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Scaling internal art team while juggling outsourcing

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suspectlogic polycounter lvl 10
Hey everyone. I work for a studio that's been heavily reliant on outsourcing pretty much since the beginning. Now that the studio is working on growing its internal art team, we're talking about restructuring because the current format is not scalable.

At the moment the art team is pretty flat, with the Art Director doing most of the heavy lifting in terms of production, working with outsourcers and providing guidance to internal artists. We've started to address the first issue by working to offload the production related tasks. Now the big issue is working with outsourcers. We are supporting 2 products and have a new project in development. All of which rely heavily on outsourced artwork.

I'm curious if anyone else here has a similar situation or how your situations might differ. Does your studio have an Art Outsourcing manager, and how would they work with an art lead/director. I'm really curious about any solutions anyone has found. Sharing thoughts without direct experience is welcome still of course :)

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  • Eric Chadwick
    I'm itching to talk about what we're doing here. But we're a publicly traded company, and there's stiff competition in our space.

    So I'll point you to past experience when I was in game dev, and when I was freelancing as a lead. 

    Outsourcing initially appears very attractive for scaling production, and trying to make the most of a limited budget. 

    And it can work that way at the start. But in nearly every case I've seen, it ended up being a massive management burden, with inconsistent delivery, and frequent travel to ameliorate.

    There were benefits to be sure, but the additional costs and stress were also significant. Do your research, and pay heed to the horror stories, they're not unrealistic. 
  • suspectlogic
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    suspectlogic polycounter lvl 10
    @Eric Chadwick

    I will definitely listen to the horror stories. Also I understand why this information isn't readily available just yet. I can confirm that I've experienced pretty much all of what you said and I hope to keep learning how to improve this process. It helps knowing I'm not alone, it seems like a lot of people are still trying to figure this out. I'm glad to hear your team has found something that works :) 

    @poopipe

    poopipe said:
    The people responsible for review need to be technically capable artists with experience and should be answerable to the art director or lead artist (whoever is responsible for art quality) , 

    As you mentioned, the person reviewing art should be technically proficient, but after having reviewed the art myself I found that I'd much rather be involved in the internal art creation processes. My worry is that it's a difficult position to fill because not only do you need to be technically proficient and have strong foundation, but you also need to love the review process itself and kiss goodbye to making art (worst case if you have a small art team).

     I really liked your suggestion of creating team of  artists (possibly juniors) for cleaning up work. This is something I've never considered, but it makes a lot of sense. 

    Thanks for your suggestions!

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