2020 AnimState of the Industry Results

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External Development

Outsourcing is another common factor in conversations about how game animation can be done more efficiently. Often times it is brought up by production partners or studio leadership as a novel solution to unlock more development possibilities.

The majority of teams, 74%, work with external partners/outsourcing. Let’s look at how people are engaging with external development.

49% of teams rely on their lead or director to be the primary point of contact for external partners. 25% have dedicated outsource managers or directors doing that work. The last 22% of teams share that responsibility across all of the animators. It is great seeing a rise in dedicated OS managers/directors as that is one of the best way to support the process and make the most of both your internal and external team members.

The biggest type of animation work being done by external partners is cinematic animation at 59%. Looking back at the section on team breakdown with 40% of teams not having cinematic animators on staff, it looks like there is a correlation.

The other type of animation work most often sent to outsourcing is Vanity Animations (e.g. emotes, dances) at 45%, followed by Player Gameplay Animations (32%), AI Gameplay Animations (26%), and Rigging/Skinning (28%).

When it comes to which aspects of implementation external partners are responsible for, 77% check their work into source control and 56% export the animation from the DCC. From there, 22% add exported animations to animation lists/sets and then 16% are responsible for tagging the animations. Beyond that, 14% handle intermediate complexity tasks and 7% take on the advanced complexity tasks.

As for the number of external animators and technical animators teams are working with, here are the results.

There would be some definite value in cross checking the type of work being sent out against who is responsible for directly communicating with external partners.

This seems like the perfect time to look at the results around Leadership and Direction!

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