How Much Does a 3D Character Modeling Service Cost for 3D Artists & Firms?

3d character modeling cost

The ways of developing new ideas and bringing them to market have been influenced by 3D modeling. You may fail to notice it, but the benefits that 3D modeling provides are superior to other methods in a variety of ways. Many people in the engineering design services industry are aware of 3D modeling despite their lack of knowledge about its significance. Perhaps that is why new companies and entrepreneurs are taking advantage of this technology.

Animation studios and video game companies also use 3D modeling to design characters and environments. But hiring someone can be tricky, and it’s hard to know how much it’ll cost. We’ll show you how much to expect a 3D character modeling service to charge.

3D modeling and rendering

The technology behind 3D modeling and rendering has been utilized by many industries and is responsible for the quick development of ideas. Observing and manipulating objects has become easy, even without putting any effort into creating a physical prototype. 3D models help you develop realistic-looking props, characters, and environments. That is because you can simply update or revise a particular 3D model without affecting the design after making revisions, unlike with printed paper drawings.


On the other hand, 3D renderings are presentation-worthy clips or images of a particular 3D model. Such images and clips are designed and manipulated in detail. Factors like the lighting, reflections, and the texture of surfaces are very crucial when creating 3D renderings.

Why use 3D modeling

3D modeling brings a lot to the table. Recreating real-world objects in a virtual environment with the use of specialized software is something to be excited about. 

That is because it provides:

  • Impressive visual effects in animation and games
  • Interactive solutions in marketing and e-commerce
  • Useful products in the field of manufacturing and healthcare

More and more industries are using 3D models to visualize objects as they would appear in the real world, particularly in architecture, science, and technology.It’s also possible to create beautifully stylized and photorealistic visualizations of objects of various complexity, change and adjust details, and experiment with colors in accordance with your needs.

In addition, 3D modeling is quite essential in the following conditions.

  • Presenting a product design, marketing goods in commerce, or any project in architecture or manufacturing
  • Improving or expanding user experience in animation, games, and movies
  • Assessing characteristics and properties of products for scientific, technological, and other purposes

Therefore, 3D modeling services come in handy nowadays. Since they are dynamic and can be easily viewed from any side, it allows you to interact with them just like the real thing, quite what you can expect in virtual reality.

Price considerations by industry

If you’re wondering how the cost is considered, it’s good to begin with how a dedicated employee is compensated as a reference point. This will be useful to put into perspective the overall cost of the 3D character modeling project. A full-time 3D designer can go between $40,000 and $80,000 for a year depending on the specific titles you might want to consider.

This is just the salary, which can double the rate of a full-time employee to a business when you throw in some competitive benefits packages. It would cost around $100,000 annually if you want to have a good midway point of reference for hiring a full-time 3D CAD designer for your company. But that might contrast the rate of a freelancer or a firm in general.

Product design 3D rendering prices

CAD designers and engineers are known for creating 3D models of new products and ideas. Thus, product design services charge at least $40 to $60 per hour. If you’re going to outsource a 3D modeling project, it can have a similar price in comparison to other fields. The factors that may be involved in the pricing include the independent professional or the firm, the size of the firm, the size of the project, the expected completion date, the complexity of the project, and the current workload of the professional or the firm.

You have to note that firms may charge more compared to freelancers because of the higher overhead cost. However, you can’t outvalue the work of an independent 3D CAD designer working in a modest office or home. A separate service from 3D modeling is when it involves rendering. This would actually demand a higher hourly rate, but some would offer a per-project pricing. Thus, you will be charged at least $100 per hour for the 3D product rendering. Note that a lot of basic projects will take between a few hours to a full day of work to complete.

What is 3D character modeling?

When it comes to 3D solid modeling services, it would be difficult to imagine a leap from a concept into a 3D space. That’s because a 3D modeler needs to prepare to search for new creative solutions and implement details of a higher degree.


So, from a rough formation, it goes through more advanced modeling and sculpting, which requires more details along the way. So, the clarity and quality of 3D characters can be affected by several polygons, which can be distinguished in low and high poly varieties.

  • High poly models – These are preferable in character modeling for the film industry as they are very high detail. However, they take some time to complete.
  • Low poly models – Models in video games are low poly because they are rendered in real-time, and current hardware can’t keep up with high poly models. Plus, they are expensive to make and take up a lot of space.

How a 3D artist does the job 

The Maya 3D modeling service will take responsibility for several important stages in the creation of a mesh for a character model.

  • Topology selection – This will determine the movement of triangles and vertices along the mesh in an animation. To ensure the right and undistorted movement of the model, you have to ensure the topology is good.
  • Scale of the mesh – Note that a character must follow scale. Therefore, the artist must check the size of the model in comparison to another finished object having a predetermined size.
  • T-shape – For a 3D character model that requires more work, the adjustment can be simplified in the armpit area if it’s a person posing with arms. This will also speed up the rigging process.

There are also projects that require different depths of detail. However, the main processes and sequence will be kept unchanged. 

Imposition of texture to a 3D character

Creating textures and imposing them on the 3D model will determine the quality, realism, and accuracy. A texture is a bitmap applied to the surface of an unpainted model, giving it color, illusion of relief, and volume.

The two main types of texturing are the following.

  • Relief mapping – A 3D graphics technology that allows the creation of the surface of an object in a realistic and rich design. Varieties include bump mapping, parallax occlusion mapping, and normal mapping.
  • MIP mapping – This is a method of applying textures in a number of copies with the same textured image used but with a different level of detail.

Character rigging and skinning

Game characters get a special skeleton at the 3D rigging stage to be able to move with help from the animators. The rig defines the main points that integrate the entire body of the character together, as well as giving an understanding of the interaction between the different parts. You have to create 20-100 bones to enable the character to move credibly. Since it will be difficult to handle manual manipulation having a large number of bones, you can use some tools to scale, move, and rotate groups of bones.

This will make the process a lot simpler and smoother. The skinning process is the binding of the geometric mesh of the character to the created rig. The appearance of the characters will depend on the quality when performing any action. The model will then be ready for animation.

Factors affecting the final cost of 3D character models

There are factors that need to be considered when it comes to pricing 3D character models. 

  • Complexity – This involves how complex the 3D project is and its design specifications.
  • Design and art style – This includes how the 3D model will look and its design style.
  • Workload and time limits – The workload required to complete the product and its timeline.
  • Team and qualifications – The team involved in the production and their experience.

If the firm or independent 3D visualization service has a solid experience in 3D modeling, there are crucial factors to be considered.

Complexity of a 3D model

You might think that a smaller 3D character model requires less work and requires less work and money to pay the professional. However, size is not an accurate indicator of 3D model complexity. There are other measures that will formulate the complexity of 3D models, such as the following.

  • Geometric complexity – This is the type of curves, lines, shapes, and surfaces that will affect the scope of work on 3D models. This can also be a combination of color, geometric, topological, and texture attributes or non-visual characteristics.
  • Combinatorial complexity – These are the number of components used for the 3D models, which can be a crucial factor in measuring the scope of work. Note that 3D models are composed of vertices connected by edges forming faces in the polygon mesh.

There are also other details like material properties and textures present in 3D models. These can also be taken into consideration when planning for your budget. So, if you want it to look more realistic, you will require more knowledge and skills to fulfill all the technical design specifications.

3D model design

Of course, you need to create a conceptual sketch of the final product. Thus, concept artists are needed in the initial stages for the creation of the rough outline. It is important to note that a 3D model has many design details to represent the big picture of the concept created and developed by the team of experts. 


On average, it will take 140 hours average to create a similar 3D character design and add the necessary assets and materials. Thus, if you are not an expert in 3D modeling and is not capable of estimating the overall degree of complexity for the project, there is always an option to hire professional help.

Scope of work and project completion date

One project is different from the other depending on the requirements. As the scope of these projects will be different, the initial stages of the project will be fully described by the project manager. Estimating the project in terms of cost involves the urgency factor. This means that the shorter the timeframe, the more money is needed to compensate the 3D modeling team. That is because it would require extra manpower to finish the project on a tight schedule.

Qualifications of the 3D character modeler

To qualify as a 3D modeler, it requires a lot of skills and tools to master. That is because a 3D modeler needs to create anything that the client can imagine. So, this needs a combination of skills and practical knowledge and experience.

Rates of 3D modelers by country

In the U.S., the rate per hour for a 3D modeler is around $100 to $199 per hour. U.K. 3D modelers will cost you $100 to $149 per hour, while Germany will cost you $50 to $99 per hour. Poland and Ukraine are a bit cheaper, at $25 to $49 per hour. If you want to know how much money you’re going to pay for the creation of a 3D model, you need to determine the rates of the 3D modelers in various markets. Then, you have to multiply each rate after the project.

But that is just an initial step to determine the price of 3D character modeling. Finding the experts is another step to complete the task. Thus, you need to find out if the 3D modeling service is reliable not just in terms of the cost but also its quality and reputation.

Cad Crowd’s 3D modeling services at your disposal

At Cad Crowd, we have a network of some of the best 3D modeling freelancers on the market. If you need help with any project, let us help. Get a free quote today.