Can You Tell a Bad 3D Artist from a Good One?
Regardless if you choose an individual 3D artist or a 3D studio, you’ll always come across questions. This might be one of the following:
- Why is Studio A more expensive than Studio B?
- Why won’t the artist/studio want to talk via Skype?
- Should I go for an individual freelancer or a studio?
In this article, I’m going to share with you some tips on choosing the right 3D artist for your project. There are basically three points you should consider: portfolio, openness, and communication. They’re rather basics, but there are actually some key distinctions. Let’s find out what those are.
Unfortunately, only a few know how to properly evaluate someone’s portfolio. Most will simply look at how attractive the works are. If those works meet their criteria, they’ll often think that that 3D designer can handle their project. Others only consider how many works a designer has completed. It’s not entirely wrong – portfolios allow you to assess a designer’s capabilities after all. However, there are some considerations you should make:
- First, you gauge the quality of the works in his portfolio
- Second, you check how many items are included in the portfolio
- Third, you ask questions if you have concerns; based on the answers given, you make conclusions
I believe the design is pretty self-explanatory. Therefore, let’s delve deeper into the number of works instead because there are some confusions we can encounter.
Why doesn’t the number of works always matter?
One of the best practices is to check the number of works in a designer’s portfolio then compare it with his experience in the field of 3D design. An artist will claim that he has 15 years of relevant experience and show you his portfolio which contains 10 projects completed 10 years ago. On the other hand, another designer will give you a link to his portfolio containing 50 works he’s completed during his two years of working as a designer.
Based on this information, it’s safe to assume that the first artist only displays his best works and hides the rest. Or maybe, he’s only worked on a small number of projects and isn’t really what he claims he is. If he’s been in this field of work for a long period of time and doesn’t have enough works showcased in his portfolio, try to ask him why. If possible, have him show you his other works.
If he refuses without explaining why it’s more likely that his works are either not present or simply failures.
Now let’s talk more about facts. Previously, my company – Faraday3D – showcased most of our works on a portfolio webpage. However, as we started working with larger 3D studios for bigger projects on a global scale, we are often required to sign NDAs on a regular basis. In some years, we have to work fully under NDAs without updating our portfolio. That is something that hasn’t really helped with our publicity.
I also noticed that having a large portfolio will sometimes overwhelm potential clients. Most of the time, they don’t bother reading the descriptions under every project and just ask something like, “can you do this?”, “can you do that?”, etc. Therefore, we have decided to close our portfolio; but we left the webpage open just in case.
We decided to use another strategy. If our clients can’t browse through our portfolio and make conclusions, it would be a lot better if we only show them a specific part which is specifically intended for specific clients with a specific case. This is just to show them that we have already worked on and solve similar cases and that we are capable of doing so again.
Let’s be honest. Not all clients are after aesthetics. There are some who only need a quick solution to their problems. If you have read my previous articles, you’ll know that some clients are contented with mediocre results simply because they don’t have enough time to wait for the renders or don’t have enough money to pay for them. Likewise, this could explain why no new images are added to the portfolio.
In this case, 3D artists or studios who value quality could and should only create incredible outputs during their spare time. However, in some cases, they often get unfinished. This explains why asking for additional details and keeping the conversation going is important.
Let’s dig deeper; this time, let’s talk about mastery.
There’s no 3D artist capable of perfectly creating designs for everything. For example, a designer might excel at interior designs but will suck when it comes to exteriors. Another creates high-quality exteriors but can’t come up with a good interior design.
Specialists are categorized into two:
- General profile – this type of specialists takes on any project as long as they’re paid for it. If you take a look at their portfolio, you can find a variety of works including interior renders, product designs, outdoor renders, etc.
- Narrow profile – narrow profile specialists are a lot more specific in their craft. You can expect to see only one type of work in their portfolio. For example, you will only see product designs, or interior designs, depending on the specialization. A narrow profile specialist only works on a single field because this is where he excels. In most cases, you’ll have a hard time choosing which is the better one in his works because they are all incredible.
This explains why working with a 3D studio is the best choice. Designers of varying profiles often work together inside a studio. Since every designer has his own field of specialty, the output could turn out well. Other than that, the team can always seek advice or ask opinions about the project to further enhance the quality of work.
Now let’s move on to reliability. If you think that the artist claims the works of others, ask him to show you his previous clients so you can talk to them instead. If the client confirms that the designer really did that work for him, that would be a good start.
However, if you really have a strong suspicion that it is not the artist’s work, you can try searching for it online. Go to tineye.com and upload the image. You will receive results indicating where the similar image was used. You can try to visit those websites and check who really is the owner of that design.
An excellent portfolio is often a good indicator of an artist’s trustworthiness. However, it’s not enough. To get an overview of how he does his work, you need to look for some reviews about what others say about him or his services.
If an artist wants publicity, he will display his works to the public. He will also include links to his projects and promote his works on social media sites and other channels. For example, we at Faraday3D displays our best works on various 3D design media like behance.net, artstation.com, evermotion.org, ronenbekerman.com, and more.
But why? The answer is simple: to receive critics. Even though we’re confident enough that we did a good job, there will always be people who are smarter than us. Therefore, we need to get a good portion of criticism from people who have something to say about our works. By acquiring criticism, we are able to learn new skills and even improve our quality of work.
Therefore, if you find a 3D artist or studio who doesn’t display his work, you should find out why. It could either be because he’s a newbie and afraid to show his amateurish outputs yet, or maybe because he just doesn’t have anything to show. He keeps adding his works into his portfolio but remains silent in his social networks. And that’s because he’s afraid to get exposed.
In some cases, an artist or studio may send you their works via PDFs which include images and claim that those are their works. When that happens, you should immediately check for the uniqueness of their outputs. Here in my company, we tend to get a lot of collaboration requests from artists and studios on a regular basis. And almost every year we come across a fraud who will show us his works which he grabbed from other artists or studios.
By the way, if you’re not familiar with 3D visualization and have no way of telling the difference in quality between artists or studios, one effective method you can follow is to check the designer’s level and work ethics. You can do so by reading testimonials.
However, don’t go for testimonials that are published on his own website (those are handpicked after all, and only the best ones are chosen). Instead, look for testimonials across online forums, social media platforms, and community websites where the designer publishes his works of art. Aside from reading testimonials, you can also ask any questions related to his works.
Don’t be turned off because of a bad testimonial; this normally happens. There will always be unsatisfied customers, no matter how good the quality of work is. There are also some who write poor reviews just to stain an artist’s reputation. Often, those reviews won’t include any specifics.
You can look for the 3D artist or studio’s name in Google. If you can find mentions of their name on other sites, go and check what others can say about them.
You’ve taken a look at the portfolio, read a number of reviews, and gathered the information you need. Now it’s time to contact your designer.
A responsible designer knows how important it is to keep an open communication with his clients. Therefore, he will make sure to display any contact information possible. These could include his Skype ID, LinkedIn account, social media accounts, etc.
If you can’t find any contact information, it’s most likely that he’s a middleman who only outsources the projects he receives to another designer and earns from it. It’s up to you to decide whether it worth working with such company or not.
If possible, schedule an appointment with your chosen designer so you can talk to him personally. This will also allow you to discuss the details of the project more accurately. If he’s from another country, you can instead arrange a Skype conference or use any instant messenger that supports video calls. We at Faraday3D recommends the use of Zoom.us
If he agrees, then it’s a good sign. However, if he declines without any proper explanation, something might be off. At least you should take caution from there.
Regarding the details of the project
A reputable designer will ask you a number of questions about your project along with the tasks you want complete in your design. He will need all important details to know what type of design you need, or if you need one at all.
If he doesn’t show any signs of interest, doesn’t ask any specifics, or doesn’t send you a brief of what you can expect in your project’s outcome, he could either be a beginner who has no idea how to work with clients; or, he’s only interested with your money.
A 3D designer will only request payment right after everything is cleared. He knows how to handle any problems that might occur and can estimate how long it will take to solve those problems. Through this, you can calculate the pricing. This is normally how things work.
However, if he requests payment in advance and only focuses his attention on getting payment from you, then you might want to be cautious. He doesn’t even have an idea of how the project should flow, or how any possible issues should be fixed, yet he’s already asking for payment.
This is rather suspicious. Professional and experienced designers don’t work this way. This is a potential red flag and should be avoided. However, don’t confuse it with the value-based approach which the artist could apply to you. This is just a rough estimate of how much you’re expected to pay depending on the specifics of your project.
Making a contract
Try to invite your preferred designer to sign a contract. Try to gauge his reaction. If he agrees, then give it a go. However, if he declines, find out the reason why. If you think his reason sounds off, it’s better to find another.
Long story short, here are the points you should consider:
- 1. Check the number of works a 3D artist or studio has in his portfolio. A designer who claims to have over 10 years of experience but only displays very few projects either wants to hide most of his projects due to poor quality, is only doing the job part-time or doesn’t have his own original works to show. In any case it worth asking to show other projects if possible.
- 2. Take a look at the quality and type of his works. A designer who takes on just about everything is often not proficient in one field and can be considered average. Meanwhile, a designer who focuses only on one field, like interior designing for example and delivers high-quality works, can be considered an expert in that field.
- 3. If the designer’s design looks suspicious to you, try to ask for details regarding his previous clients and confirm the integrity of his work. If necessary, check if there’s no copy of his work through the use of tineye.com or Google.
- 4. Check if your designer has a public social media account or channel where he publishes his works for public viewing. If there’s none, it’s either he’s new to the field or he’s stealing the works of others and claim them as his own.
- 5. Read online reviews about the designer’s works. Try your best to evaluate their authenticity, whether they are mentioned by their clients or not, or if they have included their contact details.
- 6. When an artist or studio displays their pages or channels, try to search their name on Google. From the results, look at what others are saying about them.
- 7. Schedule an appointment with your designer or arrange a Skype video call. This way, you won’t only have the chance to personally discuss matters about your project, you can confirm the authenticity of your preferred designer too.
A designer who aims to provide the best quality output will normally ask a lot of questions about the task and specifics of your project beforehand. After all, he will need all the information he needs to get an overview of what you really want. If he’s not showing the slightest hint of interest and only cares about the payment, you might want to start looking for another.
Don’t forget to invite your designer to sign a contract and see his reaction. If he agrees to it, then everything’s good. If not, ask why. Maybe he’s just afraid of something or he’s planning to scam you.
3D design is a collaborative project that should be completed using help from both sides - the designer and client. During each stage, you need to maintain an open communication in order to assure that everything works well. Be responsible for your choices. Don’t rush, and make sure that you and your designer can both understand what needs to be done. Best of luck!