Animation on a Budget: Optimize Animation Video in a Fixed Budget

In most animation production projects of F.Learning’s partners, we start with a limited budget. Our clients expect the most stunning videos. However, it’s hard to convince them to expand the fixed budget for the highest option. So we’re always looking for other options to deliver the best animation on a budget that is affordable and minimum. This article includes some effective ways to optimize the animation to make those great deals. 

Main elements that impact animation production costs

Before showing how to optimize animation on a budget, we want you to understand the factors that affect your production costs. These factors are: 

  • Animation style: including 3D animation, 2D animation, motion graphics, whiteboard, and hand-drawing. Each style comes with a different price. The price is calculated based on the difficult levels that take animators more time to create.
  • The complexity of animation concept: a concept with many characters, complex movement, and assets with detailed drawing lines will get a higher price.
  • The duration of the video: similarly, the longer the video is, the higher it costs.
  • Production rate: the rate is calculated based on the animation minutes you want to make.

To get these criteria in more detail, take a look at: 

So, in order to spend your money wisely, you need to optimize every element in the production process. Our experts recommend the 4 most effective ways as below. 

4 helpful ways to optimize animation on a budget 

  1. Choose the most effective but affordable style
  2. Limit the production scope
  3. Limit the number of animation minutes
  4. Choose the right animation studio

Let’s take a deeper look!

#1 Choose the most effective but affordable style

Regarding using animation in eLearning courses, especially on topics requiring high precision, 3D animation offers the most realistic experiences. And, of course, this is the most expensive animation type. Any lower-quality substitution in 3D graphic design can lead to a negative experience for audiences. 

F.Learning used to offer a lower-price option that still works effectively for such an abstract topic of medical. See how we can explain colorectal cancer and rectal bleeding with just 2D animation in this video.

There is no need for fancy illustrations of 3D animation. Basic and simple 2D animation is still effective in describing the concepts clearly. And more importantly, the lower cost is affordable for Dr. Manish Chand for his personal branding purpose.  

2D animation videos, including whiteboard or motion graphics, are among the cheaper alternatives because of their straightforward style. They require a limited number of movements but are nonetheless quite informative. Simple visuals still have a strong power in storytelling and information delivery. 

At this point, you must clarify your objective in order to make the right decision. Are the videos being utilized for eLearning knowledge or marketing purposes? Would they need to deliver learning outcomes, or must they be stunning and eye-catching to grab customers’ attention? Your answer will determine which style is your best choice to go for. 

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Notice that the more complex and detailed the concept is, the higher the cost rises. For example, the standard concept usually comes with limited facial expressions and the same clothes. That’s why it costs less than the complex concept that displays explicit facial expressions and job-detailed clothes. 

#2 Limit the production scope

Limit the number of characters

Characters create more emotions for your videos, which helps to increase the viewers’ engagement. But they also lead to some increases in costs. 

You should decide the suitable number of characters depending on the storyline and script of the video. In most animation videos, one or two characters are enough. You can consider replacing characters with iconographies in case the video requires more characters. 

In some videos, F.Learning advises clients to use text, shapes, and different metaphors to convey the information without human figures. 

Instead of animating people performing each task, F.Learning visualizes each step with an icon, which aids in the optimization of animation on a budget.

Limit the number of scenes 

The number of scenes also affects production costs. Developing a single 1-second scene and a 5-second one will require the same amount of work. Working on extended scenes takes less time for our graphic designers and animators compared to working on more new scenes. 

So, in a fixed-budget project, we always try to keep the number of scenes at a minimum. This speeds up production, and as a result, saves clients’ money. We work closely with the clients to advise them on how to transform the learning content into an animation. 

One significant way to decrease scenes of animation in a video is to combine animation with other video types. To give you an idea, talking head videos and animation for educational concepts, figures, charts, or graphs.

For example, F.Learning has worked with Geoff Lawton, a world-renowned permaculture consultant, for his online course. We combine live-action and science animations in the course videos. There is still his presence in some footage recording himself teaching the lessons. At the same time, we deliver the explanation of the scientific complicated processes of Permaculture in the animation forms. 

Here is one of our outcome videos from the Permaculture Design Online Course

Limit the number and the level of motions 

Always remember that more scenes come with more transitions and motions. In this case, using more traditional cuts and simple transitions will definitely help control your costs. 

The level of difficulty in motion can also change the price. Undoubtedly, basic motions are less expensive than complicated movements. Additionally, complex motions and transitions take much more time to complete. Besides that, don’t go crazy with “bling bling” effects.

#3 Limit the number of animation minutes

Almost all studios offer their rates on a minute-by-minute basis. The longer the duration is, the more expensive it is, which means that keeping the video short is a great way to save money. 

But other than the economic benefits, making shorter videos brings great value to your performance. 

Many clients come to F.Learning with long raw materials. That’s why before starting the production process, we always ask to revise the content. We suggest removing some unnecessary and distracting parts to make the video focused and concise. 

Getting straight to the point helps viewers retain the key ideas better and keeps them more engaged. One’s concentration stays best within 2 minutes. The longer a video gets, the less likely learners would watch it until the end. According to statistics, most explainer videos for online commercial purposes are shorter than 90 seconds. 

Tips: Some content, such as those found in eLearning courses, covers a wide range of ideas. You should divide it into smaller chunks, with each chunk delivering only one concept. Each video like this is usually 2-3 minutes in length and should not be longer than 5 minutes.

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#4 Choose the right animation studio

You can save up to 50% of your budget by choosing one studio over another while keeping the same quality. Can you believe that?

For instance, a full package for animation generally costs from $3,000 to $40,000 per minute in the US. But F.Learning can offer you from $800 to $1,000 for the same high-quality videos. 

The differences come from the location and labor cost. It’s often lower in low-spending regions in the world like India or Vietnam. That’s why we can offer a much more reasonable price for the same quality with a US professional studio. In fact, many large animation studios also outsource animations to reduce operation costs.

So do not save the cost by choosing a low-budget solution from free online animation tools. Consider partnering with animation studios that have location advantages. You might invest more at first, which can still be within your budget. However, the results will undoubtedly pay off in the long run.

We have suggested some best-animated video production companies for you. Check it out at: 

Tips: You should choose a studio that provides flexible styles so that you will have more choices within your budget. Besides, the price range among styles is not too wide as it can make you confused. 

To sum up 

We know that it’s hard to spend more on animation production when you have a fixed budget. Do not just look for the lowest-priced animation on a budget because you might end up with low-quality videos that bring a negative experience for your audiences. Always focus on the quality and find ways to optimize elements to make the best animation videos within your budget. 

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