AuthorTopic: General pricing for character sheets? What would it be.  (Read 4707 times)

Offline shadowN

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Hello.
I'm starting a project that will go on for approximately 1 year,
and am looking to hire pixel artists to work on the monster character sheets.

They range from:
32x32
to
128x128

4 frame animations, forward/backward/left/right.


And I would like to know, what is generally the cheapest you could expect to get this for.

This is one of the animations/monsters I have gotten from a pixel artist currently working for free.



That's the standard I would need.

Also, I'm paying in AUD (australian dollar).


Some help with this would be greatly appreciated.

Offline baccaman21

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Re: General pricing for character sheets? What would it be.

Reply #1 on: January 30, 2009, 09:57:40 am
You need to be more specific with your brief...

how many creatures at 32x32's? how many at 128x128's?

are they already designed?

dependant on size, complexity and scale dictates the cost...

without knowing this it's quite difficult to guage as a total cost.

I'm sure some out there could quote you per character.

32x32 x 4 (directions) x (4 frames) = $x

Buy the book - The Animator's Survival Kit by Richard Williams

www.burnzombieburn.com

Offline shadowN

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Re: General pricing for character sheets? What would it be.

Reply #2 on: January 30, 2009, 01:30:43 pm
well how much would:
64x64 x (4 direction) x (4 frames)
: go for, just 1 of them.

I doubt I have enough to hire the amount I want, but I
wanted to see what I was up against.
(I can only pay out the money I get from work each week)


I'm hoping to get a concept artist separately.


And remember I'm trying to find the cheapest acceptable rate, to see just how
different my prices are.


I'm paying per 'character', not per hour (though you probably guessed that).

Offline Gil

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Re: General pricing for character sheets? What would it be.

Reply #3 on: January 30, 2009, 02:56:54 pm
I'd expect around $10 for the characters you posted. The style isn't too hard to follow and the 5 images you show could be done in around half an hour. I find $15 to $20 per hour a good rate for these kinds of things.

For the bigger ones the price would go up of course.

64x64 x 4 x 4 would be $15 I'd guess.

Those are personal prices, but I expect they'd be fair prices that a lot of artists here would work for.


These prices I quote are in the understanding that I get to work of concept art. If I have to come up with stuff myself, prices go up obviously.

Offline shadowN

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Re: General pricing for character sheets? What would it be.

Reply #4 on: February 01, 2009, 10:09:11 pm
Okay thanks for that :).

I shouldn't be to far off with pricing then, which is good
news to hear.


Yeah, when I plan to have about 6 pixel artists to keep up with the time schedule,
it would be difficult to keep the right monster concept direction for everyone to be
making there own anyway.





Anyone else have second opinions?
If not that's fine, hopefully this'll get me the standards I'm aiming for.

Offline Gil

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Re: General pricing for character sheets? What would it be.

Reply #5 on: February 02, 2009, 04:27:13 pm
I know that a friend of mine works professionally as a pixel artist and he always calculates stuff so he makes $20 / hour. That's for a professional pixel artist, so that's about the high point for freelance work.

Offline shadowN

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Re: General pricing for character sheets? What would it be.

Reply #6 on: February 02, 2009, 05:59:01 pm
Okay, thanks a lot for the inside knowledge ^^!.
Helps a ton.

Offline Doppleganger

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Re: General pricing for character sheets? What would it be.

Reply #7 on: February 03, 2009, 03:35:32 am
I'd personally charge a bit more than $10-15 for the single character sheets.

I work professionally, and don't usually freelance for many people anymore, but when I do I charge a base rate of $35-40 usd/hour. Naturally, most people don't want to pay hourly rates for something they can't necessarily confirm, so I invariably end up converting that to a set fee that equates pretty accurately to the amount of time the job actually takes.

With that being said, I think it'd be very rare for me to produce a 4(3) directional 32x32 character sheet with 4(3) frames of animation per direction in half an hour. To be honest, I think that it would be rare for anybody to do that consistently while also adhering to their own personal expectations of quality. I don't doubt that I could consistently produce character sheets of the afore-mentioned specs in half an hour, but I am close to positive that they wouldn't meet my own level of expectations. I feel that the quality of the art I produce is just as -if not more- important than any other aspect of the task at hand. And so, I would quote such a character sheet as taking about an hour. Converted to $35 as a set fee. This takes into account the time for conception of the design in addition to the fine tuning necessary to call the image complete (subtle animations, color adjustments, character, perfection of style, etc).

If I were doing several batches of these character sheets, I would probably lower the price per character. The reason being that I will eventually form a logical method to the conception, creation, and completion of these character sets as I consecutively do them. Initially finding and mastering a style takes a lot more time than repeating a process you already know. There are, of course, limitations to how quickly one can achieve completion, but all that means is that there is a cap to how low I will go. For instance, I would probably charge $300 for ten character sheets, which amounts to about 45 minutes each. I doubt I would ever quote myself as taking shorter than that, so the lowest I'd ever go was $30 per character sheet.

One thing that I've found is that the larger a sprite is, the longer time it will take. That much is common sense, but what isn't common sense is that the time it takes to make a 64x64 sprite with equal specs to a 32x32 sprite is not entirely relative. That is to say that just because it's double the size doesn't mean that it's going to take twice the time (or possibly less). 64x64 isn't the greatest example, because the size difference between 32x32 is not that great, but 128x128 vs 32x32 would be a perfect comparison in this example. There is no way that I could produce a quality 128x128 character sheet in four hours or less. The sheer amount of work involved in getting a sprite that size to look good (especially when animated) goes well beyond what it takes to do the same to a 32x32 sprite. Take into account the much greater level of detail, the far more unique directional frames (one can not really copy-paste one facing frame to expedite another), and the necessity for precise animation, and one can see just how much more work is involved. The point here is that I would most likely quote something that large as taking 5-8 hours depending on the specific style of the sprites. The other point is that while some people may quote a sprite that size as four times the value of a 32x32 sprite, they're not necessarily right in their assumption. This can lead to a frustrated artist (as they end up working for free in an attempt to complete it), or a subpar sprite. A subpar sprite will usually lead to the expectation of the sprite being redone/improved or the firing of the artist. Both of which lead to an unhappy artist.

It's important to take these sort of things into account when you are hiring an artist. I would definitely suggest outlining your expectations of an artist when you do decide to hire one. Nothing is worse than receiving poor quality art and then dealing with an artist who refuses to fix/correct it under the assumption that they feel it is good enough. Conversely, nothing is worse than submitting art and dealing with a picky employer who expects one to correct minute issues for free. This is something I always outline for potential employers in one way or another. Usually like so:

"In the event that you are dissatisfied with the work you've received, I will assess your comments and criticisms and determine the appropriateness of them. If I feel that there is validity in your statements I will correct the errors free of charge. If, however, I feel that your request is unwarranted or goes above and beyond the agreed upon expectations, I will charge an hourly rate of $40."

This pretty much guarantees that the employer will not take advantage of my goodwill, while assuring him/her that I intend to complete the job in the most satisfactory way possible.

As I'm starting to get off target, I'm going to end this here. I hope that the information I've provided will help you, and anybody else who reads this- freelancers included. Below is a recent job I completed that I quoted at $200. It took me between 5-7 hours and has a style similar to the one you're going for. I'm not sure if it's of much assistance, but perhaps you can use it as a benchmark of some sort.



The square faced dude is just a random doodle I did while working on the actual sprites.
« Last Edit: February 03, 2009, 03:41:16 am by Doppleganger »

Offline shadowN

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Re: General pricing for character sheets? What would it be.

Reply #8 on: February 03, 2009, 09:01:06 am
Wow.
First off I'd like to say thank you very much for such an extensive reply.


About pricing.
I'm hoping to be able to cough up $25 per completed monster.
2 monsters to be completed per week, so $50 a week.
(And a quick note here, there will already be a concept artist, as I'm looking
to hire at least 4 sprite artists, so there won't be any issue of
"This takes into account the time for conception of the design").

Yes, I would hate to sacrifice any quality over cost.
Which is exactly why I have started looking to hire sprite artists for the project,
there wouldn't be any point if I just took half completed work.

I'd love to be able to pay full wages, but I will as you said:
"This is something I always outline for potential employers in one way or another."
Make a full outline, explaining all the details of the job, required specifications,
what it will involve and how the interaction between myself and the employee
should be undertaken, so that there aren't any discrepancies around the team.
As well as multiple tests before hiring.
Because so far I have been dealing with people who~
Wouldn't keep in contact.
Show up days later without any work actually completed.
Basically ignore my requests,
and etc.
(Take note I wasn't paying back then, but still, it was worse than bad).


I'm hoping to gather a team, that will stick with the project throughout it's entirety,
as it is an 8+ month project, which is a long time.
And not just come on because I'm paying enough for them.
Because I want to stay away from people who will just disappear because someone
else has asked for a job at a higher rate.
Dedicated members aiming for the completed development of the project is what
I'm looking for, but of course that's no reason to underpay anyone,
because by all means I'll be paying as much money as I can.
But with a big project, you need more members.


Also I should mention that the team will be after the development of the project is completed,
be paid a share of the profits for a set term (probably 6 months, longer if they stay with the game).
So any split ends would surely be covered there :).
As I have no intention of "taking advantage" of any of my members good will, dedication to the project,
or otherwise.




Thanks again, so much for taking the time to give such a detailed and informative reply :).

P.S,
Those sprites you did rock ^^, and lol at your square faced dude.
Oh and, love your stuff on pixeljoint :).
« Last Edit: February 03, 2009, 09:08:40 am by shadowN »

Offline Doppleganger

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Re: General pricing for character sheets? What would it be.

Reply #9 on: February 03, 2009, 05:29:00 pm
That sounds like a pretty decent gameplan, but reaching all of the goals you've set (which to me don't seem all that set in stone) will take a lot of time and dedication.

Finding an artist who is willing to stick around for 8+ months is a huge undertaking in itself. Especially when you consider that they will be paid part-time wages at best. For the most part, the people you will be recruiting will be artists who are either looking for a step in the door (lower quality art/less likely to stay) or those looking for a quick way to make income (even less likely to stick around if other opportunities arise). Part of this has to do with the nature of the project, and part of this has to do with the amount of work you are offering to any one specific person. If you were/are capable of hiring several people to create monsters for you each week, might I suggest finding a single person who is willing to do all of them. Not only do you get consistency in your art, but you will also be giving somebody the incentive to stick around. A steady income of say $100-150/week is far more appealing than $50. Anybody who takes their job seriously and depends on it to survive, will be far more inclined to take up a job that's offering $400-600/month. That's rent!

I'm not exactly sure of the nature of your project, but it might be worth considering the actual importance of having so many monsters right off the bat. As an artist who's worked on many projects, I feel that there are probably greater goals to be accomplished. Although, with the information I currently know, it is hard to say whether or not they are being accomplished. If you are not also working on characters, ui, tilesheets/maps, items, effects, etc...I would highly suggest doing so. Especially UI work. Which is so integral to the workings of any game, I find it amazing how often it is ignored or slapped on.

And finally, I would seriously not depend/count on the game making any sort of profit when it is completed. To be honest, a promise like that usually turns me off from a developer seeking my services. Creating an MMO and expecting to make a profit is an extraordinarily lofty goal, and one that rarely comes to fruition. Of anybody that I've worked for in the past (who was making an mmo), I've yet to see a single game even make it online. Of the MMO that our company put 8+ months and $100,000+ into, it's being taken down because it still wasn't at a point where it could make enough money to  fund the artists and programmers to continue its development. Although, I should say artist, as I was the sole artist for the entire project. Which just goes to show, that you don't necessarily need a whole army of artists. Just a dedicated one.

I think that's about all I have to say, without getting too in-depth about everything. If you don't have a design document, a solid plan for how your project will evolve, or an already completed decent framework for the game you are making, I would suggest considering those as much higher priorities than monster character sheets. For if you've yet to do all that, and finally do, you may find that what you're expecting to accomplish is a far greater task than you imagined. And one that may or may not be feasible within your budget.