This article is available in: French
At SIGGRAPH 2023, Japanese animation studio Marza Animation Planet shared their work on a very interesting toolset that can be used to animate on twos, threes, and so on. In other words, a character will be animated every other frame, which gives a 2D animation look.
Time Filter is the name of this advanced time manipulation toolset for animators.
A simple approach to animate on twos in Maya would be to bake the animation curves, but this is very destructive and you would have to save a copy of your scene beforehand. Furthermore, the end result isn’t perfect: you usually end up with various visual artifacts such as strobing, feet sliding on the ground, and so on. Which means you can’t just use this result as is, and some tweaking is required.
You could also drop frames in compositing, but this delegates animation timing decisions to the compositing team: the animators loose some control over the animation.
The toolset developped by Marza Animation Planet, Time Filter, solves these issues:
- The animation is controlled by animators, there is no destructive baking, animation curves are not affected.
- You can animate a character on twos/ones/etc during a shot, move the camera on ones, without any weird strobing effect or sliding feet.
- The whole approach is FX friendly: no issues with FX, cloth, motion blur.
- And of course, you can choose to animate specific elements on twos, not the scene as a whole.
The video below will show you how Time Filter works. After an overall presentation of the main tools, the toolset is showcased on a character animated on ones and twos during the same shot. You’ll also get a demonstration of the camera offset tool that eliminates some visual artifacts.
Time Filter has been use in production on various projects, such as:
- XPICE :
- Samurai Frog Golf :
- ONI: Thunder God’s Tale (available on Netflix) :
Here is another video that goes more in depth into the techniques used, how the filters were constructed, as well as the underlying math.
As Marza Animation Planet explains, this video is “meant for advanced users and technical teams”.
You may also want to take a look at the published paper the slides used during the presentation at SIGGRAPH 2023. There is also a page dedicated to Time Filter on the Marza Animation Planet website. This will give you more information, which should be especially helpful if you’re planning to create a similar project.