Freelancing and selling models - realistic expectations?

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  05 May 2013
Freelancing and selling models - realistic expectations?


I'm a 19 year old who got laid off from a terrible job a couple of weeks ago. I'm planning to begin my education at university january 2014. I will live with my parents until then and thus, I have roughly six months unemployment to look forward to unless I find a new job (which may be easier said than done considering my failed attempts so far).

Lets get to it. I'm self-taught in photoshop, zbrush, and 3dsmax. I'd say I'm above average, but definietly in need of polishing my skills a bit. Now, seeing as I have A LOT of time on my hands, and spends most of it modelling anyways, the thought of trying to make a few bucks of it crossed my mind. I have no rent to pay and my expenses are few. Im basically just looking for a way to make a 500-600$ a month and I'm willing to dedicate my entire days in doing so. To me this seems like a good way to build a portfolio, spend time on refining skills that I can put to good use later on in life, and hopefully genereate a few coins.

My question is if this is a idea worth pursuing, and if my expectations regarding income is reasonable.

I know there's no definite answer to my question, but seeing as I'm quite wet behind my ears and don't know alot about selling models and doing freelance work in general, some input from experienced members here would be greatly appreciated.
  05 May 2013
There are a bunch of freelance sites such as odesk and elance. You can try finding projects down there and earning that kind of amount is possible. On top of that, the extra personal time you have can be a self exploration journey for you
  05 May 2013
congratulations on your newly gained freedom if that job was terrible and you are19 and don't have kids to feed and rent to pay you should have a party

I have been putting models for sale since a long time, one thing to note is that the market somewhat shifted and will continue to change, lets say in year 2005 you could put almost any model, even relatively low quality models and they could make sales, right now its very difficult to sell anything of lower quality and even the high-end models don't make as much as they used.
another thing to note is that a model usually will sell for many years so you can't expect to make a model this month and make its worth next month, you might have to work for a year or or 2 before making any stable monthly income.

good news is that you are young and you have a good idea, if all you need is about 6K a year for now you could make them a in a few freelance projects every year or work every once in while with a studio and see if there is something you could pick up or learn.

If I were you I would just think about an interesting project, do it as good as I can having plenty of fun, you would be surprised that after sometime you will have a good reel and jobs will fly to you and if you keep doing it you can become really really good, you will be surprised how many people stop improving because they are stuck in terrible jobs to pay the rent and lose all their passion.

sorry maybe this is off-topic but I find it greatly inspiring (Alan Watts on work)
you have a fresh view on things and your decisions and planning might be better than any industry veteran who has been working since the beginnings of VFX, the "industry" is very different from what it was 10 years ago and will be very different in 10 years.
I used to make (edit: and still do ) a lot of mistakes in dealing with people and clients and see a lot of my friends doing similar things when applying to jobs but some old book which can be found easily as PDF called "how to influence people and make friends" helped me a lot.
good luck with everything
Ebal Studios

Last edited by aliismail : 05 May 2013 at 05:43 PM.
  05 May 2013
Hey man,

It's pretty competitive nowadays, and its honestly not a fun way to make a living. If you can model something unique that you really think people will want to buy, then you might be ok. Just modeling cars, furniture, consumer electronics, and household items might not bring as much as you hope. People do download a ton of furniture models for arch renderings, but there's so much stuff out there already, its pretty hard to get downloads. Rigged characters, plants, cars, planes, buildings, effects and simulation presets, and texture packages are all pretty popular.


Last edited by AJ1 : 05 May 2013 at 10:34 PM.
  05 May 2013
For the money you want... you could do an internship? There are companies in Europe that pay that money if you are not a starter like you say.
You will learn additional skill, make new contacts learn different professional working conditions under deadline pressure and perhaps get a small job in the company during your studies, etc.
  05 May 2013
I haven't heard once about internships from many Swedish friends, or when I lived there for a few months for that matter, it's just not very common it seems in a place where the scene is predominantly small to mid sized boutiques.

They do have runners in some facilities, so that's an option, but as far as portfolio forming skills and work, runner is not one of them, it does provide a better first tier of network than sitting your arse at home though, and if you will have time in school coming to work on the portfolio side of things it might not be a bad thing to go for.

What city is this though? Or are you just dead set on wanting to camp your bedroom and model your way through the days anyway?
Nothing wrong at all with that last option, but you might find it tough to pull in 500 a month with all the competition, and especially with the fact payments usually are made after a pile up sale amount or if that doesn't kick in, quite a few months away. It might get you some cash in the long run, but don't think it will be a constant, instant trickle of pocket money, because it simply won't be. It'll be months to a year before you see anything usually.
Come, Join the Cult - Rigging from First Principles
  05 May 2013
IN the UK at least, there is a lot of work still going round for freelancers...although its a bit quiet right this moment. That being said, i would not go freelance unless you are experienced. There is work, but its still very competitive and the good agencies (and there are only a few in the UK, the rest are a waste of time) require you to be at a certain level before they take you on.

I suggest working on your reel and 3d knowledge as much as you can (you only need to sleep 3 hours right?) and getting either an internship or junior role somewhere. Nothing beats being inside a company and gaining work experience.

I know a lot of people will disagree with me here, but i was self taught at 19 and i basically lived and breathed 3d for 3 years....i worked night and day at it and back then (1999) it wasnt nearly as competitive as it is now and i suggest you do the same. Good luck mate
  05 May 2013
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