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FPSC Classic Models and Media / [STICKY] How much to expect to pay for Custom Media.

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KeithC
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Posted: 22nd Oct 2008 00:41 Edited at: 27th Oct 2008 21:53
The following is sourced from ErrantAI, who sourced it from indiegamer.com...

There are three levels of artists available for contract work:

- Amateur Artists
- Part-Time Freelancers
- Full-Time Freelancers


Amateur artists usually do not have to make a living off of their artwork so they can afford to charge much less. The downside is they produce a lower level of quality and lack experience. Every amateur artist wants to be a professional artist. The thing that has prevented him thus far is a lack of skill. These are the types who will work for cheap because they want to do some artwork in their spare time and are hoping to add a little bit of paid artwork to their portfolio in hopes of getting a "real job" someday. Amateur artists can be useful if you are working on a shoestring budget or a small project with a relaxed schedule.

Average Rate: $5 - $20/hr USPros: Dirt-cheap pricing
Cons: On large projects or projects with deadlines the amateur artist quickly finds himself out of his league. He does not realize when bidding that the project consists of just as much organization, communication and administration as it does art. He lacks prior experience with the game development process so is unable to anticipate setbacks and correct or avoid them.

Part-time Freelancers are usually either unemployed artists or artists with full-time day jobs who are moonlighting to supplement thier income. Part-timers will usually give you a better deal price-wise because they aren't really familiar with the long term consequences of working as a contractor as opposed to an employee, or they are desperately in need of income.

Average Rate: $20 - $40/hr
Pros: Reasonable pricing. Art experience.
Cons: Many times part time freelancers are unfamiliar with the bidding process and incapable of accurately estimating their own tasks, managing their own workflow, communicating remotely, etc. They are also usually only available for short periods of time and cannot be relied on for future projects or long-term work.

Full-time Freelancers are small business owners just as much as they artists. Their primary source of income is artwork and so they charge accordingly. There are many additional expenses involved with self-employment that an employee doesn't even know about. Most clients don't know about them either, which is why they are often so shocked when presented with rates exceeding those of an amateur or part-timer. Some of these expenses include hardware, software, self-employment taxes, advertising, administration, legal fees, accounting fees, business licenses, website maintanance, down-times, etc. The list goes on and on but in a nutshell it costs a minimum of 30% more to be in business for yourself than it does to work for someone else. Smart full-timers roll these costs into their fees. The others go out of business shortly.

Average Rate: $40 - $100/hr
Pros: Lots of experience. Ability to communicate remotely, estimate and bid accurately, self-manage, interpret client needs, and deliver consistently. Long-term availability.
Cons: Higher pricing.

Estimate

Price for a 600 polygon 3d character model based off of provided concept art, UV mapped, textured using a 128x128 pixel texture map, rigged for animation, and given 5 short in-game animations. Exclusive Rights.

3d Model (4 hours)
UV Mapping (1 hour)
Texture (8 hours)
Rig & Skin (2 hours)
Animation (5 hours)
Total (20 hours)

Amateur: $100 - $400
Part-Timer: $400 - $800
Full-Timer: $800 - $2,000


Additional Considerations

Flat-rate vs Hourly. If working with an amateur I would highly recommend negotiating a flat-rate fee. This is because they are notoriously bad at estimating how long something will take to complete. It doesn't matter how low the quoted rate is, if you're paying hourly and it takes longer than expected that goes out the window. Amateurs, as a byproduct of inexperience, are also usually slower than professional artists, so though their hourly rate may be lower, the total number of hours to complete a job could be higher, counteracting the difference in price.

Revisions. Determine in advance whether revisions are included in the initial price, and if so how much work that entails. If not included, leave some extra in your budget for revisions if you think you might need them.

Exclusive/Non-Exclusive Rights. The price difference here will vary depending on how resaleable the assets are. If you are doing a bunch of car models you might be able to get a discount for non-exclusive rights since the artist could package them up and resell them. If however you are doing some artwork that is totally unique, and that no-one but you would buy, then it won't do the artist any good to have rights to that - so you aren't likely to get much of a discount.

Location For my estimate above I have assumed that the artist is from the United States. If you dealing with an artist from India, Malaysia, or other countries with lower cost of living you can expect to pay less.

some kid
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Posted: 22nd Oct 2008 04:51 Edited at: 24th May 2009 23:59
Yikes. didn't know this stuff was so expensive.
thanks for clearing this up though.

in the name of epic video games, I post this
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BhZQEvg1V0Y
Game Maker
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Posted: 22nd Oct 2008 04:56
Quote: "Yikes. didn't know this stuff was so expensive."

It is that expensive. But bond1 is nice enough to sell his great models for low prices so all of us think all models are that cheap...

Don't click the image, it links to an image hosting site!
Cyborg ART
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Posted: 22nd Oct 2008 13:11
This is a really good post. But I didnt know I could take so much for a custom model. Even if I am somewhat an amateur...

bond1
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Posted: 22nd Oct 2008 16:38 Edited at: 22nd Oct 2008 16:40
This is a good post, I remember reading this awhile back. I would consider myself in the part-time freelancer range. The full time pros that depend on freelancing as their sole livelihood must have gigantic balls. The price might seem high, but that has to cover ALL of their expenses, health insurance, taxes, etc. Plus you have to consider that they rarely have enough business to work constantly the whole year, so they have to plan ahead for those times when the phone might not ring for a month or two - scary stuff when you have a family.

But in return, a big company knows the value of a true professional, and is willing to pay the price. The deadline will be met NO MATTER WHAT. A professional will forego family reunions, birthdays, etc to meet a deadline. I've even heard anectodal stories of missing a family member's funeral to meet a deadline. Because really, if a company is paying you the bucks and is depending on you to meet a deadline, they don't give diddly squat if your dear old grandmother just died. You still gotta meet that deadline, or possibly lose a client and a paycheck forever. I don't know if I would have the stomach to go full time freelance...

----------------------------------------
"bond1 - You see this name, you think dirty."
darimc
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Posted: 22nd Oct 2008 22:11
Yup. Although modeling is fun as hell, it is serious. And a extremely tough job to do.



henry ham
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Posted: 22nd Oct 2008 22:31
remember guys that the rates posted are a guide & not set in stone ,also they assume that you can produce a good quality end product to the clients specs .remember to be realistic when giving somone a price .

in my full time jobs i earn a lot more than the highest hourly rate quoted ,but i would be fooling myself if i thought i could charge anywhere near that for my standard of 3d work .

hell if i got paid for every model i made it would stop being a fun hobby & turn into work & thats no fun now is it .

daarboven
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Posted: 27th Oct 2008 17:41
Quote: "If you dealing with an artist from India, Malaysia, or other countries with lower cost of living you can expect to pay less. The downside is again lack of experience and also remoteness."


Which imho is too much of a generalisation to not be a prejudice. The USA is not the only place where skilled crafters dwell .

I am Jacks complete lack of surprise.
Errant AI
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Posted: 27th Oct 2008 20:05
I agree. He's unfortunately using a bad scare tactic to get people to not use off-shore out-sourcing. Obviously there are skilled craft people everywhere. I should have ommitted that before I cut/pasted but I didn't re-read.

Keith, can you just delete everything after "...expect to pay less." It sort of gives an ugly twist.
KeithC
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Posted: 27th Oct 2008 21:53
I agree and I've edited it.

Ezykeyal
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Posted: 16th Nov 2008 02:54
The timing is in-acurate, surely a full time pro will do this faster in the given time than an amateur...

IMHO it's a bad idea to put such a comparison there, it's enough to provide an hourly rate (which actually rarely happens as most do flat-rate in my experience).
KeithC
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Posted: 16th Nov 2008 03:33
Actually, many professionals do a flat-rate and an hourly rate. On top of that, if changes go outside of what was agreed upon...that is also something that costs more money.

SamHH
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Posted: 16th Nov 2008 16:00
Seems like these are too generalized, but it is good to have a pricing idea around when people request things.


KeithC
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Posted: 16th Nov 2008 18:13
That's what this is for; a general idea of what to realistically expect. Every artist has their own methods for pricing.

David Gervais
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Posted: 5th Jul 2009 14:47 Edited at: 5th Jul 2009 14:53
Yeah every artist has his or her own way of determining how much he or she will charge for their work. I won't say how much I make on contracts, but I can tell you this, most people I have worked for have hired me because they find my quality of work 'adequate' for their current needs, they are always more impressed with the 'speed' at which I turn out stuff.

If you ask the guys at TGC how fast I am,.. they could probably confirm that I did much of my artwork in 'real time' while chatting on Messenger.. it would take 'minutes' not days or hours to throw them new artwork, and they had to be careful what they wished for, or I would send them samples while they were still contemplating the idea LOL.

Money is never the deciding factor in weather I accept a contract or not, I look at the project and see if I can have fun working on it. back in like 2002 while on government subsidies (aka welfare) I did a contract that got me like $2,500 in royalties for the year.. if I did not have the contract, my year end on the subsidies would have been $6,800 as it turned out my 'year end net income' was $6,540. so that $2,500 contract only cost me like $260 out of pocket. Ever since that contract I'm more likely to 'give' stuff away because the thought of paying 110% of my contract work income to the government makes me ill. That year was a little more complicated than that, but that was the bottom line LoL

I know, it's a sad story, but I'm way past it and just wanted to give a solid example of how every artist is in a different situation and the price they charge is as varied as there are freelancers.

Cheers!

P.S. that year with an 'income' of -$260 I didn't even qualify as an 'amateur',.. but I guess I can now add 'investor' to my portfolio. LoL.. too funny.

ngwithrsd
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Posted: 5th Aug 2009 08:21 Edited at: 5th Aug 2009 08:35
I read this thread and I don't quite understand how the pricing guideline was generated when I see quite adequate models like the KV1 Tank in the TGC store for a couple of hundred points or even very talented artists putting their art on turbosquid.com for $15 to $20 each. It is frustrating to someone like myself who has tried to hire artists for a reasonable priced job only to have the artist quit half way through the job because he/she doesn't think he is getting paid enough because the job required more work than he/she was willing to do. I think that any pricing guide should reflect a more moderate pricing scale that is friendly not only to the artist but also to those here on the forum seeking to hire someone to render a simple model without having to pay $300 for it...just my two cents
KeithC
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Posted: 6th Aug 2009 15:24 Edited at: 6th Aug 2009 15:24
The reason why you see some work in other areas that is less expensive, is because the artist can sell it to an unlimited number of customers. That's how they make their money. Anyone needing custom work should expect to pay much more (unless you can work out a deal where the final product can be resold to other parties).

Picking an artist who will deliver isn't easy, and you will then be paying more as that artist knows what their time is worth. Some of us jump into a project without knowing the full scale of what's involved (I know I've been guilty of that before). It was one of the reasons I wanted to try starting an "Artist for Hire" thread here...but it was decided (for now) that it wasn't a good idea.

There are some sites where you can find a few good artists who can deliver what you want, and are willing to negotiate a fair price. We have a small, but robust group of people here:

Game Artist Group

-Keith
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Posted: 9th Aug 2009 12:15 Edited at: 9th Aug 2009 12:16
Thank you Kieth, I think that cleared it up a little more to me. Because I was thinking "100-2000$?!" but really, if you want custom media for your game, of course it's gonna be expensive. One because you are telling them to make a model for YOU, but also because you may not notice it, but you're paying them about the amount they'd make off of 100s or 1000s of people. Instead of 100s of people helping to pay for the model, just you or your company are. But in return, it is custom media, a.k.a., just for you. I may just be talking your ear off but you gotta remember, this is your media. Expect to have to pay the price of many people paying small amounts. 'cause as people have stressed in this topic, modelers have lives too.
Cash Curtis II
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Posted: 25th Nov 2009 09:36
I've worked with several artists creating custom character models. I've paid in the range of $150 to $300. I pay half up front and the other half plus a bonus upon completion. I've not had a bad experience. It's worth it to get custom media.


Download the game!
General Jackson
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Posted: 18th Jan 2010 16:37
Quote: "Although modeling is fun as hell"



Anyways I could NEVER charge 100 bucks for a 600 polygon character.
Unless it was for a big company

slipgatemedia
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Posted: 8th Feb 2010 18:02
what about positions for concept artist's such as myself?
slipgatemedia
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Posted: 10th Feb 2010 23:41
I can do small stuff like segments and such, what's the going rate on that?
EpsonUser
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Posted: 12th Feb 2010 19:16
I also think this really depends on what the model is going to be as well.For me personally I am a professional artist and have a full time job and my price range is fairly cheap .I dont charge per hour I really charge per model .Though it could be anywehre from 5-500 dollars per model.

5$ would more than likely be a barrel or something small and 500 would get you a great looking character.
The Fps Creator rocks!
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Posted: 26th Feb 2010 00:38
I could do a good character for free! (I'm nice enough.)
I just need to know how to model a character and animate it.

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