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How much does medical animation cost?

16 Jan 23 | 09:35:47

medical animation of virus cell It’s well known that animation can be hugely effective in relaying complex information, particularly as video is absorbed 60,000 X faster than text by the human brain.

But… how much does an anatomical or product animation actually cost? What are the different types you can choose from? And what other factors impact the final price?

In the article, we break down the different types of animation styles available and the key things you need to consider when commissioning an animation.

Different types of animation

The type of animation you choose will have the biggest impact on price. The cheapest form of animation is line drawing, followed by 2D image animation, and then 3D model animation. The best type for your project is totally dependent on your objectives, so the more expensive is not necessarily better. Here’s a detailed explanation of each type and their average cost per minute of footage.

Line drawing animation

Line drawings are made of large 2D vector images which are animated to look like a hand is drawing them. These are the simplest type of animation to create as the graphics and camera movements tend to be simple. If you need more complex graphics, the cost will increase as your team will require more time in the design phase. The average cost of a line drawing medical animation is £2,500 – £5,500 per minute. The variation in cost is due to the factors listed later in the article.

2D image animation

2D animation uses bespoke images which are placed in front of a camera in animation software. The camera can only move within that 2D plane facing forward, but it can zoom in and out, which can give a 3D feel without actually being 3D. These differ from line animations as the images are far more complex and will often require 3D modelling of your Medical Device or scene such as an operating theatre, which is then rendered into a 2D image. The cost of a 2D medical animation can range from £4,000 – £8,000 per minute depending on the complexity and number of scenes to be created, as well as the factors listed later in the article.

3D animation

3D medical animation requires models to be built and rigged in 3D software, so every joint (whether in a product or person) can move seamlessly in all dimensions. This adds a significant amount of work for your animation team, which is why it’s the costliest type of animation. The cost of a 3D medical animation can range from £8,000 – £15,000 per minute, again depending on the complexity and number of scenes, but also the number of moving elements. This makes sense as each movement needs to be actioned by your animation team, so a crowd of people walking would probably cost more than £15,000 per minute.

Custom or templated elements and scenes

The next big thing that will affect the cost of your animation is whether scenes are custom built or created from templated elements. An example of this could be a patient animation where standard characters and elements are used which are already rigged in the software being used. This will significantly reduce the time needed by your animation team. A more extreme example is if your device is used in a location not mapped out in your teams’ anatomical model. This will require that anatomy to be built and verified by anatomical advisors, adding significant cost to the project. This is unusual but can occur.

Scriptwriting

Do you want your medical animation to have a voiceover? If so, the script must be written at the beginning of the project.

Why? Because it dictates the final length of your animation and guides when certain parts of the animation will happen.This will increase the cost of your animation as your agency or copywriter will need time to write the voiceover and adjust it to fit the final animation once delivered.

In addition to this, you’ll need to consider the cost of the voiceover artist, which is explained later.

Length of animation

Once your script is written you’ll know the final length of your animation. The longer your medical animation is, the more expensive it’ll be, as it’ll take your animation team more time to design and program it. In addition to your team’s time, your animation will require rendering once completed. A complex 2 minutes and 30 seconds 3D animation can take up to 2 weeks to render, depending on the power of your animation team’s render farm. All this affects the cost and timeline of your animation project.

Character movement

We touched on this earlier as character movement is an area that can quickly add significant cost and time to your project. Each character or device you want to move is individually rigged and programmed by your animation team, which takes time. The outcome can look fantastic but may not be worth the additional cost, depending on your project objectives.

Number of scenes

Each scene included in your medical animation will need to be designed, modelled and correctly set up in your team’s animation software. This means that each scene you add will affect the cost of your animation. Most animation teams will plan for around 3 scenes in a 2 minutes and 30 seconds animation. Going over this may see the cost of the animation rise.

Voiceover

Once your script is finalised and your animation has been built and rendered, it’s time to record your voiceover.

You’ll need to select a voiceover artist that matches your brand. After recording, the voiceover will be edited into (laid over) your final animation.

The cost of voiceover artists can vary quite a bit, especially if they have celebrity status (not often used in Medical Device). Normally, they will be between £250 – £750 per hour, including studio fees.

Your artist will also charge a ‘buy out fee’ which can be 50% – 200% of the recording fee, depending on where the voiceover will be used. The highest fees are normally applicable when the voiceover is used in paid advertising.

recording a voiceover

Labels and subtitle

Adding labels and subtitles to your animation can help to guide your audience, and allow your animation to be understood when it’s not possible to listen the voiceover. Although these won’t take your animation team too long to create, it does need to be budgeted into your animation at the beginning as it will affect the final cost.

Music

Music is added to all medical animations as it elicits emotion with your audience and makes the final animation feel shorter. Music will be added to your animation as part of the project cost and will be adjusted (remixed) in post production to match the story’s key points and length. You may want to have music composed for your animation. A bespoke piece of music lasting 2 minutes and 30 seconds will cost between £450 – £2,500 +, depending on the composer used., As this will affect the final project cost, it should be discussed at the beginning of the project.

Intro & exit animation

How do you want your animation to start and finish to ensure it remains on brand? Are these assets already available?

If not, these intro and exit animations will need to be created which will add time to your overall project.

The good thing is once these are created they can be provided as separate assets so you can use them for all projects moving forward.

They are normally not too expensive to create, but ensure your animation team know that they’re needed before starting, so timelines are not affected, and they’re included in the project cost.

Other things that can impact the cost of your animation

Number of revisions

In any animation project a set number of revisions is included in the estimate. This is normally 2 revisions at each stage (10 in total) and is based on the time each revision round will take.

    Stages are:
  1. Scriptwriting
  2. Storyboard (scene and transition layout)
  3. Storyboard (design of how each scene will look)
  4. Camera Preview and rough voiceover
  5. Post production

If additional revision rounds are needed this may increase the cost of your animation. This will be determined on the overall time spent on revisions.

Changing already approved stages in your animation

Once each stage has been approved, your animation team will move forward to the next stage. These stages are like building blocks, so if you go back to a previous stage after it’s been approved your team will have to redo all the work that’s been done on that stage and subsequent ones. This is no problem, however, it will add to the timeline and cost of your animation.

Podymos

At Podymos we work with Medical Device companies to simplify their messages through medical animations. We take each medical animation from start to finish with our in-house team so our clients can focus on other activities to meet their business objectives. We’re more expensive than non-specialised animation agencies as we work only in the Medical Device space and use bespoke anatomical models to deliver the highest quality of medical animation. If you’d like to understand how we can help you to deliver impactful medical animations, we’d love to hear from you.

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