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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.

Click here to schedule a call with Video Igniter's production team.




How Long Does It Take To Make An Animated Explainer Video

How Long Does It Take To Make An Animated Explainer Video?

Each stage of the production process takes a different amount of time. The length of your video and complexity of the illustrations and motion design also factors in.  This outline presents a breakdown of what to expect during the explainer video production process. You’ll also learn how long each stage of the production process takes.

Explainer Video Production Process Timeline:

1). Pre-Production

2). Script

3). Storyboard

4). Voiceover + Auditions

5). Concept Art

6). Illustrations

7). Animation



Before you start looking for an animation studio or freelancer to make your custom animated video, spend some time getting clear about what kind of animation you want to create. We created a guide to help you think through the important details. Once you’ve spent some time identifying the important criteria, you’ll be better prepared to pick out an animator that can produce the video you want, within your desired budget and timeline.

While you’re in the pre-production stage, you should also spend some time organizing files like fonts, logos, icons, branding documents and more. Click here to see our pre-production checklist.

Not sure which animation style is right for your video?  Read out our pros and cons list to learn what’s involved with producing different styles of animated videos:

Animation Style Guide Different Types Of Animated Explainer Videos Video Igniter


Under a normal production timeline, the script writing phase takes about 1 week for an animated video that’s 1 minute long. After the animator learns about your video idea, they will take 1-3 days to create the first draft of the script. Take a day or two to review the script and organize your feedback for the production team. Once the writer receives your feedback, they can typically turn around a revised script in 24 hrs or less. Scripts typically take 1-3 rounds of edits to get to the final draft.

If you are writing the script yourself, allow 1-2 weeks for your team to review it and contribute their feedback. Ensure everyone has approved the script before you share it with your production team.


The next step of the explainer video production process is to turn the script into a storyboard. A storyboard is a document that explains what visuals and what motion design needs to happen during every sentence of your script. It’s essentially a blueprint for the design and animation teams so that they know what to create. Check out this companion article to learn more about what a storyboard is and why you need one for production.

A storyboard for a 1-2 minute video typically takes 1-4 days to produce. Then, it takes about 2-3 days to review the storyboard with the client and incorporate their edits.

You can save money on your production budget by creating your own storyboard. To learn how to create your own storyboard, check out this companion article.  We also have a free storyboard template and storyboard creation guide which you can download by clicking on the image below:

Download Our Free Storyboard Creation Guide And PDF Template For Your Animated Explainer Video Project

Voiceover + Auditions

Once your storyboard is approved, the next step of the explainer video production process is to get voiceover auditions for you to review. It takes about 1-3 business days to get voiceover auditions recorded and delivered from multiple artists. You should take a day or two to review the options with your team. Then, notify your animator about which audition is your favorite option. Tell your animation team if you want the voiceover artist to modify their tone when recording the full voiceover.

Your animation team will then get the full voiceover recorded in 1-3 business days. When the VO is ready to review, give it a detailed listen with your team. If you love the voiceover as is, let your animation team know. Otherwise, send them detailed feedback so that the voiceover artist will know which parts to rerecord. Provide specific instructions about how you want them to change the timing, energy or inflection used. It is also helpful to list what time in the recording the changes need to be made

If you want to save time and a little money on your production budget, check out this video we made with tips on how to record your own professional sounding voiceover – even if you don’t have a studio or a professional microphone.

Concept Art

After your storyboard is approved, the next phase of the explainer video production process is to create the concept art for your video. Depending on the size of your budget, you can expect to receive 1-5 different visual concepts showing how one scene of your animated video can be designed. This typically takes 2-5 days depending on the # of samples being created and the level of detail used in your animation.  

Once you receive your concept art, take a day or two to review the concepts with your team. Let your design team know which style you prefer. If you want to make visual refinements to the styleframe, now’s the time to speak up.  If you like design elements from multiple concepts, tell your design team. They can combine the best design elements into a single visual concept for you to review and approve. This typically takes another day or two for the designers to create and then run by you for approval.


Now that your concept art is approved, the designers will create the rest of the art for your video. It takes about one week to create all of the art for a one minute animated video. Give your illustrations a thorough and detailed review. It’s important you are happy with the art before animation begins. If you love it as-is, let them you know you approve the art. Otherwise, submit your feedback to the design team and wait 1-3 days for the update. It’s not uncommon to do a 2nd round of edits on the illustrations for an additional layer of polish.


When the art, soundtrack and voiceover are approved, the animation team will start animating your video. One animator can animate about one minute of 2D animated content in one week. Revisions can typically be turned around in 1-2 days after the animator receives your feedback. When you receive the first draft of their video, circulate the first draft among your stakeholders. It’s a good idea to get different people’s impressions and feedback. This way, when you come back with your list of edits, all the ideas are consolidated and can be addressed at once. Going through multiple rounds of revisions at this stage will likely increase your final production cost and the amount of time it takes to get your animation completed.


The final stage of the explainer video production process is called, “Post-Production.”  Post-Production includes adding little details like sound effects, or rendering out multiple versions of the video with slight variations (perhaps you want to show a different business location’s address at the end of each video). These kinds of edits are typically simple and take 1-2 days to process after the final draft draft is approved.


Click here to schedule a call with Video Igniter's production team.