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Let's talk money. What are the best ways of making BIG money in 3D?

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radumitroi polycounter lvl 6
Hey there!
I'm starting this thread for two reasons, one is completely personal curiosity, the other is brainstorming.

So I've been doing 3D for a lot of time, around 10 years now. I've always worked by freelancing, never did I get a real job (I mean the one where you have to be at the office at X am and leave at Y pm). Now I'm wondering what would the specific areas in the 3D industry be that bring in the big money. Now I'm not talking about the biggest game companies and other related stuff like this, they obviously earn the big bucks. I'm more wondering of what is the area someone can start a business by himself and get it into making really big money.

The problem I'm facing is that it seems impossible to me to start by yourself on one area of the 3D industry and build that into making really good money. I'm looking at different kinds of smaller businesses in the 3D industry and I honestly don't think they make as much as I'd be dreaming of making with a business like that.
To be more precise, I don't mean earning just a few thousands dollars a month, I can make $8,000/month by myself, but that's not the big money I'm talking about. I'm talking about the kind of money that will turn you into a millionaire, I'm talking at least $30,000 - $50,000/month in profits.


From where I'm standing, it seems pretty impossible to build a business in the 3D industry that makes that much and is also very sustainable, not just a temporary hit.

-  Selling assets on marketplaces won't get you that kind of money, I'm sure. I'm selling some on different marketplaces and other than a few hundred dollars a month there's not much else. Perhaps just the best in the business get to earn money like I mentioned (i.e. companies like Quixel maybe, but you need serious capital to start something like that)

-  Doing freelance work... well that's just limited by how much you can work. I tried expanding and building a proper business with employees on this aspect of my income sources, but it's definitely difficult because I don't do just one type of jobs, so it becomes so much harder to employ someone who'd turn out to be profitable. What I mean by this: I earn money doing freelance, but I'm doing so many different things, that I cannot just employ a single person to help me with that part. I freelance doing video game art, game programming, film VFX, motion graphics, medical animations, archivz, and pretty much anything that could be done with 3D. I can only employ a person that does ONLY one of these things well, and that won't turn out to be profitable, because taking the money I make from only one of those wouldn't be enough to pay the needed salary and also make profit.
And finding someone who'd be able to do all those things, well he'd just ask for a huge salary... which he should if he has all those skills. And that won't be profitable either.

-  Getting an actual job, that's also a no. You can only earn as much as your boss is willing to give you (not even taking in account the fact that having a job and being told what to work on is shit), and even a 6 figure salary wouldn't be the type of money I'm referring to.


So the only thing I see as doable, is making enough money in this industry that you can then invest into something else that'll be able to produce the huge amounts of money I'm talking about. As in, save up like $50,000 every year and invest these money into stocks, or start any other unrelated business and so on.

What are your thoughts on this, guys? I'm especially asking those who'd thought about getting rich off of this industry. What's your take on the whole possibility of doing it within the 3D industry alone?
I'm really interested in finding out how much do companies such as Quixel and perhaps Poliigon make with their stores, cause that's the most affordable type of business I think one could make in this industry.

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  • sacboi
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    sacboi polycount lvl 666
    This guy hit the jackpot, starting from making $100 to netting a lazy $69m selling his stuff in just a few months:


    ...but for heaps of others occupying the same space, basically beer money.
  • radumitroi
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    radumitroi polycounter lvl 6
    sacboi said:
    This guy hit the jackpot, starting from making $100 to netting a lazy $69m selling his stuff in just a few months:


    ...but for heaps of others occupying the same space, basically beer money.

    Oh I know Beeple very well, but that's not really what I'd consider to be a business. That's just a famous person selling his stuff. What he's selling is irrelevant, it's just a pretext. People buy it because a famous person made it.
    It's the same thing as if Eminem were to sell some shit of his, it would go for tens of thousand or even millions just because it's Eminem's.

    Let's get away from the whole NFT movement. That's not a business, that's just digital artists with big following making a use of their popularity and selling artwork any artist could've made, for thousands of dollars, just because they're popular. Not a business in my opinion, but good for them.

    I'm thinking more in terms of building a very profitable outsourcing studio that gets hired on the biggest of the projects and you're able to bank in tens of thousands of dollars because of that.
    Or own a popular marketplace which in return creates a perfectly, high, passive income for you.
  • sacboi
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    sacboi polycount lvl 666
    Ok then, if that slice of the marketplace is a primary focus, you'd better have "all your ducks lined up in a row" too begin with.

    Q: - Previous experience running any sort of small/micro business, (15+ staff) whether online or brick-'n-mortar high street storefront? 
  • radumitroi
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    radumitroi polycounter lvl 6
    sacboi said:
    Ok then, if that slice of the marketplace is a primary focus, you'd better have "all your ducks lined up in a row" too begin with.

    Q: - Previous experience running any sort of small/micro business, (15+ staff) whether online or brick-'n-mortar high street storefront? 

    Nope, I've been freelancing all my life, as I said. I always hated and refused having usual jobs. I run a very small digital production company (I've got 4 employees) and am looking into how to expand this little business into something a lot bigger.
    I've been getting job offers from companies such as Ubisoft, Gameloft, EA  ever since I was 15 (am 22 now) - but they're just trying to hire me, which I end up refusing all the time.
    I'd love for this companies that want to hire me, to want me as an outsourcing company, not just a simple employee, because that's not what I'm after.

    I'm getting job offers from many decent and big companies, but again, I will never want to be an employee. Especially not in my country where people get paid $1,000/month at most...
    I think I need to produce a bigger project of my own that will serve as a statement that, indeed, I'd be up to the task of taking care of very big projects.
  • neilberard
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    neilberard polycounter lvl 15
    Interesting question. I see two possible ways of doing this: Develop new tech and license it out. Start a game studio yourself and create a unicorn like Minecraft. I myself have toyed with the idea of one day creating a pipeline company where a studio develops a game and that company sets up custom tools for managing outsource and ingesting assets into their engine.
  • sacboi
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    sacboi polycount lvl 666
    From my own experience being involved with startups and other CG non related ventures which generally I'd found initially can be tough going as a proprietor/contractor so a sound business plan in my opinion is crucial moving forward plus producing relevant content is also feasible:

    "I think I need to produce a bigger project of my own that will serve as a statement that, indeed, I'd be up to the task of taking care of very big projects."

    I'd agree, call it a test 'marketing exercise' and as you're likely aware an extremely competitive field to break into.  
  • teodar23
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    teodar23 polycounter
    See, this right here is the romanian mentality: how can i get rich from this? not how can i further develop my skills and become one of the greats... not how can i create a sustainable long lasting business that maybe will hit n digits in x years... but how can i make a shit load of money with minimal investment, now.
    I also assume that the age (and having access to considerable amounts of money at this age) plays a big role in this.
    Try not to take this personally but asking such a naive question and hoping that someone will just give you the magic button is...

    From what i can gather lots of individuals (freelancers) and groups (outsourcing studios) try to keep afloat in this very competitive field. Some make decent, steady income, some barely make it from month to month. they are all struggling and no one has a secret turn-key solution. If you want to make big bucks you need a big business (AAA type of studio) but that takes time and real effort to do. But you don't have to start one yourself, you could join one of the big studios and slowly rise and maybe one day you will be its CEO. or maybe start working at an indie studio and again, grow and help it grow and maybe one day achieve your goal. But that takes determination and discipline and hard work even if you're talented AND lucky.

    Some companies have moved on from the 9to5 model and realized that is not a very good way of working, some have even embraced the fully remote model. So now you can work for companies in other countries that pay you even 5 times more than companies in Romania. So its not a shitload of money but its more than decent...

    But, at the end of the day, if you are really passionate about this, money shouldn't matter. People usually end up in this field because of passion for games, film or anything 3d. If you are passionate about money then i suggest a different field like banking or maybe working in the state treasury...

  • Alex_J
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    Alex_J veteran polycounter
    you cant get rich working for other people. 

    you can get rich from business but you have to work and you have to be smart and you have to have a certain amount of luck on your side. In other words, still plenty of risk of failure.

    if you want easy money it's pretty obvious where to go: porn. It's pretty hard not to make more money there than you are probably making anywhere else. 


  • poopipe
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    poopipe high dynamic range
    Starting a boutique outsourcing studio is probably the most realistic way to make a decent amount of money - you have to compete on quality though because the large Chinese and Indian providers are unbeatable on scale/price.
    That puts you up against people like Airborn - who are very good 


    The biggest problem is going to be persuading people who are experienced and talented enough to compete on quality to come and work for you. 

    Anyone good/experienced enough already has a job - probably a mortgage and a family as well. As such they're going to be very interested in the pedigree of the person managing the studio, the state of studio finances and what work is lined up for at least the next 12-18 months. 

    No offence intended here but at 22 with a few years freelancing under your belt you wouldn't pass that test for me - even if you have 10 million in the bank and a promise of two years working on COD content.
    if you had 10 years experience as a exec producer or studio manager then I'd pay attention - without that I'd say thanks but no thanks.

    It feels to me a bit like when people say they're going to go Indie when they finish at university - I feel bad for pissing on their chips but the fact is the only people who stand half a chance of indie success (blind luck excluded) are people who've been shipping games for someone else for 10 years.

  • Ashervisalis
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    Ashervisalis godlike master sticky
    If your goal is to be a millionaire, and you can get work making $100k a year, you could always live well below your means and invest, and in about a decade you'll be a millionaire. I know this isn't really what you're talking about though!
  • oglu
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    oglu polycount lvl 666
    poopipe said:
    Starting a boutique outsourcing studio is probably the most realistic way to make a decent amount of money - you have to compete on quality though because the large Chinese and Indian providers are unbeatable on scale/price.
    That puts you up against people like Airborn - who are very good 



    Its not. Cause its a hard global business. 
  • poopipe
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    poopipe high dynamic range
    Hence the  bit after the quoted paragraph
     

    ...
  • focus_method
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    focus_method polycounter lvl 2
    Stop dreaming about being rich from 3d. Rather be real and face your real goals and possibilities.
    Go aim for decent money income for normal decent life.
    The BIGGest money in 3d would come from there where is the hardest to master craft. That would be hyper realistic cinematic and game ready characters. 
    So if you can make it  with your quality,ability and speed to studios like BLUR , then you can talk the biggest money in the industry. 

  • poopipe
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    poopipe high dynamic range
    That sort of work doesn't pay any more than a decent plumber earns. 

    You don't get rich by working for other people
  • Larry
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    Larry interpolator
    From my understanding there are 3 types of people who break out of the small-medium businesses, in any field. 
    1. The 'lucky' guy some people might characterize, who did something right and skyrocketed. Usually is an experienced person in the field who saw an opportunity. An example of that would be Riot games, over dota2 and other similar type games.
    2. Another type is by making the right decisions one after the other, being quite elusive and squeezing the cow in its best years. When the cow's production starts droping, they immediately search for another cow. Usually being a second or third generation in the family working in this field, or just a very smart individual (or a shark)
    3. Or, they break into millions by preserverence in the long run. That could be translated like, create cheap (for you) games that hit the trends and pass the quality bar. Get money to spend on bigger projects and add more love and details into them,and employ more people until you grow into a AAA studio.
    4. Or as @Alex_J said, tits sell. Wanna create the next leisure suit larry open world MMO rpg / tinder without cencorship in VR? I smell buckets of money. (Hey everybody, do not steal my idea)
    If you believe that something is missing from the market and it would be really cool if someone made it, i'd say that should be your purpose to chase. Kickstarters, and funding organizations make it much easier to acomplish such tasks nowadays.
  • marks
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    marks greentooth
    Alex_J said:
    you cant get rich working for other people. 

     This should be the biggest takeaway from this thread.
  • thomasp
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    thomasp quad damage

    The BIGGest money in 3d would come from there where is the hardest to master craft. That would be hyper realistic cinematic and game ready characters. 
    So if you can make it  with your quality,ability and speed to studios like BLUR , then you can talk the biggest money in the industry. 

    Interesting statement. I trust you speak from experience to give advice like that?

    Because so far @poopipe 's take sounds more believable to me. After all it's a job that's quite easily outsourced and swamped with 'good-enough' competition.
  • Ashervisalis
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    Ashervisalis godlike master sticky
    Yeah, there are plenty of people who make really good money from doing stylized stuff. It doesn't need to be hyper realistic.
  • Neox
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    Neox hero character
    poopipe said:
    Starting a boutique outsourcing studio is probably the most realistic way to make a decent amount of money - you have to compete on quality though because the large Chinese and Indian providers are unbeatable on scale/price.
    That puts you up against people like Airborn - who are very good 


    The biggest problem is going to be persuading people who are experienced and talented enough to compete on quality to come and work for you. 

    Anyone good/experienced enough already has a job - probably a mortgage and a family as well. As such they're going to be very interested in the pedigree of the person managing the studio, the state of studio finances and what work is lined up for at least the next 12-18 months. 

    No offence intended here but at 22 with a few years freelancing under your belt you wouldn't pass that test for me - even if you have 10 million in the bank and a promise of two years working on COD content.
    if you had 10 years experience as a exec producer or studio manager then I'd pay attention - without that I'd say thanks but no thanks.

    It feels to me a bit like when people say they're going to go Indie when they finish at university - I feel bad for pissing on their chips but the fact is the only people who stand half a chance of indie success (blind luck excluded) are people who've been shipping games for someone else for 10 years.


    i likely make less than most inhouse employed artists in the industry at my level.
    we have a somewhat solid financial standing and a pretty big crew of people by now, so that means some serious numbers rolling through the studio. But it is not an operation i will become rich from.

    As oglu said, we compete internationally, against bigger and smaller studios and the competition isn't sleeping.
    we luckily found a niche that works for us, if we stood with more realistic productions, i am afraid we would be out of business by now. Cause anything than can be scanned or simulated will be done cheaper at the same level elsewhere.

    airborn was never founded to make us rich, is was built so artists find a safe space where they can thrive and work on cool shit, without most of the corporate nonsense you will find in many big studios. luckily that happened. i think anyone going our route just to make the big bucks will ultimately fail, it took many years (especially here on polycount) to build the network we get our jobs through by now, that stuff didnt happen over night, but it was also not planned at all. it happened organically.
    I can only see that happening by making it more of a pyramid scheme thing, lots of small people working into the pockets of a few higher ups, it means stealing from the people actually doing the work. i don't think thats healthy and something to strive for.



  • Joao Sapiro
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    Joao Sapiro polycounter
    Op : Youre an ass and your business model is even more Ass-y
  • Ashervisalis
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    Ashervisalis godlike master sticky
    @radumitroi Yeah can someone mention they make $8k a month and then think it's OK to hire people on a wage where they couldn't even afford to eat?
  • radumitroi
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    radumitroi polycounter lvl 6
    @Neox Well you should also consider the country I'm from. Because $60/day in my country is a lot of money, and it's a salary people with more than 5 years of experience in their field work for. The only reason I make 8K in a month is because I'm working 18 hours a day, 7 days a week. If I were to be working normal 8 hours a day I wouldn't be making more than 2K a month.

    I too am getting paid just $70/day of work from my full-time job - and I'm getting paid this money for being both a Technical Artist & Environment Artist - and those paying me are from a much more advanced country when it comes to economy. The rest of the money I make is thanks to me putting up a lot of work on the side and a lot of sleepless nights.

    I would love to be able to pay people $30/hour, but that's not going to happen any time soon. I can only afford to pay people based on how much profit they're making me, and I'm making money by taking a lot of different kinds of projects. In one month I can take projects that have to do with 3D Animations, then some projects that has to do with game development, then some other projects that require medical animations, then some other projects that require After Effects and compositing skills.
    And while most people I can afford to hire can only do a certain type of projects, well then I'm going to pay them based on how much money I make off of that certain type of project, not based on how much money I make myself.
  • Neox
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    Neox hero character
     I can make $8,000/month by myself, but that's not the big money I'm talking about. I'm talking about the kind of money that will turn you into a millionaire, I'm talking at least $30,000 - $50,000/month in profits.

    i am sorry but your initial post doesn't sound like that at all. if you make all that extra on top of a 1400$ (70x20) month and making cash is your main focus, i would reconsider working that fulltime job no?
    if you enjoy it and and you are good at it, i would suggest investing in your portfolio, because you could certainly make more with different clients.
  • radumitroi
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    radumitroi polycounter lvl 6
    @Ashervisalis
    @Joao Sapiro

    Please see my comment above so you can get a better idea of what's behind the curtains. I can only afford to pay people based on how much money they bring me, as it's logical. Taking in consideration that I'm working on 4 different kind of projects at a time, and the person that's working for me can only deal with one type of projects, well he's going to get paid based on how much money I make from that single type of project.

    My profits don't all come from the same line of work. I basically work as a technical artist, environment artist, 3D animator, programmer, 2D artist, After Effects specialist, and so many much more, in order to be able to earn those 8K USD I was talking about.
    Unless the guy that works for me is also able to do all those things and basically help me out on ALL the projects I work on, in which case I wouldn't have a problem paying him 3K - 4K a month because he's basically earning me another 4K in profits, then it'd be stupid of me to give him a much higher salary.
    As I said above, $60/day in my country is really good money. Most people here work for $20/day, so I'm basically offering 3 times the average salary around here. Not to mention that anyone who's working for me doesn't even have to work 8 hours a day, and he's doing it from his home. He only has daily tasks, and once he finishes the daily tasks he's free to do whatever he wants. I don't care if he's finished his work for the day in just 2 hours, I'm still paying him full.

    So there again, unless he's able to do all those things I mentioned above, there is no way I can afford to pay the man more. If he's only able to do 3D animations for me, then I'm going to pay him just 60% of the money I make off of those types of projects. I charge $100/day for the 3D animations projects, and giving 60% of those to the guy who's working on those. I don't know about you, but to me this seems like a good business for both people. The other guy gets more than I do from the projects I worked on getting for both of us. It's me who's making sure we get new projects, it's me who's constantly making sure the clients are getting informed and have a clear understanding of what it's going to happen, it's me who's in video calls scheduling stuff with clients, all while also working a full-time job. And for that I don't think it's bad to want 40% of that money for myself.
  • Alex_J
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    Alex_J veteran polycounter
    lol i paid the neighborhood drunk $50 to mow my lawn. It took him an hour. 
  • Neox
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    Neox hero character
    Alex_J said:
    lol i paid the neighborhood drunk $50 to mow my lawn. It took him an hour. 

    different countries, different pay, the costs are also a lot lower. a californian working for us, would also likely not be viable for them.

    i absolutely get that. but even then the prospect of profiting 50k usd a month for myself sounds ridiculous to me.
    I mean sure i wouldnt mind making that cash each month, but i think this industry or well the field we are in, isnt the right environment for that kind of money. Also that would be 125 times more than the average worker and 42 times more than your average 3d artist, sounds crazy to me.

    unless of course you just pick the pockets of the people working for you, then its obviously doable if you ram up your day rate but keep the pay for the artists where it is, its doable. Takes a bit of time to set up, but is doable.

    anyways thats old lefty socialist me rambling.

  • radumitroi
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    radumitroi polycounter lvl 6
    @Neox
    Well, while I see your logic behind telling me to work that full-time rather the my actual full-time, it is not that easy. The extra money I'm making on top of the full-time salary I make isn't something guaranteed. So for instance one month I could be making $4,000 from my side jobs, while other months there's no client reaching out to me, so basically $0 coming from all those side stuff.
    For that I need to keep the full-time job as a warranty that I'll have at least X money at the end of the month.

    One other reason is the fact that I also enjoy working in the video game industry and making games. So I also want to do game development and be part of making video games.

    There's another really important reason, and that is because I'm getting bored extremely easy. I need to do all sorts of projects in order to keep myself as stimulated as I'd like, and not get bored of the mundanity. I like being able to work on projects that all stimulate certain parts of my brain.
    I need to do game development, but then some months I want do work on 3D animations or Film. Then some other months I'd want to write programs and algorithms or game mechanics. Then some other months I want to just to simple 3D artwork rendering. But then some other times I'd want to do who knows what.

    So, in short, I hate having to do only one type of projects because that becomes boring way too easily. I need to keep my mind stimulated in various ways, other wise it simply becomes irrelevant. For the same reason I like taking breaks from doing this kinds of work and for short periods of time I'd only work as a musician, making music. Or do portrait photography to relax myself and to have more ways of expressing my creativity, which is what I'm craving for at all times.
    Then some other times I'd just want to create interesting ways of encoding data into other elements, so basically just doing steganography to relax myself.

    There's no one single thing I'd do for the rest of my life, become no matter how much I love that one thing, it'll get me bored of it sooner or later. So therefore I need to keep my mind busy with all these stuff, and that also shows in the stuff I'm doing professionally.
    Because all the things I enjoy doing, I have the tendency of driving that into some sort of business, because I enjoy doing things professionally and trying to be the best in anything I enjoy doing.

    My pleasure in life comes from getting interesting in a domain, becoming really good at it, getting to a point where I make enough on my own that I afford to pay other people to do those jobs and basically automate that business in order for it to not need my assistance at all anymore, and them jump to another thing that caught my interest and repeat what I've done.
  • Neox
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    Neox hero character
    then there are two things i see here, this comes from my experience, doesnt have to reflect others experiences.

    1. outsourcing would be perfect for you, you can potentially work on sorts of things and constantly have new projects. the downside to that is, short projects are usually worse in payment and also more stressful. you need to get more jobs, more clients, more more, faster faster. Sounds more like working in advertising (also more money usually) than games to me.

    2. AAA high quality stuff is not for you then. But here is where the money is in gaming. Unless you get lucky and get shares of some Indie title that just explodes in popularity. It's not for you despite the higher dayrates, because to hit that level, weeks and months on the same stuff will be the norm. Doesn't sound like something you would enjoy very much.
  • radumitroi
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    radumitroi polycounter lvl 6
    Alex_J said:
    lol i paid the neighborhood drunk $50 to mow my lawn. It took him an hour. 

    You gotta understand that geography plays a big role in this. $50 in my country buys you groceries for 1-2 weeks, and no employer will ever give you that kind of money here for an hour of work. If you earn that kind of money in a day (8 hours of work) trust me when I'm saying that you're basically above most people. People in my country are working, on average, for $2 - $4 per hour. $4/hour is what the average Romanian is getting paid. And people with +10-15 years of experience are the ones that get to have a salary of around $2,500 - $3,000/month, and even in those conditions, such salaries are like unicorns.

    I'm not making anyone apply to my jobs if they don't feel like the pay is right for them. Of course people from western countries won't be able to even afford to eat with the kind of money I'm offering, but going more towards the Eastern Europe, you'll see that the amount of money I'm paying is actually great.
  • Neox
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    Neox hero character
    but knowing all that, how do you think 50k a month is an achievable goal? with 8k a month you should be living like a ... king. or well much much better than i do with my (lower) salary.

    if you bump up the quality and scale the operation a bit this should be an achievable goal.

    i'd focus on lowering the stress level to achieve that same money, more quality of life. but thats just me

  • radumitroi
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    radumitroi polycounter lvl 6
    @Neox
    Thanks for actually trying to have a conversation not based on your own personal life experiences and the economy of your own country, first of all.

    I don't have a problem with working on the same thing for months of even years, I understand that great products require a lot of time and effort in order to be perfected and released.
    As long as I can, after those 8 hours, work on whatever I want in order to keep my creativity and need for brain stimuli.
    But I'm 22, and even though I've been working on Programming and 3D Art since I was 9 years old, I still can't afford to charge a client $40 - $50/hour because my actual professional experience has started around the age of 17 or so.

    So I basically need to take on a lot of different projects, and basically create myself a wage of $50/hour, by working on 5 projects that pay $10/hour (it's just an example).

    I'm aware that in a few years, after I've worked on a coupe of released titles and gained a lot more experience, I'll be able to also charge my clients $40 - $50/hour. But that is years away, so I'm taking things into my own hands and making myself that kind of money the way I can.
  • Alex_J
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    Alex_J veteran polycounter
    maybe you should try making indie games. You'll have too many different things to do - you'll never get bored, and even if you don't make big money from your games, if you had made the money I made from my first game that would have been significant given your cost of living, whereas for me it was encouraging but nothing that will pay the bills.
  • radumitroi
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    radumitroi polycounter lvl 6
    Neox said:
    but knowing all that, how do you think 50k a month is an achievable goal? with 8k a month you should be living like a ... king. or well much much better than i do with my (lower) salary.

    if you bump up the quality and scale the operation a bit this should be an achievable goal.

    i'd focus on lowering the stress level to achieve that same money, more quality of life. but thats just me


    Well, that also comes from my high standards of living. I don't just want to be able to live extremely well, but I want to be able to do whatever I want, when I want to, for however long I want to. Just like everyone else in this world, I'd assume. A life of luxury, I might say.

    Of course I use a big part of my income to make other investments, such as stocks, real estate, crypto, and so on. Whatever assets I can get my hands on that make me money, are very much welcomed.
    I put aside a lot of money in order to be able to invest in some ideas I have. The problem is I want to do and create a lot of stuff in the world, and all of those require serious capital, hence another primary reason I want to make the big bucks.

    I do live very well with my current income, and taking in account that I'm living in a country where the average salary is something like $700/month, you can guess that I'm living more than just decent. I could live the rest of my life very comfortably with the kind of income I'm making right now, but I'm always dreaming of doing bigger and better things with my skills.
  • Larry
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    Larry interpolator
    Well, that also comes from my high standards of living. I don't just want to be able to live extremely well, but I want to be able to do whatever I want, when I want to, for however long I want to. Just like everyone else in this world, I'd assume. A life of luxury, I might say.

    Of course I use a big part of my income to make other investments, such as stocks, real estate, crypto, and so on. Whatever assets I can get my hands on that make me money, are very much welcomed.
    I put aside a lot of money in order to be able to invest in some ideas I have. The problem is I want to do and create a lot of stuff in the world, and all of those require serious capital, hence another primary reason I want to make the big bucks.

    I do live very well with my current income, and taking in account that I'm living in a country where the average salary is something like $700/month, you can guess that I'm living more than just decent. I could live the rest of my life very comfortably with the kind of income I'm making right now, but I'm always dreaming of doing bigger and better things with my skills.
    You have high standards of living, you want to invest in stock and crypto. There is no easy money in this world. why are we still discussing about this? 
  • fearian
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    fearian Polycount Sponsor
    I'm glad we got the beeple shit out the way. I think the outsourcing discussion is very interesting because when I hear @Neox say:
    we compete internationally, against bigger and smaller studios and the competition isn't sleeping.
    I read that as: "Studios are looking to underbid and over-promise" which has been my experience with outsource studios AND working for a contracting company in film VFX. This is not a statement on the quality of work, which can be excellent from a small company in India, and disappointing from a good sized studio in the UK.

    Anyway, I always assumed the people running the businesses must be doing very well given the rise in outsourcing so it's interesting to hear different opinions from different studios.


    That said, despite us all working in an "Artisans Field" I think we have all thought about the potential financial ceiling on out careers. Particularly those with families or those living around expensive hubs like SF, London, Vancouver... We all work for companies that are paying double to the developer sitting next to use and It's not unreasonable to think about different long term salary goals.

    If you want a larger, stable, paycheck in the games industry
    • work towards a lead position and move between companies after shipping successful titles. Become the person companies hire when they want to step up for their biggest project ever.
    • Get more technical, in both graphics programming and tools development. Take these up the chain of AAA studios until you become indispensable at a blockbuster company. 
    As the outlier big money, I don't think that's something you can plan towards. Start a studio, ship profitable titles, seek investment, court companies to buy you out and make an exit.

  • radumitroi
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    radumitroi polycounter lvl 6
    @teodar23

    Well I could talk about the romanian mentality as well, by picking on your comment. Please tell me where have I once asked in here to get the magic formula to success? I was only curious whether or not there's business models in the 3D industry that makes that kind of money, because I've been doing a bunch of online research and even those "greats" that you're talking about aren't making the kind of money I was referring to. So no, first of all wanting to become one of the greats isn't sufficient.

    Secondly, I'm a business man before I'm anything else. I'm in here to do great business with the skills I posses, not just make great art. Doing what you love without making the kind of money you dream of is just as irrelevant as making big bucks but not enjoying what you're doing.

    I'm also confused on how can pick on my, apparently, non-existing desire to improve my craft, when taking a look at both of our portfolios you can clearly see that one of us is miles ahead of the other.

    But you know... you just keep and go ahead and assume you understand the contexts of everything by simply reading my name and seeing it's romanian. I see that's working well for you.
  • Neox
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    Neox hero character
    Well that businessmodel obviously exists, and its pretty simple. scale your operation so much that you make that cash.

    if your cut is 40% you need to make 125000 a month. A day costs 100$ with your business then you 62.5 artists working for you, probably some more counting in taxes and such. It's not impossible, it takes some time but its doable.
    if you wanna get there quicker, the first thing to do would be to raise the day rate by finding clients willing to pay it.
  • Larry
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    Larry interpolator
    I'm also confused on how can pick on my, apparently, non-existing desire to improve my craft, when taking a look at both of our portfolios you can clearly see that one of us is miles ahead of the other.
    I laughed here. Honestly, I wouldn't say that.
    The person commenting on nationality as a stereotype was a foul in this conversation. 
    But you oversell yourself so much it starts getting annoying. It is good to believe in yourself, but set realistic goals and boundaries. One can say you suffer from narcissism, the way you speak.

    For me it is common sense that we can discuss up to a degree in this forum, stuff that would increase your income, but what were you expecting exactly from this forum post? That you gather other like-minded people and laugh at the 2 cups of rice you give as salary to people you employ? That we're all going to come up with 'hey, sell food 3d models, they sell for SOOO high price, you'll be a millionaire'? Do you have any actual idea how business models work? Or do you just dream of spending 10k on crypto or a stock, like a disinfection gel company and it skyrockets?

    Eventually by looking at your portfolio, even if you had exceptional business selling skills and connections, or even if we told you that hey, just make X and Y models and you can be a millionaire, with the current quality your portfolio has, I doubt you would achieve that. Yes you can do much better. Just work hard, suck it up, Rome was not built in a day.
  • Alex_J
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    Alex_J veteran polycounter
    narcissism is kind of a requirement to become richer than any person would ever need to be. So maybe that is a plus in this case. 

    Sadly though, money can't fix an obsessive disorder, and I don't think even if our young friend achieves their goal they will solve the true problem. Most likely they create problems for other people along the way as well.

    Just look at the richest man on the planet. He is sending dick pics to women and racing other billionaires to space like he still has the ego of a ten year old. It's sad. Imagine having all the money in the world, but you are still like a little boy. Imagine being surrounded by nothing but sycophant's all the time, but you are just smart enough to know it. How lonely.

    Anyway, yeah you shouldn't talk shit, it's bad business and you've said you are a business man didn't you?




  • poopipe
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    poopipe high dynamic range
    Alex_J said:
    narcissism is kind of a requirement to become richer than any person would ever need to be.
    Sadly Narcissism isn't a guarantee of success. 

    If it was I'd be very much more successful than I am
  • radumitroi
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    radumitroi polycounter lvl 6
    @Larry

    So you didn't get the point that I was looking to receive from this discussion, but then you went ahead and made an assumption on what you thought I wanted to get out of this topic? How does that even work?

    The only thing I wanted to get out of this topic was some info on some people/businesses that had reached that level that I was talking about, because I've been searching some time ago for some self-made people that had made it in this type of industry and I couldn't find many people, or even one for that matter.
    The reason I wanted to see who that person/business is, is because I just wanted to see what kind of work volume and quality gets him/them that kind of financial revenue, and to better understand what is the level that one would need to reach in order to have realistic aspirations to such success.

    Never once have I asked anyone in here to pin-point me to the correct formula, never have I said anything that I'm looking to get THE ANSWERS to success, all I've asked from the very beginning is if there's people who've made it like that in this industry. (Not counting the people selling NFTs).
    Yet, there's still people who're missing the point of this discussion and wrongfully comment, like you've done right now.

    And, yet again, please understand that "the 2 cups of rice you give as salary to people you employ", as you've put it, is kind of a lot of money in my country. If you're from a much more advanced country as far as economy goes, and you're used to much higher salaries, then good for you, but that doesn't give you any right to comment on what I'm offering - given that what I'm offering is 3 times the average salary most people earn here in my country.
    If I were living in USA/Germany/France/UK and I would've still offered $60/day then I would've been the asshole surely, but please to explain to me how I'm the bad guy when I'm offering $60/day in a country where even the doctors work for $80/day, and the average worker works for $20/day?

    In 2020 I've been working the whole year in a stock agency getting paid $27/day. That was a job in which I would be doing 3D Art, 3D Animation, programming video games in unity, doing After Effects composite over live footage, and a lot more. And that was a business that was much bigger than I am and had much more employees than I do. Ubisoft or EA, here in my country, are paying their employees about $35 - $50/day, and it's fucking Ubisoft/Electronic Arts... not some indie studio.

    Here I am offering higher salaries than the biggest game studios are offering here in my country, and I'm offering those higher salaries for much easier jobs/tasks and a lot less working hours, and somehow I'm still the bad guy.
  • Alex_J
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    Alex_J veteran polycounter
    poopipe said:
    Alex_J said:
    narcissism is kind of a requirement to become richer than any person would ever need to be.
    Sadly Narcissism isn't a guarantee of success. 

    If it was I'd be very much more successful than I am
    I've heard that it helps to start with a small loan. Like a  million dollars or so. But I doubt that, I think rich people just found a way to work much harder than the rest of us. 
  • pior
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    pior godlike master sticky
    "The reason I wanted to see who that person/business is, is because I just wanted to see what kind of work volume and quality gets him/them that kind of financial revenue, and to better understand what is the level that one would need to reach in order to have realistic aspirations to such success."

    Well ... I'll be blunt and state that this alone shows that you are missing the point. No one in the whole history of craftsmanship (digital or otherwise) ever got filthy rich because of the "level they reached" or the "volume and quality" of their output - from stone carvers, to painters, to watch makers, to movie prop artists, to CG enthusiasts. That's just not how these things work.

    Being an excellent crafstman gets one stable contracts, and/or a stable salary.That's it. Crafstmanship "level" doesn't scale up infinitely, hence the salary or fees don't scale infinitely either. And of course output volume is limited by time, so in order to increase it the only way is to scale up, like Neox mentioned it multiple times. And from there, prices can get higher because studios are very willing to pay more when they know that they are dealing with a boutique that not only delivers flawless quality, but also delivers it consistently and reliably.

    But even that won't make the CEO of said boutique "filthy rich" - it will simply allow for a comfortable standard of living. I think.

    The "filthy rich" bracket is another thing altogether, completely unrelated to craftsmanship. Investors, CEOs or big film/gaming companies, and so on.

    Now all that said there are indeed artists who strike gold on their own - but that's pretty much never because of the "level they reached". It's either because they put together a transformative idea that they executed well on (innovation) ; or they created an IP so catchy that the publishing rights and/or royalties led to big money (One Punch Man, Attack On Titan). And ironically, these manga artists are far from "top craftsmen" in their field but rather they created stories and IPs that just work well regardless of how polished the art is. The CG/game art equivalent of that would be Minecraft and Roblox.

    Aaaanyways. Romanians, man.
  • Larry
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    Larry interpolator
    @Larry

    So you didn't get the point that I was looking to receive from this discussion, but then you went ahead and made an assumption on what you thought I wanted to get out of this topic? How does that even work?

    The only thing I wanted to get out of this topic was some info on some people/businesses that had reached that level that I was talking about
    OOOH sorry, I entirely missed that point. I can help. Check out how these companies were made from scratch, solid info there. Square Enix, Ubisoft, Konami,Electronic Arts, Namco Bandai, Activision Blizzard. Good luck on your endeavors!
  • sacboi
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    sacboi polycount lvl 666

    The only thing I wanted to get out of this topic was some info on some people/businesses that had reached that level that I was talking about [...]
    Seeing the figure of $50k bandied about in this thread struck a chord about a 'sticky' (wholly addictive mobile game) that had completely slipped my mind mentioning earlier upthread as one achievable revenue stream which intriguingly was created from scratch by a sole developer living in Vietnam around 2013 when initially released after just a few days working on it.

    Although not until 12mths later did this free bite size side scroller blow up, at it's height purported too be earning $50k per DAY! via ingame ads, basically generating an income of $18US million annually.

    His story, if you ask me definitely worth a read.
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