The Ethics of Using Job Bidding Sites for Game Art

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Post » Thu Sep 20, 2012 5:32 am

Thanks, Karzay. I've used something similar for home maintenance, called ServiceMagic. As someone who's looking for a pro, I appreciate the site's rating system, the ability to compare prices, and the site's pre-vetting of contractors. As a random homeowner, I'm not really competent to comb through thousands of contractors to determine who does the best work for the best price. Since I'm paying them for a service the technical aspects of which I may not be familiar with, I need to be able to trust that I'm not being cheated, and the rating and review system allows me to do that.

I've paid for a contractor who wasn't the low bidder on several occasions, because I wanted one with a higher rating I could trust. Cheap people will tend to get more poorly skilled contractors, but ones with outstanding ratings can often afford to charge more because people like me need to know that I'm going to pay once for a job done right.

When it comes time for me to hire an artist (I'm a writer/designer), it's going to work the same way. I hope I can pay an artist a wage I can afford and they're satisfied with. I've been going through dozens of sites on my Site List: Graphic Artist thread here, and without some sort of rating/review system and pre-vetting by the administrators, I feel like finding the right artist would be a Sisyphean task.

I get what you're saying about the contrast with Ebay, where the "clients" bid up a starting quote, as opposed to Guru or ServiceMagic where contractors submit quotes for comparison and the client can negotiate. On the other hand, I'm an Ebay sniper, and I'll bid a low price I think is fair on hundreds of auctions for a month to snag that one fluke low score.

In your or other artists' opinions, what would you consider a fair price for each of the following, in a style similar to Braid:

o 1280x600 detailed junglescape background for a side-scroller
o 120x60 static shrub
o 60x60 5-frame walk animation for main character
o 60x60 30 second, 25fps animation for cut scene for main character
o 600x480 splash screen, 3 second, 25fps with simple company logo animated

And on top of that, for purposes of this thread, what do you find that people actually pay on bidding versus freelance sites?

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Post » Fri Sep 21, 2012 12:06 am

In my experience it's always best to go in with a contract. Saying what the work is, what the agreed rate is (don't be afraid of selling yourself too highly), and that both sides agree to own up. If any complications occur, what part of the contract is still binding, etc.

Sign it, scan it, send it over, get a double-signed copy. Boom, you have a working contract.
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Post » Thu Sep 27, 2012 8:36 pm


Sorry for the late reply. I've been busy with work. I don't freelance anymore, so my pay rate from back then would probably be way off. I've been working for a gaming studio for a number of years now. Working with other professionals, I can tell you that the information found on is fairly accurate. At least where I work.

My best advice for you would be to find an artist you like, ask them the same questions and go with your gut feeling. Is their time, energy, quality of work worth what they are asking for? I say this, because every artist is different and charge differently based on what they think they are worth.

Inexperienced artists, you might be able to talk down. Experienced artists are less likely to budge on price. I hope that helps.


I agree. A contract should always be required. I would be weary of making contracts with people from other countries. It's less likely you can hold them accountable should they break the contract. I use to have them pay 50% upfront (to let me know they are serious) and pay in increments as work is completed there after.
Karzay2012-09-27 21:05:05
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Post » Sun Sep 30, 2012 10:00 pm

I don't think that the sites are exploitative, I just think they have a very defined niche. In Brazil, for example, you are considered to be "middle class" if you are making between $291 - $1,019 USD per month. In Pennsylvania, I wouldn't even be able to move into a very cheap apartment with $1,000 a month, and would really struggle to do so with $2,000 a month.

So sure, if you live in the US and you are trying to underbid people in other countries, where expensive of living is so much cheaper, you're not going to find yourself making a reasonable income, most likely. But if you are just trying to build up a portfolio, this could be a decent way to try to make a few bucks in the process.

Likewise, the type of work available on these sites are generally locationally irrelevant, which makes it an outstanding way for anyone to access these sources of income worldwide.

So no, it's just the market speaking, so to speak. It's just a lot of people aren't used to having such a diverse competition.

This is why so many jobs go oversees. Not just because people are "willing" to work for less there, but because, sometimes, a smaller income has a comparable power where these workers live.

Obviously, that isn't always true, and many people are exploited worldwide for cheap labor.
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Post » Fri Oct 12, 2012 7:05 pm

I concur with "teahousemoon"... I would also struggle with just $2k per month... Some companies are employing artist for 5k and up + medical, benefits etc.., yes, even the ones who are starting...

The main reason people are going to these sites is because, they have searched the average monthly income of each country and tried to employ artist from those areas.. specially artist that have little money and little knowledge about contracts... in short, slaves.. yes, some people think only of them self's...

always 50% upfront and no cheapness.. ;)
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