What Impacts the Cost of Animation in 3D Renders?
What Impacts the Cost of Animation in 3D Renders?

“Leave the job to the professionals,” they often say. Behind every successful project are hours and hours of hard work, whole teams of experts, obstacles, problems that need to be solved, not to mention the client’s ideas that need to align and be coordinated with the artist’s.

What can often be a big challenge is the budget of the whole project, so, to avoid disputes or unrealistic requests, it’s best to first get acquainted with all possible implementation costs. Often clients cannot understand why and how much 3D animation costs and what is behind the process. It’s essential to explain everything that animation involves.

Animation in 3D rendering is the process of assembling 3D individual frames into a single moving image and, in that way, creating a digital animation scene. By rotating, changing angles, location, and scale, the artist can manipulate the 3D model. The result is a presentation of moving pictures within a three-dimensional digital space.

Today, it’s impossible to imagine any project without 3D animation, especially in architectural 3D rendering. Let’s single out the most important industries where 3D animation is an essential part of the creation:

  • Architecture
  • Publishing
  • Gaming
  • Entertainment
  • Marketing
  • Product creating

Price range in 3D projects

When we talk about the cost of animation in 3D rendering, we have to keep in mind that every project is a living thing and that the final cost depends on many factors that need to be anticipated right at the beginning. Prices can vary from 20$ for floor plans to 10,000$ for the fully animated model of an architectural building.

Of course, prices change from country to country, but there is also the option of outsourcing project segments by hiring whole teams from other countries.

Once all costs are determined in advance, the project can come with a final price, but it often happens that 3D artists charge for their work per hour, ranging from 100 to 200 dollars. One thing is for sure, the price of this kind of work cannot be fixed in any case, so let’s better explain what can affect the budget for such projects.

Model size

For the project to be presented and sold, the first step is creating a model. This way, the client saves time and money because the model can show the possible problems and challenges that may arise during the realization.

3D artists create 3D models to present the building design, appearance, physical characteristics of an object and its functionality to the client as realistically as possible. That way, they show the exact concept of the buildings, spaces, rooms, or whole building complexes. You should also remember that some projects will require a team of 3 artists, and others of higher complexity may require a team of 15 experts.

The price must vary depending on the model size. Individual rooms, houses with more or less furniture, or smaller buildings require less time, while larger and more complicated areas require much more time and work, which is why they cost more.

Level of complexity

3D animation in architecture is a more convenient way for the client to go through real estate and see all the corners with all the details. The advantage is in the detailed manipulation of the model so that the client has an insight into all the corners of the building, realistic proportions, and location. It provides an accurate view of the interior and exterior, construction, and layout.

In short, it transmits almost all the information related to the project, which means that creating 3D animated scenes for home plans and entire building design carries a different expenditure of time and skills.

It will require complexity in every sense: more time, more detail, light, shadow, and atmosphere settings, furnishing, color arrangements, material selection, rendering. Architectural design can offer low to high complexity visualizations, which directly affects the price.

Design style

As in any business, clients are different – they have specific personalities, desires, and needs. The job of a 3D artist is to follow all the client’s specifications as best as possible. After all, any visualization must evoke a sense of comfort, connection, and identification.

The client always has in mind the style that best fits the project, and the 3D artist must consider all the information he receives from the client to better create a model that is close to the client’s ideas.

Countless styles in architecture describe different periods, like baroque, antique, rustic, renaissance, royal, but there is also contemporary, eclectic, organic, neutral, modern, etc. The artist must know every detail from every style to create realistic setups.

To create such details and “equip” the space, he must know the materials, textures, combinations of materials, and their characteristics. Some styles include many details, plants, furniture, unique materials, while others imply minimalism and an emphasis on clean space. Most importantly, he must know the techniques of animation and rendering styles to achieve the desired results.

All this shows the different use of time and skills in creating, so this factor will greatly affect the pricing.

Scope of work

To be able to understand the production of 3D animation, let’s explain basic steps:

  • Concept and storyboard creating
  • 3D modeling
  • Animation and rigging
  • Camera and lighting sets
  • 3D rendering
  • Special visual effects
  • The music selection and final editing
  • Complete visual presentation

As we say, these are basic steps, and each requires a minimum of 100 hours of work on less complex projects. The client may need the services of complete 3D animated project visualization, or he may want only 3D modeling, rendering, or some final segment of the project.

Depending on the work required, the stage of the project, it’s not surprising that different experts in these areas value their work differently.

The length of animations

Depending on the type of visualization, some 3D animations are longer and some shorter. If the animation is longer, it requires more work on details such as models, lighting, colors, characters, greenery, furniture, decorations, etc.

That automatically means longer rendering. If you ask the artist to add more specific details, the cost of rendering increases, increasing the cost of the entire work. Animations are usually charged per second or minute of work.

Visual effects and camera

To present a concept and tell the story behind the project as realistically as possible, you have to include many background effects – visual effects (VFX). Visual effects are a great tool for showing the movement of a specific element in the animation or when we need to emphasize something important in the presentation. These effects are added at the final phase of the visualization.

The role of visual effects is to enhance the visualization experience and to provide a natural feel. For example, for creating a warmer and more comfortable 3D environment, artists will add a fire in the fireplace or represent the movement of water in a fountain or pool.

Visual effects can be:

  • Dynamic (snow, raining, water, fire)
  • Objects (cars, people, plants, furniture)
  • Environments (background, cities, forests, sea)

When it comes to camera movement, there are various tricks that artists use to draw attention to some elements critical to the concept of the story. It is often emphasized through specific framing, zooming, angles, and perspectives, such as a bird’s eye view.

The main goal is to make the clients feel as if they were in that space at that moment, so artists often use a display of space at eye level. All these elements also make up the cost of animation.

Lighting factors

Realistic representation of light and shadow in architectural 3D animation is of the utmost importance. It’s not easy to guess the right light and settings and define the shadows. To create the highest quality reflections, the 3D artist must understand the natural elements, know how the sun moves in all parts of the day, and what shadows it creates by movement.

Just as an artist draws shadows on paper, a 3D artist must create light based on the movement of the sun and create the shadow of each object in the design plan.

With the right combination of these components, the artist creates a realistic atmosphere that grabs the client’s attention the most and evokes the feeling that he can imagine himself in that space. He should pay attention to the movement of light and the reflections and movements of the sky during animation.

Accurate manipulation of such details based on movements from nature shows the artist’s level of experience and education.

3D animation type

3D animation in architecture has long proven to be the most effective tool To provide a high-quality presentation of houses and floor plans, specific buildings, or whole real estate to the clients. There are several types of animation that are most commonly used, and these are:

  • 3D images and movies
  • Interactive three-dimensional films
  • 3D walkthrough in the form of short videos
  • Virtual tours

Each of these features represents different projects, interior and exterior, and therefore carries certain challenges in creation, so, naturally, each of these animation types costs differently.

Number of changes

When we say that a project is a living thing, we mean that it’s always subject to change. Often changes, suggestions, and new ideas come from the client or the artist who comes up with new suggestions in communication with the client. Regardless of who initiates the changes, it’s important to determine the prices of each change in the visualization upfront, even the smallest ones.

The job of a 3D artist is not just to click a couple of times and make a change to a model like a magic wand. It usually requires changes in multiple model segments and takes time on the computer. A good artist knows how to charge for his artwork and skills, which should never be the subject of discussion.

The level of expertise of the artist

3D animation teams are made up of multi-talented artists who are educated on multiple levels to do this kind of work. Of course, with the right coordination of the team, the tasks are arranged so that each artist does what he is an expert for, so each segment of the project will have its specialist: plan and concept, modeling, lighting, materials, editing, rendering, etc.

It’s crucial to choose the proper studio and the right team. With 3D animation, there is no standardized price, so, naturally, more experienced senior artists and teams charge more than junior 3D artists for their services.


You will agree that there is no more powerful story impact than a short deadline. When there’s a delay due to problems in the process, the main goal is to meet the deadline at any cost. Logically, the artist will charge more if he has to finish the project quickly. Not only because of the pressure to work faster, but he also charges for the fact that he may have had to stop another project to meet the client’s needs.


As difficult as it may seem to set prices in this industry, there are guidelines and experienced teams that will do their best to hear the client and his needs. Accordingly, specialists in this field will inform the client of all possible problems, make suggestions for changes, and, finally, provide an excellent service.

The best option is to choose a professional team, be flexible, and have direct communication with the client during the project. It’s best to avoid companies with lower prices and those that don’t provide complete pricing information.

This way, there will be no hidden costs and budget breaches, both sides will be satisfied, which leads to a professional relationship and long-term cooperation.