How To Outsource Game Art: A Complete Guide.

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Game development is a symphony of creativity and technical prowess. At the heart of this symphony lies game art, the visual tapestry that breathes life into virtual worlds. Whether you're crafting a sprawling fantasy RPG or a fast-paced indie platformer, the quality of your game art can make or break player engagement.

However, not every 2D and 3D game art outsourcing studio has a team of skilled artists at their disposal. This is where outsourcing becomes a game-changer. Outsourcing game art allows developers to tap into a global pool of talent, from concept artists to 3D modelers, bringing diverse skills to the table without the overhead of a full-time team.

In this complete guide, we'll delve into the world of outsourcing game art. From understanding the benefits to navigating the process effectively, consider this your roadmap to mastering the art of delegation in game development.

How To Outsource Game Art: A Complete Guide.

What is Game Art?

Game art refers to the visual elements and assets created for video games. This includes characters, environments, objects, animations, user interface (UI) design, concept art, and more. Game artists use various tools and techniques, such as 3D modeling, texturing, digital painting, animation, and graphic design, to bring these elements to life.

Game art enhances players' gaming experience by creating immersive and visually appealing worlds. Game artists often work closely with game designers and developers to ensure the game's visual style aligns with its overall concept and gameplay mechanics. Good game art looks not only impressive but also serves functional purposes, such as guiding the player, conveying information, and creating an atmosphere.

What is Game Art Outsourcing?

Game Art Outsourcing is hiring external artists or studios to create visual assets for video games. This includes concept art, 2D sprites, 3D models, animations, and more. Game developers often outsource art to leverage specialized skills, meet tight deadlines, or reduce costs. Outsourcing allows access to a broader talent pool and diverse styles, enhancing the game's overall quality. It lets developers focus on core game mechanics while art experts handle the visuals. Effective communication and clear briefs are crucial for successful outsourcing, ensuring the art aligns with the game's vision and style.

Advantages of Game Art Outsourcing

In the dynamic world of game development, outsourcing game art has become a strategic move for many studios, offering a multitude of advantages that contribute to the success of a game. Here are some key advantages:

Access to Specialized Talent: Outsourcing game art allows developers to tap into a global pool of specialized talent. 3D and 2D Game art outsourcing companies often have a diverse team of artists with expertise in various styles, from realistic to stylized, 2D to 3D, and everything in between. 

This means developers can find the perfect fit for their game's art style without being limited by local talent availability.

Cost Efficiency: One of the most significant advantages of outsourcing game art is cost savings. Setting up an in-house art team requires substantial investment in hiring, training, equipment, and ongoing salaries. 

Outsourcing eliminates these overhead costs, as developers can pay for art assets on a per-project basis. This cost efficiency is particularly beneficial for indie developers and smaller studios with limited budgets.

Faster Turnaround Times: Game art outsourcing companies are dedicated to delivering high-quality assets within specified deadlines. With a team solely focused on art production, developers can expect quicker turnaround times compared to in-house teams that may have competing priorities. 

This speed is crucial in the fast-paced game development industry, allowing for more efficient iterations and adjustments during the development process.

Focus on Core Development: By outsourcing game art, developers can redirect their focus and resources towards core game development aspects such as gameplay mechanics, storylines, and overall game design. 

Art production can be time-consuming and intricate, and outsourcing this aspect frees up internal teams to excel in their specialized areas, leading to a more well-rounded and polished final product.

Global Perspectives and Inspiration: Working with artists from different parts of the world brings diverse perspectives and cultural influences to the game's art style. This infusion of global creativity can result in unique and innovative designs that resonate with a broader audience. Outsourcing allows developers to draw inspiration from varied artistic traditions, creating a game world that feels rich, authentic, and appealing to players worldwide.

Also read: What Is The Difference Between 2D And 3D Art?

Difference Between Game Art And Game Design?

Game art and game design are crucial elements in the creation of video games, each with distinct roles. Game art focuses on the visual aspects, encompassing everything players see on-screen—characters, environments, animations, and UI elements. Artists use software like Photoshop and 3D modeling tools to craft these visuals, aiming for aesthetics that enhance gameplay and storytelling.

On the other hand, game design involves the mechanics and systems that drive gameplay. Designers create rules, objectives, levels, and overall player experience. They work on balancing difficulty, creating engaging challenges, and ensuring the game's fun factor. Designers often use prototyping tools and game engines like Unity or Unreal Engine to bring their ideas to life.

In essence, game art is about what players see, while game design is how players interact with and experience the game. Both are integral to a successful and immersive gaming experience.

Also read: The Impact of Custom 2D/3D Art in Marketing

Steps To Outsource Game Art

Outsourcing game art can be a great way to get high-quality assets while focusing on other aspects of game development. Here are steps to effectively outsource game art:

Step 1: Define Your Art Style and Requirements

Before you start outsourcing game art, you need a clear understanding of what you're looking for:

This is the visual direction your game will take. It could be realistic, cartoonish, pixel art, etc. Look at games with styles similar to what you envision.

Create a comprehensive list of all the art assets you'll need. This includes characters, environments, objects, animations, UI elements (like buttons, icons, etc.), backgrounds, and other visual elements.

Specify the technical details, such as resolutions, formats, and sizes. For example, character sprites might need to be in a specific pixel size for a pixel art game, or characters might need to be in vector format for scalability.

Step 2: Research and Choose an Outsourcing Partner

Finding the right partner is crucial for getting the art you need. Here's how:

Look at the portfolios of outsourcing game art outsourcing studios or freelancers. Focus on those whose style matches what you're looking for.

Check reviews and ratings on Upwork, Freelancer, or specialized game art websites. Look for consistent positive feedback and a history of delivering quality work.

Ensure the artist or studio has good communication skills. They should be able to understand your requirements and provide updates regularly.

Step 3: Create a Detailed Art Brief

Once you've chosen an outsourcing partner, it's time to give them a clear picture of what you want:

Provide an overview of your game. Explain the story, gameplay mechanics, and the role of art in enhancing the player experience.

Include concept art, mood boards, and references from other games or media that capture the style and feel you're aiming for. Visuals help convey your vision better than words alone.

Be specific about technical details like image resolutions (e.g., 1920x1080 for backgrounds), file formats (PNG, PSD, AI, etc.), color schemes, and other requirements.

Set clear deadlines for different milestones. This helps the artist manage their time and ensures timely delivery.

Step 4: Negotiate Terms and Sign a Contract

Before work begins, it's important to have a formal agreement:

Define exactly what's included in the project. This could be a certain number of characters, environments, animations, etc. Also, clarify the number of revisions allowed.

Agree on payment terms. It could be a flat fee, payment per milestone (e.g., sketches, final art), or a combination. Make sure both parties are clear on when payments will be made.

Determine who will own the rights to the artwork. In most cases, you'll want full ownership to use the art in your game without restrictions.

Consider an NDA to protect your game's ideas and assets. This ensures the artist won't share your game details with others.

Step 5: Provide Feedback and Collaboration

During the art creation process, maintain open communication:

Establish a process for providing feedback. This could involve regular check-ins, review meetings, or tools like Google Docs or Dropbox Paper to comment directly on the artwork.

Use project management tools like Trello, Asana, or Jira to track progress and communicate effectively. These tools help keep everyone on the same page.

Request updates at agreed-upon intervals. This allows you to see the art as it progresses and make adjustments as needed.

Step 6: Review and Approve Artwork

When the artist submits work, it's time for careful evaluation:

Review each deliverable against the initial brief. Does it match the style, tone, and quality you're looking for? Provide constructive feedback for any necessary revisions.

Integrate the artwork into your game for testing. This helps ensure that the art complements the gameplay and other elements.

Once satisfied with the revisions, approve the final artwork. This signals the artist that the work is complete and ready for delivery.

Step 7: Receive Final Deliverables

As the project wraps up, prepare to receive the completed art:

Ensure you receive all necessary files in the required formats. This might include PNGs, PSDs, AIs, or any other formats specified in the contract.

Request any additional documentation or notes related to the artwork. This could include color codes, naming conventions, or usage guidelines.

Complete the final payment according to the agreed-upon terms. This usually happens upon delivery and acceptance of the final artwork.

Step 8: Maintain Communication for Future Needs

After the project, keep the lines of communication open:

Provide feedback on the outsourcing experience. Let the artist know what worked well and where improvements could be made. This will help in future collaborations.

If you're happy with the work, consider working with the artist again for future projects. Building a good relationship can lead to smoother processes in the future.

Looking To Outsource Your Game Art Project? Partner With Top Game Art Outsourcing Studio 2024

We've worked with various firms, including those previously outsourcing their game graphics or animation. It is only natural to have clients who lack experience and do not know exactly what they want. Don't be concerned if you work for one of those companies.

Every animation company promotes its work online through its website and social media. Going through them will allow you to determine which work style is suitable for you and have an understanding of the company's work quality.

At Vasundhara Game Studio, the best game development company in Surat, our project managers and creative team would be happy to introduce you to several styles and discuss the benefits and drawbacks of each, based on your requirements. 

Conclusion

Game art outsourcing offers a multitude of advantages that empower developers to create captivating and visually stunning games while optimizing resources and focusing on core development aspects. By leveraging specialized talent, achieving cost efficiency, ensuring faster turnaround times, and benefiting from scalability, developers can elevate their games to new heights, all while embracing global perspectives and mitigating risks along the way.

Ready to elevate your game's art? Contact us today to explore the benefits of game art outsourcing and take your project to the next level. Request for a FREE quote

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