Why is Animation So Expensive?

Well, how much does it cost to animate a cartoon? Depending on how difficult the project is, it could be expensive. Animation rates vary from studio to studio and can differ in various teams depending on factors like project scope, tech stack, animation techniques, style, team professionalism, deadlines, etc. Let’s check on some reasons why are movies so expensive to make, the processes of creating animation – from choosing the type and style of the video to voice acting and sound design and try to figure out if animation is always expensive.

Animation Style 

How much do animations cost? Some factors help to estimate the costs.The animation style may be a crucial factor of pricing. How the price for 2D and 3D or other graphics is formed, what determines the cost of the project and how to save money when ordering an animation video is a question.


2D animation pricing frequently necessitates a customized approach. The kind and quantity are the primary determinants of price. The major factors that may affect the cost are the type, style and duration of the graphic video. But even after defining these parameters, you will see only a preliminary estimate. The final amount is formed after writing and agreeing on the script. Such conditions can create misunderstanding and an image of the opacity of the process. This is reinforced by the client’s confidence that animation is too expensive. In fact, it rather depends.


You must first decide if you need a 2D animation or 3d animated explainer video is more appropriate. Three-dimensional graphics are frequently more expensive than flat graphics. There are, of course, some exceptions, when the task is made more difficult by a unique idea or character drawing. Here, even the most basic 2D graphics will cost an order of magnitude more than 3D ones.


While needing relatively little production expenditures, whiteboard animation may keep the audience’s interest just as well as any other complex video at an average animation production cost. Learn more about animated whiteboard films, including how to create them without the help of an illustrator, motion designer, or editor, which is less costly.


Movies from individual photos with manual movement of the subject are another piece of art. Literally, stop-motion is a frame-by-frame animation – thanks to the cut-out object installation into the environment which may be two-dimensional and, where the effect of the movement of the object is created. Nearly the hardest animation type may take days or months to do.


The tasks that the video must complete affect the animation style that is used. Flat vector images are appropriate for describing a simple service’s operating concept. Doodle videos are ideal for educational videos or complex instructions. Animation in isometry will demonstrate the company’s production process, and three-dimensional graphics can combine the previous two styles, etc.


An online service or application’s functionality can be effectively demonstrated using a screencast, and CGI graphics will tastefully display all of the product’s details from various perspectives. This is a very small portion of the styles customers request more frequently.

Video Length

The timing of the video is one element that directly impacts the price of animation. There is a widespread misperception that the cost of a video is proportionally affected by each passing second. In reality, the first 30 to 40 seconds are accurate to this.

For instance, even though a 50% price differential makes sense, 30 second explainer videos and 60-second videos will only be priced differently by 30%. The construction of the video’s graphics and their animation actually takes the most of the labor expenditures. As a result, production studios frequently determine the cost of the project rather than of a second or a minute.

Project Timeline

Teams can comprehend the flow of steps required to finish a project on time by using the timeline as a visual reference point. It summarizes all necessary tasks together with their assignments, priorities, and deadlines. The longer the timeline, the nigger the projects are and, consequently, the higher the price is.


When ordering an animation video, you can provide your own script, it will be adapted and implemented. If there is no time for creativity, the production studio will develop and provide a choice of different concepts, taking into account current trends, and then write the script.


The next step is a storyboard and/or animatic. Sketches of the future video are created, which can then be animated. Visualization is necessary in order to make possible changes to the script at the initial stage. Significant changes at the stage of creating the final graphics will entail additional costs for the client.

Star voice-overs

The sound design is overlaid with music and sound effects are added. You can choose a ready-made track or the production will record a personal composition. This will add realism and liveliness to the video and draw attention to the right moments happening on the screen.

An animated video would be incomplete without a voiceover or soundtrack. The choice of choice over often depends on the preferences of the client. Each of the elements of voice acting and sound design, adjusts the tone, brightness and contrast of the message that is being included in the video.


How much does an animation cost is clear, but what about videos shot in locations? In case a special location for video shooting is needed, that may add to the end cost.  Specialists will arrange it in the best possible way, for example, avoiding having the camera pointed at you from above or below by holding it at eye level, etc. 

They will get the finest frame and then audio quality, especially from smartphones with built-in microphones and the best software for editing. In case of a professional camera involved, they will place your camera 2-4 feet away from you to get the finest shots, etc. Sometimes real time videos are combined with animated effects, so the price will differ because of the mixed techniques applied. 

Complexity of the Animation Process

Creating graphics and animating them are two separate processes, although they seem similar. Here, graphic elements are embedded in the timekeeping and set actions for them. How much does animation cost? The cost will depend on the dynamics and nature of the animation, resources involved,as well as its complexity. 

The most time-consuming is the animation of a unique character. It is necessary to think over for him every movement and gestures. Sometimes detailing the appearance of the hero is required

Skilled Human Resource

Once the concept, script, storyboard, and/or animatic are agreed upon, the designer then proceeds to create the graphics. The style and color scheme are being worked out, static elements are being created. If the script includes a unique character, a separate artist is involved to create it. They develop the skeleton of the future hero, appearance and facial expressions, etc. Then why are movies so expensive? This exquisite work is time consuming and demands resources involved. That’s why.

Collaboration and Iteration

The peculiarity of the production of animated videos is that each iteration is agreed with the client and they try to make adjustments before the graphic designer starts work. As a rule, the client will be able to make only two simple edits to the finished video without additional costs – such conditions are prescribed in the contract.

Advanced Software and Technology

Visme, Adobe Animate, Adobe Character Animator, Pencil2D, Biteable, and Animaker are some of the best animation programs available. We’ll look at these software tools and others in the process of animation design to assist you in identifying the ideal animation program for your requirements. Most of them are pre-paid , so using them also affects the end price for the project.

Licensing and Royalties

Some project demand the participation of professional animation artists or voice over stars which may include some strict contacts with licensing and royalties points to agree upon. Thus, in return, the studio commits to give the artist record royalties on any sold physical or digital copies. An average voice record royalty may get between 9% and 12% of the retail cost. However, some artists demand up to 20% of the list price.  Why does animation cost so much becomes clearer.

Besides, in the areas of an animated work, copyright is still in effect: any animated work would have a variety of animated (pictorial) elements that would be protected by copyright which may also add extra cost to the general project estimation.

Misconceptions about Animation

Unlike the myth about the high cost of animation by default, the statement about the high cost of making an extremely engaging creative is quite true. Often this is not the work of one person, but of a huge creative labor team. As a result, the development of the concept can cost more than the actual ordinary graphics or cost of animation piece. That’s all.


Now you may understand better why is animation so expensive. In case you need animation design but don’t know where to start and what animation costs are out there for you to consider, feel free to drop the line and provide your project visual examples you like and a brief comment why. We will prepare a preliminary expenses estimate and lead you throughout the entire creating an animated video process from idea to sound design and promotin wit a qualified and skilled team. For better saving and project management for any scale animation design project, feel free to ask for Explain Ninja collaboration in no time.

What are you waiting for? Just leave us a note, we’ll respond faster than Flash would do!

Contact Us