The global gaming business is expected to be worth $435 billion by 2028. That isn’t everything. Not only is the industry developing rapidly, but it also appears to be accelerating. Creating a game is a demanding task, especially for those engaged with its art. You must not only operate under tight deadlines and with extremely demanding various stakeholder groups, but you must also create high-quality work that meets expectations and needs. All of the changing variables, such as available time, budget, as well as in-house expertise, might hinder your objectives. That is, provided you are not already utilizing external partners for game art design. Despite this, it is not as though art is the only significant aspect of full cycle game production. The quality of the gameplay is equally as important as the quality of the artwork. Outsourcing game art to a trusted partner may eliminate many of the challenges and capacity constraints that a studio has during the game production process, compensating for any shortfalls in time, experts, or costs that you were not expecting.
There are many positive aspects to this type of outsourcing, but you should get into such a business relationship with a clear understanding of what to expect. When developing any type of game, it is critical to locate the most cost-effective options that can speed up production while also lowering total project costs. Consider collaborating with an external art outsourcing company to speed up your art creation while allocating available in-house artists to other important tasks, which is a frequent choice. Why do so many game developers opt to outsource portions of their work? Why is it so popular? One of the advantages is that you save money and time by not having to recruit and train fresh talent. Further to that, the demand for these full-time staff may fade with time, so why recruit them? Following that, we’ll look at several scenarios in which a developer should consider using game art outsourcing.
What is Game Art Outsourcing?
Outsourcing is beneficial to everyone. It is a chance for experts to work for companies from all around the world. It is the responsibility of organizations to reduce expenses while attracting the top experts from across the world. The practice of developing digital graphics for your mobile or PC game with the assistance of an external third party organization rather than an in-house team is known as game art outsourcing. Game development is a full-cycle process that entails the whole creation of a product, and game art production is a part of that process. So, how much does game art outsourcing usually cost? It changes depending on the specific task, its scope, as well as complexity; roughly speaking, game art outsourcing is less expensive than in-house creation, although this varies by location. For instance, an average hourly fee for the same field of work in the United States or Canada may be much more than one in Eastern Europe, which is why hiring an external game art production studio may be a good idea if your home region is renowned for its high rates.
But even so, high-quality work with complicated specifications will almost certainly be more expensive. Furthermore, if you are receiving rates that are significantly lower than the industry standard, you should question your outsourcing partner’s capabilities and comprehension of the work. When you outsource game art, much like outsourcing development, you can either hire a company or a freelance artist. A game art studio will typically have a fairly organized production cycle and a specialized project manager in charge of communication system. While there are many qualified freelancers, if your project is larger, you will have to handle a large number of people on your own, which may be a time-consuming effort. Working with a game art studio also implies that there will be management in charge of work-in-progress updates, as well as an art lead or art director who will ensure that the art style is followed. If an artist is unable to work due to illness, an art studio will send a replacement who you may not even notice. If your freelancer cancels, you are solely responsible for finding a substitute.
In What Kind of Situations Do Developers Divide the Work to Game Art Outsourcing?
When it is necessary to use outsourcing, there are numerous possibilities. First and foremost, this makes sense if the work is one-time. That example, hiring full-time staff makes little sense since they will be inactive when the task is over. You can, of course, recruit a freelancer, but this option has its own limitations – after all, you will have to deal with its recruitment and training. The studio to which you are applying already employs skilled and trained personnel. Furthermore, if the project has a strict time limit, there will be insufficient time for recruiting, training, as well as adjusting. In this instance, the company might make advantage of video game art outsourcing services. And at last, there are some responsibilities that regular employees may not wish to work on. This is often boring job that involves repetitive repeating of the same task. In the end, this may have an impact on the final product’s quality, therefore significant attention may also be paid to video game artwork. Further to that, it is not required for regular employees to concentrate in other areas. For instance, just because an artist can design character models effectively does not imply that they will also be skilled at drawing humans.
If a team of experts is still developing on an idea in the early phases, you should not instantly outsource game art. When a team is engaged, there is a steady exchange of information of ideas, which can lead to anything. Outsourcing game art will be useful especially if you need to draw the same or nearly identical things and you already have your own style. But even so, if you do not have your own team of artists, the best alternative is to actually turn to an outsourcing studio, which will enable you to better hammer out the essential elements. The most critical aspect of dealing with outsourced game development teams is stating the problem correctly. To be happy with the outcome, you must clearly define the objectives and goals that the artists must meet. The description is the most significant factor in the final product’s quality since it outlines all of the product’s needs. As a result, the final output will be heavily influenced by how professionally it is constructed. Outsourcers, for their part, must guarantee proper execution and that all deadlines are reached. Remember that you must first appropriately outline the task and remove any confusion in the directions. It would be helpful if you were to provide particular examples of what you are looking for.
Why Do You Need Game Art Outsourcing Company?
You could be asking yourself this question since picking one seems to be becoming increasingly difficult. We’ve already concluded that the artwork for the game is critical to its success. While this does not always imply that you must outsource it, keep in mind that individuals should work within their areas of expertise for optimal efficiency. Game art outsourcing businesses exist particularly to enable this to happen successfully. If you made your programmers create art, it would be impractical and result in poor outcomes. Your staff should be concentrating on game development services rather than artwork. That is their responsibility. Outsourcing game art businesses are the peak of digital artists. All of the greatest game art outsourcing firms have teams of professionals that each have a unique portfolio. Having a full team to split themselves, assuring effective distribution of resources, allowing professionals to utilize their skills, and so on are all major advantages available only through game art outsourcing companies. At this stage, the obvious comparison is with a freelancer. While you would have art, it would most certainly fall short of what a real enterprise could supply. That is not to argue that freelancers do poorly individually. However, there are some inviolable benefits to hiring a company. The appearance is another important component. If your game sells well and the art in your game is good, the company will share the attention. As a result, they have an active motive to care about the final quality of the finished product rather than simply milking money from you and forgetting about it. They want your game to be successful. And at last, the benefit of working with a major company rather than a small group of people becomes apparent. They will deal with logistical, organizational, and technical challenges, among other things. You may not have to chase them down asking them to accomplish things, and they won’t chase you down asking for feedback. You may therefore create a realistic, productive setting in which both teams can concentrate on their actual tasks.
The Benefits of Outsourcing Game Art
Let’s move on to consider the advantages of outsourcing for developers who wish to utilize the services of other studios.
- Spending Less Money – You do not need to recruit an additional full-time employee if you outsource game design services. This can save you a lot of money because you do not have to pay for additional staffing.
- Spending Less Time – When employing new professionals, you must go through all steps, from interview through applicant training. Of course, this will consume a significant amount of your time, since the entire recruitment process is time intensive. Outsourcing this, on the other hand, can save you a lot of time. The outsourcing studio employs competent professionals that understand what they will be working with right away.
- Overhead Expenses – It is also a huge benefit that you don’t have to pay for office supplies, equipment, or database management systems. Because the outsourcing studio supplies expertise, they are exclusively accountable for the management.
- Free Up More Resources – Content creators must meet quality demands for a game development business. Outsourcing, on the other hand, enables you to add and even free up more resources as needed.
And hence, by utilizing external resources, you may gain more time while spending less money. Many businesses outsource development, which considerably simplifies developers’ job. At the same time, it is important to remember that a quality studio with a strong reputation should be chosen with care.
Tips for Choosing the Right Game Art Outsourcing Studio for Aspiring Game Developers
It may take some time to discover an outsourcing partner that can provide you with the level of quality and payment rates that you want. With hundreds of artists and businesses to select from, the following tips can assist you in making a well-informed choice.
- Hire a Trustworthy Partner – There are various professionals accessible to meet your temporary art needs. You can recruit temporary employees in your area or hunt for freelancers on the internet. Without a doubt, the most structured strategy will be to collaborate with another company or studio that will give you with professionals, since this will allow you to obtain many specialists at the same time. You’ll want a partner with a strong track record and a decent reputation. Look up a possible partner’s portfolio to see whether they have worked with your chosen graphic style and perhaps even the kind of game you are producing. You may also look at their portfolio on Artstation, which is a professional resource for artists and designers. In terms of reputation, the IAOP can supply you with useful information on top suppliers (International Association of Outsourcing Professionals).
- Be Specific with Your Requirements – How thorough you make the criteria will be one of the deciding elements in the quality of art made for you. The more unclear your needs are to artists, the more space for variance there will be, and the more likely you will be disappointed. First and foremost, you must define the art style for the required materials and properly communicate it with real examples. It is advised that you write instructions for each asset type that you intend to generate. Furthermore, don’t assume that the partner will do things in the same way as your studio (for example, using the same 3DS Max plugin for texture mapping), therefore it’s preferable to put everything in writing if it’s critical to the process and product.
- Make Sure All Artwork is Protected – By protected, we mean that all project-related information and assets stay private. If you wish to decrease or eliminate the potential of an outsourcing partner disclosing or leaking sensitive material, or using it without permission, we recommend include IP protection in the conditions that you both agree to. You can include these terms in the first contract you sign with a studio, or you can create a separate NDA (non-disclosure agreement) that protects your rights. When it comes to 2D/3D game art outsourcing, this is the standard procedure.
- Pay Close Attention to Candidate Credentials – Contrary to popular belief, an artist’s portfolio is insufficient to provide an accurate image of their qualifications. As a result, while choosing the best professionals for your projects, you should look into their technical abilities, particularly in the field of game art.
- Communicate Effectively – Even the most extensive guidance offered to an outsourcing company will not minimize the need to answer questions – it is a necessary component of the collaboration process. It is preferable to answer these concerns as soon as they arise, otherwise you may suffer delays or redoing previously completed work. As a result, we recommend establishing various communication routes, as well as selecting acceptable persons to contact and setting up contact hours. Remember that outsourcing companies are generally located in another nation, therefore you will most likely have time zone difficulties. Even after a job is over, you should keep in touch with a business in case you need them to do additional work quickly in the future.
- Review Art Carefully – Most often, as part of the agreement with outsourcing businesses, the client has the right to request adjustments after receiving the art. You should not accept any justifications for low quality work, and you should pay close attention to all factors.