How much does it cost to produce 3d animation?

If you have an idea and you are looking to find how much does it cost to produce your 3D animation, or If you’re going to have an animated video for your marketing strategy, you’re on the right page.

Let’s start by this example, Captain Underpants animation. Its budget was 38 billion dollars, and its time duration is 89 minutes. Let’s drop down 28 billion of the cost because it’s marketing, distributions of animation and also some voice actors! We just imagine very cruel here! So the rest is 10 billion dollar! By considering it, and the 89 minutes, the production of each minute is around $112000.
Captain underpants by Dream Works.

Captain underpants by Dream Works.

So what’s the cost come from? As we discussed earlier, we dropped down the cost of marketing, distribution and Voice actors, so what is left is relate to artists.
To produce animation we have this categories:

  • Story: Writing story, ideas and also write clean screenplay.
  • Storyboard and 2D arts: creating concept art for each character so 3D artist know how approach the arts without test and try. Also creating 2D storyboard in the line of story, so animators know how to handle it.
  • 3D arts: OK, we are in the main part now! The 3D arts include many parts itself, let take a look at it more precisely.

    3D arts include this parts:

  • 3D modeling: 3D modeling of characters and environment base of concept arts and references.
  • Texturing: After modeling, artist need to colorize the model, and apply material on it. Assume if a model is gray and you don’t know its material is metal or human skin! Here artist work on texture and material.
  • Rigging and skinning: OK, now we have model and its texture! But how they should move? We need to rig characters and assets, make them ready for animation. By rigging, we will create bones, attach and weight 3d model to bones, define codes and controllers to make movement friendlier, it’s like puppetry but more complicated. In animation Most of The characters need both facial rig and body rig.
  • 3D layout: in this part, artists create 2D storyboard on 3D scene, actually its very simple 3d animation of story. So artist can follow it, use it as reference to work more detailed based on in and storyboard. Here they will define simply camera and simple movements.
  • Animate: alright, now we have 3D model which have texture, material and also rigged and are ready for movement. Now animator will work on them and based on 2D storyboard they will animate the characters. Here, they will record reference from themselves or will record film from actor for the reference and they will use their own Creativity to make movement more appealing. Sometime peoples use motion capture, especially for realistic movement when they need real move, not stylized or cartoony.
  • Directing: In all parts, always there is art director and director who direct peoples to work on correct line!
  • Lighting: After do animation and camera define, it’s time to make high quality video from them. But before we have it, we need to define the lighting! Its day, night, have scary lighting or romantic?
  • Rendering: OK after lighting, it’s time to do rendering. Its mean produce high-quality images from the scene and export them. Each second is 30 pictures. (And in some case its 24). When you see those pictures after each other’s, its produce video. By using regular PC, its need much time to render only 1 picture! If we think soft and think you have normal PC, each image may need a day for you! Its mean 1 second which include 30 images, need 30 days.
  • Post production: after rendering, it’s time to make work on its post-production, VFX like fires, smokes, waters , particles and any other elements which make video more detailed. Let’s assume a minute video is contain 10 shots. Post production of each shot is like a project itself! Details and more appealing video is not cheap! After work on detail of video, it’s time to export them. Of course, its export need much time again!3D parts done! and the next step is creating long video and applying sound!
  • Edit/sound effect: After have all the shots ready, it’s time to edit the video, attach all shots together to create one long video. Remove the parts which is not interesting to have better edit. Yes, we may remove some parts which is very expensive in production! The better result is what the most important thing is. At this stage, we need to record sound effect, like boom, knock knock, water splash and etc, and also music of the video, and also applying voice of each character. OK, we did all of them! Everything is done and now we can export the video in several formats for different usage!

OK, after explaining the process, we know what the cost has come from. This is the way professional team and studio approach their project. Some artists or studio may work less on some part and create low quality result, some may do less detail on the model and animation. The better quality of course cost more.

Cube master animation studio, is a team who create nice quality animation video while keep the cost reasonable, not much cost like big studios! So if you have an idea and you want to create your own animation for your business, company ,organization or even personal usage and also If you are going to create training animation for your audience, or even if you are animation producer and you are looking for an outsource animation studio, feel free to contact us, give us your idea, and we can estimate the budget for your own case.

Cube master 3D animation services

Just as a note, one minute 3D animation would cost at least around 6k and would cost more even 100K as defined above! All relate to story, style and quality. Of course if you want a simple animation for example creating a 3d model and present a simple product, that would cost much less.

If you have any question or for collaboration, feel free to contact us using contact form of website.
Thank you!

Hadi Kiani/Head of production at Cube animation studio 

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