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3D rendering, design, media, and technology news.
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Stereoscopy – An Actual 3D Sense of Depth and Perception

Introduction

Those of us in the field of 3D often use the term “3D” very loosely – when artists often refer to the term, we typically mean to discuss a 2D image that has a more realistic perspective (lighting, shadows, and angles) that would be representative of a standard photograph. Just like our standard “3D artwork”, a photograph has no actual depth of perception and in reality isn’t technically “3D.” Truthfully, I do not know what to call this mis-labeling or misnomer – it’s a term which has been misused by the “3D” community for several decades now and I have even come into the habit of frequently using this because it is something most people have come to relate-to. Perhaps a term such as “CG Perspectivism” would be more accurate and appropriate for these works.

A "traditional" 3D rendering by LunarStudio

A traditional 3D rendering by myself. Although this resembles an actual photograph, it does not convey an actual sense of depth perception.

In regards to 3D as in the true term of “a sense of depth”, there is a bit more to the technology than meets the proverbial eye. It involves a certain level of understanding our own human physiology as well as developments in 3D technology.

The First Description of Stereoscopy

In order to lend an image an actual sense of depth, it requires that we have stereoscopic vision – a left and a right eye. Sir Charles Wheatstone was the first person to describe this physiological effect called stereopsis. His term dates back to 1838.

Text from his original research paper can be read here:
Stereoscopy Wheatstone Paper 1838.

Sir Charles Wheatstone, 1868

Sir Charles Wheatstone, 1868

Sir Charles Wheatstone also went on to invent the Pseudoscope in 1852 which eventually became the forerunner into modern stereoscopic imaging technologies.

3D Viewing Technologies

There are several different “modern” methods and technologies which can trick our vision into believing that a photograph, movie, or “3d” scene really has a sense of depth. All of this still has it’s basis in the pioneering research of Sir Charles Wheatstone. These methods often involve separating an image apart into two different components, a “left” and “right” image of the same object or scene. An optimal formula for determining and calibrating depth perception involves measuring the distance between the left and right eyes in relations to the focus or distance of an object and applying it to an image that we are viewing.

Here are a few side-by-side methods for viewing an image in 3D:

  1. Stereographic Cards and Pictures. These are two images side-by-side taken or photographed from slightly different angles. These cards often involve forcing one’s eyes to cross in order achieve this sense of depth.

    A Stereoscopic Image.

    A Stereoscopic Image of Baker's River, Rumney, New Hampshire 1889

  2. Transparency Viewers. These are devices such as the View-Master that you hold up to your eyes and view stereographic slides.

    View-Master

    1962 View-Master courtesy of Wikimedia, IllPassaggero

  3. Head Mounted Displays. These involve helmets or glasses with LCD or OLED displays. This may involve photographs or Virtual Reality scenes. This is perhaps the most recent technology at the time of this writing. It can provide a wide-range of depth and motion.

    Emagin Z800 Head Mounted Display

    Emagin Z800 Head Mounted Display

Here are several main methods of 3D viewers:

  1. Liquid Crystal Shutter Glasses. This active method involves wearing glasses that can alternate and sync shutting on and off the left and right sides of these glasses in synchronization with the refresh rate of your monitor or TV. As of 2010, the majority of “3D televisions” on the market fall into this category. Most standard computer monitors and flat-panels only have a refresh rate of 60 Hz, whereas a “3D television” or “3D monitor” has double (120 Hz) signal. Costs associated are typically high, and hence movie theaters do not employ this technology.
    Liquid Crystal Shutter Glasses

    Liquid Crystal Shutter Glasses

    Polarized Glasses. Images are superimposed on to the screen through orthogonal polarizing filters. In turn, the viewer wears glasses with orthogonal lenses. These lenses are generally clear, but darker in color and result in some loss in brightness. This method is commonly used in movie theaters as of the time of this writing.

    Polarized 3D Glasses

    Polarized 3D Glasses

Anaglyph Glasses. There are several sub-types of this 3D Viewer category, but for the sake of this article I will keep it brief. If you would like to read more on the topic, I would recommend visiting the Wikipedia article here. Anaglyph glasses are the more traditional method of viewing 3D images, often with the separate red and cyan lenses. As of more recent technological developments involving higher resolution filming and displays as well as better methodology, different lens colors are being used to help add natural color back into these images and also to better align left-right images more accurately. Further refinements has helped reduced the apparent color tint in some of these lenses. Some of the newer methods even help make an image appear normal without the use of glasses. Some 3D artists including my work and company, LunarStudio can produce cost-effective anaglyph images which are viewable with glasses.

Traditional Anaglyph Glasses

Traditional Anaglyph Glasses

Other common 3D display methods:

  1. Lenticular Prints. This consists of a plastic laminate/substrate made of fine, vertically-running prisms layered on top. Underneath this layer is a left/right series of alternating images. By moving your head or tilting the image, you can convey the sense of depth and even motion. These are often seen in 3D postcards. With the advent of better technology concerning printing resolution, the prisms and shift between left/right images has become smaller. Depending on the prism structure and the amount of images you superimpose, this could provide a much wider range of angle depth than typical 3D viewing methods. You can even find kits and software online to produce these on your home printers. Here is a video of the lenticular process courtesy of 3dfocustv

    Traditional Anaglyph Glasses[/pro-player]

  2. Display with filter arrays. This is a similar concept to lenticular prints, but involves two LCDs on top of one another and shifted slightly. This doesn’t require glasses but may limit the sense of depth at specific viewing angles.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0SyuEjBEMN4
  3. Holographic Prints. Holographs could be almost thought of as a very fine prismatic lenticular print, but instead of being only viewable on a horizontal plane, it can be turned in many different planes of direction and still be viewable. It relies on embossing a medium on very fine, microscopic level. This embossing in turn diffracts the wavelength of light which appears to change depending on how we turn the medium. Recent advances in holograph and computer technology have improved image and color quality substantially. One company that is pioneering holographic technology for print is Zebra imaging. My company, LunarStudio is able to make 3D illustrations and models which can be printed by their services. I’ve posted an example of their latest work below.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xp7BP00LuA4

A Proposed 3D Technology

One of my thoughts on 3D technology is that what lends people the sense of depth isn’t really color, but rather a lack of light hitting certain angles. We can all agree that the components of the visible light spectrum can be duplicated using the colors of red, green, and blue – or the RGB additive model (additive in the sense that if you add RGB together, it should form a pure white.)

For example, if I held a red sheet in front of a viewer in flat/neutral lighting conditions perfectly perpendicular to the sheet, no matter how I turned it – the red will appear red. However, if I altered the light source to remain fixed, the red sheet will start to display gradations of black and grey – or shading and shadows. It is the black and grey (or absence of color) that lends an object the sense of depth aside from our separation of background noise and blur.

Instead of shifting primary colors in a traditional anaglyph sense, I believe you could probably shift the black/grey (or K) values slightly to achieve a similar 3D stereoscopic effect. This may result in something similar to camera Depth of Field/blur which is a often an exaggerated form of depth perception. Combine this grayscale separation technique with a fine lenticular type of lens that alternates between gradated shades of black/grey instead of primarily relying on the RGB color components, I believe you could potentially achieve a much better stereoscopic effect. In theory, I suppose my idea is somewhat similar to polarizing techniques, but retains much of the original color fidelity while perhaps losing out on some edge sharpness. However, at fine resolutions, the effect may not be as noticeable.

In my mind, it’s an interesting concept. I do not have the time, money, or energy to invest myself in experimenting with the potential here. I would be honored if someone was able to take my idea and turn it into a working prototype. Also, perhaps someone has already experimented with a convergent idea and that I’m not aware of its prior existence.

Conclusion

There are many different methods for us to perceive a sense of depth within an image, or “true 3D” as I’d like to call this. The field is constantly evolving, improving, and there are no shortages of ideas to be explored. Most of our limitations revolve around understanding and techniques compounded with production costs. Obviously, a simple red/blue anaglyph pair of lenses is much more cost-effective to produce and simpler to deploy to a large audience than a fully immersive Head Mounted Display. Due to these costs, most of us have been unable to experience some of these more recent technological developments first-hand. On the other hand, higher costs for the most ground-breaking technologies are also pushing increasingly better and less expensive technology to a more receptive, consumer-friendly audience. Our desire for this format as a society is growing insatiably. Some however remain “unconvinced” – they insist on referring to this progressive 3D trend as a gimmick.

There will come a day when 3D stereoscopic cameras become commonplace and our viewing technologies improve to the point where we don’t have to rely on other devices such as glasses. These movies will look completely natural, and a reverse social psychological effect will occur – when viewers look back at our old method of cinema, games, and photography – they will consider anyone producing work with these techniques using the traditional 2D flat-style as the ones pulling a stylistic gimmick.

3D rendering, design, media, and technology news.
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The Impact of the First Photograph of a Human

Yesterday I wrote an article on the first photograph of a human which I had enhanced. After reading that others didn’t have the tools to enhance the photograph, I decided to make use of my architectural rendering and image editing skills  to see if there was anything else hidden. I think that there’s a deeper message we should think about.  The Boulevard du Temple by Daguerre article signifies how this photograph inadvertently shaped our entire world view till this very day.

I don’t think there are too many single photos which can tell such a grand story. We have the first Civil War photographs, the use of propaganda during the first and second World Wars, Pearl Harbor, the Holocaust, the aftermath of nuclear weapons, JFK’s assassination, the Vietnam War, the moon landing, and 911. I’m certain that there are other important examples of how photography impacted our world which escapes me at this moment, but all of that still comes back down to this one single image of a human being either operating a water pump, or getting his shoes shined.

Once we start to investigate this photograph by Daguerre, most of our first inclinations is to look even further within the photo to see what else we can discover. We ask ourselves, is it just one human standing there or were there multiple people that were captured in this fairly innocuous historical moment? What else is there to see – is there a cat in the window? Are those trees or people standing on the opposite side of the road? Where are the horses and carriages? What time of day is it and what season? What direction is he facing when he took this? All of this manages to happen within a single, noisy and scratched image of a Paris boulevard.

If it resembled more of a modern photograph, would we all be equally interested? It’s the early state of this image in of itself which brings up these relevant questions and gets us to start thinking about things.

The Boulevard du Temple doesn’t look like much at first glance. We realize there must be some historical importance. But in a much deeper sense, we are looking at one of the first, beautiful photographs of everyday life and society.

In today’s modern era, I would argue that most people take photography for granted. It’s become such a common part of our culture, from the first newspapers to scans, from television to even the Internet. A lot of us even have cameras on our cell phones – instantly, we can take a picture and the rest of the world can see it in near real-time. We operate these devices and really don’t appreciate the technological miracle we hold in our hands. The significance of this first photograph of a human is that has given rise to a deeper understanding of the human condition – it’s taught us about war, medicine, politics, news, culture, technology, and never ceases to entertain us. But without people, photography might have been somewhat pointless. It is this single act of capturing a person which has brought us to where we are today. As the old proverb says, “a picture is worth a thousand words.” In this case, I don’t think anything else could be more telling.

3D rendering, design, media, and technology news.

Isaora Le Jeannic Photography

I met very talented person through the Behance Network several months ago and since then have had a few very short, but really wonderful conversations with her. There’s many artists and photographers, but her work in particular caught my attention and seems to speak volumes to me. Her name is Isaora Le Jeannic and her photos are absolutely stunning. I love her use of composition, colors, and high contrast. Her images are loud, stark, and daring – the perfect combination in my opinion. She combines both 2D and 3D elements into all of her work. It is clearly apparent that she is passionate about her photography, and because of her passion, I wanted to provide a link to her website.

If you have a moment, please visit Isaora’s portfolio below:

https://www.behance.net/redbox13

3D rendering, design, media, and technology news.
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Free 3D World Magazine sIBL Sets and Articles!

3D World Magazine

3D World Magazine March 2010 Issue.

I would like to proudly announce that the March 2010 issue of 3D World magazine will feature free sIBL sets from my HDRSource HDR and sIBL libraries. These sets are free for commercial use to people who purchase this issue. Along with my sets, several other sIBL library photographers and developers will also be releasing some of their work as well. It’s quite literally hundreds of dollars worth of free work packed into a supplemental DVD.* The US release of this issue will follow a month later in April.

Judging by the cover posted above, the issue itself looks fantastic and I can’t wait until I’m able to get my hands on it. It contains articles on modeling techniques, color theory, linear workflow, free models, a 3D article regarding the iPhone, and much much more. I find all of those topics to be very interesting – in particular color theory, their take on LWF, and creating 3D for the iPhone.

The authors of these sIBL libraries and sets include:

I would like to add that these fellow artists and authors have been wonderful to work with. I have had the wonderful opportunity to speak with several of them over the last few months. They have been very kind and very helpful and are truly an inspiration. If you have a moment, please feel free to visit their websites and check out their amazing work.

*Please note that not all of the 3D World March issues will contain this DVD.

3D rendering, design, media, and technology news.
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What Prices to Charge as a Freelancer or Artist

Introduction

Unless you’re intent on living on the streets, working side jobs, or are fortunate to have the support of wealthy parents and benefactors, most of us at one point or another have to ask ourselves – “what prices should I charge?” Pricing out and valuing your work is a great mystery.  If you look around the Internet and even ask others for advice, the amount of money – especially for artists, ranges a very wide gamut. The price point is very difficult to gauge with so many people out there. Of course to some degree, what you can charge is indicative of your skill level, but for the sake of this article I’m just going to discuss what an average businessman, freelancer, artist, and even photographer should be charging at the very minimum.

For the sake of this article, I’m going to use my experience as a freelancer for close to the past 10 years and running my company, LunarStudio. The same experience should apply to most people in a variety of different situations.

The Internet – The Global Price Mediator

At one point before the Internet grew in size and popularity, if you wanted a television, you would drive around town to various electronics store. The price would have probably remained relatively fixed. If you drove to a competitor in the same neighborhood, you might have found several hundreds of dollars in savings. If you drove even further – perhaps to another state – the price may have gone down or up several hundred instead. There really was no baseline comparison from place to place. Prices were more or less regulated to the availability and general income of where you lived.

Enter the shopping world of the Internet. No longer were people confined to the neighborhood electronics store. If you saw a television you liked at a physical location/store, you could come back home and do a search for that same TV online. In the Internet’s infancy, you could discover huge savings on the same exact product, perhaps even including free shipping and no taxes. Suddenly, you were aware that there were great deals to be had online. You saw what one company was charging at one location, and what another was charging in a completely different part of the country. This is comparison shopping on a larger, more instantaneous and convenient level.

The Internet had the effect of exposing exorbitantly high prices in one area, and showing “rock bottom” prices in another. Over time, the highs and the lows across the country evened out to a degree. Your local store started to honor TV deals that you could find out on the Internet. The boundaries originally set by a lack of information and geography started to evaporate. The Internet became the great price mediator.

Now you may be asking yourself, how exactly does this apply to your business? The same analogy applies to many of your services. As prices of goods around the country start to level off, the highs and lows of what you can charge has also been affected. Everything including average income and salary starts to average out.  In some parts of the country, there are still higher costs of living and major differences in salary, but these differences are going to eventually follow suit.

Let’s take for example two digital artists that work remotely off of the Internet. One is out in farm country – somewhere out in Oklahoma. We’ll call him “Artist A.Artist A has a very low cost of living. He pay $500/month in rent. Most of his bills tends to be relatively inexpensive for him.

Now let’s take “Artist B.Artist B lives in the heart of New York City. His rent is $2,000/month. The costs of living are generally much higher for him.

Let’s suppose that both of these artists produce a similar quality of work. Guess who has to charge more in order to keep up their living expenses? Artist B.

Unfortunately, Artist A can easily undercut the more expensive Artist B. On the other hand, is Artist A really doing himself any favors by drastically undercutting the more expensive Artist B? In the short-term, yes. It costs a lot less for Artist A to stay alive. But guess what – the prices of the TVs they were looking at earlier still remains the same now. Artist A in effect has to work harder to afford that television because he’s charging much less. Artist B also has to get more jobs in the door (because he’s charging higher prices) in order to compete with Artist A in order to buy that television. Both artists have made more work for themselves simply because more competition has entered the field via the Internet.

So what is the solution to this problem then? You can choose to wait out the “great Internet mediation” – as to how long that will take is anyone’s guess. We all have to wait irregardless. You could also try producing substantially better work and charge more, but there will always be people who don’t recognize better quality and simply go for the lowest prices. You could also perform lower quality work, and at that point it becomes a numbers game as to how many clients you can shove through any given door before they realize they’re getting substandard work. In essence, you’re still making the same amount of work. If you want quality – then you have to pay for it.

What the average person has to do (assuming that your skills are average in nature) is to find the middle ground – a happy medium. A price point which isn’t “too high” and not “too low.” As your skills progress, you should be able to charge more over time as your services come into greater demand.

The point is that you’re not doing anyone any favors by undercutting your fellow artist (or businessman) in the age of the Internet. In fact, you may be doing more harm than good. Ultimately, you need to provide a quality product with a quality service, and hope that makes all the difference. In a perfect world, we would all be charging similar prices, and only those that charge higher are producing better quality.

Comparing Others

So you have looked around the Internet and checked to see what other competitors and colleagues are charging. You have one relatively unknown person in the middle of nowhere trying to charge $25 for a photograph. On the other hand, you see another person with a little bit of better work charging $250. Which price should you charge? Perhaps like most people, you consider yourself an “unknown” too and are just starting out or trying to make ends meet. The first inclination may be to charge on the lower end of the spectrum – $25. But are you selling yourself short? Perhaps if you charge closer to $250, others will see your work as “more professional” or “more valuable.” It’s a tricky question with a seemingly tricky answer.

In order to answer this question, we can look at other various industries for a baseline number.

Take for example a plumber or an electrician. They can easily charge $100-$150/hour. If your electricity goes out or your toilet stops working – you have no real alternative aside from trying to fix it yourself. You’re more or less forced to pay those prices. However, there’s a reason why you pay them these rates. Even at those prices, I don’t see many plumbers and electricians living in mansions. The standard of living factoring in risk and reward (for running your own business) all averages out.

How about professional photographers? They’ll bill out $1,500-$2,500 a day. What is not apparent to the average person/onlooker is that they’ll spend a few days prior negotiating with potential clients, a few days in post process after a shoot, and a few days cleaning up all of their previous negotiations.

As for architects, how much do you suppose their companies bill out on a hourly basis? The average is around $125/hour. The principals? They can push $200/hour.

Now let’s take a look at my architectural illustration work. Running my company (artwork creation, 3D knowledge, self-education, marketing, invoicing, sales, etc.) is more complicated than any other job I’ve personally ever seen and requires multiple skill sets. What do you think I should be charging if I spend an hour’s worth of work on something?

You may say to yourself, “well, art isn’t a necessity.” However in my field, I argue that it is. My illustration work helps sell multimillion dollar buildings based on ideas and blueprints. If someone is planning to put up a $50 million dollar building and it all hinges on a pretty picture, do you think it’s worth spending $10,000 or more? It sure is. My work gets ordinances passed by town boards. It communicates to designers what something will look like even before it goes to manufacturing. And it helps fill spaces quickly. That’s a very useful service to people and companies.

So I’ll ask the question again – what do you think I should be charging? My work is more complicated than average and it is very useful. I know from personal experience that I’ve spent almost 10 years, working and studying 16 hour days, almost 7 days a week with no vacation doing this. Shouldn’t I gain some level of reward on top of all the energy and extra efforts I’ve put into my craft?

I’ll make the same point as I did in the previous section. You’re not doing yourself any favors by charging low. That only works for the short-term. The same applies for charging high unless you’re determined to produce a better quality and provide a better service. You need to find that middle ground.

Cost of Living Breakdown

Now that I’ve more or less made my argument that geographical location is becoming increasingly irrelevant in today’s digital age, let’s assume that you’re an average professional artist living in a city all by your lonesome in an apartment. You’re single with no children. All you do is freelance for work. This “should” be the most common situation. Let’s tally up your expenses:

  1. Rent: $1,500/month or $18,000/year.
  2. Electricity: $250/month or $3,000/year.
  3. Heating (assuming it’s efficient): $250/month or $3,000/year.
  4. High-Speed Internet/Digital Voice/Television (hey, it’s bundled): $200/month or $2,400/year.
  5. Cell Phone with data access (most people have them): $80/month or $960/year.
  6. Car loan or finance: $300/month or $3,600/year.
  7. Groceries (we all have to eat): $200/month or $2,400/year.

TOTAL: $33,360/year.

This means that you have to make at least $33,360/year in order to just pay your bills. I’m not even factoring in credit cards, health insurance, and miscellaneous equipment expenses – that could easily add another $8,500 to that total. So let’s add in those items:

  1. Health Insurance (average Massachusetts plan): $300/month or $3,600 year.
  2. Credit card (you ran into trouble and have to pay it off monthly): $150/month or $1,800/year.
  3. Misc. equipment expenses (ie. a high end computer for graphics, software, repairs, .etc): $2,500/year
  4. Previous total: $33,360/year.

REVISED TOTAL #1: $41,260/year.

So we’re up to a little over$40,000/year. That’s not including 1/3 business taxes, 10%/annually in retirement savings, savings for your potential kid’s college education, and savings for a nice down-payment on a home. I like round numbers and I’m going to jump a few more steps to include these items.

REVISED TOTAL #2: $60,000/year.

That’s right. You need to make $60,000/year just to survive in a city by yourself. How do most people do it? They manage, but they often struggle to just keep their heads above water. It also general requires a dual income either through having roommates or through marriage. Add to this economic uncertainty such as the global depression in 2009, and you’re sitting on the edge. Here are some statistics as to the average income and salary within the United States.

I’m not trying to scare anyone here, but rather I’m pointing out that you should at the very minimum be targeting $60,000 year in 2010 just to earn a living.

How Much to Charge

Let’s say that we agree on $60,000/year as a target figure. How much does that mean we need to make per week at a minimum? Let’s say that you work 50 weeks out of the whole year. That breaks down to $1,200/week or roughly $4,800. Again, I like round numbers so you need to earn $5,000/month.

Let’s say that you’re an artist and you’re lucky to get two jobs per month that take a week per job. Each job would need to cost $2,500 in order to meet your target goal of $60,000/year.

Assuming (and this is a big assumption) that all of your marketing duckies are lined-up in a row and that you can manage to pull four jobs per month, then maybe you can charge $1,250/per job at the very minimum. At that minimum price point, you are really risking your own livelihood and future. Truthfully, you can’t just risk staying at the baseline, but should instead be focusing on getting ahead.

So. how much should a person charge? Realistically, you may only get two jobs per month – if that. Most artists don’t. Either you’ll need to seriously improve your marketing strategies and obtain more jobs, or fit the average quantity of jobs you receive per year into that $5,000 month target.

Guess how much most professional rendering artists at the top of their game charge per image? $4,000 on up. I’ve heard of figures on the order of $12,000 per image for the very best. They may spend half a month working on a single image, but that may be the only image they get. If they receive two or more, then they’re often happy. The next month they may have none. You’re doing yourself and others no favors by low-balling one another. All it does to serve in the long-run is lower the overall quality of work involved.

I’ve also heard of some well-known 3D studios charging around $10,000 per image. Is it highway robbery? Absolutely not. They’re simply trying to meet their overhead in a rapidly changing economy.

You may be saying to yourself, “haha, I don’t live in a city so I don’t need to charge nearly that freelancing amount” or “I’m married so that doesn’t apply.” I have news for you – pull your head out of your ass. We are living in a digital age now. Those boundaries and rules do not apply. It’s also a matter of time before the playing field is more or less leveled. There’s no reason why any of us should become complacent to simply struggle and “get by” on keeping that car of your running on fumes. If you value your work and hard-earned efforts, than that value has a minimum price tag you should try to meet. You need to change your mind-set. $2,500 per image at the very least is a good target goal when starting out on your own. It’s not always realistically possible, but you should keep that target figure in mind. In fact, I’d go so far as to say that you should be targeting over $4,000 per image in your mind. The more you value your work to be that figure, the more it will actually become to be worth that amount. Don’t sell yourself short.

Taking Your Practice One Step Further – Getting Ahead

So now that I’ve hopefully convinced you that you may be charging too little, I’d like to point out another angle. Pretend for a moment that you are an actual business with an employee. Not only are you taking your original figure of $60,000 that you had to make, but you also have to insure their salary over the course of the year. That figure alone could easily run $50,000 (or more) in a very technical field. You also wouldn’t simply want a helping hand – you deserve to make a profit for the additional risk and responsibilities you’re putting upon yourself. So you’ve basically more than doubled the amount of work you must do and charge in order to keep your head floating above water.

The artist needs to stop thinking of “me, me, and me.” Unless you have an extraordinary gimmick, luck, or style – that “fame” you might be seeking will often prove elusive. You need to take your ego out of the mindset of being the lone artist. Pretend for a second that you are a full-fledged company. Whatever charges you proposed in the previous section starts to quickly look small. Not only are you targeting that $4,000 mark, but you have to set your sights even higher than that.

Summary

I have many reasons why I wrote this article. In particular, I’ve seen many artists ask themselves over the years, “how much should I charge?” I’ve seen many crazy answers. I also speak from personal experience. When a little more than half of all small businesses fail within the first five years, I consider LunarStudio to be a success in that department. By helping fellow artists and businesses alike through healthy discussion about this topic, in turn I hope to raise my own standards and rates. If we all work together (and stick together) to help determine the lowest common single denominator any single one of us can charge, then we can prevent drastically undercutting one another which often leads to more harm than good. Artists and freelancers alike need to start valuing their work, time, and efforts and stop selling themselves short. As much as I don’t like thinking of our artwork “as a business” from a philosophical perspective, being a “professional artist” entails that we carry ourselves in a professional and respective manner.