Outsourcing Game Art: An Overview of its Benefits and Best Practices

Understanding Game Art Outsourcing

Game Art Outsourcing

Game art outsourcing is a process where video game developers contract another company or external team to create game art assets for their projects. In simple terms, game art outsourcing is when a game company assigns specific game assets to external companies, and not their in-house team, to create. Game companies usually resort to game art outsourcing because they don’t have the time, resources, or expertise to create their desired game art by themselves.

Game art outsourcing is not a new concept. Video game developers have been outsourcing art assets since video games became popular. In the early days, game developers relied on third-party companies to provide sound effects, voices and music. But as time progressed, game developers have started to outsource parts of the game development process, including game art production.

The reason game art outsourcing is becoming increasingly common is due to its many benefits. The most significant benefit is that game art outsourcing provides game developers the ability to create more expansive and complex games. Game art outsourcing allows developers to bring their vision to life and enhance the overall quality of their projects without having to devote all their resources to game art. In essence, game art outsourcing is a strategic move to enhance creativity and, most importantly, cut costs.

The cost-saving aspect of game art outsourcing arises from the fact that it diverts resources that could have been devoted to game art to other areas, such as game design, programming, or marketing. Additionally, outsourcing game art services to external companies can be more cost-effective than hiring an in-house team due to the lower fee structure and taxes in other countries. By outsourcing game art, developers can access specialized expertise and talent pools to bring their projects to life.

However, game art outsourcing comes with a set of challenges. One of the most significant challenges is that communication difficulties may arise between game developers and outsourced artists. There is always a possibility that an outsourced team may not understand the vision of the game developers or lose the game’s desired essence. Additionally, game developers must monitor the quality of outsourced work and ensure that it meets company standards.

Finally, when seeking game art outsourcing services, it is vital to consider the type of game art asset you need. Game art assets include game characters, backgrounds, concept art, user interface components, and sound effects. Each of these requires a unique set of skills and tools to create. Therefore, it is essential to outsource artists that specialize in the type of game art asset you require.

In conclusion, game art outsourcing has been a game development practice for years, with the increased complexity of games, the trend is set to continue. Game art outsourcing is a more cost-effective approach that enables developers to focus on other important aspects of game development while also accessing specialized expertise and talent pools to create their vision. But, game developers must be vigilant of their outsourced teams and keep track of the ongoing art creation process to ensure that their project’s quality is upheld.

Types of Game Art Outsourcing Services

Types of Game Art Outsourcing Services

For a game development company, there are various types of game art outsourcing services to cater to their specific needs. Outsourcing has been a great way for companies to get good work done at a lower cost. The following are the most common types of game art outsourcing;

1. Concept Art Outsourcing:
Concept art is the visual representation of a game’s planning stage. It is drawn on paper or digitally and represents the initial designs of game characters, weapons, levels, and environments. Game art outsourcing companies help game developers bring their ideas to life by providing them with high-quality concept art. Concept artists draw creatures, characters, backgrounds, and other game assets.

2. 2D Art Outsourcing:
2D art refers to 2D assets used in a game, such as sprites, backgrounds, textures, and UI elements. 2D art outsourcing companies provide game development companies with experts in the field of 2D art. These experts can create high-quality 2D assets required in the game development process. Game development companies outsource 2D art because it can be expensive to hire a full-time in-house artist.

The demand for 2D art is increasing as many game development companies are creating retro-style 2D games. This creates an opportunity for 2D artist outsourcing companies to provide a solution to the game development industry. The popularity of 2D games has resulted in an increase in demand for 2D artists.

2D art outsourcing companies spend a lot of time on the details, making sure that the design is perfect and the art complements the game’s theme. The company’s experts have a deep understanding of the latest trends in the 2D art world and know how to use software to develop high-quality 2D art assets required in the game development process.

3. 3D Art Outsourcing:
3D art has become a popular part of many modern video games. It enables developers to create immersive and realistic 3D environments, game characters, and animations. Game development companies outsource 3D art because it can be costly to hire a full-time artist.

3D art outsourcing companies provide game development companies with experts in the field of 3D art. These experts use software such as Autodesk Maya, Blender, and Adobe After Effects, to create characters, environments, and animations. Most 3D art outsourcing companies specialize in low-polygon, high-resolution models that are optimized for game environments.

In conclusion, game art outsourcing has become a common practice among game development companies. There are various types of game art outsourcing services that cater to specific needs, ranging from concept art, 2D art, and 3D art outsourcing. It’s essential to work with reputable companies that have experienced artists who understand the game development process and how to deliver quality game art assets. Outsourcing game art to cost-effective vendors provides more room for development and ultimately contributes to the success of a game.

Benefits of Game Art Outsourcing for Developers

game art outsourcing benefits

Game art outsourcing has become increasingly popular among game developers due to the numerous benefits it offers. In this article, we will discuss several benefits of game art outsourcing for developers.

Access to Top Talent

Top Game Art Artists

One of the key benefits of game art outsourcing is access to top talent. Outsourcing allows game developers to work with experienced and skilled artists from around the world. This means that developers no longer need to limit themselves to artists based in their local area. By working with top talent, developers can ensure that their game boasts the best possible artwork, which can go a long way in attracting and retaining players.

Moreover, outsourcing allows developers to pick and choose from a broad range of art styles, rather than sticking with one or two styles that may be easier to come by locally. This means that their game can stand out in a crowded market, as it could feature unique and visually striking artwork.

Cost Savings

Game Art Outsourcing Cost

Another benefit of game art outsourcing is cost savings. Hiring full-time, in-house artists can be expensive, particularly if they require specialized equipment to complete their work. Outsourcing allows developers to scale up or down their team and pay only for the time and work required.

By working with freelance artists or outsourcing companies, developers can enjoy significant cost savings on salaries, equipment, and overhead costs such as office space and utilities. Additionally, outsourcing allows developers to avoid the costs and time associated with recruiting, hiring, and training new staff members.

Improved Time Management

Game Art Outsourcing Improved Time Management

Developing a game is a time-consuming process, and any delays can impact the overall release date of the game. Outsourcing game art allows developers to tap into the skills and expertise of artists who can complete work within specific time frames.

This means that developers can create a more precise timeline for the game’s release, confidently plan other activities, and milestones that coincide with the game’s completion. Outsourcing companies typically use project management tools that ensure timely delivery even when last-minute difficulties arise.

Developers can also save time on project management tasks such as scheduling and tracking tasks by handing it over to an outsourcing partner, providing developers more time to focus on building quality gameplay that can make the game shine in the market.

In conclusion, game art outsourcing provides various benefits for developers, including accessing top talent from around the world, significant cost savings, and improved time management, allowing developers to focus on the core activities of developing their game.

How to Choose a Game Art Outsourcing Partner

Game Art Outsourcing Partner

Game development is a complex process that requires expertise, creativity, and technical skills. While it’s tempting to develop everything in-house, outsourcing some aspects of game development, such as game art, can bring significant benefits to the project. Outsourcing game art allows developers to leverage specialized skills, obtain high-quality assets, reduce development time, and lower costs. However, choosing the right game art outsourcing partner requires careful consideration and evaluation. In this article, we’ll share some tips on how to choose a game art outsourcing partner that can meet your project’s needs and deliver high-quality assets.

1. Evaluate the Partner’s Expertise and Experience

When evaluating potential game art outsourcing partners, it’s essential to consider their expertise and experience in creating game art assets. Check their portfolio, and look for examples of the kind of art assets you need for your game, such as characters, environments, or objects. Ask for references from other game developers who have worked with them, and inquire about the quality of their work, the communication, and collaboration process.

2. Consider the Partner’s Availability and Capacity

Another factor to consider when choosing a game art outsourcing partner is their availability and capacity to handle your project’s needs. Ensure that they have enough resources and staff to deliver the assets in a timely manner, and that they can accommodate any changes or additional requests throughout the project’s lifecycle. It’s also essential to establish clear communication channels and project management processes to avoid misunderstandings or delays.

3. Compare Pricing and Quality

Game art outsourcing can offer significant cost savings for developers, but it’s essential to balance price with quality. Don’t select a partner based solely on their pricing, but also consider the quality and value of their deliverables. Compare their pricing with other outsourcing partners and evaluate their price-to-quality ratio. Keep in mind that the cheapest option may not always be the best choice, as it can result in lower quality assets that require additional revisions or rework.

4. Ensure Intellectual Property Protection and Security

Intellectual property protection is a critical concern when outsourcing game art assets. Ensure that the partner has appropriate security measures in place to protect your project’s valuable assets and that they follow best practices for data privacy and information security. Establish a contract that clearly states the project’s scope, deadlines, and expectations, as well as the ownership of the assets and any licensing or distribution rights.

Final Thoughts

Choosing a game art outsourcing partner can be a daunting task, but it’s essential to find the right one that can meet your project’s needs and deliver high-quality assets. Evaluate potential partners based on their expertise, capacity, pricing, and intellectual property protection, and establish clear communication channels and project management processes. By carefully considering these factors, you can find a game art outsourcing partner that can bring significant benefits to your game development project.

Challenges of Game Art Outsourcing and How to Overcome Them

outsource images in games

Game development involves various aspects including programming, game design, marketing, and game art. Game art features the visual elements of the game, such as the characters, environment, objects, and the game user interface. Developing a game requires a significant amount of resources including time, cost, and specialized skills. Game art outsourcing is a popular option for teams and studios looking to reduce the overall cost of production while still ensuring high-quality game art. In this article, we discuss the challenges that studios and teams face when outsourcing game art and how to overcome them.

1. Quality Issues

outsourcing art

One of the major concerns of outsourcing game art is quality assurance. Ideally, the outsourced art should match the quality of in-house game art, and be visually appealing. The significant challenge facing game art outsourcing is ensuring the quality of the final product. This is essential, especially since the game art plays an integral role in user satisfaction and gameplay experience.

The solution to quality issues in outsourced game art is to develop a set of standard guidelines and protocols for artists to follow. These should outline the expectations, processes, deadlines, and quality standards from the initial stages of the project. Establishing clear communication channels between the in-house team, project managers, and the outsourced artist or team is crucial for ensuring the art produced meets the desired quality standards. Feedback and critiques should be provided in a constructive and timely manner, ensuring the final product is of high quality.

2. Cultural and Language Barriers

cultural and language barriers

Outsourcing game art overseas can result in cultural and language barriers that can adversely affect project progress and overall quality. This is because different cultures may have different aesthetics and art style preferences. It is crucial for game art outsourcing to consider these factors, as they will ultimately affect the final product.

It is crucial to address cultural and language barriers when outsourcing game art by vetting the artist or outsourcing team carefully. Hire a team that understands and respects cultural differences and are fluent in the language of the project to ensure smooth communication. Establishing a good relationship between the in-house team and the outsourced artist or team can help overcome cultural and language barriers, creating cohesive teamwork towards attaining the desired result.

3. Timezone and Time management

timezones and time management

Outsourcing game art can present a timezone and time management challenge. Different time zones mean varying work schedules, resulting in communication difficulties and slow project progress. The time difference can ultimately lead to delays in the schedule.

Outsourcing teams need to be aware of timezone differences and establish a plan that accommodates different time zones. Coordinating with outsourced teams for a mutually convenient time to communicate and establish schedules ensures smooth communication and efficient project progress.

4. Intellectual Property Rights

Intellectual Property Rights

Intellectual property rights are a significant concern for game art outsourcing. Outsourcing artwork without legal protection or clearly defined intellectual property rights agreements can result in legal conflicts in the future. This can lead to disputes between studios and outsourced artists, cost overruns, and delays in development time.

The solution to intellectual property issues in outsourced game art is to establish clear agreements about intellectual property rights from the outset. Outsourcing partners should sign agreements that outline the ownership, control, and usage rights of any artwork produced. A legal expert should be hired to draft a contract that will guarantee the ownership of the intellectual property to avoid legal issues in the future.

5. Scalability


One of the advantages of outsourcing game art is scalability. This means that additional artists or an outsourcing team can be hired to help with game art production to reduce the workload or meet production demands. However, scalability poses a significant challenge for outsourced game art in ensuring consistency in the artwork produced.

The solution to scalability challenges in outsourced game art is to establish and communicate a clear style guide that outlines the style and aesthetic of the artwork produced. The guide should also include a set of guidelines, protocols, and a style list that are consistent with the in-house style. A production manager or point of contact with the outsourced team should be appointed to monitor consistency and ensure that the artwork produced matches the in-house artwork.

In conclusion, outsourcing game art has numerous benefits, including cost reduction, access to expertise and scalability, enabling game development teams and studios to focus on core aspects of game development. However, outsourcing game art poses several challenges that need to be addressed. These include quality issues, cultural and language barriers, timezone and time management, intellectual property rights, and scalability. Overcoming these challenges is crucial for game development teams and studios that want to take advantage of outsourcing game art while ensuring the high quality of the final product.

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