Author Topic: market value of pixelart work  (Read 377 times)

market value of pixelart work
« on: 13 Jun 2019, 18:34 »
Hi there,

apart from that i'm committed with a lot of projects i have in pipeline, something's playing on my mind.

As a pixelartist i love to draw things and make projects to realize my ideas.
Its a lot and time consumpting work, especially for adventure games.
So much backgrounds, characters, animations and items.

Why people are thinking a pixelartist is waiting to realize an idea of somebody for free?
Its more fun to make a own project with things you want to draw instead of being told what you have to draw.

Its offering a service like going into a studio to record something with a band.

I found a list of fair prices for pixelart:

Artist’s skill level                                                                                                                                  

Noob — only sprite editing or a very basic art style                                                                                                                                                          
Reasonable base cost per hour: $0.50 – 2   
Market value for a sprite commission: $1 – 5
Cost for a 500-frame game character (including idle frames, etc) $50 – 300

Average — still relies on existing sprites or tracings, inconsistent results   
Reasonable base cost per hour: $3 – 5
Market value for a sprite commission:   $5 – 10
Cost for a 500-frame game character (including idle frames, etc) $100 – 1,000

Decent — able to create sprites from scratch, may occasionally use existing art or have inconsistencies
Reasonable base cost per hour: $4 – 8
Market value for a sprite commission: $10 – 30   
Cost for a 500-frame game character (including idle frames, etc) $1,000 – 5,000

Skilled — experienced, able to create all original artwork with solid results, just short of professional   
Reasonable base cost per hour: $10 – 15   
Market value for a sprite commission: $30 – 50    
Cost for a 500-frame game character (including idle frames, etc) $1,000 – 5,000                                                                     
$7,000 – 20,000


What do you think? Im out im head under water to open projects. But in general a fair orientation for offering services.
Looking forward to an interesting conversation.

Viele Grüße
Christian
« Last Edit: 13 Jun 2019, 19:53 by Nr. 2698 »

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Re: market value of pixelart work
« Reply #1 on: 13 Jun 2019, 21:58 »
Wow, it's kinda sad that you think everything is about money.

Most of the games here are freeware. 
They are made for fun and given for free, even though a lot of time and care has been put into them.
They are not made for just... 'How much money can I make from this?'

AGS itself is a powerful game maker too, yet it's given away for free.  How about that?


Also, keep in mind that while you may be able to draw well, not everyone has that skill. 


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Re: market value of pixelart work
« Reply #2 on: 14 Jun 2019, 09:46 »
Why would you need 500 frames for a game character when talking about pixel art? Of course this depends on resolution, but then again, when making 500 frames of an existing sprite this does not require one hour per frame, especially for an experienced artist.

Regarding the wages: I think this totally depends on the country where you live. I think in central Europe a professional graphic designer will not work for less than 50€ per hour (I'm talking about experienced people who do this for a living, pay taxes and are contracted as freelancer). Somewhere else in the world you might only have to pay 25€, 10€ or less.

@Frodo: If you do something as your job, you need to earn money with it. Otherwise it is not a job but a hobby.

I like this discussion, but I'll ask a mod to move this to a different board, btw.

Re: market value of pixelart work
« Reply #3 on: 14 Jun 2019, 14:30 »

I have this list from this article:
https://2dwillneverdie.com/blog/how-much-do-sprites-cost/

Bout the 500 frames i have honesty no idea how they get so much for a game.
I guess they are super smooth animations with a lot of Inbetween frames.
The most effort are the keys. It needs a lot of time to get a good movement.
Right, a classic adventure has movementframes around 6-8 frames per walk. So all mandatory animations like walk, idle, talk and grab for a maincharacter are around 60 frames.

Its in my eyes its a realistic benchmark estimate the effort of a project.
Even its a hobbiest project. The values on the list are for hobbiest pixelartists.

People have two options: draw themselves or hire somebody.

I cant understand why people think people doing work for free for a project, which have a developement time of 1 year.
I dont go to the bakery and say you love it to bake bread, please give it to me for free.

My expierience of doing pixelart for free is, projects arent organized, sprites and ideas changed all the time, projects are cancelled and so on.
Instead of a finished game i just have wasted my time.

Im not argue with living cost, taxes etc., im argue with achievement.
Somebody wants to use my skills and time. So he have to pay.
Even its a hobby. There is a very good comment under the article i found:

It’s really a question of whether you’re doing it for fun yourself or if you’re doing work for someone else. Whenever you do any artwork for someone else, you absolutely have to be paid *something*, even if you think you’re the worst artist in the world. It’s a matter of common decency that a surprising number of non-professional artists feel guilty about and can’t wrap their heads around.







Re: market value of pixelart work
« Reply #4 on: 14 Jun 2019, 15:56 »
I have paid for a lot of pixel artwork in the past (mainly through fiverr but also through upwork), and I would say your pay scale looks pretty accurate. But why do you write 'just short of professional' for someone with obvious skill and able to charge prices that I assume could become their full time income?

On a side note: I'm in support of more conversations regarding how people can/are using AGS to build revenue models. I mean, we all love developing and playing games. Why should it be taboo to talk about strategies for bridging this into our professional lives?
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Re: market value of pixelart work
« Reply #5 on: 14 Jun 2019, 17:02 »
It's up to you to decide to be part of a project or not, and if you want to do it for free or not.
If you do not wish to work for free, it's very simple, just don't offer your help when someone asks.

But if I'm doing a game that will be freeware, then I won't be spending money paying for assets. I'll be looking for people that also wish to do it for free just for the fun/practice of it and the pride of having helped put a game to existance.

I'm all for getting payed for your services and I wouldn't except anyone to work for free on a commercial game, even if the game will have a low price tag as $1 or less...
« Last Edit: 15 Jun 2019, 12:37 by Cassiebsg »
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Re: market value of pixelart work
« Reply #6 on: 15 Jun 2019, 01:51 »
My opinion? It doesn't work like that. You don't simply reduce the cost based on the skill level of the artist. A professional sprite artist is professional for a reason, not simply because they decide to charge people money. And people don't pay for work from artists who aren't good enough, or artists who feel they don't want to put in the time and effort it takes to become a skilled pixel pusher without some sort of payment upfront.

I'm not saying an artist has to give away their work for free, but the work has to be done, at least privately, before the time comes to start expecting paying jobs.

Nobody's going to pay/fund you (anybody) for your work while you're learning the tools of the trade. Well...maybe on Patreon, but my point stands.

Take a look back through the "Offer Your Services" thread for some examples of the level of talent that can (should) be expected. If you can match this, and want to be paid to do so, then by all means you are entitled to only ask for paid work. You're not guaranteed paid work, of course, but you at least have a valid argument.

Bear in mind, I'm also not on board with the whole "My game will be free, so your work should be free." argument either. That's equally not how things work. If your game is free, find like-minded artists willing to work for free. There's plenty out there. Don't expect commercial artists to suddenly waive their fees because "Freeware."

EDIT: And while this thread concerns the topic of recruitment, by and large, the OP is not expressly asking for a job or offering their services. So...
« Last Edit: 15 Jun 2019, 02:58 by LimpingFish »
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KyriakosCH

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Re: market value of pixelart work
« Reply #7 on: 15 Jun 2019, 05:23 »
It is all supply and demand, and in this age there are very many gfx artists, although obviously few are professional. For example I am certainly not professional, and accordingly have in total been paid something like 30$ up to now for a couple of works :) I couldn't do it for a living...
There is also clear difference between a pro and an enthusiast in regards to how disciplined they are. Some talented people, helped also by chance (always important...) find a niche genre and become famous, so after that they acquire a steady and very respectable income. Generally, as in all things, you have to put enough effort in the early stages to make an impression.
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Re: market value of pixelart work
« Reply #8 on: 15 Jun 2019, 08:55 »
Hi,

You may think, say a background is worth $200, but to some it may not be what they would wish to pay.

Negotiation is they key.. Having said that, if you have put in a lot of time you may think $200 is justified.

A professional outsider may have their own set rates.  Otherwise you should negotiate a figure for work done.. Set a price and work from there...

For kickstarter games its all down to if you are successful as to weather you actually  get paid or not...

« Last Edit: 15 Jun 2019, 08:58 by Slasher »

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Re: market value of pixelart work
« Reply #9 on: 15 Jun 2019, 22:02 »
Thanks Christian for starting this thread.  This question comes up periodically but usually gets incomplete or inadequate answers.  From your list and the ensuing conversation it's clear that there is a wide range of cost/price, mostly dependent on the skill/experience and motivations of the prospective artist(s).  Your list provides insight and guidance with regard to both buyer and seller expectations.

Somewhat related to this discussion, it's my understanding that illustration of a children's picture book (32 pg) goes for about $1000-$5000 USD. 

Everybody expects something of value for their time and effort; it's naive to believe otherwise.  It's irrelevant if value is enumerated in in terms of currency or other means such as recognition, self-satisfaction, pizza, etc.   An inadequate value proposition is the reason there are so many unfinished games here, right?  If there were a $50000 bounty offered for every finished AGS game, how many do you really think would go unfinished? 


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Re: market value of pixelart work
« Reply #10 on: 16 Jun 2019, 12:19 »
All artwork is terribly under priced if you ask me, be it pixel art or other digital art. The reason, I think, is simply the ease of offering such services, the range of wild actors providing these services and aggressive competition driving the prices down.
What I've found, however, is that the people who advertise themselves as the low-cost option are notoriously unreliable. All I can think of is that this is a function of interest waning as the income from a project fails to cover costs.

And then, on the other side of the coin, are the predatory service purchasers who demand work be done for next to nothing. Since there are tons of those around, and they are visible on the open market, and seemingly catered to by the low-cost artists, it distorts the pricing and appearance of the market.

My only advice, from limited experience, for game developers looking for art: find an artist you can trust, who can provide you with what you need.
Forge a business relationship based on that trust and respect, and then pay the artist fairly and squarely. Yes, you will likely end up paying more than the lowest bidder, but you will save a ton of time and effort and pain in trying to sort through the less reputable artists.
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Re: market value of pixelart work
« Reply #11 on: 16 Jun 2019, 14:44 »
^Yeah good point. And artists who develop a reputation for themselves as being reliable, fair, and capable of quality work tend to snowball demand from bigger and bigger projects and repeat purchasers. One pixel artist I was working with had way more work than he could handle. He was turning projects away or scheduling them for later in the year, which meant clients had to be even more specific with their demands when their turn came around (made for less concept work on his side).

If anyone had the time to measure it, the phenomenon probably follows the 20/80 rule where these business minded artists make up 20% of total artists for their art category but capture 80% of the market.
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RickJ

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Re: market value of pixelart work
« Reply #12 on: 17 Jun 2019, 01:03 »
More about the 80/20 rule or the Pareto Distribution here.

Re: market value of pixelart work
« Reply #13 on: 17 Jun 2019, 08:11 »
I also think it depends on the budget a developer has.
A developer has to scale his project before hiring an artist.

He has to think about which sprites should be done, which quality he want and in which time he want to made it.
As an example, many talking about complex intro sequences and cut-scenes, while scaling a project. Not knowing how much time and skill it cost to realize that.

Many are naive and think somebody who make it for near of nothing draw em a new Monkey Island.
Yes, maybe they find somebody who make it for free, but the quality of this works not exceeding a point of quality.
And the quality of the graphics is the flagship of the game. It stand and falls with the graphics, how people willing to play a game.

I think also a confident relationship between customer and artist has much worth.
On the one side a customer who has realistic expections and pay reliable and on the other side an artist who deliver relaible and calculating a fair price for his work.
So i also think it is important that the developer has a list of all sprites he will need for his game before starting the design process.

The artist can calculate his effort to the project and make the developer an offer for his services.
He can also advice the developer where he can economize the process, maybe for example a simplification of a complex cut scene.

I think the list of prices is good benchmark to calculate the prices for the effort of the different sprites, but the artist couldnt take to much time for a sprite and should make a suitable timeframe.




« Last Edit: 17 Jun 2019, 08:32 by Nr. 2698 »