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Graphic Artist?

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dropkick
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Joined: 12/31/1969

I need a graphic artist.

What is best? Should I go to one of these graphic arts firms or go freelance?

If I go freelance what is the best way to find and secure one that has some knowledge in graphics for board games?

Outside of that, how much do they generally charge and beyond that is it generally per hour or per job!?

Thats a lot of questions, thanks in advance!

NetWolf
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Graphic Artist?

http://www.bgdf.com/modules.php?name=Forums&file=viewtopic&t=4126

this link has a few different artists in it.

I can only speak for myself, but I charge per piece depending on the complexity and the whether the individual is goign to purchase the rights to the work for the publication or if they are purchasing the piece outright.

OutsideLime
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Graphic Artist?

(NOTE: Some of this is taken from an old post of mine, but I've added and updated.)

I am a professional illustrator and graphic designer. I'm not sure how other designers do it (most designers I've spoken to are extremely reluctant to give out any pricing information... the answer is usually "it depends...."), but I've developed this system for pricing jobs:

I price out jobs according to my current hourly "rate". My rate goes up as I gain experience. I've been doing this professionally for about eight years now, and I've managed to drag my rate up to a respectable level.

When I'm considering a job, I get all the details about what is involved in it... conferencing, sketching, approvals, inks, revisions, colours, more approvals, dimensions, everything. I try to work out in my head how many hours the project will take me, then I multiply by my rate to come up with a number. Usually then I tack some more onto it since I always horribly overestimate my working speed. From there I work with the producer/editor/art director/whoever to try and arrive at a number that is reasonable for both of us. I always include a limit on revisions in any contract that allows me to bill for multiple rounds of revisions. If I feel my rate is dropping too low, I politely refuse the project and recommend some less-experienced friends that I know do good work.

I also take the client into consideration... dealing with a large corporation that wants a logo (usually an entire branding system at that level) is different than dealing with a local rock band that wants a logo. One of those parties is going to pay $2500+ for that logo, and one of them is going to pay $200.00 - guess which is which. (Although even for the rock band I will often reserve some rights for myself on future uses of the logo... you never know who's going to explode, after all.)

Often a project manager will be able to provide me with other incentives that will lower my rate - royalties, future guarantees of work, free product, stuff like that. Sometimes I will be interested enough in a project that I will drop my rate willingly just to be on the job.

I don't think that I could be convinced to do work for a project for royalties/profit-splitting ONLY, unless the product had extremely bright prospects of selling well. (ie a winning franchise or an established designer/publisher with a track record.)

Lately I have been wrangling with the issues of copyright control and art usage permissions when dealing with clients. As a novice designer/illustrator, I would generally not consider this stuff and just be happy to get hired at all. Now that I have a steady flow of licensable work, I always try to retain control of my product to some degree. Unless a client is willing to pay a premium to purchase commissioned artwork outright (rare), I will write up some sort of licensing contract to grant them permission to use the artwork... Artwork usage generally falls into a few categories:

Limited/Unlimited usage - Just like it sounds. With unlimited usage the client can do whatever they want with my art. Put it on a T-shirt, make a million coffee mugs, whatever. I generally don't let this happen, opting instead for the limited usage... the client is permitted to use the art only for the purposes outlined in the contract... usually, on the specific product and in advertising materials for the product. If the client wants to use the artwork in another context, they must get my consent.

Exclusivity/limits - Granting a client exclusivity means that I will not sell the art to anyone else. Often this has a time-limit on it (eg - I will not sell the art to anyone else for a period of five years) or an industry limit (eg I will not sell the art to be used in another game), or some combination.

This is just my method, and I am still learning and discovering the smartest ways to do things, and learning hard lessons all the time. Billing and setting my rate has proved to be the most difficult part of being an illustrator/graphic designer for me... I got into this to be creative and artisdtic after all, not to crunch numbers! As it turns out, being a skilled businessman is just as important as being a skilled artisan. Hopefully I can keep improving upon both of these facets of my profession! I can't answer for other designer/illustrators out there, but I would love to hear details from any of you out there! Hope this helps shed some light

~Josh

PS - Check my website (not yet complete, but functional) for samples of my work.
superfly

dropkick
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Graphic Artist?

So it sounds like you guys are both freelance GA's.

Do you guys know anything about the benefits of using a design firm over a freelancer and the opposite the benifits of using a freelancer over a design firm?

I would assume it is best to hire a local graphic artist, what is your experience with this? To have a face to face with the client, check proofs, make subtle changes to layout with instant aproval etc.

How do you guys advertise for work? (IE where should I look?)

Nuf for now.

OutsideLime
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Graphic Artist?

Quote:
So it sounds like you guys are both freelance GA's.

Do you guys know anything about the benefits of using a design firm over a freelancer and the opposite the benifits of using a freelancer over a design firm?

Yes, I am a freelancer. With a design firm you will usually pay more but this is counterbalanced by collective experience, portfolio depth, a variety of slkillsets under one roof, and the stability and security of an established company with a reputation to protect. With a freelancer you'll get more price flexibility, more immediate dedication to each project, and the motivation of establishing and maintaining a personal reputation. These are generalities, naturally.

Quote:
I would assume it is best to hire a local graphic artist, what is your experience with this? To have a face to face with the client, check proofs, make subtle changes to layout with instant aproval etc.

Local work has its benefits, chiefly the ones you listed. With modern communications the way they are (email, fax, phone, scanner, IM), those benefits can be replicated almost perfectly. I am currently working from Toronto on projects for people in London, Sweden, The Netherlands, Seattle, Calgary, New York, and Vancouver, not to mention many in the Toronto area. Minor hiccups aside, there have not been any difficulties in doing so and these clients may as well be around the corner. Graphic Art is increasingly an electronic creature and suffers not at all for distance.

Quote:
How do you guys advertise for work? (IE where should I look?)

I freelance for an Art Director that gives me very steady design work with no end in sight... maybe 65% of my income. Other jobs I get through word-of-mouth through friends of friends, clients, and family. I pass my business cards out whenever I can. I am launching my website soon and mounting a mailout campaign in the Toronto area to promote it. Increasingly, and deliberately, I get work in the board/card gaming field through this very website. (Yay BGDF!) You can find a lot of good artists on the DeviantArt website but you need to be willing to wade through a lot of mediocrity.

My chief suggestion is that you discover the illustrators/designers of games whose artistic style you like, then contact those artists directly and ask for a quote. Asking for their rate will usually get you a vague answer, but if you give rough project details, most working artists will be able to generate a price range for you fairly quickly. (I'm getting a little better at it myself, actually :-) ) If it's too high, offer something lower and see what happens. Don't be shy. We're all looking for work.

Good luck, hope this was useful to you.

~Josh

FastLearner
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Graphic Artist?

As another freelance graphic designer (who unfortunately has no time for new projects), one thing to keep seriously in mind is that you need a full-on graphic designer. Illustrators are fantastic, and very important for any illustrations you need, and there are plenty of folks who are both illustrators and graphic designers, but don't confuse the two. A graphic designer who is not an illustrator (or whose style isn't what your project needs) can serve as art director for the project, helping you to select an illustrator, but an illustrator without much in the way of graphic design skills (and plenty of experience working with printers) is still going to require bringing on a graphic designer.

The designer (in a freelance situation) is going to design the overall look, colors, styles (including illustration styles), and is going to put the whole thing together. S/he's going to work with your printer to ensure that he provides perfectly imaging-ready files that will minimize your costs and maximize your quality. A designer who is very adept at communicating complex information will be essential, as a very pretty board and beautiful cards that are almost impossible to practically play with will sink your product.

It would be nice for the designer to have boardgame printing experience, but the specifics of board and card game printing can be learned pretty quickly: 95% of it is the same as other high-quality printing. It's the design side that will matter, and again, good, clear presentation of information and a strong familiarity with modern board games is what's really essential.

-- Matthew

seo
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Graphic Artist?

FastLearner wrote:
A designer who is very adept at communicating complex information will be essential, as a very pretty board and beautiful cards that are almost impossible to practically play with will sink your product.

It would be nice for the designer to have boardgame printing experience, but the specifics of board and card game printing can be learned pretty quickly: 95% of it is the same as other high-quality printing. It's the design side that will matter, and again, good, clear presentation of information and a strong familiarity with modern board games is what's really essential.
As yet another freelance designer and illustrator, I have to fully agree with all Josh and Matthew said, and add special emphasis to this last two paragraphs.

And even if the designer you hire has game design experience, I strongly suggest that you spend the extra buck required to build a final prototype with the print-ready design before you order a 1000 or 5000 print run. Print it, cut it, mount it, and PLAY WITH IT. Try to get people who haven't seen or played the game before, gave them the rule book and components, and be ready to carefully observe if there's anything in the design that is hard to understand, or unpractical or whatever.

A simple example: if your game has cards to be held in the hand like in a poker game, cards should be identifiable by just seeing the top left (and /or bottom right, as cards sometimes end upside-down) corner. Otherwise your players will have to do an unnecesary and annoying effort while playing. Things like this are easily missed unless you test the design in real game play situation.

As for location, other than the ocasional face to face meeting, this kind of work is usually done through the Internet. Most of my clients are just a couple miles from my home, yet I only meet them when I go to get my fees. I have worked for clients in Europe several times, without any trouble.

Seo

NetWolf
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Joined: 12/31/1969
Graphic Artist?

yeah, if you are looking for a Graphic Designer, it's best to go with a firm, but if you need an illustrator you can go to either one.

dropkick
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Graphic Artist?

Well,

With my game I have pretty much all the art ready to be plucked for the game.

I will also have some new art too, that I will be comissioning from artists.

What I need is somebody to put it together in a responsible way for all of the places the artwork will be presented, and I need layout for the: rulebook, cards, playing peices, game board etc.

So, I dont think I will need an illustrator, I need someone who is very good at compositing pre-existing art into the layout they created. Probably pretty simple, half the normal job load, I would suspect.

*No real art direction (finding artists comunicating with them) IE all the art work is provided for.
*I also have an established brand that I am working from so the layout is not that difficult to just duplicate in a new format. No inventing the wheel for layout.
*The one area that I need some ideas for is the game board. I would really like a watercolored picture, that is then digitized and then have tags, logos, borders, castles, etc. added to it. But here is the question: do I find a watercolorist and didgitize or is there a way to create a faugh watercolor image in the computer completely?

So, from those tidbits, should I go with a small company or a freelance person? Cost for me is an issue. I want to keep my cost down ;) (who doesnt, right?) My inclination would be to go with a freelance GA.

seo
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Graphic Artist?

Yeah, hiring a good freelance graphic designer would probably be your best bet.

Seo

FastLearner
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Graphic Artist?

Agreed.

OutsideLime
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Quote:
But here is the question: do I find a watercolorist and didgitize or is there a way to create a faugh watercolor image in the computer completely?

Either way works. Here is an image that I "painted" on the computer entirely... brush never touched paper at all. Keep in mind that this was an experiment in photoshop and I am not a painter by any stretch of the imagination*... so what I'm confirming is, if you have imagery that you want to convert into a watercolour style, it is certainly manageable.

~Josh

* (I am very happy with the way that crescent moon turned out, though! :) )

Stainer
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Joined: 12/31/1969
Graphic Artist?

Hey Guys,

I have a question - what's the difference between Adobe Illustrator and Adobe Photoshop?

I'm starting a small business that will print big billboard graphics (5 feet by 8 feet) and I"m not sure which program to buy. Can anybody help me out?

Thanks,

Rob

OutsideLime
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Joined: 12/31/1969
Graphic Artist?

I would get them both.

1. Understand that Illustrator creates vector graphics and vector text. Vector graphics consist of lines and curves based on mathematical equations.

2. Know that Photoshop creates bitmapped graphics. Bitmaps consist of tiny dots of color. The eye fills in the spaces between the dots so the color appears to be solid. Bitmapped graphics are measured by the number of dots per unit - usually called dpi (dots per inch).

3. Realize that bitmap graphics are much larger in file size than vector graphics. Therefore, vector images take up much less storage space and can be downloaded faster.

4. Understand that you can scale a vector graphic to any size without losing quality. A bitmap will change quality if you enlarge it or reduce it.

5. Know that some filters can be applied to bitmap images but cannot be applied to vector images.

Illustrator is great for creating crisp and clear graphics at any size.

Photoshop is great for manipulating photographs and adding special effects to imagery.

Both programs dabble in the realm of the other, but neither is very good at it. If you will be doing mostly text and simple(r) imagery, I'd say go with Illustrator. If you want to manipulate photography in any way you will need some photo-editing software to supplement it though.

~Josh

soulbeach
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Graphic Artist?

Hey Steiner,

BIG difference between the 2 programs you mentioned, one uses bitmap graphics (Photoshop, though it now (latest version: CS2) uses smart images which are similar to vector images), while Illustrator uses vector graphics.

Illustrator is best suited for large images, because vector images loose NO quality when they are re-sized: a tiny vector image can be blown to ANY size and keep the same quality. Which is extremely useful.

On the other hand, bitmap images are much more "heavy" (tons more of hard disk space is required to store them) and are ram and processor intensive. If you go for Photoshop, larger images require less dpi (dots of ink per inch) than images for a magazine since large images are usually used to be viewed from afar.

I personally use both type of graphics, depending on what effects I want to create. I draw in flash (another vector graphics program, but not as versatile as Illustrator, except for librairies that i adore!) to create libraries of images that I can easily re-use later on. Then, if there are specific effects I want to get, I export high quality (300+ dpi) png (image format) from my flash libraries then use Photoshop to apply the effects or modify the image which is saved as a psd (Photoshop default image format) thereafter.

I would also get both, Adobe creative suite gets you both programs and a few others for a "good" price:

http://www.adobe.com/products/creativesuite/

soulbeach

FastLearner
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Graphic Artist?

With the Creative Suite you can use InDesign for assembling your vector and raster graphics, which it's excellent for. If you can swing the suite, I'd most definitely go for that, because neither Photoshop nor Illustrator alone is likely to meet your needs.

-- Matthew

dropkick
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Graphic Artist?

OutsideLime wrote:
Quote:
But here is the question: do I find a watercolorist and didgitize or is there a way to create a faugh watercolor image in the computer completely?

Either way works. Here is an image that I "painted" on the computer entirely... brush never touched paper at all. Keep in mind that this was an experiment in photoshop and I am not a painter by any stretch of the imagination*... so what I'm confirming is, if you have imagery that you want to convert into a watercolour style, it is certainly manageable.

~Josh

* (I am very happy with the way that crescent moon turned out, though! :) )Hey that is neat! That is pretty amazing you were able to do that all in the computer.

I want the map to have that asian watercolor look and feel and I think that would be difficult to duplicate. I suppose not impossible though.

I am looking for a topical map laid out in a specific format. Then, after that is created I want to put in the political borders, text, castles, all the "numbers" and other important things the board needs in with the computer.

Quote:
Yeah, hiring a good freelance graphic designer would probably be your best bet.

SeoAs far as finding a GA, yeah a freelance artist would be best, I agree.

Thanks for all the help!

Stainer
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Graphic Artist?

Thanks for help all you graphic guys!

Sorry to derail the thread, I just thought I'd take the opportunity to ask that.

What do you think would be a suitable dpi for a large image that's 5 feet high by 8 feet wide? it'll be viewed at a distance of probably 50 - 75 feet.

You guys rock!

Rob

Stainer
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Graphic Artist?

Ok, I've got another question... If I want to build a logo (just to get some experience here), what program would be best - illustrator, or photoshop? Or maybe theres another program I don't know about...

Can anybody suggest any books to get me going?

Thanks again,

Rob

seo
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Graphic Artist?

Stainer wrote:
What do you think would be a suitable dpi for a large image that's 5 feet high by 8 feet wide? it'll be viewed at a distance of probably 50 - 75 feet.

50 dpi will be more than enough. Even 30 dpi should be fine for that distance.

As for the logo, Illustrator (or Corel) are best for most cases, but sometimes you will want to start in a vector based program and then pass to Photoshop or something to end the job (3D effects, blurs, etc.).

Seo

larienna
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Graphic Artist?

There is also "Paint Shop Pro 7" that I have found on lime wire, with a crack. This version support raster and vectorial graphics. Lower versions does not support vectorial. There is also the "the Gimp" which is free and does only raster graphics.

By the way, is there anybody that know a CAD that match the following criterias :

- Easy to use
- Produce Low polygon Models
- Contains a 2D shape editors that can be used to produce 3D shapes
- Requires less than 100 Megs of disk space once installed
- The software is free ... or cracked.

I found a software called "3D Canvas" but I can't make it work, it crashes.

phpbbadmin
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Graphic Artist?

Larienna wrote:
There is also "Paint Shop Pro 7" that I have found on lime wire, with a crack. This version support raster and vectorial graphics. Lower versions does not support vectorial. There is also the "the Gimp" which is free and does only raster graphics.

Just a word of caution, the moderators of this community do not condone software piracy in any form. Please refrain from mentioning this activity in future posts.

-Darke

larienna
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Graphic Artist?

OK, if you wish.

seo
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Graphic Artist?

If you google for free CAD you'll find lots of links.

One program that seems to be good is Alibre Design Express. It seems to have the features you want, and is free if you can live with some banner ads.

If you don't like it, this lists might help you find one you like:
http://www.eland.org.uk/pages/Misc/cadnotes.html
http://freeware.intrastar.net/cadsoftware.htm
http://www.freebyte.com/cad/cad.htm#2D3DCADSystems

HTH,

Seo

Jayhubbard
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Joined: 12/31/1969
Graphic Artist?

take a look at google sketchup, its free and produces 3D/2D cad drawings.

http://sketchup.google.com/

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