How Much Should I Be Paying For Animation?

How Much Should I Be Paying For Animation?

Here’s one cost we do know; a second of an average Pixar Film costs $24,156 to make. Well, the technique isn’t necessarily more expensive than another, what drives cost is dependent on the concept. The specifics for a scene can lead you to a particular technique to achieve it within budget. Consider how complex it might be to hand draw a dynamic action scene, creating it frame by frame in Traditional animation. Another thing to think about is each character or location (if relevant) will need to be designed and ‘built’. But in essence the more characters and locations, the higher the budget. The sophistication of the movement. If you have characters, then what do they do? If they are 2D characters do they turn around or do we always see them face on? It is common to think of animation as a cheaper option to live action.

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We often get asked by our clients “How much does animation cost?” It’s a fair question but I’m afraid the answer isn’t straightforward. But there are some useful parameters to be aware of that can have a big impact on your budget.

Here’s one cost we do know; a second of an average Pixar Film costs $24,156 to make.* That’s prohibitive for most marketing budgets. But animation has become such a commonly used medium and that means budgets vary hugely and there are more affordable approaches out there.

The key to understanding cost scales in animation is to get to know what makes something complex. So here are seven things to consider;

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Length

Unlike live-action, where we capture movement by filming it, in animation, we are creating an illusion of movement through a series of still pictures. Each of those still pictures or ‘frames’ have to be crafted from scratch and there’s usually 24 frames per second in most cases. So whether you are creating an animation in 2d or 3d, every second counts. The duration of your film has a direct correlation to its cost, so think hard about the messages you need to deliver when you brief a creative agency.

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Technique

So which is cheaper? Stop Frame, 2d Vector animation, or 3D/CGI? Well, the technique isn’t necessarily more expensive than another, what drives cost is dependent on the concept.

The specifics for a scene can lead you to a particular technique to achieve it within budget. Consider how complex it might be to hand draw a dynamic action scene, creating it frame by frame in Traditional animation. Let’s use a car chase as an example. It may be worth animating that scenes in 3D. As the cars…

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