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Tips for working with a game art outsourcing studio and avoiding the typical roadblocks on the way

Today I review some common roadblocks that can emerge along the way. We will try to pinpoint these problems and work our way around them in this post.

Tom Safarov

December 12, 2019

4 Min Read

When working on your mobile game it is crucial to find the most cost-efficient solutions that can speed up your production and sometimes decrease the overall cost of the project. A common option is to consider cooperating with an external art outsourcing studio to speed up your art production while reallocating in-house artists to the more important tasks. Today we review some common roadblocks that can emerge along the way. We will try to pinpoint these problems and work our way around them in this post.

Researching the right art style before you hire anyone can save lots of time

Imagine a man entering a car dealer's office and asking for a price of "a white car that has at least four wheels and can move on gasoline" – what would be your first answer? For us it sounds as there is ridiculously low information about the client's needs at the moment, isn't it? Therefore to navigate through this you have to ask a lot of additional questions in order to clarify the key need of your client, even before you understand if there is something you can help him/her with. This is a tedious and time-consuming process that, for some reason, still happens a lot in a game art production area.

However, thorough preparation can save both you and your art outsourcing partner from the tedious back-and-forth process of asking clarifying questions in order to pinpoint the exact requirements of the art. The more you know about the specific art style that you need, as well as the quantity and parameters of the graphical assets and their types – the more rapidly you will receive an estimate and the more precise it will be. You will find several useful guides covering this topic more thoroughly later in this post.

Tough deadlines? – Great, but don't forget to ask for an honest evaluation first

This is one of the most common roadblocks that you can bump into working with a game art outsourcing studio. When you ponder the production workflow, you have a plan to launch your game by the end of May, but at the first project meeting your art outsourcing partner tell you that the art will most likely not be ready, polished, exported, and built-in the game engine before late June. What should you decide? Basically, you have two options: insisting on the initially planned deadline or re-think all your production schedule before you begin.

As a client, you can definitely go both ways, but keep in mind, that the honest partner will let you know straightforwardly if they are capable of doing it in the mentioned deadline. It is an infamous practice among some game development contractors to agree on an initially tough deadline knowing well enough that there is no feasibility of them making it in time. So ask yourself, what is more important: to have an honest answer before you begin or outsourcing your project to someone who will make optimistic promises but may not deliver in time at all?


Check out if your art outsourcing partner can cover all your specific needs

The recent trend in the game development industry dictates that the game art studio should be able to cover as many services as it can. But as there are no two identical artists out there, all game art companies inevitably vary by the style and the pipeline they can cover efficiently as well. This happens because the key assets at the studio's disposal, i.e. the artists, are also different from each other in terms of their style and skills. Some studios specialize in the full cycle 3D pipeline while covering only some part of 2D, mostly needed to create concept art and polishing the final 3D models. The others, on the contrary, make 2D art their top priority and even focus on specific 2D art styles for selected game genres – casual, slots, dating sims, match-3, and others. So as you can see, it is important to ask questions and check your potential game art outsourcing partner in order to understand their real capabilities and strengths in the chosen area.


Useful guides for your first project with an external game art outsourcing studio

To conserve both your time and the time of your potential game art outsourcing partner, we prepared these short and focused guides on the typical game art estimation process, the standard workflow adopted in our team, and the sample of the 2D game art brief. These can be different in the case with the other studios, of course. But these guides highlight the general stages and the key pieces of information that any external art team would require to understand about your project before they can come back with the answers, let alone to provide the estimate.

We hope this was a useful post that will help you to navigate among the typical roadblocks when beginning your work with a game art outsourcing studio.

Check also: 5 things to know about game art outsourcing studio before working with one.


Original post by Artem Safarov for RocketBrush Studio blog.

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