The cost of motion design and animation.
by Gaëtan Dehaese.
When thinking about using motion design and/or animation for projects, one of the first questions asked is “how much will it cost” or “how much does 1 minute of animation cost”. As much as I would like to have a one-size-for-all reply, the answer depends on a lot of other factors.
These four factors are some of the main players when figuring out what the cost of your motion design or animation project will be. Let me elaborate a bit.
The kind of project you need motion design for.
A fully animated explainer video, animated inserts for other projects, social movies, adding graphics to your video productions, an animated intro or logo… Motion design can have a multitude of applications, so first we’ll need to define what your specific needs are.
What is it you’re going to be showing?
A step-by-step tutorial with a voice-over, some complex scenes filled to the brim with details, or a typographic video? The content of your production will let us know how complex (or not) it will be to bring it alive in design and/or animation. The content is also a factor that will greatly affect our next point factor: duration.
How long your project/movie is gong to be.
A 15-second insta-story, or a 3-minute presentation? The duration of your project can be determined by many different aspects, ranging from the platform you’re using or the script you’re planning to use. But mostly it’s driven by the content: how much time will you need to make your story/point come across to the viewer.
What do you want it to look like?
Most of the time our clients have a certain style in mind, something they have seen before and like, and is relatable to their project. But different styles come with different workloads, making it an important factor in the price point.
Four main aspects to help us determine the workload and cost of a project. Seems easy enough, not?
It would be if each of these factors wouldn’t be influenced by each other as well. Making a short movie or choosing a simple art style doesn’t always mean it will be cheaper: if the complexity or the amount of animation in a scene is big, the workload will be bigger, thus raising the price. The same goes the other way around: an intricate style doesn’t always equal more work: by using minimalistic animations and/or loops, you can lower the amount of work and thus cost. Let me clarify with the following example.
Both images are part of an explainer video where the chosen style is a stylized cartoon look and feel, that uses a limited color palette based on the client’s brand guide. The characters’ design has some advantages in animations since they don’t use the typical body shapes (not arms, the head is incorporated in body shape). In the style part of the estimate, this would mean that there is a smaller workload to bringing this to life.
This scene depicts a schematic of a house with water pipes. In the animation we see the pipes filling up with water and a figure approving the process. This scene is timed on a part of the voice-over and would last about 12 seconds. Although the duration of this scene is long, the amount of work is low: the style and content that needs to be shown are pretty low and easy.
The following scene is only 5 seconds long, and shows a more detailed schematic of the same house complete with interiors, and added elements and details matching the voice-over. The duration is a lot shorter, but the amount of content shown is much higher and, even with the stylized look and feel, will take a lot more work to be created/drawn.
The balancing of all these factors provides a significant change in workload and budget. That’s why we avoid ballpark figures price points, to avoid nasty surprises and the need to compromise on your ideas and vision. We’d rather have as much information as we can, and as such providing you a correct price point with a clear deliverable at the end.
That actually sounds really complex. What if you don’t know all the specifics yet? Or have no idea how to balance all these things out? Isn’t there an easier way?
There is actually, and it’s pretty straightforward. If you have a budget in mind: just let us know. At Content & Coffee, we aim to co-create projects, involve our clients each step of the way. So why not start at the price point? Let’s go through your ideas and expectations for your project together, finding the perfect balance to bring your vision alive within that budget. In the end, our goal is to make our clients happy, by delivering them the result they hoped for… and more.