Animation is tough to nail down because of the variety of styles and mediums you can go choose. When first meeting with a new client, we usually ask a series of questions to understand their video needs and goals. These typically include 'what is the length you are thinking' and 'who is your target audience?'
A video for a medical insurance company will look different then a video for an engineering company or a children's product. Obviously we can't price these all the same as the styles will (and should) be unique to those companies existing branding and target audience. Beyond the style and complexity there are a variety of other key factors to consider when discussing cost, such as:
The video's length
How soon the video is needed
The animation studio's location (ours is in Jacksonville, Florida)
Size of the studio
It's a lot to consider, and our goal here is to keep it simple and provide a basic understanding of what you can expect when looking at budgeting for a typical ~1:30 animated explainer video.
Some studios go by a 'per-second' pricing model, ranging from $50 - $500 per second depending on the quality of the studio and their animation. We typically don't price this way for explainer videos because not every second of animation is as equally difficult and time consuming to create. Instead, this per-second model we find works best for simpler or more constant types of animation like the example below:
So what do we charge for animation?
We base our costs on a per-minute standard of between $3,000 - $6,000 for 2D animation and $8,000 to $12,000 for 3D animation. These costs includes everything from scripting to storyboarding through to voiceover recording and music. 3D animation is typically more time consuming and requires more experience which explains the 2-3x increase over 2D animation. The things that affect the cost being on the higher end can include:
Characters (both complexity and amount needed)
Complexity of backgrounds
Amount of transitions
Kinetic typography (fancy way of saying 'moving text')
We consider the industry and type of audience when deciding these different factors. Looking back, a medical insurance company's video will usually have human characters as they are a human-needs focused business, whereas an engineering company is usually more focused on a product's design and application resulting in little to no character's needed.
What is the average timeline?
As mentioned above, how soon the video is needed can factor into cost. Occasionally clients need a video rushed for events or product / website launches, and we are able to oblige these types of rush requests at a slight cost increase (think of it as ordering same-day shipping). Assuming you don't need your video yesterday, the average timeline is as follows:
1-2 days to write/adjust a script
2-3 days for storyboarding
3-5 days for voiceover auditions (this happens simultaneously with storyboarding)
2 weeks for animation, editing and audio design
This time is not how long it takes us necessarily, but rather how soon you can expect things back. Again, this is for a ~1:30 minute long explainer video and doesn't factor in reviews and client approval time, but this is what you can expect for an average project. The video below breaks down our animation process in greater depth:
We wanted to keep this blog simple and focus on cost, but we have additional content on the animation production process, what makes a good explainer video script, if you should even do an animated explainer video and more. Those articles can be found below.
If you are interested in creating an animated explainer video, please reach out and we can schedule a free consultation today!