3d Gaming/Vfx Artists Jobs in India do not pay well - How true is this?

nitpick

Recruit
Hey,

So a thread on Reddit (about Ubisoft HQ taking the development of Prince of Persia off of Ubisoft's Indian offices' hands) had a few comments about how low the pay is. Thread here - https://www.reddit.com/r/IndianGaming/comments/uhzudt -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Some of the comments -

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So how true are these statements? Could anyone who's involved in these industries chime in? Should one not at all venture into these industries? Thanks.
 

greenhorn

Skilled
Not justifying the practice, but pay for any field which needs only a 3 year degree/diploma tend to be low compared a 4 year degree such as engineering because
1. The supply is much greater than demand
2. It's seen as a relatively low cost degree,
3. Academically it's not seen as rigorous

Probably the govt will need to create a new engineering stream (like UX engineering or something similar) before freshers can get competitive pay in this area. It's sad too because it's hard getting good design folks, and HR's lowballing on pay is not helping
 

nitpick

Recruit
Yes, I do agree that the barrier to entry is low. But what concerned me in those comments was that even someone with years of experience isn't being paid well, supposedly.
Also, does this mean that folks with a fine art degree (eg BFA) would be paid well?
I've always heard people say that good artists are pretty hard to come by. So I always assumed that you'd be paid well, once you have some experience under your belt, & if you are better than most.
Also, that one comment states that for the same skill set, the gaming industry doesn't pay well, whereas other industries (he specifies he's in an ecomm company) do. How true is that then?
 

psyph3r

Skilled
I worked at Ubi Pune for 7 years, although pay was lesser back then I've heard things have improved a lot on that front.
Anyone with 10 plus years of AAA experience isn't getting paid 12 LPA, nowadays there's a lot of demand for Unity devs and I've seen guys with 2 years xp (non AAA) get 9-10 LPA.
There's no AAA dev in India as such, it's mostly menial stuff like porting jobs, backend stuff, data analysis, asset creation, QA/QC, etc
Our education system is incapable of enabling a person to build a game engine from scratch, things are changing due to unreal/unity though and we might see decent games in 5-10 years hopefully.
That being said a lot of my friends at Ubi learnt on the job, they started off as testers at 1.5 LPA, switched into production when the opportunity arose and a few of them have gone on to become Game and Level designers at devs like IO Interactive, Bioware, Crytek, Supercell etc so while the pay may not be good by international standards, it opens up a lot of doors for a talented person.
 

nitpick

Recruit
Ah, so if you are a developer/programmer, then it seems you are fairly okay. Because if someone gets 9-10 lpa after 2 years of work experience, it's fairly decent, I'd say.

So does that mean that the artists are screwed though? Those comments in the screenshots above seemed to be directed more towards artists' salaries? Since you have actually worked in the game industry, maybe you could share some insight on this?

Also, may I ask what did you move onto after your stint at Ubisoft? Thanks.
 

dafreaking

Skilled
I cannot comment on the industry per se as my 3D/VFX work is more to augment my video work as opposed to a sole business. Pricing is like the Wild Wild West. In the freelance world a lot of it is due to crazy undercutting and clients having a big range in what they consider quality work and passable work.

For the longest time the VFX industry was basically doing the grunt non technical creative work like Roto. Things have sort of become better but the industry on the whole worldwide has never been super high paying till you reach a senior level or have skills that can't be outsourced easily.
 

Ramadhir Singh

Wasseypur
Adept
1. pay scale in pune/mh is considerably low in India., Ubisoft Pune is no exception. non of the companies in pune are doing developmental work, ubi, sumo, lakshya/keywords. mostly they are either porting or doing leftover jobs of their foreign counterparts. I remember once lakshya offered me studio director/manager post for 15lpa :D
2. salary of artist in general is bad in India compared to their programmer counter part - because supply & demand factors. we have shit loads of artist of all shape and forms, Thanks to arena, maac, etc for popping up like mushroom in rainy season. and people fell for them ( due to our economic, education system & social reason)
3. Artists community in India is very bad, one artist never thinks twice to screw over other artist - no unity, a very backstabbing community. where as in programmer the unity is great. Thus led company to exploit because if one reject a 10k offer, 3 of his friend will happily negotiate the position for 9k.
d
I worked at Ubi Pune for 7 years
damn. i wasn't aware you are also from gaming industry. what do you do ? and dont say you joined june/super now :)
 
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dexterz

Adept
Few of my friends work in the game design industry. One is in unity engine and he is doing well. Another struggled in India then moved abroad and ended up teaching game design there (Kinda like a pyramid scheme I guess) and recently moved into a game design company. So its definitely a struggle for freshers. They had to finish their UG then did a PG in game design which got them nowhere then did a PG abroad before they could join as a fresher somewhere.
 

nitpick

Recruit
......Things have sort of become better but the industry on the whole worldwide has never been super high paying till you reach a senior level or have skills that can't be outsourced easily.
So what skills would you say ensure you get a decent pay in the industry? By decent, I mean, say 9-10 lpa after 2-3 years of work experience.

I didn't understand the last part about skills that can't be outsourced easily. For Indians, I think we are essentially depending on work that is outsourced to us? So aren't you supposed to get paid a bit better than the rest if you can match the bar of a AAA title, for instance? Just trying to understand things.
1. pay scale in pune/mh is considerably low in India., Ubisoft Pune is no exception. non of the companies in pune are doing developmental work, ubi, sumo, lakshya/keywords. mostly they are either porting or doing leftover jobs of their foreign counterparts. I remember once lakshya offered me studio director/manager post for 15lpa :D
2. salary of artist in general is bad in India compared to their programmer counter part - because supply & demand factors. we have shit loads of artist of all shape and forms, Thanks to arena, maac, etc for popping up like mushroom in rainy season. and people fell for them ( due to our economic, education system & social reason)
3. Artists community in India is very bad, one artist never thinks twice to screw over other artist - no unity, a very backstabbing community. where as in programmer the unity is great. Thus led company to exploit because if one reject a 10k offer, 3 of his friend will happily negotiate the position for 9k.
d

damn. i wasn't aware you are also from gaming industry. what do you do ? and dont say you joined june/super now :)
All of that is so sad to hear. I keep hearing that there is a lack of good artists in India. So the expectation is that a company like Ubisoft will only hire amongst the best of the talent available in India. But that doesn't seem to be the case? They'll be able to pick the best, but also pay them peanuts because they have an established brand name? Am I getting it right?

How is the pay comparatively in other industries then? Is it the same in tech companies like Amazon, Flipkart or in advertising, arch viz etc.? I'm asking because of that one post in the OP where the poster said that he's working in e-commerce, & is commanding a much higher pay due to that, despite having similar software skills.

Getting good at 3d art requires a lot. Not only do you need to work with multiple s/w such as Maya, ZBrush, Painter, Marvelous Designer etc. but also need knowledge of anatomy, & visual design. If the gaming industry is gonna pay so low, is the situation at least better in other industries? Because, quite frankly, if it's not then one is better off learning web development (frontend, backend etc).

May I ask what industry you are in? & what sort of career path would you advise to someone who's keen on pursuing visual arts, given what you know about the industry? Your statements about 9-10k are depressing. If one starts off at that, even if your increment doubles your pay, you are not getting anywhere.
This is one of the main reason people in India accept these low paying jobs. This gets their foot in the door leading to lot more opportunities worldwide.
Could you please elaborate on this? Are you hinting towards freelancing for overseas clients?
Few of my friends work in the game design industry. One is in unity engine and he is doing well. Another struggled in India then moved abroad and ended up teaching game design there (Kinda like a pyramid scheme I guess) and recently moved into a game design company. So its definitely a struggle for freshers. They had to finish their UG then did a PG in game design which got them nowhere then did a PG abroad before they could join as a fresher somewhere.
So what was the difference between the two? Was it simply that one was better at his skills, or simply a case of making the right moves?

Thank you all for taking the time.
 
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Ramadhir Singh

Wasseypur
Adept
keep hearing that there is a lack of good artists in India.
total BS, artist from India are working in all major games across world, right from Battlefield/Burnout/NFS carbon era to present days ghost of tsushima and cyberpunk 2077.

So the expectation is that a company like Ubisoft will only hire amongst the best of the talent available in India.
The thing is in 5l we get wagonr and not bmw...
we have to understand when companies come to India, its the "Indian" middle man... who are nothing but "yes men" on budget wagging tail in front of white skins bosses.
if they pay 1l for a such a important position, that 1l guy will work like 1l guy only, who only try to save his ass and money, never sees the big picture of making money or taking risk.

this article is doing rounds in the industry today - https://0451games.substack.com/p/ubisoft-prince-of-persia-remake-india
just have a look.

Another reason is, people who know sh!t about gaming are on top positions of most of the studios, and talented guys are working for foreign companies.
How is the pay comparatively in other industries then? Is it the same in tech companies like Amazon, Flipkart or in advertising, arch viz etc.?
salaries for programming job are in par with FAANG companies, in some companies even better than those faang.
people in Art/QA/support team are starving.
 
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iPwnz

Brutally Honest
Skilled
Actually when it comes to art it's not about being Indian. Its finding the right buyer. But with regards to video game industry there's no lack of talent so you know how it is. Some of my friends work/ed in Ubi India and EA India. They aren't really open about their pay and they say it's very low but they need the experience or the certificates so they can look for better paying jobs elsewhere. I feel for them.
its very respectable starting point.
But he won't get promoted for years and will be stuck to that payscale. And worse if he doesn't find a more affordable place or area to live in. Some years ago while I was searching for work I was offered only 25k a month so the first thing I looked up was affordable localities to live in. This was in the posh areas in Mumbai and Bangalore. I couldn't find any nearby so I didn't accept them anymore. Even locals there don't have a good time with their jobs. Bad roads, traffic, bad weather resulting in being late for work etc etc. Which makes them want to move closer to their workspace and you can imagine how much the rent are. That's the problem.
Its important to consider those factors too.
 

dafreaking

Skilled
So what skills would you say ensure you get a decent pay in the industry? By decent, I mean, say 9-10 lpa after 2-3 years of work experience.

I didn't understand the last part about skills that can't be outsourced easily. For Indians, I think we are essentially depending on work that is outsourced to us? So aren't you supposed to get paid a bit better than the rest if you can match the bar of a AAA title, for instance? Just trying to understand things.

Work like ROTO can be outsourced easily as it's a lot of manual work that one doesn't need to be highly skilled at. It was like the Call Center boom. If you do work as an FX artists and are good you'll probably get an offer to work abroad. (Again this is for Film/TV vfx, no idea for the game industry)
 

nitpick

Recruit
I have a friend who said he started at 2.5 lpa. Now I don't know how good or bad that is.

Actually when it comes to art it's not about being Indian. Its finding the right buyer. But with regards to video game industry there's no lack of talent so you know how it is. Some of my friends work/ed in Ubi India and EA India. They aren't really open about their pay and they say it's very low but they need the experience or the certificates so they can look for better paying jobs elsewhere. I feel for them.

But he won't get promoted for years and will be stuck to that payscale. And worse if he doesn't find a more affordable place or area to live in. ...
Stuck at that payscale for years is the real problem here, right?! I mean, I can understand if one starts off as a fresher at a low pay, but then the growth is great? But the comments I posted in the OP seem to suggest that even after years of experience, there isn't much headway in this regard.

Since you mention that they are hoping to get better jobs somewhere, what are their plans like? I mean, are they looking to a different industry or looking to merely switch companies? If all of the studios in the gaming industry do not pay well, is jumping going to help?

This isn't meant to come off as a rant. I'm genuinely just trying to understand this market. I myself have pursued 3d art as a hobby for a while. I was honestly thinking about getting into it as a career. In fact, the plan was/is to create a portfolio & get feedback on what I can expect. But then I came across that Reddit post, & now I'm in 2 minds.
Work like ROTO can be outsourced easily as it's a lot of manual work that one doesn't need to be highly skilled at. It was like the Call Center boom. If you do work as an FX artists and are good you'll probably get an offer to work abroad. (Again this is for Film/TV vfx, no idea for the game industry)
Hmm.. I understand about the Roto bit.. It's kinda the data entry operator equivalent, if that is all you do, iinm.. a bit like retopology of 3d scans. But you mention that even if you are a good FX artist (I assume you mean Simulation (Houdini?), Compositing, Matte Painting etc.), the opportunities are abroad. So is there no appreciation in terms of pay in India? & working abroad brings up the cost of living there. Are foreign Cos. paying enough for folks to move & stay comfortably?

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For context, I'll link to an Artstation portfolio of an Indian character artist who I believe is top notch. - https://www.artstation.com/tushank?msclkid=a338550dcf5411ec8bdd9f978f450dcb

If you guys tell me that even if you get to this level, you are going to paid poorly (so less than 9-10 lpa with 3 years work ex, let's say), then I think one should definitely avoid this industry. If like the OP hints, there are other industries that will pay you well for the same skills, I'd like to understand what those are.

Thank you all for replying. Much appreciated.
 
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