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How Much Does Animation Cost

How much does animation cost?

If you want to make a custom animated explainer video, you’re probably shopping around to figure out how much does animation cost?

TL;DR: $500-$250,000+/min & you get what you pay for.

Scoping out the production cost of an animated video is often one of the largest deciding factors when choosing an animation studio or freelancer to produce your animation. If you’re looking into making an animated video and wondering how much does animation cost, you will need to include all of the following aspects of production:

1). Script Writing ($0-$5,000+)

2). Storyboard Creation ($0-$5,000+)

3). Soundtrack License ($0-$1,000+)

4). VoiceOver ($0-$350)

5). Custom Art ($300-$10,000+)

6). Animation ($250-$15,000+)


Animation Cost Breakdown:

1). Script Writing ($0-$5,000+)

You can write the script for your animated video and save a good chunk of change on your production budget. Hiring a studio or freelance animator to write or collaborate on your script is a good idea because they can help you think about the visual aspects of storytelling while you figure out the script to hold it all together. A freelance animator will typically help write your script for a few hundred dollars. An animation studio is likely to charge at least a thousand dollars. When you hire a marketing agency ($5,000+), you’re paying extra for experienced commercial storytellers and people who can run focus groups and studies to learn more about your target audience and craft the story to their unique tastes.

2). Storyboard Creation ($0-$5,000+)

You can also save money by creating the storyboard yourself. Even if you have no artistic ability, you can create a storyboard. Check out our article that teaches you how to create your own storyboard. A freelance animator can help you create your storyboard for a few hundred dollars. A studio is likely going to charge $1,000 or more and they’re going to help you come up with amazing visual ideas to line up with your script. Marketing agencies will probably charge more for this service but they have less experience than the animation studios do.

3). Soundtrack License ($0-$1,000+)

Stock soundtracks are available on a multitude of websites. Some are even available for free if you credit the artist. Licenses to use commercially available soundtracks online and in broadcast media start at just $5 (but are likely over $100). Custom soundtrack production for an animated short starts at around a few hundred dollars but is likely to cost well over $1,000.

4). VoiceOver ($0-$350)

VoiceOvers are another aspect of production you can save money on by producing it yourself. Check out our video that teaches how you can produce pro quality voiceovers at home, even if you don’t have a studio or professional microphone. Voices.com and VoiceBunny.com are great marketplaces for connecting with any kind of voiceover artist you can imagine. Expect to pay at least $50 for a quality voiceover and potentially more if the voice artist charges extra for the commercial usage of their voiceover.

5). Custom Art ($250-$10,000+)

If your animation is simple and you don’t care much about quality, it’s possible for an outsourced designer to scrounge together some stock images and brush them up for a few hundred dollars. The quality of the visuals is going to set the stage for your first impression with viewers so don’t cut corners here. For 2D animation, expect to pay $500-$5,000 for 60 seconds of custom art. If you go through a marketing agency, expect to pay at least double for the same quality. High end 2D animations and 3D animations will cost north of $10,000 per 60 seconds of animation.

3D animations typically require that you get an animatic produced before creating the 3D art. An animatic is halfway between a storyboard and an animation. The sketches are more detailed and synced to a voiceover. Price ranges for an animatic are wide and are sometimes built into the storyboarding cost. In general, expect to pay more for the animatic than you did for the storyboard.

6). Animation ($250-$15,000+)

The animation cost for a video can vary widely and depends on the level of detail happening in the motion design. Simple animations with icons sliding around can be animated for as little as a few hundred dollars. 2D animations with scenes and custom animated characters will cost over $1,000 for a 60 second animation. Fancy 2D animation costs between $5,000-$15,000/min. 3D animation starts around $5,000/ 60 seconds and goes up from there… waaay up!

What do you get when you spent more on your video?

A better storytelling team: people with more experience crafting stories that resonate uniquely with your target audience.

Better visual ideas: not all storyboard artists are the same. Some will read your script and provide simple ideas for visuals. Others will figure out how to string together visual ideas that make your message uniquely memorable, easy to understand, and something your audience will enjoy paying attention to.

Better voiceovers: the energy and presentation that a professional voice over artist can bring exceeds the dull mediocre vibe that a $5 voiceover artist will bring. It also means they have a better recording studio setup so their voice will sound clean without distracting background ambient noises.

Music: custom music is great but expensive, especially when there is already a lot of great stock music you can license for less.

Better art: If you spend $500 on an animated video, only $100-200 goes to the artist. What kind of quality do you expect to get if someone is making 60 seconds worth of art for $100-200? Now imagine if you add a zero behind the equation. Much better art = better perception of your brand.

Check out our portfolio of animated explainer videos

Animation: Higher budgets means animators can do more detailed motion design. Overall movements will be smoother and more natural looking than cheap animation. Having a higher animation budget also opens the potential for 3D animation.

To learn what kind of animation you can get produced for your budget, whether it’s $1,000 or over $10,000+, click the button below to schedule a call with our production team.

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