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Purchasing graphics?

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I'm curious about buying tiles and sprites for a 2D isometric view. But I have no idea how much to pay, or how to go about this process. Basically, I'm looking for a purchasing guide or advice -- because I'm not a businessman, just a programmer. Thank you.

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I usually charge $5-10 per still image or frame of animation, depending how complicated it is, discount for different color or minorly altered versions of ones I've already done. But that's vector art and not usually isometric.

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My perspective is that of a freelance artist as well who does lots of tiles and sprites of this sort. I'm not much for business, and I've learned a lot of this by doing it in a rather ad-hoc manner for a couple years, but I'll try to explain the process I've gone through as best I can.

What I do is ask for a detailed specification of exactly what assets are needed both from a technical perspective (image size, image layout, filetypes, naming conventions, etc) and a stylistic perspective, so much as is possible (description of feelings that should be evoked, examples of work from other games to take as inspiration, etc.). Then the client and I go through some back and forth to clarify anything that is unclear, talk about a prospective schedule for completing the work, talk about any contract concerns if we're signing a contract, then from this I usually come up with a a quote/estimate of price based on how long I think the work will take based on my hourly rate and my overhead expenses.

From there, if everything is acceptable to all parties, we agree to have the work start.

If there are concerns during the course of the project (schedules slipping, quality of work not up to par, etc.), the best thing to do is talk about it in a professional manner, and have ... hmm, perhaps an exit strategy agreed-upon with both parties for if things don't work out.

There may be an up-front 'deposit' of some percentage of the total job's amount paid, assuming a level of reputation and trust or a contract. Some clients I've worked with have had some bad experiences with artists flaking out -- you'll want to be able to see if the artist has done work for other projects and has an established reputation. Doing art for videogames is a very appealing-sounding idea to many young and undisciplined artists and I suspect they get overwhelmed when they realize that they actually have to do a lot of work. And if the artist is really cheap, there may be a reason for it; heh.

I think it comes down to being cautious until you build up a working rapport.

So do a lot of research, ask questions, and so on -- I think you're doing the right thing here by just asking when you're unsure.

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