Environments for TV and Movie Production

Hello All.

My studio in Burbank CA has almost completed our transition to Unreal and 4K. We do live compositing and camera tracking with totally free movement of our three cinema quality cameras.

I am looking for help or suggestions regarding the creation of Unreal environments. We may need a hotel lobby this week, a beach house the next, a shopping mall, an old west bank – we’ll need whatever environments a client needs for their next production.

We have several high profile clients (national TV networks and movie studios). Would a set-up with environment creators as I outline in the following paragraph work?

I post that a client (say CBS for this example) needs a hotel lobby environment. I pay a small fee (say $200) for a creator to build it. The creator creates the hotel lobby for us, and would then be free to sell it on the Marketplace or in any other place for additional revenue. Theoretically he or she would sell more because of the “As seen on CBS” credibility. Also theoretically, he or she could further his business/career/reputation because he or she could add to his resume “created virtual environment for xyz show on CBS”.

Would my approach to Unreal environment creation work and be of interest to environment creators?

Any other suggestions?

At some point we’d possibly bring on creators full time, but for now would like to outsource it.


Most likely a client like CBS would not allow the artist you hire to be able to resell assets that they paid for on a project. I would also say that the exposure probably isn’t worth how much lower you’re wanting to pay. What is worth it more is if you can provide a steady amount of work, so an artist might give you a discounted rate if you can get them extended periods of work.

Thanks Darth. Don’t worry about the client not wanting others to use the environment. For the most part, they don’t care – they’d rather pay less than get an exclusive on an environment (though that will be their call). There’s a long history in Hollywood of productions using the same sets through the decades.

What is the non-discounted going price environments such as I’ve described?

You have to break it down into hours, a good freelance artist is going to be $30+ an hour, so for $200 you’d only get about a day of work, which isn’t going to be enough.

I know there’s a massive range based on complexity, but what would be the typical range of hours I should ballpark if I paid an hourly rate?

It depends on how complex the scene is and what level of quality you’re going for.

Needs to be really good quality. Is it possible to give me a range of hours from not complex to quite complex?

You’re going to have to talk to the person you’re looking to hire and give them some more detail on the typical type of project you’re going to have

Some games spend over 150 hours on the main character, others create 20 different background NPCs in a week.

Are we talking about a single room, or an entire building? Or a scene that just needs to work for one camera angle.

Are there pretty barren, or completely stuffed with detail? More unique assets means more time.

Is there a lot of reference and concept reference, or are the scenes made up from scratch? Matching a photo or concept is quicker and easier.

I’m usually talking about a single room, with perhaps a hallway or another room connecting to it. It needs to work from all camera angles. I’d like them to be stuffed with quite a bit of detail – the same amount of detail you’d typically see in a real room of it’s type. I like the reference idea. I’d find a photo of a similar real environment if that would help.

Any range estimates of how many hours a typical environment as described would take, or any suggestion of how to find a person or company to create them?

one thing a lot of people don’t realize until they actually have to make them all, is how many objects are typically in a single room. When i started studying game art, in our second year we were tasked to recreate our school building to proper scale and detail, and fill ONE room each, with everything we saw in it. Now we were by no means professionals, but we were at the end of two years of modeling/texturing, so we were pretty decent at it. 45 of us spent 305 hours (2 work months / 8 hour days) to finish it. now that we are moving into our fifth year (2.5 more to go woop) iv lead around 13 of the 45 down a photogrammetry/lighting and technical art pathway and each one of us could build a room in around 2 days with enough computing power (we have around 100 pc’s here for calculating point-clouds and dedicated baking machines) 3d art is an enormous time consumer. Getting paid $200 for a room full of assets? probably not gonna happen.

Thanks ixicalibur. I’m hoping someone will tell me how much the going rate is for something good, and how to find a good person or company to make environments.

Also, why are the environments at the Unreal Marketplace so inexpensive? The vast majority are under $200.

I suggest looking at That is probably closer to what you are after.

(Also,Tim, please don’t be that person who says “I’m not paying much, but think of the exposure”. That isn’t the right thing to say to professionals.)

The vast majority are under $200 because they are sold to as many people that want to buy them, and to the quality the artist is prepared to invest into it. but it sounds like you need high quality, custom content, or else you would just buy said environments from the market place. that’s gonna cost you

Thanks for the info All.