Understanding Frame Rates in 2D Animation (Rough Animator) | Patrick Davidson | Skillshare

Understanding Frame Rates in 2D Animation (Rough Animator)

Patrick Davidson, Expat Animator

Understanding Frame Rates in 2D Animation (Rough Animator)

Patrick Davidson, Expat Animator

Play Speed
  • 0.5x
  • 1x (Normal)
  • 1.25x
  • 1.5x
  • 2x
8 Lessons (36m)
    • 1. Class Trailer

    • 2. Explaining Frame Rates & Frames Per Second

    • 3. 24 fps vs 30 fps

    • 4. Frame Rate Demonstrations

    • 5. Animate with Only 8 Drawings

    • 6. Class Project

    • 7. Class Project Demo

    • 8. Recap

  • --
  • Beginner level
  • Intermediate level
  • Advanced level
  • All levels
  • Beg/Int level
  • Int/Adv level

Community Generated

The level is determined by a majority opinion of students who have reviewed this class. The teacher's recommendation is shown until at least 5 student responses are collected.





About This Class

Have you ever heard an animator say they animated a shot on the twos? Or maybe you have been told to animate your scene on threes? What are these people talking about? This class is going to help you understand this concept within animation. 

This class will teach you how to pick the correct frame rate for your animated project. We will also talk about the differences between 24 frames per second and 30 frames per second, and which one you should choose. We will see a demonstration of dots orbiting at different frame rates. This will help us understand the concept of how using more drawings creates cleaner animation. Understanding this concept will help you decide if you should animate a specific shot on the ones, twos, threes or even fours.

I am recommending this class for Intermediate Level students as the concepts may be a little hard to understand for first time animators. But, even if you are new to animation, you should consider watching this course now. I think the concepts will eventually make more sense after you get more comfortable with animation.

Meet Your Teacher

Teacher Profile Image

Patrick Davidson

Expat Animator


Class Ratings

Expectations Met?
  • Exceeded!
  • Yes
  • Somewhat
  • Not really
Reviews Archive

In October 2018, we updated our review system to improve the way we collect feedback. Below are the reviews written before that update.

Your creative journey starts here.

  • Unlimited access to every class
  • Supportive online creative community
  • Learn offline with Skillshare’s app

Why Join Skillshare?

Take award-winning Skillshare Original Classes

Each class has short lessons, hands-on projects

Your membership supports Skillshare teachers

Learn From Anywhere

Take classes on the go with the Skillshare app. Stream or download to watch on the plane, the subway, or wherever you learn best.



1. Class Trailer: Have you ever heard an animator say they animated a shot on the 2s? Or maybe you've been told to animate you're seeing on threes. What are these people talking about? This class is going to help you understand this animation concept. This class will teach you how to pick the correct frame rate for your animated projects. We will also talk about the differences between 24 frames per second, 30 frames per second, and which one you should choose. We will see a demonstration of dots orbiting at different frame rates. This will help us understand the concept of how using more drawings creates cleaner animation. Understanding this concept will help you decide if you should animate a specific shot on the ones, twos, threes, or even force. For our class project, I'll be helping you create the orbiting dot animation. You will then be able to use the same techniques to animate your own ideas. By the end, you will know how many drawings per second you need to draw for different types of shots. You can learn the concepts of this class by watching the videos. But if you want to try animating the class project, the class requirements are a copy of rough Animator, which is only $5. You can also use another 2D animation software to achieve the same results. You don't even need to have a stylus for this class. If you're not familiar with rough animator, Don't worry, it's only $5 and it's really easy to learn. I am recommending this class for intermediate level students as the concepts maybe a little hard to understand for first-time animators. But even if you are new to animation, you should consider watching this course. Now, I think the concepts will eventually make more sense after you get more comfortable with animation. Hey there, my name is Patrick Davidson, and I'm an ex-pat animator and work mainly in 2D or hand-drawn animation. I started animating over 20 years ago now. And I've learned a lot by trial and error. You can avoid a lot of my errors by learning the animation techniques I actually used to complete my projects. Animated projects like the 100 episode web comedy series, traveling gringos, or my 22-minute short action film trip. These personal projects have helped me find client work, ranging from TV commercials to feature films. We're working alone. Like me. You will need to learn more skills than just animation to get your project completed. Skills like character designs, scripting, storyboards, compositing, editing, audio work, and more. A cave. Teach everything in one class. So I hope you will follow my profile here at skill share. That way you'll get notified when I post new classes. Thanks for joining me today. And now, let's get into this class. 2. Explaining Frame Rates & Frames Per Second: Before we go too much further, patrick asked if I would help explain a few things that might be confusing. The first thing is, let's talk about the difference between frame rates versus frames per second. Frames per second, or sometimes it's abbreviated as FPS. Frame rates are measured in frames per second. There are different frame rates. So make sure that you build your project to the correct frame rate. Some samples of frame rates are 24 frames per second, which will be used in film and movies. 30 frames per second, which is what your smartphone probably records, video app, 25 frames per second. That's the European market. And 60 frames per second and higher, like 120 to 40. Those are used for slow motion. So if you're an American, you either wanna pick between 2430 frames per second frame rates or the speed the images are shown on screen. Don't mix frame rates. This is important. If your project is shot in 24 frames per second, you don't want to build your animation project in 30 frames per second and vice-versa. Something else I want to talk about is quality. Think of quality as the frame size. The frame size is independent of the frame rate. Some samples of frame sizes are 720 p, ten, ADP, and 4K. Now they're smaller and larger frame sizes than these. But these are the ones that will probably be doing the most work with. Well, what's that P after 720? Well, that's when you get into something called p versus I. The P stands for progressive and the AIS stands for interlaced. An example of this is ten ADP versus 1080 i. For us animators, we want to ignore the eye. We don't ever want to work with interlaced. So make sure you're always building your projects with progressive format. Here's an example of what ten ADP looks like. It's 1920 pixels wide by 1080 pixels high. This is the format I used to do most of my animations with. Unless a specific project calls for a different size. If you're working with a client, you wanna make sure you talk with them before you get started on your animation. I hope this clears up a little bit of the terminology involved with setting up your animation project. 3. 24 fps vs 30 fps: If you've ever heard the phrase animate on the 1's or animate on the 2s, or even the 3s or the force. This is what they're talking about. When you are dealing with animation. You have 24 or 30 frames per second of film, or in our case digital. But I wanna kinda explain this so that you can wrap your head around the idea. Most animations and films are 24 frames per second. Certain videos or 30 frames per second. And you probably heard of cameras that can shoot 60 frames or even a 120 frames. And I think there's even 240 frames per second, you get into that higher number. And those are really for slow motion and stuff like that, which there's not a lot of animation that's done in slow motion. It's very tedious and hard to do. So what we want to focus on is either choosing between 24 or 30 frames per second. Ideally, you want 24 frames per second because there's less drawings to build in 1 second of animation. But sometimes you're working with video and that's 30 frames per second. So you need to be animating at 30 frames per second. So it matches up with the footage that you're animating width. Like if you have a video of the person and then you have a little character up here next to him that's animated. Those need to sync up within the frames. But for today's little demonstration, I'm going to work with 24 frames per second. So I go into rough animator here, and you can see my frame rate here is 24 frames per second. Now, just real quick, if I wanted to change that, I would go up to File Change frame rate. And here I could type in 30. And now you'll see we need to add, let's just add a few frames here to get this from 24 to 30. And now you can see here's 1 second appear in my timeline. So before the 1 second was back here. So I'll go ahead and change it back. And you'll see that this 1 second here is gonna move back over here. So let's go to 24, and there it is right here. So you basically have less drawings to do per second with 24. So ideally that's what you want to work with. But sometimes you just have to deal with the frame rate of your project. 4. Frame Rate Demonstrations: So here's a little demonstration of four different animation frame rates. So let's go ahead and these dots are going to basically orbit in a circle here. And so let's go ahead and watch that. And so you can see that the first one is the animation looks kind of jittery or it's not very smooth. And as we go down the line, this one on the right is the smoothest. And why do you think that is? Well, it's using the most frames in that animation. And so if I stop this and I pull up a little diagram here. So this is kind of showing us the actual drawings in each motion path of this animation we've done. And so you can see here on the right, there's 1-2-3, 4-5-6, different drawings to complete that circle. And then as we come over here, there's actually eight drawings for that circle. And over here there's, if we count those up, there's 12. And if we come over here and we count all of these dots, there's 24. So with this information, what would you guess would be animating on the 1's? And here's the answer. So the 1S is over here with the most frames per second. The 2s is about half of the frames. The 3s here are using even less drawings and then the 4s is even less. The point of this diagrams to kind of help you wrap your head around the idea of drawings per second. So if I pull this little layer up, here's, here's some math equations here. So all of these are using 24 frames per second up here, like we talked about. So if we're animated on the ones, we would take 24 frames per second divided by one. And we still get 24 drawings that we have to do. We are animated on the 2S. We take 24 frames per second divided by two, and we get 12 drawings that we need to draw per second. We're animate on the 3s. We divide it by three and we get eight drawings per second that we have to draw it. And if we're animate on the fours, then we're going to get six drawings per second and we need to draw it. So why is this important? Basically, you probably won't want to draw anything less than on the 4s. That's like the least amount of drawings per second that you want to deal with. But you can't get away with it. It's just gonna give you a little more jerky, not as smooth looking animation. But I wouldn't go any further like the 5s or don't go any further than forced. I like to stay within the 2s and the three range. Because literally, if you want to go with the ones, I mean, that's like Disney style high-end animation. And it's the most amount of work where we play this circle again, animating. You'll notice that the 2s and the 1s. They're both relatively smooth. There's not a huge difference in the smoothness of the animation. Obviously the ones looks better, but the tools you can get away with still looking relatively professional. And you're basically doing half the work when you're animated on the 2s. Now if you decide to animate on the 3s, you're gonna need to draw eight drawings per second. And it's going to start to show in the flow of the animation is not going to be quite as smooth. And eight drawings is not half the drawings of 12. That would actually be over here on the fours with the six. So you just have to pick what style you like and how much time you have to animate things if you have all the time and the world didn't go animate on the ones you're going to get the best looking result. But if you're like me and you don't have all the time to animate all day long. You'd pick something, you know, the 3s or the 2s is probably your best range. Again, you can go and animate on the 4's, but the results are a little less than optimal in my opinion. So, but that said, say we want to animate on the threes. Well then that means we need to do eight drawings per second. And let's take another look at what that looks like. So I'm gonna go ahead and keep these up and we'll play the animation one more time. It goes a little time to render. But you can see that on the right, the 1S is very smooth. The 2s looks pretty good to me, but you can see it's a little bit less smooth. The 3s is doing okay and the Floors To me, it doesn't look good at all. I want to go one step further with this and show you what this looks like on your timeline. So my layer one here, you can see there's a drawing for each frame out of our 24 frames here. So this is frame 24. If we go up to layer two, you can see that there's one drawing per two frames. It's holding for two frames here. Again here. One drawing for two frames. So what would your guess be that this would be it's animating on the 2's. So let me just write that in here. And this one is a drawing per frame. So that's animated on the ones. This layer here is one drawing holding for three frames. So again, that's going to be animated on the 3s. And this layer is one drawing holding for four frames. And that's animated on the 4s. So visually, these four layers here give us an idea of how much work is needed for 1 second of animation. And hopefully this can help you make a decision of what you want to animate that. Now, just because say you pick three, let's animate on the 3s for your project. You don't have to animate every shot in threes. If there's an action scene and it calls for smoother motion, you may want to animate that on the ones. Just realize it's going to take you more time to do that shot. And if your animation is long enough and you're planning out scenes ahead of time, you may even want to make a note, let's animate this shot on 2's, or here's an action sequence. Let's animate that on the ones. But what I personally have chosen as I like to animate on the 3s. And the reason is, it's literally a third of the work of animating on the ones. And it's still relatively smooth to get your point across where it still looks like animation. That doesn't mean I have an animated things on the 2s, 1s or even the 4's. But that's kind of the sweet spot for me where I like to animate. 5. Animate with Only 8 Drawings: So what the math out of the way? And now we know what these are called. Let's go ahead and take one more look at it here. And again, you can see the floors doesn't look as good as the ones. And so this is kinda your scale from worst to best, left to right of what the animation is going to look like. And this is just an animation of a dot going around in a circle. But this principle holds for pretty much anything you're gonna do. And so if you're going to animate a walk cycle, if you want that walk cycle to look really smooth and really lifelike, you're going to want to animate on the ones. But here's the trick. You can get away with just eight drawings to create a walk cycle that looks decent. So that would mean you can animate it on the 3s. And if you're animate on the 3's, let's count it up here on our 3s layers 12345678 drawings will get you a full walking loop. And then you could take those eight drawings and loop them and got your little character is doing a, an infinite loop walk cycle. With that in mind, try to break down in animation, especially things that can loop and repeat themselves where bouncing ball bounces over and over and over again. You don't have to animate every single bounce. You animate the bounce once. And then you can loop it or cycle it over and over and over again. And a lot of these things can be done in about eight drawings. Now, the math gets a little different. If we change our frame rate from 24 to 30. And if we were to change it to 60 or even higher, I mean, the numbers just go up and up and up. So to keep your workload light tried to animate on 24 frames per second if you can. And you know, you go from there. 6. Class Project: For your class project, Patrick wants you to create your own frame rate demonstration, like the one used in today's class. You can use the $5 program, rough animator or any 2D animation program you'd like. We will provide this orbit worksheet as a JPEG that you can use to trace your own four layers of animation. Remember, you need one layer for each of the four orbits speeds, or frame rates. Then export a QuickTime movie and upload it to the class project section. Don't forget to label each orbit with ones, twos, threes, fours to let us know how many frames each drawing is holding for. Now, I know this may sound a little confusing. So I talked Patrick into showing you exactly how to complete the assignment using rough animator. So let's go. 7. Class Project Demo: Okay, so let's go ahead and get started. Make sure you've downloaded this orbit worksheet. You're gonna need this, and this is what it looks like. And we're gonna go ahead and just jump into our animation rough animator program. Let's create a new project. I'm gonna make this 24 frames at 1920 by 1080. Okay, I'm gonna zoom out so I can see my canvas. And the first thing that we're gonna do is we're gonna import that worksheet. So I'm just going to grab that off the desktop and need to place it. It's already positioned correctly because it's the right size. So I just clicked off of the board here and it places it down. So I'm gonna go ahead and just call this orbit worksheet. So I know what that is. And now I'm going to drop the opacity of that down to about 25%. Let's go ahead and add a new layer here at MD layer. And this layer is going to be our 4s. So let's go ahead and call it fours. Let's add a new layer. Actually, let's just go ahead and start working on this. So let's go back to orbit worksheet. And we're going to bring this up to 24 frames. And there's our 1 second mark. We'll come back up to the fours. And this is the 4s, remember, so this is what we want to focus on. So let's go ahead and zoom in a little bit on this orbit. And now what I want you to do is grab the brush tool. And if you have a stylus pen, go ahead is a good time to grab it. We're going to make sure we've got black as our color. Actually, you can choose different color if you want. And let's just lay a dot down here that's a little small. I'm gonna try maybe 20 or 15. And let's go 2020 pixels on the brush size. And if I just tap it, it's gonna give me that first frame of animation. And you can see when I do that, I'm going to undo it. You can see it's kind of a gray up here. And it's going to change once I once I lay some art down, it's going to change that to the purple. And that's how you know that it's not a blink frame anymore. There's some artwork on it. So the next thing I wanna do, because I know this is on the force, so I need this drawing that we've just done to lay down for four frames. So we want to go up to our drawing duration and we wanna get that up to four. Now once we've done that, it makes it easier for us to add new frames to this. So what I like to do is come down to our preferences down here. And I'm going to select allow Forward button to add a drawing. And if I turn that on, and I use my keyboard, and I use my right arrow key. And if I hit it one time, it see it created a whole new drawing that's holding for four frames. So this is a timesaver for this, we want to make sure that we have that checked for this project. Now you can see we're on this next frame. There's grey, so there's no drawing on it yet. And our last drawing is gone away. If we turn on onion skinning, you can kind of see it bringing back up little bit. I don't really care about. I mean skinny right now we're just going to go ahead and draw a dot on that next frame. And then again, so this is, we're gonna repeat this process of lambda times. So I'm gonna hit my right arrow key. That's going to create one new drawing. It's holding for four frames. And I'm gonna put my dot down. I'm just going to repeat this. Right arrow key dot, right arrow key, right arrow key dot. And there we have now drawn all of the drawings for this orbit, for this layer on the force. So let's repeat this process for the remainder of the orbits. So we're going to go up to modify layer. We're going to add a empty layer. And we're going to name this 3s because this is animating on the 3s. And then I'm going to take the drawing duration m and add two frames to it. So it holds for three frames. So there's one drawing is holding for three frames. And now I can draw my first dot. And I use my right arrow key. And now we've got another three frames added. And I will do the second drawing. Arrow, right arrow key. Third drawing, right arrow key, next drawing. And I'm just repeating this process a few more times here. And this will be our last drawing and laid down that dot. And you can see it gets us to the end of our 1 second. So let's go ahead and repeat that again for the third orbit. So we're going to add an empty layer. I'm going to call this 2s. This will be animating on the 2's. Let's hold that for two frames here. And let's go ahead and draw our first drawing. So there's that right arrow key dot, right arrow key at a dot, right arrow key at a dot. And I'm just going to try and quickly go through this because it's repetitive. But it's fairly quickly that we're able to do this, especially with that right arrow key creating the new frames for us pretty, pretty easily. And there we go. So after 12 drawings, it gets us to the end of the 1 second. So let's go ahead and add another layer. This will be animating on the 1's, so tight lets name that. And now this one, we're not going to add any frames here. We're just going to keep it one frame. So every time I hit that right arrow key, it's just adding one frame. So I'm going to undo those. Okay, now let's bring this more to the center. And you can see if we count these up, there's 24 dots here in this orbit, so there's 24 drawings in this second. So let's just go ahead and start laying these down. Right arrow key creates our next drawing. And right arrow key. And we're just going to keep doing this until we've created every drawing in this cycle. So I'm going to kind of go through this as quickly as I can. And, and usually you're not going to be drawing a dot. You're going to be drawing each one of these dots represents a drawing that you would be doing, whether it would be a walk cycle or a ball bouncing or whatever you're animating that give each dot as a drawing. And there we've hit 24 frames. So this sets it up pretty much how it looked like when I had created, when I was showing you the class. So we've got our four layers. We've got our little reference layer at the bottom. I'm gonna go ahead and zoom out so we can see the whole canvas. And the last thing that we need to do is we need to create a new layer. So I'm going to do at a empty layer here, and I'm going to name this names. And this is where we're going to write the names of what the, each orbit is. So let's go just grab a different color here. And I'm going to take my brush tool and just right on top of these what they are. So I know that this first orbit is animating on the 4s. So I'm just going to write down fours right above it. The next layer is animate on the 3s. And if you want, you can just maybe write the number twos or something. But I'm going to write these out. 2s and the 1s. And this is, this is just four. I can see that you know which one is which here. The last thing I need to do is we need to need to extend this out a full 24 frames. I'm just gonna go ahead and type that in there. So now when we go to animate this, actually let's do one more thing. Let's bring the orbit worksheet opacity down to 0. So we don't see our reference anymore. And now let's go ahead and save our file, File. Save. And you can just type homework or your name or whatever you want. Save it to the desktop. Okay, now we're ready to go ahead and play it. So let's hit play. And you can see once it gets rendered there, there we go. You can see the speeds there. They're all moving at the same speed. Actually, they're orbiting in the same time. But there's different jerkiness to the animation depending on how many frames are actually drawn. So that's the assignment. So the last thing we need to do is just export this as our quicktime movie. So File Export QuickTime video, give it a name, save it to the desktop and save it out. Now, this is only going to show us one revolution. And let's go ahead and play that. And there we go. So what you may wanna do, this is good enough for the homework assignment, but what you may want to do is we want to go one step further. And let's loop all of these so that they are orbiting a few times. So let's go ahead and the way that we're gonna do that is we're gonna take the last, let's start with the 4's here. So we're gonna take the last image and we're going to add a drawing, and then we're going to add after. And if you're familiar with making cycles, this is the, this is what we're doing. I'm just going to walk you through it real quick. Once we're on this, then we click Make cycle. You can see it's grabbing all 24 frames with this green line here, but we need to extend this out. And so as I add frames to this, you can see it's, it's elongating towards the right. So if Rs 1 second is 24 frames, if I had another 24 in here. Let's back this out a little bit there. Now that's giving us 48 frames, which is two full seconds of animation. Now, let's go ahead and make this go for like ten seconds. So 24 times ten would be 240. So let's try that. And we'll pull our timeline horizontal zoom down and we should see, actually I forgot the minus the original 24. So we've went 11 seconds. So let's go ahead and minus 24 would be 216, which is minus the original 24. And that should give us right at the 10 second mark there, zoom in. So this is second 8 second 910 seconds. So we just want to do that same process for the remaining three layers here. And that's going to give us ten seconds of animation in our QuickTime video that we're going to output, we're going to select the final frame of the layer. We're going to click add drawing at after. And now we come up and we click Make cycle. Now you see how it's not grabbing these first two with the green here. So we need to come down here to our Tool Options. And we need to add, make the six, we need to make that eight. And you can see that now it's grabbing all of those and that's what we need. So we come back up here and so you got 216 again. Okay, so that 216 number should get us there for the rest of these. So next layer and after and make cycle. Now again z, it is not grabbing these first four, so we need to, but we went too far. Go back to 12. And now let's switch this to 216 right here. And bam, that gets us right to ten seconds. And let's do one more time here. I meant to zoom in just a little bit. That one, let's add a drawing after. Let's hit makes cycle. And again, we need to pull this back from 12 to actually 24. And that's going to grab every previous frame for our new cycle. And I come up here in 216, should get us to the end. Pull out just a little bit. There we go. Now the only other thing left to do is we want to make sure that we get our names up here. And we want to stretch that out all the way to ten seconds. So that holds during the whole animation, and that should do it. So let's go ahead and save that real quick, save our work. And now if we export this as a QuickTime video, give it a name, save it to the desktop. That should be a 10 second file, a QuickTime video. Now you don't have to make yours ten seconds. You can make it 1 second or three seconds or however many of these cycles that you want it to last for. So I'm gonna go and speed this up here and we'll take a look at this when it's done. Okay, let's go ahead and hide rough animator. And we'll take a look at our new 10-second clip of our frame rates. So there you go. And, you know, if you're looking at this, let's play it one more time here. You can obviously see that the 1s is a lot smoother as it orbits around, especially then the 4s. That's the worst of these. So this is kind of progressively going from worst to best as we go from left to write down the scale of 4s, 3s, 2s, and 1s. So hopefully this helps. This is your homework assignment if you want to do it and don't forget to upload it to the projects section of skill share. And I'll be happy to take a look at what you've done. So hopefully this helps you get a better idea of frame rates in animation. Which frame rates you might want to use for your project. And now you understand when somebody says, oh, I'm animating on the threes, well, now you know that exactly what that means. So hopefully you can take this information into your next animation and make a wise choice as to how much work you're going to actually give yourself before you actually start animating. So I hope that helps. 8. Recap: Congratulations on completing this skill share class, but we're not done quite yet. Let's recap what we've just learned. Today. We learned how to choose the correct frame rate for our animation projects. We learned the difference between 2430 frames per second and the 24 frames per second is easier to animate with. We also learned that sometimes we have to animate to the frame rate of a specific project. Like if we need to sync up animation with live action, for example. We also talked about how the more drawings you have in 1 second of animation, regardless of the frame rate, the smoother the animation will look. In creating or class project, we learned how to set up a shot with the correct frame rate, whether it be animating on the ones twos, threes, or even fours. We also talked about why you probably don't want to animate anything less than on the force. And as a good tip, we learned that a lot of animation can be achieved by animating with only eight drawings. Things like walk cycles and bouncing balls. Remember, if we are drawing eight drawings per second, that is called animating on the threes. Remember to post your work to your project section of this class. I will do my best to check all the projects that come through and give my feedback. Please follow my profile here on skill share as I have plans to create more classes. And thank you for taking my class today. I hope you are able to learn something valuable that had been uttered, Davidson, the ex-pat animator. See you next time.