Playblast and Render, do you know the difference?

A Playblast and a Render are both important processes within any animation production pipeline, without these we are not able to visualise any content. Both these processes have similarities, however, one is produced throughout a project and another when all the animation processes (animation, texturing/ shading, lighting etc.) have been completed. Can you guess which one is which?

Stuck? Find out the answers below! 

Playblasts (also known as a pre-renders) are produced throughout the animation production stages. We use playblasts when we want to show the client our work-in-progress (WIP) or for animations final approval on timings. 

Playblasts are either grey or in blocked colours, this is because it is a quick preview of the timings and camera movement for that specific shot, providing a realistic idea on what the final face of the animation will be, whilst running in real time. Clients and all stakeholders need to take into consideration that this is not the final animation. 

The benefits of a Playblast is that it produces a faster output, which saves on time and costs on both sides. 

They are shared with clients, so they are able to review, feedback and approve certain shots and/ or elements within a scene. The benefits of a Playblast is that it produces a faster output. If changes are needed, the artist is able to amend these relatively swiftly, from this, we are able to export a new Playblast in the same day (dependent on the effort), allowing the client and stakeholders to review and feedback again.

Below is an example of a Playblast (pre-render) from MTR Health and Safety Animation (3D), which can be viewed on our Sliced Bread Animation Vimeo channel.

But wait, you might be thinking, “I haven’t seen what the final look of the animation will look like?!” No need to worry about that, alongside delivery of the final playblast animation, we will deliver a varied selection of look dev (development) images, which is a snapshot to visualise a real representation on what the final render will look like. 

Renders are produced when all the animation production processes (animation, texturing/ shading, lighting, compositing etc.) have been completed and have been approved by the client and all stakeholders. Rendering is an automatic process converting 3D models into 2D images, which can either have the effect of looking photorealistic or non-photorealistic. We will only start this process once the final playblast animation (and look dev) has been approved by all parties. Renders are the final animation, which are supplied in HD or any other required version, if necessary.

Below is an example of a (final) Render from MTR Health and Safety Animation (3D)

So there you have it, the difference between a Playblast and a Render. If you have an idea for an animation project or seeking advice, you can contact us here, drop us an email at or give us a call on +44 (0)207 148 0526.

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