October 9, 2023
Introduction 118284841

Animation is a captivating art form that has enticed audiences for decades. From beloved classic cartoons to the latest blockbuster movies, animation has a way of capturing our imagination like no other medium. However, have you ever wondered why animated productions cost so much to create?
The truth is, animation is an intricate and time-consuming process that requires a team of talented artists, hours of meticulous work, and cutting-edge technology. Each frame, each movement, and each detail is carefully crafted, resulting in a visually stunning final product. But this level of quality comes at a price.

In this article, we will delve deeper into the reasons why animation costs so much and explore the various components that make up its substantial price tag. Keep reading; there’s more to animation than meets the eye!

Key Takeaways

  • Animation costs can be high due to factors such as the animation stylecomplexity of the animationvideo lengthproject timelinelocationskilled human resources, and star voice-overs.
  • Factors like collaboration and iteration in the production process, complex animation processes involving multiple steps, and licensing and royalties for copyrighted materials also contribute to the cost of animation.
  • The animation process involves idea and script development, storyboarding, character design, animation production using specialized software frame-by-frame creation), and post-production (editing, adding music/sound effects).
  • Misconceptions about animation costs include comparing it too closely to live-action videos or underestimating the amount of work involved. However, both animations and live-action productions can have high costs depending on various factors.

Factors that Contribute to the High Cost of Animation

Factors That Contribute To The High Cost Of Animation 118284225

Animation style, complexity of the animation, video length, project timeline, location, skilled human resource, and star voice-overs all contribute to the high cost of animation.

Animation style

Different animation styles cost different amounts of money. For instance, a whiteboard animation is popular and can affect the price. More complex styles like cartoon characters need special design in the early stages.

This can make costs go up fast. The type of animation also matters too. It could be traditional ones drawn by hand or made on a computer, and each one has its own price point. The detail level in the style also plays into the cost – more intricate ones will have higher prices!

Complexity of the Animation

Making an animation is hard work. The more complex it is, the more time and people you need to finish it. Complex animations have many charactersdifferent scenesspecial effects and lots of moving parts.

This adds a lot more work to the task.

For example, in a simple 2D animation video, only one person may be enough to do the job. But for a 3D movie with detailed characters and worlds, you might need hundreds of skilled animators.

Each small step involves creativity and problem-solving which can take quite some time.

Video length

The length of an animation video plays a big part in the cost. This is because longer videos take more time to make. A video that lasts 1 or 2 hours takes many days to animate. But, if some parts are used again and again, it does not cost as much more for long videos.

Still, a longer explainer video costs more than a short one. The style and length can change the production cost quite a lot.

Project Timeline

The project timeline also plays a part in the cost of animation. If there is not much time, more people may be needed to finish the work on time. This means spending more money. A longer timeline can give a small team enough time to finish.

So, this will cost less money. But, if an animation takes very long to create, it might also cost extra for keeping machines running all year or paying workers for their time.


Location sits high on the list of factors that sway the cost of animation. The spot where an animation agency sets up shop links to their per-minute rates. In some countries, creating animation is cheaper than in others.

Thus, an animator from a country with lower costs can help you save money. But, note that low cost doesn’t always mean good quality work! For example, making an animated film in London might rack up a higher overall cost than producing it in Delhi due to the wage gap and living standards.

Location matters because it shapes how much cash and resources are needed for animation production.

Skilled human resource

An animation project needs skilled animators to work on it. They bring creative ideas to the table. Top-level animations need a team of artists, not just one person. These people have had lots of training to become good at their jobs.

Paying for these experts is part of why animated videos cost so much. They need a high salary because they are very talented and hard working. Skilled human resources play a big role in creating high-quality animation that we all enjoy watching!

Star voice-overs

Star voice-overs add to the cost of animation. Big names from the movie world bring a big price tag. They are used in animated films to draw in more fans. People know and like these stars, so they want to see their movies.

The voices of famous actors also give an extra shine to animated films. They make them seem even more special and professional.

Other factors affecting the cost of animation

Other Factors Affecting The Cost Of Animation 118284376

Collaboration and iteration, complex animation process, and licensing and royalties. Read more to understand the impact of these factors on animation costs.

Collaboration and iteration

In animation production, collaboration and iteration play crucial roles in driving up the cost. Collaboration involves working closely with the client to understand their vision and requirements for the animation.

This back-and-forth communication ensures that the final product meets their expectations. Iteration refers to multiple rounds of feedback and revisions throughout the production process.

Each iteration requires time and effort from animators, designers, and other team members to incorporate changes based on the client’s feedback. The goal is to create a high-quality animation that aligns with the client’s needs, but this collaborative approach can increase costs as it involves additional time and resources.

Complex animation process

The animation process is complex and involves several steps. It starts with developing the idea and script, then moves on to storyboarding and character design. After that, the actual animation production takes place, followed by post-production.

Each step requires time, attention to detail, and skilled animators. Additionally, there are different types of animation such as 2D or 3D, which can affect the complexity of the project and therefore its cost.

Animation production demands creativity and precision at every stage to create high-quality animated videos or films.

Licensing and royalties

Licensing and royalties are important factors that contribute to the high cost of animation. When creating an animated project, animators may need to use copyrighted materials such as licensed characters or music.

However, obtaining the necessary licenses and paying royalties can be expensive. The cost of licensing and royalties varies depending on the specific rights needed and the popularity of the licensed content.

Therefore, it’s crucial for animation projects to consider and budget for these expenses when planning their production.

The Animation Process

Animation Production involves bringing the characters and scenes to life through the process of creating movement frame by frame.

Step 1: Idea and Script Development

Idea and script development is the first step in creating an animation. This stage involves coming up with creative ideas and writing a script.that will guide the rest of the production process.

It’s important for both beginner and experienced animators to spend time on this step because it helps refine their ideas and ensure they have a solid foundation before moving forward.

During idea and script development, animators can brainstorm different concepts, create characters, and outline the storyline.they want to tell through animation. By taking the time to plan out their animation in advance, animators can save time and money later on by avoiding costly revisions or starting from scratch.

Step 2: Storyboarding

The second step in the animation process is storyboarding. Storyboarding helps break down the animation scene by scene. It allows the team to plan and visualize how the final animation will look.

Storyboards are created using computer software, which makes it easier to make changes or add details as needed. By creating storyboards, teams can predict production time and cost more accurately.

This step forces teams to consider the video project from multiple perspectives, ensuring that every shot is right and flows smoothly. Storyboarding helps in organizing the flow and sequence of the animation so that it tells a coherent and engaging story.

Step 3: Character Design

Character design is an important step in the animation process. It involves creating the look and feel of the characters that will be in the animation. The complexity of the character design can impact the cost of the animation.

If there are many characters that need to be designed and animated, it will require more time and resources, which can increase the overall expenses. Additionally, the style of character design chosen for the animation can also affect costs.

The process of creating and refining these designs takes time and effort, adding to the expense of bringing them to life through animation.

Step 4: Animation Production

In the animation production stage, animators bring the characters and story to life. They use specialized software to create each frame of the animation, which can be a time-consuming process.

The complexity of the project and the length of the video also affect production time and cost. Skilled animators go through extensive training to bring creative ideas to the table.

Additionally, there are costs associated with music, sound effects, textures, and physics simulations that add to the overall cost of animation production. Animation budgets vary depending on factors like style, complexity, and quality desired by clients or studios.

Step 5: Post-Production

In the post-production phase of animation, the final touches are added to bring the animated video to life. This includes tasks such as editing, adding music and sound effects, color correction, and rendering.

Post-production can be a time-consuming process that requires attention to detail and skilled animators. The cost of post-production is an important factor in determining the overall cost of animation production.

Animation studios allocate a significant portion of their labor expenditures towards post-production work as it involves constructing video graphics and animating them. Therefore, this stage contributes significantly to the high cost of animation production.

Misconceptions about Animation Costs

Many people underestimate the work involved in animation and compare it too closely to live-action, leading to misconceptions about the costs associated with animation.

Comparing it to live-action

Animation and live-action are two different production styles, each with its own unique costs. While live-action videos can be expensive to produce, animation also requires a significant investment of time and resources.

In fact, animation can often be more time-consuming than live-action productions. Additionally, the assumption that animation is cheaper because there are fewer people involved is a misconception.

Both animation and live-action can have high production costs depending on various factors such as complexity, scale, and the emotions that need to be conveyed. So, it’s important not to underestimate the cost of animation when comparing it to live-action videos.

Underestimating the work involved

Many people underestimate the amount of work involved in creating animation. It is a highly labor-intensive process that requires skilled animators to bring characters and scenes to life.

Each frame of an animation film is carefully crafted, requiring attention to detail and precision. Animating even a single second of footage can take several hours or even days to complete.

Additionally, animators often go through extensive training to acquire the necessary skills and bring creative ideas to the table. The complexity of the project, length of the video, and desired animation style all contribute to increasing the workload and thus driving up the cost of animation production.

How Can We Justify the High Cost of Animation?

Animation justifies its high cost through its impact on audience experience, ability to bring imagination to life, and the potential for profits and success.

Impact on audience and viewer experience

Animation has a significant impact on the audience and viewer experience. It allows for more creative storytelling by bringing imagination to life in a visually appealing and engaging way.

By using animation, complex information can be simplified and conveyed in a manner that is easy to understand. This captivates and retains audience attention, resulting in increased brand recognition and engagement.

High-quality animations, created by skilled professionals with advanced software and equipment, contribute to a positive viewer experience as they provide visually stunning visuals and detailed character animations.

Ability to bring imagination to life

Animation has the incredible ability to bring imagination to life. Through animation, creators can visually depict any concept and transform it into a captivating and imaginative experience for viewers.

Whether it’s creating fantastical worlds, talking animals, or larger-than-life characters, animation allows storytellers to push the boundaries of what is possible. This unique medium enables artists to explore unlimited creativity, resulting in visually compelling storytelling experiences that captivate audiences of all ages.

With animation, there are no limits to the stories that can be told and the emotions that can be evoked, making it a powerful tool for bringing imagination to life on screen.

Potential for profits and success

Animation production can be a profitable business with the potential for success. As the demand for animated content continues to rise, there are ample opportunities to generate profits in this industry.

Many online platforms and streaming services are actively seeking animated shows and films, providing a platform for distribution and monetization. Additionally, animation studios can offer their services across various industries such as advertising, marketing, education, and entertainment, further expanding their potential client base.

Despite the high initial costs of setting up an animation studio, the long-term profitability and success that can be achieved make it a worthwhile investment. With the right combination of creativity, skilled animators, and efficient project management skills, an animation business has the potential to thrive in today’s market.


In conclusion, the high cost of animation can be attributed to various factors such as the complexity of the animation, the use of sophisticated software and tools, and the need for a larger team.

Additionally, extensive research and planning are required to create realistic and high-quality animations. Despite its expense, animation is justified by its ability to captivate audiences, bring imagination to life, and potentially generate profits.

So next time you watch an animated film or video, remember the hard work and resources that go into creating it!


Why does animation cost so much?

Animation can be a complex and time-consuming process. It requires skilled animators, advanced software, and extensive resources. The cost of animation is also influenced by factors such as the type of animation, animation style, project timeline, video length, voice-overs, and the use of star voice-overs.

How much does it cost to create an animation?

The cost of animation varies depending on several factors such as the complexity of the animation, the type of animation required (2D or 3D), the length of the video, and the quality of the animation studio. On average, a minute of animation can cost around $1,000 to $10,000 or more.

What is the best animation software?

There are several animation software options available, each with its own set of features and capabilities. Some popular animation software includes Adobe Animate, Toon Boom Harmony, and Autodesk Maya. The best animation software for you will depend on your specific needs and preferences.

How much does animation cost per second?

The cost of animation per second can vary widely depending on the complexity of the animation and the quality of the animation studio. On average, a second of animation can cost anywhere from $100 to $1,000 or more.

How long does it take to create an animated video?

The time it takes to create an animated video can vary depending on factors such as the complexity of the animation, the length of the video, the availability of resources, and the efficiency of the animation production team. On average, it can take weeks or even months to create a high-quality animated video.

Why is animation so expensive?

Animation is often expensive due to the high level of skill and expertise required from animators, the cost of animation software and hardware, the time-consuming nature of the process, and the need for a team of professionals to collaborate on the project. Additionally, the complexity of the animation and the use of advanced techniques can also contribute to the high cost.

How much does it cost to make an animated film?

The cost of making an animated film can vary greatly depending on the scope of the project and the quality of the animation. A small independent film with a limited budget can cost anywhere from a few thousand dollars to several hundred thousand dollars. On the other hand, a big-budget animated feature film can cost millions of dollars or more.

What does an animation production team look like?

A: An animation production team typically consists of various professionals who specialize in different aspects of the animation process. This may include animators, storyboard artists, character designers, background artists, voice actors, sound designers, and editors. The size and composition of the team can vary depending on the scale and requirements of the project.

How are 3D animations made?

A: 3D animations are created using specialized software that allows animators to build and manipulate virtual 3D models. These models are then animated by manipulating their position, scale, and rotation over time. The final result is a realistic and visually appealing animation that can be rendered into a video format.

Is it possible to create animations without the help of an animation studio?

Without access to professional animators, advanced software, and a dedicated team, creating high-quality animations can be difficult. However, with the right resources and skills, it is possible to create simple animations using animation software and online tutorials.

This article was written by Creative Island's founder Filipe Bastos. Beyond being the owner of the studio, Filipe has a background in philosophy and psychology, and loves reading and writing about anything related to human nature. He brings his unique perspective and insights to the work he does, including creating engaging and effective animated explainer videos for startups and small businesses.

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