How much does an educational animation cost per minute: $30, $150 or $3,000?
Have you ever considered creating educational animation for your course? Animations are engaging and entertaining. With the power of visuals, they are an excellent upgrade to your course design, and they bring true value to learners. However, the question is: how much does a 2D animation cost per minute? If you google and search around, you will find different options, ranging from $30 to $300,000!
$30 animation from a freelancer
And it could be much lower than that. Just take a look at Fiverr platform, you would find that some freelancers are willing to do the animation for just $5-10 per one minute. It is shockingly affordable since a professional studio would charge you at least 200 times more than that. However, what can you expect from a $5 work? Slobby stick figure? Slideshow kind of animations with dozens of pictures moving around? In fact, you would be surprised that they could give you an animated video with slobby sticky characters and detailed background with moving pictures.
So what is the secret behind the $30 animation?
This price is charged for only the illustration and animation part. That means you would have to work on the script and the voice-over yourself or 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 however style you like. As long as you stick closely to the learning objectives, you should be fine.
These freelancers are most likely to use 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 just to come up with a brilliant idea then drag-and-drop to progress your story. It is so simple that it makes paying $5 for animation reasonable. However, such a price is charged for basic animation. If you want more, like special effects or music, then you would have to pay more.
The biggest drawback of $30 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.
$150 animation from a small studio
If you want to step up the content and produce more authentic materials without spending thousands of dollars for one minute of animation, then you should consider contacting small studios. These studios would charge you from $100 to $200 per one minute of animation, depending on what type of animation you are looking for. There are many factors affecting the overall price of an animation project, however, 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 reaching out to professional studios. 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?
Authentic artwork: They do not use cloud-based software, which means you would have unique animations that follow your branding guideline closely. 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.
End-to-end service:The problem of hiring individual freelancers is that they mostly specialize in only one aspect of animation. You would have to hire a scriptwriter, a storyboard artist, an illustrator, and an animator separately. However, when you work with a studio, you just need to communicate with one person. 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 studios.
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 the animating process to ensure that our style, illustration, and animation could deliver her educational message to kids, and we did not let her down.
Take a look if you are interested in this and similar projects:
Then why is there such a large difference in the price?
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 animations with the same quality but at a more affordable price. In fact, lots of professional studios in US-UK outsource the 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 the third-world countries get more projects and more profits.
$3,000 animation from a large studio
$3,000 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. A 60-second 2D animated video could cost from $3,000 to $50,000. 3D animation is much pricier, as it could cost $10,000 for basic animation. Most studios don’t put up their price 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 a more exact quote.
TedEd usually collaborates with professional studios to produce eye-catching and valuable educational animated videos.
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 the 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.
You must have understood the reasons behind the price gap in animation production by now. If branding and styling are not your concern, I recommend hiring a trustworthy freelancer who could deliver the work quickly and nicely. 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.
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