Next Blender Studio open movie announced: Pet Projects


Latest production recap blog post has landed.

Looks like they are going to shot it on 2s again, just like Sprite Fright.

Really wish they wouldn’t, most of the time I found Sprite Fright a jerky mess as everything mostly stuttered from one movement to the next.

One could mostly get away with the old cartoons being shot on 2s, but it was flat 2D drawings being shown on interlaced CRT TV’s.

But modern 3D shaded animation on a 4K OLED TV at 120Hz doesn’t work so well when every frame is repeated.


The first animation test is amazing, it it really on 2s ? it looks super smooth and yet very snappy !!
So much level up in every project !!

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Yeah, I’ve tried to somewhat step through that a frame at a time, but the video player has limited options. Even so, I actually don’t think that test animation is shot on 2s, since as you say, its smooth and looks great.

But as per the blog post: “it was decided that most of the animation would be on 2s”, so I think that was decided after the test animation was done.

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The test animation is on 2s. There are subtle smears on just about every frame (look at the way the hand stretches during the walk cycle), not just the big movements, which is why it looks so smooth.

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No it’s not. I was just able to find a away to download the animation and on stepping through it frame-by-frame it is totally shot on 1s.

There are no smears at all, but yes, on a couple of frames the hands are stretched, while for the big jump movements, everything is massively squashed and stretched, but it is all 1s, with no real smear or blur at all.

Guess that is not going to be the case once final animation is done.

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That frame is what is known as a ‘smear frame.’ Smears don’t necessarily have blur, and many in fact don’t.
Like this classic Bugs Bunny smear:

I was wrong about it being entirely 2s, but it’s a mix of 1s and 2s. Frame 49 repeats until frame 51, then pops into a smear at 52, which holds for two frames, then it’s back to 1s (with multiple smear frames until the dog is on the right side of the frame)

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OK, I tended to think of that as more just extreme squash and stretch and I wouldn’t expect old Bugs Bunny to have blur, given it wouldn’t have been all that easy to do back then (without some double exposure, etc and its not like they had the time or budget for all that), compared to now in 3D, where you can check a box and let the renderer do it, or do it in post in the video editor.

Either way, terms aside, the test animation is pretty much all shot on 1s and based on the blog post that is not how the final short is going to be done, it will be on 2s, just like Sprite Fright and as I said, I found that to be rather jerky and stuttering and as such, I wish they wouldn’t do Pet Projects on 2s.

That test animation pretty much just proves how good it can look on 1s, with the odd hold.


Why they decided to animate on 2 ?
Indeed this shot is awesome, I bet there is a good reason to switch to 2 since they obviously know what they are doing …

I have no idea, I guess it’s easier/cheaper/quicker to only animate every second frame.

I guess in the old days of 2D only having to draw every second frame is a huge saving but apart from maybe render time (only have to render half the frames and let the video editor just duplicate them) then for 3D you’d think it’s much less of a deal, since any animation gets auto interpolated across frames anyway.

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Interesting !

Given their movies I’m pretty sure it’s an artistic decision !
My theory is, since they go for a cartoony / slapstick style, having the animation on 2 allows the animation to read better, and therefore allowing more fast paced action.

I agree that in sprite fright this has bothered me , in fact mostly in the first shots where the action was quite slow, like people walking quietly.

But once the action is fast, like people running and do crazy exaggerated stuff I think it works pretty well.

Maybe it was too complicated to have both ?

But that’s just me, could be cool to have insight from a seasoned animator !

2s, when done right, can give an animation a ‘snappier’ feel, and also lets animators really focus on poses. 1s are smoother, but that smoothness can actually feel unnatural, unless the animators are literally keying ever frame instead of interpolating it.

A lot of feature animation, even CG, is usually a mix of 1s and 2s, especially more recently with Dreamworks and Sony really pushing into more stylistic looks for their CG films.


So I thought I’d put that to the test and spent a bit of time randomly looking at a number of scenes throughout each of the following films:

  • The Bad Guys
  • The Sea Beast
  • Luck
  • Sing 2
  • Lightyear
  • Encanto

In every case, everything was shot on 1s, I couldn’t find a single scene with any part on 2s.

I then pulled up a random episode of:

  • Star Wars-The Bad Batch
  • Star Trek Prodigy
  • Arcane
  • 3Below-Tales of Arcadia
  • Blade Runner Black Lotus

All shot on 1s as well. Now sure, I could have missed a little bit of a mix of 1s and 2s, but based on what I just spent some time on looking at, you’re going to be hard pressed to find something that isn’t animated on 1s.

Unless I’m very much mistaken, this, along with the Clone Wars, was animated on 2s. Either way, the definitive example of animating in 2s in 3D is Spider-Verse

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Also all of the Lego movies.

The Dragon Prince on Netflix was also infamously animated on 3s.

Also Arcane absolutely does mix 1s and 2s. Though usually it’s FX on 2s, characters on 1s.

It can often be hard to tell in CG because the camera movements are still on 1s, while the characters are on 2s, so while the character pose might not be changing from one frame to the next, the camera is moving. Also Youtube clips are terrible for checking this stuff, because they’re often re-sampled to different framerates.

Really, googling clips at random is the worst way to check. Whether a shot is on 1s, 2s or 3s comes down to the needs of the shot, and most stuff that’s going to be uploaded are the kind of action shots where 1s are most appropriate. Unless you’re going to frame by frame every CG animated movie from the last ten years, it’s going to be hard to pick them out.

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Just randomly checked a few more episodes, from season 1 and 2 and it’s all 24fps shot on 1s for The Bad Batch.

Like wise, looking over a few episodes over a number of seasons and Clone Wars is also 24fps shot on 1s.

However, I will give you the Spider-Verse, all the character animation on that seems to be on 2s, tho any background/camera movement is all on 1s.

I’m not using Youtube or Google, I’m viewing them all from video files on my hard drive.

Just had a look at all 3, How to Train your Dragon movies, along with the Nine Realms series and all of it is also shot on 1s. Checked Monsters vs Aliens movie, also shot on 1s.

So at this stage, the only one I can find, outside of 2D Anime type stuff, is Spider-Verse, which does in deed have all the character animation on 2s, and of course Sprite Fight and what will be Pet Projects.

16fps would be nice. That’s what I do and it works really well, when complemented with a little motion blur (and/or smears).

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On the subject of 1s vs 2s/3s/4s Doodley just posted this excellent little piece:

(and for the record Puss in Boots 2 100% does shift from 1s to 2s and back all over the place in the opening 10 minutes alone)


I am needing to create a pencil sketch effect for a CGI 3D concept animation and I am finding that 3’s is working best for this. I am so glad that CGI animation is busting out of the always on 1’s orthodoxy.

Back when I first started out in animation and when I worked in traditional hand drawn studios it was always on 2’s. Sometimes it could swtich to 1’s if it was a very fast move but normally this would be accomplished with smears. But nornally in animation a fast move is implied rather than actually fully drawn. So a fast move is normally animated in it’s anticipation and reaction. The actual action being so fast as to be essentially invisible.

We would also use moving holds a lot for fuller animation. That is a held drawing but you make two versions so you have a continual effect of movement in the line. Or it is simply a moving hold. An extreme pose that is inbetweened a bit. Normally the extreme would be relaxed out of. Then snap into the next move.

It was not just an economic issue too. It was generally accepted by almost everyone I think that drawings just looked better on 2’s or less. Animation when not used expressively for VFX and trying to fake reality is expressive art and movement and drawings just have their own way of moving. It is not live action. So a walk cycle on 25 or 24 frames a sec and half a sec each step would be five or six drawings a step rather than eleven or twelve.

Although thinking back to VFX animation for a moment. The work of Ray Harryhausen still stands today. A lot of that is simply I think because it has so much expression and life. That is always timeless. I still prefer his best work to so much modern CGI.

There were very few I remember who though hand drawn animation worked better on 1’s but it was never a majority view. One of the most notable of those who thought animation should always be on 1’s was Richard Williams.