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Wonderpup
08-16-2007, 04:13 PM
Hi,

I'm just atarting out on my own and having a real problem with the quoting thing, so I need some second opionions.

Having received the usual cryptic brief from the potential client, this is the job and the quote:

Design (no designs exist) two humanoid cartoon characters, model, texture and rig.

Model realistic medical gizmo ( details not given!)

Model cartoon style enviroment ( living room)

Animate characters demostrating gizmo in accurate, instructive manner The characters may talk.

Duration of animation to be from 6 minutes to 15 minutes!

That, seriously, is the sum total of information I was given.


Sooo- I quoted 15,000 to 25,000 depending on the duration and complexity.

Ok- can anyone tell me if I have:

A) Delusions of granduer? or:

B) Have offered a fair price for the work? or:

C) Am an idiot and should have doubled the quote?

I belive the durations are bit excessive for what they are trying to do- but those are the numbers i was given.

cresshead
08-16-2007, 04:59 PM
you don't have a full brief currently so you'll be well placed for a pie in the sky price.

tell them once you have a full asset list, story board, character reference images you can 'quote', currently with the lack of a full and extensive props list and character traits the only thing you can give is a 'ball park guess' nothing more and nothing you can sign up to currently.

regards may talk....make 2 guesses then...with will talk and won't talk.

i feel your client is either just trying to sound out the postential cost or they have no clue about what they are doing.

also animated 'how'....keyframe mo cap...

what about rendering?....format destination?web, phone, tv, widescreen, HD, game...
you need some questions answered!

everything they can list fully, you can get a price on....no listing or VAGUE means you'll return amirror image of vagueness in pricing!

StereoMike
08-16-2007, 05:09 PM
I find this interesting on rates:
(especially for you in the UK)

http://www.bectu.org.uk/resources/rates/ani01.html
(there's a linked pdf in the animation rates section)

What's your estimate on the time you need to deliver the job?

mike

Steamthrower
08-16-2007, 05:11 PM
Also it depends on the client. A large corporation will pay twice as much as a small business.

Wonderpup
08-16-2007, 05:39 PM
Thanks for the replies guys.

As regards getting more info- what you see is what I got- this quote has already gone in! I know it's ridiculous but I could not get any more out of the guy than that. And that's how it usually is.

I think some of these guys are doing an ostrich thing- by not telling me what they want in detail they hope to get a cheaper quote. What actually happens is that, to cover my *** I just throw the biggest numbers I dare back at them and hope for the best- it's like a game of hide and seek where everyone's wearing a blindfold.

I never got as far as timescales- it's like they don't really want to have serious conversation, in too much of a hurry to chase up some more 'ballpark figures' from some other poor sod I suppose.

It's really funny, in a way, how reluctant most people seem to be to simply tell you what they want- I spend more time practicing my interrorgation techniques than I do on 3D these days.

So based on the fact that I had barely a clue what the job was- how do you rate my quote on a credibility scale? Does it look like the work of a proffessional- or a drowning man clutching at straws?:D

cresshead
08-16-2007, 06:36 PM
well 15k is around 3 to 6 months work...for 1 guy and 25k is around 8 to 10 months work maybe..but lower end artist capability..by lower end i'd hasten to add and indepentant artist doing his first decnet work where he/she may spend exrtra time solving production workflows he may not have solved before...a known small studio may com in around 40k for a pilot with a small team of people puting it together in 2-3 months including music, sound fx and dialogue.

is this a 1 man gig?

Sarford
08-16-2007, 06:50 PM
Seems rather cheap to me. Don't forget you have to design the characters AND make six minutes of animation. That is a heck of a long time. If you get the job, better make sure you get enough time to do it. Estimate the worst case scenario and then double that time, give that time as a 'at its earliest' to your client.

Also, and don't forget this, let them pay one third ahead. Don't do the job if they don't wanna do that, realy, don't do the job. Then make sure they pay another third on aproval of the animatic. And finaly let them pay the last third on delivery.
If these guys end up not paying for your work, you have spend months without an income. So make them pay you in advance. Thats quite normal with jobs wich involve these amounts of money.

Oh, and get an contract and have them sign it. It gives you a bit more to get your rights if the **** hits the fan.

StereoMike
08-16-2007, 07:01 PM
Yes, listen to Sarford. You don't wanna starve waiting for them being generous and paying the invoice...
Let them pay frequently, so you don't have to ponder over how to pay the rent.
On small projects I take the risk on me (you don't work several weeks on a 2000€ job, so why split it up?) but for projects 5000€ upwards I split it in 40/60 % or 30/30/40% for e.g. a 3 month project.

mike

SplineGod
08-16-2007, 08:19 PM
I would look at something like quidam, poser, makehuman or precreated assets as much as possible to lower your costs. The biggest gotcha is going to be in the 6 minutes of animation with lipsynch.
I agree about the upfront money. If theyre serious theyll pay. If they dont understand, explain that this is standard in this business.

agv
08-17-2007, 12:49 AM
Wonderpup, it would be really interesting to see your take on the project once it's finished and you can asses the time you spent. If you don't mind sharing, I'm sure I'm not the only one who could learn from your experience.

Wonderpup
08-17-2007, 03:55 AM
It would be just me doing the job, and it was the duration that worried me- I did try to explain to the guy that six minutes of character animation is actually a long time- but I don't think he got it really.

The real problem I'm finding is that because most people have no understanding at all of what's involved they have hopelessly optimistic ideas of cost.

I agree about upfront payment- it is the only way to protect yourself, especially from a peculiar type of 'client' who are in reality just playing with the idea of getting something made, but have no real intention of following though.

agv, if the job does go ahead I'll report back how it went, but I'm pretty sure my quote scared the guy away.

The crazy thing is that if people just took a bit of time to think through what they wanted before trying to squeeze a number out of someone, they would get much more reasonable quotes- but instead they offer a few snippets of info, and end up with defensive quotes that are probably way higher than needs be.

For example, when I asked the guy on this job where the action was set there was this awkward pause- he had not even thought about it!- so in addition to giving a quote I often find myself acting as an unpaid consultant working out the details of the job on the phone with the client in real time.

Some of these jobs seem to have passed through the management structures of entire companies without once being exposed to the scrutiny of intelligent thought, or any thought at all.

StereoMike
08-17-2007, 04:21 AM
Haha, yeah, I've seen that too.
The best thing was: "Hey, if we would use real footage we would only have to pay 200€ per minute!"
Or about a job that made 6000€:"So you must be quite satisfied, right? I mean, you earn more than me!" Not understanding that I have to pay all my insurances , take the business risk and pay taxes all by myself. So 6000 for a 4 week job wasn't great...
Or the classic thought somewhere near the end of the project: "I have an idea. Can you just let the guy come in from the other side? It's only clicking some buttons and won't take long, right?"

mike

cresshead
08-17-2007, 05:24 AM
from here
moonridge 5
http://forums.cgsociety.org/showthread.php?f=59&t=431100&highlight=moon+pilot

Ah, yes, this would be professional trade knowledge. A CGI TV pilot normally costs between 100,000 and 120,000 Euros. Most production companies will produce 1/10th of an episode or even just the title sequence and start with the co-production talks based on that (still spending around 100,000 on that one minute of animation). It's the development process that makes for such a high figure.
Because the concept of 'Moonridge 5' is so broad and multi-levelled we decided to do 8 minutes of animation. This is absolutely not the standard because of the time and costs involved with the production of an (almost) complete episode, but we love to push the envellope and do things right and we really wanted to show what different directions and possibilities there are for the show.
We managed to stay way below the normal budget level because of the below-standard wages the artists were willing to work for, believing in the project. An absolutely amazingly generous act by the 25 people who worked on the pilot! This is certainly not something you can expect from every artist and it's not a practise that should be encouraged but if you're tight on your budget you sometimes do have to ask this of people.

A 52 part 3D CGI television series episode can cost anywhere between 110,000 and 230,000 Euros. Determining factors in cost are of course length of episodes, location of production (European, North-American or Asian wages), studio costs, quality level, production fees, hardware costs and software licences, and a lot of other cost factors.

Should you wish to get professional productional help on your pilot, please do not hesitate to contact me.

Alexander Lentjes
info [at] the3drevolution.com

Roux
08-17-2007, 05:55 AM
Quote "I think some of these guys are doing an ostrich thing- by not telling me what they want in detail they hope to get a cheaper quote. What actually happens is that, to cover my *** I just throw the biggest numbers I dare back at them and hope for the best"

Been there & done that too often myself. The fact is, until you agree on what exactly is to be done in a written contract form with sketches & some samples or concepts, the goal will continue to change and what seemed like a large sum of money to start with will likely not be enough to justify your time.

I prefer to put a bit more into the prework if it helps me know what is required and I can pin the client to agree on specifics. I'd rather lose 4 hours doing some sketches and typing than 2 months at a cost. If they are serious and go for, I have put the time into the quote anyway.
Upfront and progressive payment is the only way to go.

agv
08-17-2007, 06:03 AM
I too identify with this. I'm in the US and find it interesting that bidding on animation work has the same problems the world over.

Wonderpup
08-17-2007, 08:52 AM
I prefer to put a bit more into the prework if it helps me know what is required and I can pin the client to agree on specifics. I'd rather lose 4 hours doing some sketches and typing than 2 months at a cost. If they are serious and go for, I have put the time into the quote anyway.

This is a difficult line to draw- how much preproduction work to do before the job has been agreed.

I found myself recently being cast into a quasi marketing role by a client who mistook my attempts to pin him down as an offer of free consultancy- it got to the point where he was asking my advice on the best way to approach local police forces to sell his services (he was in the security industry) I had to politely remind him that I was in the animation business- not marketing.(not that he was paying me in the first place.)

Also, your creative ideas are a big part of what you are selling, so it can be hard to decide at what point a free sample of your wisdom ends and paid work begins.

Roux
08-17-2007, 07:59 PM
This is a difficult line to draw- how much preproduction work to do before the job has been agreed.
I agree. I tend to assess this based on the potential of the job itsself. I have to weigh up what, in terms of effort, the job is worth to win.
The bigger the job, the more time I'll put into "tendering".


Also, your creative ideas are a big part of what you are selling, so it can be hard to decide at what point a free sample of your wisdom ends and paid work begins.
One of the big downsides in our industry - you have to show something to get agreement and essentially give away your vision and ideas for the project.
Use whatever you can to make it difficult to steal - watermarks, protected pdf and if possible, only provide access via a web link where you can employ methods to limit saving of images.

As for client involvement, I've been responsible for engineering redesigns, product modifications etc simply by way of feedback - e.g. "this would never work like this, it should really be..." I'd love to get some form of royalty for the ideas that have been implemented but... When animating models of prototypes or simply building them, you're often the first to find the impracticalities of a design.