Which is more costly, 2D or 3D char animation?

Discussion in 'Indie Business' started by Sparkplug.Creations, Apr 1, 2008.

  1. Sparkplug.Creations

    Sparkplug.Creations New Member

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    Hi,

    Can anyone give me insight into which is more expensive ($$$) for game development? Creating 3D character models and animating them or creating 2D characters and hand animating each frame?

    Thanks.
     
  2. Sparks

    Original Member

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    Heyo !

    2D characters dont get animated *each frame*, unless you switch off IK and stuff like that :)
    Actually the animation part is pretty much the same except for differences in rigging low poly vs high poly chars.
    It largely depends on the type of characters, but the modeling part for low poly objects (unless you need normal mapped chars) is less time consuming than for high poly chars.Therefore I would charge more for detailed high poly characters with animation than for low poly chars with animation.
     
  3. luggage

    Moderator Original Member Indie Author

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    I think he meant the difference between modelling up a character, texturing and animating him and then saving out the frames or more traditional animation where each frame is hand drawn.
     
  4. Sparkplug.Creations

    Sparkplug.Creations New Member

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    Yes, I'm talking about Disney style animation vs. Pixar.

    Hand drawn frame by frame vs. using a character animation tool.

    Ignoring quality of the individual work, I'm wondering which method is more costly, which may be due to the required tools (scanning paper drawings vs. maya?) and the time required to create the animation. For hand drawn animation, you need to draw each frame, but in computer animation with maya, you need to model the character, rig the character and then animate. My gut feeling is that computer animation should be more expensive, but it obviously isn't because there's less and less hand draw animation in games.

    Ah, a good example is Dragon's Lair. (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7DwvVMPhW5M&feature=related) Sorry about the Music. I'm assuming it's hand drawn animation though. Isn't it?
     
  5. zoombapup

    Moderator Original Member

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    Both have a lot of helper tools that you can use to speed up the process. So its more a quality/cost issue I think.

    My gut feeling is that 3D is easier and hence cheaper.

    We used a 2D animation package on worms and it had 12,000+ frames of animation, done by one guy. Course it took him a year or so :)
     
  6. papillon

    Indie Author

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    I expect it depends somewhat on exactly what you want done?
     
  7. illuminarc

    illuminarc New Member

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  8. Sparkplug.Creations

    Sparkplug.Creations New Member

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    I want to see a stylized approach to the characters, I don't care about realism, but conveying emotion instead. Short cinematics will feature the characters (humans) mostly talking passionately.

    Does that help?
     
  9. Reactor

    Moderator Original Member Indie Author

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    3D can be much cheaper (there are quite a few budget options available, such as Poser/Daz Studio, some motion capture and Mimic for lip sync) unless you want quality animation, and then you'd better be ready to fork over the big bucks. Proper 3D animation is as hard, if not harder, than traditional 2D drawn animation. It might not take as long in the hands of a skilled animator, but it's no walk in the park.

    But, I guess a lot of that will depend on who you have produce it for you.
     
  10. ionside

    ionside New Member

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    3D animation is more expensive then 2D. Because of the cost of software, and the cost of computers that can run the software and render farms to render the frames. You also need to take into account the extra steps involved, Modeling, Rigging, UV unwrapping and texturing, setting up lighting and shadow passes.
    For character animation, in some instances it can take just as long to animate in 3D as it does in 2D. Although they both follow the same animation rules, there are things you can get away with in 2D animation that you shouldn't do in 3D. I've worked in both the television and games industry for a number of years, and at times I wish I was still animating cells.

    But yeah there are many factors that come into it, the quality of animation needed, and particularly for 3D games you need to make sure the animation looks good in every angle, for 2d it only needs to look good in one.
     
  11. papillon

    Indie Author

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    (note, I am not an artist and can be completely offbase)

    If you're mostly interested in talking heads expressing emotion, you can do well with 2d, probably. Dramatic facial expression and lipflaps are not very difficult for a decent 2d artist, getting good facial animation out of 3d models is hard.

    If you want cinematics with dramatic camera motion, though, setting up a 3d scene and swooping through it is easier than finding someone to draw that. Big crowds in motion are also probably going to need 3d. Even Disney's "animated" movies (later ones obviously) used 3d techniques for both of those needs.
     
  12. Reactor

    Moderator Original Member Indie Author

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    For indie game cinematics a render farm might not be required ;)
     
  13. Spore Man

    Indie Author

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    how long is a piece of string... (yes that tired old analogy, sorry!)

    You can have 2D animation like South Park, or you can have 2D animation that is high-frame count and time consuming. There's no good answer.

    The advantage of 3D though is it tweens much for you and then you can render out as high, or low of a frame count as you want.

    2D could be costly too if you used professional software like ToonBoom
     
  14. Christian

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    It depends on the number of frames you require.

    Image this, you need an animation of a character running, standing, shooting, talking, all of those facing in 8 different directions, and each animations has 32, 16, 20, 20, frames respectively, so that means 704 different hand drawn paintined illustrations, but if you do it in 3d, you just animate the character, and simply change the position of the camera to get the other directions, thus it requires less work, in this case.

    2d is allways better for expression though, its unbeatable in this aspect because it allows you more freedom than 3d where you must build a perfect "arquitecture".
     
  15. Mattias Gustavsson

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    Isn't South Park actually animated in a 3D package? :rolleyes:
     
  16. Sparkplug.Creations

    Sparkplug.Creations New Member

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    Thanks everyone, I've decided to go with 2D animation. I agree with Christian it will depend on the number of frames. That will be something to explore once I find an art director.
     

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