Animation Outsourcing: How To Outsource An Animated Video Project
Want to make an animated video and looking for a company that offers animation outsourcing services? Video Igniter Animation has been producing custom animated videos for world class brands, agencies, video production companies, tech startups and small businesses since 2011. We have over a decade of experience managing outsourced animated video projects for clients around the globe and we wanted to create a resource to answer the questions we get asked most often about outsourcing animation and white-labeling our productions for your clients.
If you have a question about outsourcing animation that isn’t answered in this article, you can use our contact form to ask your question or click the image below to schedule a call with a member of our production team:
Benefits of outsourcing your animation production
Animated video content is more popular than ever. With increased demand, why don’t big companies & agencies just fill up their in-house video teams with more animators? Why bother outsource your animated video projects in the first place?
It’s no secret that you can outsource animated video projects to animators in India, Pakistan and the Philippines (among many other countries) and get very cheap video production rates. However, a lot of these low cost options are also low quality. The art and motion likely won’t look that great and animation instructions can get misinterpreted leading to production errors. Outsourcing to the cheapest option isn’t recommended if you need your video to look professional.
However, if you outsource to an established animation production team, they can help you produce high quality animated video content for less than the cost of bringing on temporary or full time to your team.
Creating an animated video requires a bunch of different skillsets. It requires storytellers to create the script and storyboard. You’ll need audio professionals to help with the voiceover, sound effects and soundtrack. A project manager or two… And a variety of talented artists and animators who know a variety of animation techniques and visual styles to create the exact kind of animated visuals you are imagining. That’s a bunch of people to have under one roof.
You probably have some great writers on staff that can help develop your script and storyboard. But when it comes to the infinite possibilities of 2D and 3D animation styles, it’s unlikely you’ll find the rockstar video animator that knows how to create it all. Instead, outsourcing animation offers you the ability to hire the right animator or studio that knows how to produce the kind of animation you are looking for.
Most companies don’t need to create animated content all the time. It’s more likely that they’ll produce a few here or there. Maybe once a year or every few years. Ether way, it usually doesn’t make sense to have a full time animator on staff if you’ll only need to use their skills occasionally. Outsourcing your animation projects offers the flexibility of having the exact kind of animator you need, right when you need it.
Examples of outsourced animation projects
How Do You Outsource The Production Of An Animated Video?
Research Animation Outsourcing Companies
Start your project by researching different animation companies that offer outsourced or white label animated video production services. You’ll want to check out their demo reels to see if they produce the level of quality you want for your video. It’s also important to ask these companies how much does animation cost and what is their production process like. Are revisions included in the price? How many? Be sure to give these animation companies detailed information about what you want them to produce so that they can help you generate an accurate quote and ensure that they can deliver the final draft before your deadline.
For more tips on what to look for and how to select an animator or animation studio for your project, scroll down to the section titled, “How to Pick an Outsourced Animation Partner for your Project?”
Develop Your Script
After you have selected a production team for your animated video, it’s time to develop the script. You can hire your freelancer, animation studio, agency or Video Igniter to write your script for you. We recommend that you try creating the first draft of your script because you have the idea of the animation in your mind and it’s easier if you try to get it out of your head and polish it with an animation team than it is for the animation team to try and extract the first draft of your head. This also speeds up production and can save you money on your production budget.
Resource: Check out our script writing resource guide and download a copy of our free scriptwriting template.
Create The Storyboard
Now that your script is production-ready, it’s time to create the storyboard. The storyboard is a document that explains to the illustrators what they are supposed to illustrate and it tells the animators how they are going to animate those illustrations. You can create the storyboard yourself using our storyboard creation template. Or your animation outsourcing partner can create your storyboard for you. Either way, the goal is to brainstorm a visual to show with each sentence of your script. Each page of a storyboard includes a rough mockup of the visuals, a simple list of instructions to tell the animators what to animate, a list of assets (audio and visual) that are needed for the scene, and the corresponding sentence of the script.
You can find voiceover artists for your project or your outsourced animation partner can help source them for you. Websites like Fiverr, Voices123 and VoiceBunny are a great start. We recommend getting at least 3 voiceover auditions for each character in your animated video. Have them record the first sentence of your script so that you can hear how they will bring their energy to your particular script. Once you’ve narrowed it down to your favorite candidate for each character, have them to record the full voiceover for your animated video. It’s important to include notes within your script to guide their pacing, energy, tone, and inflection as well as providing guidance on difficult to pronounce words.
When the voiceovers have arrived, give them a thorough detailed listen to ensure you are happy with the pacing and energy throughout the voiceover. Make sure there aren’t any weird background noises, mouth sounds, sniffles or coughs in the recording either. The timing of your animation is based around the pace of your voiceover so it’s very important that you are happy with the timing of the voiceover before your animation moves into production. If you want to change part of the voiceover later, it may require costly rework to retime the animation to sync up with the new voiceover.
Soundtracks and sound effects enhance the presentation of your animation and create a fuller richer world for the viewer. Usually your animation outsourcing partner will handle this part for you. However, if you want to look yourself, check out sites like AudioJungle and PremiumBeat for high quality affordable soundtracks you can license for your animated video.
We recommend picking out a few of your favorite tracks, downloading the free watermarked versions of the songs, and previewing them in a test render of your animation so that you can figure out which one feels right within the context of your animation. If you plan to broadcast your animated video using paid media on TV or Online, you may need to budget a little extra for the music’s broadcast rights.
To learn more about how to pick the right soundtrack for your animated video, check out this video.
After your storyboard is approved, your animated video outsourcing partner will begin developing concept art for your animation. That means the lead designer will review your storyboard, your branding and any style references you provided. They will select a key scene from your animation and design it using one or more unique visual styles.
After you review the concepts, let the art team know what you like and don’t like about each concept. They will use your feedback to create an updated piece of concept art and will continue to work with you to refine the visual style until you are 110% happy with it. Then, the illustration team will create all of the art for your animate video using the approved concept art as a reference. You will get an opportunity to review all the illustrations and request edits until you approve them for animation.
Now that your illustrations and voiceover are approved, the animators can work their magic. It takes one animator about one week to animate one minute of animation. If you have a short deadline for your project, rush delivery is available to help speed up production. When you review the first draft of your animated video, preview it with members of your target audience to ensure it makes sense and resonates with them. Collect all the feedback and send it to your outsourced animation company for final revisions.
How to Pick an Outsourced Animation Partner for your Project?
What are some things you should look for when outsourcing your 2D or 3D animated video project?
Animation Style References
The most important thing you can do when outsourcing an animated video project is to check out examples of previous videos they’ve created. Are they able to produce an animation similar to the style you want for your video?
Will they have enough time to complete your video before your deadline? Check to see how many projects they take on at once and how your project will be prioritized relative to other projects.
What are your expectations when it comes to customer service. Outsourced animation projects mean you’re probably working with someone at least a timezone away from you. Is that going to be an issue? How quickly do you need to get a response from your animation partner? Be sure to discuss responsiveness and estimated turnaround times for your project when looking for outsourced animation partners.
For more tips and information about how to hire an animator, check out this companion article:
How much does outsourcing an animation cost?
The wide range is $100-$50,000+ for each minute of animation. Typically, people are paying between $1,000-$5,000/min to create high quality professional looking 2d animated videos. 3D animated videos start at $3,000-$10,000/minute but likely cost much more than that (Pixar animations are +$1,000,000/min).
For a deep dive on production costs, check out this companion article that explains what goes into the cost of an animated video.
How long does outsourcing an animated video take?
Depends on the production style and length of your animated video. Most 1-2 minute long 2D animated videos can be created within 3-6 weeks. 3D animated videos require about 2x as much time. Making a longer video? Schedule a call with our production team to scope out the production timeline for your animated video. Need your video faster than 3-6 weeks? Ask us about rush delivery. To learn more about the animated video production workflow and how long each of production takes, check out this companion article:
Where can I find studios or freelancers that offer outsourced animation production services?
Websites like Upwork and Fiverr can help you find cheap freelance animators. YouTube, Behance, Vimeo, Instagram and Google are all great places to find beautiful animations and connect with studios and creatives.
Shameless Plug: Video Igniter was designed to provide outsourced animation production services through the Internet to clients around the world. Here are 20+ reasons why companies love outsourcing animation projects to Video Igniter.
Why is Video Igniter the best option for outsourcing your animation?
Quality & Style
Video Igniter can create any kind of 2D or 3D animated video you can imagine. Instead of hoping your in-house animator or freelancer can create a certain visual style, go with the team that can do it all. Our family of illustrators and animators collaborates behind the scenes to develop unique concept art and animation styles to delight you and your target audience.
We’re not the cheapest option and we’re not trying to be. That being said, for the level of production quality we bring to our creations, you won’t be able to find someone that can do the same level of high quality work for less. If you do, we’ll beat their rate by 10%. As of 2022, nobody has beat our balance of production quality and price.
We deliver custom animated video production services through a custom designed online production dashboard that streamlines your production experience. This helps production move faster and more of your production budget goes into creativity rather than project management and overhead costs.
Learn more about Video Igniter:
Tips to keep your animated video production budget low
If you’re outsourcing your animation and want to keep your production budget as low as possible, consider the following budget-saving tips to keep your production costs down:
Create your script
You can save hundreds or thousands of dollars off your production budget by writing the script for your animated video. Outsourced animation partners are capable of helping you craft your script. However, as the originator of the idea for a video, the heart of the story is in your mind. You have the best chance of creating a first draft that will articulate the story you want to present. Don’t worry about making your script perfect. If you can provide the first draft of your script, your animation partner can help you make it production-ready and you can still save some money on your production budget.
Here are a few resources to help you create a script for your animated video:
How To Write An Animated Explainer Video Script
7 Tips to Supercharge Your Explainer Video Script Writing
Examples Of Explainer Video Scripts + How To Write A Script
Get our free script writing template here.
Create your storyboard
A storyboard is the blueprint for your animated video. It tells the illustrators and animators what to create. By creating the storyboard for your custom animated video, you can save hundreds or thousands of dollars off your production budget. All you need to do is brainstorm visuals that correspond with each line of your script and then write simple instructions for the illustrators and animators so they know what you want them to create in each scene.
Free Download: Get our free storyboard creation template.
Deep Dive: Building a great storyboard for an animated explainer video.
Record the voiceover
You can try sourcing low cost voiceover talent from sites like Fiverr or VoiceBunny. English-speaking voiceover artists tend to charge $10-$199 for 1-2 minutes of recorded audio.
You can also record the voiceover yourself for free! Check out Episode 3 of The Video Igniter Show (at 1:31) to see how you can record the voiceover for your animated video for free without having to buy any expensive equipment or software.
Use stock assets
Using pre-created assets can help you keep your budget down because they usually cost less to buy or license than it would to create something comparable. Free (or low cost) icons, clip art, stock images, fonts, graphs and video clips are available on sites like Mixkit, TheNounProject, Google Font Library and Envato Elements.
Use free music
Soundtracks typically cost $10-$299 each. If you plan to promote your animation using paid media (TV and or Online), you may need to pay even more for the broadcast rights to use the soundtrack in paid promotional campaigns. Looking for free, legal music? Check out Incompetech and Facebook’s Sound Collection.
How to get the most out of your animated video?
If you’re outsourcing the production of an animation, here are some resources to help ensure your project goes as smooth as possible. Is your animated video being created to help serve a business objective or initiative? These resources will also help you improve the marketing impact of your animation.
– 7 Tips to help you write a great script for your animated video.
– Pick the right visual style for your animated video.
– 6 Tips To Increase Viewer Engagement for your animated video.
– Review the Do’s and Don’ts of Promotional Explainer Videos.
– 7 Tips For Using and Improving Your Businesses’s Video.
– Learn how to interpret your video’s viewer stats to see if it needs improvement.
– A/B Test variations of your animated video to improve its conversion rate.
Outsource Your Animation to Video Igniter
– World class design talent at prices small businesses can afford.
– You can use Video Igniter to outsource the production of any kind of 2D or 3D animated video you can imagine.
– +20 reasons companies love outsourcing their animation projects to Video Igniter.
Outsourcing Animation Demo Reel
Animation Outsourcing Success Stories & Testimonials
“Video Igniter came to us with a number of creative and engaging ideas and were able to create an exciting, impactful video in a short period of time. And the best part was that it cost much less than other options of similar quality. The video they made is a great marketing tool for us.”
Alex Raymond – Founder, Kapta Systems
“Video Igniter offered us the critical combination of creative value, clear communication, and patience with stakeholder feedback. We ended up with truly high-quality design assets for our video series largely due to the extra level of commitment — and the right balance of efficiencies with flexibility in the process when called for.”
Larry Schlessinger – Sr. Creative Program Manager, Amazon Web Services
“I run a video production company and outsource animation. The team at Video Igniter did a great job in taking the concept I very crudely drew out and made it into a beautiful animation. The review process was easy and their turnaround time was very quick. I’d def recommend them if you’re looking for an animation project.”
Pat Henderson – Founder, Path8 Productions
Get in touch about animation outsourcing for your next project
Schedule a call with our production team to discuss animation outsourcing for your company.
Get a quote for your outsourced animated video.
Request access to our newest price sheet.
Create your Video Igniter account, fill out a creative brief, and then we’ll make your animated video for you.