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Client-Artist relationship in arch-viz

Updated: Mar 4

Before any project collaboration starts between the client and the artist, it is always good to set up some ground rules so the work could run as smooth as possible.


Most of the arch-viz studios have similar workflow, but there can be some crucial differences that could affect the collaboration and expected end results. It is extremely important to exchange as much project and workflow information even before the official quotation is made, so both sides could be completely aware of what’s expected from their side.


Client to artist (or studio) relation

When requesting a quotation from an artist or a studio, client should prepare all the info that could help to comprehend the amount of work on the project needed. Of course, if the project is classified at the moment and the client is concerned about the information leaking, there is always a possibility of signing the NDA.


Here is the list of some of the basic information about the project client should prepare when requesting the quotation:


Project description:

  • Brief project explanation

  • Technical documentation (CAD drawings, floor plans, sections, elevations, master plans etc.)

  • Project location (Google maps location, country, city address etc.)

  • If the 3D model (CAD, Revit, SketchUp, 3ds max etc.) will be provided or not

  • Deadline (if the delivery date is defined upfront, it should be stated)

  • Acceptable payment ways for the client


General scope of work:

  • Roughly how many images are required

  • Is there a need for interior, exterior, or both type of images, eye-level, or aerial views

  • What are the rough camera angles required

  • Is the photo-montage required (client should provide the high quality photos from the location for this)

  • Are 360° panorama views or tours required

  • Are animations required, what should be represented and what should be the duration of the final video


Other information about the expected production:

  • Are the image or video file formats specifically defined

  • Should there be a specific resolution or proportion of the images or videos

  • Is there a specific atmosphere or time of day that should be shown (sun, cloudy, rain, snow, dusk, night, light direction, interior lights on or off, light sources and temperature etc.)

  • Materials mood board and references (images, websites, descriptions etc.)

  • Furniture mood board and references (images, websites, descriptions etc.)

  • Building context (its surroundings, greenery, other buildings on site, terrain etc.)

  • Should the “life” be shown in the images or videos (people or animals)

  • Other or similar project reference images, to show the look and feel that the client likes


It does seem like a lot of information, but the client will probably need to provide it sooner or later along the project duration, so to avoid the back and forth communication, it’s much easier if he is able to prepare it as much as possible. Also, artist or studio that will be hired for the job will have the precise idea about the amount of work, thus providing a precise price, as well as avoid charging extra and explaining why something costs more than quoted because the request do not meet the initial agreement. This is a situation neither side finds themselves comfortable in.


Artist (or studio) to client relation

Each artist or studio will ask the potential client to provide them with the info above in one form or another, to be able to give the price. When quotation is formed, some of the following information should be forwarded to the client:

Availability – If the artist or studio are available to meet the client’s defined deadline, or if it is not defined, what is the timeline in which the job can be done.


Technical information

If not defined by the client, the artist or studio should let them know what software they are using for production, as well as what type of file format they deliver for the final output as a standard.


Project inputs file format

Each artist or studio are using specific set of tools in their production, so they should let the client know what type of files they are able to use. Are they ready to use PDFs, DWGs, PLNs, RVTs etc. As for the 3D models, not everyone is usable for the production, so if the client is providing the 3D model, they should firstly check if there are some standards in quality and level of details that artists or studios are expecting.


Contracts

The best way for both parties to protect their selves is to sign a mutual agreement with all terms and conditions stated. Few things that should be considered are the scope of work, deadlines, material ownership (working files like 3D scenes, 3D models and textures, rendered images and videos etc.), publishing rights etc.


Revision policy

Most of the artists and studios today have their revision policies, where they define the number and amount of revisions they will do for the originally quoted price. This is simply to protect themselves from putting in many additional hours into the project if the client is not completely prepared all the information or the final design. Many of us burned so many times with never-ending projects and not being able to charge those changes since the job was badly agreed in the first place. Clients should understand that they are paying for the time, knowledge, hardware and software invested to create their projects, so quotation should clearly state this policy. Having this in mind, offer should also state all the other possible factors that could affect any additional cost along the project duration.


Advanced payment

Artists and studios should always consider taking the advanced payment from the client, especially for larger projects. This is simply to cover the initial expenses, like assets purchase (software, 3D models, textures, plugins needed to finish the work), covering the employees working hours on the project, usage of external render farms and similar. Of course, if it is a client with which they are working for a long time, some dose of trust should be involved, but if it is a completely new client, advanced payment is one way to protect themselves. There are many ways to agree on the advanced payment (50-50%, 40-30-30%, first payment after delivering the clay images etc.), and it is the most important to make the arrangement that is acceptable on both sides.


Industry terminology

It would be great for the artists and studios to educate their clients as much as possible, so their communication would be smooth all the way. Phrases like “clay render” (example image no. 1), or “red lines” (example image no. 2) are used on a regular basis, so try to explain everything to the client along the way, it will be much easier for the future collaborations.


example image no. 1 - clay render


example image no. 2 - red lines


Summary

Everything written above is not the exact set of rules, it has the intention to help both sides to get to a great start, straight from the beginning of the project. The most important thing in the end is to build a mutual trust between the two.


Clients should understand that they are hiring someone with a great experience in architectural visualization area, and that they can most likely do an amazing job and bring cool ideas that the client wouldn’t think of, if they just avoid limiting the artist’s creativity, but should point out everything they would like to specifically see in the final product. Of course, artists also appreciate a lot if all the agreed payments are made on time :)


On the other hand, artists should listen to the client carefully, get him to be involved during the entire process, not to feel left out in the dark, help them understand the process and educate them, and work on the good communication along the project duration. Improving yourself and your skills daily is of course a must. This should certainly help for the clients to get back to them more than once.


It is definitely all about the trust.

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