Blender or Adobe for a short (1-3 Min) school animation?

Hey Guys!

For a school project I would like to create serveral short movies (1-3 minuts each) showing how a user might use our product through the day (so from 7 to 24).

I would like to do this in an animated 2.5D style. For example (of the style) see :

I have researched the ways other people have archieved this effect and I found serveral resources to help me. I also found out that animation is made in Blender.

My question to you guys is how though would it be to do this with Blender?

I have free acces to the Adobe suite through my college, I’m quite limited in time so although I wouldn’t mind spending 120+ hours at it (we have planned 3 full weeks for creating the movies) it’s really important for us to go with the software that has the best learning curve.

As far as I understand it, I would have to intergrate Adobe Flash and Premiere/After Effects to create the animation in this style. Would it be quicker to do (most of) the animation in Blender?

I’m already proficient with GIMP/Photoshop and I can do a few things with Flash and Inktscape/Illustrator.

I have also used blender in the past so I’m not completly unfamiliar with the interface however I have zero experience with making animations (although I’m familiar with the whole concept of different keyframes, layers, etc).

So in short ;

  • Would Blender be a good choice for this type of animation?
  • Would the Adobe suite be a better choice?
  • How long would it take to create an animation like that?

Any tips and recommendations on where to start would be very welcome! I would love a good book or DVD-serie that pointed in the right direction but most seems to be centered on modeling.

Thanks in advance!

The blender animation is this one.

I’m unfortunately limited in the amount of URL’s I can post.

With the risk of being captured, put on trial & shot for treason, hehe - I’d use After Effects for that, especially if knowing Photoshop but not Blender, it will just be such a simple transition. Doing it in Blender will be a lot of work in comparison. But it absolutely could be done in Blender, no doubt about that, but trickier.

Of course it can be done (and quickly) with Blender though you will still need to lean your way around Blender to pull it off. There is no auto-everything button like I’ve seen in other apps (e.g. instantly create a 3D shape from a couple of photos as requested by someone emailing me a while back… Blender is simply more hands on that that). Are there any Blender users you could talk to directly who might be able to directly speed-start your learning?

Could you explain a bit more what advantages After Effects would bring? Less work sounds awesome but in what area’s would that mostly be?

I like the part about it being done quickly :slight_smile:

Unfortanley no, altough Blender is well suported in the Netherlands I don’t have acces to someone with experience but I have no acces to someone with experience with After Effects either.

So the quality of documentation would be very important to me.

what advantages After Effects would bring?
In After Effects you can setup a simple expression to a slider and link it directly to a font object to create animated numbers.

The incrementing numbers are what will stump you in Blender. Blender can not animate string values. So you will be forced to use python coding to achieve that unless you want to hand animate every single font change for every single statistic.

So if animated font values are a requirement, you would be hard pressed as a beginner to achieve this in Blender.

After Effects motion blur is better than Blender internals. Using Blender you could not get motion blur on the numbers when they change. Vector blur only looks at the positional change between frames, not the geometrical change. In After Effects you will not have this problem.

Thank you for your input!

So no animated numbers :(, in my animation I was hoping to use them mostly for the time (e.g go from 7 AM to 9 AM, animated) but that could be skipped.

Right now I’m leaning towards Adobe After effects but I still find it hard to gouge exactly how much more time this animation would take in Blender.

I really love the camera/object tracking stuff in Blender and in the future I would like to integrate that in movies for further projects. So I figured that I could use this project to get familiar with Blender and build on the skills in a later stage.
I feel that the general consensus is that doing this animation in After Effects would be a lot easier?

The numeral change effect can be done in Blender using the Compositor but it is not a trivial process and requires a fair depth of knowledge of that module.

To be frank, I think the goal of “serveral short movies (1-3 minuts each)” in three weeks is extremely ambitious and perhaps a bigger bite than you know, especially if you have only a smattering of experience doing animation. In this case, it would be a much better decision to go with the app that presents for you the shallowest learning curve, apart from any specific app capabilities. As has been mentioned, either Blender or AE can be used for what you plan. But if you’re facing a deadline while struggling to find the right tools or processes to use, it will become very difficult to be productive. You won’t want to head down any blind alleys in terms of how you choose to approach the subject.

It is always difficult to judge how much time a project will eventually take, even for those very familiar with the tools and processes. I suggest you make your best estimate and then double it. I’m serious. This will give you a more realistic time frame within which you can not only do the work, but also solve the problems that inevitably arise. This is particularly true if you have not done any projects like this before. The end product rarely reflects the actual hours involved.

Since you have little time and experience creating this type of animation, I would use the tool that is most efficient, which in this case would be Anime Studio Pro ( It was developed with this type of animation in mind (and includes very easy to setup IK armatures for 2d “cut out” characters), a 2.5d camera, and more.

On the other hand, check out Albinal’s 2d animation work done for TV:

If I had to choose between Blender and After Effects, I would go with Blender in this instance for the grunt work, and After Effects for the compositing/effects, but only because I feel equally comfortable with both.

And yes, I agree wholeheartedly with Chipmasque: double, if not triple, your time estimates.

Well, AE is kinda like Photoshop with a timeline & keyframable values, so if you know PS you’re halfway there in terms of what to learn. Also, the layer on layer type workflow, mixing 2D and 3D layers with easy control over the 2.5D depth makes it perfect for motion graphics - which kinda is the idea with AE. It is as much a motions graphics app as a compositing app.

But I stress, you can do what you want to do with Blender, no doubt about it, the question is if it’s the right choice and in this case I don’t think it is. :frowning:

Or do both. Create your animated number/strings as image sequences in After Effects then use them as image maps on planes in Blender.

I agree with your camera comment. I like the way Blender’s camera moves way better than After Effects.

Thanks for all the comments!

I’ll definitely be looking at both applications, if everything is possible in both applications I guess I’m just going to go with the application that I prefer.

So far I would love to learn Blender because of all the possibilities but I really like Farmfield comments about After Effects being comparable (well, the interface) to Photoshop. I’ll take a day to have a good look at both applications (and I’ll be sure to check out Anime Studio Pro but I don’t like the pricetag) and then I’ll make my choice and order a good book :slight_smile:

I’ll be sure to make more time in the planning for creating these movies!