Animation : A newbie question by Andrew Bruce Lockhart

Andrew Bruce Lockhart

A newbie question

Budget budget budget... I've starred writing an idea for a script that I'm beginning to wonder if animation might be the way to go for all of it, or just some of it. If we are taking low budget. . Is it in reality more costly to find somone to animate something or to find locations, transport crew and so forth To film it in real world? Any thoughts v gratefully received.

Rick James

Without knowing what your genre is or what it's about, I'd say let your budget dictate your course of action. My entire project was supposed to be live action with CGI and EFX, until I realized the budget was more than I was going to raise. So I studied game making and CGI animation and jumped into it. Two years later I'm producing my screenplay as a 3D computer animation, because that fit into my budget. I posted it here as "Still working in post". Episode 2 will be live background and CGI mixed, a little bit more complex, but I am a director/filmmaker and I have my own production and post equipment. Speaking of equipment, "it ain't cheap" you'll need a really fast rig with a lot of baking power. For 3D animated graphics, I bought an Alienware PC custom built, 16 processors, 64GB ram and dual GForce graphics cards, $3200. Cinematic cameras, motion capture cameras, sound, lighting and software extra. Equipment budget total: $15,000. However, you didn't give much detail about your project so depending how many pages the script is and which method you use (ie., live action, drawn animation, CGI, drawn and CGI, drawn and live action or CGI and live action) and your budget, these are your options. Understand, you don't have to go 3D, 2D is also good and cheaper to produce, most rigs can handle it, you'll just have to upgrade your video card. I think to answer your question, do a budget for live action and do another with some of the choices I mentioned and compare, that should give you your answer. One more thing about animation projects, back up everything on separate drives often, drives and software have a habit of crashing and taking your work with them. This is project 4.0, after two crashes on my old computer and lost files after transferring to the new rig, I had to start over from scratch and lost 6 months of work. Animation work is very detailed, complex and it requires your total concentration and devotion. If you're not ready for this kind of commitment, perhaps you might consider another way. I hope this helps, your comments are always welcome.

Laurie Ashbourne

In general, animation is more expensive. Those differences are shrinking -- but slowly.

Andrew Bruce Lockhart

thanks Ric/Laurie - interesting points - v helpful and good point re backups Ric! Not quite sure I have the skills to draw - though it is v tempting! It would be 2D animtion... about 3 x 1 minute bits...I want to use it to do two things really - to cover 3 scenes thats are going to be hard to film in real world, and to add a dimension to the film that re-enforces an illusion/fantasy.. if that makes any sense!? Anyway - not giving up yet! Thanks again for the thoughts. A

Edith Woi

I was asking the same question about my short film script. I think I am going to have to really get into the directing business!

Laurie Ashbourne

Are you producing the film yourself? If you are, do some research and you may be able to find a small house that can do a few scenes as you've described. If not and it's just how you are envisioning the script -- don't fret over it and just make the story the best it can be. In other words, you don't need to describe in your script the animation direction, just write the scene to portray the world as you envision it.

Andrew Bruce Lockhart

Laurie, I think for this one i am going to stick to writing and directing. though we shall see. Not got the script fully written yet. Sound like a plan re looking for a small house I have to remind myself I am not Disney! :-) Good idea re the portray the world bit I like the idea of that... makes it easier to plan how the scenes will drive the film/character etc. Thanks v much again.

Rick James

No problem Andrew. I think your ideas are pretty interesting. I also think mixing real and fantasy is a great way to go. Have you seen the TV show called Gumball? You can see it by going to http://www.cartoonnetwork.com/ they use animation inside the real world. Keep it up and follow your dreams.

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