How much does an animation cost?

How much will it cost? One of the first questions we hear when someone is exploring the possibility of having an animation created for their organisation.

Many factors influence the cost of producing an animation. Unlike off-the-shelf options you can create online, each animation we make is bespoke. This involves a complex design process, not to mention scriptwriting, storyboarding, recording a voiceover, adding music and creating sound effects.


Animation length

A common misconception is that the running time of the animation is the main factor influencing cost. To an extent, this is true; generally speaking, the longer the animation, the higher the cost will be.

However, style and complexity also play a part in calculating the cost of animation. You could have a shorter animation with more detail or a longer animation with less detail for the same budget. A two-minute animation with four characters and four different backgrounds could cost the same as a four-minute film with two characters and two backgrounds. The length of the animation doesn’t always equal a higher cost; it’s the complexity and detail that counts.


Style and detail

A large proportion of the cost will depend on the style of your animation and the detail required; the more illustrated elements – such as characters – that need to be created, the higher the cost. Will you need multiple characters creating, props, and detailed background to tell your story effectively? If you have characters and assets from a previous project – can they be used again?

Depending on the message of the animation and the intended audience, your characters may have simple movements such as blinks, eye movement, basic happy and sad facial expressions, head movement from side to side, arms swinging. However, if you’re looking to convey or explain a complicated process that has to be 100% accurate and checked by several stakeholders, in this case, the animation will be more complex, requiring greater detail and more time to produce.

In the main, our animations are scripted and narrated in the third person by one voice over artist. This is a much less expensive option than working in the first person as each character then needs to be lip-synched and multiple voice over artists sourced.


Script writing

A common mistake is to underestimate the length of the script. An effective animation needs the right intonation and pauses between sentences – sometimes even words – to allow viewers to take the messages in. This means the length of the animation won’t ever equate to a straight read-through of the script.

It’s important to make sure the script has clarity and has been written with visuals in mind. We can help writing your script as part of the project if necessary.


Voiceover

We can’t stress the importance of using professional voiceover artists to accompany your animation. Cutting corners on this detail does affect the overall quality of your final edit. We can source and coordinate voiceovers representing a range of cultural and ethical backgrounds.

One of the benefits of animations is using the same imagery with different language voiceovers. Ensure you state this in the briefing process and whether you will need subtitles included.


Following the process

One last point is about keeping to the original brief. In one of our previous articles, we explained the animation process. It’s important to stick to this as much as possible to keep within budget. The more revisions and amends that are requested, the longer it will take for your project to reach completion – with a risk of exceeding your budget.


Cost examples

Medical Aid Films: Word Childhood Cancer – Communities

  • Length – 3:09
  • Third-person
  • Characters – 5
  • Background illustration 
    • Families home village
    • External hospital
    • Internal hospital
  • Simple movements
  • 30 secs of static illustrations
  • French and English language versions and subtitles

Purposeful – Karo Kura: Corona lan de trut

  • Length – 4:27
  • First person
  • Characters – 5
  • Background and chalkboard illustrations
  • Complex movements
  • Front and profile head shots
  • Arm movements
  • Lip synch

This animation is more expensive than the World Childhood Cancer film because it is longer, the characters move more and it is lip-synced. 


Please get in touch if you would like any more information.


Want to find out more?

We’ve been doing this for 20 years, working with international clients including BBC, Cambridge University Press, News UK, Medical Aid Films and Friend. Your creative projects will be in good hands with Alternative View Studios.

Call us on 020 8374 4760 or email on hello@avstudios.com

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