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Animation Query

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Animation Query


Hello! I am in the beginning stages of a project that, if I wanted to see it through as far as my imagination, involves a lot of animation. I'm interested to see how much it might cost.

The project is a website targeting youth (ages 5+) and pet lovers where the user can adopt a realistic, interactive puppy [and possibly in the future kitten] which grows into an adult dog over time. The character I would need developed would start as a puppy (I'm hoping a semi-realistic one) and I would need it to be able to preform several short actions... breathing, panting, sitting, wagging its tail, laying down, jumping, walking, running, and possibly more things (but these could come later on if the site was published and successful). I would like for the animal itself to be the only element animated (it would be on a stagnant background, which I'd like for users to be able to change eventually). 

The issue is, I have some web development experience so I know what that side of it will look like but I have absolutely no animation knowledge. So, I have a couple of questions.

1. Would an animator do the actual artwork or would I have to have someone else do that part? 

2. Would it be like starting from scratch if I wanted the same motions put on several different characters (or the same "character" but at several different ages - think 8wk old puppy, 12wk old puppy, 4mo. puppy, 6mo. puppy, 8mo. puppy, 10mo, and fully grown dog, so it would basically be differently sized characters)?

3. What kind of ballpark would the price for such a character be? I have no interest in creating it myself, so I would have to hire people to do everything from rough sketches to the actual animating.