Skip to main content

Start Your 2D Animation Side Hustle - Sell Your Cartoon Animator Characters, Props, Scenes, and Motion Files in the Reallusion 2D/3D Marketplace

TET Avatar Sitting in front of Reallusion Marketplace Product listings.
Have you thought about starting a side hustle selling your original Cartoon Animator assets in the Reallusion 2D/3D Marketplace? In this article, the first in a series on selling in the marketplace, I'll give you an overview of what's involved, why you should give it some thought, and whether you can earn enough to quit your day job (or at least have a worthwhile side hustle).

If you're an artist with any kind of drawing skills, and you're creating your own original characters, props, scenes, and even motion files for your Cartoon Animator projects, then setting up your own store in the Reallusion Marketplace should be a no brainer. You're making content already, it doesn't cost you anything to set up, and Reallusion only takes a 30% commission from each item sold. (If you think that's a lot, I'll address that further down).

Don't be put off if you think your art skills aren't up to professional standards. There are plenty of artists with naïve, outsider styles producing art and animation. In fact simple character design is current right now in many shows like Rick and Morty. In the video below, Brad Colbow, a YouTube technology reviewer for artists and illustrators, explains how he got his simplified drawing style... and he even went to art school!


The point being all art is subjective, and any style can be compelling - particularly once it's animated.

Getting Registered and Set Up

Setting up a store is much easier since the marketplace was redesigned, including a new backend management system. You no longer have to maintain a store front. Your author/store page looks just like a search results page filled with all your content. Allowing you to focus entirely on making your product pages look great with plenty of preview images and detailed description.

Previously you had to download a separate application to upload content to the marketplace. Cartoon Animator 5 introduced the Smart Content Manager and Package Manager, allowing you to upload, and update your content right inside the software. There are still some elements to manage in your store's backend (accessed from your Reallusion account when you're in the Marketplace).

Reallusion's Steps to Becoming a Seller in the Marketplace.

To register as a Content Developer. These are the steps to join along with all the information you need to set up your store. 

DA Points

Everything in the marketplace is bought and sold with Reallusion's own digital currency, Direct Access (DA) points. One US Dollar equals one hundred DA Points. The system makes it easier to process thousands of micro payments instantly without having to deal with credit card fees, payment gateways, bank transfers etc. on every sale.

DA Points can be bought, earned by leaving reviews on content you have purchased, or selling your own content. 

To cash out your DA points from sales you'll need to apply to become a Certified Content Developer (you'll find the details for this on the sales page in your account). Once you make sales of USD$100.00 or more, and are approved as a CCD, your funds will automatically cash out to your PayPal account on the same specified date each month. Wire transfers to a bank account are also available but the payment threshold is USD$1000.00.

Q: Why Sell in the Marketplace? A: To Fund Your Marketplace Purchases

October of 2017, I set up my own store which, at the time of writing, only has thirteen content packs listed. While that doesn't seem like much, the DA points I've earned have funded a lot of the purchases I've made from other marketplace sellers.

A selection of products in my own store.
Even with a small number of packs in my own store, I've earned
more than enough to fund a lot of my own marketplace purchases.

That's Nice But Can I Make REAL Money and Quit My Job?

Garry Pye's Money Prop Pack
Garry Pye created this
Money Prop Pack not long
after opening his store. I
think it may have been
aspirational.
It's certainly a possibility. Legendary Cartoon Animator Content Developer, Garry Pye, started out just like you and, over a decade transitioned from working in his family's award engraving business, to selling that business, and earning from his Cartoon Animator Content full time.

That said, it is important you understand the business model. Selling in the Marketplace is what's known as a 'high volume' business. Which is a business that sells large amounts of low cost items to make a profit. 

In simple terms, if you want to make USD$5000 per month, that means you need to sell 250 items priced at $20.00 every month i.e. high volume.

Sales in the Reallusion Market place are subject to a 70%-30% profit split. i.e. you get 70% of the sale while Reallusion retains 30%. Therefore, with my simplified figures above, you'd need to make even more sales to make up the 30% short fall to clear $5000 per month.

Making a full time, living income is not out of the question. However, running a store at that level is not a simple case of uploading random content you've made for your projects and waiting for sales. 

You will get some sales from people browsing the marketplace, however you will need to learn how to research what is in high demand in the way of content, how to spot underserved niches, and how to promote your content to potential buyers so they keep coming back for your new releases.

Ultimate Stick Figures by etourist
My Ultimate Stick Figure
 pack
is my best seller
through search alone.
As an example, I barely promote my store. Most of my sales come from people searching the marketplace. Almost all of my content is from my own personal projects, except for my stick figure packs which sells relatively well because... who doesn't love animating stick figures and, if you search Stick Figure in the marketplace, my packs all come up on the first page (that's not a coincidence).

30% Commission to Reallusion Seems a Lot. Can't I Just Make My Own Website Store?

You could... and keep 100% of the profit (after web hosting fees, shopping cart fees, payment processing fees etc.), however, if you're a registered Content Developer for Reallusion, it states right in the Developer Agreement that you can't sell your content through anywhere other than Reallusion's Stores.

Reallusion currently doesn't enforce that part of the Developer Agreement. There are several high profile developers with their own stores. Potentially, you could be running the risk of having your marketplace store and Reallusion account terminated should they become more strict on the rules. Which is a documented consequence if you're repeatedly caught plagiarizing and selling content that's not your own in the marketplace.  

Additionally, selling outside the Marketplace, means your content is not protected by Reallusion's built in Digital Rights Management system. Anyone can share your content they've purchased with anyone without any further payment to you.

Cartoon Animator 5's Smart Content Manager
Packs purchased in the Market
are easily installed, as needed,
from the User's Reallusion account
through CTA's Smart Content
Manager.
From a customer point of view, content sold outside of the marketplace creates a reduced customer experience. Your content is no longer part of Reallusion's ecosystem where it can easily be downloaded and installed via the Smart Content Manager. Users have to manually install everything into their custom folders. 

Personally, I no longer buy from seller's external website stores for this reason. Controversial opinion: the seller is asking you to give up some of the convenience of the Smart Content Manager so they can keep more of their profit. That's a win/lose situation in favor of the seller to me.

The biggest benefit of selling in the marketplace is, that's the first place people look when they require content. They don't search Google first. You'll make quite a number of sales just by making your listing search friendly (including relative keywords in the title and description). As mentioned previously most of my sales come from my stick figures because that's something people are searching for.

Selling only on your own website (without being a registered developer) you'll have to do all the marketing yourself just to get people browsing your site. Not impossible but a very real challenge to meet.

Wait... Don't You Have Your Own Store?

The Lazy Animator Guide to Animating Editable Text.
Learn how to animate text
using CTA's Text Tools.
Yes, be sure to check it out. For the most part I sell Cartoon Animator 'adjacent' content, specifically tutorials, and occasionally demonstration project files (that would never sell in the marketplace).

There is no way you can sell a video tutorial course, or even a PDF tutorial document, through the marketplace at this time. 

I would absolutely love it if I could, because people browsing the marketplace for Cartoon Animator content, are the exact people most likely to buy Cartoon Animator tutorials. This is why I have free characters in my store that promote my tutorials.

Want to Know More About Selling in the Marketplace?

As mentioned up top, this is the first in a series of articles about the Reallusion Marketplace. While the focus is on 2D content much of the information applies to selling 3D content. I've studied the marketplace quite a bit, particularly keeping an eye on successful sellers and what they do.

Things I plan to cover include (these are not necessarily separate posts):
  • How to know what to sell, and finding niches.
  • Things to consider when designing content. (one off items versus a series).
  • An overview of how to upload, price, and package your content.
  • How to promote your content outside the marketplace.
I realize my own track record in the marketplace gives me next to no credibility on how to run a successful store however, I have built a successful Cartoon Animator Course and Tutorial business, in a market that is very biased toward free tutorials, in the face of Reallusion, who release excellent free tutorials for all their software.

You're also reading from a successful blog/newsletter business I run, and my @AnimLife Youtube channel is gaining momentum with over 209 new subscribers in the last 90 days (as of writing this) and all my stats have been on the rise since September 2023 when I decided to really focus on making at least two videos per month.

Hopefully that all tells you that, to be successful at anything, you have to give it some attention, and do the work.


o---o--- ---o--- o---

Did you find this article useful?
Subscribe to my newsletter and get the
latest articles delivered to your inbox.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Pricing Animation Services - USD$10,000 Per Minute Might Not Be Enough For an Industry That's Collapsing... Wait, What?

T his post was inspired by an Amateur Animators Facebook Group , public conversation between two professional animators working at entirely different places in their careers but both with at least a decade plus of experience.  Indy Animator Versus Studio Animator The conversation  centered around an original post by an amateur animator asking if USD$115 payment for a four to five minute, frame by frame animation, was a good deal? Anyone who has done even one second of frame by frame animation should at least have some concept of how long it would take to make four to five minutes and know that $115 is definitely not a good deal for most people. However, professional animator one, who I would describe as an independent animator, running a successful content and training business, while not suggesting the deal was good, made the point that there are many factors that go into pricing and that ultimately it is for the individual to set their prices based on what they're happy to work

Inochi2D - Free Open Source 2D VTuber Avatar Rigging and Puppeteering Software (Part 1)

Inochi2D Creator - Free Open Source VTuber Software. If you've been looking for a way to live perform as a 2D cartoon avatar on camera, whether it be for a live stream or for pre-recorded content like educational videos, then VTuber software is a low cost (or even no cost) option worth looking into. In my previous post, How to Become a VTuber - 2D and 3D Software for Creating and Controlling Your Avatar , I took a brief look at the relatively new but completely free and open source Inochi2D  which I thought showed great potential for my own needs of creating a live performance character rig for my own TET Avatar that I use for all my promotional materials. While it is possible to live perform my character using Cartoon Animator itself, Reallusion's MotionLive2D capture system isn't great - with lip sync in particular. More importantly though, I can't exactly teach people how to use Cartoon Animator if I'm using Cartoon Animator to control my Avatar. What is Inochi2D

Wonder Unit Storyboarder - Free Storyboarding Software for People Who Can (or Can't) Draw

Wonder Unit Storyboarder.  As an independent and solo animator I'm always tempted to try and skip storyboarding my animated shorts because they're usually only single scene sketch comedy type jokes. As a result I have many unfinished projects that kind of petered out due to having no clear finishing line. Storyboarding your productions, no matter how small, gives you a step by step guide of every shot that needs to be completed (no planning shots as you animate). It also allows you to create an animatic that gives you a rough preview of the finished production. In short, you shouldn't skip storyboards as they, generally, increase the chance of the project being completed. Disclaimer - I'm Not a Fan of Storyboarder Upfront, Wonder Unit's Storyboarder  is not my preferred storyboarding software. However it's completely free, has a number of very compelling featu

Dollars Mocap: Full Body Webcam Motion Capture (Including Hands and Fingers) For iClone and Cartoon Animator

Even though I should be further away from the camera Dollars Mocap MONO still does a good job of  tracking my arms, hands and fingers. Ever since I wrote my series on becoming a VTuber , discovering it was possible to do full body motion capture, including hands and fingers, with just software and a webcam, I've been on the look out for any motion capture software that can bring that functionality to Cartoon Animator. Dollars Mocap is a low cost motion capture application with a free trial that I learned about through the YouTube Channel Digital Puppets  and their test video . It can record full body, upper body, arms and hands, and facial mocap from a live video source or pre-recorded video. Investigating further, I discovered not only does Dollars Mocap have a free iClone7, iClone8 character profile file download (look for it at the bottom of the main program download page), so you can use the saved motions with iClone8, they've also got a demo video for how to convert your

Six Lip Sync Animation Tips for Cartoon Animator (That Really Apply to Any Auto Lip Syncing Application)

A nimating a character's mouth talking in any form of animation is one of the more time consuming jobs of character animation. Particularly if your project is dialogue heavy or your character has the urge to sing. Fortunately auto lip syncing in many animation software studios is becoming more common and is helping to speed up the lip syncing process. Reallusion's Cartoon Animator is no exception with a fairly good auto lip sync feature. I made a tutorial video demonstrating how to auto and manual lip sync in Cartoon Animator here . However auto lip sync is not perfect (yet) so you'll definitely find yourself manually lip syncing a character at some point. Or maybe you just prefer to manually lip sync yourself because you like that level of control. Whatever the reason here are Six tips to help improve your lip sync and to stop you getting bogged down into really small details that literally do not matter for the amount of screen time they'll get. 1. Auto Lip Sync is NO

The Ultimate Independent Animator's App and Resource List 2019-2023 - Animation and Video Life

Image created with Cartoon Animator 4. Being an independent animator is not like a studio animation job. There's so much more to do that is indirectly related to the actual task of animating. Over the years I've sought out many apps, tools, and services that can help me achieve that one single task, expressing myself through animation. Below is my Ultimate Independent Animator's Resource List for 2019-2022. It started out as a list of free or low cost apps that could help you in every stage of producing either 2D or 3D animation, and then just kind of grew from there. You may not have been looking for a Time Management App as much as you needed something to get you started in 3D animation but when those commissioned projects start coming in you'll have a head start on maximizing your time. All the apps and services on this list had to meet two main criteria: They had to be useful and relevant to an Indy Animator/artist. The base app/service had to be US$

Moho 14 Released - Still the Best 2D Animation Software for Indy Animators on a Budget

Moho 14 Released. Regular readers know I am a Reallusion, Cartoon Animator advocate through and through. Hands down I would recommend Cartoon Animator 5 first over Lost Marble's Moho 14 to anyone who is just starting in 2D animation, is a team of one, or just needs to animate as quickly as possible. However, feature for feature, Moho is, arguably, the best 2D animation software for the rest of us who can't justify a Toon Boom Harmony , or Adobe Creative Cloud subscription (and even with their applications Moho is very competitive on features). You can get started with Moho Debut for just USD$59.99 which is a cut down version of Moho Pro but it still has the most essential features needed for 2D animation. While Moho Pro is a whopping USD$399.99 (Cartoon Animator, which only has one version, is just USD$149.00) upgrades to new version numbers come down to a quarter of the price at USD$99.00. Even though Reallusion just released features like Motion Pilot Puppet Animation and