Anime is quite different from its counterpart in America. For example American animation usually uses 24 FPS for the entire animation. Avatar: The Last Airbender is an example of that. It has very fluid and consistent animation throughout the series. They also had a 2 million dollar budget compared to a usual 200-300,000 per Episode budget of an anime series if that. I’ve seen much lower.
With such low budgets there is a need to take some short cuts to animation while still making it look good enough to watch and in most cases still look beautiful.
A few years back I found this great cheat sheet breakdown over at Celshader.com. I love that site. Check out these awesome anime cheats that you could use in your next video.
Here are some essentials, some check boxes and some tricks to keeping your anime awesome but your animation time lower.
Essentials (present throughout the entire animation. DO NOT skimp on these)
- Story — the foundation of your animation. If this fails, it all falls apart.
- Direction — a good director can wring more out of less, in my opinion.
- Storyboards — because good storyboards save you $$$.
- Art Direction — present throughout the entire piece.
- Character Designs — make those held cels works of art.
Next Level (try to make these as high-quality as possible)
- Color Design
- Voice Acting — carrying the weight of the character’s emotions.
- Music — film-quality music lends a cinematic feel to the animation.
- Sound FX
- Backgrounds — the more detail, the more “expensive” it looks.
Scene Level (reducing the amount of total character animation work)
- Convey Complex Actions Off-Screen — using editing and sound FX
- Reduce the Number of Characters On-Screen
- Reduce the Amount of Character Interaction
- Intercut Complex Character Animation with Simpler Shots
Shot Level (aka: “If It Moves, It Can’t Possibly Be A Comics Panel!”)
- Camera Moves
- Rack Focus
- Background Animation — ’cause you got to animate something…
- Life Cycles — minor animations that dress up a “held cel.”
- Light FX — easier than character animation
- Specular Animation
- Cutting Animation with Held Cels — stretching your animation dollar.
- Hide-the-Mouth — to cut down on the amount of lip-synch work
- Hide-the-Feet — eliminate “foot slide” with creative cropping
- Held Cels
- Strong Poses and Facial Expressions
- High Illustration Quality — don’t let it look “cheap.”
- Glow — a relatively inexpensive enhancement.