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  1. #1
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    How do big feature concept art contracts work.

    Hey Guys,

    I am not sure if this is the right forum to post this in but taking a shot.
    Have a few questions I would love to get answered.
    Am a writer/producer working on an epic Mythological Epic Trilogy.

    1) I was wondering how big studios structure their contracts with concept artists. More specifically, like Alan Lee and John Howe did a lot of the concept art for LOTR. Were they paid per illustration? Was it a lumpsum amount to execute the entire project? Any guesses on what they were paid?

    2) I need 50 unique characters designed on a work for hire basis for the 1st part of this Trilogy. I am looking for a photo realistic illustrations and for each character I would like the illustrator to give me a front and back shot along with some renderings capturing the movement of these unique (non human) characters. ie - character running, jumping, facial expressions -sad, angry, happy etc. I need these illustrations textured and ready to send out for 3D modeling. Had allotted a budget of $10K for these 50. Which would work out to 500 dollars per character. You guys think thats a good price for what I need?

    The project is currently in Pre Viz - the output would be digital graphic novel followed by film and then a video game.

    Any advice would be welcome as I am trying to figure out how to go about this. Do let me know if you guys think I am over/under pricing this.

    Thanks.
    Sam.


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  3. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by questionsforme View Post
    Had allotted a budget of $10K for these 50. Which would work out to 500 dollars per character. You guys think thats a good price for what I need?
    That'd actually come out to $200 per character, right ($10k divided by 50 images) ? And front and back, and expressions and all those other things you asked for don't really fall under one illustration per character. You also say you need to send these to be 3D modeled? But then you'd need concepts clearly depicting what's to be modeled, not illustrations.

    And the price really just depends on the quality of work you want. The more you pay, the better the chance of what you imagine to be transcribed as such visually.

    Check out this section of the forums: http://conceptart.org/forums/forumdisplay.php?f=13

    I'd say trim that 50, get it down to something more manageable and you'll also be able to get more bang for your buck. 25 good concepts, will go a lot further than 50 mediocre.
    Last edited by Shaggnasty; May 21st, 2012 at 01:28 AM.

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    I'm sure each situation, each studio and each contract is very unique and there is no real good way to know. They might have been paid X amount/month while their part of the project was going along, X amount for 20 full paintings, X amount/hour, etc. Maybe someone around here knows those guys, or folks at that level and have insider info? Usually that kind of thing is kept pretty close to the vest.

    Your scope of work isn't really very realistic...and certainly underestimated in pricing. The amount of work you're talking about could only be handled by a sizable team in any reasonable time-frame.

    50 photorealistic character designs
    X front/back = 100
    X6 basic emotions = 300
    X4 basic states (stand, run, jump, other) = 200
    Texture development for modeling

    Just not happening for $10K. Maybe $100K...even that sounds tight.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Shaggnasty View Post
    That'd actually come out to $200 per character, right ($10k divided by 50 images) ? And front and back, and expressions and all those other things you asked for don't really fall under one illustration per character. You also say you need to send these to be 3D modeled? But then you'd need concepts clearly depicting what's to be modeled, not illustrations
    Yes, my mistake. completely messed up on the amount. It still is 500$ a character. Which works out to $25000 for the contract.

    The character count is actually 38 speaking parts. Besides this I required variations when creating tribes etc. So I created the buffer and took it to 50 just for this forum.



    The character front and back I need with texture detail. The expressions, movement visualisations can be basic sketches to give modelers an idea.

    The quality of work I am looking for is like this
    http://michaelkutsche.com/alice-in-wonderland/

    I would be breaking the work down eventually between 2-3 artists but just for the sake of this forum kept it as a single contract.

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    I don't think you would be getting artwork of that quality for the amount of money you're offering. I'd be very happy to work for $500 a character, but then you'd get artwork of my level. I think you're going to have to either lower the quality demand or up the price.

    Having said that, I'm a little confused about what you're expecting to get; you want photorealistic illustrations, but they need to be suitable references for 3D modellers? In general, concept art (artwork produced for the development of the characters) is not meant to be promotional and/or beautifully rendered. It's possible, but it seems a bit of a waste of time and energy. Could be just me misreading your post though.

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    Thanks a lot for answering guys. You all make the same point so I'll elaborate on why I need photo realistic images.

    I am based in India and while we have a lot of 3D modelers, texture artists etc who can execute a design, unfortunately not very many of them can actually visualise. So if I gave them one of those characters from Alica in wonderland the way Michael Kutsche has illustrated them, they could create an exact replica of that in 3D for me. But if I gave them an illustration lacking textures and they had to now interpret that design.....they can't.
    And I have walked down path before. Therefore sourcing designs from the west to execute them here. I can't leave it to their imagination to fill the gaps.....

    The project in its first is a 3D graphic novel. We're building the environments in miniatures, shooting still frames, inserting 3D models of the characters for each frame of the story. Its a concept app and a different approach to a visual novel.

    You'll have all said the budget I offer is too less. In that case. To get the quality I want, what would be a good rate per character? I'd rather ask here before I approach an artist I really wanna work with with a shitty offer.

    Thanks again,
    Sam.

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    Pretty much what JeffX said. If you're looking for an artist that can produce work of Michael Kutsche's quality, bearing in mind that he has worked for Dreamworks, Marvel, SEGA and so on, you'll want to start thinking in terms of $1000 or more for a single character and that's probably still on the low end.

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    A lot of big studios hire people to work on site and pay them a contract salary. So they fly them out and set them up in an apartment or house and pay their expenses and a wage. Contracts can last nine months or a year. After their part of the project is up they let them go.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Lhune View Post
    I don't think you would be getting artwork of that quality for the amount of money you're offering. I'd be very happy to work for $500 a character, but then you'd get artwork of my level. I think you're going to have to either lower the quality demand or up the price.
    I know it sounds good at first...but trust me, you wouldn't be very happy. That is a massive scope of work...especially when you consider the reference and research that goes into it beforehand.
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    Quote Originally Posted by questionsforme View Post
    Yes, my mistake. completely messed up on the amount. It still is 500$ a character. Which works out to $25000 for the contract.

    The character count is actually 38 speaking parts. Besides this I required variations when creating tribes etc. So I created the buffer and took it to 50 just for this forum.



    The character front and back I need with texture detail. The expressions, movement visualisations can be basic sketches to give modelers an idea.

    The quality of work I am looking for is like this
    http://michaelkutsche.com/alice-in-wonderland/

    I would be breaking the work down eventually between 2-3 artists but just for the sake of this forum kept it as a single contract.
    Well just so you know Micheal was partnered with a major film production/publishing house with a multi million dollar budget. So he could have easily been paid 60-70-80k for that work. So try and think about that from both a quantitative and quality stand point. You might want to narrow down your character list a bit to better balance out your needs with what you can aford.
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    Quote Originally Posted by JeffX99 View Post
    I know it sounds good at first...but trust me, you wouldn't be very happy. That is a massive scope of work...especially when you consider the reference and research that goes into it beforehand.
    Oh I know, but I'm keeping in mind the fact that my artwork isn't of any spectacular quality yet. It would be a lot of work, but it would be a decent amount of money for what I believe I can deliver. I find it rather difficult to determine for myself exactly how much is fair though.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Lhune View Post
    Oh I know, but I'm keeping in mind the fact that my artwork isn't of any spectacular quality yet. It would be a lot of work, but it would be a decent amount of money for what I believe I can deliver. I find it rather difficult to determine for myself exactly how much is fair though.
    Don't sell yourself short Lhune, your work is really very strong within a certain niche - but that's how everyone is. Teryl Whitlach isn't designing any anti-grav racing vehicles to my knowledge.

    But yeah, there's always more work to something than we realize...people often forget the reference/research part of the project and it can be a fairly substantial chunk of time.
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