How Much Does Animation Cost Per Minute: $100, $1,000, or $8,000?

How much does a 2D animation cost per minute? If you google and search around, you will find different options, ranging from $100 to $800,000! In this article, we will discuss what you receive with different price ranges and point out your best investment.

What impacts 2D animation production cost per minute?

  • Style complexity/ Concept Art: Animation style affects mostly animation production costs. If your script requires more assets or characters, the higher the price per minute is. Also, the style complexity is based on the complexity of movement, and the detail level of drawing lines.
  • Video length: The more minutes of animation you need. The higher the price is.
  • Extra services: They are the “add-in” part in the animation price, including the payment for the voice-over artist, the cost of buying copyright audio, and other advanced features. If you work with an animation studio, the cost of animation effects is under the overall animation package. Some animated video production companies have a connection with voice-over artists. Also, these studios own a resource of copyright audio. Therefore, it would be much cheaper, compared to hiring a separate freelancer to do so.

Now, let’s see. With $100, $800, and $8,000 per minute, which package is worth your expectation. 

Services included$100/minute
(a freelancer)
$800/minute
(a small studio)
Scriptx
Animation style/ Concept Artx
Storyboardx
Illustrationxx
Animationxx
Voice-overx
Musicx
Language Translationx

$100 per minute from a freelancer

At $100/minute, the animation is simple with slobby sticky characters and detailed background with moving pictures. Take a look at the below example: 

1. This price is charged for only the illustration and animation part

And the illustration and animation mostly come from cloud-based animation software. The software would only charge you a little for access to a huge library of template animation assets. Everything from character design to background layout and movement has been pre-designed. All you need to do is a brilliant idea, then drag-and-drop to progress your story. However, this option doesn’t work if your script includes jargon or unique assets. For example, if your video is about medical, you can’t expect the software to provide you with some assets like liver, kidney, etc.

REMEMBER: This animation cost per minute is charged for basic animation. If you want more, like special effects or music, then you would have to pay more.

2. No extra service such as script, music, voice-over, etc.

You can hire another freelancer and pay them for an extra task. However, I think it would be better to write the script on your own. Since you are the one who understands your course the most, then you would know what the best fit for your students is. Moreover, it is not like you are pitching the script to a movie producer; just write whatever you want and in your style. As long as you stick closely to the learning objectives, you should be fine.

The biggest drawback of $100 animation is that it limits your options. Let’s say you are producing videos for a healthcare training course. If your animation is about two nurses discussing some disease symptoms, it should be okay. However, if you want to show your students what the symptoms look like and how the nurse actually treats them, then you would have to consider a more expensive option. These custom details require the animators to spend a lot of time and effort in research, illustration, and animation.

Still too complicated to kick start your animation project?

 You are not alone. We have the answers to all of your concern!

$1,000 per minute from a small studio

If you want to upgrade and produce original animation content without overspending your budget, it is better to contact small studios. A small studio would charge you from $800 to $1,000 per one minute of 2D animation for the full-packaged service. However, just keep in mind that the more complex the animation style is, the pricier it gets. For instance, if you want an animation video with multiple characters who do complex actions, the price is higher than a whiteboard video with simple drawing lines. Nevertheless, it is still 30 times more affordable than animation costs per minute from professional studios. You get what you pay for, though, but it doesn’t mean that lower prices result in worse quality.

1. Tailor-made animation video with unique concept art:  

You would have unique animations that follow your branding guideline closely because animation studios don’t use cloud-based software. The studio has a team to design a concept art ONLY for your project. Everything from the color scheme to the character design is customized per your request. If you are a teacher who just wants to create fun animated teaching materials, then branding is not likely to be of concern to you. However, if you are working for a training company or educational institute, then you would want something that not only engages your audience but also portrays the company’s culture competently.

2. End-to-end production service:

Individual freelancers mostly specialize in only one aspect of animation. So if you hire a freelance, you have to hire others to complete the process and follow all of them at the same time. Meanwhile, an animation studio offers a professional team including a scriptwriter, a storyboard artist, an illustrator, and an animator. That means you work with a studio, you just need to communicate with one person – a production manager. He/she is supposed to be a producer that is in charge of the whole team. This makes the work process much smoother and saves you time and money. To sum this up, such studios could offer you high-quality animation just like any other professional studio.

Here is an example of work from a small studio, F.learning Studio. We create customized characters, backgrounds, and other assets. Moreover, from scriptwriting to the animation step, everything is done in-house without the help of third parties.

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$8,000 per minute from a professional studio

$8,000 for animation is such a leap in price. However, if you are considering working with a professional studio, especially those based in US-UK or AU, keep in mind that this should be the minimum amount. One minute of 2D animated video could cost from $8,000 to $50,000. 3D animation is much pricier, as it could cost from $10,000 to $200,000 per minute. The price range difference is based on the number of characters and advanced features. Most studios don’t put up their animation production cost on their websites. Since everything is tailored, so is the price. After contacting the studio and telling them your budget, ideas, and style reference, then they would provide you with exactly how much your animation cost per minute.

TedEd usually collaborates with professional studios to produce eye-catching and valuable educational animated videos.

Then why is there such a large difference in the price?

It’s because of the location. These studios are from countries with a lower cost of living. The average income of a developing country is likely to be much lower than a developed one. For example, the annual average income of people living in the United State is $56,810, which is about 30 times higher than that of Vietnam or India. That’s why studios in developing countries could offer more affordable animation costs per minute with the same quality. For example, whiteboard animation cost is generally from $3,000 to $40,000 per minute. The prices include storyboards, voice-over, illustration, and animation. If your budget is from $800 to $1,000, then you have to go for whiteboard animation software which wastes you tons of time. However, with location advantage, some animation studios can provide you with affordable but high-quality animation. In fact, lots of professional studios in the US-UK outsource animation services also to developing countries. They would benefit by cutting the operational costs while getting the same work done at a lower price. On the other hand, the studios in developing countries get more projects and more profits.

Conclusion

Now you have understood the reasons behind the gap in animation cost per minute in different approaches by now. If branding and styling are not your concern, I recommend hiring a trustworthy freelancer who could deliver the work quickly and nicely or You could even do it yourself. There are various tools to support you – the newcomer in the animation industry! However, if you want to create animations on a tight budget, consider contacting a small studio. They are a perfect choice for a long educational animated series. If you have a larger budget or a high – Cartoon Network standard of animation, you should contact a larger studio. Whatever your choice is, you should start by sending them a quick brief of your eLearning project. Then they would be able to consult you on the best types of animations for your course and have a proper pricing plan.

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