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Animation Tips: 48 FPS for *Lower* Frame Rates

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For many working in animation, we generally limit our choice of frame rate to 1s or 2s depending on what time and budget allow. New Skwigly contributor Simmon Keith Barney offers up some alternative approaches.

When people talk about film shot at twice the frame rate (48, 50, or 60 frames per second), they invariably refer to it as a high frame rate. But that’s not necessarily true. They can actually be used to attain lower frame rates. For hand drawn and stop motion animation, this is great news.

Let’s say your deadline or your budget does not allow for animating on 1s at 24fps. The traditional solution is to animate on 2s at 24fps. That helps you meet your deadline and stay under budget, but it doesn’t have the same look. It’s a common conundrum. And usually people split the difference by using a mixture of 1s and 2s at 24fps. But is there another way?

Animate on 3s at 48fps. As you can see in the table below, it’s smoother than animating on 2s at 24fps, but it requires fewer drawings (2/3rds as many) than animating on 1s at 24fps. It’s the perfect compromise.

Alternately, you could animate on 5s at 48fps. It’s smoother than animating on 3s at 24fps, but it requires fewer drawings (4/5ths as many) than animating on 2s at 24fps. Additionally, it’s possible to animate on 7s at 48fps. It’s smoother than animating on 4s at 24fps, but it requires fewer drawings (6/7ths as many) than animating on 3s at 24fps.

And, of course, you can use any mixture of frame rates you want for your project’s needs. There’s a lot of unexplored nuance available at 48fps and, contrary to popular belief, it does not require animating at a full 48fps (on 1s).

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  • adam taylor

    Nice! I hadn’t thought of it that way and am interested in giving it a try.

  • AdrianaAntenada

    Great! This is really useful, tks!

  • Daniel Leal Werneck

    I would love to WATCH some examples side by side.

  • Joey

    Very thought provoking piece! It seems this approach opens up a lot of options for animators.

  • Thomas Alexander

    What are the technical reasons for which it would be difficult (or not) to post two comparable examples side by side.

  • Sarah Steele

    This is actually amazingly helpful. I’m taking Bill’s class right
    now and I have VERY LITTLE time to animate, so I’m animating on 8’s, but I’m still messing with it . I want to make it look motion comic-y, so
    if you have any ideas, I’d be very open to hearing them. This article
    will come in great use for me!:)

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