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 such a nice upgrade to your course design that brings true value to learners. However, the question is: how much does a 2D animation cost per minute? If you google and search around, you would 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, you could find some freelancers that are willing to do the work for just $5-10 per one minute of animation. It is shockingly affordable since a professional studio would charge you at least 200 times more that. However, what can you expect from $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 characters and full detailed background, just like this.
So what is the secret behind the $30 animation?
The price is charged for the illustration and animation part only. That means you would have to work on the script and the voice-over. Then you have to do it yourself, hire another freelancer or pay them for an extra task. However, I think it would be better to write the script on your own. You are the one who understands your course the most, then you would know what is the best fit for your students. Moreover, it is not like you are pitching the script to any movie producers, just write however you want in whatever style you like. As long as you stick closely to the learning objectives, you should be fine.
The freelancers are most likely to use a cloud-based animation software. The software would only charge you a little for an access to a huge library of animation assets. Everything from character design to background layout and movement have been pre-designed already. What you need to do is to come up with a brilliant idea then drag-and-drop to progress your story. It is so simple that it makes a $5 animation reasonable. However, such price is charged for a very 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 symptom, 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
Then if you want to step up the game and produce more authentic materials without spending thousands of dollar for one minute of animation, you should consider contacting small studios. Those 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 a video is, the pricier it gets. For example, character animation or hand-drawn animation could be much more expensive than simple whiteboard animation. Nevertheless, it is still 30 times more affordable than reaching out to a professional studio. You get what you pay, however, it doesn’t mean that lower prices result in worse quality.
What could you expect from a small studio?
Authentic artwork: There is no cloud-based software, which means you would have unique animations that follow the branding guideline closely. Everything from the color scheme to the character design is customized as your request. If you are a teacher who just wants to create fun animated teaching materials, then branding is not likely your concern. However, if you are working for a training company or educational institute, you would want something that not only engages your audience but also represents well the company’s culture.
End-to-end service: The problem of hiring individual freelancers is that they are mostly specialized in one aspect of animation only. You would have to hire a scriptwriter, a storyboard artist, an illustrator, and an animator separately. However, when you are working 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 working process much smoother and saves you time and money. To sum 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 ourself as a small but trustworthy animation studio where the clients can lean on to create inspiring animation for educational purpose. Specifically, to create this animated series that visually delivery mental health knowledge to children, we have worked directly with ShinShin Tang, the founder of this project from writing down the script step. Also, she joined us in the designing and storyboard making and animating process to ensure that our style, illustration, and animation could deliver her educational message to kids.
Take a look if you are interested in this project:
Then why is there such a large difference in the price?
They are from countries with lower cost of living. The average income of a developing country is likely to be much lower than a developed one. For example, the average income of United State annually 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 more affordable price. In fact, lots of professional studios in US-UK outsource the animation services in developing countries also. They would benefit by cutting operational costs and get the same work done with 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 animation, this 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 it should be the minimum value. A 60-second 2D animated video could cost from $3,000 to $50,000. 3D animation is much pricier, starting from $10,000 with basic models. Most studios don’t just put up their price on the websites. Since everything is tailored, so is the price. You should contact the studio, tell them your budget, your ideas, your style reference, then they would provide you more exact a 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 professionals have experiences and expertise. You could get the best quality out of animation with fine details. The cheaper options are mostly from the other side of the world like India or Vietnam. If you choose to cut cost by working with them instead, be ready to face the time zone or geographical barriers. Then leaving the work to professionals near you is much less a 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 do the asset and style frames already, the price could be lower a little bit.
You must have understood the reasons behind the price gap in animation production now. If branding and styling is not your concern, I recommend you hire a trustworthy freelancer that could deliver the work quick and nicely. You could even do it yourself! There are various tools to support you – the newcomer in 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 you have 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 a proper pricing plan.
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