You have a specific 3D animation project in mind. You may have even fleshed out your ideas with concept art and storyboards. Whether you want to create a 3D animated film, a short film or a video game, you’ll need funds to support you throughout the process, from ideation to production and distribution.  

Unless you have enough cash saved to bootstrap, you’ll need to seek capital. Animated productions can be costly, but it doesn’t mean you have to spend a small fortune to make a quality piece of work. These tips can help you create quality 3D projects, even on a tight budget.

1. Document your budget.

The first step to raising capital is to create a budget for you project. There are a number of financial benchmarks that can guide you in calculating your budget. The most important rule to keep in mind is that the bigger your production, usually the bigger your budget will need to be.

For example, say your goal is to create a 30-minute animated TV series similar to the popular “South Park.” Based on available data, you should allocate approximately $1 million per episode, which works out to about $45,000 per minute of animation.

The numbers are even more daunting if you would like to make a full 3D animated film, along the lines of “Frozen” or “Toy Story”. Figures show that you might need to allocate $24,156 per second of animation, or about $1.5 million per minute.

2. Be realistic and minimize costs.

Obviously, if you don’t have millions of dollars in upfront financing for your project, you have two choices to minimize costs. Either opt for as short an animation project as possible, or look for technological solutions that can drastically reduce the cost of each animated shot.

3. Use animation technology.

Most savvy animators choose the second option. Technology has increased efficiency and improved processes in every industry, including art and animation. Until recently, constructing realistic 3D facial models and animating them was a time-consuming and expensive process. Traditional methods of 3D facial animation could chew up a huge portion of your overall project budget.  

However, using unique facial animation software like NaturalFront, it’s possible to take an animation project that might take days or weeks and turn it into a process that lasts just a minute – without any need for rigging, morphing, keyframing or motion capture. In fact, once you have an image of a face you’d like to animate together with an audio track, it becomes a relatively easy process to animate and synchronize facial movements.

You can easily see why streamlining this process pays off immediately. If you can save even a few days on the animation project, you’re potentially saving tens of thousands of dollars in production costs.

4. Where to get funding

Once you’ve locked down your budget and made it as trim as possible, you can start looking for sources of funding. If you’re not a major studio, you won’t have as many options to cover costs – such as reaching out to brand managers for lucrative product placements.

But, depending on the type of project and your location, government funding and grants may be available. Search for arts foundations and festivals near you. Often, arts organizations will have opportunities that artists can submit applications to and receive funding.

You can also raise money on crowdfunding platforms like Kickstarter, Indiegogo or Tubestart. This is where animation software can also play a huge role in helping to get your project off the ground. Every great crowdfunding project needs a great reel or trailer. Using animation software like NaturalFront, you can quickly put together the footage to create a two-minute teaser video for your project.

The process of creating a 3D animation project can be expensive. However, by planning ahead, leveraging technology and tapping into the power of the crowd, it’s possible to put together an animation project that won’t break the bank or require you to max out your credit cards.