How much does it cost to hire an animator?

just wondering how much per hour an animator would cost? what kindof price would I be looking at. I am skilled in every area of game creation except one, animation, I’ve tried doing tutorials on it, but my animations always look like they’re being performed by a stiff robot and to be honest I don’t want to invest a lot of time trying to become good at it. so I’d like to take a shortcut and hire an animator, problem is i’m broke like, really broke. so I need to know whats the general prices I would be looking at. and do they charge by content or by the hour. if I need 100 different animations, are they gonna be charged per animation or by the time it takes to do them?

The prices are in quite a range depending where is animator from and the skill / industry level. From my experiance prices per rigged asset and with 5 “traditional” game animations (run, walk, eat etc) costs from 100-400 bucks.

Yeah, it costs. It costs even more to get custom MoCap animations done. I’d say look at the free animation packs or some stuff you can buy that are relatively cheap on the marketplace. Also, get to know how to mess with animations inside the engine: for example how to add lean upon running, how to make blendspaces, what layer blend per bone is.

To be honest, everything will depend on your animator.

Expect to pay upwards of $30(USD)/hr for hourly, and upwards of $150 for a minimum gameplay set. I’ve seen some more expensive than that.

Generally you’d be charged either hourly or by bulk, I doubt you’d be charged per-animation (at least, not with 100 anims).

Ouch!!, 150 is a lot, and to be honest I wanted to make an action game like god of war or devil may cry and those games have tons of animations, so it would probably be even more expensive again. time to start saving :).

All hope may not be lost!

You can look for a royalty based animator in the LFW forums -

Also, the method that the animation is made matters; for example, full studio vs just perception neuron. If the cost goes up too much you might consider getting a MoCap package like perception neuron and a realsense camera for face tracking and DIY.

last time I went into the lfw forums I posted my game and that I was looking for a royalty animator, and I got a few people who clearly can’t read messaging me looking for paid work. also animators seem to be in high demand. I should really just keep doing tutorials on it. I would save myself hassle and money.

Well it’s not so much how much will an animator cost you as compared to how much your animations will cost you as an amortized cost.

Last time I checked MC studio time costed about $300 an hour with a one hour minimum so 10 clips will cost you 30 dollars each. So at 20 clips that would become 15 dollars a clip. The flip side is you could purchase ready made fair use packages where the amortized cost could land up costing you .99 cents a clip or even free.

The Carnegie Mellon animation library for example contains 2500 motion capture files in both BVH as well as FBX available under fair use creative commons that contains everyday motion capture animations that will cost you nothing.

So overall custom animations will cost a lot of money but if you have a need to just get something moving then there is a lot of free or inexpensive stuff around to get the job done and defer what you need as an expense as part of the polishing process.

As an experienced animator the one thing that I know for a fact is that as part of the process if you focus on the animation to early you could and will land up replacing what was once though as being done over and over again as the narrative of the game changes.

Video game animations these days does play a defining role as to the game mechanics as part of the narrative, say like Assassin’s Creed’s animations is part of the story line, so something like a simple wall climb can land up costing thousands of dollars as part of the amortized cost over the course of the project.

The long way around to say that there is just no way to predict the fixed cost of any project as an hourly charge no more than you can determine how many jelly beans are in the jar until you count them all.

Also to be considered.

Studio Video game animators are not animators as they were 10 or 15 years ago where it was not uncommon to have an animation crew of say 200-300 on staff as the improvement in technology and authoring software so a handful of animation “managers” can handle the same work load that once required 200-300 “animators”.

I mentioned this as [cough cough] an experienced animator I can not tell someone what my hourly rate would be with out the context of the project that could be thousands of dollars for a few days work or nothing at all just to play a part in an interesting project. As a free lancer it’s not how long it takes but how much my effort is worth as part of the free market system. :wink:

At the very least though an on staff animator, in North America at least, will cost you what ever the minimum wage happens to be or 60-80 thousands a year (so I hear)