25 fps but not smooth like Hollywood

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  02 February 2013
25 fps but not smooth like Hollywood

Every time I see animation from professional studios like Pixar, Dreamworks and all the other great ones, one thing strikes me as being significantly different from what I am doing: the perceived smoothness of the animation.
Although I use 25 fps, best settings for sampling (unified latest) and motion blur applied to it in the end, it's still not smooth in the sense these Hollywood animations are. It appears jittery, noisy, unrelaxed to the eye, if that's a way to describe it. I have tried different encoders, formats like Mov, avi in H.264 and what have you. To no avail.

I just tried to render at 50 fps, which actually gets me much closer to this relaxed smoothness that I'm missing. Now it starts to look like Hollywood, only my computer probably won't deliver it consistently. But I have never heard about anyone rendering 50 fps.

Am I missing something? Is it something you obtain in post, some interpolation trick you can do in Nuke fx.?

3DS Max + Nuke user
  02 February 2013
well, a sample would help.
[Invivo Animation Reel]
  02 February 2013
Are you rendering final movie straight out of a 3D program, or rendering first as AVI to a video editing program?
I like to learn.
  02 February 2013
It's not just a case of frame rate or any other technical factor, it's about having good animation skills and understanding the principles that make animation look smooth, like good spacing, timing etc etc. The animators at places like Pixar and DW are among the best in the world so it's not easy to match their quality. Study animation as an artform rather than the technical stuff and this will soon make more sense.

  02 February 2013
Yeah I'm curious if it's the framerate you're responding to or the animation itself.

  02 February 2013
I do very much like the phrase "smooth like hollywood" though.
This should take less than a few minutes.
  02 February 2013
The thing I guess I'm talking about what makes a truly smooth moving animation.
I have uploaded 2 examples at 25 fps and 50 fps, a very basic animation to focus entirely on how smooth it is perceived. I know the quality of an animation is a sum of many many things.

I normally render to single frames and composite them in Nuke, then create a mov or new single frames to be assembled in Premiere. The two examples are straight out of 3DS Max in avi. No matter how I do it, the jittering or un-rulyness of the animations is the same.

The 50 fps is clearly better than the 25 fps version, although the 50 fps may not play as stable, but in terms of smoothness it's closer to Pixar (only in terms of smoothness of course!!)

Take a look and tell me what you think ...

25fps and 50fps
  02 February 2013
Motion Blur?

Where is the motion blur?
  02 February 2013
The lack of motion blur in the 25 fps version is what's giving it the jittery look. Try rendering it with motion blur turned on and then having a look it should appear smooth.

  02 February 2013
So, I think there's several things you may not be taking into account. (Taking the actual art of the animation out of the equation)

Looks like you're not using any motion blur on those tests.

Your resolution looks small, some of the finished renders you see on the big screen come out at 2k or even 4k.

You have some aliasing going on which doesn't help.

The test you did has a bright red object on a black background, there's a lot of contrast between the two when the red thing moves.

Then on top of all this you should be looking at your finished results as uncompressed images. From there you should be judging the quality.

No matter what you do by compressing that test to show us on the internet it's going to degrade a bit.
  02 February 2013
Hi Delubucus
You are right, there is no motion blur applied to either example. To begin with I thought that could solve the problem - it can't, any jittering will come through though less apparent.

I don't see what a small resolution would have to say? The jittering is there no matter what size. For hardware reasons, I do not render animation frames more than 1K, I blow it up it Nuke with TVIscale, not perfect but ok once the viewer is a meter away from the screen.

The antialiasing is not good, I know, but it's not what causes the problem - I do not have antialiasing problems normally, as I do not use .avi, which in this case makes it look bad.
Aliasing aside, the 50 fps is still much better.

The thing is, I'm now capable of creating very nice individual frames, beautifully antialised, no GI flickering or glossy surfaces noise, but once assembled to the final animation, something is going on - I don't have a rock solid clean movement in the animation.
It is like the frames are spaced too far, like I break a rule of how much frames should differ at 25 fps. It's visible at slow movement and very visible when things move fast. I feel I can almost count the frames.
  02 February 2013
When I was doing an animation one time it looked like stop motion even though I had motion blur. Turned out the tangents werent set to spline (I dont know what it is called in 3d max).

Made a big difference.
  02 February 2013
Render with 3d moblur. Thats it, thanks.
My vimeo clips
  02 February 2013
To get a filmic look, you need 24fps (or 25fps is probably close enough) with a 180 degree shutter angle.

Since most 3D applications represent motion blur in intergers instead of shutter angle, the equivalent would be a 0.5 motion blur setting. If your program does motion blur in percentage, then use 50%. So for film, it is shot at 24fps, with a 180 degree shutter, or 1/48th shutter speed. That is how you get the film look.
Daniel Broadway 2013 Compositor Reel

Vimeo Videos
Daniel Broadway

  02 February 2013
With focus entirely on the perceived smoothness of an animation, I just created two better versions of the same (ugly) animation. Based on exr's and with motion blur added in Nuke. The difference is quite apparent, the 25 fps version disturbs the eye whereas the 50 fps version is much more pleasing - just like the animations from the great studios, again I'm only talking sheer motion - how things move on the screen in a relaxed manner.

You can create everso pleasing frames with all the best sampling, texturing etc, but in the end it's overruled by a disturbing frame-by-frame play.

Looking at videos on the internet I now realise this is a common issue. Motionwise animations fall in two categories: those that play like a lot of frames right after each other and those that play like a plasma of moving pixels (Pixar, DW etc.)

I don't know if I'm making myself clear or just talking nonsense, I don't know how else to describe it, but I find it really interesting.

Here are my two examples in 25fps and 50fps, I think you need to download and play them locally, they don't play well in the browser, at least not mine.

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