Fan Art: Commission Rates - Art and Customs?

Discussion in 'Creative General Discussion' started by Venksta, Apr 15, 2009.

  1. Venksta

    Venksta Render Project Creations TFW2005 Supporter

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    Hey guys. I'm trying to figure out whats a good way to charge for commissions for an actual company. This is probably a good question for all types of Radicon members, if you've done commissions for other fans, or companies.

    I did work for FansProject last year, which was my first commission. We had agreed on a set amount for a model and animation. I ended up doing more work besides the 3d stuff, and got less than what was originally agreed on.

    So for this new potential client, I'm trying to figure out the best way of coming up with a reasonable rate which is fair to me, and won't scare them off. I originally thought about charging $10 per hour, which is below industry cost of what I do. But I can see it adding up quickly with the hours I put into my models. Is it better to go with a per hour rate, or just a flat price depending on the project?

    Your opinion and help will be appreciated. :) 
     
  2. frenzyrumble

    frenzyrumble Banned

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    I'm not 100% on the per hour rate for 3d modeling, but from a graphic design background, I used to base my quotes on a $70/hour rate.

    If you want to quote a price for the complete project, rather than "per hour" I recommend estimating how many hours it will take you, then apply the industry's "hourly rate" on that total.

    Companies/Corporations have an easy way to write expenses like this off. It's marketing/advertising and is essential to the company's livelihood, so it's easy to write off as an expense when it's tax time. That being said, they won't be as tight about the price as (for example) an individual would.

    Also, look into the company's bio, are they huge, small, start up? All those factors are important when creating your quote. A start up might benefit you more by compensating you through a royalty payment system, while a company will benefit you most by straight payment.

    Hope that helps.
     
  3. Draven

    Draven Banned

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    Corporate stuff can pay very well; I did a job a while back that paid outright for an entire Botcon holiday. Personally, however, I'm not doing commissions for other fans on any sort of regular basis any more.
    Why?
    Because hardly anyone was willing to pay anywhere near what a picture featuring a 3D model in an environment is actually worth.
    Seriously; I have no idea how many PMs I've had asking about a commission, followed up with a "too rich for my blood" PM after I tell them what it would cost. One person (who used to be staff here a while back) even reneged on the deal and paid me $8 for my work.
    People don't seem to realise how much work goes into creating art of any sort.
    I ended up doing commissions involving a lot of work for well under $100. And when you put several days' worth of effort (at the least) into something, that ends up paying you about $1-2 an hour at the most. Very demoralising indeed, hence why I don't do it any more.
     
  4. frenzyrumble

    frenzyrumble Banned

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    Another factor to consider Venska, is where you want this project to go for you. It can be a stepping stone towards a more solid portfolio. Are you hoping to do more 3d renderings freelance?

    In the past, I too, took larger jobs from corporate companies and got little compensation. One example was an illustration for Hot Wheels. It didn't pay great, but form that gig, I was able to approach other opportunities with a Hot Wheels project in my portfolio, which potential customers usually like to see.
     
  5. Venksta

    Venksta Render Project Creations TFW2005 Supporter

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    Draven> I definitely know what you mean about commissions with fans. I've been pretty much getting people asking me to make things for free. I even had this kid bug me with helping him build show quality models for his series, which he was planning to try make money off, but he couldn't afford to pay me anything.

    Frenzy_Rumble> Those are some good points I did not consider. My potential client is a small company, but not a corporation that can afford industry standard rates. They have shown interest in more than one commission project for me. I don't want to low ball myself with the rates for them, as I already did with the previous two companies I did commissions for. I had intended to build my portfolio and help my work get noticed, which has worked some what. However, I don't want to be doing cheap work for these guys all the time. I am looking for all this to lead to a full time job.

    Anyways, this has given me a better idea how to go about my rates. Thanks!
     
  6. frenzyrumble

    frenzyrumble Banned

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    In that case, I would make sure you don't low-ball yourself, nor overprice it so you opt yourself out of the gig. You want to build up your portfolio. The more in your portfolio, the better you can sell yourself and higher prices you can charge.

    It took me years to build up a portfolio in design and illustration. At first, I was almost breaking even on cost vs. compensation, then in time, I was able to create a contact list and establish credibility, and now it's at a point where I can just hand select the jobs that interest ME.
     
  7. Transfan2

    Transfan2 TFW2005 Supporter

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    I think the price should be based on these criteria in my opinion:

    #1.) Time

    #2.) If it's a black/white or colored

    #3.) How Big/Detailed is the picture

    #4.) If it's like a poster or smaller size (like normal sized paper).

    #5.) Any Special Request(s) that the person wants.

    I am saying that in my opinion, the price should fit the work and what the artist does and also, It would be best to have some examples so the "Customer" can see and think "Hmmm, Do I want something like that?"

    Hope that helps,
    -TF2
     
  8. grayfox

    grayfox Well-Known Member

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    I'm in no way qualified to charge anyone for art commissions, but I find all your inputs very interesting. It's many factors the artist has to consider. To you guys who have done art work for companies; do you get to work from home? Do you even meet your employer face to face at any point?

    Also, for those who have had customs (not artwork, actual plastic toys) commissioned, do you apply the same logic you shared in the previous posts?
     
  9. Venksta

    Venksta Render Project Creations TFW2005 Supporter

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    I did work for two fan groups/companies. First being FansProject, and recently BTS.Toy. For FansProject, I knew my contact for several years, which helped me get the gig. We met a lot during the course of the City Commander project in person. Along with phone calls and messaging online. But communication wasn't great, as at times I waited up to three weeks to hear back on decisions from them. Originally I agreed to a set fee for 3d model plus animation. In the end, I did a ton of extra various work, and got less then what they had promised, on top of having to give back some of the payment to buy my City Commander and Shadow Commander sets.

    For BTS.Toy, I dealt with them through one of their friends, who's also a member here, and in the same city as me. We only communicated over email, and it was a lot smoother compared to FansProject. They would get me photos and information within 24 hours at the most. They fully compensated me on what was originally agreed on, based on their budget. These guys were really great.
     
  10. frenzyrumble

    frenzyrumble Banned

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    Some gigs I go out and meet the contact in person, others via web. I always have done this type of work from home. On occasion, I've had to present my concepts and/or final product with the buyers.

    Typically, I like to meet the person face-to-face, hear from them directly their intentions and needs. Usually in a starbucks or their office, but it helps to meet in person, it's a more personalized approach and relationship.
     
  11. Crefigz

    Crefigz Well-Known Member

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    Venksta, i've just checked the stuff you did. Its all very skillful work.
     
  12. Draven

    Draven Banned

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    A few years back I did a set of animated corporate logos for Electrolux; they were doing a new product rollout, and my work was going to be shown on an IMAX screen. I got the gig through a friend of mine who'd been hired to do their lighting. I didn't meet with any Electrolux people in person until the day of the presentation, but I did have a lot of telephone conversations with them.
    We had to farm out the rendering to a company in London, since the animation I'd designed for them involved a great deal of volumetric lighting at a very high resolution; Electrolux had no problem with picking up the bill. However, the day of the presentation was the same day as the London bus bombings. As my logo involved the Electrolux logo exploding out of a black screen, they asked me to do a different animation that day. I dug out the idea they liked the best after the exploding one (which fortunately didn't involve volumetrics LOL) and rendered it for them on site. I didn't ask (I'd already agreed an amount with them) but they were so grateful they paid me quite a bit extra for it.
     
  13. grayfox

    grayfox Well-Known Member

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    I'm hijacking Venksta's thread, somebody stop me! But only if you must :D 

    Reading you guys' replies, it seems you get gigs from contacts (most of them?). I guess it's not unlike the rest of life. Lots of things happen through contacts and/or friends. It's also how I got my current job actually. Do you guys who do artwork for companies manage to live off it?

    I would assume that when it comes to custom commissions (the toy kind), meeting in person isn't something that happens often. Correct me if I'm wrong, but I imagine it's mostly done via emails and instant messaging?
     

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