Putting The Hours In
Last Saturday I was asked by a potential client how much five minutes of animation would cost. – Which is, indeed, a difficult question since the costs of an animation is a complex topic.
When I calculate the time I’ll probably need to finish a creative project, I either use my experience or a handbook for designers on pricing in German (or a mix of both) as reference.
Sometimes it’s rather difficult to convince your client why something is worth all the money, make no bones about it.
Luckily, today I found a lovely piece of animation, in which the whole animation process is explained and where the team did a great job on that explanation. The video was aimed at potential clients, but it’s also helpful to other people who work in animation:
The Story of Animation
I highly recommend to read David’s description of the project (see vimeo link above) and to check out the project’s website at thestoryofanimation.com for more information.
Back to Pricing
My handbook says that one minute of animation per character takes 16 to 32 hours to complete. It doesn’t say a thing about what kind of animation (stop motion, drawn, CG or cut-out animation e.g.) is used, or about how complex the preproduction process would be.
Storyboarding is calculated shot by shot, and they suppose that you’re going to need 4 to hours to complete each sequence.
That’s all the book says about the pricing of animation. Experience is a good reference as well even though it’s much harder to get than a handbook.
To give you two more ideas on how much time it could take to animate I’ll show you two of my projects:
My Bristol Showreel
In 2008 I went to Bristol to learn everything about character animation that is possible. Over 11 weeks I created my first professional showreel:
I worked on this 2:49 minute piece every day for eleven weeks, from about 9 in the morning to 8 in the evening. That is eleven hours per day for 55 days, or 605 hours. The work included developing concepts, storyboards, animating test and final shots as well as editing and sound-design. It doesn’t include major parts of puppet making or delicate set-building.
The second example I’d like to give is from last year:
And what if…
was an animated installation I created for a shop window galery last year. The whole animation (including making the character and the props) took me about 32 hours. The animation is much rougher than the animation for my show reel which is why it took my less time to animate the 2 minute piece:
You see, it’s difficult to price a project objectively. And it’s much more difficult with personal projects. I simply can’t tell you how many hours I put into this project…
You have to decide if you want to get rich, to make a decent living or to do it just for fun. I go for a combination of all them, depending on the project. Probably you like to share your model in the comments and how it works for you?
Lots of love and support to you,