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Unpaid work as level artist - dillemma

Hello guys, this is my first post on Polycount, so if I posted in wrong forum let me know!

I have an issue with the approach of my employer to my workflow as an level artist - some things that I do for the project should be done "on my own time" (for free) on which I disagree.
Maybe, it would be best, if I describe my situation for better understanding.
I got an offer to work on specific level/place in a huge game project. The employer asked me to find and correct some mistakes (mainly, it was about finding some logical errors like the tree shouldn't be higher than the character) and make that place more believably and lifeful. I didn't know anything about the game so I started briefly reading the documentation about the story, what will the game be about, what is the purpose of this particular location and so on. In meantime, I was gathering some references and creating a mind map with some ideas. All this things, took me around 6 hours. I heard then, that this kind of work (reading documentation especially) isn't efiicient and maybe should be done after work for free.

I have never worked as an level artist, so it's hard for me to tell, if my view/workflow in this case is correct or not. Let me guys know what you think! I also would be really grateful for any kind of advice  :)


Replies

  • Alex_J
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    Alex_J veteran polycounter
    "isn't efiicient and maybe should be done after work for free."

    Do you clock out every time you have to go poop?

    No pay, no work. If you are doing something your boss asked you to do, the assumption is they are paying for the time it takes to do so. That includes time it takes you to do whatever you have to do to support getting the job done. Take your sweet ass time reading the docs. That's education. You are making an investment that is going to pay back big time.

    It's 2021, don't be a peasant. We are all free people. You trade value for value. If boss won't make a fair trade, fuck em, find another one. It's better to be homeless and free than working without dignity.


  • rollin
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    rollin polycounter
    Yea we should do the inefficient thinking at home and the mouse clicking at work. 
    Anyway.. I think every workflow can be optimized and if they say you are too slow then I first would try to optimize your own workflow. But certainly don't do it at home.. 
  • Two Listen
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    Two Listen polycounter lvl 12
    Generally speaking if the work is worth doing, it's worth getting paid for.  Though how you respond to this situation probably depends on a number of factors and I'm not sure there's enough information here to give the best advice.  Is it contracted work?  Are you a full-time hourly employee?  Are you on a salary?  Are you working remote?  Are you reporting to an art lead/director or someone unrelated to your job as an artist?  How much do you enjoy the job?

    This could be interpreted as less of a "work for free" and more of a "my boss doesn't want me to do some things I think it's smart to do" issue, and your response may be best adjusted with that in mind.  If you're contracted or hourly, and you're going into an office or with standard "work hours", then my interpretation of "that's not efficient, do it at home" is your employer saying, "I'm not paying you to do that shit, just do the work."  In which case it sounds like a disagreement over your workflow and its value, and you'll probably want to have a conversation about that - explaining that this stuff is part of the work and why it's beneficial.  If they disagree, then it may be that you simply don't do it at all.  Depending on the nature of your employment - I mean, sometimes that's how it goes.  They're the boss, they tell you not to do something so you don't do it.

    Depending on who you're reporting to, this could also be an opportunity to dig in and learn some things.  You acknowledge that you are new to this.  It may be that your workflow isn't particularly efficient, and if you're reporting to a good art lead or director they might be able to explain or illustrate why.  Or, they might be a total tool who has no idea what they're talking about and then you get to decide how much you care about the project lol
  • miss_golden
    Alex_J said:
    "isn't efiicient and maybe should be done after work for free."

    Do you clock out every time you have to go poop?

    No pay, no work. If you are doing something your boss asked you to do, the assumption is they are paying for the time it takes to do so. That includes time it takes you to do whatever you have to do to support getting the job done. Take your sweet ass time reading the docs. That's education. You are making an investment that is going to pay back big time.

    It's 2021, don't be a peasant. We are all free people. You trade value for value. If boss won't make a fair trade, fuck em, find another one. It's better to be homeless and free than working without dignity.


    Hey, thanks for response!

    I assume that the "poop question" is kinda a rhetorical question :D

    Actually, I was somehow tricked into thinking that this situation is absolutely normal and I wanted to get to know the opinions of other :)


  • miss_golden
    rollin said:
    Yea we should do the inefficient thinking at home and the mouse clicking at work. 
    Anyway.. I think every workflow can be optimized and if they say you are too slow then I first would try to optimize your own workflow. But certainly don't do it at home.. 
    Hey, thanks for reply!
    I agree with workflow optimazation, it's important to constantly improve and make things faster. I think, I would do some research in this topic and try apply it to my own workflow  :)
  • miss_golden
    Generally speaking if the work is worth doing, it's worth getting paid for.  Though how you respond to this situation probably depends on a number of factors and I'm not sure there's enough information here to give the best advice.  Is it contracted work?  Are you a full-time hourly employee?  Are you on a salary?  Are you working remote?  Are you reporting to an art lead/director or someone unrelated to your job as an artist?  How much do you enjoy the job?

    This could be interpreted as less of a "work for free" and more of a "my boss doesn't want me to do some things I think it's smart to do" issue, and your response may be best adjusted with that in mind.  If you're contracted or hourly, and you're going into an office or with standard "work hours", then my interpretation of "that's not efficient, do it at home" is your employer saying, "I'm not paying you to do that shit, just do the work."  In which case it sounds like a disagreement over your workflow and its value, and you'll probably want to have a conversation about that - explaining that this stuff is part of the work and why it's beneficial.  If they disagree, then it may be that you simply don't do it at all.  Depending on the nature of your employment - I mean, sometimes that's how it goes.  They're the boss, they tell you not to do something so you don't do it.

    Depending on who you're reporting to, this could also be an opportunity to dig in and learn some things.  You acknowledge that you are new to this.  It may be that your workflow isn't particularly efficient, and if you're reporting to a good art lead or director they might be able to explain or illustrate why.  Or, they might be a total tool who has no idea what they're talking about and then you get to decide how much you care about the project lol
    Hey, thanks for response!
    You paid attention to many important aspects, that I actually didn't think about and didn't mention it in post, which I'm sorry for that. I'm on a contract, about being full-time or part-time it's actually hard to tell (this is changing according to budget), I'm on salary, reporting things to someone who isn't related with art, working remotly. I really enjoy the job and want to be as much profesional as I can be in it. Maybe, that's the issue. Something that's important for me, doesn't have to be for my employer. I want to create something at the highest level and maybe that's not the case in this particular situation.
     As you said "They're the boss, they tell you not to do something so you don't do it." - that's unpleasant truth.
  • Eric Chadwick
    It would help to timebox your reference gathering, make a limit and stick to it. 

    Also if you're writing narratives, that's usually quite out of scope for a world builder. Game writing is for game designers.

    Your job is to tell a story through the art itself, and usually it's fairly subtle... making something look lived-in, guiding the player's eye towards important goals, selling a feeling through lighting, etc.

    When in doubt, ask your direct manager.
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