commissining artwork for your game...

So I’ve reached out to many potential artists and have had dialogue with them. they usually say the same thing “what’s your budget, I usually work with big studios and I can cost a lot for an indie developer.”, but they never send me a quote. Now as someone who worked in sales for a long time I know this tactic, they are trying to get me to set the baseline for them to negotiate up. Usually I’m very well informed about the value of what I’m negotiating, but this time I have no clue. any experienced game developers have any insight for me, it would be greatly appreciated.

Yes your right. We have run across this more than a few times and it’s A) They really don’t know what they are doing as far as quoting a job. B) Seeing if you are the real thing.

And of course playing the base line game.

I’ve worked in sales as well and no one needs to know what your budget is but you. For giggles though lie to them. Tell them you have 100k to play with to see just what would happen.

Something to keep in mind when it comes to commissioned art work that I got tagged on once. IP assets and copyright belongs to the original creator, even if your concept, so be sure that your contract is as work for hire and not as a commission on completed works. If you come up with the next Angry Birds some else could very well own the character copyrights.

For individual professional freelance artists, $275-500 a day ($30-$60 an hour) is normal. Cheap cost of living foreign countries will have cheaper rates, especially foreign contract studios.

Starving artists or students might be willing to work for as low as $100 a day, but don’t expect them to be as good, professional, or quick.

Ouch! … Good to know…

Yup, skilled professionals are expensive. Especially when they have to pay for their own software, bills, insurance, vacation, office space, time between jobs, business costs, taxes, training, hardware, etc. For example a freelancer making $30 a hour might actually take home closer to what they would making at $18 an hour in a studio, after all those costs are deducted.

thank you for a speedy reply. I assumed 300-600 was a standard rate, but that was just a speculation based on what other types of non digital artists charged. I appreciate your help!

Usually it is quite challenging to give a specific quotation for a large scope of work. In fact estimating the cost is the work itself. That is one side of the reason why “work for hire” contracts are preferable. I do not recall a freelancer with positive reputation inquiring about budges of the project and neither done it myself, for what it takes, it is none of their business. They have a fixed rate. It is either your accept their rate and put trust in their skills and reputation and them exercising their best practice to give your expected result for the money in question, or search for another one. Freelancer’s willingness to negotiate might be actually a warning sign, rather than a benefit.

P.S. I once came across a gentleman, who had 10 pages long document about his rates. It looked like a expenditure estimation from a building contractor, and had lines like:

  • High poly modelling, x.xx$ per vertex
  • Low poly unwrap, x.xx$ per face