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Messages - nvision
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General Discussion / Re: The Pixel Art Quality Between Two Games
« on: August 29, 2018, 01:48:32 pm »
The first game is also a movie tie-in, so there were likely time constraints to get the game out to coincide with the film release. The second game is an original storyline, so they would have had more free reign. I still prefer the look of the first, since I think they did a decent job with NES palette restrictions, especially with all of that black!

General Discussion / Re: What software do most pixel artists use?
« on: July 31, 2018, 02:26:17 pm »
Awesomesauce, thanks folks! Jeez, GraphicsGale is a 1.8MB install file versus GIMPs 177MB, this is perfect for my needs.  I'm going to have to rewrite my curriculum modules, but the students will be better off for it :)

General Discussion / Re: What software do most pixel artists use?
« on: July 30, 2018, 01:07:38 pm »
Personally, I'm using Photoshop for most of my work, mainly because I'm doing a mix of projects and I need the flexibility.  I've been using GIMP for teaching and have written it into my curriculum.  Regarding GraphicsGale, though, how does it stack up?  I chose GIMP because it's freeware/open source and relatively lean, and I work mostly in communities with dodgy or limited internet.  However, GIMP's kind of clunky, and we've had to write a batch script to import pixel art settings after installation, because no kid wants to sit through 20 minutes of tweaking tool options.  Thoughts?

General Discussion / Re: background sizes and time to finish
« on: April 11, 2018, 01:09:11 pm »
This is extremely subjective and really depends on what platform you're targeting and whether you're creating splash images for backgrounds (a single bespoke image) or a tiled background (made up of many smaller, reusable pieces). Size will largely be determined by your screen resolution, and time by your level of expertise.  If you have more specifics it would be easier to help with a general estimate.

General Discussion / Re: how to calculate your rates for pixels?
« on: April 06, 2018, 06:29:17 pm »
The issue is that just charging higher hourly rates will just lead to getting less work. Looking clients won't know that, given two artists A and B who produce a similar piece, A takes 1 hour and B takes 2. Most clients only have the final product to judge and not the workflow or time taken, and most don't verify actual time taken so they would take words at face value, allowing for artist B to exploit. They will just see that A charges 3$ an hour and B charges 2$ and go with B.

If your client is just looking to hire a cheaper artist, you likely don't want them as a client to begin with.  The content of your portfolio should be the main determining factor for a client who wants a job done properly.  Estimating time to completion beforehand is a good way to ballpark a projects cost in time and $$. 

I've found hourly rates are a better way to ensure communication on both sides and prevent abuse of flat rate quotes by clients that don't have a clear view of what they want.  There is nothing worse than providing a flat rate for a project based on how long you think it will take, then getting mired in revisions and direction changes that stretch the project out well beyond your estimations.  That's a good recipe for working at less than minimum wage...

General Discussion / First Nations/Indigenous Artists
« on: April 04, 2018, 05:59:59 pm »
This one might be a long shot, but it felt like the best place to enquire.  I'm currently working for an independent developer under a federal grant in Canada, working to establish and deliver a curriculum of teaching programming, digital art, and computer literacy through game development.  While the focus is on creating culturally relevant content to use as a basis for teaching, we've also reached out to professionals and hobbyists working the the field to contribute guest modules, presenting their own unique cultural perspective.

Thus far, I've had little luck finding anyone to contribute their knowledge working on the art side of things.  I was curious if anyone here is, or knows of, a First Nations/Indigenous artist working in 2D digital art (either pixel-based or vector) that might like to discuss their experiences and possibly contribute to the curriculum?  If so, I would love if you could get in touch with me either via PM here, or by email at ian (at) 


Portfolios / Experienced and Versatile Artist Available for Hire
« on: November 21, 2017, 03:26:20 pm »
*edit*  I am currently under long-term contract and unavailable for further projects.  Thanks for looking!

Hey Folks,

    My name's Ian MacLean, and I'm a freelance illustrator/animator with over fifteen years of experience working in gaming and related fields.  You can view some of my past work, and contact me directly, at my website here:

    If you don't see exactly what you're looking for, just ask!  I'm comfortable with emulating any style, from cutesy to harsh and gritty, and can also handle higher-resolution images and print illustration.  I also do production artwork, book illustrations, and covers.  I also just picked up a Judges' Spotlight Ennie Award for my work on Lamentations of the Flame Princess book, "Broodmother Skyfortress!"  Check out my work and feel free to get in touch with any questions or comments you might have...


General Discussion / Re: Pixel Art Jobs (and salary)
« on: March 25, 2014, 05:07:55 pm »
Artist #4: Very high profile / well known artist. Sent him an email asking if he had interest in my project. Received a reply after two weeks or so saying he was interested. Sent back specs, current tilesets, and suggested doing a few tiles so we could make sure we were on the same page. After that he disappeared and hasn't replied to me in nearly a month.

I just don't get the communication issues. How hard is it to send an email? Say you aren't interested, say you are busy, say something came up in life, just make sure to NEVER go MIA. A 10 second email is the best thing you can do to keep business in the future.

I'd try mailing them again, though one month with no word is a little strange.  Overaggressive junk filters have made me look the fool in the past, both with incoming and outgoing mail.  Also, a lengthy hospital stay had a couple of clients wondering about my status (I couldn't sit upright, let alone use a computer).  Emails with attachments seem to have a greater chance of vanishing into the ether, and if I don't receive a response with some sort of feedback in a week or so I'll usually send a follow-up via two separate addresses.

General Discussion / Re: Pixel Art Jobs (and salary)
« on: March 25, 2014, 01:49:49 pm »
    Excellent summation, Cyangmou!

    I just wanted to stress the importance of trying to negotiate a $/hr rate, versus a fixed fee or $/sprite.  This has a lot to do with communication and the potential for revisions.  If you have an excellent client who has a well defined asset list it might not be such a big deal, but I've found most of those who are offering a flat rate per asset are generally inexperienced  and not entirely certain what they want.  Each time you have to go back and edit or redo a sprite or tile that is money out of your pocket.  I learned this early on, when a client insisted on a flat quote for a project.  I estimated it would take me a month to deliver, and priced it accordingly.  Poor description and constant direction changes ended up drawing that contract out to three months, and as I had signed a contract to complete it I had a legal obligation to complete the job to the client's satisfaction.  At the end, I was essentially working for less than minimum wage, and that was the end of that type of contract for me.

    As a client, I would insist on at least weekly email updates.  Artists are flaky, and that one email can help keep them on track and motivated.

    I'm still pretty crap at insisting on contracts, though.  I'm far too trusting, even after having my fingers burned on a few occasions.  ::)

Portfolios / Re: looking for a new beginning..
« on: December 09, 2007, 07:32:59 pm »
Hey Alex, I have more work than I can handle, at the moment, and still have a few requests coming in.  If you don't mind, I could pass your name along to some of the more solid offers...  Just let me know.

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