Time Estimate for Project



This is my first time posting, and this will probably seem like a weird question, but I work for a company that creates 3D models of sports venues. We work with many companies that have no experience with 3D modeling, and it can be hard to explain to them exactly what we do and how much time it takes. I was hoping to get some perspective on time for the types of projects we do from people with some insight. Anyway, here’s a link to the type of thing we make:


This could be a hard question to answer, but looking at this, how many hours of labor do you think it would take to complete a project like this? I’m happy to take answers in any form you want to give them, so if you said it would take 500 hours, or it would take a team of 4 people 2 months, or however. The important elements we include beyond the main structure of the stadium are:

  • Modeling, texturing, and placing all the seats.
  • Modeling enough of the surrounding environment so the venue doesn’t feel like it’s floating in the sky.
  • Modeling all the rails, stairs, and lights throughout the venue.

If it helps at all, this was done with Vray 3.2 in 3DS Max 2017. Thanks in advance to anyone willing to give me an estimate.


One thing is to have an example breakdown, perhaps of the project you posted. e.g., concept, model w/wires because they love that shit, layout, lighting, shading, rendering, post. Of course, the scope of each project will be different, you have to be able to communicate your process in a way they can understand, and be clear on time estimates. You do not have to over explain, you can explain the process as phases, e.g. 1, 2, 3 for example. Look on other sites to get an idea of how they explain their process of content creation.

Are they asking you anything in particular? If not, just give them a time estimate for the first pass.


Since you are using 3dsmax I recommend you use railclone for something like this. You should be able to get a decent size stadium built within 8 hours or so, railings, seats, lights, materials, animated objects, etc.


The problem I’m up against isn’t just that they don’t understand, but rather that I tell them the time estimate for the first path and they are convinced (with literally zero experience or understanding of the process) that it can be done in half the time or less. They don’t know how, but they seem to think we’re lying to them. I was just hoping to have some independent, non-biased parties who have some understanding of 3D work give some first pass estimates so I could try to show them that it wasn’t just me pulling their leg and trying to get more time than I need.


That is a very cool looking set of tools! I will check them out immediately. Thanks for the suggestion.


Sure thing, if you need any help just drop a message I use railclone in all my projects these days.

I agree with @ambassador, more detail is not really required. Clients have a budget for these things, usually dictated to them by someone higher up in their chain who probably have marketing images provided by other firms in the past. Generally anything above 2grand is pulling their leg as you say for something of this size. If you had maybe an entire development with 400+ houses, shopping centers, parks, stadiums, play grounds etc then maybe upwards of say 6-10grand but even then it depends on who you are dealing with and what quality/quantity is expected. If they want moving people, voice overs, marketing video with local surrounding maps etc then again you can charge more. It varies, you need to have a good sense of what costs what otherwise the sky is the limit.

My 2c, find out what they are willing to pay, give them an example of what you can provide for that cost, if they dont agree then ditch the client - they will cause you more headaches in the long run and ask continuously for cheaper and cheaper prices or hustle the crap out of you.

Btw, Im basing the above on 1 person doing the work, if you run a business and employ multiple artists and managers who all need to work on this job, then you would have to factor in their costs + overheads for the business and a profit margin. Forget how long you think it should take - record exact hours on each job, work this into your business plan, quote jobs accordingly and stick to your hour budget, if you have cream on top (extra time/money) either put it into clients that are worth it in the long run, ditch clients that give you headaches or spend some R&D on the 3D side and make your jobs run more efficiently.


I appreciate the advice, but the problem I’m up against is I work for a small company that has been doing this stuff for more than 10 years, but we were acquired by a big company. The big company refuses to accept our timelines, even though we have documentation showing consistent project lengths over hundreds of projects. They just won’t accept that this is how long it takes, despite having no understanding of how any 3D program works. I was looking to get some perspective from other people to show them (at least to some extent) that we really truly aren’t making things up.


Thats quite an interesting situation. Maybe its worth asking them suggestions on how they think the work could be completed faster. When you provided them your logged hours, what do they have to say to that?