When working by yourself it is generally more difficult to keep a steady income, but the flexibility can be very rewarding.
- Vertex #1 free game art e-book, with articles and workflows by professionals, plus an excellent freelancing how-to by longtime freelancer Ben 'b1ll' Regimbal.
- Can you really be a freelancer? Polycount forum thread
- Horror Freelance Stories Polycount forum thread
- Tips for doing freelance work... Polycount forum thread with great advice from working freelancers.
Questions for the Client
Get the information you need when you start a project.
- Software (i.e. Maya 2012, 3DSMAX 2013)
- Polycount (i.e. 1500 tris)
- Texture count, sizes, and type (i.e. 3 512x512 textures, head+upper body+lower body, diff+norm+spec)
- Sculpt required, or is Crazybump\nDo okay?
- Target engine ( UDK, Unity, etc.)
- Target screen resolution (in general but especially for mobile)
- Player perspective (FPS, third person, top-down iso)
- Timeframe (2wks, 4wks, ?)
- Concept or reference given?
- Sample asset provided? (art style, quality level, tech specs)
- Complexity? (complex rig, animatable parts, per-pixel painting, etc. can increase the time needed)
- Deliverables? (i.e. finished .MA file with texture flats in TGA format, plus layered PSDs)
Don't forget to use a contract!
Advice on art tests:
- Info: going rate for 1,500 tri model+texture Polycount forum thread
- Freelance rates query Polycount forum thread has info about how to calculate your freelance rate.
- How much should I charge for freelance 3D modeling work? article on KatsBits.com with advice and sample rates.
- FreelanceSwitch Hourly Rate Calculator
The following numbers are averages, posted by Polycount members. All numbers are in USD unless stated otherwise.
|Freelancer Type||US Day Rate||US Hourly||Overseas Day Rate||Overseas Hourly|
|Individual contractor||$300/day *||$37.50/hr *||$250 - 375/day||$31.25 - 47/hr|
|Low-end art studio||$350/day||$43.75/hr||$140 - 180/day||$17.50 - 22.50/hr|
|Average art studio||$500/day||$62.50/hr||$200/day||$25/hr|
|High-end art studio||$800/day **||$100/hr **||$300/day||$37.50/hr|
From the Polycount forum thread Info: going rate for 1,500 tri model+texture.
Legal & Taxes
- Freelancing - worth creating an LLC to protect yourself? Any disadvantages? Polycount Forum thread, info about taxes and liability.
- Freelancing Help USA Polycount Forum thread, info about taxes.
- Graphic Artists Guild Handbook: Pricing & Ethical Guidelines is an excellent resource for freelancers (and salarymen too). Pricing guidelines, legal info, copyright law, sample contracts, how to negotiate, and more. Highly recommended!
- Useful Legal Documents For Designers (PDF/DOC) free example contracts you can customize to your needs. Non-disclosure agreement, work for hire, illustration, web design, intellectual property, etc.