View Full Version : Is 3D under valued? OT Business Stuff

08-16-2006, 01:41 AM
Hi all,
Well I've been running my business on a very part time bases for a while now and have decided to really start pushing things to get the work in.

So besides 3D I've worked in the photographic industry for a long time and so though about pushing the two within my business model. 3D and Photography/Video/DVD

So I've a couple of general questions to you all.

1) By having two sides to my business model does it look less professional than just concentrating on the one type of business?

2) After looking at photographic rates in my local area (Manchester, UK) I'm seeing of charges of 600 - 800 @ daily rates which is way above what I was considering for my 3D work!
So as a commercial service / product do you think 3D is under valued in comparison to other creative industries? Or have I got my targets set way too low for 3D rates?
And I have seen the guide rates of cirtain London high end 3D studios (@ a guide price of 2000.00 a day) but as I'm not near there level I was thinking something more realistic.

Would be intrested to hear peoples thoughts on this matter.

08-16-2006, 02:42 AM
I think it depends on what you're doing. I work as a 2d and 3d illustrator, mainly for childrens books and magazines plus more "grown up" publications (wildlife identification guides and scientific work) In this field photographers seem to be paid much more than illustrators for some reason.

On the other hand, if your're doing animation or FX work for TV I'm sure you'd be paid a lot more. What you really need to do is find out what others are charging for the kind of work you intend to do (not easy) or get an agent who does all this tricky stuff for you! :D

08-16-2006, 04:22 AM
Funny, had a similar talk with a friend lately.
The guy in the shop next to his office is one of the best food photographers in Germany (as he told me) and can charge up to 3000 Euro per day.
Thinking about that - broken down to a plain per hour rate won't make much sense (compared to our rates).
You know, there are some articles about "How to know what to charge" and the like floating around, and they always say, you have to consider, that you won't have jobs 100% of your workingtime. There can be 3 months in row without job, so you have to charge an amount, that would compensate this.
Maybe in the first year, you will only get 50% workload, so charge accordingly. The longer a job will take the more you can offer a discount, cause your charges base on just some jobs that won't exeed 6 month altogether. With one job lasting 3 month you already have half of your workload/year safe.

Now back to the photgrahper: I doubt he works 2 month in a row for a 3000 Euro rate. If things work out very well he gets two of these heavy jobs a month. Even if he gets more: he has the rates of his expensive equipment to pay (hassleblad etc).
In the end, this particular guy will have more money per month, but only because he's very good.
The average photographer isn't a rich man, is he?


In the end you want to make a living with 3D. So charging too less will get you sooner or later into trouble. Surely, it will get you some first jobs, but it's very difficult to tell these clients a year later, that from now on, you must charge twice as much... (so if you want to get into with low prices to get some reference projects, maybe don't pick your favorite company for this...)
Figure out, how much you need and then do the rates.

08-16-2006, 04:45 AM
Yep, photography work is notoriously unreliable in terms of a steady income. There is a strong tendency for photographers to try and milk whatever work they can get...

Take a look at what they charge for photographing a wedding - with VERY expensive costs per print and a very small number of photos provided back on top of that. And it's all about as formulaic as you can get.

There's a lot of photographers out there, and not a lot of regular work for them.

Having said that, there's nothing to stop you taking advantage of some photography work to top up your 3d income. And as for professional looking to do more than one thing, just pick a name that makes you look like a larger company, or refer to yourself as 'a team of specialists'!

Lies, dam lies, and adverts!

I'm also wondering if there are useful ways to combine your skills in a single product or market - for example by offering CGI titling or something...

08-16-2006, 05:20 AM
Everyone always wants The Matrix for the price of a box of matches. It's an ongoing battle, one not helped by these misconceptions:

1) The computer does it all.

2) LightWave is cheap therefore the animator running it should be, too.

3) 3D animation is IT, not art.


08-16-2006, 05:54 AM
1) By having two sides to my business model does it look less professional than just concentrating on the one type of business?.....

It depends if your two businesses will fit together. I have started with CAD support and ArchViz which worked not very well together. For CAD support you have to be on the phone or in the clients office, for ArchViz i had to sit in front of the screen.
So thats why i do now ArchViz only, but i make occasionally some photos myself for the photomontages. Daily rates are roughly the same here for architectural photographers or archviz guys.

08-16-2006, 06:05 AM
Actually, I have to say that the clients who *know* how disciplined and involved 3D is but insist on pretending that they don't to each new freelancer who walks in the door are the worst. And also the type who tend to see a lot of new freelancers.

*darker muttering*

08-16-2006, 06:24 AM
I'm really not sure how this misconception is to blame...

As someone who is an IT professional in the day job, and a paid up member of the International Association of Astronomical Artists, it's pretty clear to me that your typical artist is not richer than your typical IT professional, not by a long way...

Everyone always wants The Matrix for the price of a box of matches. It's an ongoing battle, one not helped by these misconceptions:

3) 3D animation is IT, not art.


08-16-2006, 06:40 AM
Fair comment, I think I let my grumbling get away from me there. It's still a gripe with me, though, even if it's not pay-related.

Just looked up the www.iaaa.org website. Verrrry pretty indeed.

08-16-2006, 08:31 AM
Some good advice there guys, definately do not want to under charge thats for sure! :D

Paintbox Studios is the name so that implies a bigger than one I hope!

To be honest I was shocked how much the photographers were charging, although they are not doing it day in day out, I though freelancing with 3D would be in the same ball park actually (jobs now and again).

Photograpy wise I'll be doing Social, events, maybe a little commercial (hopefully) and maybe running some local beginers courses, in digital, yup I've been doing it that long on and off :)

3D wise been offered some arch vis (which could turn regular) also there are some stand alone DVD products in a field I used to work in (A Long Time A Go In A Galxy Far Away :D ) that I will be pursuing.
Plus anything else going, BBC will be moving to Manchester in a few years time with alot of there work and also we have to odd TV local station already here.

The problem now of course it time or lack there of, working full time and kicking it all off is going to be a real pain but the only way of doing it.

cheers for the info guys.

08-16-2006, 10:05 AM
depends on what you 'want'

you could offer:-
1.per hour rate
2.per day rate
3.per project rate

you may also need to give some sample price guides of some sort once you get a client interested...maybe a past project iin your gallery area with the brief and the final cost it totalled out on.

i work freelance on a figure of around 36 per hour but this can change depending on what the porject is etc....and i'm out in the 'sticks' so to speak!

[i also have aday job too...well, 4 days a week!]

steve g

08-16-2006, 10:33 AM
Hi cresshead,
Thats very helpful, as a base line (a basic starting point) I was thinking around 40.00 per hour (3D) I'm currently chaging 15 - 25 for web work.(don's ask) something I'm trying to get away from but keep being asked to do, still it pays :)

The rates for
you could offer:-
1.per hour rate
2.per day rate
3.per project rate

Are good guide lines to go with as well I think. For the Arch vis jobs it will go on per project as my friend tells me that is how they pay, that's where my work is going to come from for 3D to begin with.

Thanks once again for your information very helpfull indeed :)

08-16-2006, 10:42 AM
Photography fights the same devaluing, especially if you're not the "best in Germany" or whatever. I make a lot of the marketing images for the company where I work (I'm paid to be an engineering manager). My company would not pay market rate for any picture, say $300 for simple press release photo.

The exec's would choke and turn red at real prices. They have no idea what talent and planning is required, beyond the equipment investment, in making images.

08-16-2006, 12:43 PM
Fair comment, I think I let my grumbling get away from me there. It's still a gripe with me, though, even if it's not pay-related.

Just looked up the www.iaaa.org website. Verrrry pretty indeed.

I was so proud to be asked to join! I actually knew and admired the work of pretty much all the senior members, and was gobsmacked!

But this may be relevant to the original questions - if you specialise in a subject, there may well be a professional body of some kind to help represent you and share requests for content, arrange exhibitions, and so forth.

It certainly makes a pleasant change from being viewed as some sort of Dixons assistant with digital crayons, and a machine to do all the hard work...


08-16-2006, 02:56 PM
I was floored when Jim Baen emailed me and asked if I was available to do book cover illustrations for him. So I do know the feeling.

Life rocks sometimes. :)

08-20-2006, 06:52 PM
there was this book that helped with pricing in many graphic fields....


I'm not sure if there is a newer edition...

other books that may help...



08-23-2006, 01:33 PM
I agree with you Bog. I get so sick of being called the computer guy. I came over from IT as many of us did, so I don't think the insult it in calling us IT per-se, but in the implication that we are not artists somehow.

Oh, and I have had even friends say something indicating that the computer does all the hard work, as if anyone could do it. I always want to ask, "Then why don't you do it."

Of course the answer is, they think, that they just aren't as technical as us.

I have to go now.

08-24-2006, 01:15 AM
Well, drifting away from the original - but those of us with a science / techie background as well as artistic skills can, (I find), really wind up those who did arts degrees or other soft subjects...

A good general purpose starter (is this the right room for an arguement?) is:

Well of course, physics is a much tougher subject to learn - it requires a lot more intelligence and learning to study general relativity than to say "why I like this poem".