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What should my monthly wage be as a 3D Artist?

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Zoddo polycounter lvl 4
I've been with this company for about 5 years now (excluding internship), and I got rolled into the company right after graduating from MBO-4 (highest grade in terms of middle-education in the Netherlands, so no university degree).

Over the years I've done a lot of diverse work and really grinded and spend some personal money on getting better at 3D, rather that be modelling, lighting, animating, software like Painter/Marvelous/World Creator/Mixer and even started learning a new game engine like UE4 (We primarily use Unity).

That's the 3D aspect, but I also learned more programming (C#), 360 panorama content (making 360 tours) and even video editing to name just a few things.

However I feel like i'm being incredibly underpaid as I'm being paid 22.3K without bonusses.When googling I can see that i'm on the lower end and in some cases even way below what the average is universally.

So my question is;Is my wage fine or is my gut right and am I really being underpaid for my experience and skills?
I also found a site showcasing the avrg wage for a 3D Artist where I live; https://www.payscale.com/research/NL/Job=3D_Artist/Salary
But even on the lower end I do not even remotely earn the minimum.

Do note, that the extra skills and expertise I developed (including 360 content) is ALL being applied to my work.
I am a 3D artist but I do way more than that at the company.

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  • Alex_J
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    Alex_J godlike master sticky
    I say ask for raise at $80k/year and quit if they can't pay. 

    Apply for other jobs at $80k/year (about $250 a day) and if you can't get any work at that rate then consider lowering your rate but not less than $50k/year ( would indicate you're skills aren't as valuable as you think, or you are only applying to bum places, or maybe 3d just can't pay a living wage I could be wrong).

    I assume COL there is similar to here (US). At $80k a year, without kids, you have a comfortable life. Can take vacations, if car breaks not the end of the world, you can eat out when you too lazy to cook... no reason a skilled artisan shouldnt afford that life especially if they taking on extra responsibility outside the initial agreed upon job. 

    edit: maybe apply to other places before quitting might be better order of operations


    I operated a mop at a coal mine and made $80/k a year, just for reference.

  • Zoddo
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    Zoddo polycounter lvl 4
    @Alex_J 80K a year is a massive ton of money where I live, that's monthly $6.6K a month. 
    Company right now won't pay me that, and I also belief that I do not deserve that much money and that no other company could afford to pay me that much (or i'm just ignorant about this business when it comes to money).

    But yeah i'll be asking for a raise that I find normal and represents my exp and skills fairly.
    If that fails i'll jump ship to a different company, but tbf i'd wish to stay at this company.

    Thanks for the advise, much appreciated.
  • Alex_J
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    Alex_J godlike master sticky
    when i hire freelance programmers usually i pay $80/hr, artist/tech artist is $50+/hour. The people who cost this much usually had 5+ years of experience and know their craft pretty well.

    I've hired cheaper but usually it's not good quality, otherwise the person lived in very cheap place.

    $20k a year is poverty wage. If you are creating more solutions at work than problems - and you must be otherwise you'd be fired - I most definitely think you are worth a lot more than that.





  • Zoddo
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    Zoddo polycounter lvl 4
    @Alex_J When I have to do estimations for the company for projects, we go by about €85-€95 an hour (depending on how much money a client has). This is based for all developers (programmers, artists and designers a like).
    But than again you pay them directly, and this goes to the client through management and than management has to pay me, so slightly different i guess.

    Well i'm definetly creating more solutions than problems, working over-time on my own initative to finish incredibly short deadlines, implement new technologies into the company for business (come from learning new skills) and I adapt pretty quickly.

    Ofcourse you work with dollars and I with euros, so situation will be different. But it does confirm that i'm being severly underpaid.
    Thanks for sharing your personal experience!
  • Zi0
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    Zi0 polycounter
    80k for a country like The Netherlands is very unrealistic, maybe if you are a principal artist at Guerilla Games but otherwise I dont see that happening. 22.3k is a very generic pay I would say and in most companies a starter salary. Try to work your way up to €2500 a month first.

    "working over-time on my own initative to finish incredibly short deadlines"
    For that money you shouldn't, I think you need to have a talk with your manager and really try to negotiate a new contract. If they really want to keep paying you a starter salary then you should start looking for a different company.

  • Zoddo
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    Zoddo polycounter lvl 4
    @Zi0 I konw 80K is ridiculous for NL terms, no worries i am very well aware of that haha.

    Looking at averages; https://www.payscale.com/research/NL/Job=3D_Artist/Salary/06b4e572/Mid-Career
    I'd say 2500 (before taxes) is still underwhelming, but on the right track.

    When it comes to working overtime etc. that was all part of plan to get a raise, but my plans got semi-crushed by covid.
    Once I am going to talk to management in a week or two, telling them that my initiative to do certain things will be gone if I won't get a raise that I find decent.

    If my raise fails, i'm going to switch career path and move to a different company. And I don't think they'd like me gone, so I'll see what happens next.
  • Zi0
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    Zi0 polycounter
    I meant 2500 euro netto. Unfortunately quitting is sometimes the best way to get a raise. 
  • Zoddo
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    Zoddo polycounter lvl 4
    @Zi0 Ah oke didn't realise that, thanks for the headsup
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