How Much Does Animation Cost Per Minute? (2024 Update)

15/09/23         Author: Florencia Oliveto         12 min reading



A confused-looking 2D animated character surrounded by dollar sign bubbles, wondering about the cost of 2D animation




It’s also understandable if the first thoughts that popped into your head when you started playing with this idea were, How much does animation cost?” and “Is it really worth it?”.

These are relevant questions when looking to make a company or corporate video, as you need to take care of your business’s finances and find the best bang for your buck! The thing is that if you are new to the video marketing game, you may not know what factors play a part when pricing animation work or what price range to expect from different vendors.

But don’t worry because, by the time you finish reading this guide, you’ll have learned about the different types of vendors you can choose depending on your budget and what results you can expect from them. Let’s get down to business!

But before we start, let’s see an example of what you can expect from a professional video production company:

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Pricing Animation Work: Key Factors

There’s not a one-size-fits-all answer to the question “How much does animation cost?” and the truth is that various factors come into play when pricing animation work, such as:

  • The Video’s Length. For obvious reasons, the production of a 30-second video requires a smaller investment (and less effort!) than a 3-minute piece.
  • Customization (or lack thereof). A generic piece built from premade templates won’t cost nearly as much as a video tailored to your needs and brand identity (nor will it bring about the same results).
  • The Production Timeline. Most video production houses tend to adjust their production pricing when a project needs to be completed within a shorter timeframe than usual to make up for the extra effort and resources it requires.
  • The Team’s Expertise. An experienced and talented team of professionals will logically charge more for their work than an amateur freelancer, but the results always have a distinctive higher quality. You’ll learn more about it shortly!
  • The Animation Style. 2D, motion graphics, explainer videos, and whiteboard videos are more streamlined than other styles and, therefore, are usually less expensive to produce than 3D or stop-motion animation videos, for example.

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How Much Does Animation Cost Per Tier?

Considering the factors we’ve just mentioned, it’s no surprise that there are as many different price tags as animated videos out there! Even less surprisingly, the quality and originality of those videos tend to vary according to the cost and team behind them.

Let’s look at this in closer detail and find out which price ranges you can expect from different types of agencies.

 

Amateur/Free Tools – Animation Cost: $0 – $100 Per Minute

Yes, it’s possible to spend zero dollars on an animation. In fact, many online tools allow you to create animated videos yourself with little to no subscription cost.

That said, it’s vital to understand that what you’ll save on money, you’ll spend on time and effort. Moreover, the result will probably be below your expectations.

No offense to your video production skills, but cheap video maker tools are fairly limited and tend to work out of templates with precarious and generic illustrations and poor animation effects. As they say, you get what you pay for.

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Freelance Level – Animation Cost: $50 – $3000 Per Minute

As you’ve probably already noticed, the price range at this tier is quite ample. Well, that’s because you’ll find very different professionals across the entire spectrum.

Looking at the starting point, you’ll encounter freelancers with little experience and basic animation skills. However, at the highest peak of the price range, you’ll find experts capable of delivering a custom, quality video.

Whatever the pricing of the animation work you go for, it’s worth noting that freelancers tend to handle all the production phases by themselves. What’s more, they might even offer a limited set of services. So, it wouldn’t be strange that some aspects of the video production process get neglected, leading you to search for other professionals (like scriptwriters or voiceover talents) to complete the piece. After all, you can only expect so much from a small outfit working on a big project such as an animated video.

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Mid-Tier Animation Studio – Animation Cost: $3000 – $7000 Per Minute

These are the sorts of studios that you can find while browsing online marketplaces a step up in scope from freelance services. They’re often small-size video companies composed of two or three professionals.

While the staff is usually experienced and capable of delivering a solid custom video, the studio’s small size can prevent them from being able to handle various projects at the same time. So, don’t be surprised if you’re asked to endure a waiting time before they can work on your video.

Moreover, some of these companies outsource the services they can’t provide, but some others might ask you to take care of that on your own. If that’s the case, remember to consider that extra investment and add it to the initial animation cost.

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Professional-Level Animation Company – Animation Cost: $8000 – $25000 Per Minute

Here, you’ll find an animated production company with a skilled crew of experts in scriptwriting, illustration, animation, sound design, and everything in between. You might also get an account manager, who’ll be in charge of keeping you and your team in the loop and involved in the project.

Professional tier companies usually keep the workflow organized and on schedule, and customize every little aspect of your video to your needs and wants. So, you’ll be asked to make major decisions, like approving the script or choosing the voiceover talent and giving feedback on anything you’d like to change.

All of this ensures you get exactly the awesome piece you were expecting, and the result will be a fully customized animated video of the highest quality (and, most likely, a pleasant creative experience!).

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Broadcast-Level Animation Company – Animation Cost: $25000 – $100000+ Per Minute

Here, we’re talking about top-tier animation studios dedicated to premium 2D, 3D, and motion graphics production, among other things. Their work’s quality is similar to the one seen in big-screen animated movie productions.

Although their work is undoubtedly admirable, the high quotes they often send when pricing animation work make these studios an unsuitable choice for most businesses. Of course, if you’re a big multinational brand looking to produce long-form animations, like series or movies, then go for it!

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A Note on Animation Costs & Quality When It Comes to Marketing

As you can see, animation pricing is often directly proportional to the piece’s final quality. Videos that are cheap also tend to look cheap because they often lack attention to detail and, in the worst cases, customization a professional marketing video requires.

Most likely, having a run-of-the-mill animated video won’t generate nearly as much revenue as a customized piece specifically designed to appeal to your target audience and achieve your goals. I dare say you may even end up losing money! After all, most times, it isn’t about what you sell, but about how you sell it. And let’s face it: a low-quality and generic piece probably won’t leave a very good impression about your product or service.

In most cases, it’s wiser to pay some extra bucks for a top-notch video from a marketing video agency that can actually convert your audience into paying customers than spending less money but having no revenue whatsoever.

If you’re looking to put the question of “How much does animation cost?” to rest and get a fully customized, effective marketing piece, check out our online portfolio and reach out for a quote about the video you envision.

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How to Make Your Own Animated Marketing Video

When reading all the possible answers to the million-dollar question “How much does animation cost?”, you might wonder if it’s possible to just make the video yourself and save some money. The good news is that you definitely can! But let me warn you that unless you have some solid production and editing skills, this is going to be a bit of a headache.

If you’d still like to go the DIY route, then know that you’ll have to take care of writing the script, designing the storyboard and the styleframes, recording the voiceover, creating the illustrations, and adding music and sound effects, among other steps required to produce a quality animated marketing video.

If you want more details about the process, you can go over our handy explainer video production checklist and get some awesome tips along the way.

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Answering Your Doubts About Animation Production

There’s probably way more you’d like to know about what goes into pricing animation work or creating one yourself, so we’ve put together this brief FAQ section to clear out some of your doubts. Take a look!

Why Is Animation Expensive?

Animation is costly because of the complex production process it entails. Many trained professionals are involved in animated video production – scriptwriters, a director, illustrators, animators, voiceover artists, and more – not to mention they need to use professional-level software to obtain high-quality results – all of which affects the pricing of the animation work.

Having said that, an animation production team is not nearly as big as a live-action one. Plus, they don’t need lightning and camera equipment, a set, and the like. At the end of the day, animation – especially 2D animation – is still one of the most cost-effective alternatives in the video marketing game.

How Much Does Animation Cost Per Minute?

Summing up our first section, an average custom 2D animated video costs $7000 to $20000 per minute.

As seen before, there are also cheaper and more expensive options, but this is the price range that you should expect when looking for a quality video.

How Long Does It Take to Animate 1 Minute?

The sole process of animating one minute of illustrations can take up from one to two weeks, depending on the experience and skills of the animation artist and the complexity of the piece.

However, you also have to consider the amount of time that will take to write the script, create the storyboard, style frames, and illustrations, record the voiceover, and work on the sound design. In total, the whole animated video production process can take a professional studio between seven and nine weeks of hard work.

How Difficult Is Animation?

When making a rudimentary animated video, the difficulty level is medium since the basics of animation aren’t particularly hard. That said, creating an advanced-level animation is indeed very difficult, as it requires keen attention to detail, a deep understanding of the way people and objects move, and training in sophisticated animation software, among other things.

What Types of Animated Video Styles Are There?

There are many, many different types of animation out there. It’s important to be familiar with the options you have because the style that you choose will be determined by your budget and the goal you want your video to accomplish. Here are five of the most popular styles:

Which Are the Stages of Animated Video Production?

Video production can be broken down into three stages: pre-production, production, and post-production.

  • Pre-production is where you determine the goals your video will help you achieve and plan out what your video will look like. For that, you need to create a script and a storyboard to serve as the base for the other two stages.
  • Production is where you actually get to create your video. Here, you’ll create the illustrations and bring them to life with animation and other effects.
  • Post-production is where everything is carefully put together, and the final details are fine-tuned. You’ll add any music and sound effects and do any necessary editing to create the final piece.

.Explainer Video Production Process Yum Yum Videos

 

The Takeaway

As you have learned today, the cheapest price doesn’t usually translate into the best deal. In fact, the lower prices tend to match the poorest results. However, the most expensive production companies don’t necessarily ensure the perfect video for your brand either. So, the question of how much is animation production going to set you back hinges on a lot of factors you should consider before embarking on a project.

Undoubtedly, the best way to go about it is to find a video company that offers the best price-quality guarantee and a quote that’s suitable for your budget.

Luckily, informing yourself about animation costs like you’ve just done is a great starting point to get the best bang for your buck. Congratulations!

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