How to Plan the 2D Animation Budget for Video Games?


2D animations are flat structured, creating the illusion of movement on the two-dimensional surface. They appear to lack depth and their movements are limited to up, down, left, and right.

2D animations are popular in the creation of video games. They help in expressing emotions and elevate player engagement with the game. Apart from video games, 2D animation videos are used in multiple industries to attract target audiences, increase traffic, and engage people, mostly with profit in mind. 2D animations are also used for entertainment, creating awareness, educating, and various other purposes.

Though 2D animations are used for numerous purposes, today we will learn about planning the 2D animation budget for video games, and the factors that influence the 2D animation price.

Let’s dive into it.

Estimation of 2D Animation Cost

In order to plan the 2D animation budget, first you need to know the cost estimate of 2D animation.

The cost of 2D animations in video games is approximately around $30k to $150k. It may exceed even more depending on numerous factors such as quality of the animation, type of animation, number of characters, etc., Because of this, you cannot definitively pin the price of 2D animations and it varies from project to project.

How Long Does It Take To Create A Simple 2D Animation?

2 to 3 weeks can be the ideal time to make a 1 minute animation video. Yet again, it depends on the quality of the animation.

For instance, take the game Cuphead. The game development company took 5 years to complete the game. The main reason for the delay in game release can be attributed to the amount of work the game artists put into creating the art. They used the traditional hand drawn animation method (considered the highest quality animation method) and drew 50,000 frames for the game. In addition to that, per second 24 frames will be running.

So if you are planning the 2D animation budget for a game, and if it is a AAA game with multiple characters and numerous intricate details, then be ready to spend a lot of time and money on building the game.

Is 2D Animation Costlier Than 3D?

No. 2D animation is much cheaper than 3D animation.

The cost of a simple 2D animation is $100 whereas the same for a 3D animation will cost around $1000. Less price is one of the main reasons, why 2D animation companies choose 2D over 3D for game development. Moreover, it also does not need much advanced tools and technology.

Then again it entirely depends on your preference. If your game requires multiple characters, high quality, and additional features, it might get very expensive. It could cost even more than 3D animation.

Plan Your Game's 2D Animation Budget!

Plan Your Game's 2D Animation Budget!

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Cost Breakdown of 2D Animation

Making a 2D animation involves multiple steps and by knowing the cost breakdown of each process, you can get an idea of planning the budget correctly.

Here, we have provided the estimated cost breakdown of 2D animations for simple and complex 2D games.


Steps Involved in 2D Animation Games Simple 2D Game  Complex 2D Game
Scripting and Story Boarding $5,000 to $10,000. $15,000 to $30,000
Concept Art Design $5,000 to $15,000 $20,000 to $50,000.
Asset Creation and Animations $10,000 to $30,000 $50,000 to $150,000
Adding VFX $5,000 to $10,000 $20,000 to $50,000
Voice Over and Audio $5,000 to $15,000 $20,000 to $50,000
Testing and Optimization $5,000 to $10,000 $20,000 to $50,000.
ESTIMATED TOTAL COST $35,000 to $90,000 $145,000 to $380,000

Aside from this, labor costs, licenses, location, skills, quality of animations, and many other factors influence animation costs.

Let us see them in detail.

Top Factors That Influence The 2D Animation Costs

Some of the most important factors that impact 2D animation pricing are listed below.

Location of the 2D Animators

The location of the 2D animation company or the 2D animation artist will greatly impact the development cost. Hiring a 2D animator in developed countries like the US and the UK will be higher when compared to developing countries like the Middle East, and Asian Countries. The price difference is due to certain aspects like the cost of living, inflation, and the economy of the country.

How Much Does It Cost To Hire A 2D Animator Depending On Various Locations?

Countries  Estimated Cost to Hire 2D Animators from an Animation Studio(per hour) Estimated Cost to Hire Freelance 2D animators (per hour)
United States $30 – $48 $20 – $100
United Kingdom $27 – $42 $20 – $66
France $12 – $30 $10 – $60
Australia $29 – $37 $20 – $74
Germany $20 – $35 $15 – $66
India $4 – $13 $3 – $25
Saudi Arabia and Dubai $8 – $16 $5 – $40


Skill and expertise of the Animators

A 2D animator’s skill and expertise are a very important determining factor of animation costs. You can hire a junior animator if your animation requirements are less and when you are operating on a limited budget. But if you are making a large game, you might need an entire team of animators including a lead animator, senior animators, environment animators, and character animators.

Complexity Level and Length of Animation

The more complex and lengthy the animation is, the more cost and time it takes to make 2D animations. One classic example of this is the video game “Cuphead” which took a long time to complete due to its hand drawn animation.

Another similar example of this would be the game “Hollow Knight” which took a development time of nearly 4 years with a small team of independent developers. It is estimated that the game development cost for this game would be around $60K to $100K.

Quality Of The Animation

If the cost of animation is high, it basically means that it is a high quality animation product. The traditional hand-drawn images are considered high quality, as they require artists to hand-draw images for each frame. It takes a lot of time and skilled artists to complete the project within the given time period, which in other words costs plenty of money.

Number Of Characters, Environment, and Props

Making a simple 2D animation with one or two characters and a simple design is easier to make. Whereas if the game contains multiple characters, with complex background and intricate details, the costs rises up.

Software Licenses

Obtaining licenses for 2D animation software can have a direct impact on the 2D animation costs. From the initial purchase of licenses to additional tools, special features, and updates later on, the cost adds up.

Some 2D animation companies use subscription models, which they are required to renew after the expiry of their subscription period to continue using the software.

Moreover, if the game is large, then you need many licenses. This will double the licensing cost with the number of licenses added.

How Does The Type Of 2D Animation Impact The Price?

There are many types of 2D animation such as stop motion, frame-by-frame, computer animation, and rotoscoping.

Among these animations, frame-to-frame animation is the most expensive as you need to make images for each frame. Typically 24 frames runs per second of animation. If you are using traditional hand drawn animation, then 24 images are required for a second of animation.

Going by this calculation, if there are many characters and lengthy videos, then the animators need to make images for tens of thousands of frames. Whereas stop motion and computer animation methods are less costlier and time consuming than frame-to-frame animation.

Is It Better To Hire A Freelancer Or A 2D Animation Outsourcing Studio?

Hiring a freelancer or a standard animation company entirely depends on the requirements of your project. Besides that, both have certain pros and cons.

When you hire an animation company, they will be equipped to handle the entire project. While at the same time, hiring a freelance 2D animator requires you to personally take care of every step of the process. It might look less expensive than hiring a dedicated studio. But believe me, in the end hiring freelancers will cost you way more than you have imagined. Additionally, there is no guarantee of the quality of the work.

Hiring a freelancer has certain benefits. You have the option to choose from a wide pool of talent from various parts of the world, which otherwise with 2D animation studios, you can only access talent from the particular location.

In the end, it entirely depends on the scope and requirements of the project. Anyways before hiring, make sure to validate all the pros and cons of both, and plan accordingly.

Hire 2D animators from Juego Studios. Why we are the right choice?

Juego Studios is a game development company providing exclusive 2D animation services to our customers. We have an expert team of 2D animators who have profound knowledge and expertise in creating 2D animation for video games.

Our team is equipped with advanced technologies and can handle projects of any level of complexity, delivering projects on time and within budget.


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