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anthracite

Finding an artist

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As I struggle to prepare a proposal hopefully somebody here can help me answer a couple of questions. I'm looking to update some point and click adventures my company made a number of years ago. The games are very simple in design and functionality and consist in a number of static 2D backgrounds on top of which characters and objects layers are placed. The games in recent years have been updated from raster to vector based art and now run in flash as opposed to the C++ engine they were developed in, however, the design and look of the games screams 8 and 16 bit era, the edges may be smooth but they look dated. As our market is 8-15 year olds the graphics really can no longer cut it, so I'm considering different options to have them redone. First would be a simple redesign of each layer in illustrator to give it a more modern and detailed look, currently there is no shading, shadows and a lack of detail in characters enviornments. In doing this I would also be looking to add some simple animation such as doors opening and characters speaking along to the dialogue. I was thinking of something along the lines of http://www.stage07.com/game/eng/main.htm - stage 7 Second would be to render the enviornments in 3D. Each game consists of about 8 different rooms, 10-15 characters and maybe 40 interactive objects. All would be rendered and static images would be exported and incorporated into the game. The idea being to convey a modern enviornment within the confines of our game engine and functionality. Perhaps something similar to http://www.jigsaw.x0.com/sphere_e/index.html - this room escape game Third, have a 3D engine within Flash, something along the lines of: http://upivideo.universalpictures.com/bourne2/ - this Jason Bourne game now personally I've no idea where to even start with this how it was done and what technical skills were required. What gets me is how they were able to implement panning around the room and the animation of moving to an object. My assumption is that each room has 5 or 6 pre-rendered videos that are triggered by mouse motion. Now comes my questions, if anyone can tackle any of these it would make my day. Answers should be based on the following constraints: 1. We are located in New York City so have access to a limited talent pool when compared to gaming hubs like Montreal or California. 2. It's contract based work, can't offer benefits or expect someone to move. 3. It's in-house, can't have someone working remotely must be on-site with programmers. 4. Salary cap for the position would be $60 per hour and that would be after a very hard sale to the finance department. The Questions a) Would I be able to find talent to do this in NYC? b) Say an average artist was to render http://www.progesoft.com/compra/prodotti/render/office_large.jpg - a scene such as this, how long would something like that take in Maya/3dSM? c) Would it be possible to draw the same level of detail directly into flash or Illustrator as a scaleable vector graphic? d) Should I bother to consider cel shading or is it a dead fad? e) Where would I find an artist to do such work? f) Is $50-$60 an hour even reasonable for such work g) Could I expect a flash based artist to also possess decent actionscript animation skills. The same goes for a 3D artist.

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a) Would I be able to find talent to do this in NYC?
Yes. There is a less seasoned pool of game developers, but what you want to do requires relatively simple 3D, or more complex 2D animation/illustration skills. There are also a number of art colleges in NY if you want to pay less, but probably get somewhat lesser quality.

b) Say an average artist was to render http://www.progesoft.com/compra/prodotti/render/office_large.jpg - a scene such as this, how long would something like that take in Maya/3dSM?
Let's say, to be safe, a day, no longer. And you also have the option to purchase resources from viewpoint, turbosquid, etc.

c) Would it be possible to draw the same level of detail directly into flash or Illustrator as a scaleable vector graphic?
Given time, anything is possible. Just not productive or practical. The first game you linked to looks great static, but looks like complete crap in motion.

d) Should I bother to consider cel shading or is it a dead fad?
Cell shading is alive and kicking, because it can be done so many ways. Probably not something a CG novice can set up well, but one of your programmers or maybe someone you contract can take care of the cell shading/rendering. Or, if 2D, it can just be made in that style.

e) Where would I find an artist to do such work?
Colleges will be graduating soon, go around to all in the area and scout for talent. Also, messageboards such as polycount, cgtalk, gameartisans, etc.

f) Is $50-$60 an hour even reasonable for such work
$50 works out to a salary of 104k/year... that is a ton for a new artist, who can expect 30-40k for his first onsite job. Given that this is temporary/contract, and doesn't offer benefits, and is in NYC, it will need to be higher. I'd say something like $25-$35/hour for someone pretty competent should be sufficient.

g) Could I expect a flash based artist to also possess decent actionscript animation skills. The same goes for a 3D artist.
I would think so, yes... anyone who has been doing flash for a few years should know a bit of actionscript, I'd think, but very possibly not (I don't know flash). 3D artists probably dont' know actionscript unless they are also flash artists, in which case, see above.

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