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Working time for 3d models, esp. animations

Discussion in 'Animation' started by deLord, Mar 26, 2015.

  1. deLord

    deLord

    Joined:
    Oct 11, 2014
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    I had this small argument with someone that offered me his 3d modelling services.

    So far, I bought my 3d models, although I have a rough understanding of how to create them myself. Now the argument was about my idea of how you'd design biped models:

    I think that once you set up a biped rig and add your animations to it, it shouldn't be a problem to reuse let's say at least 90% of those animations for ANY biped you design, given the same bones.
    If I ask someone how much time goes into the modelling and how much into the animation, some modeller said that he will need more time animating (standard animations like idle, attack, die etc) than modelling.
    How can this be?

    Can you elaborate more on how to reuse animations in the different formats? How can I easily import animations to bought 3d models (given a Unity-ready model)?

    I know it is possible to download animations for free and I assume they can be mapped rather easily on a rig. How long would it take to animate a biped with let's say 8 standard animations vs reusing some animations made for another rig?

    How long does it take for an advanced or professional modeller to design a standard 1-8k vert biped model? How much time goes into modelling, how much into texturing, how much into animating?

    I wanna get a feeling for the time it takes to complete the different steps and especially adding animations to a model, since I never did this myself.

    Thanks for your estimations :)
     
  2. medhue

    medhue

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    Aug 24, 2014
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    It really depends on the creator and what their specialties are. Of course, I'm more of an animator than a modeler, but I'm a decent modeler, and texture artist. There are really too many variables to give acurate numbers. To model and texture a normal human avatar, it could take a few day, or it could take a month. Most models can be done fairly quickly, sometimes as little as a day. Again, it also depends on how you do this. If you want great normal maps and everything else, and you sculpt the figure, then you are talking more work, but alot better final product. You'd also have to retop the model, which can add a day or 3. Texturing can take a good bit of time also, again depending on what you want. I generally spend more time on texturing than actually modeling.

    Animation can be tricky also. Are we talking about mocaps, as those will take considerably longer than IK animated animations. 1 mocap can take a day to 2 days, at the very least. If we are talking just hand animated IK or FK animations, then it would take me a few days just for a basic set of animations for a character.

    From start to finish, generally speaking, 2 weeks minimum, and up to a month. Some tho, are not so simple. Like, my werewolf, I spent 2 months just on the modeling and texturing, and a full month or more just on the animations. He did come with 150 animations tho, but most of them didn't need a ton of work, just adjustments.

    Yes, if you are using the same rig, then you can use the same animations. Unity also makes this easier with the humanoid rig. This doesn't mean they will be perfect tho. Some may need adjustments for some characters.
     
    theANMATOR2b likes this.
  3. deLord

    deLord

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    So, putting that into a relation you wanna sell your werewolf for 4000$ to compensate your time expended?

    My assumptions for someone that has at least 1 year of modeling experience
    Modeling of a 2k tris humanoid: I expect that to be finished in less than a day if you start working from something you already have. Let's be honest, most humanoids will look similar.
    Texturing (no fancy gloss effects or normalmaps): assuming a small base of already available textures, how can this even remotely take more than a day? Assuming a stock of available textures, I'd guess 4h here.
    Animating: dont wanna make assumptions here, as stated in my question above.
     
  4. medhue

    medhue

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    No, the price is determined by how many people I think will end up buying it. Being that werewolves are popular, it sells very well, and I only charge about $10. Now, if this is an exclusive product for a client, then yes, I'll likely charge thousands for it.

    As far as the rest, I'll just say, go do it then. You make it sound easy, so take the time to learn how. It shouldn't take you more than a few days to learn, right? Of course, I'm being sarcastic.
     
  5. deLord

    deLord

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    If I wasn't too busy, I'd say "challenge accepted" ;) but I wanted to outsource the modeling to people with more experience. Just seems they take longer than I thought given an already existing base.
     
  6. OllyNicholson

    OllyNicholson

    Unity Technologies

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    Jun 17, 2011
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    The process of skinning the model to the rig has not been mentioned here. This can be one of the most time consuming and tricky of tasks need to prepare for animation and should be accounted for in your workflow and estimates. You are correct that animations can often be re-targeted to any biped using either the 3D tools used to animated/model the characters or indeed with an avatar in Unity. However you still need to skin the new model to the biped rig and although there are autorigging tools that is not an insignificant task as it is bespoke to the model.
     
    theANMATOR2b and medhue like this.
  7. medhue

    medhue

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    Yep, I had it in my mind to mention it, just forgot to. Rigging can be days for me, if not longer. Really, It's never ending, cause as soon as you put animation on it, you see areas that could be improved.
     
  8. theANMATOR2b

    theANMATOR2b

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    Hello deLord - I'll chime in as well - and basically I completely agree with @medhue & @OllyNicholson

    The type of game really depends upon if the animations can be reused also. If it's an RTS type game, a lot of the animations can be reused or modified slightly and used for another type of unit. Games that are heavy on character driven aesthetics really need to have unique animations for the characters. Consider if all the biped characters in any Castlevania game had the same animations. Or any 1st or 3rd person game.
    A lot of games reuse animations and that's fine for similar characters but if the bipedal characters are visually pretty different, you probably want a different look for them. Additionally main character animations usually get special treatment so they look better than there enemies do. And female characters really need unique animations compared to the exact same male type character.

    That's actually one great thing about setting up a humanoid rig in Unity, the animations can be tweaked, and masked, and blended, to create unique animations with the same batch of animations that were used for a similar type character.

    I like how medhue broke it down by days, but I - as a contract animator also - find myself breaking down estimates by hour so the customer can get a better understanding of how 3D work is accomplished and how long each task takes.

    One of the biggest cost savings to a character development is generating normal maps from a bump/diffuse rather than creating a high polygon sculpt. But the accuracy of the maps isn't 100% true that way as they would be if the normals were generated from a sculpt.

    This is a well documented process. Watch any Unity tutorial on animation. All the animations Unity uses aren't created for the specific character. The one that is impressive is the one mecanim video with the teddy bear that uses the same animation set as Ethan.
    The video corresponds with this example scene. https://www.assetstore.unity3d.com/en/#!/content/5328

    1-8k is a very large range to give an estimate on. The main factor for any character is the quality you want to get and the style you are aiming to achieve. Higher quality takes longer to do. And more realistic takes longer to do.
    I could knock out a 1k model in 6-8 hours, or if it's a cartoony character with mitten hands and a simple face I could probably get it done in 4-6 hours. But these are only estimates, could be a little longer, could be a little shorter.
    Additionally a high resolution texture takes longer than a low resolution texture. It takes longer to create a detailed 2048x2048 than it does to create a detailed 1024x1024. More pixels means more detail to add. If you don't want as much detail in the texture - consider dropping the resolution so there isn't as much UV space to paint.

    Everything else is the same, rigging takes longer if you want a more realistic character, UV's take longer if there are more polys to unwrap, skinning takes longer, and animations take longer if you want more realism.
    Except I'd say rigging specifically for a Unity humanoid character is relatively the same for every character. But as Olly stated skinning takes time and the more detail on the model the longer it takes to get the skin to behave. If the character is setup with masked bones to conform to the humanoid skeleton, those bones will still need to be animated and skinned so this adds time to the overall job.

    And lastly animations is the same as all the other steps, the better quality you want the longer it's going to take. The style is also a factor in animations. If you want more realistic humanistic animations, they are going to take more time to create than creating some bouncy cartoonish animation. But that's not to say cartoon characters are easy to animate. They aren't. Just more forgiving.
    I'd say the easiest and quickest thing to animate is a robot. Because the computer is really good at generating linear tweened keyframes so it doesn't take a professional kick butt animator to create awesome robot animations. But if you want to add any type of uniqueness to the robot - make it unique - that will be another 1-2 passes to get the robot to start acting unlike a generic robot and having some uniqueness to him.

    Hope this helped a little bit. My fingers got to rolling and before I knew it there was a WALL-o-TEXT!
    :)
     
  9. Zoraph

    Zoraph

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    If what I needed was a character with the same quality of Kratos in God of War 4 with about the same numbers of animations. Just for reference, can you tell me how long it would take and how much it would cost?

    I know it was mocap, but what if it was keyframing?