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UDK vs Rendering (Time and Price)

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  • UDK vs Rendering (Time and Price)

    Hello all. Just thought I'd bring up the first topic that everybody talks about when talking about real-time and arch viz: the price!

    While the UDK has helped to break down many of the most time consuming or difficult to implement (trees, lighting primarily) it's still much more time consuming to create an environment in the UDK than it is in MAX.

    Of course you end up with a project with interactivity, dynamics and cutting edge tech, but it's still going to cost more than rendered stills or animation.

    How do you approach pitching an interactive environment to a client? Knowing that it's significantly more expensive, how can you enumerate the benefits to a potential client?

    I'd also like to discuss methods for reducing costs and production time that people are considering and using. I think by sharing this we can help finally make real-time arch-viz a cost-effective deliverable.

  • #2
    you can do everything in max and export it to udk, so it will take the time you need to do the scene for a still, plus the export/import time, that it's not really so much after all.

    i don't do it for job so i can't talk about money, but i guess that a real-time project should cost like this:

    [(Time to have a complete walk-in-through)*(the cost per second for the architecture animation)]*(2 at least)

    after all you give to the costumer the chance to have still and animation in the same product!


    • #3
      Originally posted by Lux87 View Post
      [(Time to have a complete walk-in-through)*(the cost per second for the architecture animation)]*(2 at least)
      Time to complete a walk through times cost per second? It should be either

      walk through duration x cost per second
      or time to complete x cost per HOUR.

      Using cost per second on duration wont work as there's no duration on UDK. To use time to complete times hourly rate, you will have to ask for all the project details before giving price. Pricing is one thing, estimation is another. Lots of people asking for price but can't give a solid pricing system.

      With normal animation, companies usually give cost per second and that gives them how much a 2 minute animation will be. But UDK, there's no solid way to give them an estimate unless you ask for all the details and provide official quote. I tried estimating based on square footage but that scared people away because architects and developers always think in total square footage instead square footage being visualized. And rate for 2,000 square foot apartment filled with furnitures versus 20,000 empty warehouse will vary too much to call it a system.


      • #4
        As poster above wrote, only one additional task while creating enviroment in udk compared to autocad or max is exporting/importing models. That is after you setup your working pipeline in optimal way.

        However UDK is much more demanding in UV layout of your models, in rendering application you can get ok results without uvs for some surfaces, while that in udk means stretched texture and no lightmaps.

        Same goes for textures and models, in interactive mode client can walk up to wall and see that bricks are done in mspaint, while with rendered animation you know which textures or models can be of low quality.

        So I think time and cost difference comes from that interactivity requires high quality of textures and models everywhere while flyby does not.

        Try one of your projects in UDK with nvidia 3d vision, for me there is no going back.

        For reducing costs:
        - use some scripts for automating importing and exporting process. For eg perl script that generates snippets for udk, so all you need to do manually is mass import bulk of meshes, then run snippet to place them in level. With some skill and time one could script importing and exporting whole scene with lights etc.
        - convert all your clutter models to udk so you have library of furniture, trees etc.
        - some dummy map with various variants of skybox and light, kismet sequence with different ambient sounds (like city, rural, forrest, sea) that you can just turn on/off without setting all that.
        - make one standard shader for materials, this way you do not waste time of recreating variations of same material in future projects, you just instance it and plug needed textures.


        • #5
          I have different but a similar question for those who work in architectural industry. How do you price projects outside of your own country? With entire economy in a shamble in US, a lot of US architectural firms do projects overseas. And some of my architect friends in those big firms tells me that they do lower their rates to some degree if they do projects in China for example. Question is, how do you know what the average rate is for visualization in those countries? We recently have been getting some foreign contacts and this always has been the dilemma. It's even worse with all the currency rate taking rollercoast ride recently.


          • #6
            As a rule of business, you should price your projects based on what you need as a studio/freelancer to survive. If your overhead and cost of living is too high, you simply cannot do work for less than you need or you are operating at a loss. That of course assumes you have other, higher paying work that you could be doing instead. Competing in China however is a good way to stay hungry. You simply cannot compete with the prices they offer especially as the level of quality coming from China has increased a lot over the last few years.
            You can also ask your potential clients what they usually pay or expect to pay for similar services. It seems odd, but they usually are happy to tell.