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2D Artist/Animator Pricing Question

  • As a 2D artist/animator, I've been considering offering paid commissions here on the forums to fund my own game instead of using kickstarter. I've done commissions before (fan forums, deviantart, etc), and my pricing has usually been on the lower, more affordable side.

    The problem I'm running into here is that animating can be time consuming, even for small sprites, and game developers usually need a lot of sprites to make a game work. Thus, I'm not 100% sure on how much would be a fair price.

    I've been toying around with the idea of starting at $5 US per basic sprite frame, icon, or tile piece. Bigger or more detailed ones would be more, of course. That way, you can get all the frames needed for a basic player character for around $25 (one frame idle, three frame walk cycle, one frame jump). I was considering offering package deals as well.

    So what do y'all think would be a good basic starting price?

    <img src="http://i174.photobucket.com/albums/w89/Popowigeon/walk01.gif~original" border="0" />

  • To be honest I think you selling yourself a bit cheap but I guess it depends on the time you spend on creating the work..

    Maybe take what you believe to be a fair hourly rate for a job (not necessarily art) and apply it to the time it takes to produce what's asked of you..

    I have no actual idea what the going rates are for this type of work but it's a fair logic to employ.

    I checked over your deviantart page and there's some good stuff, I might have some work for you myself although I'll have to get in touch another time about it as I'm currently being attacked by my 1 & 5 year old kids LOL

  • liaeb

    I'm taking that as a compliment, sir! Drop me a line if ya need anything.

    I'm just worried about scaring off too many potential clients with high prices. Especially in an indy gamemaker community. But there's a fine line between making a fair wage and ripping people off.

  • Those prices <img src="smileys/smiley3.gif" border="0" align="middle" /> . Most indie game devs would be put of by those prices.

    Remember , you have to be flexible when it comes to selling your sprites or assets. Build a good relationship with your customers (their needs , financial situation). Otherwise you are in for a hard time when you decide to sell your sprites , No matter how good they look.

  • dhondon

    Wow, that answered questions I didn't know I had yet. There's a lot of really great points in that, thanks a lot!

    @DravenX

    Off putting because they're too low? Or too high? I'm pretty upfront about how flexible I am with pricing, especially with how much art a game requires, but I've been struggling with a jumping off point.

    It's a dangerous balancing act between charging enough to get enough clients and charging what the work is worth.

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  • RandomFellow

    I think he refers to the link I posted. But you can raise your prices abit.

    @DravenX

    Those prices are a guide, but an good indicator to what to pay an pro.

    So if you don't think you're going to earn back the money, hire an beginner/hobbyist artist.

    "Indie devs" is abit misused. It only means independent. It has little to do with budgets. Braid was a indie game, and it cost 180 000$ to create ( most of that was on the art). Source: kotaku.com/5037392/jonathan-blow-says-he-spent-180000-on-braid

  • dhondon

    Ah, leave it to a narcissist like me to think everyone is talking to me! Though, he does have a bit of a point (in our regards). I don't have much of a name in the community, so my biggest target group would be the smaller groups with smaller budgets.

    I feel it'd be much easier to charge more once you've "broken into the pack". The only downside is what damage you're doing to the other artists trying to do the same thing.

  • The salary range for a game artist is somewhere around $20-$60/an hour based on skill and experience. Lead artists make up the higher end of that range. Art Directors can make more.

    Game Dev Salary Survey

    I like liaeb's advice. Decide what your time is worth, then figure out how long it takes you to complete assignments, and charge based on that.

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