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How much will creating cutscene videos cost, and other stuff (details inside)


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#1 Zeraan   Members   -  Reputation: 317

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Posted 02 December 2012 - 09:11 PM

Before we start, I'd like to direct your attention to the game that I'm working on: http://www.desura.com/games/beyond-beyaan. There's a demo that you can download. My game development blog is here.

I'm reaching the point where I need to make the game more "lively" with some cutscenes. I hope to start a kickstarter soon, but before that, I need to know how much stuff will cost before I set a funding goal.

Now, how much will doing an intro like Master of Orion will cost? To clarify, a short video of 3D models and some particle effects, very simple animation of 3D models (such as missile rack extending out of a ship, or something similar). The intro video as example. I want the video to be at least this detailed, but just the space combat part, without showing the pilots. It'd be more of big ships shooting at each other and dying. Maybe about 2 minutes or so long.

I also want to offer a "High Definition" version of my game (I will offer the option to use either the Pixel Definition or High Definition) where planet backgrounds, ships, races, etc are pre-rendered (just images, no animations). There are some people who didn't like the pixel art, and while pixel art has its charm and is cheap, I agree that there should be an option for pre-rendered beauty. Each race have three expressions, and 31 ships, 6 different sizes. Basically, converting all of the art assets that I have into pre-rendered artwork. How much will that cost? You can download the demo and take a look at the race images and other artwork. All artwork will be of the same size (so a planet background for example is 800x600)

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#2 MrDaaark   Members   -  Reputation: 3555

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Posted 02 December 2012 - 09:21 PM

There is no set cost for rendering out CGI movies. You can let Blender render out your PNGs into a folder in your spare time, and then just assemble them into a video when it's done.

You can block it all out with simple shapes in Blender, then when it looks good, hire someone to make proper models for you and swap them out into your otherwise finished movie. The cost of hiring a modeler will be negotiated with them.

Your MOO1 example looks easy enough. You could learn to do something similar in your spare time.

#3 Zeraan   Members   -  Reputation: 317

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Posted 03 December 2012 - 09:33 AM

The problem is, I don't have this "spare time" that you speak of... I have two daughters and a wife, a full-time job, and other responsibilities. What little spare time I have goes into developing the game. I have no experience or knowledge of how to do 3D rendering, even with simple blocks. It'll be far more efficient to just hire someone who've already had experience in this to create something for me. Hence the question of how much will it cost.

#4 DaveTroyer   Members   -  Reputation: 1052

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Posted 03 December 2012 - 02:11 PM

The problem is, I don't have this "spare time" that you speak of... I have two daughters and a wife, a full-time job, and other responsibilities. What little spare time I have goes into developing the game. I have no experience or knowledge of how to do 3D rendering, even with simple blocks. It'll be far more efficient to just hire someone who've already had experience in this to create something for me. Hence the question of how much will it cost.


If that's how you feel, then I would suggest to shop around the classifieds here or find an artist out there in the web. DeviantArt is an okay place to start, but if you're looking for more professional level 3D, I'd suggest Polycount. The guys over there are pretty dang good, but that comes at a price.

And at that, it's good to know that everyone has a different price. I for instance charge in the range of $70-ish an hour for vehicle models and more for environments. A little less for space ships because you can fake some stuff. Animations I usually double that price and add it on top of the model cost. Then it really depends on how complex/expensive the client wants to make it.

But that's just my prices and I'm not that cheap. Other artists may charge more or less than me, but a good rule of thumb is that you get what you pay for. If you want art like Avatar, you pay Avatar-like prices. It also doesn't hurt to write artists emails and get a quote from them. They are usually more than happy to hear from someone that is interested in their work.

And finally, the one thing I always say. Please be sure to pay your artist for the work you commission if you choose to go that route. A good artist will give you an estimate before they start. When they come to you with the final bill, please don't try to negotiate or get work done for free. You wouldn't waste your valuable time for a stranger without anything to show for it, so don't expect them to do it either. The prices artists charge are not only for the final product and time, but for their years of experience, skill, education, and tools. In order to ensure that you get the product you want, be sure to keep an open line of communication and set realistic goals. I hope this doesn't apply to you, but I gotta keep an eye out for all us artists out there that have been f'ed over too many times. Posted Image

Best of luck to you and I hope you find what you're looking for!

Check out my game blog - Dave's Game Blog


#5 Ashaman73   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 8006

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Posted 04 December 2012 - 01:02 AM

It is really hard to say, but here are some math. A professional artist earns around ~75k per year. Considering that a freelancer will demand more, on the other hand a rookie could demand less, I would say, that you need to spend ~6k per month or 1.5k per week of work.

Now you need to consider the amount of work for your cutscenes. How many models, are there already existing models ? Animations ? Background ? Storyboard ? Music etc. ?
Take a timeboxing approach, one week per model, per scene, per music track, per storyboard. For small scenes these would be 6k-12k at leasts, but it depends a lot on the quality.

In short: it would be expensive

#6 Prinz Eugn   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 3686

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Posted 04 December 2012 - 11:20 AM

Do have a university with a 3D animation program nearby? You could get the names of some of the more competent students, who would likely be cheaper than someone who is already professional (although, you might get what you pay for). Non-commercial software licenses might be an issue, though.

-Mark the Artist

Digital Art and Technical Design
Developer Journal


#7 Zeraan   Members   -  Reputation: 317

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Posted 05 December 2012 - 10:41 AM

Thanks for all of your feedback! No, I don't intend to rip off artists, hence the whole reason for kickstarter goal! Besides, I already have an artist doing pixel art for my game so I have experience with paying artists :) DaveTroyer, thanks for that link, I'll check it out!

Looks like I'll need to raise at least 20k or so. That's what I needed to know, thanks!

#8 heavycat   Members   -  Reputation: 387

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Posted 07 December 2012 - 02:03 AM

There are ways to do this that don't require full 3D animation. The purpose of a cutscene is to advance the story, and that can be done with sequential illustration, voice-over "cheats", simulated animation, pseudo-animation, etc. Most of the cost in 3D is the modeling since it is the composition phase.

Your budget of $20K is very high. That would buy 12 minutes of broadcast quality linear animation at our studio. I don't think you need that much to do an effective set of cutscenes.




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