The cost of animation has actually gone down considerably in some respect, nevertheless, still, high end animation for big budget feature films with studios like Disney, Pixar, and Dreamworks costs are as high as ever, costing about $7,000 to $8,000 per second. This quality of animation requires a tremendous amount of work, manpower and takes a lot of time. Though, it is possible to get similar levels of quality for significantly less money, between $500 and $2,000 per second, still the time factor plays a role.
So a budget would be really based on the allocation. The more time we spend in the perfection, the more it would cost. If I can block out a period with the pilot and all 26 episodes. 660 seconds is 11 minutes x that by 26 episodes. = 17,160 seconds x $500 = $8,580,000. This would be the low budget standard.
Can we make it for less? Yes, we can make it for a lot less.
What do we have to work with? Usually, our investors and clients have an idea on the allocation. On a smaller budget, we know we have to make compromises to lower these costs, as noted below:
- Consecutive work over a course of a time period that has an allocated budget keeps the speed and confidence in the work environment. Someone is more willing to work for less if a certain period is carved out.
- Limit the number of characters needed. A project that takes place inside of one room with one or two characters will be easier than a setting in a large expansive environment with many characters. Likewise don’t go crazy with the special effects.
- A large portion of an animation budget goes toward modeling and rigging. Instead of creating everything from scratch you can save time and money by purchasing stock models that have already been modeled and rigged for animation.
- Keep the design of the characters and location as simple as possible. The more detail and realism required the longer it will take.
- Don’t expect perfection. Remember the adage, “good is good enough”. One of the biggest exploders of animation budgets are revisions and changes.
- Find an experienced production company with less overhead, like Sunscope that has the knowledge and expertise to get the work done effectively and efficiently. It is essential to you have people who can do more than one thing.