Saturday, August 13, 2011

24 Frames Per Second Vs 30 Frames Per Second

As the old saying goes: Timing is Everything! Without the ability to refine and be precise, an animator cannot do his/her best work. 

The following is a portion of a scene from one of my studio's in-house promotions for our Go Go Gorillas Fun Center. It shows two characters (Hank the Spider Monkey and Libya, one of our Avenging Apes of Africa) keeping time to a musical beat.

video

I prefer animating my scenes using the rate of 24 frames per second. I know that there are many higher rates of speed that give crisper images, etc. That's fine for live action. But for animation, 24 fps gives me the best option for timing. Also, I don't have to create more drawings to be projected.

(The following is a little complicated. Ask me questions if I confuse you.)

In regards to timing: 24 fps allows me to work with 12 beats per second (2 frames per beat), 8 beats per second (3 frames per beat), 6 beats per second (4 frames per beat), 4 beats per second (6 frames per beat), 3 beats per second (8 frames per beat), 2 beats per second (12 frames per beat), 1 beat per second (24 frames per beat). These all work perfectly with a metronome.


All of the commonly used beats (4, 3, 2, & 1 per second) can be exposed 2 frames per drawing.

However, if 30 fps is used, then you have to create as many as 6 more drawings per second of film. And the beats are not as musically based. So, that means animating a dance sequence would be extremely difficult.

30 fps works out to: 15 beats per second (2 frames per beat), 10 beats per second (3 frames per beat), 6 beats per second (5 frames per beat), 5 beats per second (6 frames per beat), 3 beats per second (10 frames per beat), 2 beats per second (15 frames per beat), 1 beat per second (30 frames per beat).

Note there is no way to have an even 4 beats per second rate using 30 fps. 4 beats a second is the most common way to do a fast run cycle that conveys weight to a character. It's not the only way, but it is the usual way.

Also note that:
1) the commonly used beats of the 30 fps rate (6, 5, 3, & 2 per second) can not be animated solely with 2 frame exposures per drawing;
2) an up and down beat would necessitate an odd number of exposures going in one direction or the other.

This is hard to visualize, so I suggest using a simple bouncing ball animation to experiment and see for yourself. Again, I welcome your questions.

8 comments:

  1. 30 FPS is video transfer rate. It's not necessary to animate at 30 FPS if you are using NTSC (that is probably the only good thing about NTSC.) Now that video is dead, DVDS work the same way. Europe used 25 FPS for the PAL system.

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  2. Yes, you are right... but many young people learning animation don't know that, and so get confused by the ability to set the rate on their animation programs.

    I'm just explaining the difference and the benefits of 24fps.

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  3. Speaking as a film score composer, having those beats work out evenly within a second makes life much easier. 120 bpm, for instance, a very common tempo, fits perfectly on the 12 walking beats per second and various divisions of that concept, like 60 bpm, 72 bpm, 96 bpm, etc.

    (Animation is much easier to write music for, BTW, if it's timed well... live action is a bit more difficult!)

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  4. Oh my goddness, John, thank you so much for this. I've been trying to explain it to my students and you made it so simple.

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  5. Nice way to explain it John, I am passing this on to my students.
    Thank you!!!

    Troy Gustafson
    Professor of Animation
    Savannah College of Art & Design (SCAD)

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  6. Lee & Troy:
    I'm very glad to be of help.

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  7. Hi John:

    I was googling this issue about 24fps vs 30fps. The question I have is that I am making an animation commission that last approx. 11 minutes (my first work BTW :D ). Therefore, since I am not a student (lols), is it still good to use 24fps for my freelance project? Thanks!

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  8. Yes, Evelyn. 24fps is perfect for your freelance project.

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