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?
- Animation style complexity
- Video length
- Animation effects (voice-over, music, interactive elements, etc)
- The purpose of animation video
Animation style complexity
Animation style affects mostly animation production costs. One minute of hand-drawn animation is more expensive than one minute of motion graphics or whiteboards. Even in one animation style, an animation project that has many characters will get a higher price.
The scale of an animation project also impacts the cost. One minute of a stand-alone video is much higher than one minute of a series. However, it doesn’t right in every situation. If you need animation series for education, the style must be consistent to guarantee the completion rate. Therefore, you can reuse assets and style frames for the whole series, the price would be a little bit lower.
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 eLearning 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.
The purpose of animation video
The animation price of educational video is different from one of marketing video or other commercial purposes. For example, one minute of explainer video costs from $4,000 to $100,000, and even more; with the turnaround from 2 weeks to 12 weeks. The average price range of an explainer video is always higher than an educational animation video. It’s because that explainer video needs to attract public awareness with its outstanding and fancy visual. Therefore, it needs expensive style and advanced features. Meanwhile, animation videos for educational purposes are generally used for a specific learner group. Those videos are made to visualize knowledge and improve learners’ engagement. Thus, there are many ways to optimize animation costs per minute of educational videos.
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Now, let’s see. With $100, $800, and $8,000 per minute, which package is worth your expectation.
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$100 animation per minute from a freelancer
And it could be much lower than that if you look at the Fiverr platform. At $100/minute, the animation is simple with slobby sticky characters and detailed background with moving pictures. Take a look at the below example:
What is the secret behind the $100 animation?
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 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 software limits the uniqueness of your video, especially when you use your education videos for branding purposes.
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. You have to pay more for animation script and voice-over
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.
$1,000 animation 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, depending on the animation type, video length, production speed, the number of characters… However, with this price range, you still get a full-packaged animation service, from the script, storyboarding, illustration, animation, and voice-over. There are many factors affecting the overall price of an animation project, but, just keep in mind that the more complex the video is, the pricier it gets. For instance, character animation or hand-drawn animation can be much more expensive than simple whiteboard animation. Nevertheless, it is still 30 times more affordable than animation cost per minute from professional studios. You get what you pay for, though, it doesn’t mean that lower prices result in worse quality.
You get what you pay for, though, it doesn’t mean that lower prices result in worse quality.
What could you expect from a small studio?
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 define ourselves as a small but trustworthy animation studio that clients can lean on to create inspiring animation for educational purposes. Specifically, to create an animated series that visually delivers mental health knowledge to children. We have worked directly with ShinShin Tang, the founder of this scheme, by writing down the script step. She also joined us in the designing, storyboard making, and animating process to ensure that our style, illustration, and animation could deliver her educational message to kids, and we did not let her down.
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.
- Animation price calculator: How to calculate animation price for your project
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$8,000 animation per minute from a large 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 the 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 more exactly how much your animation cost per minute.
Professional studio – high quality of animation
There is no doubt that professionals have experience and expertise in their field. You could get the best quality out of animation just by having fine details. The cheaper options are mostly from the other side of the world, like India or Vietnam. If you choose to cut costs by working with them, then be ready to face the time zone or geographical barriers. Leaving the work to professionals near you is a much less stressful approach.
Moreover, the price is not always sky high. One minute of a stand-alone video is much higher than one minute of a series. Since they have reusable assets and style frames, the price would be a little bit lower.
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 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.