Architectural Animation Pricing Guide

THE GOAL OF THIS GUIDE IS TO HELP YOU UNDERSTAND WHAT AN ARCHITECTURAL ANIMATION SHOULD COST

Overview:

  1. Main Cost Factors of an Animation
  2. Pricing Calculator
  3. Different Architectural Animation Price Points
  4. Different Animation Services
  5. How to pick an Architectural Animation Company

 

WHAT ARE THE MAIN COST FACTORS FOR ARCHITECTURAL ANIMATION?

Two main components affect the price of a 3D animation. 

  • Human Labor Costs (how much effort do the animation artists need to put into the project, what is the standard price for labour where these artists live, what is the skill level of these artists)
  • Computer Costs (computing time, hardware, and software)

 

The Complexity of the scene

The creation of the 3D sets (known as scenes) as well as the moving 3D models is a time-consuming process. Generally, the difference between creating an elaborate set and creating a basic set will incur moderate price increases. Contrarily, creating a detailed, realistic human animation will be far more costly than the animation of something much more straightforward, for example, an automobile. At the time of this article, Lumion has become increasingly more popular. Lumion offers animators more of a game engine-like environment to add preset moving parts. This works to save artists time, which should translate to cost savings.

MOVING PARTS, PEOPLE, AND VEHICLES

Animations are generally made up of a moving 3D camera, moving people, moving vehicles with a stationary set. The more complex the moving parts become, the more you can expect to pay for a render.

LENGTH OF ANIMATION

The duration of an animation is a significant factor in the price. As animation length increases, the price will increase. As a general rule, longer animations are needed to show more elements and generally require more labor and render time.

RENDER TIME

Most animations have a frame rate of around thirty frames per second. If each frame requires ten minutes to render, adding just one second of animation can require an additional five hours of rendering. Adding one minute of animation could add twelve and a half days of rendering time on one computer. The same extrapolation can be done when factoring rendering resolution as well.  Animations are rendered on clusters of computers to address long computing times, but the purchase or rental of these computers adds expense.

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DIFFERENT ANIMATION PRICE OPTIONS AVAILABLE:

 

BOTTOM OF THE BARREL – CHEAPEST Architectural animation PRICING: $10-$100 PER second BUYER BEWARE

Architectural rendering has become a global industry, there are freelancers and small firms popping up all the time all over the world. With that, there is a race to the bottom with regards to animation pricing as inexperienced artists look to get a piece of the pie. 

 

Unlike still images though, an inexperienced 3D artist can get in way over their head when it comes to architectural animations. 

 

As render times quickly become a huge factor as animation times increase and small mistakes can no longer be photoshopped away, these projects can go from a promised 2-3 week timeline to a 2-3 months rather quickly. These firms often don't have the man-power, computing power or know-how when it comes to putting together a high-quality architectural animation and they should be handled with care.

What to look out for in cheap animations:

  • Be sure to pay close attention to their animation portfolio, do they have dozens of past projects they can show you? Take their worst project and ask yourself if you would be happy with that level of quality. <meta name="uuid" content="uuid5lo1gCfnJ45T"><meta charset="utf-8">
  • Over promising during the quoting process, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is
  • Does the animation feel like a roller coaster or are the camera paths slow and smooth?
  • Are the animations high quality or does it feel like it's been taken from an early version of The Sims?
  • Is the interior styling in the rendering modern and in line with your project - if not be prepared to hold the company's hand throughout the process.
  • Be weary of freelance artists (although some of the top artists may be freelancers, be mindful of the reduced resources at their disposal - animations can be very time consuming, ask them about their timelines and rendertimes)

 

Times when the cheapest option may be best for you:

  • Timelines aren't an issue
  • The budget for the project is very low but a 3D Animation is a key to your project
  • The overall quality of your project does not need to be high
  • You can afford to take a risk upfront to potentially save cost

 

MID LEVEL ARCHITECTURAL ANIMATION PRICING $100-$300 per second

As previously mentioned, architectural animation is not a simple project for a rendering firm to undertake (despite recent advancements in technology). Because of that, we feel that the mid-range pricing level is where you begin to see more legitimate companies popping up. (bear in mind, a higher price does not necessarily indicate improved quality or credibility) 

$100-$300 per second is a very large range, especially if you're getting around one minute of animation (which is typically what we suggest). Your goal should be to find the company who offers the best value (quality of animation vs price per second) while keeping your own maximum budget in mind.


Ask prospective companies for several animation examples if their website only shows one or two. By doing this, you are forcing the company to either admit they are inexperienced in this specific field or you are going to make them to show animations which they didn't deem good enough for their website. Assume that the quality of their worst animation is more in line with the quality you can expect to get.

 

Projects at this price point should have an air of professionalism to them. Rendering quality should be high, camera movements should be smooth, and the overall style should be aligned with your tastes. 

 

Our architectural animation services are within this price range. Feel free to contact us for an exact quote.

What to look out for in Mid-Level Priced animations:

  • Keep an eye out for thin portfolios, request several animation examples
  • Be sure that the quality of the animation warrants the price
  • What are the company's google reviews like?

 

Times when Mid-Level pricing is right for you:

  • Majority of architectural rendering projects will fall under this price range
  • Both your budget and your quality expectations are reasonably high
  • Typically the architectural animations make the most sense when working on larger-scale projects like a townhouse development or a condo.
  • One-off, single family homes often do not have the marketing budget for this service and it may be best to get high quality still renders created rather than having a cheap architectural animation done

RealSpace 3D Animation example

TOP OF THE LINE ARCHITECTURAL ANIMATION PRICING $300-$1000 per second

Typically this price range is reserved for only the top 0.1% of 3D Animation companies.  

 

To put this pricing quality level into perspective, we consider RealSpace3D to offer very high end animation services; however, we still do not feel we can justify this level of pricing (we fall in the mid level pricing category).

We have noticed in our industry is that pricing can be very predatory, some 3D studios take advantage of the fact that a lot of what we do is unknown to clients. As such, there can be wild swings in rendering pricing without justification. The best way to fix this issue, we believe, is educating our clients so they can make informed decisions.

 

This is not to say that there aren't top companies out there deserving of this high price, top experts in the 3D rendering field can create some amazing pieces of art and they have earned the right to charge what companies are willing to pay them.

 

As previously mentioned, a higher price doesn't always mean higher quality, but it is unlikely a top company would be charging less than what they're worth.

 

With this higher price point, the expectations should be significantly higher as well. In-person meetings, design consults, flawless execution and value-added services should present themselves more regularly at the upper end of the pricing. When comparing a company's examples to the mid-range pricing options, there needs to be a distinct difference to warrant the extra cost.

What to look out for in High-end priced animations:

  • Be sure to ask for several examples and references
  • At this price the quality needs to stand head and shoulders above mid level pricing
  • Request an in person meeting to get a feeling for the company

Times when High-end pricing is right for you:

  • You're a large company looking to sell a massive development
  • The difference between spending $10,000 and $50,000 is relatively inconsequential and could be worth a higher quality product 

 

 

DIFFERENT TYPES OF 3D ANIMATION SERVICES

 

At RealSpace, we focus on just a few main types of animation, they are:

  • Architectural Animation Services
    • Exterior House animations (also referred to as exterior fly throughs or exterior walk throughs)
    • Interior House animations (also referred to as interior fly throughs or interior walk throughs)
    • Multifamily home animations
    • Highrise animations
    • Drone + 3D Animations
    • Commercial space animations
    • Hotel and Restaurant animations
  • Product Animations
    • Product explanation videos
    • Product turntable animations
    • Furniture demonstration animations
  • Miscellaneous animations
    • Park planning animations
    • Safety videos
  • Virtual Reality Services

HOW TO PICK AN ANIMATION COMPANY

When picking a 3D animation company, make sure you do your research. It is important to find a company with a good track record and lots of examples to show. One of the complaints we have heard over and over is that it ended up costing more trying to go the cheap route. Outsourcing overseas can be a great way to save money. However, in the long run, you often face communication challenges and an overall lesser product as a result.

LEARN ALL THERE IS TO KNOW ABOUT ARCHITECTURAL ANIMATION AND 3D FLYTHROUGHS AS A CONSUMER

This guide will teach you the ins and outs of architectural animation and 3d flythroughs

 

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