Effective from January 1, 2019
Our work almost always follows specific rules, created for the convenience of both our clients and us:
1. Anything we create will be made in several stages. On each stage we request your approval before moving on, so you can share your feedback:
1.1 First, we create a sketch or a rough outline of the asset. At this step, you can check whether it follows your idea and give your edits, as long as they don't contradict the initial specifications.
1.2 Usually next comes the final form of the asset. You can check how it looks and let us know if you would like to apply any minor changes.
1.3 Once everything is approved, we export the files. If you need specific names/structure – we can work with that too.
2. It's crucial for us to get all the key information before we start the work – it allows us to meet the deadlines and avoid unnecessary work.
3. PAYMENT. Usually, we split the project into agreed-upon milestones, with each milestone being paid in advance. Once it's complete, the client pays the following milestone and we proceed to it. In some cases, we can agree to work based on 50% advance payment for the milestone, with the remaining 50% is paid once we show and approve with you the final results, but before we submit the exports (source files).
3.1 Under no circumstances can we submit the exports (source files) before they are paid for. If your project presumes tight deadlines and requires us submitting source files immediately upon completion, please consider payment in advance for the milestones.
4. Any project requires reports along the way and we can do that daily or each time we have any update – whichever you would prefer. In return, we would ask you to provide the feedback at your closest convenience, so that we can stay within the agreed schedule.
5. Even though we cannot predict how the assets will be implemented into your game, we are committed to achieving the best results when we ask you for all the technical aspects. It might seem overwhelming, but it's all done for your future convenience.
6. We reserve the right to publish the results of our work in our portfolio. However, we respect your needs to publish the game without untimely exposure of the assets, so we always check it with you first.
Note: If you are our current client and have any questions regarding these Terms of Work, please contact your dedicated Project Manager.
The key information needed to provide a quote for a 3D art outsourcing project can save a lot of time on your pre-production process:
That is a lot of information to consider indeed. We wish we could make it easier, but it is highly recommended to get this figured out before approaching the estimation, let alone the actual production of 3D art.
As you may know from our previous posts, careful attention to the details during the research & development stage is what helps us to achieve the targeted result creating custom 3D assets for video games.
Feel free to reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss your needs in 3D art.
Continuing the topic of the usual workflow in our game art outsourcing studio, today we would like to focus more on the typical stages that we go through when working on a new project.
As you might already know from our estimation approach, the first and foremost step for us is to collect as many relevant data on your project as we can. Feel free to use our outsource project brief example that you can use as a reference point to make the process easier. Once we collect all the visual references and agree upon details in the technical brief, we proceed to the following stages.
Imagine that you're planning to outsource a large game art project that should have, let's say, 150 pieces of character art and the corresponding number of backgrounds for your mobile game. What we should do in order to ensure that the workflow will go as smooth as possible and won't be slowed down by the increasing number of adjustments and re-works?
The answer is – Style Guide. There can be one or several reference assets included that represent a distinct and detailed guide on the visual style and pipeline that the artist can use to achieve the required result. The key point here is to create the Style Guide before we proceed to the main stage of production. It is even more important when you work with a distributed team of a game art outsourcing studio and need to ensure that all the artists will perform in one defined style.
In the very beginning, we create a mood board to run by you all our ideas and confirm our interpretation of your vision. In our opinion, the Style Guide is an essential asset that can make a difference between a successful project and a production failure. And what is more important – you can give this guide to any other artist in future instead of explaining them your requirements again and again.
Working on it we are constantly getting in touch to collect your feedback on the progress. We can even add you to our Slack channel or use your preferred method of communication. This first milestone not only allows our artists to implement the ideas outlined in the style guide but also helps us to adjust the workflow and prepare the more detailed estimation of the whole future pipeline required for a large project.
Applying internal quality-control at all times
During our work on the project we adhere to the strict quality-control routines. All the work-in-progress art comes through the row of internal quality checks by our lead artists and art director before it is approved for being demonstrated to the client.
Creating initial sketches
Now we proceed to create first sketches based on the defined visual style. At this stage the sketches are pretty rough, depicting the overall directions of the process. At all time, you get to check the progress and give us your feedback so that we apply the needed adjustments to the art. If we created a style guide or at least defined the visual style of the art from beforehand, it won't take long till we move further.
Here you can already see how all the pieces of art and elements will look. Their shape, colour and light are almost in place, requiring just another polishing run or two in order to finalize the art. As usual, communication is very important, therefore this stage will take some time more to adjust the art according to your feedback and requirements.
After we confirmed and implemented all adjustments, we can finally demonstrate you the completed look of the art and make sure you are 100% happy with it. What if you aren't? Then we will be glad to discuss the specific moments and track down what could go wrong. But most of the time this is something that never happens, given that we were moving consecutively through all the stages above and had to hear the feedback on each stage.
The final assets can be exported in the format of your choice defined from beforehand and handed in together with the original files.
Now, when we defined the visual style, handed in the first pack of the assets ("milestone") and confirmed with you the price on the whole upcoming production pipeline, we are ready to bring your amazing game project to life.
Are you ready to proceed? Then don't hesitate to reach out through email@example.com and tell us more about your project and we will do our best to become the best game art outsourcing studio and production partner for your team.
This is the example of key information needed to make a quote for 2D game art project in our outsourcing studio. Information below is for your reference only.
General game info
Unannounced Slot Game with usual mechanics for digital slot machines and online casinos. Platforms: Mobile (iOS and Android)
The player can make spins, earn rewards and buy coins needed for more spins. There are themes for each level, mostly focused on ancient civilizations: Greece, Rome, Egypt etc. Each level has a leading character that interacts with the players by suggesting gameplay hints and encouraging them to play more.
The overall atmosphere of the game
Playful and encouraging rather than dark and serious.
The soft-launch is expected by the end of December, therefore we need at least 75% of the assets delivered before December 1.
References: art style
We'd like you to use the images below as the main visual references of a targeted art style
Level of detail
Use the arts above as a reference for the overall level of detail.
During the production stage we need you to show us every image as a rough sketch with the overall idea and shapes in the first place. After we approve it you can proceed finalizing the image.
We need all images to be presented in PSD with the layers carefully separated and arranged into groups for animation purposes, all body parts should be painted even where they cover each other. All layer groups should have names and be easy for our developers to navigate among them. 2D animations are expected to be done in Spine and presented separately in JSON+Atlas format with the expected size of animated symbol atlas of 250x250px.
How to Prepare for a New Project with an External Development Studio
And don’t forget that
We also have an in-depth checklist for 3D Game Art Production in case you need some high-quality modeling or animation for your game!
When working on a high-standard game art our main priority is to correspond with the customer's vision and style requirements at all time. The more precisely we can pinpoint all the nuances before we begin – the better the final result will be. In this post, we are breaking down a step-by-step guide through the game art estimation process in our studio:
We would like to know as much about your game as we can, including its genre and which other games it is inspired by. Don't hesitate to tell us about gameplay mechanics and lore. If you feel strongly about uncovering sensitive information, we will be glad to sign an NDA with you before we begin.
Here you can tell us about the type of graphical assets that you would like us to estimate at the moment. It can be a character art, concept or sketch, animation, VFX or something else. Don't forget to tell us the overall number of the assets needed and the possible deadline for the work in order for us to plan ahead of the working load of our artists.
The best way to share your vision with a team of artists is to show them visual references that you consider to be relevant to the required art. What can you use as a reference? – Basically, any image that you think corresponds with your vision. You can use screenshots of the similar games, already implemented in-game art, sketches and concepts of your characters or gameplay gifs. Literally, everything that can help us to grasp the visual style of your game.
Here you can use the same images that we mention above, just be sure to emphasize the ones that better convey the idea of how detailed the chosen art should be. Good news is that we can create the game art of any desired level of detail and adjust it in accordance with your needs and budget.
In case you haven't yet figured out the exact resolution for your game art, try to give us at least rough measurements.
Even the slightest detail can make a huge difference in terms of the overall scope of work on the project. For example, will the required 2D character be used to create 3D model later in the production cycle? Should the characters be with or without the background? Will it be cropped somehow later on the screen/card? These are examples of course, but you can get an idea of how much influence they can make. Therefore, we would highly appreciate if you provide us with as much information about even the slightest and seemingly "insignificant" details about the required game art as you can.
Check out an example of a new project brief that you can use as a reference point to make the process easier. Or take into account our 3D-modeling list of essentials if your game project required 3D works.
From our side, we can promise that we will put all our efforts into providing you with a relevant estimate for the project. Having collected all the information and references mentioned above, we will come back in touch and provide you with the full estimation of the work within 1-2 business days.
Feel that you already have everything to begin? Then don't hesitate to reach out through firstname.lastname@example.org or use the forms below in order to request an estimate for your project:
If you already did this, check out how we take on new projects and what we do first. In the meanwhile, we will be looking forward to creating the top-notch game art and graphical assets for you, our dearest partner!