To help clients best predict budget (we all like to know how much things cost), we thought it a good idea to provide some general pricing guidelines. Creating a custom animation isn’t exactly a simple, straight forward process. But after doing it for 25 years we’ve identified a few steps to help guide decisions.

Ground Control to Major Tom…

I describe an animation project like launching a rocket; the most difficult part is getting it off the ground; going from nothing to something. Once you have something – you can edit. But before that –  it’s all just words describing ideas.

Whether you realize it or not, you already have a vision in your mind’s eye of what you’re trying to create. The trick is being able to communicate that vision to other people. Whether it’s something you saw on a web site, YouTube, or TV – you’ve probably seen a style, heard audio, or felt something in the way information was presented that resonates with you. Now it’s your turn to create something special and you want to get it right.

We want to help you get it right.

Communication through Visual Intelligence

Animation uses the universal language of visual intelligence. It’s why we point to things, use metaphors/analogies, and come up with examples and illustrations when we’re trying to explain. Animation does it all in a fun, informative, compelling, beautiful and engaging way.

May I Have This Dance?

Like any creative process, it’s a bit of a dance. You’re hiring us because we’re the experts at what we do. But – you also want input because you’re the experts about what you do. So we work together – us two experts – to expertly communicate your vision in our language.

Something else to consider; it helps if you like the people you’re dancing with. After all, this is supposed to be fun. Life’s too short to work with temperamental, unhelpful people.

Know Who You’re Talking To

Most of what we do is animation for marketing, so we’re usually presenting a product, idea, or service to potential customers. A big part of doing that well is understanding who you’re talking to – who’s your audience? The answer to this question determines much, one of the most important things is understanding how to present your value proposition.

If you’re like many of us – we’re excited about what we do! We want people to know and understand all the (gory) details because we’ve worked long and hard to learn them. Truth is, though – often times it’s just too much.

Um, Excuse Me…

That’s when the art of pairing down your message becomes important. Reducing it to the simplest version of the truth, the salient points that’ll hit home with your peeps, and get them to nod their heads in agreement because you perfectly understand their need!

Trouble is – with the world being what it is – most people either don’t have, or aren’t willing to spend much time wading through the pre-amble to get to the meat. Click – off they go to another web site. So you need to get to the point quickly, and you need to keep things engaging.

Enter animation. The ‘wow, that looks pretty cool’ factor. The ‘how’d they do that?’ factor. The thing that keeps eyeballs turned towards the screen just long enough to make the point, then invites them to learn more if they like what they see.


Figure between $50 and $100 per finished second of high-quality 3D animation. Sometimes more, sometimes less. If your animation is simply a logo spinning around in circles for 30 seconds, it’ll cost less. If your animation is explaining how the Space Shuttle gets from outer space back home while keeping the astronauts alive, well, it’ll probably cost a little more. Most projects fall somewhere in between.

For 30-seconds of finished animation, you’re ‘typically’ looking at between $1,500 and $3,000 for the final, finished piece, with voice and music, delivered in a format you can use across all forms of today’s social media. Again – sometimes more – sometimes less.

For a 2-minute finished animation with sound, voice-over and all the groovy things clients typically ask for, you’re looking at between $6K and $12K. Again – sometimes more, sometimes less. You get the idea.

Remember – things can vary substantially – up or down. But at least now you have something that”ll help determine if you’re in the neighborhood or not. If you are, stop by and say hello! We’d love to hear more about what it’ll take to communicate your vision.

Custom Content

Something we’re great at is using content already developed. Specifically – your CAD files. I go into a lot of depth elsewhere on the site – but suffice it to say, if you have 3D CAD files, we can use them. If you don’t have CAD files, no problem. We can build anything from scratch, or repurpose 3D models (assets) from our ENORMOUS library of models we’ve built over the years.

Managing Your Project Well

With complicated technical processes it’s easy for the unscrupulous to revert to fancy double-talk to hide the fact they’re ripping you off. CraneDigital always helps get the absolute most for your marketing budget dollar, advising every step of the way how to best approach every fork in the road.

We totally get it – video assets are expensive to develop; in time, money and intellectual capital. But here’s the thing: we understand that the real value is treating people well, so they’re successful. So when the time comes for another project we’re at the top of the client’s list. At the end of the day it’s not complicated. Let your yes be yes, and do what you say you’re going to do. Do it on time, on budget, manage expectations well and over deliver. That’s how we’ve stayed in business for 25 years.

Give CraneDigital a call for your next marketing animation.
We can help ;-).