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How do artists sustain themselves? How much money should I spend to use their services?

My Background
Hello Unreal Engine community, I am a long time lurker who has been on and off in attempting to create something playable in unreal engine. My background is in Python and C++ programming and thus, when making games, I usually have no problem understanding and coding scripts. Furthermore, I work full-time as an engineer and make video games as my side job (or hobby). This means that I have disposable income to support my “hobby” and I am not dependent on selling those video games to make profit.

What I have problem with is… 3D modelling, animating, music, etc. I was thinking of allocating a budget to pay an artist to do all those stuff for me. The thing is I don’t really know how should I pay and how much should I pay.

Curiosity
I have been lurking around the forums and I find that there are a few artists in the “job offering” thread that offer their services “unpaid”. It makes me wonder how could they sustain themselves if they are not paid. Do most artists work a side job to make ends meet or do most artists just treat their work as hobby (thus unpaid). I hope you can shed some light to this.

So how much budget should I plan to pay artists?
My situation that will affect my budget is as follows:

  1. I am passionate about programming and making video (just like many others) and I have many gaming ideas (I am sure others have too). However, developing a software until the end is mentally draining and I have seen so many people just stopped developing their software. I am afraid i will become one of those people who choose to drop out because if I do, all of my time and money spent on making those games is just flushed down the drain. So… I want to keep the cost down at least to minimize this (hopefully not going to happen) impact.
  2. Ideally, I want a model similar to the image I posted below (that’s a character from Punishing Gray). If I want a 3D rigged model of something like that, tell me how much would it cost me.
  3. I also want to budget for 2D arts (for icons) and special effect (emitters) because I am bad at creating them my own.
  4. I am prepared to accept mediocre result because what I pay is what I deserve to get.
  5. [SIZE=12px]I am new to game development and I am looking forward for your thoughtful replies (harsh feedback is ok too). [/SIZE]

Punisher.jpg