Game Art Outsourcing Services for Development Companies

November 20, 2020

The Benefits of Game Art Outsourcing for Development Companies

Collaboration between studios is vital in entertainment, especially considering budgets and deadlines. Like every other creative industry, the game industry has a root art team, and if a task sits beyond its capacity, it’ll be outsourced to freelancers and art companies. The main benefits of outsourcing in game development are cutting costs and launching games on time. Using this approach, studios will save on having full-time employees and investing in hardware/software dedicated to game art. Moreover, services that come from outsourcing do not have a risk of falling behind in terms of graphic quality; these services will only require an organized art direction lead.

Among the benefits of the current growth of outsourcing in game development, we can notice the creation of more jobs. For instance, when developing a complex and economically exorbitant AAA game, a big studio might opt to instruct a seamless group of specialized industries. Consequently, smaller companies will grow. Outsourcing is a positive and growing trend. For example, about 14 third-party studios and 2,000 people were involved in developing The Last of Us Part II. So, Naughty Dog and Sony Interactive hired about 2,169 developers to complete the game, including studios to deal with voice-over, the world environment, and editorial work. The result is a multi-award, six-nomination winner game, with titles such as “Best Visual Design” and “Best Audio.”

Game Art Outsourcing Services – Companies vs Freelancers

There are significant differences between the workflow of game art outsourcing companies and freelancers. In this case, the key points rely on communication and organization. For instance, the main character's development or a vital scene might need a few talking points, which can happen faster inside a studio. The human-to-human interaction of an art house is unbeatable; the interactivity, prompt feedback, and team synergy in these cases are hardly achievable when working with individual freelancers. There is a need to co-ordinate individual contractors, which might require to take more and more resources with scaling up the project.

In this sense, companies excel compared to freelancers in terms of character art outsourcing and concept art outsourcing services – they reveal better organization and workflow, often showing strategies focused on time delivery and art quality. Finally, as a business, an external art team relies on the project managers facilitating the workflow and allocating the needed resources.

Companies That Rely on Game Art Outsourcing

As aforementioned, outsourcing is a trend in game development. As we've seen earlier, many AAA companies, such as Activision Blizzard, Sony, and others use this approach when developing a game. In addition, more recent games such as Gears of War, Horizon Zero Dawn, BioShock Infinite, Killer Instinct, Star Citizen, Unreal Tournament 3, Final Fantasy 15, World of Warcraft Classic, and Street Fighter 5 relied on external game art outsourcing companies in some part of their development process. Currently, more and more gaming companies rely on outsourcing.

The mobile game market is a competitive arena, and companies that succeed in delivering new and updated titles with consistency end up grabbing their piece of the pie; this explains the current outsourcing growth in mobile game development. Furthermore, companies under development, such as startups taking their initial jabs into the game development market, can benefit hugely from outsourcing art components in their games. For example, even if the company holds a competent team of designers, coders, writers, and art leads, they might lack a few branches of game art, such as 3D environment, 2D illustration, 3D props and low poly assets, etc. In this sense, a specialized outsourced art studio can assist in these competencies.

Game Art Outsourcing Services

In the game art design, specialized outsourcing companies often excel in assembling all aspects, from concept art to final animation touches. Most external vendors might offer a wide array of services such as:

  • Game art and design - at the beginning of a project, the development of the game universe, concept art, composition, world building, 2D or 3D environment, props, and 2D or 3D character art will be the responsibility of skilled artists within the art studio
  • 3D Modeling - artists in this niche are experts on designing 3D assets such as 3D environment, 3D character design, 3D environment design
  • Game UI/UX Design - UI-artists are highly competent in designing interfaces that caters to every player; they’re experts in designing UI screens, wireframes, game icon design, and UI elements design.
  • Game animation - animators with experience in developing both 2d and 3d animation collaborate to create motions and cutscenes through software such as Spine, Adobe Animate, and After Effects, which are the popular tools for creating 2D animation

How Game Art Outsourcing Works

After contacting and hiring a game art outsourcing studio, the process begins; you’ll need to fill them in with a few vital information and let them take the initial steps.

Early Stages

The first stage is working under a specific art style. For this, you’ll have to brief the outsourcing team with a style guide, which can include reference assets that must delineate the visual personality of the game. Consequently, the studio team will develop their ideas and interpretations, which will run and evolve through meeting boards; with their materials in hand, they’ll share their plans with the contractor, confirming and solidifying the ideal style. After the initial briefing is complete, the first definitive art creations begin. The outsourced art studio will share its progress while collecting feedback. During this stage, artists from the team will adjust the ideal workflow for the project while suggesting a few ideas to enrich the style guide. As a specialized art studio, the management works heavily on quality control. Therefore, any creation and sketches will meet the eyes of experienced artists and developers before reaching the client.

Game Art Outsourcing Workflow

During the work on the project, the game art outsourcing companies tend to keep in a constant connection with their partners, providing a timely updates for feedback and adjustments. It's crucial to adhere to the game art guidelines at all times. Additionally, our game art outsourcing studio tends to assign a dedicated team to the project, in order to make sure that there is a core team well-acquainted with the main requirements before adding more people to scale up the production.

Late Stages

After the team designates an artistic goal, the game’s husk begins to form. The sketches will show deep levels of detail, with general creative elements in the environment and characters displaying specialized, professionally-funded, industry-level work. During this stage, communication stays vital; the final polishing only occurs after the client gives the green light.

Finally, after the art is complete, it will be presented to the stakeholders and partners. At this point, the entire creative direction worked under review, with adequate adjustments and implementations, all of which respected the style guide. Nevertheless, the final evaluation is fundamental, and clients will have the opportunity to suggest any changes or fixes during this last step.

With everything set up, the assets are ready to be exported in the required format, along with the original files.

Do not hesitate to reach out to RocketBrush Studio via hello@rocketbrush.com to discuss what we can do to help with the game art production.

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