I'm paying 20% total commission (of all revenue my team brings in) for my game's art and UI design. (2 different people.)
I'm not sure if that's typical or not, but feels very fair for this project.
Dxgame opened this question and I think it is very interesting and important - especially for us new indies - but the thread changed into fight between programmers and artists and (sorry, but) it so reminds me of stupid argues between "new kids on the block" and "guns'n'roses" listeners from when I was in primary school. I think the core question "who is more important, needed..?" is totally non-constructive.
Could anybody who has payed for graphics give us others some info on that. I have quite some examles of games that would be really interested how much (aprox.) gfx costed. Here is initial question>>
Originally Posted by dxgame.............. http://forums.indiegamer.com/showthread.php?t=3835.Originally Posted by Deux
FWIW, when I estimate fees for a project, I start from an average of $280/day with a 2-day minimum. Sometimes more, sometimes less, depending on the project, client, and my current financial condition.
I'm currently working for about EUR 100/day (~USD 125) . I do not set a minimum time period. If I feel the work can be done in 1 day, then let's go for it. Of course the specs must be enough detailed so I can make an accurate esimate.
It obviously depends on the medium, but how much work can be done in a day? Examples for a variety of media would be appreaciated. I'm wondering how my progress measures up to that of true professionals!
I have a game in development and will probably end up paying around $2500 to the designer. He is doing all the graphics and also designing the levels for this cost. He has made a bunch of levels for my current game before for free, so I know that he produces very good stuff.
For my first game release I agreed on 15% of profits to the graphics dude (a friend of mine). I payed him this for a while and then bought him out when I continued to improve the game engine without needing more graphics.
Edit to add that this is all 2D graphics.
Thanks for telling all this. Like soniCron (see i wrote it right this time) asked, how much can you do in a day? I imagine doing art takes time, loots of time. Could you tell us aproximate time for som of samples images on your websites?
You can get some talented artists without a real portfolio for $7-10/hour. Expect to pay $35+/hour for professionals with an extensive portfolio to truely make them put enough effort into your project.
When I've done this kind of stuff, it's been not per hour, but seems it's done in both ways. I mean, I have been offered a fixed quantity for a number of graphics, or a percentage of game benefits.
My biggest stepping stone currently is trying to handle the problem of the graphics costing more than the game will bring in. LOL...
DXGame Engine - High level 2D game engine for use with Visual Basic 6.
I had and have the same problem so I teamed up with the artist, where we are partners on project, we both have same saying and we split profits. And two heads judge better than one. Comunication is stronger and we force eachother to work, so I think it has a lot positive sides.
Of course it is also nice to say someone "make me great pro graphics" and you have them delivered after a week. But I won't afford this for some time I think.
Indeed, that's the way I do only, lately. With only a pair of persons/projects.
Of course, if tomorrow comes somebody with a good pay up front, I'll be doing that one. But is not usual.
Remember one very important thing: the artist, if is honest, will just charge you for the actual amount of work it is in the time he calculates. Is not easy to calculate hours in graphics, even with stuff learnt during years. So... think well -if the artist is a nice person, or an old friend, find out you both , talking about the project- what your X project needs, and if really need all you wanted in your first plan. Also, as I think Nexic said, if you are not in the position of having someone making loads of graphics for you cheaply -a very rare case, imho- and you can't do by yourself, think of projects that are not so graphic heavy. Concentrate the quality in some points of attention , to grab people's eye, and only put that to the game, if the game style allows this.
Try mixing good free collection graphics, there are some out there, but not many, with only some custom work from an artsit. And...learn a bit of graphics, is not so hard, specially the UI stuff. That way, you earn several things: UI stuff is heavy to make, at least for many artists (maybe is just me) , and one way or the other, takes its time to be made, and while is very important that it looks cool, and be in good harmony, maybe is not what sells more in the gfx matter.
is not so hard to learn to make some very basic stuff of this kind: buttons, UI elements, progress bars, even graphical scores and banners. Even more, can have the help of some friend graphic artist to draw you in paper the rough style of font, styles, etc, so you can "execute" the graphics, provided you learnt a bit of these graphics making. Is a heavy load in making a full game. Indeed, usually what I run away from , when asked to do a full game. Maybe other artists think the opposite and love icon, buttons, and UI making..
For this, there are tools like Simply3D, Ulead Cool 3D, Anim8or(free, a bit more difficult, but not as much as more "professional" tools ) , that will help you making some preredered graphics, which tend to save the boat, often. Grab a tool like Ultimate Paint www.ultimatepaint.com As there's a totally free functional version of it, and usable. And do with that the 2d graphics. You can use too Gimp for Windows, but the install is more complex, and the handling, even more. You have some other nice free tools like Iconforge, etc.
Then, the payment could be restricted to: splash screens (this tend to need a more complex render, or very well drawn illustration, toon or realistic: is not something you can easily learn, or at least, in less than a bunch of years...If reach it at all. ) , human animated -or whatever organic puppet/animal- characters, wether they'r 2d or 3d, sprites, tiles, backgrounds, etc, leave those for the artist. Another note in backgrounds. provided you learn basic 2d editing with UltimatePaint, Paint Shop Pro, or Adobe photoshop (my favourite, and tool at work) , you'll learn how to apply some filters to totally free photos: you can download these, or make your own. This way you can integrate with the game. And then, anothe rmoney save. Besides, as games are risk, high risks, if the gfx guy was taking the risk with u, is not as big, as he only finally made quality, attention grabbing things. Not the freaking whole thing
I team up with two wonderful persons (programmers) and they both can do some graphics.Even more, both do good ui stuff.
Another thing : This may be not true, but I have a feeling most artists prefer the case of developers that have sold at least one title...or at least have some experience in dealing with this.
For the percentage teaming thing, I tend to choose only people that I trust(really few), I suppose they do the same
I can't think of more advice, but if I happen to think of something else, I'll say.
Last edited by Sysiphus; 08-06-2005 at 10:25 AM.
Indeed, there's a totally freeware without any catch version. Imho this is probably a very good tool, and is free.
Oh, and Anim8or(3d modeler , renderer), which is another tool I choose to recommend you all, is same characteristics: easy to learn, while able to do quality graphics. www.anim8or.com
BUT...If you have a minimal will of learning, just a bit of patience, I'd go for Gimp for Windows, instead, in what is 2D graphics :
...just remember to download and install both packages, first GTK, and then Gimp. In that order. It's allways put the compatible GTK version together with its Gimp version.
Simply, there are too many things that Ultimate paint cant do and Gimp can.
Other tool is :http://www.thebest3d.com/dogwaffle/free/
Not of my favs...
Irfanview will allow you batch conversion and batch editing of files, together with loads of conversions and fast browse... : www.irfanview.com
Zpaint is a really nice proggie to make buttons and bevels stuff :
here's a better Paint...and open source...
Inkscape (free . vectorial, good for all. )
And...well, maybe the one of best for most non experienced people :
Photoplus (free registration required, so , perhaps danger of email spam later on, but hey...) :
I wholeheartedly recommend any programmer explore his creative side. A lot of people don't realise how technical artwork is.
It's not just talent, but observation and training. A lot of smaller artwork doesn't need to be paid for. For example you can outsource the main character, the title logo and a few major pieces, and build your own artwork in too, representing a great saving.
What I mean is, hone your skills where they count: for example you should be able to uv and texture map and model a missile, buttons, an enemy tank. Or some bubbles and a large spatula.
Then you will learn the skills of lighting it well and rendering it well. Those simple skills are within the reach of anyone and no reason on earth to outsource this kind of artwork, and believe it or not, it's these smaller pieces that make up the majority of a game.
So thats saving a lot of money, money that could be put towards a decent modelling package which will increase your skills even further once you follow the tutorials for it... and so on...
I'm a believer in this, despite the fact I was lucky enough to have formal art schooling... I think it can go a long way towards self sufficiency and a lot of people just need that little push, that belief they can do it.
Thanks for the info. I often wondered about the costs of quality work.Originally Posted by Ratboy
BTW, I really like your portfolio. If you don't mind me asking, how many days does it usually you take you to accomplish something like this ?
My pleasure.Originally Posted by DangerCode
Oh, the Bone Cannon goes way, way back... as I recall, it took about a day to create and finalize the character design with the lead artist, then two more days of animation for the firing, falling apart, and projectile gestures. All done using the Hudsonsoft TG16 sprite tool.
For further reference, the vehicles and buildings for Mechcommander (both sprite and 3D realtime) each took about 2 1/2 days, including LODs, damage states, and occasional animations. The 'mech work I do for Wizkids is often 2 or 3 days per 'mech, including rigging and lighting the beauty shot for their marketing department.
I usually pay for major assets such as characters and complex 3d models. Then I try to fill in the rest.
You should know your strong and weak points, but I also agree with Robert. You should hone your skills so you can do simple 2D U.I. elements and simple 3D models. Not only is it very satisfying but you also save money. Paying an artist to do all those small little things can quickly add up. When you can do some of the art yourself, you're also able to experiment more freely without worrying about paying an artist for revisions.
As for when I do contract art, I like to give the artist a fairly concrete asset list and then they give me an estimate based on that. I like to pay half up front and the rest upon completion. Any other way usually leads to problems. In the rare occasion when I've had to pay all upfront, they took way too long to deliver the assets and had no sense of urgency since they were already paid. When I've paid everything at the end, I've found some artist are willing to drop the project if it seems too tough or their schedule changes. They haven't received any payment yet, so they don't feel a huge obligation to finish it.
Whereas half upfront and half at the end has always worked for me. The upfront payment shows the artist you're for real, but it also gives them a sense of obligation since you've given them some money already. Also the final payment at the end usually gives them enough motivation to complete the job. As always look for someone who is highly recommended. Also mention to the artist that you know some of their previous clients. It helps give them a litle incentive to continue to uphold their good reputation.
Finally, remember to always negotiate the price. If the quote seems too high try to bring it down to something you're more comfortable with. However be careful not to go too low. If you go too low the artist isn't really going to have a lot of motivation to give his best or maybe even finish the project. Or he might keep putting your project on the backburner when he gets other higher paying projects. Ideally both you and the artist should be happy with the agreed upon rate.
The best way to find out the going rate is to post your job at CGTalk or some other site frequented by artists. You'll get a lot of different price ranges. For one of the jobs I posted, some artists wanted as much as $1500 and some wanted as little as $100. The guy I hired was the best of the lot and he charged $250.
If you do this you have to be prepared to wait a week or so for all offers to come in and then you have to wait for the artist to have the time to do it.
Very nice portfolio, Ratboy
edit bit off topic:BTW, lately I'm doing that kind of sprite art at my job (and 3d low poly,but I'm mostly bout organic models) .Is fun, in someway.
"Hudsonsoft TG16 sprite tool" .Strongly curious about that...well, I guess is an inhouse tool of those times, or something. Many years ago I used Deluxe Paint, but was not very good at it, then.(today for me is all PS, PSP, Animshop, and the like..)
Last edited by Sysiphus; 08-07-2005 at 01:45 AM.
At the moment, i pay between $25-$40 per hour but the artist i use is very fast so it ends up being exceptional value for money.
No...His stuff is great though.Originally Posted by Robert Cummings
I don't think it's fair to post who the guy is here...I'd sure he'd rather quote his own prices here.
If you want to know who he is, PM me. I'd be happy to recommend him.
Thanks muchOriginally Posted by Sysiphus
The Hudsonsoft sprite tool was a turbografx-specific sprite drawing, animation, and tiled background creation package that was written back when 12mhz 286s were pretty hot stuff. It handled the CLUTs, building animations out of individual sprites, spit out (I think) compileable source code, and could output in sort-of-realtime to the TG16 dev kit. I learned a lot about sprite implementation working with that horrible thing.
Aha...I see. The adjective horrible tells me it wasn't anything magic, then. So, much more merit to have done those sprites