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View Full Version : How much to charge? :(



Yaell7
09-27-2012, 12:51 PM
I'm working on a 5 minutes animated music video, the job included: concept art and character creation, storyboard and animatics, modeling, rigging, texturing and cell-shading rendering, plus final video editing and compositing.

The story is about 2 characters in NYC that start fighting and then call big robots like megazords from power rangers and keep fighting, until an alien ship arrives in NYC and the two robots merge into a bigger robot to fight the alien ship.

so how much is fair to charge for this kind of job?, I'm the only person doing all the work.



the thing is that I already started working on it, and I'm doing it cheap because I needed the material for my Demo Reel. but I want to know the cost for future work and also this customer might need another video and I want to charge him what is worth.

and about the look.
here is the look I'm doing,
I release 2 teasers and an official trailer already (inspired by gorllaz)
please watch the videos and let me know what you think I should charge.

Teaser 1
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q9RY_Cfcsb0

Teaser 2
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T42KcYKM29I

Official Trailer (the music is the original track for the final music video)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ngnmGDVDVtA&feature=plcp

Ryan Roye
09-27-2012, 01:55 PM
Wow, that's quite a job. It better be at bare minimum $7000 or (preferably) more.

ShadowMystic
09-27-2012, 03:10 PM
Wow, that's quite a job. It better be at bare minimum $7000 or (preferably) more.

I was going to say 5 figures easy, but I don't have a ton of experience with the animation side of pricing.

Nicolas Jordan
09-27-2012, 04:03 PM
the thing is that I already started working on it, and I'm doing it cheap because I needed the material for my Demo Reel. but I want to know the cost for future work and also this customer might need another video and I want to charge him what is worth.



Sounds like you may have already screwed things up a bit for yourself. It will be very difficult if not impossible to raise your price with your client the 2nd time around and you should never do things for cheap just because you want to put them on your demo reel.

Ryan Roye
09-27-2012, 08:41 PM
One tip i've read is to try to break up larger projects (maybe $1300 or more) so that you get small increment payments.

For instance, you obviously have to get the models squared away before you can start animating... so you could have the models as one milestone payment, the animation as another, rendering... etc. This way, if they decide half way into the project they want to bail on you, they still at least paid you for what you completed. Sometimes a down payment and completion payment isn't enough to give you some sense of security concerning your time investment.

fablefox
09-27-2012, 09:41 PM
You can still repair things up on the price. You can say that you can do future work but not include it in the reel or something. Or saying that reel have land you with other client, and you price has risen slightly. There are companies that out source things to keep progress in check or achive deadline, but doesn't want the word to go out ("see, only we can do this level job, and not some tiny freelancing companies...").

----------------------------------------------------
Help support my student short http://igg.me/p/239044

Yaell7
09-28-2012, 10:20 AM
Thank you! I had someone else tell me $16,000, but 7,000 sounds less scary for a client. I find it sad that people don't understand how much work goes into it.

Yaell7
09-28-2012, 10:25 AM
Wait a minute, Delura? think I spoke to you via youtube before I started this project, I believe you told me $16,000 remember?

- - - Updated - - -


Wow, that's quite a job. It better be at bare minimum $7000 or (preferably) more.

Thank you! I had someone else tell me $16,000, but 7,000 sounds less scary for a client. I find it sad that people don't understand how much work goes into it.
Wait a minute, Delura? think I spoke to you via youtube before I started this project, I believe you told me $16,000 remember?

Yaell7
09-28-2012, 10:27 AM
I was going to say 5 figures easy, but I don't have a ton of experience with the animation side of pricing.

Yeah, after showing this 2 teasers and the official trailer, I have 2 music studios asking for pricing for animation, and I don't know what to say. at least with video editing you find more answers on the web about how much to charge, but animation prices are hard to find.

Yaell7
09-28-2012, 10:34 AM
Sounds like you may have already screwed things up a bit for yourself. It will be very difficult if not impossible to raise your price with your client the 2nd time around and you should never do things for cheap just because you want to put them on your demo reel.

I agree with you, but this happens to be a friend of a friend, but he already knows that was a one time deal, ever heard "the first time is always free"? I took the same approach with the first music video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=55ujyn0YBeQ, and after that the client has given so much work, and because of it, I got 3 other music videos from different clients and 2 tv commercials. But I totally agree with you.

Yaell7
09-28-2012, 10:38 AM
One tip i've read is to try to break up larger projects (maybe $1300 or more) so that you get small increment payments.

For instance, you obviously have to get the models squared away before you can start animating... so you could have the models as one milestone payment, the animation as another, rendering... etc. This way, if they decide half way into the project they want to bail on you, they still at least paid you for what you completed. Sometimes a down payment and completion payment isn't enough to give you some sense of security concerning your time investment.

That's a great idea. how much for modeling, texturing etc? by the way the graphic novel of delura was a great idea.

Yaell7
09-28-2012, 10:41 AM
You can still repair things up on the price. You can say that you can do future work but not include it in the reel or something. Or saying that reel have land you with other client, and you price has risen slightly. There are companies that out source things to keep progress in check or achive deadline, but doesn't want the word to go out ("see, only we can do this level job, and not some tiny freelancing companies...").

----------------------------------------------------
Help support my student short http://igg.me/p/239044

I see, but the client is aware that the price is much more and he understands that after this project, he is going to pay the amount that animation cost.

Ryan Roye
09-28-2012, 11:39 AM
That's a great idea. how much for modeling, texturing etc? by the way the graphic novel of delura was a great idea.

Thanks!

...That's the grey area that is more difficult to explain and you'll probably get a lot of different opinions on that. Since I mainly concern myself with animation, I can give my input there:

In my contract template, I take the following factors into consideration (For simplicity's sake, I'm not including rigging):

1) How long is the desired production? The "per-minute" basis can be hard to do at times... as the level of detail desired can vary greatly (some want "pixar-quality", others are fine with "car-inurance commercial" quality. NOTE: by this I am referring to MOTION, not VISUALS!

2) Areas of detail: If your client wants a cheaper price, you may be able to suggest ways to cut down on your quote. You don't always have to set your price in stone, so help your client decide what they need and make suggestions. For example, upper body only animation is far less demanding than full body, so you could suggest to your client that they only ask for full body where absolutely needed. A lot of complexity in character animation comes from the legs. I categorize animation generally as follows:

-Facial (close-up shots can really save your time and your client's money... so long as the desired detail-level only requires you to manage a modest number of controls)
-Half-Body (It isn't hard to make decent animation that involves only the upper body)
-Full-Body (If your client can afford it, most likely there will only be a small amount in the projects you do)
-Interaction with other entities (IE: If two characters are wrestling, this will add a great deal of complexity to your work)

...How much animation out of the length of the production does the client really need? Keep in mind you can do full body shots with only upper body animation.

3) Be able to measure how much you can get done in a single day. Even if it is a ballpark value, it is good to know when you are pricing stuff. If you aren't certain about this, try a program like Xnote stopwatch (http://www.xnotestopwatch.com/) and use it to help you gauge your productivity when working at a comfortable, non-rushed pace. Charge extra if your client has a tight deadline... they are paying you to drop everything and put your energy into their project in this case.

4) Your abilities. Some may disagree with this one, but I believe that if you are highly focused, for example, in animation and have developed ways to do it extremely quickly, then you may be able to get away with charging a lower price for services that align well with your specialty. The key point here is that you aren't charging less to be cheap, you're charging less because you can do it faster and better than other people with similar skillsets (so, you're actually making more on a "per-hour" basis than your competition). If someone wants you to do animation, modeling and post production, then a lot of your cost structure needs to weigh heavily against the things that take you the longest to do. I suck at modeling/visuals, so I charge extra for it (because I'd rather only do animation).

5) Frames per second is irrelevant (except for rendering)... if you have the right tools under your belt ;)

6) Do NOT waste time with clients who do the following:

-Ask you to produce work for them to "prove" you can do the job. Your demo reel and any example work you provide serves this purpose. If they need someone more skilled, or less skilled (cheaper), then you are not the right producer for them.

-Promises you more work in the future if you agree to work for less. This is a huge red flag and MANY people use this tactic. You should IMMEDIATELY stop talking with this client. Just drop them in mid-conversation if you have to... they are not worth your time and do not deserve any of your courtesy. Another thing to watch for is for a client to skimp on their payment but then go "Oh, well, if I can pay later, then I'll have more work for you"... don't fall for it. Only if you have worked for a client for a good while and trust them can you ever give leeway (to a degree) on this issue.

-Has no idea what they want and expect you to come up with something before agreeing to anything. They are trying to get your ideas out of you without paying for it. If you are responsible for the concepts, then you need to put a significant price hike on the project. It is far easier for a client to be "dissatisfied" if they never knew what the heck they wanted in the first place and you're having to guess it. A lot of times, these kinds of clients mean trouble. I don't expect a client to know about 3d production, but I do expect them to at least have some idea of what they are going for.

-The amount of time you spend discussing a project should scale with the project's pricetag. For $100-1000 jobs, try to avoid spending hours talking with your client if possible. For commissions above that amount, it can be worth being patient and understanding... I know I wouldn't like being pressured to buy $2000 worth of services quickly.


As for getting actual numbers in your head... that's hard to say. I did come across this article (http://www.katsbits.com/articles/how-much-should-i-charge-for-freelance-3d-modeling-work.php) which has a few example figures and some additional info, but, as the author suggests, they are only examples and can vary widely.

Now, if you want advice on how to price visual assets... I'm the wrong guy to talk to! :)

Yaell7
09-28-2012, 01:11 PM
Thanks!

...That's the grey area that is more difficult to explain and you'll probably get a lot of different opinions on that. Since I mainly concern myself with animation, I can give my input there: :)

ok thanks again, did you see the videos that i have so far? Teaser 1
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q9RY_Cfcsb0

Teaser 2
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T42KcYKM29I

Official Trailer (the music is the original track for the final music video)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ngnmGDVDVtA&feature=plcp

how much would you charge for the animation in this clips?

Ryan Roye
09-28-2012, 08:33 PM
how much would you charge for the animation in this clips?

If it were me, the character animation itself would take a little less than a day at that detail level. $200 (for what is shown in the clip only). This does NOT include rigging.

But it looks to me that the brunt of the work involved is visual in this compilation. You have some custom texturing on your character models, you had to rig them, yes? Then there's the composition, storyboarding (if it wasn't provided), special effects, post production stuff, etc.

That's why I was suggesting the stopwatch as mentioned above. It is hard to come up with a suggestion because only you know how fast you work and what your absolute skillset is. If your hourly wage comes out to below 17/hr or lower, it is too low to sustain your work at a reasonable level. Gotta factor in taxes and expenses into that wage as well. Rendering is wear-and-tear on your computer, you also need funds to keep your equipment up-to-date so that you don't fall behind on the technology curve.

3DGFXStudios
09-29-2012, 03:06 AM
Thank you! I had someone else tell me $16,000, but 7,000 sounds less scary for a client. I find it sad that people don't understand how much work goes into it.

16.000 fits the job better. 7000 isn't fair compared to how much work this brings. I wouldn't do it for that kind of money.

Airwaves
10-02-2012, 11:22 AM
It is good to read these postings. I need some work done and when I talked with some people they gave me incredibly high quotes and would not even listen to what I needed. All I needed was moving the objects around since I am not very good at keyframing. Mine is for education so the price we can pay is low in comparison to some of these projects but I am glad to read this and see what peoples opinions are.

jeric_synergy
10-02-2012, 11:27 AM
One tip i've read is to try to break up larger projects (maybe $1300 or more) so that you get small increment payments.

For instance, you obviously have to get the models squared away before you can start animating... so you could have the models as one milestone payment, ....
What he said, but starting w/storyboards.

Also, don't be afraid to ask for money NOW, since you've already done a ton of work: if they're not willing to pay you now, they certainly won't be willing when they have the final in hand. (IOW, if they won't pay you now, they never intended to pay.)

Airwaves
12-15-2012, 04:50 PM
I know this is an old thread and all but I want to get your opinion on some work I was doing. I want to know what you guys would charge for just the animation (no modeling work, all models already owned).

http://youtu.be/4AF7xj7pmWc

As you can see the animations are not that great but it works for what I am doing. Not complex animation and I have talked with numerous studios but want your opinions. Thanks

Yaell7
03-29-2013, 07:43 PM
Here is the final project http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nIX-q0gGxH8&list=HL1364606187&feature=mh_lolz thank you all for your support.

sami
03-29-2013, 09:36 PM
You've got plenty of advice here, but I'll say this for other younger people and people starting out:

NEVER do your first job with a client for free or cheap. If they insist they have more work for you down the line, then tell them you will give them a discount on the 3rd job. If they are telling the truth - they will get their discount and you will get your work - otherwise it's just to muscle you down. Remember first impressions are everything - YOU set a precedent as to what you are worth with the first job. There are no clients who magically will think you are worth more later than you are when you first meet them and set up the relationship with them.

If you walk into an interview or sales pitch or anything and you don't have the confidence in your work, it shows and it reduces your worth. If you don't know how to do something walking in and are worried about it, then choose not to do it or bring in help. Unless you are star-struck and happy to kill yourself for what will amount to a low hourly rate and end up watering down your personal brand and perceived market value in exchange for working with a big name, then generally this is a bad idea to take on a client like that. But remember, the big name talks and other big names will end up knowing you did it for cheap for that guy.

There's nothing wrong with giving a fair price and building a relationship with a client. But it's alot like dating, if you give it away on the first date with a stranger, then it ain't worth that much. ;D


EDIT: Glad the project worked out for you! :)

Titus
03-30-2013, 03:46 AM
16.000 fits the job better. 7000 isn't fair compared to how much work this brings. I wouldn't do it for that kind of money.

We did a video for Axl Rose last year. It was more than $7,000.

lertola2
03-30-2013, 12:57 PM
If you don't know how much to charge for your work you should get the Graphics Artists Guild Handbook, Pricing and Ethical Guidelines. (http://www.amazon.com/Graphic-Artists-Handbook-Pricing-Guidelines/dp/0932102158/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1364668138&sr=8-1&keywords=graphics+artists+guild+pricing+and+ethica l+guidelines). It is very informative and gives you price ranges to help you judge what you can charge.

Edit: Although the prices listed in the book seem unrealistically high. I was just looking at my copy form 2007 and it lists the price range for 3D animation to be between $275 and $3,000 per second. Even using the low number that would put the price for a 5 minute animation at over $80,000 dollars.

Titus
03-30-2013, 01:39 PM
If you don't know how much to charge for your work you should get the Graphics Artists Guild Handbook, Pricing and Ethical Guidelines. (http://www.amazon.com/Graphic-Artists-Handbook-Pricing-Guidelines/dp/0932102158/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1364668138&sr=8-1&keywords=graphics+artists+guild+pricing+and+ethica l+guidelines). It is very informative and gives you price ranges to help you judge what you can charge.

Edit: Although the prices listed in the book seem unrealistically high. I was just looking at my copy form 2007 and it lists the price range for 3D animation to be between $275 and $3,000 per second. Even using the low number that would put the price for a 5 minute animation at over $80,000 dollars.

Do we still charge animation per second? I think it was the late 90s when I've used that method.