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Commissioning Professional Artwork

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Hi, I am really hoping that some graphics pro''s out there can provide some information on the process of commissioning artwork. Suppose one has a graphics engine and you want to get some textures and images for use with this. Presumably, you contact an individual/company, specify your exact requirements, and, if they are interested, make sure they have use of the engine. The question is, what happens then? Do they give you a quote for the work you want doing, or is it on an open-ended rate-per-hour basis? If you have a contract, what are the exact terms of fulfilment? For example, suppose they send you the textures and you are not satisfied with some or all of them, what are the obligations for either side? Are contracts fairly standard, or are they all individually tailored to the particular case? Also, are Graphics companies all fairly respectable, or are there ''cowboys'' out there just like plumbers or car mechanics? Is there a danger that a dodgy contract could leave you without proper copyright of the work? Any input on any of the above points would be greatly appreciated. Alternatively, any recommendations for professional companies (we are talking textures for vegetation and terrain here) would also be welcome. Thanks, Paul Moulden

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While I don't profess to be an expert in this particular instance, I have worked as a commercial illustrator for a couple of years and might be able to provide some insight...

In terms of obtaining an artist/artists to work on your project, you could approach game/visiual development companies directly, though this may prove to be rather costly and may depend on the size of your budget. You can also try posting in the Help Wanted section here and on similar message boards. Replies may vary in skill and experience, but working with a freelance artist may be more affordable, and some more inexperienced artists may volunteer.

Once you have someone in mind you should lay out very specifically what your needs are and other details like deadlines, budget, usage, etc. The artist should give you a quote within a day or so, some work standard rates, some on an hourly basis...for some ideas of industry standard prices you can contact artist and illustrator associations like the Graphic Artists Guild (GAG) or CAPIC.

Contracts are often tailored to the individual artist/company, but most will include clause for retaining copyright and moral rights. Moral rights can't be transferred under most countries laws and have three parts: you can't alter or edit the images without permission, the artist has a right to know where it's being used, and that you acknowledge they did it. Copyright can be purchased (called a "rights buyout")though most artists are reluctant to do so, and this usally adds 100-150% to the cost for the work.

There are dodgy characters in every profession, but to my knowledge, artists are usually more wary of clients...

Hope this helps...


[edited by - nvision on January 28, 2003 8:21:27 PM]

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I''ll give you some pointers too, although what Ian mentioned is pretty much the truth.

I''ve been working as a contractor for a few years now too together with a friend of mine, and the way it usually works is that someone contacts us asking if we''re available for some work and then we generally ask for more info (you have NO idea how little some people know about what they actually want and need =). The more precise info you can give us (not only what you need, but also things like what your budget allows), the more accurate price/time quote we can give you. We almost always charge "per piece" even though the price is of course calculated based on how long we think it will take.

As for revisions, we continue until our client is happy with the work. Within reason of course. If for example the client all of a sudden decides that the technical limitations of the work (we work mostly with 3d models) have changed, we may renegotiate the price based on time it would take to "fix it" to the new specs.

Contracts are very much tailored to the specific projects, if you have any special requests about copyrights or usage of the work etc, make sure you bring it up as early as possible.

And yes, there are of course "dodgy characters" as Ian puts it, but I''d say most people do what they say they''ll do (or they wouldn''t survive too long).

Hope this one helps you a bit too, send me an email if you need anything else.

Magnus Blikstad

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