How Much Does It Cost to Outsource Animation?

Wondering how much outsourcing animation costs? We dig in to each kind of animation project to give you research backed answers.

How Much Does It Cost to Outsource Animation?

Contents

  1. Factors that Affect Pricing
  2. Should I Outsource a Section or the Whole Production?
  3. White Label or Not?
  4. How Much Does it Cost to Outsource Animation in Different Regions of the World?
  5. What About Hiring Freelancers?
  6. FAQ
    6.1 How much does 2D animation cost per minute?
    6.2 How much do extra revisions usually cost?
    6.3 How much to outsource motion graphics?
    6.4 Final Words

While useful for anyone interested in animation costs, the research we did is primarily for agencies or businesses who are looking to partner with professional animation studios to organize production and save on project costs.

For this article we’ve analyzed prices of more than 50 animation studios and 25 freelancers. So if you’re wondering how much it can cost to outsource animation under specific circumstances, this article is for you.

Thinking of outsourcing animation production?

Check out our animation production page for more information and video examples.
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Factors that Affect Pricing

The main factors that affect animation production cost are:

1. Style

Style of the video (2D animation, 3D, motion graphics, etc). You can learn everything about the various animation styles in this article.

2. Complexity

Complexity of the project. This can include the number of scenes and characters, actions (lots of movement vs mostly static images), transitions, and more

3. Length

Length of the video. The longer the video, the higher production cost

4. Deadline

Deadlines. Is the deadline tight, or is it a lower priority? A short deadline might require overtime and other extra production expenses.

5. Revisions

Number of revisions. Some studios say they’ll provide unlimited revisions, but that can turn out to be a bit of a sales pitch since if you create custom videos, unlimited revisions means unlimited work. Usually 2 revisions are standard, which should be enough for you to not worry about having to extend the budget.

6. Country

This factor may seem strange, but it’s so underrated. It’s actually more important than any of aforementioned points because labour, taxes, real estate rent, and other regional costs affect the pricing exponentially.

Another factor that you should discuss with your production team is which stages of the project you’d like to delegate. We'll  break this down in more detail below after understanding how much does really animation cost per minute.

Animation Services Price

So, how much does it cost? The short answer is $1900 - $25000, depending on style, complexity, number of revisions, country, and other factors. That’s why we broke this down to groups and price levels so you can get a better idea.

How Much Does 2D Animation Cost Per Minute?

Cost of 1 minute custom 2D animation can be $2500-$4500, depending on complexity and length. The longer the video, the less cost per minute. This includes creating sketchboards, style, illustrations, sound design and the animation production.

How Much Do Motion Graphics Cost?

Pricing for 1-minute motion graphics can be $2000-$4000. You can find cheaper options, but it probably won’t be custom. Motion graphics artists use a lot templates for cheaper work, but won’t openly admit to doing so. Even if you see your logo and corporate colors in the video, the “customization” can be fake. For that reason, we strongly recommend working only with reliable studios. Here is a list of the best studios:

Should I Outsource a Section or the Whole Production?

Some agencies ignore this question. However, making the right decision here can affect your production costs up to 20%. The thing is, animation studios have production pipelines which usually include:

– Creating a storyboard
– Picking and creating a style
– Illustration
– Animation

animation services

Plus, they usually work as teams. So for example, when you require only animation, this can actually cost you more, maybe even more than a full production. Let me explain.

Let’s say you have an in-house graphic designer who is good at illustrations. Chances are they are professional, but not skilled at the nuances of creating illustrations designed specifically for movement in animation or for scenes within a storyboard. So when you send those files for animating, the studio has to spend a lot of time preparing the illustrations for animation, scene editing, and figuring out the transitions before they can even work on the animation stage.

That whole process might take more time than the studio would require if they started from scratch! What this ends up meaning is that you pay up to double to convert everything into a usable format. That’s why we recommend discussing all the details in advance with the animation studio. Here are some questions to ask:

  • The price for full production
  • The price for partial production
  • If the studio is able to create concepts and a storyboard, or do they only do full production?
  • Do they do sound design?
  • Is there a higher charge for white label services?
Useful Recourse
Explainer Video Cost – A Price Guide For Any Budget

White Label or Not?

Some agencies hide the fact that they themselves outsource production. A studio would then charge you more because they are paying more to their fulfiller to keep the work out of their portfolio. It’s like an author ghostwriting a book for someone. So studios provide pricing considering this fact to avoid any disclosure at the end of the project.

Our advice is to discuss this with the studio in advance. What would the price be with and without white label fulfillment. Usually this varies 15%-30%.

How Much Does it Cost to Outsource Animation in Different Regions of the World?

As you could probably surmise, production costs might vary depending on where content has been made. There are many factors for that such as taxes, standard of living, office expenses, and so on. Of course, you could say that traditionally quality is higher in developed countries. I would say the answer to that is both YES and NO.

It’s true if you’re looking to get Pixar quality. However, if your project’s budget is lower than 25K USD for a one minute video, then you would be better off opening your search to global options. You’ll get better quality for the same price. It’s even cheaper to hire a full studio in many places than a single freelance animator in San Francisco.

According the information that we gathered from Clutch and GoodFirms ratings, here are prices for 2D animation in different regions (based on hourly rate).

animation prices in different continents

As you can see from the diagram, to hire an animation studio in America (Canada or United States) costs $150 average per hour. Companies in Europe cost $100 per hour. Although, that’s a blanket statement because companies from England, the Netherlands, and Germany are far pricier. Meanwhile, if we check prices for studios from east Europe (Armenia, Ukraine, Poland), the average price for the same quality can be $50-$80 per hour.

As for Asian companies, they can be hit-and-miss. Of course there are great studios with high quality levels, but they charge rates similar to western Europe.

What About Hiring Freelancers?

If you’re an agency, we strongly recommend working with studios for several reasons.

1. You spend more time on organizing and project management. If you work with different freelancers in different countries, you spend a lot of time managing and coordinating them. Let’s say your client asks for a small tweak in the visuals. They’ll need to contact you, you’ll need to check illustrator availability, then sync with the animator who lives in another part of world, and just like that a small job might take days, not to mention giving you a headache.
2. Freelancers charge more because they spend a lot of their time on finding clients and build in that work to their fees. They can be idle a part of every month, which is why they might charge you more than a studio would.
3. Let’s say in the middle of project your freelancer becomes ill. There’s no other option, your project will be put on hold. But a studio has an entire team and can handle this kind of problem. Even if all of them were sick, they’d have contacts that they could easily pass work load along to without the project missing a beat. All you need to do is to send the brief, approve the timeline, and receive the finished work.

Useful Recourse
Useful Recourse
Should I Produce My Company Video Myself?

FAQ

How much do extra revisions usually cost?

The cost of revisions is usually calculated hourly. It can vary from $15-$45 for an hourly rate depending on stage of the production and complexity of adjustment.

How much to outsource motion graphics?

Outsourcing motion graphics usually starts at $1500 for 1 minute of basic animation.

Final Words

As you can see, there are quite a few possibilities to the question of how much it can cost to outsource your animation. These are all based on the different project variables. We’re always available for a free consultation to answer any questions you may have about your own animation outsourcing needs. Additionally, you can check out this article for our list of the 5 best animation outsourcing companies to work with!

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