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Pricing From The Graphic Artists Guild

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Pricing From The Graphic Artists Guild


This question is for anyone familiar with the "Graphic Artist Guild Pricing and Ethical Guidelines" book printed on an annual basis by the Graphic Artist Guild.

The book is available at most quality book stores. ( Barnes and Noble carries the book.)

The pricing for animation in all categories is included in the publication.
Has anyone seen the book? Are the prices in line to what you are used to seeing? Are these prices related to the Northeast United States and should they be adjusted for an area in the U.S., (Deep South), with a lower cost of living?



I’m considering buying this book. Have you found it helpful?

What prices do they give?

Also, have you found another book or website listing standard pricing?

Art Guild Book

I haven't gotten an answers for the questions I had.
I did see the book and in fact have an earlier version.
As a whole, I think the book is well worth the investment.

I have just started my own little animation business, so pricing is something I am very interested in. I've been in the animation industry for about 10 years, so this is info I have learned along the way from various sources and personal experience.

I do not have the most recent Graphic Artists Guild Book, so I can't comment on it. But I don't think too many animators belong to the Graphic Artists Guild. I used to belong to the GAG in the mid 1990's, and the members were mostly freelance illustrators and graphic designers. I suspect that is still the case. So, if the GAG got their data by surveying GAG members, I don't know how representative their data would be of the freelance animation industry as a whole. Does the book say how they get their data?

Of course you have already heard this, but there really isn't a standard for pricing in animation. Even with the large post production houses and studios, sometimes one house bids twice as much as the other for the same job.

On the low end, students and hobbyists will work for really, really cheap. Of course you already knew that, too.

On the high end, I have heard of high-end 3d animated national television commercials being priced as high as $500,000 for a 30 second spot. $100,000 to $200,000 for a 30 second national tv spot is not at all uncommon for larger post production houses and animation studios. I have heard of small studios and freelancers working from home charging $60,000 to $70,000 for similar work.

An hourly rate I hear freqeuntly for per project contract animation work in Los Angeles is $50/hr. In this situation, the contracted animator works at the hiring studio with the studio's equipment and software. Often the studios pay time-and-a-half, or $75/hr for every hour over 8 hours per day, or sometimes over 40 hours per week. This is for experienced animators, not beginners, doing 3d animation work. I have heard this rate for tv commercial animation, film, and games.

I have heard of freelancers doing 3d animation work from home, using their own equipment and software, charging $90-$150/hr. This is for experienced animators in Los Angeles.

So, if you have your own business I think the only real way you can determine price is based on your own needs. Trying to match a "going rate" is impossible. Base your price on:

price = "your time to complete the project" x ("your desired hourly personal income" + "your yearly expenses/estimated paid hours per year")

There are several books on freelancing that will guide you through this calculation to make sure you don't forget to consider things like vacation time, health care, and retirement. You should probably add in a safety factor based on how accurately you can estimate project length. Many places actually double the time as the safety factor.

As a small studio/freelancer I think the only way you can compete in the U.S. is to sell quality and service. The customers who buy based on quality and service are the ones you want. They will be more loyal and usually much more enjoyable to work with.

Obviously this info doesn't apply specifically to the Southern United States. You could possibly use an online cost-of-living calculator to compare Los Angeles to your city. But my info was for national ad campaigns, so I don't think the prices vary too much by region.

If anybody else has further info I would love to hear it!


Thanks Shawn. This is a real help.
With Katrina hitting here I am looking in new places for new clients, (N.O. won't be back for a while.), and I can use this information.