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Client wants project files..
show user profile  ScotlandDave
A company i did some 3d animation work for a few months back is now asking for the project files etc ( probably so they have the option of doing future work themselves or using the assets ).

I've never been asked this before and wondering what the community at large think of it.

There was no agreement or contract re ownership of the assets, just the actual final animation itself.. My feelings are that the project files are mine, and if they want them they can pay for them. But i can see where this could cause contention.

What do you chaps think / anybody had this?

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read 679 times
2/27/2015 11:32:32 AM (last edit: 2/27/2015 11:32:32 AM)
show user profile  TiMoN
I'm thinking that if it was not in the original agreement, then they should have to pay for the files.
No idea how to price it then though..

Terribly boring signature.
read 673 times
2/27/2015 11:41:11 AM (last edit: 2/27/2015 11:41:11 AM)
show user profile  PS3D
Tell them (politely), not a chance!

Would a photographer hand over his digital images to the client, free of charge? i think not..

read 670 times
2/27/2015 11:56:51 AM (last edit: 2/27/2015 11:56:51 AM)
show user profile  reeves1984
You are right.

Simon Reeves - VFX Artist & Blog
twitter <-- I work here

read 658 times
2/27/2015 12:38:38 PM (last edit: 2/27/2015 12:38:38 PM)
show user profile  STRAT
as PS3D says.

Generally, (in the UK at least), it's not really the done things handing over your files unless you charge a specific premium for them. they're YOUR files. your bread and butter.

We've recently encountered a similar issue. clients wanted them for 'archiving' purposes. Well, no. didnt do it. we certainly sent him all the client specific models relating to him, but all the incidentals? all the working files and post files? no can do.

it was very diplomatically explained this to him. we've also purchased numerous assets that are specifically licensed to us as well, meaning he'd have to spend a further fortune buying them in for himself too. didnt like it much but he agreed.

It's something you can stating in your initial t+c's, but who ever does?


read 655 times
2/27/2015 12:41:52 PM (last edit: 2/27/2015 12:42:08 PM)
show user profile  herfst1
What about telling him you'll archive the files on his behalf, for free, no less? And if they ever need any references they can contact you. Win, win.
read 647 times
2/27/2015 12:49:25 PM (last edit: 2/27/2015 12:49:25 PM)
show user profile  donvella
ctrl +A, modifier > tesselate, right click > convert to editable patch, send :)

read 641 times
2/27/2015 1:01:36 PM (last edit: 2/27/2015 1:03:13 PM)
show user profile  STRAT
donald! long time no see

yes, thats the other bastard way to play the same game as the client.

send all your models completely exploded, and tesselated to buggery. mess up the names, stacks etc etc. glue shit together. give then low res textures etc etc.

2 can also play at that game :)


read 636 times
2/27/2015 1:08:13 PM (last edit: 2/27/2015 1:08:13 PM)
show user profile  ScotlandDave
Haha donvella i like your thinking..

I think the general consensus on this is no chance then..

Strat using your example, re possibly sending over assets that specifically relate to them ( ie the meshes and basic materials/textures of their product ), i've basically said that if they want to continue the project in house, they can have those ( at a push ) but not the project files, animation, character rigs ( as there are two incidental characters with basic animation ), etc etc..

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read 622 times
2/27/2015 1:36:05 PM (last edit: 2/27/2015 1:36:05 PM)
show user profile  Octopuzzy
They paid you for the work you've done.
Why should part of the work they have paid for belong to you?
If you worked in-house this wouldn't be up for discussion.

But it could see it this way...if you are paid per hour, they own everything you did during those hours, including setup etc.
If they paid for only the end product, say $XX per animation, that's what they should get.

I don't think being a hardass about it will help..what are you going to use those files for?
They're just gonna mold away on your hard drive, might aswell give them for someone who can use them.

Just my view of it.

read 618 times
2/27/2015 1:42:45 PM (last edit: 2/27/2015 1:46:57 PM)
show user profile  STRAT
yes. anything we specifically model from the client's product ranges then yes, we are pretty much obliged to provide them too.

but things like roomset renders - yes, we'll provide the product models from his range, we'll provide the bespoke tiles and textures from his range, but things like the general room architecture, general props, windows, doors etc etc are ours. together with the general scene files that have the lighting rigs, animation paths etc etc. those are ours.

he'll have hi-res single images too, but the layered photoshop files are ours.

and without saying, all through the process its so so important to be polite and courteous with your clients.


read 611 times
2/27/2015 1:55:29 PM (last edit: 2/27/2015 1:58:39 PM)
show user profile  ScotlandDave
Well, say you sell a product, shampoo for example.. The customer isn't entitled to a full list of ingredients and a breakdown on exactly how the shampoo was produced.

Or if you buy a piece of software, 3ds max for example, you don't get the source code do you? That's just silly..

It's certainly a grey area however..

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read 598 times
2/27/2015 2:26:37 PM (last edit: 2/27/2015 2:27:32 PM)
show user profile  Octopuzzy
For those things you are buying a product, you don't personally hire the developer.
If you hired autodesk to code a program for you, you own the source code?
But I hear ya, it's not a simple question.

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2/27/2015 2:50:36 PM (last edit: 2/27/2015 2:50:36 PM)
show user profile  ScotlandDave
Yeah, the 'but if you hire the developer' argument was at the back of my mind when i posted.

It's a tough one, and i don't think any analogies seem to 100% fit the case.

Here's another perspective on it:

So they requested a cost for an animation, got the animation, and paid for it. To also hand over the project files and assets, in some ways would be like giving away trade secrets. Techniques and methods that i've used, stuff that i've learned over the years of doing 3d and related disciplines, i'd be handing that over too. So they can say 'oh thats how he did that' and plagiarize what i've spent years learning how to do.. In some industries that's valuable information to competitors. Do i want to give all that away, or just give them what they've paid for - ie the animation itself.

So that's another way to look at it. But again, it isn't clear cut.

I think at best, from now on, i should make it clear beforehand that any work done by myself does not include access to the project files etc, but only the agreed final product.

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read 578 times
2/27/2015 3:23:07 PM (last edit: 2/27/2015 3:25:03 PM)
show user profile  BishBashRoss
Yep. Unless it's been agreed from the outset or there is acceptable compensation, I don't do it.

read 567 times
2/27/2015 3:35:45 PM (last edit: 2/27/2015 5:10:16 PM)
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