How fast is a new junior animator expected to work? How much would he/she be expected to produce per week?
Junior animators do need to be given time like anyone regardless of experience to get used to a studios pipeline, procedures and rigs. But from a strict animation point of view, I'd say all animators speed are a more or less controlled by the supervisor or animation director. By that I mean they will kick off a shot (describe what needs to happen in the shot) with the animator.
After that the animator blocks the shot and submits for approval in dailies, this could then be approved or sent back for changes....sometimes the animator missed something or misinterpreted what was needed, other times the animation director sees that an idea didn't work as they thought so it just needs a change no fault of the animator at all. Then there are times an animator will do something, it gets approved by the animation director but turned around by the film director....so there are lots of things that can affect how fast a shot moves through the pipes.
After getting blocking approval from the film director, the focus shifts more onto the animators speed to finish a shot. Every day you attend a dailies session where the animation director, or animation supervisor will critique the work to a finer degree, timing, breakdowns, etc., as the animation moved from blocking to temp animation and on to final polished animation. The animators job is to address the fixes pointed out in these dailies sessions, generally if they are small tweaks that can be done by the end of the day depending on what time you have dailies.
Larger fixes can take a day or two... If you have a big change which would usually only happen if there is a direction change from the client or if you are working for a (client) film director who can't judge blocked animation but instead needs to see fully splined animation to make a judgement. It happens.... I've seen it many times.
Guest blogger David Breaux