Traditional Animation

Traditional Animation | How To Create A Traditional Animation

Do you want to hire an animation studio to help you create a “traditional animation” but aren’t sure how or where to get started? Luckily, you’re in the right place! Video Igniter’s guide to traditional animation has answers to all of your questions, including:

  • How much does it cost to make a traditional animation?
  • How long does it take to create a traditional animation?
  • Can I create a traditional-style animation with Video Igniter?
  • What is the difference between traditional animation and modern animation?
  • How do I hire the right animator (or studio) for my project?
  • What is the production process like?

All that, plus tips to help you save $1,000 or more off your production budget! But first, let’s take a look at examples of traditional animations that Video Igniter’s production team can create for you:

Traditional Animation Examples

Video Igniter can make any kind of 2D or 3D animation for you. For additional production samples, check out our animation portfolio or request access to our demo reels and price sheet.

Contact us or schedule a call to start making your video.

Are you looking for a different type of animation example? Send us a message to let us know what kind of production example you want to see and we will follow up with relevant production samples.

What is the difference between traditional animation and modern animation?

Traditional animation, also referred to as “hand drawn animation” or “cel animation” is the old school technique of creating animations on paper by drawing and coloring each individual frame by hand.

These days, traditional animation is still used to create videos by individually drawing each individual frame on a computer or tablet.

Traditional animation is able to achieve a very detailed, fluid and realistic (or comically unrealistic) motion design. Most animated short form that’s produced on computers these days (think “Explainer Videos“) use motion graphics and vector animation to create the illusion of motion without having to individually draw in every single frame by hand. This makes it possible to produce animated content much quicker and at a lower cost – but, you lose some of the fluid detail that traditional animation is known for.

Can I create a traditional-style animation with Video Igniter?

Yes! Send us a message or schedule a call to discuss your project and get a quote for your video.

How much does it cost to make a traditional animation?

Traditional Animation Cost

Traditional animation is more expensive than modern styles of animation and requires a much larger budget to create. Budgets for traditional animation usually start at $7,500-$10,000 to create 60 seconds of video. It all depends on how much detail you want to include in the illustrations and motion design. Traditional animation can easily cost over $20,000 for each minute of content that’s created.

An episode of The Simpsons costs substantially more to produce, but Video Igniter can help you create traditional animations for a fraction of the price of one of the big industry studios.

Get a quote for my traditional animation.

How long does it take to create a traditional animation?

Traditional Animation Production Timeline

Broadcast television shows made with traditional animation require 14-18 months of work per episode before it runs on air. Production companies like Video Igniter are more nimble and can help you produce content faster than ‘the big guys.’ That being said, traditional animation still requires a good amount of time to do the job right. A 60-second animation can take anywhere from 8-12 weeks to produce.

Need to speed up production for a deadline? Video Igniter offers rush delivery animation.

How do I hire the right animator (or studio) for my project?

Hire Traditional Animator

This topic is so big and important it deserves its own guide… so we created one!

The Ultimate Guide To Choosing An Animation Creator For Your Project

In the article, you’ll learn:

  • Where to find animators you can hire.
  • What to look for before you hire an animator or a studio.
  • Tips to negotiate a lower production budget.

And so much more. Get the guide here.

What is the traditional animation production process like?

Traditional Animation Production Process

The traditional animation production process is similar to the modern animation production process – it just takes more time and occasionally has an additional production stage called an “animatic.” Let’s take a quick overview of the production process so you understand how to go from ‘idea in my head’ to the final draft of your animation.

1). Get a Quote

To get production started, contact us for a quote along with any other studios you’re considering hiring for your traditional animation project.

Traditional Animation Get A Quote

Once you have all the quotes in front of you, we recommend reviewing each company’s animation portfolio one more time to determine which producer has the best mix of

  • Production Quality
  • Production Terms
  • Turn Around Time
  • Budget
  • Customer Service

Let your preferred animation studio know you’ve selected them. Then, you will receive a production agreement to sign and an invoice for the first 50% of your production budget.

2). Write The Script

Traditional Animation Script

Now that production is underway, we will spend time learning about what you want to show in your animation so we can create your script. We’re interested in learning things like:

  • What do you want to communicate in your animation?
  • How do you want the viewer to feel when they’re done watching?
  • Who is your target audience?

After we learn more about your communication goals, our writing team will use this information to create the first draft of the script for your traditional animation. You will receive a link to a copy of the script so you can share it with your team and add your comments.

Our writers will collaborate with you and polish your script until it’s perfect.

3). Create The Storyboard

Traditional Animation Storyboard

Next, we turn your script into a storyboard so our production team has a visual blueprint for your traditional animation. The storyboard makes it easy to see which illustrations need to be created for every part of your script, and how those illustrations should move in sync with the voiceover.

You will receive a link to download a copy of your storyboard. Give it a detailed review with your team to ensure we document all of the visual details that need to be shown in your traditional animation. If something needs to be displayed a very specific way, we will include photos, images, sketches or links to videos that clearly show our production team what to create.

4). Create Concept Art

Traditional Animation Concept Art

Once the storyboard is approved, our art director will review your brand guidelines and create custom concept art for your traditional animation.

Share your honest feedback about the concepts with our art director. Let them know which concept you prefer. You can also collaborate with the art director to refine the visual details of your favorite concept until it’s perfect.

5). Record The VoiceOver


You will receive several voiceover auditions to review. Give them a listen and let us know which voice(s) you would like to use in your traditional animation. We’ll oversee the recording of your voiceover(s) and share the full recording with you when it’s ready to review.

Let us know if there are any parts of the script that you’d like us to rerecord.

6). Create The Animatic (if needed)

Sometimes when animators create traditional animations, we add an extra step called an ‘animatic.’ The animatic takes sketches from the storyboard and syncs the visuals with the timing of the voiceover. This helps the production team figure out how to sync the timing of the animation with the voiceover.

Animatics are particularly useful for complex scenes that may include synced mouth movements, detailed background movements, character animation or comedic timing. While this step isn’t required all of the time, we occasionally add this step in the production process to help us save time during the animation phase of production.

7). Create The Illustrations

Traditional Animation Illustrations

After you approve the concept art, our illustration team will create all of the custom illustrations for your traditional animation. You get an opportunity to review all of the art and request revisions before we animate your video.

8). Select Music


Our team will select a few soundtracks that we feel will do a good job setting the mood and enhancing the presentation of key moments in your animation. Give them a listen and let us know which one you like best.

9). Animate

Animate Traditional Animation

Now that everything is approved, we can create your traditional animation! Our production team will line up all of the illustrations we’ve created (called “key frames”) so they are timed with your voiceover. Then, we’ll spend time hand drawing all of the individual frames to add motion to your video. As soon as the first draft is ready, you will receive a link to download a watermarked copy of your animation.

Give your traditional animation a detailed review with your team and members of your target audience. Collect everyone’s feedback and send it our way. We’ll integrate your edits and render out the final draft of your animation.

You will receive the unwatermarked version of your traditional animation after you pay the final invoice for your project.

Deep Dive: For an in depth look at the production process, check out this companion article: How To Make A Video Animation.

Traditional Animation Budget Saving Tips

Traditional Animation Budget Saving Tips

Combine these tips to save $1,000 or more off of your traditional animation budget:

1). Write The Script

You can save $500 off the cost of each minute of traditional animation we produce for you if you provide the script for your video. Download our free script writing template to get started.

Traditional Animation Script Template

2). Record The VoiceOver

Each voiceover in your traditional animation will cost between $50-$500 to record. If you want to record the voiceover yourself, we can remove this production cost from your project’s budget. Watch 1:31 in this video to see how you can record professional quality voiceovers at home for free – no need to buy any equipment or software.

3). Create The Storyboard

You can save an additional $500 off the cost of each minute of traditional animation we produce for you if you provide the storyboard for your video. Download our free storyboard template and review the included storyboard creation guide to get started.

Traditional Animation Storyboard Diagram

4). Find Free, Legal Music

Popular songs cost thousands of dollars to license. Custom music will cost you at least $1,500 to create (likely more). Stock music licenses range between $19-$399 depending where your video will be shown. If you don’t want to pay to license or create music for your traditional animation, you can find free music on sites like Incompetech and Facebook’s Sound Collection.

5). Start Production ASAP

Rush delivery can increase your production budget by 25%-50% or more! We recommend starting production ASAP so you can minimize or avoid rush delivery increases for your production budget. Send us a message or schedule a call to get the ball rolling.

Still have questions about traditional animation?

Do you have a question about traditional animation that wasn’t addressed in this FAQ? Use this form to send us your question and we’ll follow up with an answer. We’ll also post the question and answer to this page so other people can benefit from the knowledge.


What is Video Igniter Animation?

Video Igniter Animation is a animated video production service that can create custom animations for you. By working with our team online, you can get your custom animated video produced faster and for less than hiring a brick and mortar animation studio.

Watch the demo reel below for examples of the kinds of animation our team can produce for you.


Looking For A Traditional Animation Company In The U.S.?

Video Igniter is headquartered in Seattle, Washington.

Success Stories & Testimonials

Don’t just take our word for it – these testimonials highlight Video Igniter’s reliability, creativity, flexibility and ability to deliver animations that exceed expectations. When you choose Video Igniter Animation, you can rest assured that you are working with a trusted and reputable studio.

“Video Igniter were very easy to work with and the entire process for creating and suggesting edits was seamless and stress-free. I would work with them again and would recommend to others looking to create a modern and stylish explainer video.”

Clair Simpson – VP Marketing,

“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 making 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

“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

“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



Get in touch!

Schedule a call to discuss your animated video project.

Get a quote for us to create your animated video.

Request access to our newest price sheet.

Create your Video Igniter account, fill out a creative brief for your video and we’ll begin production as soon as we receive your production deposit.

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