AuthorTopic: how to calculate your rates for pixels?  (Read 2638 times)

Offline alyssa

  • 0001
  • *
  • Posts: 3
  • Karma: +0/-0
    • View Profile

how to calculate your rates for pixels?

on: March 17, 2018, 11:13:07 pm
obviously pricing is very subjective, but i'm wondering how individual pixel artists charge their clients. how much for sprites? tiles? do you charge per tile for backgrounds? or do you charge hourly? if so, how did you calculate your hourly wage?

i want to get my foot in the door when it comes to pixel art and games. currently i do small deviantart commissions and charge anywhere from $15 for a 50x50 icon to $30 for a pixel ~500px. im not sure if im undercharging or overcharging myself in the pixel game industry's standards, but i guess that depends on the client.
« Last Edit: March 17, 2018, 11:17:25 pm by alyssa »

Offline yaomon17

  • 0011
  • **
  • Posts: 660
  • Karma: +0/-0
    • YaomonKS
    • taiya.sun
    • http://pixeljoint.com/p/28472.htm
    • yaomon17
    • valedev
    • playvale
    • View Profile
    • portfolio

Re: how to calculate your rates for pixels?

Reply #1 on: March 17, 2018, 11:47:00 pm
I don't like hourly charges since it punishes artists who have refined a quick workflow and still produces quality work. I like to consider experience, detail, and how much I would pay if I were an average client.

Offline alyssa

  • 0001
  • *
  • Posts: 3
  • Karma: +0/-0
    • View Profile

Re: how to calculate your rates for pixels?

Reply #2 on: March 17, 2018, 11:50:07 pm
i agree, i never felt like hourly rates were really fair either, especially since i churn things out pretty quickly. i saw quite a few people charging hourly though around here, so i was curious if that was a common thing for professional pixel work.

thanks for your feedback, thats awesome!

Offline eishiya

  • 0100
  • ***
  • Posts: 1261
  • Karma: +2/-0
    • http://pixeljoint.com/p/28889.htm
    • View Profile
    • Webcomic: Black Dram

Re: how to calculate your rates for pixels?

Reply #3 on: March 18, 2018, 01:36:24 am
I don't like charging per-asset because the work that goes into those varies too much. Instead, I prefer to work on larger sets of assets at once (e.g. entire tilesets, entire character animation sets, etc), and I give prices based on how long I expect to take to complete the work. I use hourly rates as a tool to help me estimate the cost of the work. The trick to hourly rates is to remember that people pay extra for fast work too, not just for good work.

When I quote prices, I give my hourly rate for that type of work, and a range of hours I expect to be able to do it in, and we either agree on that range or on a fixed price in that range. If I do it faster, then I still get paid the agreed amount (or the minimum of the range). If it takes me longer, then they don't pay beyond the upper agreed-upon price, because it's not fair for the client to pay for my ineptitude.

My hourly rate is basically what feels right rather than something scientific. It's based on factors like living wage in 1st world countries, some extra to account for all the unpaid work that goes into freelancing (e.g. talking to clients, promotion, etc), the prices of other artists, and perhaps other factors I'm failing to think of right now.
Prices are flexible and fluid; if you feel you weren't compensated fairly for a job or if you're getting too few or too many offers because of your prices, you can always change your prices for the next job.

Offline API-Beast

  • 0010
  • *
  • Posts: 291
  • Karma: +0/-0
    • beast_pixels
    • http://pixeljoint.com/p/35725.htm
    • View Profile

Re: how to calculate your rates for pixels?

Reply #4 on: March 18, 2018, 01:32:22 pm
I have to completely disagree here, a hourly contract is perfect for art.

  • How long something takes depends to a large part on the client, how much information he gives, whether he provides concept art, how often he asks for revisions, etc. Having a hourly contract makes this relationship much clearer to the client.
  • Furthermore, the time something takes is not a fixed amount, art is never finished. If the client is happy with a lower quality then that will be much cheaper than when he wants the next Mona Lisa. A hourly contract plus good communication means you can figure out what quality the client wants as you go.
  • It removes the need to renegotiate for every small thing, keeping the communication fluid.
  • Due to the aforementioned factors it's impossible to make accurate estimates unless you know both the client and the scope of work extremly well.

A flat rate is something you could do if you already know the client very well, but for new clients I wouldn't do it.

It doesn't punish fast artists, they can charge a higher hourly rate or provide a higher quality in the same time as someone else. Fast artists have a huge market advantage.
« Last Edit: March 18, 2018, 02:04:10 pm by API-Beast »

Offline alyssa

  • 0001
  • *
  • Posts: 3
  • Karma: +0/-0
    • View Profile

Re: how to calculate your rates for pixels?

Reply #5 on: March 18, 2018, 03:02:43 pm
cool, thanks for the different perspectives! i definitely see the advantages from your point of views. i really appreciate the input.

Quote
When I quote prices, I give my hourly rate for that type of work, and a range of hours I expect to be able to do it in, and we either agree on that range or on a fixed price in that range. If I do it faster, then I still get paid the agreed amount (or the minimum of the range). If it takes me longer, then they don't pay beyond the upper agreed-upon price, because it's not fair for the client to pay for my ineptitude.

i actually never thought about giving a quote for the amount of hours, this method is really clever. i'm still a (college) student though so i don't have much knowledge behind the business of mostly anything yet.

Quote
How long something takes depends to a large part on the client, how much information he gives, whether he provides concept art, how often he asks for revisions, etc. Having a hourly contract makes this relationship much clearer to the client.

i never thought of it this way either, i always thought that the hours began when the art starts, not when the negotiation begins. thats very interesting!

do you guys use a desktop app to log your hours for proof?

Offline API-Beast

  • 0010
  • *
  • Posts: 291
  • Karma: +0/-0
    • beast_pixels
    • http://pixeljoint.com/p/35725.htm
    • View Profile

Re: how to calculate your rates for pixels?

Reply #6 on: March 18, 2018, 03:36:35 pm
Quote
i never thought of it this way either, i always thought that the hours began when the art starts, not when the negotiation begins. thats very interesting!
No, I wouldn't charge for communication but it can indirectly affect the work. For example concept art reduces the work needed since you can skip the sketch and concept steps in your workflow. If you have a sketch and concept stage then it's important that it is what the client wants, if the client is fussy about it, or simply wasn't clear enough in his description you may have to make multiple sketches or concepts, eating up a lot of time.

Offline yaomon17

  • 0011
  • **
  • Posts: 660
  • Karma: +0/-0
    • YaomonKS
    • taiya.sun
    • http://pixeljoint.com/p/28472.htm
    • yaomon17
    • valedev
    • playvale
    • View Profile
    • portfolio

Re: how to calculate your rates for pixels?

Reply #7 on: March 18, 2018, 08:20:53 pm
The issue is that just charging higher hourly rates will just lead to getting less work. Looking clients won't know that, given two artists A and B who produce a similar piece, A takes 1 hour and B takes 2. Most clients only have the final product to judge and not the workflow or time taken, and most don't verify actual time taken so they would take words at face value, allowing for artist B to exploit. They will just see that A charges 3$ an hour and B charges 2$ and go with B.

Offline nvision

  • 0001
  • *
  • Posts: 29
  • Karma: +0/-0
    • View Profile
    • Nvision Illustration

Re: how to calculate your rates for pixels?

Reply #8 on: April 06, 2018, 06:29:17 pm
The issue is that just charging higher hourly rates will just lead to getting less work. Looking clients won't know that, given two artists A and B who produce a similar piece, A takes 1 hour and B takes 2. Most clients only have the final product to judge and not the workflow or time taken, and most don't verify actual time taken so they would take words at face value, allowing for artist B to exploit. They will just see that A charges 3$ an hour and B charges 2$ and go with B.

If your client is just looking to hire a cheaper artist, you likely don't want them as a client to begin with.  The content of your portfolio should be the main determining factor for a client who wants a job done properly.  Estimating time to completion beforehand is a good way to ballpark a projects cost in time and $$. 

I've found hourly rates are a better way to ensure communication on both sides and prevent abuse of flat rate quotes by clients that don't have a clear view of what they want.  There is nothing worse than providing a flat rate for a project based on how long you think it will take, then getting mired in revisions and direction changes that stretch the project out well beyond your estimations.  That's a good recipe for working at less than minimum wage...

Offline MysteryMeat

  • 0100
  • ***
  • Posts: 1997
  • Karma: +1/-0
  • "The new alternative to q-tipping your cat!"
    • mysterymeat
    • spoiledmysterymeat
    • View Profile
    • My rad art blog!

Re: how to calculate your rates for pixels?

Reply #9 on: April 06, 2018, 10:01:25 pm
just charge five dollars per individual pixel
PSA: use imgur
http://pixelation.org/index.php?topic=19838.0 also go suggest on my quest, cmon
MAJOR BORK TALLY: |