Is Anime Still Made Frame By Frame?

You might have noticed that there are animes that do not look like the traditional hand-drawn animes. Does this mean that they were made differently? Even if there are scenes that were drawn, is anime still made frame by frame?

The majority of animes are made frame by frame. In fact, it is rare to have an anime that is not made by frame. The only other type of anime that is not made by frame is stop motion anime. Even those animes that use 3D and CGI are still made by frame.

Did this answer surprise you? You can just imagine the numerous drawings as well as the individual frames that need to be processed manually and digitally. To find out more about the hard work behind your favorite anime, just keep on reading!

Most Anime Are Made Frame By Frame

Most, if not all anime are made frame by frame. This simply means that an image is shown that is part of a sequence of other images. This method of animation makes use of pictures and time at a certain point of view to create an illusion of movement.

Frames that complete a sequence and are played in a row are what we know as animation. In short, the animes that we watch are just a huge collection of images that are projected fast enough that our brain registers it as a fluid motion.

This video illustrates what frame by frame animation is. In order to make someone walk, you need to have multiple frames which can be shown in 1-3 seconds depending on the sequence.

Frame-by-frame animation is also called traditional animation as it makes up a lengthy animation process. Some of the processes are storyboarding, key animation, in-betweening, composting, etc.

If you want to learn more about the animation process, you can read about it here. We also discussed how hand-drawn techniques are mixed with digital media.

Keep in mind that at least in the anime industry, the only other type of animation that they use besides frame by frame is stop motion anime. This is where inanimate objects are moved in increments to simulate movement.

Some examples of animes that used stop motion animation are, Rilakkuma and Kaoru, My Little Goat,, Working Boys, and others.

This one is Rilakkuma and Kaoru. As you may notice, a stop animation anime looks different than the traditional frame-by-frame animation. The characters in stop motion look more real and it is because they made use of real character models.

Let us take a look at some of the popular animes that were made by frame. We enlisted the help of Koji Hirawa who is a Storyboarding Editor of a major anime production house.

We asked if he can give us an estimate of how many frames per second were used in that specific anime.

Keep in mind, the frame rate also depends on the technique and directorial choices of the production house. Some stick to the standard frame rate, while others really want a play-by-play, thus a lot of frames are dedicated to in-betweens.

Komi Can’t CommunicateDue to its traditional anime style, it follows the 24-30 frames per second standard.
Jujutsu Kaisen24 frames per second.
Tokyo RevengersKoji-san thinks that the anime itself is 30 frames per second, but its opening sequence can be 60 frames per second.
Violet EvergardenIt has a cinematic and dynamic style as well as a focus on movement so it is 50-60 frames per second.
Attack On TitanIt varies from 20-30 frames per second to 60 frames per second.
NarutoNormal scenes without a lot of jumping and running are 24 frames per second. While those with a lot of up and down motions are 30-40 frames per second.
Death Note24 frames per second with a lot of frames for Key Animation.
Love Is War24-30 frames per second. Koji-san also noted that it is possible that in some scenes, there are only 20-22 frames.
HorimiyaEven if it looks like a lot of frames, it is still 24 frames per second. The key animation and in-between are just closely-knit.
One PieceKoji-san recalled that One Piece animators declared their frame rates and it is 29.97-31 frames per second. The uneven number may be a result of the quirky anime style.

How Many Frames Per Second Is Anime?

The standard that is followed by most anime production houses is 24 frames per second. Also, they shoot these frames by 2 or 3. Therefore, 24 frames per second that were shot by 2, have 12 drawings.

We know that it can be a bit confusing, as suddenly we are doing the math here, but the most important thing to remember is the more frames are reflected per second, and the more shots are used by frame, the result will be more realistic and clearer movement.

Koji-san noted that nowadays, production houses strive to have striking visuals that also have dynamic shots which results in a higher frame rate and more drawings.

The problem with this is that it puts a lot of extra work on Key Animation which already has a lot of work on its plate.

For example, for 24 frames per second walking sequence, there can be 4 or 5 Key Animations and the rest will be In-betweens. When the frame rate is 60 per second, the Key Animation is increased to 11-15 drawings that have varying positions.

In this way, the In-betweens have a lot of leeway in terms of creating the succeeding frames as there is a lot of different movements. This is not only hard but extremely time-consuming.

If you want to learn how all of these come together digitally, you can read this article.

How Many Frames Are In An Anime Episode?

Most animes have a 23-24 minute run-time. If a certain anime follows the standard 24 frames per second rate, then a 24-minute anime has 34,560 frames. If it was shot in 2 frames, then there are 17,280 drawings per frame.

Here is an example of how a frame looks like (Source)

Keep in mind that this computation is only valid if the anime runs in 24 frames per second rate uniformly. With the trend of animes now that have varied frame rates per second depending on the type of sequence, the number of drawings also varies.

How Many Frames Are In A 30 Minute Anime?

A 30-minute anime that has a frame rate of 60 frames per second has 108,000 frames. If it was shot by 3s, just like the special episode of Violet Evergarden, then it has approximately 36,000 drawings.

In such a case as episodes of Naruto, it is still drawn frame-by-frame. If it was a fighting scene that has a lot of up and down motions, then it may have 30 frames per second which are shot by 2s. In total, there are 43,200 frames which have 21,600 drawings.

The fight between Sasuke and Danzo ran at 30-35 frames per second. You will also notice that the motions are a bit different since some of the in-between animators were not the original in-between animators of Studio Pierrot, but outsourced animators from Korea.

How Many Key Frames Are In Anime?

Key Animation frames are the foundation of all the frames that are to be used and edited in a program. The Key Animation frames are the starting and endpoint for the In-betweening frames.

Therefore, the Key Animation frames do not make up the majority of the frames in a sequence, rather they are less than half of the frames of a sequence.

This book shows the Key Animation frames of Violet Evergarden.

For example, we have a 24-minute anime that runs on 24 frames per second. There is a total of 34,560 frames which when shot by 2s have 17,280 drawings. Of those drawings, the Key Animation frames are approximate, 6,000 drawings.

It is still a lot of drawings, but not as many as the drawings from the In-betweening frames. When there is a significant change in a sequence, the start of that change is always Key Animation.

Its end may also be Key Animation, but it depends on the production house.

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