Another one bites the dust.

Discussion in 'Indie Related Chat' started by zoombapup, Jan 25, 2009.

  1. zoombapup

    Moderator Original Member

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    Bah. It looks like another "freelance" artist has basically disappeared. It was looking so hopeful too.

    Being a freelance artist must be a complete nightmare, I understand that, but simply stopping work and not informing your clients is not the way to make it better.

    I really need to find someone local. Who I can go and beat around the head to do work. Bah!

    Just FYI: I contracted a freelancer to do a peice for me (just a character + animations) for my GDC demo's in march. Needless to say it started well and has tailed off. Right now I'm awaiting a response, but its a bit worrying that yet another artist has done this. I'm admittedly not paying a huge amount (but this guy actually took the contract, so I dunno what to say about that) but I wasnt desperate for a fast turnaround and I thought it would be an interesting gig for an artist to try out some new ideas.
     
  2. Applewood

    Moderator Original Member Indie Author

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    Not sure how much research you did on this, but I found it to be a minefield also.

    There is a massive difference between a freelance artist and a guy who can do art looking to make some beer money on the weekend. Most of the guys on this board probably fall into the latter category as they won't be able to support themselves properly from indie work alone. (Note, I said "most"). After all, most of the programmers can't either.

    That means they'll be doing a day job with varying demands on their time and it also means they can walk away when they get bored and not worry about getting a bad rep, as they don't rely on a good one to pay the mortgage.

    If you're looking to get someone cheap, then I guess you're at the mercy of luck in finding a good and dedicated guy. If you want it reliable I'd recommend getting referrals from other full time developers, ideally those in the mainstream trade as any contact full-time programmers get with artists is with full-time "proper" ones that don't do owt else.
     
  3. AlexWeldon

    AlexWeldon New Member

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    If you're looking to get people to do work cheap, I'd recommend breaking the work into bite-sized portions and ask that they be done on a fairly tight schedule.

    Someone who has free time this week doesn't necessarily have realistic ideas about how much free time they'll have in the future, and we all know that it's human nature to put things off until close to the deadline. Also, excitement about a project decays exponentially with time. Put all this together, and it's obvious why it's such a common problem for someone to seem excited about a project, do 10% of the work in the first week, then put the rest off until a week before the deadline, at which point they realize that they're swamped with "real life," and either tell you they can't complete the project, or simply stop responding to emails out of guilt avoidance.

    If, instead, you give them a small task, say "try to get this done by the end of the week, and I'll come back to you with more stuff as I need it," then at least:

    a) You're guaranteed to get individual components 100% finished, instead of a dozen components each half-finished. Then at least you're not starting from scratch if you have to find a new artist.

    b) You're helping the artist budget his time, and giving him tight deadlines to motivate him.

    c) If the artist isn't going to finish something, at least you find out at the end of the week, not two months later.

    Of course, best of all is to find someone with references, experience and a professional attitude... but then, of course, you're most likely going to be paying a professional fee. As the proverb goes, "if you want to pay peanuts, you're going to get a monkey."
     
  4. zoombapup

    Moderator Original Member

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    Paul: Yeah, I did a bit of research, the guy takes part in a lot of these "game artizan" challenges.. the kind of thing you get on 3DBuzz etc. His stuff was pretty nice, which is why I went with him.

    Alex: Yeah, I tried doing that. I only asked for one 3D character model. I broke it down into modelling and textureing and animation seperately, I gave a schedule of payment that had interim payment on completion of each.

    At this point I really do think its not just a matter of money. I'm just not convinced that if you pay less, you should expect nothing.

    My only option realistically is to find a reliable art service company and go with them. But I'd have preferred to work with an individual artist. My other option is to find someone fulltime, but I simply dont have the work to support that. A bit of a catch-22.
     
  5. RinkuHero

    RinkuHero New Member

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    This happens a lot, so always have backups and be prepared to finish the game when the resources are done rather than expect the resources to be done when the game is finished. I have three artists for my current game and three as backups just in case one or more of those three don't finish anything.
     
  6. Applewood

    Moderator Original Member Indie Author

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    It's about 80% that we'll be hiring an art guy in a month or two. We could probably sub him out to you at cost and I'd vouch for the work getting done personally.
     
  7. luggage

    Moderator Original Member Indie Author

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    You could try something like Elance, we've had some success on there, quality can be a bit variable though.
     
  8. Desktop Gaming

    Moderator Original Member Indie Author

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    Inherent laziness is just a trait of artists, I'm afraid. They can all talk the talk, but their "anytime will do" attitude has always been a pet hate of mine.

    I know they aren't all like that, but the ones that are, give all of them a bad reputation if that's pretty much all you've experienced.
     
  9. zoombapup

    Moderator Original Member

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    Thanks Paul,

    I appreciate it. Whats his style like?

    If you let me know if you take him on, I think this kind of thing would really help me out.

    I've been trying to get our local development agency to come up with some money to help me fund a full-time artist, with the proviso that its only match funding for 12 months. They've done that for a few other places to help cushion the blow of taking someone on and getting them up to speed and productive.

    I'm not entirely convinced I want to be responsible for someone else's livelyhood though. I mean its a big burden of responsibility and I'm much happier as a partner/collaborator than I am being a boss if I'm honest.
     
  10. Xathia Vastar

    Xathia Vastar New Member

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    I got so frustrated with Elance when I found out the only people (or most of them, anyway) who were getting hired were people overseas that were doing high-quality work for like 50 cents (I know I'm exaggerating). x_x
     
  11. Cevo70

    Cevo70 New Member

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    It's tough, but generally I've had pretty good experiences with artists (and the ones I find here in particular).

    But yes the hard part is constantly wondering, "hmmm it's been 4 days since I've heard anything...wonder what he's up to..."

    Communication is not a strong point often. Like if you go on vacation, I sort of need to know. :)

    Did you offer split payment with some up front? I often ask how the artist prefers to be paid, and am open to offering payment upon early progress. Once the relationship is grounded, I'll even pay in advance if need be. It's sort of a reverse thinking of trust/respect.

    Down-the-road thinking....maybe there should be a 'certified' status here on these forums. In otherwords, once an artist is vouched for, we can have a growing list of artists with different skills. I could name 4 off the bat that I would vouche for.
     
  12. Backov

    Original Member

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    Also they all smell bad and are poopyheads.

    I like this game.
     
  13. jpoag

    jpoag New Member

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    +1 Freelance Vetting service for game devs/artists.

    I would even pay for access to such a database. Free for artists/devs to create a profile and portfolio and all vouchers would be verified by a third party.

    For instance, let's say I make a game with Tommy Two Toes and provide good feedback for him. In order to verify, the site would have to get a link to the work. Vouchers can remain unverfied until the link is provided. This way me and Accord can't strike up an... acord... and flood each other's profile with + feedback like they do on eBay.

    What would be funny is when you leave negative feedback, that would me verified as well. For instance, your artist stops responding and you report him. The verification would be to email him and ask ( which he wouldn't respond to!) to explain. User comments wouldn't be necessary, just something like 'unfulfilled' contract or 'contract terminated'.
     
  14. Applewood

    Moderator Original Member Indie Author

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    Seems he can turn his hand to most jobs, but he's pretty inexperienced - we're taking him on in a kind of apprentice role. He has all the basic skills and some of his samples were actually rather good, but how fast he can do it all in a production environment is our biggest question - and his too. I'll let you know when I know. :)
     
  15. AlexWeldon

    AlexWeldon New Member

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    ...or you could hire someone you know, or someone with references that you know, like I said. Ask other people on the forum who they've hired in the past, rather than just posting to the Help Wanted section and going for the guy with the prettiest portfolio/lowest quote.

    I really think this site needs more forums for artists than just Art Portfolios. That encourages any old artists (not specialized game artists) to come along, slap up their work, and never involve themselves in the community in other ways. Of course you're going to get a lot of unreliable people in that case.

    I'm a regular here... people know my name, and I know theirs. You can bet that I take every contract I get extremely seriously, because if someone did have bad things to say about me, not only would I lose a lot of potential work, I'd lose a lot of friends, and the trust of people I respect. However, I'm only a regular here because I'm a developer as well as an artist... if I was purely an artist, I'd be hanging out elsewhere. If we encouraged more artists to integrate themselves in our community rather than just dropping in to trawl for contracts, we'd quickly learn who was worth their salt and who wasn't.
     
  16. zoombapup

    Moderator Original Member

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    True, but from what I've experienced, artists simply dont have the right mindset to take part here. They want freelance work without any baggage like actually taking part in a project for instance.

    I'd love to see more artists hanging around here. If nothing but to find a decent partner to work alongside.

    But how many artists do you know who actively want to create games for themselves?
     
  17. Cevo70

    Cevo70 New Member

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    Yup, this sort of thing, combined with Alex's thinking would be a pretty nice community upgrade. The sum would be a place where they not only felt more welcome, but had reason to partipate (for reputation, contacts, and of course $$).

    Something like an "Artists's Corner" couldn't hurt right? The one on the XNA forums is solid. Then maybe there's a sticky with an ongoing updated list of verified artists...
     
  18. Bad Sector

    Original Member

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    Almost every artist in tigsource's forums. Although there are many less-than-professional people in there, the forum is full of (talented) artists who want to make games (and lack programmers).

    There are artists but usually they hang in other places.

    Have you tried the polycount forums btw? Although i don't visit the forum frequently, they have a freelancing forum and the site is full of game artists (in contrast to generic cg artists which hang in cgtalk).

    Basically look around for forums: like coders, artists, musicians etc use forums too and they tend to create communities with similar minded people. Which raises an alert: don't expect them to think like you. If they had a similar mindset, they would be here already :).
     
  19. AlexWeldon

    AlexWeldon New Member

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    Right. The problem is that right now, we get money-minded and not particularly passionate artists here, and all the passionate people end up in less professional, but more welcoming and inclusive communities like TIGSource, where they end up working for peanuts for hobbyist programmers, or doing mockups for games they lack the ability to make happen by themselves.

    My attitude towards and experience with games has progressed in indescribable leaps and bounds since coming here. Really, although I might not always see eye-to-eye with the pro-casual crowd that are in the majority here, the education I've received in under a year of hanging out here and working on my own stuff is definitely far greater than what I would have gotten by spending a similar amount of time and thousands of dollars on classes. There are countless artists out there that could similarly be nurtured into highly effective freelancers if the community was set up for them... again, it's just my good fortune that I'm left-right brain balanced and equally interested in programming as art, otherwise, I never would have reaped the benefits of this community.
     
  20. Acord

    Acord New Member

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    As an artist, I can tell you that it's extremely frustrating not to get paid for work for long periods of time. Instead, set milestones. That way, the artist gets paid as things progress.

    Importantly, if the artist bails, this allows you to continue using the assets - even if they are unfinished. It gives you something to pass along to the next guy who signs on. Even if it's an untextured model, it's better than starting from scratch.

    What point exactly are your artists bailing out on you? Are you trying to get them to do facial animations with bones or something?
     

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