Most people interested in 3D animation don’t understand how much time, money, and effort go into animated videos of high quality. In general, it requires a 3D animator to know anatomy, physics, animation principles, and have drawing skills to create a real masterpiece. But if to dive deeper into the video production process, you’ll see that many professionals stand behind it – art directors, concept artists, character designers, 3D modelers, animators, technical artists, scriptwriters, sound designers, and others.
From our point of view, we consider it very important to show our clients what is behind 3D animation costs. So, this article will not only help get familiar with 3D animation services better but will also help facilitate cooperation with a 3D animation studio. This is crucial to know the 3D animation price before planning the project and its budget. This guide, a kind of a cost calculator, will help determine what you want to see in 3D animation. Look inside the closed doors of a 3D animation studio!
3D Animation Price List: What Are the Key Factors?
How much is 3D animation long?
How complex is 3D animation?
What type of 3D animation is required?
|Design & art style|
What will animated objects look like?
|Scope of work|
How much work will be done for the final product?
|Team & its experience|
Who will be involved in production?
The animation industry is often considered expensive, but the reality is that 3D animation costs vary from project to project, and of course, from studio to studio. Each project varies in many ways – how long it takes, who is the target audience, what budget, etc. 3D animation pricing depends on different art styles, character design, complexity, etc. Animation studios can set different rates for each part of the project. Be ready for it and let’s consider each of the possible factors that affect the final cost of 3D animation!
- Animation Duration
This is one of the significant factors in forming a final 3D animation price – as the animation length increases, the price will increase as well. Generally, long animations are needed to display more visual effects and require more skills and render time. You can estimate a 3D animation cost per minute or per second when it comes to cartoons, explainer or promo videos when scrolling is available. In games, 3D animation costs depend on the number of animated characters or objects in the scene and the complexity degree (read more about this point below!).
- The Complexity of 3D Animation
The more details are in the animation, the higher cost will be. The details that add complexity are characters and their movements in the dynamic scenes. It may require a team of 10 specialists to create the illusion of movement in detailed 3D environments for a character-based story, while a 2D animator will be able to make flat objects move in a highly dynamic manner. That’s why 2D animation is cheaper than 3D animation. You can find out 2D animation costs in this market analysis. Moreover, techniques in 2D and 3D animation differ. 3D animation is combined with 3D modeling – sculpting from general forms to specific details with various tools. Special textures are used for realistic effects. Just imagine how complex it is to model and animate human features, let alone animation of facial expressions.
- Type of 3D Animation
3D animation has come a long way to have many types in its account – digital 3D videos and films, interactive 3D videos, virtual reality, etc. You can read more about the types of 3D animation that can also affect the final project cost. Techniques, design, approaches differ from project to project that requires more detailed specifications for further budget estimates. Some are less complicated and labor-intensive than others. Thus, you will pay less for technically simple videos with 3D models and more for 3D animation in VR games, for example.
- 3D Character Design & Art Style
The more detailed a 3D character is, the more manipulations are needed to set it in real-life settings. Special textures, materials, and proper lighting are set so that 3D characters will look natural in the animation. In addition, the more the 3D character has to move, the more effort is required to ensure that all movements, gestures, and postures are smooth in motion to create a holistic image.
Each 3D animation is made in a specific graphic style to emphasize the visual identity chosen for the content being conveyed. It is based on the artistic vision formulated prior to the start of the project. In general, you’re offered to choose between abstract, realistic, or photorealistic, stylized, and cartoony 3D graphics. The number of 3D art styles is constantly growing, and this is not so much related to how 3D models are created, but how they are used and for what. Stylized, colorful, and cartoon-like 3D graphics is applied for children in educational or entertainment projects, or for adults in casual games.
In PC and console games, you will find a photorealistic dark graphic style widely used to immerse players in real-world environments, such as shooters that take place during a war. Fortunately, technology allows game artists to create artwork that can simulate the real world with stunning visuals. Aside from visual aspects of each project, an art style determines the cost as well as all previous points. As a rule, it takes more time and skill to display realistic 3D designs than customizing cartoons.
- The Scope of Work on 3D Animation
You can ask to animate already created 3D models or work on 3D animation from scratch – starting with researching all ideas valuable for the project to create the overall storyboard. As a result, different teams will be involved to perform specific job functions. Depending on the 3D project, the number of steps can vary. For 3D character animation, rigging is an essential step in setting up a controllable character skeleton that is intended for further manipulations. But if you include concept creation, storyboarding, 3D modeling, texturing, the process will take more time to produce the final output. Any of these areas of work are discussed and carefully planned in advance to provide an accurate cost estimate.
- The Number of Experts and Their Qualifications
It is important to remember that 3D animation is an interdisciplinary assignment performed by a team of creatives with different skills. Someone must create concepts, another will bring them in life through 3D modeling, and so on. As we’ve already mentioned, the scope of work determines the necessary number of team members. For an average 3D project, you’ll need to hire 5-7 specialists to see well-designed animation. Under the supervision of an art director, the team of 3D artists and modelers will build upon visual images so that they will correspond to the specified style. The team of 3D animators will apply models, characters design to create the illusion of motion. 3D animators need to understand what timing to use, know when to edit, how characters will move, what background is best for a particular scene, etc.
3D animation studios manage to bring together specialists with different competencies under one roof. You can choose between junior, middle and senior 3D animators with different hourly rates. That doesn’t mean you won’t get high-quality 3D animation from junior experts. They are also qualified as seniors, but you will pay less but wait a little longer.
Kevuru Games is a 3D animation design studio equipped with all the necessary software to create art and animation of high quality. Our team has successfully launched 3D animation projects in – advertising, marketing, gaming, etc.
3D Animation in Hours: How Long Does It Take to Create?
|Type of 3D Project||Design & Animation||Scriptwriting||Music & Sound||Turn-Around Time|
|Non-game 3D animation (explainer video, motion graphics, etc.)||✓||✓||✓||100 – 120 hours|
|Game animation with simple 3D characters||✓||✓||✓||120 – 150 hours|
|Game animation with complicated 3D models||✓||✓||✓||150 – 180 hours|
Use this chart with the approximate hours required to complete any of the 3D animations as a starting point for budgeting your own project. The cost will vary based on style, complexity, and other requirements for the production process. Therefore, it is better to contact company representatives for a more accurate estimate of the animation.
Hourly Rates of 3D Animators Around the World
|USA||$100 – $199 / hr|
|UK||$100 – $149 / hr|
|Germany||$50 – $99 / hr|
|Poland||$25 – $49 / hr|
|Ukraine||$25 – $49 / hr|
|India||< $25 / hr|
(Hourly rates are based on the data, given on online review platforms such as Clutch.co (Top 3D Animation Companies), and presented through comparative analysis)
The hourly rate can vary widely depending on many important factors, including educational background, qualifications and certifications, work experience, and additional skills. As you see the highest cost of 3D animation is offered in the USA – it ranges from $100 to $199 per hour. It means that if you hire an American 3D animator for a simple project that is estimated at 100 hours, you’ll have to pay him/her $10,000 (in the case when minimum price ranges are taken into consideration).
And let’s compare how much it will cost you, for example, in Ukraine or Poland. $ 25 * 100 hours = $ 2,500 (but again this is possible if you hire a 3D animator with an hourly rate of $ 25, which is quite difficult to find in the countries mentioned). You can find affordable prices in India, but please keep in mind the experience and reputation of each preferred 3D animation studio on your list.
Follow the practical tips given to you below so that you could achieve the desired result – 3D animation of high quality delivered on time and on budget.
Tips on Using 3D Animation Services for Success
- Define the business needs in advance. Once you know what 3D animation is for, why it is needed, you can easily ask the right questions when choosing a 3D animation team. Skip all possible misunderstandings with future partners through proper project planning.
- Select a 3D animation studio thoroughly to meet all the project requirements. You need to look for professional 3D animators across all available platforms. Don’t forget to find out as many details as possible about their expertise – will they be able to complete your project as required?
- Focus on the best working option. It’s up to you what to choose, but the final choice should preferably be based on the most beneficial conditions. Maybe, it will be reasonable for you to hire a dedicated team of 3D animators from Ukraine or any other outsourcing destination to gain access to global talents.
- Share all your ideas with a 3D animation team. When they know what you’re planning, it is easier for them to define the scope of work and prioritize the tasks. Do you remember that the scope of work will affect the final cost? So, it is much better to determine what you need and share your vision with the team. Don’t hesitate to share reference materials if any to get exact outputs.
- Don’t lose control over the project progress. You can manage it on your own or make use of project management services from a 3D animation studio. Experienced project managers keep the entire production process well-organized.
Hopefully, this guide allowed you to figure out how much 3D animation costs and how many variables it may include. Welcome to Kevuru Games for more details about individual projects.
Have an idea for 3D animation or any other creative project? We’ll apply our extensive expertise (8+ years in the industry) to estimate it and pass through all stages smoothly so that you could be proud of the best possible outputs. Just inform us about your needs!