View Full Version : Rough Price Guide
Just wondering roughly what I should expect to pay for some 3D artwork.
Basically I'm after Modelled, Textured and Animated models, roughly on par with Half-Life 1 level of quality (fairly low poly, no normal maps or anything like that).
I'm after a marine looking character, with about 20 or so animations, simple run cycles, weapon firing cycles and so on, no long cut-scene style animation, a couple of humanoid-mutants with run, attack and idle etc cycles and a few other odds and sods. I've seen models more or less on par with what i want on turbosquid for between $US 150-200, will I pay more for contracted work? Will exclusive rights to the models cost (much) more? Is having the modeller help with the concept art normal/accepted/much more expensive? Anything else I should consider when contracting out artwork?
02-25-2006, 11:41 AM
Just wondering roughly what I should expect to pay for some 3D artwork.
Basically I'm after Modeled, Textured and Animated models, roughly on par with Half-Life 1 level of quality (fairly low poly, no normal maps or anything like that).
I'm after a marine looking character, with about 20 or so animations, simple run cycles, weapon firing cycles and so on, no long cut-scene style animation, a couple of humanoid-mutants with run, attack and idle etc cycles and a few other odds and sods. I've seen models more or less on par with what i want on turbo squid for between $US 150-200, will I pay more for contracted work? Will exclusive rights to the models cost (much) more? Is having the modeler help with the concept art normal/accepted/much more expensive? Anything else I should consider when contracting out artwork?
Yes and No! Prices range a lot depending on the artist. You could probably pay anywhere from $30.00 to $75.00 to $150.00 to $200.00 to $500.00 and so on per model. Going rates for artists range a lot depending on what you are looking to have done. Artist generally charge by the hour generally anywhere from $10.00 to $80.00 depending on their experience, the job, and how busy they are at the time.
It was been my experience that you can get models with IP for games cheaper than Turbo Squid in many cases. A lot of Turbo Squid models wouldn't be good for games because of the high (extreme) poly count.
Also, artist prices will vary a lot based on the Country or their cost of living. It is been my experience that you are probably looking for someone who charges $30 to $60 per hour and you can most likely get models for less then $200 from a lot of artist depending on the complexity. Also, your likely better off having someone do the concept art before they do the model as a separate task. Lastly, I recommend that you find an artist that speaks the same language and has a style that you are looking for or there is likley to be a lot of back and forth.
Above is just my experience, I don't want say this is the case for all artist.
02-27-2006, 01:14 PM
Let me add that these things are always negotiable, because it also always depends on the subject.
Judging from my past work experience, I have done art for as low as 20$ per image, but also for much more, depending on the client and the subject and of course the deadline.
If You have a whole lot of stuff to do, You would probably get a "discount" or flat price.
If You take that marine for example, I don't know how it looks, but let's say it is about the size of a Diablo2 character on-screen, You can get away with fairly low res model (4-600 polies) and textures.The modeling (without LOD) would probably take about 4 hours, the UV layout another hour and the textures probably two hours.The rigging might take two hours, the animation of a simple walkcycle another hour,plus half an hour for the shooting, then You have a walking and shooting character in about 11 hours.
If there are mutants, the artist can check if the meshes are similiar and could get away with a little pushing an pulling, the UVs can be kept, the texture another two hours, the animation needs probably to be redone while the rig can be kept.So in two days You probably can get two characters on screen.
I would say, as a ballpark figure, thats a total of 200 $.
Now for the design actually, if You are to acquire an IP, You will probably want to "have it all", so You also pay for the concepts and the additional ideas that make the work stand out compared to other products, which is one of Your Unique Selling Points.
In any way You'd want to nail down the looks before You assign the 3D part, which means: first some concept arts to agree upon.
The other way would be to aquire artwork from Turbosquid and then have an artist who only does necessary changes, like redoing textures, remodeling certain parts or redo animations.
You save the "from scratch" phase and the UV laout phase, but that's only a few hours in total.
It really depends on Your project if You are happy with the stock art or want somone to make Your game look unique and sophisticated.
Also, an artist at hand is way more flexible than Turbosquid, changes can be made quickly, and if You tell him "Make it work, not a work of beauty", he can also rush things quite efficiently.
For a classic WW2 game, I would probably get stock art, as well for a classic western game, as well for games that require realistic cars.
For anything else, I fear that there is no way around getting in touch with an artist.
03-01-2006, 02:35 PM
There are three levels of artists available for contract work:
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 US
Pros: 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.
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
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. The downside is again lack of experience and also remoteness. If there is a contract dispute you may have a hard time resolving it. Also communication may be difficult across the language barrier. You may also consider the ethics of "outsourcing" if that is important to you, and decide whether you are comfortable sending your business to overseas artists as opposed to supporting the local economy in your own country. Currency conversion and payment methods deserve consideration as well.
Video Game Art
03-01-2006, 04:51 PM
Erik posted some really great info there. I've worked with amateurs, part-time freelancers, and full time freelancers and my experience pretty much matches what he said.
My advice: If you need a few secondary or periphery objects that have no real deadline, then you can maybe take your chances on an amateur who shows some talent. You'll probably get a good price, but expect delays and probably a few necessary revisions. This can work out if you keep the art requirement low.
If need a few high quality models with no real deadline, then you can go with either a part-time or full-time freelancer. If you go with a part-time freelancer just make sure you don't require too many art assets. There's always a chance that their day job could get in the way if you have too much on their plate.
Finally as Erik said, if you need high quality art by a certain deadline or have a lot of art needed over an extended period, you should really go with a full-time freelancer. Save your pennies if necessary. It'll save you headaches later on.
One more thing, it helps if you can become somewhat proficient with one of the major modeling programs (3ds max, Maya, and etc.). You can save a little money if you can rig, skin, and animate the models yourself.
03-01-2006, 10:10 PM
I have done work like this several times, am one of those in the list.
(I use to ask more $ for 3d than 2d or plain pixel art)
Now gotta go to work, but if time is not an issue, then maybe could be interested...12 hours later I will say more here , unless is then already grabbed the work by someone. Or at least put my 2 cents on the subject.
the only prob I see for an avergae price is...20 anims is too many.
oh...you also want two humanoids more...
and mention 200$ price tag..
Well, at least will post my impressions on the matter those hours later on.
03-02-2006, 11:03 AM
Lol. Now I could read the whole thread. very interesting and very accurate.
Yup, I guess I'd be these days considered a part time one.
Anyway, as I was fearing, all the time is mentioned a price tag of ~200$
for 3 models and animations, one of em with 20 anims. Well, I am clearly out(anyway, yup, really true: part time people often end up *cough* just doing work for ppl,friends, not worrying for long term: is probably the only realistic posibility).
Yup, part time artists don't usually have time specially for the usual deadlines. But if experienced artist, rarely will leave the task in the middle(I dont), just wont take it from start once got all info. I guess people should not be surprised, as often is in the explained tasks(and then prices, also) When one sees the real hours needed, specially well known if does them for a living at a job. Some very rare cases certain important info is suspiciously hidden till 2nd email... ;)
I think around here are some very good full time artists, but the price for that, I am sure should go really higher. Can't compare either Turbosquid selling price per unit to whole people, of models done at the quiet pace of the artist's will, without pressures, freedom to think of the character design without limits, and with no kind of constraints other than self will and criteria...that means money too. You can't either compare a custom work, from custom concepts, to Turbosquid generic stuff.
Besides, even concept art alone could cost you 300$ if it's illustration quality..
I do all , from concept, modelling, uvs, texturing, rig and animations.(that or the whole generic 2d or pixel art stages) And is quite more work and hours than some may think. Some estimations are counting on no problems arised due to specifics of engine, environment, bad iterpretation of what developer wants, or simply change for coding needs, etc.(also, imho is not same doing an strategy 3d unit seen from very far, than a very cared fps hero)
Indeed, some of us started in 3d just doing that, models for quake, hl1 and the like. But it must be understood one can compare what other less time costly tasks give same amount of money or more in less time used. Is not complex, I do it often, but takes its time.
One last note is...While I lately am forced to do even -big amounts of- 400 tris models for a living, is not what imho is the best count... I'd say 1400 is a very nice number of tris for the result (no fingers in hands, hehe) while can be made to be not much edgy. That if go low...as 2000 tris seems to be my fav when yet speaking of more or less low machines.(Models of way many thousands are lovable to do , but really more time consuming.)
I wouldn't charge less than 1000$,(and anyway, rarely final price can be set after just a pargraph, several tech things have to be asked first) and counting on reusing the anims (with some variation to get the mutant feel) for the two mutants. And doing with no time constraints(that's not in the price, is a personal interest of the moment. I am almost sure ppl works like me: not allways same price for tasks.There are other factors). 20 are a lot of anims anyway.
In a crapy way it can be made really faster. But then , is more if anyone is up to do fast, mediocre work..I'm not much of that kind.
Anyway, I am not saying you can't get the models for 200$ by someone.
BTW, I am curious...an fps like game for a shareware game? Probably is not for that.
Very much good luck, anyway
03-05-2006, 08:20 AM
What's the best method of payment?
03-05-2006, 12:44 PM
Paying with a check should be reserved for parties who trust each other and who are conveniently located (at least in the same country). I pay artists who are in the same country as me with a check, however I don't take the usual approach of putting it off until the last minute. As soon as I recieve the artwork from them I drop everything I am doing, take out my checkbook, write the check and set it on my desk in the outgoing mail pile, it goes in the mail the very next day. If you are going to pay by check do yourself a favor and mail it QUICKLY! Do not put it off until the last minute. Your artists will really appreciate that and happy artists are productive artists.
Money Order/Cashier's Check
Money Orders/Cashier's Checks are pretty much the same as a check except it will cost a small fee to purchase and the payee doesn't have to worry about the check clearing.
Paypal is very convenient. You can send and recieve money from anywhere instantly and easily. Paypal takes a cut out of the transfer (3% for domestic and more for international). You have to decide who is going to pay for this: the client, the artist, split it down the middle, whatever. Also you both have to sign up for a Paypal account. Your first transaction with Paypal will take longer because you have to link up a bank account or credit card, wait a couple days to confirm it, etc. I usually pay artists who are out of my country with Paypal.
Wire transfer is good for sending large sums of money, international transfers, or transfers that need to post quickly. A Wire transfer usually costs about $30 for the sender and $10 for the reciever. For anything above $1,500 that's less than Paypal would charge. Most banks will allow wire transfers to be initiated by phone or internet, except for the first time where you have to physically go down to the bank and fill out a signature card/set up a PIN number. Both parties have to have bank accounts.
Western Union is similar to Paypal or Wire Transfer except neither the sender nor reciever needs a bank account. The sender brings cash to his Western Union location and the reciever gets cash at his, or a voucher similar to a money order which can be cashed faily easily. There are fees involved which vary depending on the amount sent. Fees are paid by the sender. Western Union also has some options for sending money online but I've never looked into these.
You can pay cash if both parties are local to each other, or if you are looking to avoid paying taxes, which is illegal so do at your own risk. I wouldn't recommend sending or recieving large amounts of cash through the mail.
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