Paystation.com's Average 3D Artist Salary Figures

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  06 June 2018
Paystation.com's Average 3D Artist Salary Figures

Paystation.com has an entire page dedicated to aggregate data on how much different 3D artists in the United States make:

https://www.payscale.com/research/U...d_Artist/Salary

Pay varies by location, with Los Angeles, Boston, Detroit, Seattle and San Francisco paying the highest salaries. The average 3D artist salary is 53K Dollars a year.





It seems that Senior Animators and Creative Directors earn the most, with the average for both positions being around the 90,000 USD a year mark.

Sadly, more specific positions like modeler, texturer, rigger, lighter are not specified in this chart.

 
  06 June 2018
Highest paying positions are positions that are client facing and supervising other grinders. There are so many digital artists now and so many more graduating schools and entering the market that the rates are dropping. Basic supply and demand.

The rates are also affected by the subject matter. You get more money in the engineering and scientific communities as well as if you can secure government work with a security clearance. Also, the closer you are to the money and the client and the higher positive impact you directly have on a client and the company, the more leverage you have in negotiating your compensation.

You shouldn't look at creative directors and art directors. That's a completely different beast all together and yes, CDs in the right industry with the right chops can make between $100k-$200k+. They make more on the upper end if they are able to secure clients and have a direct impact on generating revenue and "making it rain" for the company. Also, those with a top reputation that attract clients have leverage.

My leverage for higher pay always came with unique skill sets (making the company more competitive and easier to market) and ability to help companies get more revenue, not by being a grinder, but by being able to secure a client's attention and confidence then by being able to manage and motivate others and manage the entire projects to completion.


The key is to position yourself to be an asset, not a commodity. People in the position of a commodity, settle for lower pay and are very expendable.

Assets are protected and typically insulated as they actually provide extra value to the company and brand and allow a company to expand and contract its production capacity without significant impact.

So don't sweat what you are reading about salaries and wages. Get into the game, learn as much as you can, network Network NETWORK and learn as many client facing skills and business development strategies as possible. You don't have to be the best artist, you just have to have the most positive and influential impact on a company's bottom line and ability to make those above and around you have wins in their journey.

Last edited by XLNT-3d : 06 June 2018 at 10:12 PM.
 
  06 June 2018
Quote: The key is to position yourself to be an asset, not a commodity. People in the position of a commodity, settle for lower pay and are very expendable.

Assets are protected and typically insulated as they actually provide extra value to the company and brand and allow a company to expand and contract its production capacity without significant impact.

@XLNT-3d - Your entire post was really good (one of the best I've seen here in a long time), but those two lines - they need to be tattooed on every graduate/job seeker in the industry. If you're someone reading this thread, and you're new to the industry, commit those lines to memory and live by them. XLNT-3d just gave you a pretty huge gift. I was in the industry for 4 or 5 years before I figured that out.
 
  06 June 2018
Thanks Jason. I've managed to position myself well since I landed my first full time professional art gig almost 30 years ago. I hit over $100k by 29 and have tried to maintain that level since, although it fluctuates and at 47 realized my bar was set too low.

I only got nailed on a layoff around 45 when I decided to venture into military contracting work. Holy crap it can be a politically fickle cutthroat business. However, I landed my first gig as a team lead and bringing over $300k in contract work with me. I had quite a bit of leverage and had an interesting time being recruited by a couple of companies knowing I had that tailwind behind me.

You can survive this business and excel in it at higher levels, but you have to get out of your comfort zones, learn client facing skills and negotiating skills to own your career and not let it own you.

Good luck with your journey Jason! Own it and take control of it!

-Jon

Last edited by XLNT-3d : 06 June 2018 at 02:54 PM.
 
  06 June 2018
Depending on perspective i would have a lot of questions as to who, where,and what studios sony interviewed. There are some studios doing mid level work in LA that may have as many as 300 employees where that average seems realistic for that studio but there are plenty of triple A and film studios where it wouldnt even come close. I dont think you could buy groceries in san fransisco on that salary. Sorry but how many 3d artists in Montana did sony interview. This seems either grossly mashed together to balance the average out on the low end or just wrong. Sarcastic, so I'll take that back and say you should base any average in this industry on the studio you want to work for because I would never expect one of my students to consider 50's anywhere near what an average should be , especially if you have invested in yourself software hardware and education. Better to look at animation guilds standards.

I would also agree that pipeline positions make a lot more sense, seems an odd selection for the positions you would average, is a graphic artist/designer a concept artists? A rigger or texture artist feels more relevant than a video producer? Wierd that you would average someone like an art director or creative director against a modeler? Graphic designer? At the very least have skills taught at the same schools be considered when grouping jobs to be averaged. At some of top 3d schools in the industry you won't find career paths for at least a few of the positions listed together.

No one is technically aiming for average but i would avoid a review that groups san fran, los angeles in the same category as anything on the east coasts. You have to do a lot of research and be extremely targeted on the studios and citys you want to work for. In Los angeles you have tech companies moving into game dominant areas. This means they are bringing in hundreds if not thousands of employees in from all over in an overcrowded area which immediately drives the cost of living up substantionally. What impact does this have on you the artists applying for a game studio that's been there for 12 years. A lot because the salary that was a good average for an artist 2 years ago won't touch the 1 to 2000 dollar a month increase in rental properties or issue finding availibilty. So you need to make sure your always basing your worth not just on your education and experiance but the factors of the area you may be accepting a position in

Not to be negative but i want to look out for the artists getting started here and make sure the forum is a good place to think deeper or more criticle on subjects like this so hopefully this can start a positive and useful dialogue from artist young and old experiamcing different situations

Last edited by Travis : 06 June 2018 at 05:50 PM.
 
  07 July 2018
This just reinforces the choice I made a long time ago to stay in the engineering world and away from entertainment. I made more than the average income shown here when I was a waitress/bartender.
 
  07 July 2018
The engineering field has treated me and my family well also. My first animation gig back in 1997 was in engineering and I stayed with it. Still making coin with it today. As long as there are lawsuits, there will be a need for visual demonstratives
 
  07 July 2018
Originally Posted by Travis: i would have a lot of questions as to who, where,and what studios sony interviewed.
This report is from paystation, not playstation. It's a site where users enter their own salary info.
 
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