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Abdou23

How much does it cost to hire a 2D mobile game artist?

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I was wondering how much do 2D artists charge, I'm a developer and I'm about to finish my first IOS game, but I'm looking for hiring an artist for my second one but I don't really know how this process works. Let's say that for my game I need 4 different characters with their animations (walking - shooting - dying - jumping) and also two different level artwork, how approximately would that cost me ?

Edited by Abdou23

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It can vary, for my current project I was able to find an inexperienced artist who charged 10/hour for some artwork. He made me artwork for a single tile set. I ended up paying him $400 for the tileset.

I have another artist who is a friend of mine who gave a good deal at $25 per hour when his normal asking price is $40 per hour. I am having him do character sketches. He works fast and I specifically told him not to spend too much time perfecting it. So far I have paid him around $120 and he has two characters sketched out, mind you I still don't have artwork ready to put into the game and no animations. I expect to spend at least another $150 on those two characters. I am skilled enough with art software so I plan on taking the sketches he gives me and actually doing the work of getting them rigged in spriter and animated, but I would expect another few hundred dollars if I hired somebody else to do it.

For your 4 game ready characters with animations, if you use a simple art style and find an artist that can work for little. You may be able to get that between $1000 and $2000, but I feel that is very optimistic. It would probably be a lot more. When estimating how much time or money something will be, always plan on it taking longer or costing more than expected.

As for the level artwork, you would have to be more specific on what you would want. You could probably get level artwork for a few hundred dollars but don't expect it to be very detailed. If you wanted a detailed level without much repetition you will probably be spending thousands of dollars for each level.

So the answer really depends on your requirements and who you hire. Edited by HappyCoder

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Taiwan is full of artists that outsource and are not very expensive. Look around and shop.

There are also lots of outsource site where you can put up a job and get quotes from multiple artists.

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More on how it can vary...

 

You listed four characters, each with four animations, and two sets of building blocks to make levels (of unknown size and complexity).

 

And you say 2D.

 

 

That can mean many things.  

 

 

It can mean a single sprite sheet with 60 or 100 images or so, all at fairly low detail.

 

Those few items can also mean several thousand images where every pixel has been carefully reviewed.

 

 

 

Are you okay with somebody building 3D models and rendering them? What about using that as a base then painting over them? Do they need to be in a specific art style? 

 

Level artwork is hugely variable. Do you mean three different types of simple square blocks, or do you mean hundreds of objects for foreground and background and midground elements? 

 

You will need to negotiate many things with the artists, such as the perspective to use and the angle of how you want the game to appear.  You'll need to discuss if you are looking more at a 2D isometric world of 1:2:1 or viewing flat on the side. Will you need different art for facing in multiple directions, such as a forward/backward/left/right artwork, or just a single side, or two sides? 

 

Iterating on 2D art is much more expensive than iterating on 3D art.  It is easy enough to refine 3D art by adjusting a few curves or textures.  Iterating on 2D art means redrawing every image, that can mean redrawing hundred of images.

 

 

There are also sources of legally free artwork online, artists who publish 2D art packs for free with proper legal releases, and there are artists who license them for very little money to many people.  If you are comfortable sharing the artwork you can get all your assets instantly and at a much cheaper cost than having them drawn custom for you.

 

 

Before you can get a quote on how much the work will cost, you need to fully define what the work will be.

Edited by frob

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Thank you guys, you really helped a lot, but I have one final question, how do I know that whatever number of hours the artist says he needs to complete the job is the right amount? for example, let's say I told the artist exactly what I want, the level of details and the exact number of assets, and then he told that he would need 30 hours to finish them, how would I know that 30 is the right number, or close to being reasonable number? 

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how do I know that whatever number of hours the artist says he needs to complete the job is the right amount? for example, let's say I told the artist exactly what I want, the level of details and the exact number of assets, and then he told that he would need 30 hours to finish them, how would I know that 30 is the right number, or close to being reasonable number?


The number of hours is not what's important to you. It doesn't affect your project if he spends fewer than 30 hours or more than 30 hours. The only thing that affects your project is the art he delivers. The number of hours he estimates is just a tool he uses to determine the price, if you are paying him "a price" rather than "by the hour."

Calculate the price - multiply the rate times the hours - and that's how much you're going to pay him, right? If you think it's not a good price for the art, don't hire him. You don't need a babycam watching over him to make sure he really works that many hours.

If you are paying him by the hour (which is not as good an idea as paying the price for the asset package), then after the fact you have to trust his accounting of how many hours he spent, and before the fact you have to trust his estimate of how many hours it'll take. You should build a cap into the price ("not to exceed 30 hours") if you're worried that he'll charge you for more hours.

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I tend to create asset briefs and then contact a few artists I believe have matching styles and ask them for an evaluation of the work if they are interested.

This is the best, most reliable way to get an idea for budgeting.

I've had to re-scope some projects accordingly, and it's a sane effort to make before starting a project I believe.

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