View Full Version : What's average starting pay for freelance 3d artists???

Jeff Skeens
04-15-2004, 04:00 PM
I am graduating college in early may. I recieved a freelance job offer from a company in England. I accepted the offer and am concerned about how much money I should ask for if the company
suggests to me that I throw out a number. Too much money may not go over very well with them, and too little money won't be good for me. I will be doing modeling and character animation. What's a good number to go by as an average salary for freelance animators?

04-15-2004, 05:34 PM
If you're going to be working flexible hours make sure you get an hourly rate - if you're putting in a 9:00am - 5:30pm day then you can charge a daily rate (make sure the client knows that any overtime, changes and revisions are chargeable too).

Rates will vary based on experience and talent - never undersell yourself though - I'd suggest seeing as you're just starting out that 150 - 175 per day is OK - old hands can earn upwards of 350 - 400 per day (this will vary according to the cost of living wherever you're working though - generally animators working outside of London earn less than those in Soho).

Sometimes it's worth taking a lower rate if it's steady work but make sure if you're working over a long timescale that you get an advance up front and structured payments - possibly milestone linked - to tide you over.

Good luck!

04-15-2004, 05:36 PM
It's not really that easy to come up with an average figure without knowing what the work is, what your level of expertise is, what the company is using it for, how long it will take, how big the job is, how long you have to do it & so on.

There are tons of variables, but the bottom line is, how much do you want to earn for a days work. & how long will it take. Multiply one by the other. If this is your first job, or one of the first, you can afford to do it cheaper than you would when established.

Maybe in the region of $500 to $1000 for a weeks work? That's around what a new guy at my place would get.

The fact that the job is for a UK company won't make an awful lot of difference, since the wages for normal cg work seems to be similar on both sides of the pond, with some exceptions of course.

04-15-2004, 05:46 PM
Originally posted by Aegis
I'd suggest seeing as you're just starting out that 150 - 175 per day is OK - old hands can earn upwards of 350 - 400 per day

Many people at Shepperton on 400 a day??
Maybe I should send that CV in after all.

04-16-2004, 06:08 AM
Don't ask too little, that's for sure, if you do a decent job and make your deadlines, bill well over /$ 350 a day (8 hours worth of work, bill overtime)
Too many 3d people bill too little and have ruined the market considerably already...
Producers these days think they can get 20 seconds worth of character animation (including modeling riggin textureing rendering) within 6 days and for somewhere around 3000...that my friend, is impossible...

Make them pay for a decent product, like they have to do for every other branch in the media industry...

Make sure you setup a decent contract before doing any work...
Discuss over-time, discuss going over dealines because of adjustments they want, make sure those extra days due to adjustments are paid extra for
Make sure your not solely responsible for the job, don't get scewed over because the client isn't happy about the product and therefore you don't get paid
Keep your models and scenes...don't give these away...either make them pay for them or make sure it's part of the deal...otherwise you do all the modeling, rigging and texturing and then next time they need another commercial or whatnot with those models you won't get paid, because they'll hire a intern who will do it for free...you gave them the files to work with, remember?


These are some of my tips...


Jeff Skeens
04-16-2004, 01:55 PM
Thank you all very much for the advice. it is most helpful, and most encouraging. I was expecting less.

04-16-2004, 04:24 PM
If your work is good (professional quality, $1,500 to 1,800.

04-16-2004, 05:17 PM
I normally go on a per-project basis but try an calculate it by estimating the number of hours i will work and adding some. Over time i've got better at hitting the right price quote for the number of hours as i try to work to 20 p/hr mates rates. If i was freelancing for another company on a similar project it would be higher, perhaps 25-30 an hour. Stress costs so if you think you'll need to do alot of overtime to meet the deadline then charge accordingly!

To break it down a bit I would estimate most modeling work around 15 per hour and character animation (depending on your skill) between 20-35 an hour. imho they're two different specialist area's and should be charged likewise, however everything is relative to skill and experience.