How soon can I make money from modeling?

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  01 January 2013
How soon can I make money from modeling?

My main goal right now is to go from being a "hobbists" to a professional. Not trying to work for the major game companies - at least not as a full time employee but I would like freelance and sell individual models. I have experience with Maya, Zbrush, and the Unity game engine. Very soon will also take a crash course in Mel and Python scripting.

Members have told me that my models are of high quality - which was a big motivation boost for me but I'm not sure where I can go from here.

The most interesting projects for me would be those set in game design which means taking high poly models and setting up the low poly pipeline. I have decent experience with UV mapping, retopo for smooth animation, rigging, etc - but not nearly as well as I could.

My question; can I just start pumping out realistic high poly models and get hired solely on that?

Just making $8 an hour (starting out.) from the comfort of my home would be awesome and make all the time I spent learning this stuff worth it. It would also free up much more time and motivation for me to continue to expand my abilities. Or even an apprenticeship could get me on track quickly. My biggest regret is that I wasn't able to get into a traditional art & design College program. Since then I've just being plugging away at these tutorials but it would be great to finally get some interaction with other artists on a team who are actually working together on a product to put onto the market.

I've heard that it takes 100-300 submissions to sites like 3DSquid before you start making a solid income(that's quite the feat.) but perhaps it's there that I should direct my focus too.

Last edited by BBLotus : 01 January 2013 at 05:40 AM.
  01 January 2013
if you have large back catalogue of high quality models stick them on turbosquid anyway, it's a no maintenance system. I have about 7 items on there and it still generates a small amount of money. If I put some real effort into it I could probably live off it

all model support is dealt with by the turbosquid team, buyers have no way of contacting you directly

edit: you set the price too, some items on there sell for thousands of dollars.. so if you're really good you wont need hundreds of items

Last edited by squidinc : 01 January 2013 at 10:32 AM.
  01 January 2013
bblotus, you missed a bit of an opportunity i think. If someone is reading this thread they might want to see what exactly you can do! So post up an image of one/some of your models.
  01 January 2013
Maybe its a point of view from someone who never tried to sell models, but when i see that as the seller you get only 50% of the money in the beginning, those seem very low. Its not as if they proactively advertise your work and seek customers for you, instead of just having them exposed like a normal database, is it? (plus those 30% tax w8ben form thingy for non-US)
  01 January 2013
Quote: you get only 50% of the money in the beginning

Just for perspective.. a classical book publishing contract will get you 10%.
  01 January 2013
Yes, and with record labels sometimes it's even less, but in both cases they are proactive, there is promotion and production of your product by them (although agreeably being a too high percentage for them also). In this case that doesn't happen, so i guess you are paying for the privilege of having your models stocked in a well known site with the cash transactions being handled by them. But, in perspective also, in freelancing sites, "you are the product" and they offer the same services and only take 10-15%
  01 January 2013
Can't really answer this without seeing your models.
__________________ - 3D Visualization and Content Creation
  01 January 2013
I thought that it was an accepted truth that virtually no one is making a living off of Turbosquid exclusively? I imagine there is one or two statistical outliers, but otherwise I find it pretty believable.

100-300 is pretty doable over 1-2 years. When I was working low end/previz gigs I was pleased with the military jets and cars that we got from there. I found $100 cars to be the sweet spot, specifically recalling that a multi pack of 6 cars for 50 wasn't. Of course, planes and cars are pretty well covered so that might be a closed door due to supply.

I would think the "easiest" way to make a living as a modeler is to stick with the standard "how to break into the CG Biz" thought process and try to work at a studio.
  01 January 2013
You can make money off of Poser content and Daz Content. That is a large audience looking for base things.

dreamlight studios is a good place to start showing you how make models and make a living.

You can sell stuff off Daz3d, runtimedna, 3d cornucopia, renderosity, 3d commune, etc. But you can start today.

You should show us some of your work. Maybe someone here might be interested in hiring you out as well.
  01 January 2013
Originally Posted by AangtheAvatar: .....You can sell stuff off Daz3d, runtimedna, 3d cornucopia, renderosity, 3d commune, etc. But you can start today..........

True, and some people do very well out of it. There are several people making full time living from making DAZ products.
I like to learn.
  01 January 2013
Originally Posted by BBLotus: Just making $8 an hour (starting out.) from the comfort of my home would be awesome

Yeah, post the work. Can you make detailed vehicles? How about a detailed cruise ship or bulk carrier or private or commercial aircraft?

We model in-house, contract it out and buy when readily available. Not too busy right now, but when the work flows, we use all the resources we can find.
  01 January 2013
"How soon can I make money from modeling?"

As soon as you post your work and we can review it.

On a general note, you've got to find inspiration and study why it's beloved and successful just like any arena in CGart. For instance, why was this ship plugged when many of these ships have been created in the wip section.
Is it his uncanny attention to detail?
His ability to not get frustrated and his passion to get shapes perfect regardless of number of attempts? Like the hull, where people will wreck their ship 9 times out of 10 because they refuse to retry different workflows to get the correct shape.
His sense of proportion and balance?
The connection of hard surface and organic shapes in the same piece?
I think when you are asking those types of questions and then able to deliver upon them, then you can start to get paid in my opinion. Shrug

Last edited by MrPositive : 01 January 2013 at 05:50 PM.
  01 January 2013
Hey Mr.Positive! Good to see you back on the forum! Are you still at IUPUI?

I think Leigh plugged that thread because I've been posting a lot on other peoples WIP threads. I've found critiquing other peoples work has been a great exercise to help me increase the quality of my own work. Plus maybe it helps other people occasionally.

To the OP, it would help to see some of your models. Its not all to do with the quality of your models, but also modelling the types of things people want to buy. Furniture, cars, consumer electronics, kitchen appliances, buildings, and food packaging are the things that seem to sell the most from my limited experience in the product viz world.

  01 January 2013
I appreciate all the input. Was going to give myself a few weeks to put a portfolio together and really aim for those extra details but with the activity of this thread I'll post some of my stuff.

Here's my most recent model. The Sniper rifle lens and slot you open to put the bullet in are separate meshes for animation and painting purposes. Also all the barrels, magazines, and scope itself can be removed in case of being replaced with other accessories. I have a low poly version of this model at about 3,000 poly's.

Just for humor. My frustrations of when Maya or Windows crashes on me while in the middle of an unsaved document. All props in scene are made by myself.

These were used for a Unity game project. I put an emphasis on a single UV texture map, very low poly count, and normal mapping. The tree is made up of only about 50 poly's while the bird cage is around 200.

Planning on retopoing for animation. Will add some basic animation for flapping a few feet off the ground with an ice background and some particle snow in front.


This was an animated logo I did for a friend's record company a long time ago. Gave me a reason to explore Maya's particle system.


For a Unity level design. Windmill rotates slowly in a stream of water. The gear box, doors, and windows can be opened. Green house in the back for plants.

The sniper rifle is my most recent and the kind of quality you can expect. I was looking on 3DSquid and saw that they actually go in and get every little detail so for HD renders I'm going to need to step it up more.

I don't have a good gauge to base what level of proficiency this is or where I should go from here. I'm open to any feedback... Please be blunt and let me know what you think. Whichever the case may be improving my modeling skills is now the primary objective.

Last edited by BBLotus : 01 January 2013 at 12:07 AM.
  01 January 2013
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