The global animation market was valued at over $350 billion in 2020 and is estimated to reach $640 billion by 2030. That’s not only a lot of money, but also a considerable amount of work and labor.
But with more of the world going virtual, and several companies interested in building a fully-fledged metaverse, animators have their hands full. Needless to say, there’s a lot of demand for animation coming from a wide variety of industries.
3D animation has become an integral part of many industries and is no longer simply limited to entertainment and film. VR & AR creators, engineers, and architects now consider 3D virtually indispensable to their craft. Thus, 3D artists can monetize their creative works in many different ways.
So with so much demand, what kind of opportunities can animators take advantage of in order to monetize their work?
Modeling is one of the most popular ways 3D artists earn money because you don’t necessarily have to become an expert in 3D art before you can start making money with it. Artists can even cash in on their 3D models by selling singular projects commissioned by clients. A job isn’t necessarily a requirement.
Freelance sites like Fiverr, Upwork, Freelancer, e.t.c. are great platforms for finding clients who are looking for modeling help. These platforms are great because they protect both parties with an escrow system which ensures that both the 3D artists and potential clients hardly ever get ripped off.
If you enjoy making models as a hobby, you can still make some money by doing what you love. Selling or licensing your content can be an excellent way to make some extra cash. Animators can simply sell licensing to their existing work without having to put in extra time or effort. This can be done through sites such as Sketchfab that provide a massive marketplace to sell your 3D animations, rigs, and more.
Sites like Turbosquid and CGTrader work similar to Shutterstock, where animations and models can be sold and licensed out. Designers can post their work to the website and passively earn income as their work is purchased.
Another popular way people earn money in 3D art is by making animations. Animating has become a widespread necessity for many industries. Whether it’s a one-off project or recurring work, animators have many different opportunities to use their craft.
One of the most passive ways to make money is by animating shorts and uploading your videos to Youtube. This is arguably the least effective way to make money from 3D animations. To earn money from Youtube, you create a video, submit it to YouTube, monetize your channel by enabling adverts, and then sit back and watch the money roll in.
But YouTube’s algorithm ranks relevance (i.e the value of a channel and how much it’s worth) based on two factors: Upload Frequency and Watch Hours. These two variables make animating difficult since it takes a long time to generate a short animation, which is usually quite brief.
It’s considerably more profitable to sell your 3D animated short straight to your audience. If you sell it for $10, you’ll only need 1000 views to reach the $10,000 earning mark. But it means you’ll have to convince 2000 people to buy your movie, which typically requires building a following or fan base.
3D artists can also make a living by building and selling “Rigs” (skeletal frameworks of 3D objects) online. A lot of time creating 3D art is usually spent on how the shell of an object looks. This is great for stills, but when animating, it is just as important to concentrate on where the movement comes from. For most objects, creatures, and characters, this is from within and it is called Rigging.
3D rigs are quite valuable because Rigging can be a fairly complex operation that can be daunting at times, especially for most beginner 3D artists. Characters are usually rigged before they are animated since a character model without a rig cannot be manipulated or maneuvered around. They’re stuck in whatever position the modeler chose for them.
Thus, more experienced animators can create a wide range of rigs for different models which can be used by amateur animators who can now focus on perfecting the external features of their animation shorts. Admittedly, this method of earning is mostly reserved for veteran 3D animators, but it is a more efficient system for those who qualify.
Since 3D models and animations are now in high demand, there will always be new animators looking to purchase readymade rigs for their projects. What’s more, these rigs are a lot easier to create than full models and animations, so the artist saves time on each project.
Many roads of monetization
The above channels are just a few of the available ways 3D artists can earn money from their creativity. Demand for animators is higher than ever before, so now is a great time to jump in and start monetizing your skills. Freelancing platforms are an excellent place to start and can connect you directly with clients in need of your services. No full-time job is necessary.
Future Monetization Channels
With the development of Blockchain Technology and global acceptance of cryptocurrency, we’ve begun to see the decentralized system the blockchain is based on being applied to so many other sectors other than finance. Now, celebrities like Grimes and Logan Paul, as well as tech billionaires like Elon Musk and Jack Dorsey, and even regular Joes like a certain Mike Winkelmann are making a lot of money by selling digital assets, dubbed NFTs.
NFT is an acronym for Non-fungible token and it refers to a token representing a digital asset that is not fungible. Unlike Bitcoin, which is fungible (meaning it can be exchanged for another bitcoin), an NFT is a one-of-a-kind. This means that, like a piece of actual art, if you own an NFT, you are the single owner of that thing. This is validated and authenticated through blockchain technology.
NFTs have grown in popularity as a result of their ability to tackle a real problem in the art world. Until recently, digital artists and collectors faced the same problems that nearly brought the music industry to its collapse – Piracy. On the internet, once a work of art is converted to a digital file, anyone can freely copy, share, and download it.
Collectors can now buy unique digital art pieces with confidence, thanks to blockchain history verifying authenticity and provenance. Although it is hard to prevent people from distributing copies of the object on the internet, the blockchain ensures that the art piece’s property rights can only be held by one person at a time.
Furthermore, the technology allows 3D artists to sell their work directly to collectors, bypassing traditional intermediaries such as art agents and galleries, allowing them more control over their work.
3D animation – a world of opportunity
NFTs have created a whole new market where both digital artists and collectors can sell and collect valuable works of art, just as they would in the traditional art world. This technology has created the perfect solution for 3D artists to profit from their creative works. And, with the price of NFTs continuing to grow, there’s no better time than now to have a career in 3D art.
The demand for all kinds of animation continues to grow. So whether you enjoy modeling characters, bringing animations to life, or designing art like NFT, there is bound to be a multitude of opportunities for you.
While animation can be time-consuming work, several tools can help expedite the process without breaking the bank. Pixcap was developed specifically for those reasons – to empower artists and animators by expediting the animation process and lowering the costs associated with it. With features like AI motion capture and web publishing, animators can monetize their art and make money doing what they love.