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blackvx
09-05-2013, 07:44 AM
Hi,
Our client asked us to get the original lightwave files from a project we are working on. For me, it's like asking a photographer for its raw files. I would hate to give away my lwo files. It doesn't seem fair to me to comply to such request after working so many hours (beyond the original contract).
What's your opinion about that?
Thanks,
Michael

nickdigital
09-05-2013, 08:06 AM
Is there wording saying you retain rights to the files? Can you charge them an extra fee?

They paid for the work so it's not unreasonable for them to want what they paid for.

blackvx
09-05-2013, 08:37 AM
In the contract, It says that they are paying for the 3D render with a couple of poses.
thanks

nickdigital
09-05-2013, 08:44 AM
Ah, then I'd say you direct them to the contract. They can amend the agreement, provided you agree to the change, for a fee. It ain't in the original agreement so not sure how they could demand it. If they wanna go that route at least you have something signed to back you up.

jeric_synergy
09-05-2013, 08:53 AM
Stay resolute, blackvx. Also, add specific language to the contract for the next time.

ESPECIALLY since you worked overtime on it. Be firm: "It's not in the contract, but for a reasonable fee...."

Remember, they are not your friends, they are your clients.

omichon
09-05-2013, 09:06 AM
This is the reason why it is important to be very descriptive in a contract to avoid that kind of situation.
For me it is obvious that providing the sources involves an extra cost. It should be presented as an option in the contract.
In your case, since you only have charged for rendered images, you shouldn't have to provide the sources for free.
But that's a tricky point since you will have to choose between keeping your precious sources and make your client happy.
Maybe you could also provide some baked version to limit the use of it.

roboman
09-05-2013, 09:11 AM
That's always a big thing. People assume when they contract for images to be made that they own every thing, even the copyright. For the most part, the law says they own the images they paid for and nothing else. Even the work for hire part of copyright has a lot of gray that favors the person making the images. So for the most part you have the legal right to never give the client any thing more then the images, even though they likely thought they bought more (contract aside).

It gets down to balancing what you think will be good for your business, what will make your customer happy, what will leave you not to unhappy. Are they objects that you are likely to reuse? Clearly the client plans to go some where else, but are they going to come back to you at some point and what do you want them telling others about you?

It's kind of nice to have in the contract what the client is not buying, as well as what they are. Most people assume they are buying every thing, it makes things clear later as they know up front and it's in writing that there is one price for just images, another for exclusive copyrights to the stuff, another if they wish to rights to the models and another if they wish to have exclusive rights to the models. The law aside, most just assume since they paid they own it all, so it can help if they know what they aren't buying, right from the start.

eV1Te
09-05-2013, 09:11 AM
Maybe the person asking you is not aware that it is not normal to get the "raw" files for free after a project is done.

As someone mentioned about giving them a baked version, also freeze the subdivision at a very fine detail so that it becomes near impossible to give the models to another firm to work with, but still renders like the images you gave them!?

blackvx
09-05-2013, 10:31 AM
I looked back at the contract and it's pretty clear that I keep the copyright. The client just asked the question so there are no arguments for now. I would be sad to see them go somewhere else though.

I was not sure if it was the same mentality for the 3D market. I'm glad that most of you think the same way about keeping the raw files.

Thanks for all your feedback!

raymondtrace
09-05-2013, 10:49 AM
Even if a contract would explicitly state that you are to turn over source media, there may be issues with stock photos/textures/fonts/plugins/scripts/rigs licensed only to you. The absence of those may make the LWS/LWO files mostly useless.

Freezing the subdivision = excellent idea.

chikega
09-05-2013, 12:19 PM
... freeze at subdivision 0 and triangulate :D

You need this book: https://graphicartistsguild.org/handbook/

Dexter2999
09-05-2013, 01:33 PM
I used to be very upfront verbally about the ownership of the assets as well as having it in writing. And I was very honest about why. "Some people try to take my fruits of my efforts and find someone to undercut my rates and I don't feel this is fair."

I have also done corporate logo work with a boosted rate where I contracted that they get ALL assets. Keeping their logo doesn't do me any good.

But I do have in my contracts that I retain the right to use all works produced for promotion of my services. (Barring NDA.)

Then again, I may have had it all wrong because I don't do that stuff anymore.

m.d.
09-05-2013, 11:59 PM
I wouldn't give them the original LW files...but you may want to consider before deciding


The only reason they would want those assets is

1. Makes sure the assets are only associated with them and never used on outside projects.
2. Cut you out of the picture for future revisions.
3. A backup should something ever happen to you where you are incapable or unwilling to modify/redo the images.
4. You were contracted to design this LWO object....

If you were contracted as a designer, then they would have a right to the files....just as 99% of designers supply their client with illustrator files. Very commonplace and same idea.

As with everything there is flexibility, and if it is a client who you may get more work with you may want to compromise.

The raw photo example doesn't really hold anymore as I have sent client terabytes of raw video just in the last month...and virtually every contract I have signed has asked for this as well.

geo_n
09-06-2013, 12:18 AM
Even if they get it. How many lwvers do you think they know? :D
Btw studios in japan send files all the time to each other and the client also gets a hard disk of the original source files of the whole project. This is common practice but it doesn't go beyond the parties involved.

JonW
09-06-2013, 06:18 AM
You have also spent many years if not decades honing your skills setting up textures, nodes, lighting setups etc. This is your intellectual property! On top and beyond there are copyright issues. Just in images alone, in my case I have spent a stack of time making very nice textures, far more time involved than for the use on any single job. I am not going to hand them over for any price. I have also over the decades spent many tens of thousands on equipment & software & my time & archiving to create the images. So the value is magnitudes higher than the job itself. (a good example of this is a timber floor in an image I posted recently, $10k of camera equipment using a 3 metre tall tripod to take the photo, then a stack of time to make it tileable plus all the other expenses.)

One simply does NOT give away these assets. Would you put up here on the forum all your skills and procedures and textures for everyone to see so now all & sundry can then take your work. I don't think so, & no other business would either.

End of story!

If they don't like it, tough!

If they want the whole model they can pay for your decades of assets!


I am also guessing that they want to pay you in 30 day as well !!!!!!!!..... & saying there will be more work !!!!!!!!

jasonwestmas
09-06-2013, 07:52 AM
Yes, stick to the contract. Make em pay extra if they want to add to the contract.

jeric_synergy
09-06-2013, 11:21 AM
I'd say the "triangulate and/or hi-subd" route is FINE unless they've contracted differently: if it's really just a pro-forma request, and they never look at the files anyway, you've satisfied them and not-alienated them. If they need more usable files in the future and actually take a look at them, you can point to the files and say "You DID get them."

I suspect 95% of clients never actually look at source files.

Meanwhile, add appropriate language to your contract.

shrox
09-06-2013, 11:32 AM
I'd say the "triangulate and/or hi-subd" route is FINE unless they've contracted differently: if it's really just a pro-forma request, and they never look at the files anyway, you've satisfied them and not-alienated them. If they need more usable files in the future and actually take a look at them, you can point to the files and say "You DID get them."

I suspect 95% of clients never actually look at source files.

Meanwhile, add appropriate language to your contract.

Put it in a password protected zip file, that way you'll know that they looked at it when they ask for the password.

spherical
09-06-2013, 03:54 PM
I wouldn't give them the original LW files...

Neither would I. They contacted for the result not how you obtained the result.


The only reason they would want those assets is

1. Makes sure the assets are only associated with them and never used on outside projects.
2. Cut you out of the picture for future revisions.
3. A backup should something ever happen to you where you are incapable or unwilling to modify/redo the images.
4. You were contracted to design this LWO object....

In my experience, not only in 3D but in 2D design and illustration--both traditional media and digital--they are only interested in #2.


If you were contracted as a designer, then they would have a right to the files....just as 99% of designers supply their client with illustrator files. Very commonplace and same idea.

I'm one of the 1%; which I actually feel is quite a bit larger.


As with everything there is flexibility, and if it is a client who you may get more work with you may want to compromise.

This is the carrot that they dangle. Most times, you never hear from them again, once they have what they want. Of course, if you do give your techniques, knowledge and experience away, they may just come back for more free stuff.

Same goes for "clients" who want your work for free or a lower price in return for the "exposure" you'll get. Many artists have died from exposure. If we had $10 for every time someone made a run at us using what they think is an original idea, we could easily afford to go to Disneyland for a week and stay in one of their hotels, too.


The raw photo example doesn't really hold anymore as I have sent client terabytes of raw video just in the last month...and virtually every contract I have signed has asked for this as well.

May not hold for you but it does for others out here. Besides, a negative or transparency is like a traditional media original that I paint. If it is a commercial illustration, they only get a reproducible of the final image; not the original which, BTW, said transfer must be done in writing--they don't automatically get the rights to it by default. It must be a separately called out transfer, with consideration paid--even if it is only $1. Same goes for copyright.

In the instance of an original digital capture, the line may appear to be blurred but it really isn't. Just because the media changed, that does not change the dynamic. That which makes it appear to be different from the others is that a reproduction of it can be an exact copy, so why try to protect it? On the surface that may be true but how many times does a digital photographer not further process the original image? It is just like darkroom printing. The negative holds information in the bright highlights and deep shadows that one overall enlarger exposure cannot bring out. Burning and dodging are the techniques that a good photographer uses to coax these into the print.

Same goes for a digital image. I have some images that either started as digital captures or were "painted" in Photoshop with pixels, as opposed to pigment. I used to exceed the layer limit in earlier versions of PS. That is no longer a problem but, if I give away my PSD, I am essentially teaching them how to do darkroom printing and digital painting. Are they paying for that? No. But they want it anyway.

If the image has type included and the client then says that they need the source file to make changes to that, I flatten the image itself and drag the type layers into that new file. The many layers that make up the image as it has been developed are walled off, but the flexibility that they counted with has been accommodated. Usually, this isn't what they really wanted but now have no option with which to counter. Heck, I'm not that expensive. Need something done, just ask, instead of paying someone else anyway.

A lot of times, it boils down to a principle that I recognized a long time ago: "They'll keep asking until you say: 'No'." If you give it to them, they win, and it is looked upon as being "good business". Yes it is and you should be aware of the atmosphere in which you find yourself and conduct yourself accordingly. You are the only one who can protect you.

m.d.
09-06-2013, 05:34 PM
I agree in principle with most of what you say with the exception of designers....

Someone designing a logo for instance, will always be required for the original files to be included.

We're not talking raster here, but vector....

Any large ad agency will require it.

The difference being you are being paid as a designer.....to create reusable art.

This may not be the case with the original poster...


And as far as raw images....all of my larger clients now require the raw video....and I am talking RAW same as a RAW photo. They will not accept a reduced dynamic range version.

This is all negotiated beforehand, and often I retain the rights if I feel I can reuse it.....but with all the large clients this is the way it is....


It just depends what your position is.....if you are a single artist, or part of a larger effort.

While I agree, I am just playing devils advocate....not all clients are evil, even if they want your scene files or raw images.

I have had a large client for 8 years that keeps giving me larger and larger contracts, that always requires my originals. Refusing to comply in the beginning would have cost me hundreds of thousands of dollars.

spherical
09-06-2013, 08:53 PM
I agree on logos, etc. There isn't anything the designer can do with the design. By default, it is essentially a buy-out at the start.

As long a things are negotiated beforehand, that's how it is. Your eyes are open going in. It is the "Oh, by the way...", that comes along later when you aren't expecting it, that is most vexing and the OP is asking that question.

And, I'm not saying that "all clients are evil". Clients will try to get all that they can. There's a difference. Sometimes, they don't even know what they would do with source files if they got them. It just seems to them to be something that they "should have", when it probably isn't.

JonW
09-06-2013, 11:52 PM
Same goes for "clients" who want your work for free or a lower price in return for the "exposure" you'll get. Many artists have died from exposure. If we had $10 for every time someone made a run at us using what they think is an original idea, we could easily afford to go to Disneyland for a week and stay in one of their hotels, too.

I have build about 600 physical architectural models over 20 years. I have been told so many times there will be more work. I have never listened to it. Guess what, not once has there been a second job from any of these clients!

Electrocaseal
09-07-2013, 12:17 AM
id give them the assets unless you work way harder than you got paid for. they know youre holding it hostage to milk them more and you know theyre doing it so they dont have to pay you anymore.

lol at sabotaging the files oh my god thats like spitting in someones food.

geo_n
09-07-2013, 12:28 AM
I have build about 600 physical architectural models over 20 years. I have been told so many times there will be more work. I have never listened to it. Guess what, not once has there been a second job from any of these clients!

Not one?? That's a bit wierd if one is doing good work. A lot of studios here for example would not survive without repeat work.

There are clients that are bad and clients that are really good and generous.
But there are also artists(primadonna types) that are worse who will leave a project while its on going leaving the client with nothing.
So source files are a way to give assurance to the client that they're not screwed totally. Rarely happens here but overseas with contract freelancer artists it happens a lot and the artists goes MIA.
So it goes both ways.

JonW
09-07-2013, 01:56 AM
Not one?? That's a bit wierd if one is doing good work..

I do lots of repeat work, but never done it from the ones who promise continuous repeat work!

jeric_synergy
09-07-2013, 11:45 AM
As long as one is compensated and it's not 'sprung' on you after the fact (iow, in the contract), it's all cool.



I do lots of repeat work, but never done it from the ones who promise continuous repeat work!
I hear that.


But there are also artists(primadonna types) that are worse who will leave a project while its on going leaving the client with nothing.
I woulda had a gig if I'd known C4D instead of LW, because the 'freelancer' they contracted with just decided "nahhhhh, this weekend is too good to spend working." No call, no nothing, client didn't know they were screwed until Tuesday.

Unfortunately, C4D, and I advised them, after consultation, to juggle in-house instead of trying to shoehorn LW into the pipeline under the gun.

JonW
09-07-2013, 02:59 PM
You should easily be able to tell the dodgy clients at the quoting stage, usually your answer is in the first few words & tone of the voice! A client who's first question before asking other information is how much is it going to cost, is a dead giveaway! I am on my guard straight away.

When their second question is how long will it take or I need it in x days. You will now know not only to be on your guard but this is a client that will be a pain in the neck to the nth degree. They can go elsewhere! Let your opposition have the zero paid work with no lead time! If you are still desperate enough to do work for these people, cross your "T" & dot your "I" on every single aspect of the quote & job. Also double your price as they will simply will waste your time through the entire job & keeping pushing & asking for more & more.

Their third question they will most likely ask is for a discount! Don't even touch these people!

Forth, they will promise more work! Need I say more?


Always discuss every other aspect about the job & your services. Never the price! You will get back to them with a price. You can say I will get back to you quickly with a price but I do have to work out what is involved with the job & get back to you. Simply do not give any prices or hourly rates! End of story! The clients who keep pushing for prices are simple going to cause you a nightmare on every aspect, time wasters & runners (not pay).

The clients you choose to continue with, to quote on a job, forget the time wasters. You will get far more respect from these if right from the start you are polite & extremely firm on getting back to them with a price. If the client doesn't respect your firmness, don't waste any more time with them, let someone else have the problem!


Right from the quoting stage keep a diary of all communication, just send an email to yourself every time you speak to them, will do, with key points & brief notes etc. Then you can always reminded the client on tuesday last week you said x & I said y. Keep a diary on every job, get into this habit for every job no matter how good you think the client is!

Also if there is a variation give them a variation price before you start doing the variation work. & ask them to ok the changes! You would have put variation prices in your conditions but never the less always give them a price for this additional work before you start doing it, no matter how urgently they want the changes. It is about covering your arse!

First few rules:

Rule 1: No price!
Rule 2: See rule 1!
Rule 3: Let someone else work 25 hours a day for nothing. It will keep your opposition busy!
Rule 4: Diary!

spherical
09-08-2013, 04:02 PM
You should easily be able to tell the dodgy clients at the quoting stage, usually your answer is in the first few words & tone of the voice! A client who's first question before asking other information is how much is it going to cost, is a dead giveaway! I am on my guard straight away.

When their second question is how long will it take or I need it in x days. You will now know not only to be on your guard but this is a client that will be a pain in the neck to the nth degree. They can go elsewhere! Let your opposition have the zero paid work with no lead time! If you are still desperate enough to do work for these people, cross your "T" & dot your "I" on every single aspect of the quote & job. Also double your price as they will simply will waste your time through the entire job & keeping pushing & asking for more & more.

Their third question they will most likely ask is for a discount! Don't even touch these people!

Forth, they will promise more work! Need I say more?

Right on the nose! The pattern, here, is "me, me, me, me".

JonW
09-08-2013, 06:20 PM
Right on the nose! The pattern, here, is "me, me, me, me".


Agree!


When discussing with a client always pull the conversation back to service. Find out what they really need and let them know what you can provide.

Delivery date. Never accept an answer of ASAP. Find out why & what ASAP actually means! What is the actual date the client needs the product & why! ASAP is not an answer, simply keep prodding until you can get a date.

Then you can massaged the date to a realist timeframe, because "you" deliver on time & "you" are only interested in doing quality work & not interested in pushing out third rate work that is no good for anyone. You want to work out if you can actually do the work by the date required, & deliver it on time! (obviously if there are major changes you will need to tell then that the extra work requires x amount of time)

Keep the client up dated on a regular basis even if they are not requesting it. It keeps them off your back & my experience is that even all my first time customers have left me alone. You save a lot of time if you are in touch with the client rather than the client in touch with you.

Have the job finished one day before the client needs it. They will be happy that it is ready "sooner than expected" & you can also invoice them for the balance!

JonW
09-08-2013, 08:25 PM
A few weeks ago.

New first time client!
How much for a model?
I need it ASAP!
I got back in a few hours with a price.
This is too much can you knock X of the price, I also have another job in the pipeline!
I kept the same price & said that I always deliver on time & only do good work...........
Got the job on Thursday, no discount!
Tuesday he phones up asking what time can he pick it up!
I said (this is where being proactive covering your arse with a diary is useful) I spoke to the architect on Friday & told him the conversation we had about the delivery date and that the job will be ready Monday another week ahead but will try for Friday (I had the intention on Friday, but not telling him that)!
Thursday (1 day earlier) I email photos of the finished model with invoice for balance. I don't get a call till very late friday so they will miss getting it into Council.
I need it for Monday and I will give you a cheque on Wednesday!
So I will drop it around to you on Wednesday then.
Drop it around on Monday & collect a cheque!

This was an easy one, the games people play! But be firm & sticking with the facts, & whatever happens always be polite. You can use 4 letter words when you get off the phone!

djwaterman
09-08-2013, 09:54 PM
You make actual physical models?

JonW
09-08-2013, 10:22 PM
Both!

geo_n
09-08-2013, 11:10 PM
Both!

Oh wow I used to do this in college! Really good quality.

Riff_Masteroff
09-09-2013, 12:29 AM
JonW: Your physical models are wonderful. Your medium for that is different than, say, a construction watercolor artist, but they also can do amazing stuff. And that with paintbrush & paper and mental concept of what it will look like. In some cases, and in my opinion, either tops LW for useful preconstruction visuals.

Now I am getting quite interested in this thread. Bottom line: my advice: don't be too independent.

blackvx (Michael) said " . . . .I would hate to give away my lwo files. It doesn't seem fair to me to comply to such request after working so many hours (beyond the original contract). . . " btw: blackvx is local to me.

m.d. said ". . . It just depends what your position is.....if you are a single artist, or part of a larger effort. . . "

Riff (me) says: Most all of this stuff is created as part of collaborative effort, one way or another. The human condition is mostly that we work together. Sometimes we accept that, sometimes not.

While waiting for a test render to complete just now, I was reading this NT Forum thread with a second 'puter. Retired now, but not tired, I am re-doing old .lwo(s). They did serve their purpose but I should be able to do better with current LW and hardware. For viz purposes. Btw, I am lousy at viz.

Using LW I did save the owners at least 100k or much more with this partial .lwo. It was created before construction and shows two types of panels to be installed. One type (grey colored GFRC) was manufactured in French speaking Canada, and the other type (white colored GFRG) was manufactured in English speaking Canada. The Architect's geometry was correct, but not the English speaking Canadian subcontractor.

I modeled both the Architect's geometry and the subcontractor's . That is all of the panels. Didn't match by a number of feet. Wow, was the sub miffed when I called him and he told me: The Architect approved our submittal. I said, read the fine print: not for dimensionality. Well, the panels arrived here in the Washington, DC area with the correct geometry a few months later. If they had been wrong, the job would be shut down in that area until the panels were corrected. Picture hundreds of ppl yelling and dozens of ppl throwing down their hard hats and cell phones on the concrete floor and walking away. Didn't happen. LightWave can do great things.

Here's the render, still needs much work. Will post a more complete version soon enough.

Greenlaw
09-09-2013, 01:06 AM
It depends on the terms under which you accepted the assignment. If it's specified that you are doing 'work for hire', then you pretty much give up all rights. Naturally, this situation should be avoided whenever possible. Don't just accept the client's first offer--make sure you present your own terms before accepting an assignment. (It sounds like you did that so you're covered.)

Back when I worked as a freelance illustrator, it was clearly understood by the clients that they were purchasing printing rights for the art and not the materials used to create it. In my experience, it was rare when the client/publisher asked for my geometry and textures but that did happen occasionally. When it did happen, I referred the requester to our contract and explained that I would be happy to sell them the geometry at an additional charge. At this point, the matter was always dropped and we moved on to our next project.

When I worked in game cinematics, the situation was handled differently because the geometry we used was sometimes based on the client's assets (usually game res models and textures.) We might make significant modifications and improvements to the models but in the end it was considered the client's property, and sometimes the enhanced geometry was returned to the client. Unless it was specified in the contract, I don't think my employer legally required to hand over the geometry but I think they did it out of courtesy. In my personal opinion, that's a tactical mistake but it wasn't my place to say so.

IMO, almost anything is negotiable and should be negotiated if it's really important to you.

G.

Iain
09-09-2013, 01:59 AM
I agree in principle that the client is (usually) buying a finished product and that's all they should get.
The reality of it is though, that I have hundreds of high quality models on my hard drive that I will never use again as they are so specific to one client's needs.
So really, what good are they to me? Yes, I created them but they are based on someone else's design. The intellectual property rights fundamentally belong to the architect or designer if you think about it in a practical sense.

I've had disputes with people over this and it has always cost me in the long run, not them.
I've mellowed to the point now that I give the client what they ask for as long as its reasonable. They come back, and they send others too.

JonW
09-09-2013, 02:26 AM
don't be too independent.
Agree!

Branch out as much as possible.


[B][COLOR="#800000"]a construction watercolor artist, but they also can do amazing stuff. And that with paintbrush & paper and mental concept of what it will look like. In some cases, and in my opinion, either tops LW for useful preconstruction visuals.
I could not paint for my life, other than with a can of house paint!



The intellectual property rights fundamentally belong to the architect or designer if you think about it in a practical sense.
We may build architectural models, whether it is 3d or physical, it would be a brave (stupid) person who then reused the architectural designs for something else.


I've mellowed to the point now that I give the client what they ask for as long as its reasonable. They come back, and they send others too.

Agree!

I alway do a bit more, within reason, it's not worth the arguing. The client feels they get something & you get other work.

Greenlaw
09-09-2013, 03:33 AM
The reality of it is though, that I have hundreds of high quality models on my hard drive that I will never use again as they are so specific to one client's needs.
So really, what good are they to me?
Maybe it's just me but I have disagree. Holding onto my creative assets was an incentive for the client to return to me if they had a followup assignment that called for re-use or re-purposing of those assets. An exception might be if I was too busy to accept that assignment, in which case I might possibly relinquish the items as a courtesy so they can have the work done elsewhere, giving the client another incentive to return when I'm available.

That said, I recognize that there are no hard rules in freelancing--the dynamics of any artist/client relationships certainly vary, and each artist will have to decide what works best in his situation.

G.

JonW
09-09-2013, 04:17 AM
The first image above. I built a model for the same site over a decade earlier. That helped a little bit to get a new job on the same site (first never built), different architect. The model then had major changes. So effectively 3 models over about 14 years. Plus a reasonable amount of 3d work with the last model. Which in turn has led to return work from the same architect & recommendations which led to other work.

I make sure I bend over backwards even further for these clients!