Can Freelance Animators Make Good Money?

7 min read

Can Freelance Animators Make Good Money?

Freelance animators stand to earn a decent income, but the amount can fluctuate significantly due to factors like experience, skill level, reputation, and the nature of the projects they undertake. Those with an impressive portfolio and a history of delivering top-notch work punctually often have the ability to charge premium rates for their services. Nevertheless, similar to many freelance occupations, earnings may not be steady, and securing projects frequently involves active self-promotion and networking efforts.

With the emergence of computer-aided design (CAD), the landscape of animation has undergone a transformative evolution. No longer limited to children’s cartoons, animation now serves various purposes, conveying diverse messages across industries. This shift has created a demand for the innovative talents of individuals like yourself.

If you possess the creativity to craft visually captivating graphic designs, freelance animation jobs present an excellent opportunity. Whether you’re currently employed elsewhere or looking for a side hustle, diving into freelance animation during your free time can be a lucrative endeavor.

How much money can freelance animators make?

Well, it varies quite a bit, depending on factors like experience. Generally, freelance animators can earn anywhere from $20 to $150 per hour. This means an annual salary ranging from $39,000 to $260,000.

How much money you can make with freelance animation jobs depends on various factors, but it’s considered one of the most lucrative freelancing opportunities. Graphic designs and animations play a crucial role in helping brands creatively engage with their audience. Similar to web developers and content writers, the demand for skilled graphic designers and animators is consistently high.

The payment structure for freelance animation jobs typically follows two methods:

  1. Pay-per-hour method
  2. Pay-per-project method

For freelance animation gigs, you have the flexibility to use both approaches. Depending on your experience and creative abilities, you can set hourly rates ranging from $10 to $50 or project fees ranging from $50 to $200. The choice of payment method can be determined based on the complexity of the task and the estimated time commitment.

Interestingly, seasoned freelance animators have the potential to charge over a thousand dollars per project. You can explore various freelance sites to get an idea of the prevailing rates.

However, it’s important to note that substantial earnings may not come immediately, especially when starting as a beginner. Initial projects may offer modest compensation, perhaps even as low as $20. Nevertheless, as you build an impressive portfolio and establish reliability in the field, you gain the opportunity to set and command higher rates according to your expertise and the value you bring to projects.

For a more detailed breakdown based on data from various freelance animation jobs on Twine, here’s what you can expect:

Freelance Animator Pay Scale:

  • Junior: Hourly $20-35, Daily $150-250, Weekly $750-1,250, Annually $39K-65K
  • Mid-level: Hourly $35-70, Daily $250-500, Weekly $1,250-2,500, Annually $65K-130K
  • Expert: Hourly $70-150, Daily $500-1000, Weekly $2,500-5,000, Annually $130K-260K
Related Post  Top Selling Best Gigs on Fiverr

If you’re just starting and want to determine your weekly rate, multiply your hourly fee by your intended weekly work hours. For example, if your hourly fee is $45 and you plan to work 30 hours per week, your weekly fee would be $1,350.

Setting your hourly fee requires self-evaluation. Consider factors like your portfolio, showcasing both talent and experience. Peer review is essential—compare your rates with those of peers in your region. Also, evaluate your versatility; a broader skillset, covering 3D and 2D animation, explainer videos, and character creation, justifies a higher fee.

If you’re entering the animation industry, determining your worth involves a mix of skill, experience, and market comparison.

Tips for Success as a Freelance Animator

  • Sharpen Your Skills:

Being a freelance animator requires continuous improvement in both technical and artistic aspects. Dedicate time to master skills in 2D and 3D animation, staying abreast of the latest industry trends.

  • Build Connections and Collaborate:

Networking is pivotal in the freelance realm. Connect with fellow animators and industry experts on platforms like LinkedIn. Participate in discussions, share your work, and seize collaboration opportunities when they arise.

  • Promote Yourself:

Effective self-promotion is crucial in the competitive freelance animation landscape. Leverage social media to showcase your work, offer behind-the-scenes glimpses, and interact with your target audience. Consider establishing an online presence through a website or blog, sharing valuable content related to animation.

  • Maintain Organization:

As a freelance animator, you’re in charge of managing projects, time, and finances. Stay organized by using project management tools, creating a structured schedule, and setting achievable deadlines.

How to Get Animation Jobs Online

Getting animation jobs online may have its challenges, but with the right approach, you can establish a steady income stream. Here’s a step-by-step guide:

Step 1 – Sharpen Your Skills: Enhance your animation skills by working with various animation software. Learn to use tools like Adobe Animator, Moho, Toon Boom Harmony, and Blender. Explore free trials and online tutorials to familiarize yourself with these tools and improve your proficiency.

Step 2 – Create Your Portfolio: Build an impressive portfolio to showcase your work. Whether through a personal blog, website, or a dedicated folder, maintain a collection of diverse animation pieces. A well-curated portfolio not only demonstrates your skills but also presents a professional image, attracting potential clients.

Step 3 – Pitching Potential Clients: Develop the skill of pitching to potential clients. Connect with them by leveraging references from previous clients. Clearly communicate your experience, highlighting the brands you’ve worked with and the types of animations you’ve created. Approach this process with a targeted strategy to leave a lasting impression.

Step 4 – Look for Gigs on Freelance Websites: Explore online freelance platforms like Upwork, Fiverr,, Craigslist, and Guru. These platforms connect you with clients from around the world, offering opportunities for both entry-level and high-paying projects. Sign up on multiple websites to broaden your audience and increase your chances of landing gigs.

Step 5 – Provide a Quotation: When in contact with a potential client, gather detailed information about the project. Consider factors such as the duration of the animation, the storyline, the number of characters, and the data provided by the client. Use this information to provide a fair and honest quotation for the project. Negotiate if needed, ensuring that the agreed-upon price reflects the value of your time and expertise.

Related Post  Upwork Cover Letter Samples

Remember, freelancing is akin to running your own business, and you have the flexibility to set prices that align with the worth of your services.

Factors to Consider

Cost of Living:

Calculate your monthly financial needs to cover essential expenses. Include:

  • Rent or mortgage payments
  • Utilities
  • Car payment and auto insurance
  • Health care
  • Credit card bills and loan payments
  • Food
  • Transportation costs
  • Entertainment expenses
  • Savings and cushion
  • Taxes (set aside 30 to 40 percent for this)

Benjamin Franklin rightly said, “Nothing in life is certain except death and taxes.” Don’t forget to build in a cushion for dry periods, ensuring financial stability during breaks.

Job Hunting:

Utilize social media to post frequently, connect with other animators, and share your work.

Explore job posting sites like Twine, offering various creative categories.

Join professional organizations such as the Computer Graphics Society and the Society For Animation Studies for networking and staying updated on trends and technology.

Common Freelance Animation Jobs:

Quick Hits: Short 2D or 3D animations for websites or advertisements. Fast money but may lack creative freedom.

Fun Stuff: Involves character design, story development, and creative projects. Expect client collaboration and potential revisions.

Mother Lodes: Animation for computer games, television, and feature films. High-profile projects that offer career advancement and a strong resume.

Some projects may be better suited for a project fee rather than an hourly rate, depending on your expertise and the scope of the work.

For effective time tracking, consider using platforms like Chronos designed for freelance professionals.


In conclusion, engaging in freelance animation jobs can be a highly lucrative endeavor, especially if you’re seeking a profitable side hustle. The demand for skilled animators extends across various industries, including entertainment, retail, and consumer goods.

To establish a consistent income through animation jobs, the initial step is honing your skills. Following this, seek clients on online platforms, build a portfolio, and secure regular projects. As you begin earning, consider further investing in your skills, potentially making a full transition to a career in animation. With dedication and a passion for your craft, the possibilities in freelancing are limitless.

One comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

CommentLuv badge