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ShiftyCake

Couple of questions for game art designers/animators

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Okay guys, thanks for all this information, I really appreciate it. So if I'm targeting beginner artists, should I look for an animator and 3D modeler separately? Or, if I have some patience (I'm in no rush), can I get one person who'll build up their experience in both. Would that be realistic?

Find a freelancer tell them what you want and how much you are willing to pay, they will give you a breakdown of what they can do for the price.

 

As for hiring a 3D modeler think about what you need the most, hire a 3D modeler that can animated if you want beautiful scenery or Hire a animator that can do 3d modeling if you want your world to feel alive; a artist will focus on what they know best.

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Well, I'm looking for a 'beginner' artist for a reason. I'm not expecting them to be great, I'm expecting them to be like me - new, passionate, and looking to expand their portfolio/skills. I'd prefer not to go hobbyists because I think that'd be problematic. Rather I'll probably be targeting university students in their first or second year.

 

These games will be put on the market for a range of prices (depending on quality and scope), and the two I work with will get even shares in the revenue (and business if they're looking for that). They won't have to pay for any game and business expenses (at least for the first couple of games). I'll be managing everything from the documents and marketing/business to the game design and story writing. All they have to do is focus on their own work - the art and sound.

 

I think that this sort of deal would be very enticing, wouldn't it?

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I think that this sort of deal would be very enticing, wouldn't it?

 

Generally, no.

 

If you ask anyone with expierience they will most probably refuse to work under such a revenue sharing scheme. MAYBE you get students to agree to it, because they don't know better yet, or because they don't care and just want to build expierience and a portfolio.

 

 

As to WHY its generally seen as a bad deal, well.... the chance on ANY game making serious money in the market is slim (unless coming from wellknown dev/publisher, using a wellknown license, or sequel to a wellknown and proven series). Working on a game where you are promised part of the revenue while not getting a regular hourly wage is thus basically doing free work in most of the cases. Even new artists most probably know they can get a better deal than that when doing freelancing gigs for cheap.

Even if the game ends making its money back, that is deferred payment, and chances are still high that even after years the total compensation is way lower than what the artist would have gotten through hourly rates.

 

Also, you are asking the artist to take on the same risk as you as entrepreneur do, but do they also get the same leverage over the project? Are they partners, so to speak, able to influence what project you are working on, what platforms you release on, and so on?

 

 

If you really want to have people work for free, don't rule out the hobbyists. Your search will be hard enough including them I would guess. And you will be asking for trouble anyway, given that there is little motivation for the guys you do find to stick with the project, or sign over their copyrights to you.

 

Else, if you DO have the money, I would rather be prepared to pay more upfront and pay hourly wages, while dropping or minimizing their revenue share. Revenue shares usually only fool the unaware, or work in a tightly knit team of people that started a project together.

Instead, offer a good, competitive hourly wage, appropriate for the skill level of the artists you are targetting, and keep in mind the lower you aim on the skill level, the longer the guys have to complete the same task, so you will not save much money in the end (if the artist starts to get more skilled, he will likely start to ask for more money, as he might as well look for a higher paying gig elsewhere).

 

 

My 2 cents.

Edited by Gian-Reto

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When I started out and still learning I did a few free jobs as part of my learning, however I only did free jobs because there was no obligation connected to it. Hiring an in experienced artist IS going to give you difficulties; after all you will be working with a person who knows about as much as you do when it comes to art.

For me it was on my fourth year that the project I joined turned out to be a success.

 

Rather I'll probably be targeting university students in their first or second year.

Then a warning, I deal with a lot of interns -we use them for grunt work- the students that are strait out of the university know what to do, they just don't know why yet.

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Okay thanks for the info guys. First, my budget will probably be around $1-2 thousand dollars, so obviously it is a very tiny budget - but I'll be starting with very small games. I won't be making anything amazing here, that's for sure.

 

I should also mention that my first game will be a Shoot 'em up, so think of that rather then an isometric game. I'm sure both the 3D modelling and animation will be much simpler for that type of game.

 

 

 

Also, you are asking the artist to take on the same risk as you as entrepreneur do, but do they also get the same leverage over the project? Are they partners, so to speak, able to influence what project you are working on, what platforms you release on, and so on?

 

The artist and sound designer I bring on board will be taking no risks as an entrepreneur.  They won't be paying for anything, and I'll be doing all of the time investment for everything except their own work (art and sound), unless they want to take on some extra work (but it is optional). They can leave the business and games at any time, but will only be paid the revenue on the games they see through to completion (I'll give them a smaller revenue share if they do a lot of work on a game they leave).

 

This means they can focus entirely on improving their work, possibly gain money without ever having the possibility of losing it, while at the same time expanding their portfolio with games that will (hopefully) be seen as well designed. If I was just starting out as an artist or sound designer, I think that would be very enticing. But I don't really understand the industry, which is why I came here in the first person. I could be wrong

 

So I think my best plan of action is to have multiple plans of action. These are the three I've come up with for now:

 

1. Bring on board a beginning artist and sound designer, and slowly build up our experience together as we work on games that start off small in scope, and grow as we do. We'll split the game revenue as evenly as possible, and they'll have shares of the business if they're interested.

 

Backup Plan 1. If I fail to locate an artist, sound designer or both, I'll advertise for hobbyist artist/sound designers for each individual project (keeping on board those who want to work on the next project). They'll hold part of the game revenue, but won't be involved in the business.

 

Backup Plan 2. If I fail to locate the necessary hobbyists, I'll outsource as efficiently as I can with my limited budget.

 

But I think Scouting Ninja brought up a valid point in his statement. So @Scouting Ninja

 

If I'm understanding correctly, students who are just starting out don't know how to apply their craft they've learned. So if I brought on such a student, and had him doing all of the artists work, he'd need to be told exactly what needs to be done, rather then being able to figure it out on his own? So he's learnt how to 3D model and animate, but he doesn't fully understand the mechanics and reasoning behind what he's learnt? Am I understanding this right?

Edited by ShiftyCake

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The artist and sound designer I bring on board will be taking no risks as an entrepreneur.  They won't
be paying for anything, and I'll be doing all of the time investment for everything except their own
work (art and sound), unless they want to take on some extra work (but it is optional). They can leave
the business and games at any time, but will only be paid the revenue on the games they see through to
completion (I'll give them a smaller revenue share if they do a lot of work on a game they leave).


You aren't listening, or you're in denial, or you're twisting the definition of financial "risks."
Yes, the artists are not investing money - they're investing their time and talent. And "only" being
paid "the revenue on the games they see through to completion" means they'll probably never receive
a dime. That IS risk. One's time and talent is worth money. Pay the man (to quote Judge Milian).

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  If I'm understanding correctly, students who are just starting out don't know how to apply their craft they've learned. So if I brought on such a student, and had him doing all of the artists work, he'd need to be told exactly what needs to be done, rather then being able to figure it out on his own?

The problem is more technical and harder to explain than that.

Think of it as building a puzzle, a student who learned 3D modeling was given all the pieces and a image of what it should look like when done. There largest problem they have is that they are overwhelmed with information and possibilities. They keep looking at the image and start solving puzzle then when they reach monochrome pieces like a sky, they get stuck because they ignore the shape of the puzzle pieces. (This is my third attempt at explaining and I am sticking with it. <_<)

 

In 3D terms:

Triangles are bad -always-you must never use an triangle. Except when making game models they matter and they don't, because the model is triangulated.

A triangle on a flat surface will go unnoticed, a triangle on a smooth surface will produce pinching.

A triangle should always be avoided when doing sub-D modeling, except when the triangle divides into a quad; a triangle will always divide into a quad.

When you need a triangular form, never use a triangle; except when paper(flat) modeling.

 

All of the above rules are true, except when time is running out then you just ignored it and do what you must. A student will know the rules and even have seen them in action, however they don't know every situation because that can only be discovered by trail and error.

 

 

What you need to know is that a student will have no problem making any thing that exists, things like tables and chairs in games are often made by interns or fresh 3D modelers. To help interns improve we give them a lot of retopology work, because they have a model as example and it will be easy to notice when there is a error with the mesh.

For self thought artist a easy way to improve is to make them write tutorials, they have a feeling for 3D modeling and asking them to summarize it helps.

 

If you are wondering what kind is better to hire, it would be any 3D modeler willing to learn, even if the are experts.

 

 

 

 

You aren't listening, or you're in denial, or you're twisting the definition of financial "risks."

I agree with Tom here, 3D models are worth a lot because the take a long time to make. Any artist helping you IS loosing money, even if it is a student; living isn't free.

 

In a single day I make $100-$500(Today I only made $16, it's a weekend.) just doing Freelance work and selling assets, I am not a full time freelancer; it's some thing I do as 3D training.

 

edit:

If I had to provide a estemate for a amount a 1-2 year student will make a day it will be: $10-$100 and this is inclueding there study time.

$1-2 thousand dollars

So your art budget will be about $500, you can get a lot done with that if you know where to look. I will recommend finding a foreigner, we work for lower fees because dollars are worth so much in our countries.

I wish you luck.

Edited by Scouting Ninja

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You aren't listening, or you're in denial, or you're twisting the definition of financial "risks." Yes, the artists are not investing money - they're investing their time and talent. And "only" being paid "the revenue on the games they see through to completion" means they'll probably never receive a dime. That IS risk. One's time and talent is worth money. Pay the man (to quote Judge Milian).

 

Thanks. I just wasn't understanding. And I didn't mean they'd only be payed revenue on games they see through to completion, I phrased it wrong. What I meant is that they can't come on board, do a couple of things and then claim full revenue for basically nothing. That's what I'm worried about. I'm just not at the stage where I've fully developed an iron-clad business plan, so I'd iterate exactly how that works there when I am. I just need certain rules down to cover myself in case things go sideways.

 

I see what you mean on the time investment though, I wasn't considering it in that way. That leads me to some trouble since I can't realistically expect any sort of beginning artist to devote their time to me for free, when they can equally build up their experience and portfolio in safe ways while earning money. I assume the sound designer will work in the same way. Unlike an ideas person like me, I can assume they'll always be in heavy demand.

 

So then, let's say these are possible plans of action:

 

Plan A. Bring on board a beginner artist and sound designer. Offer them a suitable wage per piece of art for their experience, and also offer them even share revenues of the game and business. If they take the share revenues for the game, their wage will be lowered by a respective amount? ?I'm really not sure here. I think this just complicates things, and is really just a bad plan in general. It might be best to give up on this idea entirely.

 

Plan B. Advertise for hobbyist artist/sound designers for each individual project (keeping on board those who want to work on the next project). They'll hold part of the game revenue, but won't be involved in the business.

 

Plan C. Outsource as efficiently as possible. According to Scouting Ninja, my money is fairly okay to create my first game with, as long as I'm smart with it.

 

 

 

So your art budget will be about $500, you can get a lot done with that if you know where to look.

 

Can you give me any advice besides hiring a foreigner? I appreciate all the help :)

Edited by ShiftyCake

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Can you give me any advice besides hiring a foreigner? I appreciate all the help


I'm moving this to Production. Hiring talent is a producer question.

You're asking artists how to hire artists. You should be asking producers. Producers hire artists -
artists usually don't hire artists. Edited by Tom Sloper

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artists usually don't hire artists.

So true however because we get hired by customers who make mistakes, we do have some small advice to offer. :)

 

an you give me any advice besides hiring a foreigner? I appreciate all the help

First, never buy any thing you can make yourself, it's simple yet I get hundreds of clients paying expensive prices for simple things that could be researched on the internet.

 

Second, when hiring a artist you are paying for the time not the product. You can't expect to pay the low prices you do at asset stores, models made for asset stores sell over a long period of time and slowly bring in funds and do in time pay for the effort.

The lowest paying option you can get from a artist is to pay per model instead of time, the way this works is that the artist will work on the model when they don't have any other important jobs. You get a huge price cut this way -still more expensive than buying from a asset store- however you don't have a solid deadline to receive the model.

 

 

The last thing you can do is reduce the complexity of the model to reduce the time and effort needed to make it, reducing the price of the model.

This is what I recommend you do for your first project, because you won't need AAA quality models for your game.

 

So what you do is contact your artist of choice and tell them you want a paper/ flat low poly model. This means a low poly model that is modeled in the most simplest way possible. We use these models for LOD levels and planing.

 

Here is one I made as a example, how it looks. http://imgur.com/DnpgR8u The .Blend: https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B3hHgiNtHATdZ3gwaXd2LUthNjg/view?usp=sharing

The difference between this model and a AAA model is a high poly model and better topology, this models also isn't UV mapped.

 

You can see that it is a low poly model 1 560 tri, and that it has a good shape and form, there are also a few ways to reduce poly count.

From the Blend you will see that at a distance it looks almost as good as any AAA gun, that is because it's very similar to how a AAA gun's LOD would look like( there wouldn't be as much overlapping mesh.)

 

The gun is perfect for a low budget shooter game, because you will be at a distance and won't notice much detail while playing. The best part is that almost any 3D modeler can make it. All a 3D modeler needs to know is: custom normals, shape theory(or practice) and basic modeling.

It's also a good target for beginners because it teaches the basics and doesn't need texture experience.

 

 

The model took 1 hour 12 minutes to make, that would make it's time worth $25 on average. At a asset store if you pay more than $3 you are paying to much(It would sell around eight copies in a month). Last if you hired a artist at a per-model price it would be $10-15.

 

If you find a artist willing to work for you on your terms chances are they can make models like these. Also I bet you could make models like these, if not guns then street signs, pot plants and other basic objects; that way the artist can focus on the important models while you help with the grunt work.

 

For LODs you can use Blender it has a tool that generates LODs, it's just not the same quality as Simplygon.

 

 

Edit: Don't merge the mesh in Blender, it will destroy the custom normal data, export as .fbx with smooth set to "Face" to import the model with custom normals into a engine as one model.

Edited by Scouting Ninja

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