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geo_n
08-20-2008, 07:54 PM
CG artist average salary in the west. Anyone have any data? What's the salary range?

RudySchneider
08-20-2008, 08:11 PM
If you're referring to dollars, the ranges don't seem to start high enough if you're interested in actually living "comfortably" solely from CG in the States.

shrox
08-20-2008, 08:14 PM
My last job as "just an artist" rather than art director was more than the highest listed. that was 1998.

geo_n
08-20-2008, 08:21 PM
That's why I posted above 60000US.
Honestly the cg artist here in japan have low salary 20000-35000US. So I'm curious what the market is over there.
But I'm also hearing there's a shrinking of the industy in the west and cg is being outsourced in Asia. Siggraph is 5 times smaller and next year its going to be in singapore.

shrox
08-20-2008, 08:35 PM
That's why I posted above 60000US.
Honestly the cg artist here in japan have low salary 20000-35000US. So I'm curious what the market is over there.
But I'm also hearing there's a shrinking of the industy in the west and cg is being outsourced in Asia. Siggraph is 5 times smaller and next year its going to be in singapore.

Yes, that is true. There are many more CG artists than when I began, so consequently salaries are lower. But eventaully the companies discover that being proficent with a program does not make one an artist, an they get weeded out, and hopefully the real artists get raises!

SplineGod
08-20-2008, 11:32 PM
This might be useful:
http://www.animationguild.org/_Home/home_FRM1.html
http://www.animationguild.org/_Contract/wages_pdf/WageSurvey2008.pdf

geo_n
08-20-2008, 11:54 PM
This might be useful:
http://www.animationguild.org/_Home/home_FRM1.html
http://www.animationguild.org/_Contract/wages_pdf/WageSurvey2008.pdf

Thanks. Seems the median for a generalist is around 21000US.
40 hour per week. Hmmm..haven't considered overtime. Since there's no overtime pay here. :D

Sande
08-21-2008, 12:14 AM
Yes, that is true. There are many more CG artists than when I began, so consequently salaries are lower.
Interesting. I work mainly with games and it seems that in this field of work there is an ever growing demand, and shortage, of skilled artists.
Most of the companies I know are recruiting and also the development in salaries has been quite positive - for artists, I mean). :)

So if someone struggles finding a decently paid job doing CG, I recommend looking at opportunities in the gameindustry...

shrox
08-21-2008, 12:15 AM
Thanks. Seems the median for a generalist is around 21000US.
40 hour per week. Hmmm..haven't considered overtime. Since there's no overtime pay here. :D

40 hours?! 55 hours a week at least...on a salary too.

shrox
08-21-2008, 12:48 AM
I think that the game industry probably pays more in general, but the salaries are in a fairly narrow band compared to Hollywood. No 20 million dollar contracts in gaming for just showing up.

And lots of extra hours during crunch, no extra pay, but we usually get catered food, and if you live more than an hour away they often pay for a hotel, and nice ones too. Then a week off after the gold burn. Gold burn is the final master disc that will be used to make the production discs.

Sande
08-21-2008, 12:49 AM
geo_n_: By the way, I personally at least partly decided my profession when I discussed with a japanese 3D-freelancer years ago (1994 or 1995). He was visiting Assembly (big scene-event) here in Helsinki and we just happened to start talking about 3D-graphics and he told me about some big archviz-project he had just finished...

I don't remember exactly how much he had earned from that 5 month project, but I remember thinking that it was a fortune! He was having some free time and travelling before starting a next project. Listening to his stories I thought "hey - that seems like a dream job to me!" :D

shrox
08-21-2008, 12:56 AM
geo_n_: By the way, I personally at least partly decided my profession when I discussed with a japanese 3D-freelancer years ago (1994 or 1995). He was visiting Assembly (big scene-event) here in Helsinki and we just happened to start talking about 3D-graphics and he told me about some big archviz-project he had just finished...

I don't remember exactly how much he had earned from that 5 month project, but I remember thinking that it was a fortune! He was having some free time and travelling before starting a next project. Listening to his stories I thought "hey - that seems like a dream job to me!" :D

I started with a pirate copy of 3D Studio on a friend's computer. I would stay all night working in 3D, he'd go to bed and in the morning find me there waiting 6 hours for a shiny cube to render. Changed my life.

geo_n
08-21-2008, 12:59 AM
40 hours?! 55 hours a week at least...on a salary too.

It says so in the link Splinegod posted. The salaries are based on a 40 hour week.
The work here in japan is from 11am onwards. If there's no work you can go home at 6pm. But usually people go home around 9pm. There's no overtime pay too so if you go home at 12midnight or even sleep over there's no ot pay.

geo_n
08-21-2008, 01:03 AM
geo_n_: By the way, I personally at least partly decided my profession when I discussed with a japanese 3D-freelancer years ago (1994 or 1995). He was visiting Assembly (big scene-event) here in Helsinki and we just happened to start talking about 3D-graphics and he told me about some big archviz-project he had just finished...

I don't remember exactly how much he had earned from that 5 month project, but I remember thinking that it was a fortune! He was having some free time and travelling before starting a next project. Listening to his stories I thought "hey - that seems like a dream job to me!" :D

Well there are some freelancers in Tokyo I've met and none of them have made a fortune. Some even go back to work to companies. Hehe.

shrox
08-21-2008, 01:03 AM
It says so in the link Splinegod posted. The salaries are based on a 40 hour week.
The work here in japan is from 11am onwards. If there's no work you can go home at 6pm. But usually people go home around 9pm. There's no overtime pay too so if you go home at 12midnight or even sleep over there's no ot pay.

Do you play online after work? The high speed net is good bonus. I know many people stay late to play WOW, or watch movies and videos online. With food food and drink, comfortable chairs, Guitar Hero on the HD wall monitor, they make you want to stay there, it's a devious plan!

Sande
08-21-2008, 01:11 AM
But what would you say an average game development salary is in northern/central Europe, for a modeler/texture artist proficient with the tools of the trade such as Zbrush and whatever main program(s) is the preferred one at a given studio (Maya/XSI/Max/LW etc).

It would be interesting to know the salaries though.

€4000 a month? €5000 a month? More? Less? Massive overtime or only during "crunch"?

I don't have any actual statistics to base this on (but I remember there has been some surveys in www.gamasutra.com if you want to look it up), but I guess starting salary is nowadays in roughly €3000 a month for an artist in many places - without work experience it of course may be less. From there it naturally goes upwards, depending on your skills, position and company. I guess not many regular senior artists earn €5000 a month, but I wouldn't be surprised if there was some.

My own income goes in that "above 60000US"-range and I guess we here don't have the highest salaries in Europe (although I naturally have to say that we have the best working conditions and the most talented team - otherwise my CEO starts kicking me ;) )...

I don't have any Hollywood-experience (I welcome some, if the opportunity comes along :) ), but shrox is probably right about that narrow band.

Overtime usually happens mostly during crunch, but I guess the crunches in general are way worse than in other fields of CG...

shrox
08-21-2008, 01:21 AM
In gaming, everyone is hanging around during crunch in case the part you are working on breaks. Maybe a new export of the mesh is needed, or some maps have to be resized. The deadlines are a little more flexible, while in television the deadlines are fixed and immovable.

geo_n
08-21-2008, 01:32 AM
Do you play online after work? The high speed net is good bonus. I know many people stay late to play WOW, or watch movies and videos online. With food food and drink, comfortable chairs, Guitar Hero on the HD wall monitor, they make you want to stay there, it's a devious plan!

I'd rather not see my monitor if its not work related. Need fresh air:D

geo_n
08-21-2008, 01:33 AM
I don't have any actual statistics to base this on (but I remember there has been some surveys in www.gamasutra.com if you want to look it up), but I guess starting salary is nowadays in roughly 3000 a month for an artist in many places - without work experience it of course may be less. From there it naturally goes upwards, depending on your skills, position and company. I guess not many regular senior artists earn 5000 a month, but I wouldn't be surprised if there was some.

My own income goes in that "above 60000US"-range and I guess we here don't have the highest salaries in Europe (although I naturally have to say that we have the best working conditions and the most talented team - otherwise my CEO starts kicking me ;) )...

I don't have any Hollywood-experience (I welcome some, if the opportunity comes along :) ), but shrox is probably right about that narrow band.

Overtime usually happens mostly during crunch, but I guess the crunches in general are way worse than in other fields of CG...

A starting salary of 3000euro for artists with basic experience seems high.

ingo
08-21-2008, 01:44 AM
A starting salary of 3000euro for artists with basic experience seems high.

You should not forget the costs of living is different in other countries, so the 3000 Euro may be normal compared to the costs of living in Europe.

cresshead
08-21-2008, 11:41 AM
well i'm working 4 days a week..[30hours]...can''t be doing with 'living there'..i have other things i'd like to do.

A 4 day working week suits me fine!

geo_n
08-21-2008, 09:16 PM
You should not forget the costs of living is different in other countries, so the 3000 Euro may be normal compared to the costs of living in Europe.

That's true. My italian friend says its cheap to stay in tokyo compared to rome. Dont know never been there. So maybe 3000Eu is nothing and can only buy basic needs over there. But here 3000Eu is pretty good if you convert it to yen. Basic needs to live in japan is probably 1200Eu. So lots of "spare" change with that 3000Eu.

shrox
08-21-2008, 09:20 PM
Same in the USA, $50,000 in San Francisco might buy you covered valet parking for a year, $50,000 in Montana might buy a house.

geo_n
09-02-2008, 09:50 PM
Just checking back. I wonder those 20-40k employees who voted, how many years of experience and skillset?

kopperdrake
09-03-2008, 03:46 PM
Neverko - I can tell you that most of the games companies in the Midlands will start you between 20,000-25,000, which is around 24,500 - 30,000 Euros (how the might GBP has fallen), but you need to be good to get there in the first place with experience and/or a decent showreel from uni. There is usually some sort of bonus/royalty scheme though these are being hit hard at the moment with the ever growing build costs. Around 4 years ago I could get between 2k and 4k every 6 months as a bonus, but nowadays I know it's more like 500 and 2k for artists. The more local company takes people from all over, as long as they're good enough, ship you in, put you up for a few weeks in a place until they can find you somewhere for you to rent. I think only about 50% of where I used to work were from the UK, of about 350 people.

An artist with 3 years experience will typically be on the mid to late 20k basic, the main problem is that there really isn't too far to climb. Leads typically don't get enough, imho, for the extra responsibility they carry, and they're rare positions to get, so you see many artists hovering at the 30k mark with nowhere else to go. Saying that, it's not such a bad place to hover, just that with relentless deadlines, long weeks (remember that you'll probably have to sign a piece of paper giving up your fair hours per week entitlement to get the job) I don't see it as an old man's job...not to say that 32 is old ;)

Myself, I've been there and I decided to get back to the generalist work - much less hassle and I'm not keen on working for other people so whilst I don't have to I won't :P Maybe I'm too soft...

Graphic designers in marketing/advertising on the other hand typically start on about 5k less than a 3D artist in games.

There was a recent study done by the Design Council into why there's such a shortage of older (post 35 years) designers, especially in the more 2D fields, and it turns out that many feel the pay too low to warrant the workload and constant deadline worry. Most aren't pushed out of their job, they jump into totally unrelated fields! Most of the 3D guys I know stay in games. Some swap discipline to keep the interest going - animation to modelling to design and so on. I know some really talented guys, especially the more creative ones, leave to start their own freelance business in character & set creation and/or illustration. Quite a few take the jump to movies and move stateside or to London. I know even more that are just stuck earning just enough to stay but really not enjoying it after the first few projects...institutionalised.

kopperdrake
09-05-2008, 05:24 AM
Game development does seem a pit underpaid, considering the chunk of your life you have to sign away to do it. It probably is an industry for the young, burning creatives with no family obligations and that all encompassing desire to do exactly that type of work.

You've just identified the exact makeup of the games industry! The only thing is that most of the artists in the industry are reaching that age, like yourself, where the commitment of other halves and children are more pressing than seeing your name on a booklet. Some companies are haemorraging key talent to other industries, or other companies who seem to have a better management structure. It's weird seeing which way the industry will mature (or not) from a management perspective.

Your way seems excellent :thumbsup: It sounds as though, if you ever did decide to try it, you might get bored of working on the same project for a year or two. 3D generalist with a smattering of other disciplines is definitely more exciting imho.

You just made me chuckle - it shows how the industry is maturing if you can work in 3D and still hold down a marriage, look after a kid *and* have quality family time! If you'd said that 10 years ago people would've thought you insane ;)