11-02-2011, 10:00 PM
If you only have two pieces of work to show, then your reel should be less than 30 secs long. Don't draw it out, or try to 'fill time'. There is nothing inherently wrong with a short reel - with the RIGHT pieces of work, it is still possible to be hired, however long your reel is. There's a story about a guy getting hired at pixar with an 11sec showreel - it may well be an urban myth, but it's not totally outside the realms of possibility.
Showing breakdowns is always a good idea if you've got them, but make it QUICK. Wiping between a before / after image, or flashing on and off the CG elements to highlight them - that sort of thing.
I'm not convinced that building up the image piece by piece is really required - anyone looking at your reel who can hire you already knows how the process of matte painting works. Most pro projects won't release .psd files, so this also flags your reel as non-professional work (for what that's worth).
In terms of shots to build up for your reel, you need to raise the quality bar. No-one hires a matte painter who is 'nearly there' - you can either produce photo-real images, or you can't. Simple but totally believable set extensions, cleanups, damage, aging, season changes, etc. will serve you much better than very ambitious but not totally believable establishing shots. Very few matte shots are huge establishing shots anyway, and they won't be given to juniors. Not every shot needs to be a projection, either - if you've demonstrated the skill in one shot, the others can be 2D paintings to save time.
If you are really stuck for ideas, have a look through the archives of the challenges Nick and I were helping run on cgtantra. The briefs were realistic, not too time consuming, and they've helped several people get their first job in the industry.
EDIT: Oh, and it's 'Rotoscoping' not 'Roto Scoping'. Little thing, but it looks more professional to get it right when it's such a niche term!
Last edited by Alex Jenyon; 11-02-2011 at 10:07 PM..