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The importance of communicating to clients that they get what they pay for.

We’ve all been there, a client wants to hire you for an animation that has a “needed this yesterday” deadline and a “loose change in my couch” type of budget. You can politely decline the gig, suck it up and take it knowing full well you’ll most likely be severely underpaid and severely overworked, or you can try to educate your client on why their demands aren’t realistic nor fair to ask someone to work for what could potentially amount to below minimum wage. One phrase that is jokingly tossed around a lot regarding client expectations, and is very true is: “Pick 2: Cheap, Fast, or Good.” When a client expects all 3 is when trouble arises.

Show up to a car dealership with $500 to spend and you’re walking out with a busted up golf cart.

As freelance designers, we work in the world of visual communication but we tend to forget the importance of communicating to clients what your services and skills cost and most importantly why they cost what they do. The difference between a budget of $500 vs $5000 is massive but for an uninformed client they may not understand why you should cost so much. Here are a few important things you need to communicate to your client to justify why you cost what you do:

1. When you talk about budget you talk about time and cost.

Clients with limited budgets need to understand that hiring a designer is like hiring any other expert in any other field. There’s this perception in many creative fields that due to the fact that many of us love our jobs that we don’t want to get paid for it properly. If they have limited budget that client has to be honest with themselves about scope and expectations. A client won’t get a talented, experienced designer with a very small budget. Sometimes a client is faced with having to rethink what’s more important, adjusting project scope and budget to be able to afford someone to get the job done right or risk hiring someone who may or may not get the job done. With a low budget, they can only afford someone with no or very little experience and they may not deliver to expectation. Show up to a car dealership with $500 to spend and you’re walking out with a busted up golf cart.

You wouldn’t hire an architect right out of school to build the Golden Gate Bridge.

2. In many instances, designers estimate project cost based on a day rate.

Sometimes that rate may be as much as $500 a day, so that means that for a client whose budget is only $500 they’re only going to get a day or 2 of work in order for you to make a fair wage. It’s really simple, the bigger the budget the bigger the scope, and the more experienced a designer they probably want to hire to handle such a large important job. You wouldn’t hire an architect right out of school to build the Golden Gate Bridge, nor should they hire an inexperienced designer when a company or brand’s image is on the line.

If a client goes cheap on hiring a designer, they run a great risk in not getting the job done to satisfaction and that will end up costing them more money in the long run if they need to hire someone else to finish or fix the job.

3. Many clients may ask “Well why is it so expensive, what am I paying for?”

Well why does anyone get paid any amount of money for anything anyone does? You’re paying for quality, expertise & experience. You’re paying for all the years of a designers experience in fulfilling clients needs and the experience in learning design, in animation and in learning the software to create a final product. You’re paying for the time cost that designer will be working on that job. If you ask a builder to build a house, it’ll be more time and money than if you asked to build a shed, and a lot more expensive and a lot more time if you wanted a mansion. And you want that builder to be trustworthy and to have built many houses before with success. If a client goes lowest common denominator on hiring a designer they run a great risk in not getting the job done to satisfaction. And if that does happen, it may end up costing them more money in the long run if they need to hire someone else to finish or fix the job. Better they pay someone fairly who will get the job done professionally the first time and allow them to sleep better at night knowing they hired an expert in their field that will meet & succeed expectations…that expert is you!

4. Visual branding or advertising is how the world sees a brand.

Will your client want the world to see them in a soiled t-shirt and sweatpants or will they invest in their image by buying a designer suit? There’s a reason why people try to dress their best when meeting new people or for a job interview. Your image is THE thing that communicates to people who they are and what they do and it’s also why large companies spend millions of dollars on a logo or ad campaign.

Just because a clients’ budget is unrealistic doesn’t mean you can’t work with them to let them know what they can afford.

5. Being Upfront About Costs Allows You to Be Flexible and Negotiate

When your client understands everything that goes into your rates, you can then be in the position of finding a middle ground with your client about what a certain budget can get them. They wanted a 90 second animation but their budget realistically might get them only 30 seconds of animation. Pitch how you could communicate what they need in a shorter amount of time. Explain why a shorter and more concise animation may even communicate what they want to convey to a viewer even better due to most people’s attention span. Just because a clients’ budget is unrealistic doesn’t mean you can’t work with them to let them know what they can afford.

Backing up your rates with justification will help ensure you get paid what you’re worth. After all, an amazing animator with mediocre business acumen will be paid like a mediocre animator.

What are some experiences you’ve had with clients regarding rates?  Have you ever had to explain to a client that their expectations don’t match their budget?


Topics covered include
Cinema 4D, Cinema 4D Lite, Lighting, Modeling, Texturing

In this tutorial I’m going to break down how to create a piece of a “Mini Machine” from this piece by Pixego and how to create plastic textures, including a plastic glass texture.  We’ll build the mini machine, add a 3 point light setup, and then go over how to texture our objects!

By the way, this tutorial can be followed along using Cinema 4D Lite that comes for FREE with Adobe Creative Cloud!

And as always, if you have any questions, be sure to post it in the comments section and if you create anything cool using this technique, be sure to share it with me! Thanks for watching!

This was recorded live on the Live Design Stream. To get alerted for future live design casts & get sneak peeks at new tutorials before anyone else, sign up for the Eyedesyn Newsletter.

Tutorial:


Topics covered include
After Effects, Animation, Cinema 4D, Cinema 4D Lite, MoGraph, Photoshop, Texturing

In this 2 part tutorial, I’m going to show you how you can create a retro 80’s style animated GIF using Cinema 4D (or Cinema 4D Lite), After Effects, and Photoshop.  We’ll start by first building our
scene inside of C4D and creating all our retro elements.  Then, we’ll light and texture our scene and keep within a retro color palette.  In Part 2 of this tutorial, we’ll bring our rendered animation into After Effects and apply effects to turn our crisp rendered 3D and transform it to make it look like a faded VHS tape.  Finally, we’ll render our animation from AE, bring it into Photoshop and I’ll cover how you can turn your animation into an animated GIF.

If you have any questions, post them in the comments!  Be sure to post any examples of you using this technique in your projects as well!  Thanks for watching!

This was recorded live on the Twitch Live Design Stream.  To get alerted for future live design casts & get sneak peeks at new tutorials before anyone else, sign up for the Eyedesyn Newsletter.

Part 1: How to Create a Retro Style Animated GIF in Cinema 4D

Part 2: How to Create a Retro Style Animated GIF in After Effects and Photoshop


Topics covered include
Cinema 4D, Cinema 4D Lite, Lighting, Texturing

In this tutorial I’m going to break down how you can turn any object or spline into a light source in Cinema 4D!  This method is a great alternative to large render hits you could get by using Global Illumination.  First, set up my carrot scene with some basic textures.  Then, I’ll show you how you can use Area Lights to turn any object or spline into a light source.  Finally, we will go over some things to be wary of using this technique as well as how to prep the scene for possibly compositing a glow in After Effects.

By the way, this tutorial can be followed along using Cinema 4D Lite that comes for FREE with Adobe Creative Cloud!

And as always, if you have any questions, be sure to post it in the comments section and if you create anything cool using this technique, be sure to share it with me! Thanks for watching!

This was recorded live on the Live Design Stream. To get alerted for future live design casts & get sneak peeks at new tutorials before anyone else, sign up for the Eyedesyn Newsletter.

Tutorial:


Topics covered include
Podcast


I had the great opportunity to be interviewed by Jared Walker from Super Giant Ninja at NAB last year.  We talked about how I got started as a designer on Quantel Paintboxes and how I struggled starting out being self taught, how I began teaching, and some of the things I’ve learned along the way in my career thus far.

Be sure to check out all the other interviews from Super Giant Ninja including Chris Schmidt, Nick Campbell, and Jeremy Cox!


Topics covered include
Cinema 4D, Cinema 4D Lite, Texturing

In this tutorial I’m going to break down how you can create a gel texture in Cinema 4D and apply it to a gummy bear model! First, I’ll go over how to set up your material color using Fresnels and go over the crucial options in the Transparency channel that allow for a nice gel look. Finally, I’ll cover how to add some nice organic imperfections in the texture by utilizing noise in both the Diffusion and Bump channels.

And as always, if you have any questions, be sure to post it in the comments section and if you create anything cool using this technique, be sure to share it with me! Thanks for watching!

This was recorded live on the Live Design Stream. To get alerted for future live design casts & get sneak peeks at new tutorials before anyone else, sign up for the Eyedesyn Newsletter.

Tutorial:

As I mentioned in the tutorial, here is the Youtube video for the edited down live stream where I modeled the gummy bear:

 


Topics covered include
Animation, Cinema 4D, Cinema 4D Lite, Deformers, MoGraph

In this tutorial, due to many requests from folks wanting me to break down the rolling beach towel from this GIF, I’m going to cover a couple different ways you can create a rolling banner or rolling carpet in Cinema 4D.  First, I’ll show you how you can use a simple Bend deformer and animate it to create a rolling carpet.  Then, I’ll show you how you can use MoSplines to not only create a rolling carpet but an unfurling banner using Particle Effectors and Mograph Effectors.

And as always, if you have any questions, be sure to post it in the comments section and if you create anything cool using this technique, be sure to share it with me!  Thanks for watching!

This was recorded live on the Live Design Stream. To get alerted for future live design casts & get sneak peeks at new tutorials before anyone else, sign up for the Eyedesyn Newsletter.

Tutorial:


Topics covered include
Animation, Cinema 4D, Rigging

In this tutorial, I’m going to introduce you to the world of rigging in Cinema 4D by showing you a workflow I use to easily create a simple cartoonish arm & leg IK rig.  Normal IK rigs bend sharp at the elbow and knees of characters but it’s hard to get a smooth bend like a cartoon character.  First, I’ll start out by introducing you the two types of rigs, FK (Forward Kinematics) and IK (Inverse Kinematics).   Then I’ll demonstrate how I set up my simple IK rig to rig my hamburger characters arms & legs and connecting them to the body.  Finally, I’ll wrap up the tutorial by showing you how to use Pose Morph to animate your character.  If you’re not familiar with Pose Morph, be sure to check out my tutorial on how I used it to animate Baymax from Big Hero 6!  Want to see more character animation tutorials or more rigging?  Let me know by posting in the comments!

And as always, if you have any questions, be sure to post it in the comments section and if you create anything cool using this technique, be sure to share it with me! Thanks for watching!

This was recorded live on the Live Design Stream. To get alerted for future live design casts & get sneak peeks at new tutorials before anyone else, sign up for the Eyedesyn Newsletter.

Tutorial:

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Topics covered include
Animation, Cinema 4D, Modeling, MoGraph

In this tutorial, I’m going to show you how you can find a very handy use for the often ignored Cinema 4D Mospline object.  In this instance, we’ll use Mospline to create and animate an umbrella!  First I’ll set up our umbrella using a few Mosplines and a Loft Object.   Next, we’ll animate our umbrella using a Pose Morph tag.  If you’re not familiar with Pose Morph, be sure to check out my tutorial on how powerful it is!  Finally, I’ll show off some fun options inside Mosplines like the ability to have Mosplines be affected by particle forces like Turbulence and Wind.

If you have any questions, be sure to post it in the comments section and if you create anything cool using this technique, be sure to share it with me! Thanks for watching!

This was recorded live on the Live Design Stream. To get alerted for future live design casts & get sneak peeks at new tutorials before anyone else, sign up for the Eyedesyn Newsletter.

Tutorial:


Topics covered include
Cinema 4D, Cinema 4D Lite, Texturing

In this tutorial, I’m going to show you how you can apply cartoonish outlines to your 3D objects in Cinema 4D Lite (or any version of Cinema 4D for that matter).  Using a model from my new Sketch & Toon Model Pack v.3, I’ll show you how you can use a combination of Displacement, Luminance, and Fresnel to turn your 3D model into a piece of stylized, sketchy 2D line art.  Paired with my previous tutorial on how to Achieve 2D Cel Shading in Cinema 4D Lite, you can do a pretty convincing job of creating Sketch & Toon 2D line art out of your 3D models!  And doing this all with a version of Cinema 4D that comes FREE with your Adobe Creative Cloud subscription.  Pretty dang cool huh?  As always, experimenting with this technique is encouraged to see what sort of interesting compositions you can come up with!  Play with the different Fresnel Shader Render modes, I’ve found success & interesing results with Front and Back, Back Trans, and Front Only.

If you have any questions, be sure to post it in the comments section and if you create anything cool using this technique, be sure to share it with me! Thanks for watching!

This was recorded live on the Live Design Stream. To get alerted for future live design casts & get sneak peeks at new tutorials before anyone else, sign up for the Eyedesyn Newsletter.

Tutorial: