Hiring an Architectural Visualization Artist? Here’s How to Negotiate a Good Price
Hiring an Architectural Visualization Artist? Here’s How to Negotiate a Good Price

There’s a constantly growing need for architectural visualization artists. More and more architects need them to visualize their projects, and their work can be used for promotion, portfolios, and website promotion. Even though the results and benefits of their work are evident, the pricing and the services they provide aren’t.

Most people don’t know what to expect when hiring a 3D artist or a visualization company. You need to know how much something costs to ensure you get quality work for your money, but hiring 3D artists isn’t as simple as buying groceries.

There are many factors involved that affect the price. It’s important to get a bit more information about the process to understand all of the things involved in hiring a 3D artist and finding a good price for your services. In the end, more knowledge helps you negotiate a better price.

What is Architectural Visualization?

Before anything else, you need to understand what architectural visualization is. It’s the process of presenting architecture ideas and projects with a 3D graphical representation. The whole representation includes photographs, lights, materials, and cameras that are processed through rendering.

After rendering is finished, we get the final product. All the visualization work is delivered in 3D. The images can be statues, dynamic, or animated. Simply put, visualizations can be delivered as 3D images or videos that paint the whole story even better.

Some new technologies, like virtual reality, allow the creation of renders through which people can navigate. It lets people check out the interior of a future building at their own pace.

How These Projects Work

Many people make the mistake of thinking that 3D architectural artists have extensive architecture knowledge, but this isn’t the case. They usually have some basic knowledge of construction and architecture, but they are not the ones who can design structures.

Artists work together with architects. The architect needs to deliver a project, and the visualization professional reads it and creates a visualization based on that project. Simply put, you need to have everything prepared and delivered to the artist.

Don’t expect them to “put the finishing touches” on a project for you. It’s up to you to talk to them about how you want your visualization to look, which aspects you want to emphasize, the camera angles, and lighting.

Know What You Need

Nobody likes their time being wasted. If you contact an artist and you don’t know what you actually need, chances are they will turn you down and look for another client. Understand what your project is about and what needs to be done.

More importantly, understand how complex the design project is, as the level of complexity affects prices a lot. Do you need a couple of visualizations, or do you need CGI, animated videos, and virtual reality?

All these things carry different levels of complexity and price. Get your end together before reaching out to someone else. If you don’t know what you’re talking about, you might seem too complicated to artists, and they would want to charge you more.

Let the Artist Name His/Her Price

As a client, you should leave it up to the service provider to name their price, but before you do that, it’s important to have all the relevant industry information and quotes. With this kind of approach, you have all the ammo you need to counter an offer, if necessary.

Setting a “starting price” on your own is not a good idea when hiring an architectural visualizer. Revealing your desired price instantly can put off the person you are negotiating with or prevent you from having the opportunity to negotiate.

On the other hand, if you put a price that’s too low, you set the expectations really low. The artist would either instantly reject your offer as he or she has other clients, or even worse, they will take you on as a client and do a really poor job, equal to their compensation.

Compare Prices With Other 3D Artists

It might seem like a no-brainer, but most people focus on one artist and don’t look any further. That’s a big mistake. There are many fish in the sea, especially today, with many established websites where you can find 3D architecture artists.

First of all, make sure to thoroughly research the artists. Look at their work, portfolios, bios, and so on. Contact all of them and ask them to give you their starting price. Of course, tell them about the project and what you require.

Once you’ve received proposed prices from all of the artists, make sure to compare them. With this in mind, look at their work and if their price3s match the quality of their previous projects. That’s how you can discover a better option for a lower price.

Do Your Homework


You can’t just jump into negotiations with visualizers. It’s important to come prepared. You need all the relevant information at your disposal and even a couple of tricks up your sleeve. Here’s what you need to do.

Learn About Architectural Visualization

Knowledge is power – there’s no way around that. As we mentioned earlier, architectural visualization involves many things. There are so many things that can go wrong, need to be polished, edited, or upgraded within a project.

The process is almost never the same, so you need to be aware of these things. It’s the only way to have the right arguments for price negotiation. If not, an artist can tell you a great story of how they need to do so many things and that your project is simply more expensive.

How Large is Your Project?

Does your project require a couple of 3D visuals, or does it need dozens of images? It makes a huge difference. For example, 2 to 3 visuals will cost you an average of $600 per visual, which can amount to about $1800.

On the other hand, a project of 10 visuals means more work summing up the costs to up to $6000, right? Wrong. When a larger project is in place, you negotiate lower prices. Depending on the complexity of the visuals, you can lower the price per visual to around $400.

What are Average Prices for Similar Projects?

Similarly to the way you would get quotes from different artists and check their prices, you should do research on projects. Look for various 3D visualization projects online and how much they cost. Find projects that are similar to yours (or you would like them to be) and write down their prices.

At the same time, if you are in need of something fairly simple in terms of visualization, you don’t have to go with some of the best professionals out there. There are a lot of freelancers that haven’t yet established themselves and will work for lower fees but still do a good job.

Low Prices Equals Poor Service

Looking for lower prices is a good idea if you don’t need anything spectacular. However, if you have a large project with lots of visuals that needs quality rendering and a high level of details, you can’t go with a low price. Chances are you won’t get good results.

It might seem like a good idea at first, save some money, right? Wrong again. A poor visualization won’t get you the results you wanted. In fact, you will get the opposite effect. For example, if you are an architect, you want people to see your project and decide to hire you.

If you have poor visualization, they will only turn potential clients away. It’s good to look for lower pieces, but if the price for the same service is 70% lower, then something is wrong.

Talk About Corrections and Their Pricing

Corrections or edits are a regular part of visualization services. However, some firms and freelancers don’t include edits in their regular pricing. What does this mean? Simply put, when the artist finishes the project, and you think that some things can be improved or changed, they won’t do it without additional payment.

The first question to ask is if their prices include editing. If not, ask them how much they charge for additional edits. Bear in mind that visualizations often require edits. An artist might have lower prices, but if they charge for each new edit, you might pay more than going with someone who has a higher starting price.

The Shorter the Deadline, the Higher the Price

How fast you want the project to be done affects the price. Being realistic about it means having a realistic price. If you want it done faster than it would normally require, chances are that you will be charged additionally.

For example, if you are contacting a rendering agency, they will likely have the option to speed things up and put more people on your project, which means neglecting other projects, and that’s why you will have to pay more.

On the other hand, if you are working with freelancers, you might get away with shorter deadlines without having to pay more. However, you should generally avoid speeding things up as you never know if the results will be good.

CGI is Expensive

CGI is a special part of the visualization process. It looks amazing, but it requires more time and knowledge, which is why it costs more. CGI is the term used for generating computer graphics from scratch. IT doesn’t involve bringing 2D images into the 3D world.

The artist creates new models from scratch, and this requires additional knowledge. Similarly, the more special animations you have, the lower the price will be for one. Think about the elements you can do in a simpler way without adding complex visuals, if possible.

Be Realistic

You can’t ask for everything while not giving anything in return. Many clients underestimate 3D artists in architecture and think that their jobs are simple. Building photorealistic visualizations requires a lot of time, computing power, technical and creative knowledge.

If you are respectful to the artists and trying to meet them halfway, chances are they will respond better. After all, they are doing this for a living, and they need to get something out of the whole arrangement.

If someone says, “this is my limit,” chances are they won’t go any lower no matter how much you pressure them. The more likely scenario is that they will simply stop negotiating with you. Some might even accept your terms that are unrealistic and won’t fulfill their end of the deal.

Talk to Multiple Artists

No matter what your approach is and what kind of project you have in mind, talk to as many professionals as you can. See what they have to offer, how they would approach the project, their previous work, and the price for the whole project.

Yes, negotiating the price is important, but it’s not the only relevant factor. The most important thing is to get a product that you’re happy with. Thoroughly ask each artist about their strengths and the advantages of working with them.

That’s how you can compare their pros and cons. After you’ve done that, you can shortlist the artists you like the best. Once you’ve done that, you can look at their prices and negotiate better deals.


It can be intimidating to negotiate prices for a 3D rendering project, which is why you need to prepare thoroughly and know what you’re talking about. Keep in mind that some people would take advantage of your lack of knowledge and charge you more.

There isn’t any standard pricing in the industry, so think about all of the factors involved to make the right decision. Give all the information about the project to get the exact visuals as you imagined them.