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Guide to animation pricing

Find out what factors impact animation pricing – and how to create the best possible animated video with your budget.

When it comes to animation pricing, there’s plenty of ways to skin the cat. And to animate it too. The animation style, illustration detail and video length all have a major impact on how long something actually takes to animate. And broadly speaking, the less time that takes the less a video will cost. 

That’s because the amount of animation time needed is the single biggest variable on animation pricing. While a really minimal video can take less than a day to animate – at the other end of the scale, it can take weeks.

Example of an intranet ‘how-to video’ – combining screen recordings and minimal animation – created with one day of animation.
Example of detailed illustrations with complex 2D/3D animation. Took over three weeks to animate the two-min video.

How to keep your animation costs down

Below, you’ll find a bunch of tips for keeping your animation costs down – while getting the most out of your budget. If you like what you read, give us a follow on LinkedIn for more tips and tricks.

Choose the right animation style

Some animation styles take far less time to animate than others. Software demonstrations, whiteboard videos and simple motion graphics can be extremely quick to produce. 

Other styles take a lot longer – like 3D animation or anything involving custom characters or complex motion graphics – simply because there are more things that an animator will need to make move. However, while they may take longer to create they can be much more engaging for your viewer.

So think carefully about what your audience and organisation really need in terms of style. And if budget is a challenge, going down a more minimal route will give you much more bang for your buck. 

Using custom versus off-the-shelf assets

Before you can actually start animating, you need to source the illustrations and assets that your audience will need to understand your message. 

Purchasing off-the-shelf illustrations, 3D models and other assets can massively speed up production. However, if you want to show anything bespoke onscreen you’ll need to get someone to illustrate them.  

Consider the complexity of your visuals

An animated video is made up of lots of different assets – such as illustrations, images or text – that an animator needs to manipulate so that they move in a unified way on our screens. 

The more things there are that need to move, the longer it will take the animator. So think about what visuals will help your audience understand your message. If you can draw those illustrations in a minimal or stylised way, it will help keep animation time down.

Animation pricing example of simple abstract characters
These stylised characters only need to have their bodies and heads animated.
Animation pricing example of more complex characters
These characters need their bodies, heads, limbs, facial expressions and props to be animated.

Keep your script as short as possible

It sort of goes without saying that a one-minute video will take less time to animate than a four-minute video (if they’re in the same style, that is). 

In general, your video will last as long as your voiceover. So every second you shave off your script is less time on screen that needs to be animated. 

Look for opportunities to cut down the voiceover and share messages through visuals on-screen instead. It will help keep your budget down – and it’s better for your audience’s attention spans too. 

Animation speeds up in a series

If you’re creating a series of videos, animation time will speed up significantly on each subsequent video. For a start, you don’t need to repeat all the work that happens at the very start of a new project.

However, you can also save time by recycling bits of animation. Once you’ve animated a specific movement, transition or asset – you can then reuse it throughout the rest of your videos. 

Work with professional animators

As with most things, you get what you pay for when it comes to animators. The best make it easy for you by working quickly, efficiently and creatively – and their day rates reflect the value they add to projects. We work with an awesome bunch of specialist animators if you want to get in touch.

On the other hand, working with animators from certain online marketplaces might cost less upfront – but you’ll often end up needing to provide a lot more time and direction. 

Working with someone who specialises in your style of animation makes a huge difference too. It takes a 3D specialist a lot less time to create 3D models than it would for someone who just dabbles in the third dimension.

It all comes down to what you and your audience need

Animation pricing all comes down to what your audience needs and how you engage them. If they’ll pay attention no matter what, using a simple animation style should do the trick. If you need to capture attention, more animation time is usually needed to produce something special. 

Regardless, there are lots of ways to keep costs down while producing professional animated videos on any budget. If you’d like to run an idea past us or find out more, get in touch and we’ll be happy to share more.

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