No matter what sort of business you run, chances are you will need a render done at some point. Renders and 3D models are essential in hundreds of different fields. A 3D model of your product can be used to get a jump on advertising before the product is even finished being created, spot problems before production, or even to create a new logo or commercial.
Even if you own a retail business that has little or nothing to do with product creation, a 3D render can still be useful. Augmented reality could allow your customers to try on clothing or see how furniture looks in their room before they order.
If you need a 3D rendering freelancer or modeler, finding the right one can be an overwhelming hurdle. While there is no shortage of artists available, finding the right one for you is something that requires great consideration. A modeler that isn’t at the skill level you’re hoping for can be a disaster if an entire product line hinges on their ability to create a model for the manufacturer to work off of.
Many times, companies are hoping to build long-lasting relationships with favorite artists and modelers, so they can have a good idea of what sort of quality they can expect. That means when it comes time to search for an artist, you need to take the time to make a selection you will be satisfied with if not for years to come, at least for one project.
Beginning Your Search
While you might be tempted to simply type “3D modeler” into Google and hope something comes up, you’ll find your pathway to your goal a lot smoother if you go into your search prepared. Here are a few things you should keep in mind to better help you sort through which freelancers will be right for you, and which ones aren’t.
Before you can safely pick out an artist, it’s helpful to know what skills you will need that person to have. Different artists and modelers have different skills. You wouldn’t want to hire a modeler who specializes in 3D gaming characters for an architectural build dependent on sound structure.
Many artists specialize in specific fields, so having a general idea of what sort of skills your artist has can help you narrow down your selection to focus on just the people most likely to help you with your project.
If you’re planning to create a new building and want a 3D rendering of the concept, you’re looking for an artist who can handle 3D architectural visualization. Not all 3D modelers will be able to create a building to the specifications required, so it’s essential to ask about this skill if it isn’t mentioned or shown in their portfolio.
3D artists who can handle this type of work can make breathtaking visualizations of your building so realistic that they are almost indistinguishable from a real photo of a building. These visualizations are great for a variety of reasons, from showing potential buyers what their building might look like to using the information from these models to test for safety.
If you need a model made of an object, a freelance 3D modeler is the type of artist you’re looking for. 3D modelers work in a variety of different fields and may specialize in specific types of modeling, such as auto parts or character creation. If an artist calls themselves a 3D modeler but doesn’t mention a specific subcategory, you may need to check their portfolio to see if they have similar products to the ones you are trying to have designed.
3D Concept Artist
Before any ideas are set in stone, the initial product design is in its most free form state. A very creative artist is needed to take the rough ideas of a business and turn them into a vivid concept. Concept artists are a critical part of product design, making it possible for manufacturers to understand what they are trying to make and smoothing out possible problems before time and materials are wasted on a finished product.
If you need a model of a character for a video game or animated movie, a 3D character modeling freelancer is the right choice for you. Character artists have put their time and skills into creating vivid and lifelike characters for games and other media, instead of products or buildings.
Just as the character artist specializes in characters, an environment artist specializes in the backgrounds those characters move around in. While most of the focus is on character creation in games, players probably spend more time looking at the backgrounds than they do the actual characters they are playing. A spectacular background can do more to impress in some cases than a flawless character design
The bureau of labor statistics recommends the following qualifications for 3D artists.
Artistic Talent and Computer Skills
The most important part of a 3D artist’s core skills is their artistic talent and basic knowledge of computer skills. While a 3D artist may or may not have 2D skills as well, intimate knowledge of the computer programs necessary to create their models and the artistry to pull them off are critical.
Most 3D artists and modelers choose to focus on just one or two programs so that they can devote themselves to learning the hundreds or even thousands of functions available on these programs.
If you need an artist to be familiar with a specific program, to make it easier for in-house employees to view work done as an example, checking that they are familiar with and can work with that particular program is important.
While 2D art isn’t necessary in order to do well with 3D work, many 3D artists also work in 2D to sketch out and plan how their 3D work will look.
Truly talented artists are passionate about their work. They spend hours of their time not just creating products for other people, but working to make their 3D art more realistic, more detailed, or better in some way.
You can look for clues of an artist’s talent through both their portfolio and their resume. Look to see what programs they are using and how their art looks. This should be one of your top considerations when seeking a qualified artist.
Networking and Business Skills
Freelance artists are by necessity business people. They need to be able to balance taking orders, doing paperwork, and finishing projects all in a timely manner. As the employer, you may not think networking or business skills effect you in any way. After all, it’s not your problem if their taxes aren’t done on time. How well an artist can handle their business actually has a big impact on performance though.
One of the biggest ways their business skills will affect you is their ability to gauge how long your project will take, alert you to any possible delays early, and to balance their incoming jobs. An artist that takes too many jobs will struggle to get them out on time with the same quality, or they may not think to warn you that your project deadline may not be realistic.
Networking can also benefit you. They may know of other team members you need on your staff and can recommend people to help you. If you’re struggling to find a great manufacturer for your product, your 3D modeler may have worked with a dozen such manufacturers and can recommend just the right one for you.
Networking and business skills aren’t always easy to spot on a resume. You may need to talk to references for this in order to ferret out who has the best business skills. Ask them how they did on deadlines, and whether they were good at judging how long a project may take. These can give you clues as to how good they are at managing their business skills.
Ability to Showcase Artistic Works in a Portfolio
The portfolio is the heart of an artist’s work. It shows their very best efforts and gives you a clear look at what they will be able to do for you. Without a great portfolio, you may miss a spectacular artist because they chose not to put their best work up. On the other hand, a portfolio that doesn’t showcase all of their skills may also hamper your ability to tell if they are a good fit.
When searching for a great 3D modeler or artist, looking at their portfolio is the minimum requirement before accepting a potential freelancer. The portfolio will tell you more than just what they do good in—it will also tell you what their specialty is, and the role they played in group efforts.
Pay attention to what pieces they choose to show. Does their work include a lot of lush and beautifully detailed backgrounds? Their major skill may be as a background artist. Do they show complicated engines or car parts? Their focus may be on industrial design.
Look for an artist that seems to show a lot of the same sort of work you want for your project, so you know that the artist will be comfortable in your field.
Collaborative Personality and Willingness to Work with Other Artists
It’s important to remember that almost every project is a team effort. There will always be other artists, other modelers, and additional personnel your 3D modeler or other artist will have to work with. If you’re familiar with the term, “Artistic Temperament,” you probably know that sometimes artists don’t seem to get along with other people. This is fine when you’re selling a single piece on a canvas anonymously, but less so when you’re working on an important project with half a dozen other people.
It may be hard to tell how well your 3D CAD designer works with other people unless you chat with references, but other big clues include how many collaborative projects they have been on and whether they have worked for those teams again.
If your 3D modeler has worked on multiple teams of people—and been invited back for future projects—chances are good they work well with other team members.
This is one time where it may be worth directly asking the artist. Most artists know whether or not they work well with others, and will probably give you an honest reply on whether they’d be willing to work with a large group of other artists or not.
Although being able to make a realistic, polished, and professional render is a big part of why you need to hire a 3D artist or modeler, it’s not the only reason. Artists help pave the way between what we imagine and what we can do in reality.
Many products start out with a problem that needs a solution, and relatively few ideas on how that problem might be solved. An artist can be a big help here, smoothing the way so that you can see how a product might work clearly.
Even if you already know precisely what you want, fleshing out a beautiful world for your customers to see requires your artist to be able to make something out of nothing. This special gift is a big reason why we hire artists in the first place. If we didn’t need that creativity, we might try cobbling together a render ourselves with simple programs.
While this is a very general look at what a 3D artist or modeler needs in order to thrive in the marketplace, they give a pretty good idea of what is necessary.
A good product design service or modeler isn’t just one with a fabulous portfolio and a flock of customers eager to tell you how great they are. While these are a good sign that you’ve found an amazing artist, there are several important attributes to a freelance artist you need to look for in order to get a good one.
Not everything can be researched and practiced into quality. No matter how much you work towards a goal, you need a certain degree of talent to make the most out of it. Talent is the difference between a character that pops with personality, and a simple cartoon.
Luckily for employees, it’s relatively easy to tell a talented artist apart from an ordinary person with basic CAD skills. You only have to look as far as their portfolios. If you are stunned by what you see and find yourself admiring creation after creation, chances are you’re looking at a talented artist.
The greatest artist in the world isn’t as desirable as a second choice who can turn out your project in a reasonable amount of time. Art does take time, but too much time can put your project on hold or cost thousands of dollars in delays.
Speed while maintaining quality isn’t the easiest to pull off, but an experienced artist can usually do it. Ask your artist how long it usually takes them to complete a project, and how often they end up finishing early, on time, or delayed.
While you may have to check with references to get an accurate estimate of how fast an artist is before you hire them, you can usually get a pretty good idea of their speed through a sample project or simple communication.
If there’s one thing certain about a project, it’s that it is bound to change over the course of production. Changes are a natural part of creation, and a good artist should be adaptable should the project have a change in direction.
Some artists aren’t as flexible as others. When asked to make changes to the project, they get discouraged or sometimes even flat out refuse. Flexibility is critical to being able to keep a project going.
Artists are human, and sometimes they make mistakes. When you get your project back, or a sample of it and see that it isn’t what you had in mind, will your artist redo the work? Will they keep on communicating with you, and making changes, even when things aren’t going well?
How about when a project gets delayed or changed due to other problems? Sometimes projects go badly. Even if it is not directly the artist’s fault, they can get caught up in the problems caused by other parts of the project derailing. If this happens, it is perfectly understandable if your artist feels pressured or uncomfortable.
How your artist handles critique, changes, and problems along the way can be summed up as their grit. An artist that is willing to dig in and keep trying no matter what has grit, which is an invaluable tool in an artist’s arsenal.
While hopefully all your projects will go smoothly and there won’t be any problems, knowing that your artist will be able to hang in there even when a project isn’t going as well as you hoped is a very useful trait.
Artists are an essential part of your team, and as such, they have a certain value to them. A good artist is able to balance their fee with the work asked of them, and to provide you with better quality than expected whenever possible.
When looking at an artist, their prices are something that you have to consider. You need an artist you can afford, while at the same time paying them a fair amount for their work. A good artist will reflect that balance.
Freelancers can charge their own prices. You may get lucky and find a great artist for a relatively inexpensive price, but the chances are just as good that you’ll find someone who isn’t very talented for an inflated price.
While knowing the typical salaries for freelancers won’t protect you from poor quality work, it will help you figure out what to offer for the gigs you are trying to attract artists for. A fair salary will help you find interested artists, without scaring away the best talent from a price that is too low.
Prices will vary depending on skill level and experience. Here’s what you can expect depending on what type of 3D artist or modeler you’ve chosen.
General 3D Artist
A 3D artist typically makes $55,521 per year. If you’re just hiring them for a single job, however, you may be more interested in knowing their hourly rate, which is about $21.87 per hour. This is the median hourly wage, with some artists commanding as much as $40 per hour, and some as little as $14. You can figure out about what the labor will cost if you know how many hours it will take to complete a project.
slightly more than a general 3D artist. Hourly prices range from as little as $19.95 per hour to as much as $25.96, with $23.97 being the median.
The average character artist makes $52,116 a year, or $20.35 as the median. The bottom 25% of character artists make just $15 an hour, while top earners make as much as $36. The wages are often based on skill levels, so look over portfolios carefully if you plan to use a character artist for your project.
Concept artists receive an average of $62,659 per year. The higher pay reflects the more complex task being asked of them, since instead of working off of preconceived designs, they are essentially pioneering a product for you. This salary can climb if you want a concept artist with more experience. Senior concept artists make $88k per year on average.
3D artists and modelers have a fairly wide pay range. Expect to pay more for experienced artists who have a lot of skills, and a little less for newer artists trying to get into the game. If you don’t mind a wild card, testing out a new artist with a smaller project to check their quality and timeliness may save you money in the long run, but their prices will probably rise as they gain experience.
Sites to Hire Freelance 3D Modelers
For most businesses, a freelance 3D animator is the most efficient to hire. Even if you use a modeler regularly, it might not make sense to hire someone full time for the work available. Hiring a freelancer gives you the freedom to pay for only the services you need, as well as to try a variety of people to see who works best with you.
The downside to hiring a freelancer is that finding someone isn’t always easy. You can’t look through a folder of resumes to bring someone in for an interview. Instead, you have to go looking for them. Fortunately, there are many wonderful sites available to help you find the best rendering artists and modelers available.
Here are just a few of the places you can look in order to find a great modeler.
Cad Crowd specializes in connecting 3D modelers and related artists to customers who need their services. Cad Crowd focuses on matching freelancers with the right skills to the companies that need them. If you want to avoid the hassle of screening hundreds of freelancers just to make sure they have the skills you need, Cad Crowd is a great way to go.
Cad Crowd allows you to find the right person for your project using several different methods. If seeing is believing for you, they offer you the chance to do design contests among their modelers. This gives you a chance to look at a number of different people, and what they can offer specific to your project.
As a final benefit, Cad Crowd is also completely confidential. So, if you have sensitive information you need to share on a project, you can do so without concern for your data.
Cad Crowd is a great choice for simplifying the process of finding a freelance modeler or other 3D artist.
Another website that could be useful in your search for a 3D modeler is Upwork. Upwork is a general-purpose freelancing website that deals with a variety of different freelancers. Besides 3D modelers, they also have writing, marketing, and dozens of other categories.
On Upwork, you submit your job requirements and it uses a search engine to discover promising candidates to send to you. You choose from a small list of people and go from there.
Upwork offers a feature called Upwork business, which gives you an advisor to help you find a good freelancer. It does not mention how secure project data is. If you’re very concerned about the security of your project, this may not be the right place to hire.
People Per Hour
Another general-purpose freelancing website, People Per Hour presents you with thousands of freelancers based on your search requests. You’ll immediately be presented with a scrollable list of profiles, including their skills and reviews all at the click of a button.
People Per Hour has a certification process that makes it a little bit easier to separate professionals from those still learning the trade, and the quick access to reviews makes it easier to see how other people were treated.
You may have to dig to figure out what the specialty of your 3D artist is, however, and whether or not that person will be good for your project.
Once again, People Per Hour doesn’t specifically mention how it keeps projects secure, so if security is very important, you may want to look for a freelancing website that makes security their focus.
A website that specifically caters to the 3D arts, CGTrader has 40,000 freelancers available. They boast the widest range of 3D freelancers available and offer easy to use navigation as well as a quality guarantee.
The only security mentioned on CGTrader is secure payments. They have a secure payment system, and you do not pay the freelancer until you are satisfied with the work. This is a great start, but again, caution needs to be taken with highly secure products or sensitive data.
There are many other websites for freelance 3D artists available, all with similar features. If you’re not sure where to start, these websites can probably cover your basic needs and get a test project going for you. You can use these websites to help find an artist for yourself or rely on other methods such as word of mouth to get the freelancer you’re looking for.
Websites are the most common way to track down a 3D modeler, but they aren’t the only way. You can often find 3D artists and modelers through word of mouth, using the people you already know and trust to get those recommendations.
If you already have someone you work with and trust in a related field, it’s worth asking them if they know and recommend a modeler. This may be a business associate in a related field, a mentor, or perhaps a favorite modeler too busy to take your current project.
Visiting conventions 3D artists and modelers frequent is also another way to get a peek at available talent. If you need a long term talent or are always looking for new team members, this may be an excellent method since so many people are already there.
You can also advertise for a 3D modeler or 3D artist through more traditional methods, letting people know on your mailing lists and other locations that you are interested in hiring people.
While all of these methods may work, if you don’t know anyone in the field, using a website to find a freelancer is probably the best solution. Websites provide a gathering point for freelancers looking for a job, and you’ll be able to quickly see their talent and prices.
These methods work, but might be best to try after you’ve exhausted other options.
How to Select a Qualified 3D Modeler
Sites that offer help with the selection process are popular for a good reason. With thousands of different 3D architectural modeling freelancers and artists available, figuring out who will work best for your project can be overwhelming. You want an artist who will do a great job, keep your information confidential, and also finish in a timely manner.
Every 3D artist has a different way of going about their tasks, and there is a huge range in skill level. You may find an artist that is polite and prompt but still learning the ropes when it comes down to the actual models. You may find someone who does a fabulous job but doesn’t finish on time.
If you’re struggling to find someone with the right balance for your needs, it’s helpful to make a list of what you find most important for your 3D modeler, and then try and narrow your choices down based on the core needs you can’t do without.
If 3D modelers are hard to come by for your project, you may need to be more flexible in your needs, but if there are thousands of applications for your project, you can afford to be picky. Here are a few tried and true ways to narrow down whether you’ve got a great person who will do a great job on your project or someone you may want to pass on while looking for a better person.
Look at Portfolios Carefully
A portfolio usually consists of the best work by that 3D artist or modeler. It’s work they are truly proud of. When deciding on an artist, it’s important to take a careful look at that particular person’s portfolio, and see how it compares to what you had in mind. Remember, this is typically that person’s best work—so if it’s just a little bit less than you expected and you think they’ll be able to improve quality for you, chances are they won’t.
Look for a portfolio that includes the same skills you need. Check the quality carefully. Is there enough detail in the renders? If it’s for manufacturing, do they do a good job of showing all the parts, the thickness of any plastics, etc.?
Portfolios are the windows into your artist’s skill and passions. You can’t take enough time looking them over to make sure the artist you are looking at matches with the job you want done.
Ask for References
A portfolio can show quality of work, but there are other details important when working with a modeler. Did the artist finish the work on time, or have a valid reason why they needed an extension? Were they polite and professional? These are things that won’t show up in a fabulous portfolio, but are definitely things you need to know about.
If your projects aren’t time-sensitive, you may not have to worry too much about lateness, but if they are, knowing your artist has a reputation for being prompt is important.
References also show that they’ve had past experience working with clients. Anyone who knows how to use a 3D modeling program can put together a portfolio, but you need to have worked with people in the past in order to have a reference.
Try a Test Project
If a project needs to be gotten right the first time, and you’re not sure about a new modeler, it might be worth it to try them on a smaller project first. A small test project will give you a clear idea of what they’re like in terms of skill level, punctuality, and temperament, all before you’re forced to stick with them for weeks or months during a major project.
If they turn out to be not what you expect, you can continue your search with only a small investment out of pocket, without scrambling to find a new modeler or delaying a major project because it’s held up by your modeler.
A test project is a great way to know for certain whether you like a modeler and whether they will work well for you.
Look at More Than One Modeler
In order to get a good picture of what’s available, you need to look at more than one person. Choosing the first person who walks your way may well end up being a good choice, but it limits your possibilities. When you look at more than one person, you can either go forward with the first person confident in your decision or discover someone even better.
There’s nothing wrong with getting a good picture of what’s available before making a decision, and taking your time with a choice can save time later. A project can’t reach completion if the quality of work is too poor, or the quality of service isn’t fast enough or good enough.
There are many different factors that go into finding a great 3D artist, but in general, these are the most important steps you can take.
If you’ve got an important project coming up and need to begin the search for a qualified renderer or 3D artist, these tips are the key to helping you find a great one. A good artist can smooth every aspect of your process over, from advertising and design to the manufacturing of a product or the safety of a new home. Nearly every part of creation requires an artist’s hand in some way, so it can’t be overstated how important it is to pick a good one.
Fortunately, with thousands of trained and talented 3D modelers and artists specializing in almost every field, finding the artist perfect for your project is as easy as browsing a website. You can do it, and when you do, you’ll have a valuable member of your team fully prepared to give your project a much-needed boost.