Talk about your rates - how much would you charge?

Hi Blender artists! This question is for informational/personal research purposes only, and hopefully others besides me could benefit from it. I’m wondering if you could talk about how you figure out your rates for individual freelance work. Do you start by listening to the ideas a client has, then figuring out about how many hours it would take and charge based on that?

If you don’t mind, could you share what you believe are fair going rates in $ amounts for Blender work, either by the hour or by the project? (I know that’s plenty vague - feel free to speak about hypothetical projects, or past work you’ve done, or whatever).

Would you, or do you, charge a different rate based on whether it’s an established commercial client versus a single young student artist looking to create a collaborative artistic work?

If this is still too vague or you need more to go off of, just let me know! I apologize for being so new to this. I personally am asking as someone in the young-student-artist category. :slight_smile: What I am looking to create eventually are artistic VR experiences combining newly composed music with immersive visuals, either involving compositing live performers with CG objects, or worlds that are completely CG. Thank you for taking the time!

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Charge as much as you can get away with.

If you are bringing something cool to the table (design, experience, skill), you have a valuable asset. If you are crapping out a bunch of minecraft knockoff animations, it’s gonna be harder to sell your value.

In the real world, corporations are used to paying thousands of dollars for CG work. They are also used to getting a certain level of quality and service. They are also apprehensive of amateurs with nothing to show. If you can demonstrate your experience and capacity to handle a big project you can charge up to $100/hr freelancing for a larger corporation.

For smaller businesses, that’s a much harder sell. They aren’t used to spending a lot of money for artistic services like this, and if you drop a $1000 quote in front of them, they’ll quite possibly get scared and run away. $20-$30/hr is more likely to stick.

Working with a fellow artist or student, I wouldn’t even worry about charging. If a project sounds like fun, do it for free. Your payment is enjoying it and learning something. (But, be very cautious about doing work for free for someone who can afford it, there are a lot of companies that exploit young artists out there.)

Depends. If the customer is cheap then don’t do it. If the customer has money then charge for 4 weeks and work 2 weeks.

Either way. You need to make a contract. Explain what you do. A list.

-Lightning 349€
-Shading 250€
-Advanced Shading 100€ extra

and so on.

The longer the list the better. Then a client can say no to some stuff.

Charges are from 1500USD/man-day to even 10 bucks per hour. LOL.

It TOTALLY depends!

Now, unless you work for a big company like Disney and ARE very good at what you do and get good paid, DONT, i repeat, DONT WORK AS AN EMPLOYED ARTIST! It simply does NOT pay off.

Now, for the freelance/own-company business: up to 1500 per day you may ask ? Yes!

The factors are: DEMAND, TIME, PRESTIGE, KNOWLEDGE. The more of them you can meet, the higher you can (and will) charge.

You solve critical solutions that very few can handle, cause of the extremely complexity or math, or etc…

You are able to solve problems in production pipelines or other areas that nobody can do that fast because you have deep knowledge and/or the agility.

You get a high profile contract, for ex. know how to visualize a 50M yacht for example, or other high prestige projects.

You have a solution or knowledge that no one in your area or domain has (procedurals, particles, optical flow, digital makeup etc.), and even if they have it you are competitive cause you are cheaper for your know how.

Things to avoid:
Modeling, and all the cheap work that big studios outsource heavily, like texturing, lightning, etc… unless you are employed and happy.
Roto and all the Post things…

Things to embrace:
Solving stuff that is “thin air” for most, like FEM, special AOV calculations especially DEEP DATA, Renderer/Physics/Animation improvements and solving pipeline challenges. I know a guy that took 5K USD for only a short 10min python script that did the right job in a company that NOBODY there knew how to do, lucky guy!

Also you NEED to be at the right time in the right place, which means: OPPORTUNITIES!

The Industry is NOT a big place, its a VERY small world if we talk about the big money, projects and People (TDs, etc…)

The most money is made by the top 5%, the rest gets very fast very low!

Good luck!

I have heard that good Archviz firms get paid up to $2K per render. (each still!) However, they have years in the industry, contacts, big portfolios, etc.

I would say $50-100 per hour if you have a more-or-less pro portfolio, $100+ if it’s A+ featured row on artstation quality, $20-30/hr if it’s more like good student quality.

Might I add - there is no such thing as “blender” work. There is texturing, lighting, rendering, animation, archviz, product rendering, motion graphics, and other types of work. But not really “blender” work, just like carpenters aren’t paid for “saw” work, they are paid for tables and chairs.

Go at it with a client-oriented mentality, always get a deposit up front, and always get them to sign a statement of work (so they know what the deal does and doesn’t cover) and you will be OK.

I agree with Kemmler on the hourly rates. It depends on the country and the cost of living, though.

3D freelance work is where I get my income from and so I charge in the upper professional portfolio range. I did study communicationdesign and do have experience in 3D work as an employee. I pay taxes, insurance, office and stuff like that.

I never change my hourly rate when a client asks for it, the only thing discussable imho is the amount of hours we put into a project. Or rather the projects scope. I charge very fairly and try to get the best for both sides and if a client isn’t willing to pay the calculated wage or can’t effort it, I tell them “No problem, I can be cheaper. What do you want to have less?” There’s an exception and that is work for social organisations and such.

Lists and Cost-Calculator:
In Germany we do have organisations like AGD ( and BDG who offer lists of hours certain design-services might take ( The BDG offers a Cost-Calculator ( which is great to get an idea on how much you can charge.

Hope that this helps a little. But overall I agree with Kemmler on the prices and advice.

There are only few studios in the world that can charge this amount of money. They often develop only few stills per project. In freelance world the prices are usually much lower.

Another thing to consider charging for is rendering time. I bill rendering time separately from my labor hours. That way I’m covered if I need to send something out to a farm, and I can fund new hardware with those separate funds.

It provides a little more transparency for what the client is paying for, and it’s important for them to understand that a 12" x 12" image costs less to render than a 120" x 120" image.