What To Know When Hiring An Animator
Animation and animators come in infinite styles. You can hire a freelance animator or hire a massive animation studio. When hiring an animator you have to consider your end goal and the amount of time and money you can spend to reach it.
Luckily, today’s video producers and animators are all online, and there are many freelance websites that allow you to simply place an order, set a deadline, and connect to a pro animator.
However, many people make the mistake of thinking that they can just tell an animator their idea, and they’ll “get right on it.” While that may work to get “some kind of video,” there’s a better approach to hiring an animator to create a high-quality video that turns viewers into customers and brand advocates.
In this guide, we will show you how easy it is to hire an animator and create the perfect video for your business.
Hiring an Animator – Create a Video Production Brief
The best way to start when hiring an animator is to create a video production brief. Your video production brief serves many purposes.
It will help you gather your thoughts around your video marketing strategy. It can be sent around so that you can receive accurate quotes from freelancers and agencies and it will be an excellent starting point once you do choose an animator.
Even if you can’t fill out the full video production brief, the two main elements you’ll want to know before you do anything are the – the purpose of your video, and the placement of your video.
Hiring an Animator – Purpose of Your Video:
It’s time to articulate the goals and the “why” of your video. What do you need this video to do? How can it provide value to your brand?
Start off with a sentence to describe what the purpose is. Here are a few popular reasons why businesses need videos:
- I’m just starting my business. I need something to get people interested in my brand and products.
- I’m already running ads and getting traffic to my homepage. I need a video that converts that traffic to customers.
- I want to beat my competitors in searches for a certain keyword. I need a video that will rank on YouTube and drive traffic to my site.
- My business needs a professional video that can run on a loop for my trade booth. It needs to be eye-catching and interesting to watch.
- I want to create 5-15 second video ads to run on facebook and drive people to my e commerce store.
Videos don’t have to fit into one cookie-cutter purpose. Hopefully you create something that you can repurpose for all kinds of goals, but the primary purpose of your video should be easy to identify.
Placement of Your Video
Now that you have a purpose defined, or a “why”. You can also think about “where” this video will display. Depending on what channels or needs you have, the format of the video may change.
Here’s some placements to think about:
- I want this video for social media promotion. I need to be able to post it in formats and size ratios suitable for Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Twitter, etc.
- I want to create a longer video for YouTube, such as an explainer, tutorial, or demo.
- I need a video to feature on my landing page or homepage that entices people to take an action.
- I need a background video for my website or trade show booth.
- I need an animation that lives inside my app.
As you can see there are a lot of ways to use video. Once you know the purpose and placement, you’re already ahead of many businesses looking for a corporate video.
How Long Does It Take To Create An Animation
The average animated video takes at least 4 weeks to complete if you don’t want to pay rush fees. When hiring an animator, the more time you have before a project deadline the better.
General Steps In The Animation Project
While there are some animators who can rush to achieve a tight deadline, the best results require more time. Each video project should also have set milestones with deadlines where you review the work and sign off on the next steps or ask for revisions.
1. Project Brief & Initial Call
Once you’ve found the right animator or agency, you’ll likely want to do a quick Skype or Zoom call to discuss the project and brainstorm ideas. You should get a sense of their expertise and estimated date of completion.
At this stage you are in the driver’s seat, telling the contract animator everything they need to know.
You’ll need to explain to them the purpose, so that you all are on the same page, and the placement so that you know what file sizes, video lengths and more need to be delivered in the final package.
You should also point out specific things in the brief that must be included, such as a specific message, color palette, branded style, tone of voice, music, or iconic imagery that you expect to be included.
You don’t have to micro-manage their creativity, in fact it is usually best to give them room for inspiration, but you do want to make sure they know the key points to cover.
2. Script Approval
The script is the most important part of a project. It is the backbone that drives the narrative and makes the sale. You can help to craft the script, or leave it to the marketing and animation pros. Either way, you’ll need to sign off on this script before you move forward as it’s what your entire illustration will be based on.
It’s much easier to make changes at this point than going back and revising what you didn’t like to begin with, so don’t be afraid to get it “perfect” before moving on.
3. Style Frame Approval
A style frame is generally one or two fully designed still frames from the animation. The style frames arewhere you check the animation style.
If it has the right look, then you can sign off and the animator will continue to work on the storyboard.
4. Storyboard Approval
The storyboard is a more solidified look at your overall animation and story.
A clear vision should be presented to you that shows each fully designed frame and scene from the video. All that’s left now is to bring it life.
5. Audio: Animation VoiceOver Artist and Song Selection
Now that you’ve approved the storyboard, the narration and music need to be created to pace the video and give it the right tone.
Music and voice determine the pace and tone of your entire video.
The audio is key to your audience understanding all the details, so make sure that it’s just as high quality as the animation. You don’t want a poor quality voice over cheapening the rest of the animation.
6. Final Delivery
In the last step, the full animation is put together with the sound and finalized for client review. Given all of the sign-off points, there shouldn’t be too much in terms of revisions, but you can usually expect a round or two of changes.
Once you have your video, our animator will send you a downloadable file typically with all your optimized files, ready for publication on YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, and so forth.
Hiring an Animtor: Know Your Budget
The next part of your video brief should discuss budget. This is how much you’re willing to spend on a video project.
Just remember that your budget may change or your video brief may need to change if you request too much. This article will also give you a better idea of the time/budget needs for different styles.
Some things to keep in mind when hiring an animator:
Hiring an Animator: How much do animated videos cost?
Honestly, animation cost runs the spectrum. From $50 a minute to 5 million a minute (if we’re talking Pixar etc.) It really depends how detailed you want to get. Details take time – particularly in animation.
To give you some sort of range – you will likely need a budget of $2,000 to $15,000 per minute depending on the style and skill level.
If that sounds out of your price range, there are freelancers you’ll find on places like Fiverr who offer templated animation styles for less than $250.
What factors to consider when calculating animated video budgets?
Animated video production costs depend on:
- Story, script and concept: You want to work with people who have the best ideas and know how to create a story that gets results.
- Style: 2D costs less than 3D, unique stop motion styles may cost more
- Duration of the video (longer animations require more time and budget)
- General subjective skill level
- Turnaround time
- Sound design
- Color complexity
- Various formats and end file delivery
An animation designer or agency should let you know if your video brief requires additional budget, hopefully with an explanation of why there’s additional cost.
Choose An Animation Style and Quality Level
The next step in hiring an animator is deciding on a style.
Animation styles include:
- 2D animation
- Motion graphics
- 3D animation
- Stop motion
- Whiteboard animation
- Animated mixed media with live action
Hiring An Animator: Animation Styles
Animations have an infinite style. When hiring an animator, you want to get the right look and feel for your project, so make sure the animator can accomplish the animation style you are aftr.
The best way to find the right animator is to look at multiple portfolios and discuss your brief one-on-one with the freelancer or agency’s video team.
In addition, 2D animation requires different software than 3D animation. The best way to know if a team can complete your video is to look at their previous work. You can also ask the team. Most animators will be upfront as to whether or not they can create a certain animation style.
Hiring an Animator: Common Animation Styles and Examples
This is the most universally recognized form of animation.
Two-dimensional animations mimic drawings on pieces of paper. Basically, 2D is flat whereas 3D has depth. For 2D think Aladdin or The Iron Giant vs 3d: InsideOut or Toy Story.
The 2D style has been around since the early days of motion pictures, but it’s gotten more sophisticated. Here’s some examples of brands using 2D animations:
Similar to 2D, motion graphics have a text-based style. These are simpler graphics than the custom animated art in the above examples.
A typical motion graphic video relies less on character animation and instead uses vector shapes, icons, and bold text to define its style.
Here are a few examples of motion graphic videos in action:
3D animated videos include height, width, and depth. These videos are more dynamic, particularly when it comes to camera movement, as 3D animations are not confined to a flat plane.
Marketers use 3D animations to create more realistic characters, textures, settings, and lighting.
As such, 3D animations are pretty complex and will require more budget. However, it also depends on how custom the animation is.
These 3D animated video ad examples give you some insight into what’s possible for marketing your brand:
You may have seen these explainer videos before. A whiteboard explainer video features a hand actually drawing out the concepts using a marker or an animated pen on a whiteboard, as voiceover narration explains each concept.
These videos used to be all over YouTube around 2005, but they are still an attractive way to explain complex ideas in easy-to-understand, visual ways.
If you already have your script down, Fiverr has cheap and effective Whiteboard Animation professionals.
Animation Mixed With Live Action
Mixing footage of live humans and animation can be an excellent way to spice up an interview or really portray a concept.
With this style, you get the best of both worlds – real human connection combined with the expressive and thorough explanations of an animation.
To create these videos you need to not only plan the animation, but also plan out the full fledged video shoot. Post production also requires using both video editing software and animation software to deliver the final product.
Here’s some of our mixed live action and animation videos:
Stop Motion Animation
One of the more complex yet visually captivating ways to animate a video is through stop motion. These videos use physical objects that move in “stop motion” style. Stop motion is actually a series of photographs spread over intervals of action. The photographs are then edited together, giving it a jerky “coming alive” feel.
Stop motion is the earliest form of animation, and it started with flip books. Some famous examples include Gumby, Nightmare Before Christmas, and Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.
The key to stop motion is to have a compelling storyboard with the right narration or music to quickly convey what’s happening as each layer unfolds. Stop motion videos are creative, and take a lot of planning and patience.
Where to Find Animators For Hire
You can quickly find animators by searching for animators, animation styles, and related keywords on LinkedIn, Fiverr, Upwork, Twine, and even resumes on Monster.com.
Still, the best way to hire an animator is to look at their previous work. Many talented animators and agencies gladly put their work on Vimeo or YouTube. You can check out a small sample of my video and animation portfolio by clicking here.
Here are some of the most popular options and how to start off an introduction to your project:
Hiring an Animator: Fiverr
Fiverr is great for simple, short animated explainer videos. You’ll find all kinds of talent on Fiverr from all over the world. While cheaply priced and easy-to-browse, you should look at profiles carefully.
All freelancers on Fiverr have set packages and flat rates, but if you like a freelancer’s animation style and have a more complex need, you can ask for a custom package.
The ideal Fiverr video freelancer will have the following:
- Multiple examples in their portfolio
- Detailed description of their skills and prices
- At least 20 ratings with scores over 4 stars
- Comments with client testimonials on the quality of their work
- Above average completion times
You can contact any freelancer by clicking on their profile and selecting “Contact Seller.” Messaging them not only lets you know their availability, but also let’s you test their communication style. Look for fast and clear responses.
If you aren’t going with a set package, it’s best to reach out to the seller and show them your video brief (PDF or copy and paste into the message box). If it’s doable, the seller should tell you how much it will cost.
Fiverr really streamlines purchasing a video and project management. You can order your project and pay directly through Fiverr. If something happens or it’s not what you’d expect, you can reject the project or get your money back in some cases.
Hiring an Animator: Dedicated Freelancers / In-House Employees
Is this a much bigger project than just a short video clip? Do you want a hands-on approach where you can contact your freelancer or hire them on a temporary basis?
Finding freelancers is easy to do online. You can find an animator on Fiverr and hire them to work for you directly, or you could use job sites like LinkedIn, Monster.com, or Indeed.
Looking for local options? You can post your gig on Craigslist or Facebook too.
Beyond that, reach out to me: firstname.lastname@example.org, either I can help with your project or relay you to one of many talented friends and freelancers in my network.
Another option is to create a recruitment ad on LinkedIn, Facebook, or Instagram and target those within the animation industry. You can select to show your ad only to those with experience in a certain animation style such as 2D or 3D animation. Respondents can reply via an application/portfolio form on your website or simply supply an email where they can send portfolios.
Hiring an Animator: Agencies
If you have the budget and don’t want to take any risk, agencies are the best way to go for animated videos. Agencies also have all the resources, software, and talented animators to create the style that you want.
If you are pressed for time and want to take a hands-off approach, agencies would also be the best choice as they can often take your video brief and have multiple people start working on it immediately.
Hiring a Voice Over Actor For Animations
What type of voiceover or narration style are you looking for? You can find freelancers on Fiverr, Craigslist, or Voices.com. Before hiring any voice actor, you should decide on the tone of voice and style. Decide if you want a male, female, accents, younger, older, or other style–such as a robot tone!
You may also want to narrate the video in multiple languages. Other businesses prefer to hire in-house or even use the CEO to narrate parts of the video. Usually it is best to use a professional who is trained to intonate and inflect. Professionals also use better equipment and software to ensure that the voiceover matches the pacing, style, and quality you need.
Fiverr is probably the best place to find high-quality voice actors, and you can listen to their portfolio to determine who’s the best fit. They also have flat rates that offer the most bang for your buck.
Hire an Animator. Show Your Video To The World
Hiring an animator doesn’t have to be hard work if you know what you’re looking for and where to look.
As you seek out the right professional to bring your idea to life, just remember that you and the creator are working together to bring a vision to life. Enjoy the process and reach out to us if you want to collaborate.