Difference between revisions of "Freelance"
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== Art Tests ==
== Art Tests ==
Revision as of 15:58, 3 August 2014
When working by yourself it is generally more difficult to keep a steady income, but the flexibility can be very rewarding.
- Vertex #1 has a great article "Freelance 101 - Tips & Tricks on Freelancing" by Ben 'b1ll' Regimbal.
- Vertex #2 has another awesome article "Outsourcing Tips & Tricks" by Peter 'PeterK' Kojesta.
- 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.
- How much to charge client? Polycount Forum thread with more great advice.
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!
On contract positions I usually do the approach, instead of a test, a "first one's free". Give me a simpler model that needs done, if you like it, keep sending more work. Sort of a test, but I hate spending time on stuff that will never be used.
- 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|
* Individual contractors in the US range from $275 - 500/day ($34.50 - 62.50/hr)
**These rates are for rare high-end boutique studios.
From the Polycount forum thread Info: going rate for 1,500 tri model+texture.
In my experience outsourcing current-gen characters, the average time for developing one from a concept to final and ready to rig is about 4 to 6 weeks. I usually see it broken down something like this:
- base mesh: 5 days
- sculpt: 11 days
- game res mesh + UVs: 5 days
- textures: 12 days
It can go faster or slower depending on the artist and the specs, but on average that's how it usually shakes out. That's average Hero character spec when I outsource with a studio. That's also about how long it took for the badass character dudes at Vigil for most creatures. Individual contract artists tend to be a lot faster, though, in my experience.
I usually get about 20 Business days which is about 4 weeks in studio.
- 2-3 days in Basemesh + Props (Assets Base)
- 8 days sculpting and detailing + hitting likeness etc
- 2 days retoppo and building game res mesh
- ~2 Days Baking Maps
- 5 days Texturing
of course those numbers are just approximates... since some things go faster or slower depending on the complexity... i should add that's the time estimate on a 12k average complex character... heroes and boss monsters and more complex characters get more time of course...
I'll keep it rough, but all current- and next-gen stuff I've been working on breaks down about like this... for only the modeling to final texture phase:
- characters are 4 - 6 weeks (sometimes)
- vehicles with interiors are 4 - 8 weeks
- third person weapons are about 2 - 3 weeks
- I haven't done first-person weapons but realistically I'd guess 3 - 4 weeks.
And when I count weeks, I mean a five-day, 40-hour workweek. And I'm at the point now where I'm seeing characters and vehicles as being a nearly equal amount of effort.
20days and up would be one mighty complex character, though "nextgen" (as in ps4 xbone) realistic characters can ge quite complex pretty easy and usually start at around 3 working weeks (15 days).
Questions to freelancers about "flat fee" Polycount Forum thread
Let me lay out how I work with first time clients.
- First, we agree on what will be done, any technical requirements, concepts made clear, triangle count, blah blah.
- Next we agree on a fee and what exactly will be delivered and by what date, and how revisions are charged.
- Next, I require 50% up front before I start working, by international money transfer, not paypal.
- I turn in jpegs or gifs of progress at regular stages so feedback can be provided in a timely manner. When the work is complete and both parties agree, I am paid the remaining 50% before I upload the 3d format and textures. Till this point they have seen only see jpegs.
Here is why this works. I would never have made the 3d asset without this client wanting it. I cannot do anything with the 3d asset when I am done, I cannot pay rent with it, I cannot sell it to someone else, and I might not even have enjoyed the process. The corollary, is the dollars/yen/euro the client is going to pay me, can easily be used elsewhere. This makes the exchange rather one sided in terms of leverage since once the work is done they have no reason to pay if they are not on the up and up. Once I have established a working relationship with a client, I can work with invoices, regular payment schedules, etc, but the first time I work with someone new, no matter big or small, I require this payment setup, and if they aren´t willing to work with it, I have to politely decline. This is to protect myself from doing work, and not getting paid. To date not a single client has had a problem with it, and I have worked remotely for many companies of various sizes.
Most experienced freelancers that I know work in a similar manner. If you have no portfolio, and no experience, you might not have the leverage to work this way, but after the first time you are burned by non-payment, you will come with a method to protect yourself.
Legal & Taxes
- Freelancing - worth creating an LLC to protect yourself? Any disadvantages? Polycount Forum thread, info about taxes and liability.
- Is Incorporation Right for Your Business? A Primer for Small Business Owners and Entrepreneurs IRS article (specific to USA).
- 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.