a strong sense of direction, if not be a closet actor.

    Perhaps I should have not made this second comment, and I don't want to ever make anyone shy to contribute their work using Blender - we should be a sharing and caring community of creative people - but we should also protect our own standards - and raise them with progression of skill growth grown here.

    So I would ask Bart - why is this reel shown here and not on BlenderArtists where it can be evolved, refined, and honed before being put on the BlenderNation pedestal???

    That must seem really mean of me. But I don't intend it that way. I'm just tired of Blender being kept at a noob level by weak, pointless, gratuitous feedback.

    So I tried to be encouraging to Philip to improve what is obviously an impressive but wanting start, while implying that there is a 'standard', not that I pretend to know what it is exactly.

    I don't believe every reel has to be of Big Buck Bunny or Sintel standard - but these works should not just be inspiring to new Blender animators - but also representative of the 'professional' standards we all aspire to reaching or expect to see on BlenderNation, at least when someone shows a reel.

    Perhaps I mistakenly equate BlenderNation 'stage' with CGTalk's leading content - the pics at the top of the forums that are voted there or pushed there by moderators.

    I don't mean to criticize you Philip - hopefully you see I'm trying to be constructive in my gentle criticism.


    If you want to make a difference Colin - how about asking Ton to create not just a Blender trainer certificate but a mentor program to help talented 'up-and-coming' stars like Philip work with people like you and the Sintel team to be at the level to contribute effectively and regularly to Sintel 2?

    This would raise the bar for the whole community!

    Think of it like the Google Summer of Code - but call it 'Blender's Eternal Shine of the Creative Mind!'


  6. Blending BriGuy on

    Aw, snap! Colin just did one of my favorite things, undercutting a critic by placing the criticized artist's merit above his own. In effect, he snapped the critic back into last week by refusing to be the face of the critic's appeal to authority.

    It reminds me of a certain story of a rock fan who was playing a know-it-all act by insisting he knew that one of the performing musicians used some specific influence or other in all his playing, and was shot down when the musician in question walked by the table and said "No I don't", leaving the fan speechless. Priceless stuff.

  7. Actually I have a question about the elephant - was it really hard to weight paint?

    I find 'stumpy' characters hard to get into that lying position, without some serious deformation issues.
    But you don't seem to have that problem- good for you!

  8. Congratulations Philip. You're one of my favorite blender artists; besides your great production you're always kind enough to share your techniques with the community.

    @Uplifter Its really hard to take you seriously when you don't show your own work. Maybe you're just a troll

  9. @Blending BriGuy - you douche!!!

    As I wrote, and whole heartedly profess - I was being 'constructive'.

    And how do you know that I don't work on 'great things', have good 'taste', know strong animation and story?

    But... in regards to your 'pithy' wit - I made no such reference, so your 'heroic tale' has no relevance.

    It appears that you wouldn't have commented at all on Philip's work unless you had a chance to vent venom on critic!

    Where is your praise, constructive criticism, or even comment on Philip's work???

    But no where to be seen!!!

    So, it's a crime now to even try to make a 'constructive criticism on BlenderNation??

    I've held back my real feelings/thoughts on this reel because I want to be polite and constructive and this is a public forum.

    So save your venom and actually give Philip some constructive criticism.

    I myself hate the 'critic' when they are just critical, but I was constructive.

    Philip's reel needs to:

    1. make better use of 'space', particularly the z-axis, although the elephants angle and trunk is a tiny start;
    2. use 'angled'/creative camera work to draw us into space - the orthogonal perspectives are dull;
    3. build more creative content before composing doing the above and composing a reel.

    From any perspective - this is a noob reel - and wouldn't 'normally' - in any professional setting - not be considered a real 'reel'.

    I assumed by the fact that it was on BlenderNation, where news of Sintel, Big Buck Bunny, Elephants Dream, etc is posted about - that this reel may be of professional standard.

    I apologise if I appeared rude - but I did my best to be polite and constructive considering the waste of time it was to watch this. It should be in BlenderArtists and worked on a lot more before Bart posted it here. I'll save my true criticism for my private thoughts.

    Be honest - this work deserves more constructive criticism than does a critic who, perhaps poorly, tried to motivate the animator to do better, should they want a job as professional at Weta or where ever. This reel is years away from being such quality - and using kid gloves and praising it without giving any constructive criticism will actually do more damage and harm Philip's chances of getting into this industry!

    This isn't to negate my positive constructive comments about the reel - but let's be honest not full of shit and politically correct or whatever - but help raise the bar - the standard of reels shown on BlenderNation and help animators like Philip actually understand the level their reel needs to be at to get a real job in the industry.

    But if I accidentally commented on a Poser or Truespace forum, then please direct me to the real Blender art!

  10. Wow, that was really enjoyable!

    I think that the consistent visual style really helps to bring it together. It seems a lot more like a single cohesive animation project than a demo reel, and I really like that. So yeah, I disagree with uplifter too. I watched it more than once, which is more than I can say about 90% of the videos on the internet.

  11. The highlights from the reel that I like are the walking barrel and the kid. I like the animation and the appeal.
    One thing though, the bouncing eyeball just freaks me out. I like the animation, good drag, weight, timing, spacing, anticipation etc... not that it offends me or anything but the execution of that segment is so good that it looks like a hard eyeball in a pocket of soft skin... just creepy....

  12. Blending BriGuy on

    @Uplifter: I think you are making Jose Cabana's case for him. If you want some constructive criticism, I'll offer some right here... you need to learn brevity and more carefully gauge your tone.

  13. I have to sleep now... so can't reply to the criticism of my criticism... so we agree to disagree.

    @Blending BriGuy - you need to learn to actually comment on the reel for once, not on the critic! ;-)

    Good luck Philip!

    Night all

  14. Blending BriGuy on

    @Uplifter: Actually it's the exact opposite. This is the first time I've commented on a critique instead of on the work itself. In addition to this, it was Jose who called you on not offering a sample of your own work, and it was Colin who originally criticized your criticism. But I am glad to see the less heavy-handed approach this last time. It works, and it helped defuse things. And you're right, I was more than a bit of a douche here. ;-) I'll work to keep it in check.

  15. Something about @Uplfiter's critique hit a nerve - as evident from the back and forth. And unfortunately the good points he made were lost in the tone. The overall critique would have more weight if Uplifter provided some of his own cred/or work.

    Is this reel ready to land a professional job on it's own? Probably not but then Blender isn't a tool that will land many professional 3D work. But comparing this work - the efforts of one - to the work of Buck Bunny (the effort of a team) is a bit harsh. On a team, Phillip would likely be able to put work like Buck Bunny on his reel with his current skill. And any person pulling together a team would be able to see this from his reel.

  16. I think is a good reel, i realy love the part of the animated kid.

    Uplifter: what a large comments, i dont use to read something more big than the published post, but if you post a link of your own blog, with what you think, is more posible i read it.

  17. I like it. Mos the time I see these blender video's and frankly they are really bad. and most people on this forum just say how great it is just because it was made with blender lol. I love how the blender community loves the software so much its great. I'm planning a personal project and I'm considering giving blender a try :).

    I have to say the animation is pretty good. I like the demo of your animation rigs. I would split this stuff into two reels though. do you want to be a character TD or an animator? if you cant decide then make a character TD reel and an animation reel so you can apply for both jobs. I'm a vfx artist in the Los Angeles area here is an old reel of mine I'd love to see if I can get the quality of work I'm use to out of blender. where did you learn to rig like that in blender that's one area I'm having a hard time finding info on. and Do you know any other 3d apps? they are all just tools so its good to know a few and makes getting work easier.

    anyway nice work!

  18. Actually, that was rather nice. Not the best one I've seen but definitely not the worst. What I really like is the animation (well it's an animation reel sooo... good for you. :D ) and what I didn't like so much were the characters, just not my style I guess. I prefer a bit more realistic approach... The environments served their purpose for this demonstration but could have been better and a bit more colourful in general. Like in the kid scene, there could have been a class setup, a drawing board and a teachers table at the back. For animation demonstration this is rather irrelevant but if you wish to show off your skill, I think it would have been a nice addition. The windmill at the end was great. :)

    @Uplifter I'd have nothing against some harsh critique (not that it was so harsh in my opinion), in fact, I feel it tells more than the prettier version so I even kinda prefer it. I mean, which one tells you more, that "it could be better" or "it sucks ass". And you talk too much, you know that people can think too, you don't need to tell them everything (Well... I'm guilty too but I try to remember this). What I got out from your comments could be put into three words at best (correct me if I'm wrong), "needs more punch"... then throw in some examples from yours, or from others works. Actual pictures or videos of what you mean, will tell more than just plain words and no one gets bored reading the whole thing through (Like I).

    But what I think is really wrong in your comment (and why everyone is complaining) is that you seemed to cover the flaws rather extensively but you didn't really propose anything how those could be fixed. It's criticism but hardly constructive and more like pushing someone else's work down. So please think about this a bit.

  19. nice work... ...and i think someone here should get a life or rather spend all that time making a own demo reel

  20. Hello Philip. Really nice stuff. Hope that you'll continue the nice job and progress more. I just want to share a thought with you. Learning 3d, and Blender being able to touch so many field, its been hard for me not to try to touch everything like animation, special effects, modelling of characters, etc. But doing so I was really not getting anywhere. Now I've chosen and i'm gonna do just environments.
    Maybe you have already made that choice, I'll encourage you to stick to it. Its really great to know how thinks work in overall, so you won't have to look for someones help for a little stuff. But always trying to get better in a filed that youve chosen is quite a challenge and brings a lot of personal satisfaction. Maybe you could associate yourself with a character modeler and start to tackle more complex animation. Its just an idea to help.
    Hope you go really far. All the best

  21. When viewing, I also was thinking critical thoughts about the animation and the style. As I am in a small team building a 3D movie at the moment, I'm very critical about all animation / directing / camera work in order to get inspiration for my own movie. But I agree with Colin, the animation shows style and character. Could it be improved? I'm sure Philip himself is his own harshest critic. Let's just say that the Demo Reel actually gave me some good ideas for my own characters' animations that still need to be done. To finish, a big congrats should go to Philip - it really does take courage to put your work in the public eye.

  22. Philip Aigner on

    Hi everybody and thanks for all the comments!

    Colin and Malefico: You guys are a huge inspiration and it really means a lot to me that you like my work. Thanks very much for your kind words!

    Mike: I modelled the elephant in the lying down position, so no deformation issues. I always work according to need and this lazy elephant was going to be dragged on stage by the little boy, who offers him as a gift to the viewer (via a poem). Unfortunately, I had to abandon that project.

    Mkirylo: Very impressive reel! I am sure you can get the same results using Blender. Rigging is definitely the hardest part to learn for me, but there are many places where you can find tutorials and tips. I started with the blender BSOD tutorial. There are also many helpful tutorials and links here: This tutorial has also helped me massively: Then there is the Mancandy material, the BBB material that you can look at and analyze, the rigging series at blendercookie and many more (I haven't looked in the last few months, but new stuff pops up all the time). I learned by following tutorials, asking questions on blenderartists, and dissecting character rigs. As for other apps, I have used Max and Maya just to try it but never created anything with them.

    Yup, there's definitely a lot that could be improved, certainly my creative expression tends to be limited by my technical skills, but I am nowhere near the end of my learning experience, in fact I am just getting started and in a year I will hopefully have some much more kick-ass material.

    Thanks again everyone for watching my reel and for sharing your thoughts!

  23. Oh you're kidding right... I didn't see the video and read the comments and I'm like well must be a new animator.
    Its THIS guy. This guy is AWESOME!! I loved that barrel animation. Just starting out???? I think I have to disagree. you've CLEARLY got skills. The only criticism I have is WHY aren't you working for a major studio!?
    I'm guessing you're one of those guys who knows levels far beyond what you're showing- and you think you don't know enough- am I right?? right! :)

    @ Uplifter
    Show us you can make Sushi????

    What are people expecting from a demo reel? If they think its going to look like WETA, Psyop, or Buck- news flash- MANY people worked on those reels over a looong period of time (it's called a "team" in film terms). If someone like me or the other commenters hiring his talent (Who are actual animators- not just "talk alots") saw this guy- definitely professional level. Please compare all the Discovery segments, commercials (BY companies like Psyop, Buck, etc.) and PBS specials with children's animation. Faaaar above that. Gotta keep in mind that many of us don't have resources for full scale production and rendering which can hinder greatly the level that can actually be achieved (think rendering, smoke, and fluids). Time is Money. So as far as all the criticism- considering as was stated-hes clearly got talent, I'm thinking people who criticize the rest of his production should donate him some brand new dual quad core computers!

    Common now! Besides I'm thinking this really isn't about how he "edited" and made all nice and pretty his reel. I've seen so many people do that and all they did on each scene was like coloring in the characters hair!
    This guy did everything! So I can't figure out why any crits are really even necessary- he's an animator.


    OK- Just had to double check if I was right. Yeah- by looking at similar animation techniques on these VERY professional reels. I'm thinking your animations are on par if not superior in some shots! These critics hold NO weight- their opinions are NOT from any actual experience. They need to actually work in the real world.
    Your rigging is massive, your lip-sync is dead on, even your rendering ain't bad.

    Somebody give this guy a Dual Quad Core and a team!!

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