Articles #2 | 3D animation price? - A few words about how we set the price of our 3D industrial animations

On the internet forums and online discussions very often pops up the question about price of 3D animation services. How much is professional 3D animation? What does the price depend on? Is it possible to prepare such thing like "3D animation pricebook"? In this short article we will try to find the answers for these questions, basing on our experience and projects we have made.

3D animation is well-known and being used for over 20 years now technique of presentation. It is widely used in advertising business, entertaiment and in the special effects. As viewers and cosuments we are used to its presence and this is what we know very well. However, 3D animation used as product presentation video in the technological and industrial business is relatively new technique. That causes doubts: how much is preparing professional 3D animation? What does the price come from? What does the price consist of? What kind of price we should consider as a normal one and which should indicate us there is something wrong with the company offering the service?

To answer these questions, firstly we have to wonder what consist of process of making 3D animation. In the 3D industrial animations we specialize in, we distinguish 5 main elements:

Each of these elements is a separate process and demands competences from different areas. During project consultation we discuss all the technical details of the project and animation’s scenario. The main goal of our projects is to provide animation performing function expected by our customers. If it is an animation basing on emotions and fast information transfer (eg. for trade fairs) then its assumptions are different than for instructional video.

In our projects most often we use 3D CAD models provided by the customers but very commonly they have to be supplemented by extra 3D models, so the next part of preparing 3D animation is modeling. In this stage we simply sculp all the objects appearing in the animation.

Animation stage covers setting in motion all objects of the project. At this stage we do also all the physical simulations of rigid/soft bodies, fluid, air and deformations of animated objects.

Next step is bring life to the animation by setting real-world textures, materials and proper lighting. This stage is necessary for obtaining photorealistic results.

The last stage is post-production. That includes adding sound effects, voiceover, color correction, motion graphics, subtitles and all final touches giving the project its final shape.

Next step is bring life to the animation by setting real-world textures, materials and proper lighting. This stage is necessary for obtaining photorealistic results.

To sum it up, the work inserted into each of steps described above needs to be reflected in the price of the project. So what we need to answer now is: what exactly does the 3D animation price should be, considering all stages of 3D animation preparation process?

3D animation price per second vs. individual approach

Among companies from creative industry, especially in the 3D animation business we can encounter two main ways of setting the prices fo 3D animation:

The first approach is being used by companies willing to make the pricing stage easier and to give easily rough information about price for the project. Very commonly we can see pricing given in the formula like $100 per 1 second of animation

However, that kind of approach is slightly unfair – it overestimates the price for easy but long projects. At the same time the price may be to low when the project is very complex but short.

In Cadilight we perform individual approach for each project and setting the price basing on detailed guidelines. For main factors we take into consideration while quoting the project we can list:

complexity of the project


post-production elements

As you can see on the pie charts above, the main factor of the price is complexity of the project. Evaluation of that factor is of course subjective process but in general for complexity consist amount of presented features/functions, amount of moving elements and amount of advanced physical simulations (fluids/collsions/deformations).


To sum up, defining straight pricelist of 3D animation is impossible and will never be desent information. Each project has its own features and setting arbitrarily price in reference for example to the one second is very unreliable. However, basing on analysis of such features of the project like: animation complexity, time and post-production elements we can prepare precise quotation for the project. For example, providing simple 30-second long project presenting one or two features of the machine leads to costs abou $1000 but multielement, a few-minute long with voiceover, animated subtitles and with multiangular versions may cost even between $5000-$8000.

Obviously, these are only rough calculations, all people interested in precise quote for the 3D technical animation/rendering we invite to direct contact. After consulting your needs, goals and all technical details we will prepare precise pricing information for your project.