Creating an Animation Demo Reel

A demo reel is a video consisting of short clips showing one’s professional abilities to potential customers or employers. It is a kind of digital portfolio that animators, editors, filmmakers, actors or artists make in a video form.

If you are into animation, you would know the importance of demo reels. A well-made demo reel can get you a good job.It is something that attracts others, and you get work on its basis. To make a good and effective demo reel, you must look at certain factors that we will explore here.

Use Good Content

You should create superb content that attracts the audience. A short demo reel of 30 seconds having good content is better than a 60-second reel with normal, everyday content.

Don’t upload your demo reel if it lacks interesting content, so polish it before moving ahead. Be original while making shots instead of copying others. Amaze people and grab their attention instantly by creating unique shots.

Order Wisely

Put your best shot first because it will attract interest, resulting in the viewer watching the rest of the reel. It should involve the audience from start to end, so never start with boring or irrelevant content. You can take help from the best reels on any video platform but don’t copy them.

How Long Should It Be?

Some people make a very long demo reel that could bore and irritate viewers. The best demo reel is usually not longer than a minute, it should not exceed 2 minutes in any way. A lengthy reel means you need good content which is generally only something experienced animators can create, therefore, beginners should start with short reels.

Adding Sound or Music

Be original with the dialogue in terms of sound. You can add soft background music that does not disturb the dialogue. Never use loud music or something that drowns out other sounds. Good music will give a nice effect, although you should avoid music if you can’t choose it wisely.

Present your work well

All the shots should be clear and attractive. Some people lose the essence of a shot by being over creative. You can also add a title before a shot to help people understand the upcoming material. You can also describe the shots with numbers in the video description. Also, you should take care that the colors are not too bright or too light. The title should be prominent, not the background.

A Few Demo Reel Ideas for Beginners

For those who don’t know what to shoot, we have listed a few ideas:

  1. Juggling shots
  2. Cat or a dog walk
  3. Playing darts
  4. Ball hitting like in cricket
  5. Eating something with an expression
  6. Using swords
  7. Playing any music
  8. Diving shots
  9. Kung fu tricks
  10. Actors’ facial expressions
  11. Comedy clip
  12. Some dialogue
  13. Swimming with fish around
  14. Forest animals
  15. Flying birds
  16. Thunderstorm and rain
  17. Brisk walk to running

There are so many other ideas to try, so try to be creative and grab your viewers’ interest.

Where to Upload the Reel

There are different platforms to upload the reel, such as YouTube and Vimeo, both of these have their good sides and bad sides. You must know the purpose of making those shots as that determines which platform you should use.

If you want more exposure then you should choose YouTube, especially for a big audience. However, many people prefer to watch normal content on YouTube than creative work.

Vimeo is a suitable platform for animation or creative work, although it has fewer views. Vimeo is also known as a mini-YouTube for creative people like animators, artists and filmmakers. However, your viewers in this case are from your network, not the public as in YouTube.

Pixar Guidelines on Demo Videos

Pixar is another video platform for different artists and creative people, this is what it says about demo videos:

  • Never compile the collage, instead describe each shot
  • It should not be more than 4 minutes
  • Avoid showing the rejected content
  • Use basic sounds and music
  • Display shots by breaking things down
  • The best shot should come first
  • The start and end of a reel should have some title
  • Polish your video before uploading
  • Don’t share your reel if it lacks content
  • Check your video thoroughly in terms of rendering and light to make it worth watching.

A Few Things to Avoid

By avoiding a few pitfalls, you can make a good demo reel, such as:

  • Don’t make irrelevant reels, like they should be exactly related to the job or project you want to have. It should include the work regarding your skills, for example, you can’t give shots on just textures while applying for animation.
  • Don’t add all your work on a single reel, instead, be brief and show your best ones, for example, you can show your latest projects instead of 10 years of your work. Too much will be boring and you won’t be employed.
  • Don’t distract people, as we already said the work should be relevant to the target job. Also, make fresh shots that are different to that already done by others. 
  • Don’t show two works without separating them with a credit list, so the employers know who you worked for.

All the above guidelines are for both beginners and experts.


Each video platform has its guidelines that you have to consider while making reels. You should not break the rules or your video won’t be accepted. At the same time, you have to consider all the dos and don’ts of making a good demo reel. Your future depends on what you show in the demo, especially if you are approaching a big company.

You can also get personal projects based on your digital profile other than just getting regular work. You can be successful in your creative goal by following the above guidelines, you can also share fresh ideas with us on this topic to help others in their career.

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.