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Psyk60

How many man-hours does it take to animate for a game?

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I realise the real answer to this is "it depends", but I'm just looking for a rough, average estimate. Say for a fairly animation heavy game like an fps, how many man hours are spent actually key-framing and/or doing mocap? I'll give a bit of background as to why I'm asking this question. I have to write a business plan for a procedural animation tool. So I'm trying to estimate how much it would be worth to a development studio to use this (completely hypothetical, unfortunately) tool as opposed to key-framing/mocaping every animation they need for their game. The first step to working this out is finding out how much time they spend animating now, and then estimate how quickly they could do the same work with my tool. Then I can convert this time into money and decide how much to sell the tool for.

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I would suggest, as an alternate approach, comparing the amount of time needed to animate one object/creature/person by keyframing and mocap to the time needed using your hypothetical tool. You can then extrapolate from there to the amount of time saved by using your tool for an arbitrary number of objects. Your business plan needs to be able to account for the fact that not everyone will derive the same benefit from your program, after all. If you just throw out "This program will save you 100 hours of animation", that's clearly wrong for almost everyone, since some games need lots of animations, and some need few.

That said, I don't know how much time an industry animator needs to create animations.

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It really depends upon the animator and the quality which you're willing to accept. From my experience it will take a good animator about a week to do 4-5 custom animations and they are just first pass. Then after some back and forth with design they would finalize the animations which doesn't take as long. Averaging in a work week of 30 hours that works out to about 5 hours per animation. This is all hand animated in Max/Maya. Some animators work faster, some slower, but that gives u a ball park figure.

Good Luck!

-ddn

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Ok so I suppose if a game has very little animation they probably wouldn't want to buy my product anyway, so it's not really worth considering games that have very little animation.

So maybe I could come up with estimates of upper and lower bound of how many animations would be in a game. How could I go about finding that info? I suppose one way is load up UEd3 and count how many animations there are. But a lot of those will be the same, or very similar animations, applied to different characters. In fact I think in UT3 they have standard animations across all characters, as they use the same bone structure I believe. But at least I could use that as a lower bound.

Can anyone think of a game that is particularly animation heavy? Maybe it's best not to include cut scenes that are most probably mocapped (like MGS4).

I think I do need to estimate how much money is spent on animating an average game, so I have something base my pricing on. If I can say animating a game costs £500,000 in man-hours and my product can cut that in half, then I can charge £50,000 and they're still saving £200,000. No idea if they are realistic figures but that's an example of the sort of calculation I'm trying to do.

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