For a freelance 3D modeler, having a well-rounded portfolio can be one of the most effective tools in selling their services to potential clients. But a 3D modeling portfolio is equally as valuable to businesses in need of these services. A freelancer’s portfolio can give you critical information to determine if they’re the right fit for your next project.
When time constraints on a project are tight and it isn’t possible to interview and assess each candidate in person, a portfolio of a freelancer’s work can give you the same confidence in hiring a freelancer as in-person or digital interviews and resumes. Even the most impressive resume can’t compete with a well-stocked portfolio of completed 3D modeling projects and client reviews.
So, how do you assess a freelancer’s portfolio to determine their suitability for your project? 3D modeling is a key aspect to marketing any new product launch, which is why you must closely analyze the portfolio for any freelance product design service you are considering hiring. Here are 5 tips for evaluating a freelance 3D modeling portfolio.
Innovation is often overvalued when examining a freelancer’s portfolio. More important to pay attention to is realism. The most innovative design can be tarnished by the small details that make the design feel like something that could be feasible in reality.
Experienced designers will be well versed in the skills necessary to make even the most conceptual products seem realistic to potential consumers. Shapes, volume, dimension, and lighting/shadows are some of the layers which can make or break a 3D model and can increase the photorealism of the final product.
When evaluating the previous projects completed by a freelancer you’re considering for hire, make sure you pay attention to how realistic their designs look and feel. The finer details will set apart modelers who have a lot of experience in the industry from amateurs who are just getting started in their careers.
This tip is twofold. Firstly, you’ll want to check a freelancer’s profile to see how many projects they’ve taken on. That’s not to say a larger portfolio is necessarily better. A newer 3D product modeling service is more likely to display every completed model on the main page of their portfolio. Experienced freelancers know which projects to highlight and which to simply add to a gallery on another page of their portfolio.
This tip also refers to the skillset a freelancer brings with them into your project. Even freelancers with a long-standing history of work in the industry may not have a diverse portfolio and may only specialize in one area of 3D design services. You also want to make sure you hire someone who has a vast range of skills that they bring to the table.
One skill you’ll want to ensure any freelance 3D modeler you hire has is texturizing. This may seem like a basic skill that all 3D modelers should possess, but it’s actually a more advanced technique that is indicative of an experienced modeler. Having the proper texture displayed in your 3D modeling marketing images ensures customers know what to expect about the materials your product is made of and how it should feel when they receive it.
Another piece of the puzzle when assessing a 3D modeler’s experience is checking out which programs they use to complete their work and if they’re compatible with the form you need the final product delivered in. Not all 3D modeling software easily transfers images into animation, but certain programs specialize in this type of rendering.
If you’re planning to incorporate animation into your marketing plan, you’ll want to make sure the 3D model you receive complies with that demand. If you’re unfamiliar with 3D modeling software, there are many curated lists online of which programs to use for your desired project outcome.
One detail you’ll want to take note of on a freelance 3D rendering services project portfolio is how long each of the projects took, in hours and overall time frame. Not only will this give you an idea of how long your project will take in comparison to projects of a similar scope, but it’ll also give you some information to use when making an estimate of how much the project will cost you. If the freelancer’s portfolio doesn’t include the length of time each project took, it’s worth it to take the time to send an email and ask for that information.
This can also give you an idea of a freelancer’s level of experience. If a simple project took many days to complete, perhaps this freelancer isn’t the most experienced and you may want to go in a different direction, especially if you’re on a time crunch and need someone who can work very quickly to complete your 3D model.
Additionally, timeframe for project delivery is an indicator of how invested in 3D modeling a freelancer is. Some freelance 3D furniture modelers only take on one project at a time and work on it over a lengthier period, whereas others freelance full time and may be working on more than one model at once. As a client looking to hire a freelancer, there are benefits to each of these approaches.
If someone is more selective about which projects they take on, it can be a confidence boost that the freelancer you hire thinks your product has a good chance of market success. It also means that all of their attention is focused only on your 3D model, not split between several projects at the same time. Alternatively, someone who does freelance 3D modeling as their main career is likely to deliver the project faster and may have more experience overall.
These are some factors to consider when hiring a 3D architectural modeling freelancer or any type of freelancer.
Testimonials are the equivalent of product reviews on a freelancer’s portfolio. If the freelancer maintains good relationships with past clients, they should have a variety of testimonials included in their portfolio.
While industry and project diversity certainly add value to the range of a freelancer’s portfolio, it is also telling if none of a freelancer’s clients returns to use their services again. Check to see if the brand/client names tend to come back around or if most of the projects a freelancer does are one-time gigs.
This can be a red flag or it can be a sign of someone you’ll want to work with. It may be that the freelancer is more difficult to make arrangements with or doesn’t return projects within the timeframe or deadlines given, or it may be simply that they enjoy taking on new challenges and prefer variety in the projects they accept. Whatever the reason, you should dig a little deeper if you’re noticing that a freelancer only manages to complete one project for a company before moving on.
Also, be wary of a freelance 3D solid modeler who only has one or two clients and seems to stick with the same type of modeling over and over again. If the projects they’re specializing in match with your needs, this can be a benefit to your company, but it can indicate a lack of skill in other specialized areas of modeling too.
Every experienced 3D modeling freelancer will have a detailed range of prices and will be able to provide you with a quote based on the scope of your project. Billing structure will vary from freelancer to freelancer and may come in the form of an hourly rate, a lump-sum payment upon completion of a project, or a series of payments broken down based on the delivery of certain aspects of the project to you. Not all freelancers post their rates on their online portfolios, but a quick email will get you all the answers you need.
The art of evaluating a consumer product freelancer’s portfolio is certainly a balancing act. The tips above can give you a starting point of things to be on the lookout for. Ultimately, you want to ensure the freelancer you hire has the skills to deliver a finished product you’re happy with and that their services fit into your budget.
If you’re still struggling with how to evaluate a freelancer’s portfolio, let us help. Cad Crowd has a pre-vetted catalog of experienced freelance 3D modelers from around the world. Cad Crowd takes the guesswork out of finding a contract 3D modeler for your next project. Get a free quote today and bring your design to life!