Monday, August 25, 2008

How Many Frames Do You Do in One Week?

On average how many frames do you do in one week, and what is required weekly for feature film, TV production, TV commercial and anything else you know? I have heard TV requires 500 frames a week.

This is a tough question, as every studio handles expectations and quotas differently. Generally speaking, the bigger the budget, the higher the expected quality, which means you get more time to create the animation. At a studio like ILM, there are expectations to perform at a very high level, of course, but we generally don't have any specific quotas. However, as professionals we all know what speed is generally expected, and it's obvious when someone isn't keeping up, so we all work hard to put out as much quality work as possible.

The better studios also boast production departments that work hard to shield the artists as much as possible from the stresses of the overall production. These studios set things up so that 99% of the time, the artist is concerned far more with the quality of the work than they are with the quantity (number of frames) being finished. Of course, this changes a bit as any production at any studio moves into the "home stretch" and the final project deadline starts to approach. At that point, no matter where you work, you definitely start to become more conscious of the deadlines, at least to some degree...

Shots also can vary wildly in how long they take to do. One hundred frames of a character not doing a whole lot might get finished in three days, but those same 100 frames might take a month to animate if it's six giant creatures running around and fighting. Because of this, it's really hard to estimate a weekly frame count.

As for the rest of your question, each studio handles that stuff differently. I've even heard of 800-1000 frames per week at one TV animation studio, which to me is just insane, but I guess they're fine with that level of quality. There is always a tradeoff between speed vs. quality of the animation, so it's up to each studio and production to determine the level of quality they are willing to pay for.

-Shawn :)


ArrggghhhhJOHN said...

I've just finished a tv episode that worked out at 43 secs a week or 1032 frames a week.. Its crazy, especially when 2 shots had like 23 characters.. Yikees...

Gianmichele Mariani said...

Add me to the list. On the previous tv series I've had a quota of 50 secs a week, with a high point og 60/70 secs. Insane, but characters and story also where made for that kind of quota.
The truth is that there's a big lesson I've learned as an animator in that environment. You HAVE to learn how to make even a single pose be just GREAT and work within that pose, and you HAVE to learn to really dissect an idea to its bare soul.

hunz said...

wow, just started subscribing to your feed and I really enjoyed this read .. This week has been crazy busy and we've done about 3000+ frames this week. It's all motion graphics work and I should take note when we do character stuff.

Love the blog,

Sooi Leon Li-Aun said...

I'm a high school student, which means that apart from animating for art projects, I also have to take care of my other subjects like Maths and Economics. Deadlines are brutal (for all subjects). I animated 50-60 seconds a week, to meet my examination's deadlines. Lots and lots of quality sacrificed (but my teachers are fine with that)...

I can't wait to get out of high school and start doing some quality animation.

Cristin McKee said...

I had to animate 30 seconds a week once (and they wanted high quality!) and honestly I think it would be even worse to do more at a much lower quality. That's just too much information to go through in one week. It can't possibly be fulfilling. At that point it really is a job, and nothing more, unless you can manage to save some time to squeeze in higher quality, but at that point perhaps you'd be too drained.

francisco said...

Speed versus quality?
I choose to blindly: "Quality".
The quality keeps you in time and you feeds the spirit.

Anonymous said...

This doesn't actually pertain to this specific post but I had a question I wanted to ask. I know with this blog your not trying to sell animation mentor but my question could also relate to grad school or any other form of extra schooling. I was just wondering if its worth it to do something like animation mentor or grad school following completion of a college level animation course to become even more skilled in animation, or to just go straight into the business and try to get better through experience.

Unknown said...

Hi Shawn,

Could you tell us more about the IPAX collaboration and how it will effect Animation Mentor?

Sandeepan Chanda said...

Hi Shawn,
Honestly this blog has become like a newspaper to me! And its the best one I'll ever read!! I just had a doubt in my mind which I hope you'll help me and maybe others to clarify. Q: How do you approach a shot which has no dialogue; which can only be understood by physical or facial movements? Is it same like proper planning and video referencing? The best example would be 'Geri's Game'. There are so many subtle facial and physical movements that convey what he is thinking.

Anne-Marie said...

I am working on a tv show and we have like 2000-3000 frames to do in about 1 and a half week, that is totally crazy... And sometimes it's a very simple sketch, and other times it's very complicated sketchs, and we have about the same time to do it, and this time is also for the layout!

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