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How much does a 1min animation cost?

If you have reached this post, you are probably in need of an animated video to help drive your marketing strategy. This is completely understandable – animated videos are proven to be the best way of engaging your audience with entertaining, but important, content, to help you deliver the revenue your business needs. But why animation?

An animated video makes use of certain graphical characteristics to trigger emotional reactions that can’t be achieved through live-action footage. Complex topics can be visualised using illustrated characters or infographics. They can transport your audience to imaginary, yet compelling, worlds without the need to spend huge sums of money travelling to exotic destinations or building budget-breaking film sets; you don’t need to worry about filming permits or COVID safety procedures. Animated videos can also be adapted to any target audience, they are environmentally friendly and you don’t need to worry about missing out on that all-important shot, as everything is created in post-production.

There’s something truly magical about animation… but let’s get to the point…

HOW MUCH DOES A 1-MINUTE ANIMATION COST?*

If you’ve been requesting or searching online for animation quotes, you’re likely to have received a wide range of prices. But how do you know what you should expect to pay to get a visually attractive animation that suits your needs and budget?

This is a tricky question to answer – it all depends on the complexity of the video you require. To understand how animation costs are calculated, you need to understand the different areas involved in the production that might impact your budget.

 

Script and storyboard

Your idea or script is the first step to producing an animated video. You have two options here; You can either create your own script, which the animation studio team will translate into a storyboard.  Or you can give the animation studio a brief from which they come back with a few script options. Script conceptualisation for a 1-minute animation can cost anything between £300–500, while storyboarding costs vary depending on the complexity:

  • A simple 1-minute black and white storyboard can cost around £1,200
  • A medium complexity, 1-minute black and white storyboard with multiple characters and background can cost around £1,500.
  • A complex 1-minute storyboard in colour can cost as much as £1,900.

Video length

This is the first thing that you will be asked when requesting a quote. Obviously, a 6-minute animation requires more work than a 1-minute video – and this will be reflected in the quote. In some cases, animating a 2-minute video may not cost much more than animating a 1-minute video, depending on the complexity of the project.

For example, if the animation team has already created the animation assets, such as the characters and shapes, they only have to expand the animation, rather than create new assets. If you need further clarification on this, leave us a comment and we’ll be happy to get back to you.

Video style, type of animation and quality (2D, 3D, motion graphics)

This is the most important factor that will determine the cost of your project; having an idea of the style, type of animation and quality helps the animation studio budget the number of designers and animators needed for the project, as well as estimating the turnaround production time and schedules.

The time spent on a 3D animation is different to 2D or motion graphics – the animation team will have to determine the complexity of style you want to go for. Please refer to the sections on motion graphics, 3D and 2D costs per minute for more details.

Before starting the animation process, the animation team needs to create the backgrounds and characters from scratch. They then have to animate these individually, and in some cases even create “rigged characters” that provides a skeleton to enable the animator to move the character across the video.

 Timeline and amends

The animation studio will provide you with a timeline based on your brief. But there are two important factors to consider here in terms of costs;

First, the faster you need the animation, the more expensive it will be. The animation team will need to work overtime and at weekends if necessary to meet your deadline.

The second factor is amends. Animation studios usually agree on two rounds of amends per project. This means that if you continue to ask for further amends, the animation team will have to spend more time on the project, and consequently, the cost will start to go up.

An important piece of advice – when the animation studio sends you the first draft of the proposal, spend time thinking about all the changes that might be required. After you send the proposal back with your comments, the studio will provide you with a more finalised second draft in which you can request the final amends before the ultimate video.

Soundtrack and music usage rights

An engaging soundtrack is crucial for establishing an emotional connection between the key message and your audience. The cost of adding a soundtrack depends on what you want to achieve.

For example, if you want to have a human voice narrating your story or message you’ll need to record a voiceover (VO). A 1-minute VO might take a whole hour to record. The normal fee for a professional VO artist is £320 per hour for the recording session. Be aware that if you are looking at hiring a celebrity or a well-known artist this cost might vary. Celebrities charge much more than £320 per hour. On top of this, you’ll also need to add on the studio time (around £200/hour), the VO audio mixing (another hour at £200) and you’ll need to pay the celebrity for their usage rights for the VO. This is the duration for which the video will be available to the public and where it will be available (online, TV, etc.). This cost varies from artist to artist, and can range from a couple of hundred to thousands of pounds.

The soundtrack cost can also vary depending on whether you want it composed specifically for your project, or whether you’re happy to purchase music at a lower cost from a pre-recorded library. You also need to consider usage rights for the music. Creating a soundtrack to your animation is a whole new world that requires a dedicated, more detailed post – but I hope this gives you an idea of the costs. Drop us a line if you need more information.

MOTION GRAPHICS COST PER MINUTE

Motion graphics are a type of animation that gives movement to graphic design elements that are normally static. Motion graphics usually don’t follow a narrative, but are a great way of illustrating complex ideas visually.

The cost of motion graphics per minute or animation is:

  • SIMPLE – £3,000
  • STANDARD – £3,300
  • MEDIUM – £6,500
  • COMPLEX – £13,000

2D ANIMATION COSTS PER MINUTE

What, you may ask, is the difference between motion graphics and animation? If your video sets graphics in motion to illustrate a point, it’s called motion graphics. If your video features a character that goes on an emotional journey within a story, it’s more likely to be called an animation. But why is a 2D animation more expensive than motion graphics? Well, it’s a bit more complex than just the story alone.

When producing a motion graphics video, the motion designer designs the graphic elements and then animates them. In a 2D animation video, the animator has to first design the characters and background within the context of the story. He/she/they then needs to get approval for these elements before moving onto the next stage. This might take a number of days. Depending on the style and complexity of the animation, the animator will have to rig the characters and then animate their individual parts – arms, feet, mouth, etc.

Traditional animation (Disney style) is the most complex of all types of animation as the characters are completely hand-drawn. The artist/animator has to draw 24 pictures (or frames) per second, and have an in-depth understanding of animation principles, anatomy, movement, as well as the physics behind these movements.

The cost of 2D animation per minute or animation is:

  • SIMPLE – £4,300
  • STANDARD – £6,500
  • MEDIUM – £13,000
  • COMPLEX – £17,500
  • TRADITIONAL (Disney) – £35,000

3D ANIMATION COSTS PER MINUTE

It goes to show that 3D animation is more expensive and complex to create than 2D animation. But why? In a 3D animation workflow, the animator has to add a number of extra steps to those required in a 2D animation. These include 3D modelling, rigging, texturing, lighting, and adding any required special effects. 3D animation takes more time not only because it’s a more complex process, but also because the animation team has to spend more time preparing and rendering the assets before they are ready to move onto the next stage.

The cost of 3D animation per minute of animation is:

  • SIMPLE – £6,200
  • STANDARD – £9,300
  • MEDIUM – £19,000
  • COMPLEX – £25,000

2D AND 3D COSTS PER MINUTE

It also goes to follow that combining 2D and 3D animation techniques will require more work. The cost breakdown for a 1-minute animation that combines 2D and 3D techniques is:

  • STANDARD – £10,000
  • MEDIUM – £15,000
  • COMPLEX – £30,000

HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE TO ANIMATE?

The timeline for creating a 1-minute animation depends on the complexity of the video, and is as follows:

  • SIMPLE – 1 to 5 weeks
  • STANDARD – 1.5 to 5 weeks
  • MEDIUM – 3 to 7 weeks
  • COMPLEX – 6 to 14 weeks

Please note, these timings are only indicative and vary, depending on the complexity of your video. If you would like to know more about timings, please drop us a line and we’ll get back to you.

THE BOTTOM LINE

As you can see, there are different approaches to producing a 1-minute animated video. The most important factor is knowing what you want to achieve and the budget you are willing to stretch to. It’s also important that you also select an animator or animation studio with the right combination of skills and workflows that match your requirements. Our advice is to contact a professional animation studio for expert guidance on creating a bespoke animated video.

At FedUP Studio Lab, we treat every project and animation with the utmost care and dedication. We know that every brief demands to be treated differently, individually. We understand you have your own specific requirements, and we have a process in which, we not only animate and produce assets differently from other animation studios but also base our concepts on ethics and full transparency regarding costs.

If you have any questions regarding this post or if you’re thinking of producing an animated video, drop us a line! We’ll be more than happy to answer any questions you might have and give you a quote free of charge.

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