What Should You Be Charging for Your Hourly Visual FX Rate?

This 60 Second Calculator Will Help You Figure out If You’re Too High (and Being Rejected) or Too Low (and Being Used).


  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Allan McKayCreated by Allan McKay

Emmy Award Winning VFX Supervisor, who has worked on Transformers, Superman, Star Trek, Halo, Call of Duty, and more.

Charging Too Much?

Is your hourly rate set too high for the industry and area you live? If you’re overpricing yourself, there is a good chance you’re missing out on many jobs you could have gotten at a slightly lower price. It’s easy to alienate employers by charging too high, and missing out on loads of opportunities. While having a chance to build your portfolio, build relationships, improve your IMDB rankings and create future bigger opportunities.

Charging Too Little?

Are you under-valuing your hourly rate? Unfortunately this is something I see all the time too. Visual Effects Specialists will be so desperate to get some work in the door that they slash their rates, and miss out on $10,000’s of potential that the studio was ready to give you. On top of that, once you commit at that price level, that studio and all the others it talks with (ie – all of them) will always expect you to work at that in the future!

How These Rates Are Calculated

The key factors required are critical to give a fairly accurate range, based on your experience, location, discipline and other factors. Based on statistics pooled from multiple industry resources, as well as corrected based on today’s going rates and an advisory braintrust.

This 60 diagnostic tool was created specifically to evaluate your situation, taking into account things like:

Industry & Speciality

Do you work in film, games, TV or design? Are you a generalist, or do you specialize in something like animation, compositing, effects, lighting, modeling or tracking?


Some locations carry significantly higher rates than others. How does the specific place that you live contribute to how much you can charge?


How long have you been working in the industry? How long is long enough where you can really start increasing your rates?


Building relationships, and your reputation as the ‘go to artist’ is critical for repeat business, the more you build your “brand” the higher fees you can command. How healthy are the relationships you have with studios you work with?

Created by Allan McKay

Allan McKayAllan McKay is an Emmy Award Winning VFX Supervisor in Los Angeles, California. Previously working with directors like Michael Bay, George Lucas and Robert Zemeckis as well as projects ranging from Superman, Star Trek, Transformers, Halo, Destiny and Call of Duty as well as many other high profile projects for The Superbowl and other big events.

Throughout the past 20 years in Allan has worked closely with many leading studios like Industrial Light + Magic, Blur Studio, Activision, Ubisoft, Prime Focus and founded Catastrophic FX in Santa Monica, CA. Throughout McKay’s career, he has been responsible for building large and small teams for film and games, as well as reviewing thousands of portfolios, giving career advice at many events around the US, Europe and Asia and mentoring students to have high level career success.

A regular judge for the CG awards, awarded Autodesk Master, as well as many oscar nominated projects under his belt and speaker for events such as SIGGRAPH, It’s Art Masterclass Paris and Autodesk University.

Allan’s training has been used throughout many leading studios like Weta, Disney, Microsoft, Electronic Arts,ILM,Blizzard Games, MPC. Allan’s mentorship is responsible for hundreds of artists and technical directors landing jobs at many leading studios from ILM, MPC, Framestore, Disney and other studios worldwide.

Companies I’ve Worked With

Ready to find out your perfect hourly rate?