Anime and Frame Rates: Higher is Not Better

Little heads up: I’m gonna get a bit angry in this article. Because today’s subject matter is one that I’m more than a bit passionate about.

Frame rates. They’re a big part of any visual medium, even if you might not realize it. The most obvious example is in video games. People love to get the highest, smoothest FPS they can get for their games. And for good reason, as a smooth framerate can translate to a smooth gameplay experience.

Unfortunately, morons have gotten it into their empty skulls that this means higher framerates should apply to everything. Which. Is. Not. True.

2D animation, particularly anime, is animated at 24 FPS. This means the animators can fit 24 separate drawings into one single second of any given show or movie. Most TV anime will use significantly less than that due to time and budgetary restrictions, but they’re still very good at making the shots look smooth even with those limitations.

You know what that means? That means the show is meant to run at 24 FPS. It doesn’t matter if there are 24 drawings in each second or only 1. It goes at 24, no more and no less. If you wanted to increase that, you’d need to increase the number of drawings to go along with it. And remember, this is a gross oversimplification of the process being described by a layman who doesn’t actually work in animation; I’m sure the actual process is far more complicated and difficult.

But at least I’m not so fucking stupid as to artificially boost the frame rate because I think it looks better.

I’m sure you’ve seen those videos online. You know, the ones where someone ‘fixes’ a scene in anime by boosting the FPS of a scene using an artificial program. Basically, they take the clip, plug it into this program, tell it what framerate to change the clip to, then let it do the work.

And surprise! It looks fucking terrible! Not only because the higher frame rate just makes it look like the scene is running in fast-forward, but because the program smears, distorts, or even breaks the image in order to create a ‘smooth’ experience. Watching those videos is what I imagine it must be like to have a stroke while watching Jujustu Kaisen or whatever other anime is being butchered.

You might be wondering why this upsets me so much. It’s just a bunch of people experimenting with new editing software online, right? Well, no. That’s not really it at all. It’s a bunch of people who don’t understand a thing about animation going out there and ‘fixing’ the work of the animators because they think they did something wrong.

This might shock you: they didn’t! The animators did their jobs, and they often do so under extreme pressure without adequate pay for their efforts. ‘Fixing’ their hard work by slapping it into a computer program that only makes it look like shit isn’t just dumb, it’s a slap to the face of the original work and the people who made it! Especially because the people who do this often have a high and mighty attitude about it and talk down to the people who actually had to do the work!

It’s not a small thing, either. Every single day, I see this stuff! *Insert anime clip here*, 4K 60FPS. They’ll have thousands, sometimes millions of views, and the comment sections will be full of praise like, “Wow, this looks better than the original!” or “Thanks for fixing the framerate,” or other moronic shit like that! Then you look at the actual edited clip and it looks like someone tried pixelating the shot after they went wild with the smear effect in Photoshop! Are these people blind or just stupid?!

Phew… Okay, I think I’m done. If I go any further, this article will devolve into senseless insults and frothing fury. It’ll be so hateful in nature that the UN will classify it as terrorism. So let’s just wrap things up here and be done with it.

Moral of the story: respect animators and don’t do dumb shit when you don’t understand what the hell you’re doing. If you want to ‘improve’ animation, you should probably start by learning animation works to begin with. If you’re not willing to do that, then just don’t bother.

Ugh… video games were a mistake…

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: