Updated: Nov 28
With video animation, it is difficult to provide a general cost because there is a wide variety price-influencing factors. From video length, to style intricacy and medium, you need to first outline a few items in order to get an accurate animation quote.
When first meeting with a new client, we usually ask a series of questions to understand their animated video needs and goals. These typically include:
"Who is your target audience?"
"What message are you trying to get across?"
"What is your company/product/service's value proposition?" (how are you different from competitors)?
We ask these questions because they can help determine the general shape and outline of your video. This will help us come up with a structure for your animation's narrative to stand on, as well as determine cost.
For example, a video for a medical insurance company will look different then a video for a children's product. A medical insurance video will likely be trying to simplify complex ideas for an older audience. This tells us that length and animation style should be longer, and more detailed to help the customer retain information. For a younger audience, we'd try to convey the value of a simpler product and have them take away a feeling, rather than prioritizing information retention. This tells us that we should have a simple, fast and attention-grabbing animation style that will convey information both quickly and generate excitement.
Because each animated video is unique to those company's existing branding and target audience, pricing is customized to suit the needs of each project.
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. However, we will use this per-second model for simpler or more constant types of animation where the complexity remains at the same level throughout the video.
Mechanical animations are a great example of when a per-second animation pricing model would be used, such as the one below:
So what do we charge for animation?
We typically 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 much more cinematic and impactful, often perceived as more professional to even the untrained eye. That is why most modern day animated movies use 3D. It is typically more time consuming and requires more experience which explains the 2-3x increase over 2D animation.
The things that can affect the cost being on the higher end 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. Using our earlier example, 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)
3-6 weeks for 2D animation, editing and audio design
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 from our team 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!