Predicting Animation Time (Blender 3D Tutorial)

So, has this happened to you? An animation that was going to take ‘a few minutes’ turns out to be an hour or two. Want to know about how much time your animation is going to eat? Why should you want to know? Well, say you’re going out to the store for awhile. You’re gonna be gone for about three hours, and want to know how much time it will take to render out your 250 frame animation. You want to be able to play video games and browse blogs on your computer when you get back, so you want the animation to take less than the three hours. How will we go about this? So, for starters, render out a frame, don’t use the animation button, just render out a frame.

(Note: if you used the compositor, be sure to wait for it to finish its thing before continuing…)

Ok, so say your frame looked something like that, see where that arrow is pointing?  That’s your render time. That is pretty much all you will need to predict the following. I will now get into some math used to produce the final result. I will tell you the steps and leave footnotes for all you math-lovers out there.

Step 1:

Punch in your render time in seconds into the calculator. Divide by 60[1]. In this case, it would be 41/60 [2] or about  .683.

Step 2:

Take your number and multiply by  that by the number of frames you have in total [3]. In this case .683 • 250 or about 170.75.

Step 3:

That’s 170.75 minutes to render! If you want to get how many hours this is, divide by 60 again [4]. In this case, 170.75/60 or about 2.85 hours! Looks like in this case, you would maybe make it home in time to do your fun stuff without having to wait! 😉

Step 4 (for hour-minutes):

To get minutes, take the end fraction and multiply by 60. In this case, .85 • 60 [5]. The end result being about 2 hours and 51 minutes.

[1] : There are 60 seconds in a minute, dividing by 60 takes the portion of a minute, in this case 41, and turns it into a fraction. In this case, the frame takes about 0.683 minutes to render.

[2] : The 41 comes from rounding the 40.63 up.

[3] : This takes the fraction of a minute you had and multiplies that by 250, if each frame takes .683 minutes to render than you would repeat that 250 times, or 250 • .683.

[4] : There are 60 seconds in a minute and 60 minutes in an hour, the second time you divide by sixty, we are taking 170.75/60 hours. It is much like [1].

[5] : This basically undoes step three to the fractional part, converting back to seconds.

So, did you bother reading the footnotes? If you did, high-five! 😀 So, I hope you enjoyed this little tip, but there are some things you also should know:

  • Your render will probably not be constant, different things may cause the renderer to take over the predicted time.
  • You may want to leave a nice gap on the end of your render time to account for this, say, changing the 2.85 hours to 2.95.
  • You may make a mistake in your math, so if you are rendering out 500 frames at 20 seconds each and your calculator says it’s going to take two minutes, go back and check your math 😛

Hope you enjoyed, even if I may have lost you at some point! 😛 Please feel free to rate and comment!

-Stopsecret Design

P.S: Special thanks to, I think it was Project London… A texture. If it was wrong of me to use it on my ship, please comment and I can get rid of it. Do you guys want a fuller picture of the ship?  ok, ok… 🙂

Click to enlarge

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( I have been doing 3d for awhile now and have become skilled in both the worlds of 3d design and game development. As such, i have created a blog to show my artistic talent and share tutorials with others :)

6 thoughts on “Predicting Animation Time (Blender 3D Tutorial)”

  1. Thank you for this post, Stopsecret. It is very helpful. 🙂
    Also, do you know of a formula to find out how long a single BI frame will take to render without rendering one, or do I need to write a formula to do so? 😛

    1. Erm, dunno that one 😛 I could make a stab at it, and recommend timing the time it takes to render a tile, and then if the render is, say, 8×8 tiles, multiplying the tile time by 64 (8×8)? Although this isn’t entirely accurate either I wouldn’t think, due to the times it takes to render different tiles… But, don’t know if I can really help too much on this one 😛


      1. Well, you tried. I did too, and got a bit further, but it required rendering a single frame. Oh well.

        BTW, I just made a post on the TLT dev blog, telling about a calculator I built for Cycles. Hopefully you can get some use from it, once JMMB compiles a Mac OS X build. 😉

        And in other news, I successfully created a painfully slow Blender Render, which took 25 minutes to complete a single frame. I’ll make a post about it on my blog. 😛

        And you don’t have a contact page! D:

      2. I’ve got your OS X build of the Cycles calculator. It’s on the TLT Dev blog. If you enjoy it, hate it, or have any feedback, please submit it! And you are free to tell others about it. If you couldn’t why on earth would I put the source code on GitHub or even release it for that matter?! P

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