So let’s say you have your game designed, your mechanics are solid, and you even have a prototype ready that feels great. The next step would be to produce some beautiful art to complement your game. Now this is where a lot of indie devs can hit a roadblock – but fear not – you have A LOT of options at your disposal. In this video we’ll go over each option and provide tips and tools to get you started. We are Ask Gamedev, and here are 3 ways to get art for your indie game in 2018. So let’s talk about the first option for getting art for your game: creating the art yourself – the most time-consuming, but arguably also the most fun option of the three. If you’re looking to make 2D art, you have great paid options in PhotoShop and Illustrator. You’ll want to use PhotoShop for raster art (like if you’re making pixel art), and Illustrator if you’re looking to work with vectors You’re not limited to one or the other though, you can use both. Now in 2018, pricing starts at USD $19.99/month per Adobe app, but you can also subscribe to the full Adobe Creative Suite for USD $49.99/month. The full suite comes with other applications that might come in handy on your gamedev journey like, AfterEffects, Premiere, InDesign, and SoundBooth If you’re looking for free alternatives for creating raster and vectors graphics though, you’re in luck. For raster graphics, Gimp is widely accepted a free PhotoShop alternative, and it has a great community, and robust tutorial library. For vectors, we’ve seen a lot of devs use Inkscape for their art. If you’re just creating pixel art though, you might want to look at applications specifically designed for pixel art. Some popular applications are: Aesprite (USD $14.99) Pyxel Edit (USD $9.00) GraphicsGale (Free and Promo Motion NG (USD $0 – $39) They each range in price and features so it’s tough to recommend one over the other. They’re all significantly cheaper when compared to PhotoShop though. Our best advice would be to take a look at each one, try it, and see what works best for you and your team. We’ll have links to each one in the description. Now let’s look at options for creating 3D assets. Two of the most well known options in the games industry are Maya, and 3D Studio Max both might be a bit steep in price though at USD $185/month each. In terms a free option for 3D graphics and animation, you want to use Blender. It’s open-source, and supports the entirety of the 3D pipeline including modelling, rigging, rendering, animation and more. Additionally – We recently did a video on the best free tools for game development that you may want to checkout for more information on how to get started without having to put money into software. If you’re worried about the difficulty of learning any of the above applications that we’ve mentioned, don’t worry, we’ve done a check, and you can find a large amount of tutorials for each on YouTube. If you would like us here at AskGameDev to make software-specific tutorials – please let us know in the comments. Now let’s talk about buying ready-made assets. Buying ready-made assets can be a cost-effective and quick solution to getting high-quality, polished assets into your game. In terms of value, an asset pack can be licensed at fraction of the cost that it would take to hire an artist. One thing to note when buying assets though, is that you’re not buy the exclusive rights to the assets, you’re only buying a license to use them, This means that you may see the same assets appear in other games. Also, you’ll want to understand the terms of the license and make sure you have the correct attribution for the original creator. Possibly the most popular place to get ready-made assets is Unity’s asset store. The asset store sells both 2D and 3D assets compatible with Unity but also most other engines as well. You can buy almost anything you can imagine there- everything from character packs, to full environments, even full buffets Need 165 different swords? The asset store has you covered. How about 160 different axes? You’re covered. Also Competing game engines like Unreal and GameMaker have similar assets stores that you might consider if you are developing in those engines Another popular asset store amongst the indie community is Kenney. Kenney’s tagline is “Free game assets, no strings attached.” and they mean it While the site does include both, paid and free assets, as of 2018, there are over 40,000 assets available for free he assets are licensed as Creative Commons Zero, meaning you’re free to use these game assets in any project, personal or commercial. There’s no need to ask permission before using them and giving attribution is not required, (but is greatly appreciated!). The site features both 2D and 3D assets with everything from nicely stylized character packs, to isometric furniture kits, vehicles, and even tile and icon sets. There’s enough here to build whatever you want! And the great part is, that because every asset was created by the same team, you can mix and match different asset packs and still have a uniform look. If you want to check out any games made using Kenney assets, you can check out the Games section on their website. he Night’s Willow is a point and click adventure currently in development using Kenney assets. You can also check out the submissions from KenneyJam – a yearly gamejam where participants make games using only Kenney assets. And finally, let’s talk about your third option, hiring someone to make your assets for you. This option maybe the most expensive of the three, and require a little bit of management skills, but if you have a specific style that you want, or a level of quality that you want to hit, this might be your only option. Before we talk about where to find people to work with, let’s talk about preparation. The first thing you want to do is create a detailed asset list. List out every character, every prop, effect, environment, and UI element that you’ll require. Once you have your list, you want to start getting each item as detailed as possible. Describe each item, and its intended use in your game. If you need animations, how many frames will each one be? You will want to decide if you want to help define the visual style, or if you’ll want the freelance artist to come up with a style for you. If you want to influence the style, the next steps would be to ind references of the visual style you would like for each item. The more accurate your description, and the more references you provide, the easier it’ll be for an artist to understand your vision. You ideally want as little time spent on revisions as possible, as creating multiple revisions is both time-consuming and costly. Once you have your asset needs completely figured out, it’s time to find your artists. For this we have three options to share: 1. Check out the gamedev classifieds on Reddit. The gamedev classifieds subreddit is a fairly active community, and while it’s filled with every discipline in gamedev, it’s quite easy to sort for what you’re looking for. Freelancers who are looking for work often post their portfolios, but it’s also ok for devs to post “wanted” ads, describing what they’re looking for. 2. Your other option is to cast a wide net and use an outsourcing service like Upwork or Fiverr. These are service marketplaces where you can post a project, and find freelancers all over the world willing to work for you. Aside from its vast talent pool, what’s nice about these platforms is that all of the communications and transactions are done within the Upwork system to ensure security and easier reference to what has happened in the past. When dealing with a multiple freelancers from around the world, it’s great to have an intermediar to keep the project organized and also ensure that both sides are playing fair. When using freelancers, we recommend trying out a few different providers first, to find the one you work best with, before settling on a long-term partner. 3. The third and final option is to work with a studio. When Towerfall was first made, the creator did all of the art himself. Before releasing, he decided he wanted to up the visuals, and so he partnered with a studio and had them re-do all of the assets Check out some of these before and after pics The studio that did this revision, was Studio Miniboss they’re also responsible for the art in Matt Makes Games’ latest hit, Celeste. If you’re looking for a great studio to work with for pixel art, they might be worth reaching out to. You can also check out their website for awesome 2D pixel tutorials, if you decide to go with creating the art yourself. If you want to find other similar outsourcing studios, a simple web search for art outsourcing can provide some options or alternatively let us know what you are looking for in the comments and we can try our best to provide some suggestions. As you can see there are tons of ways to get art into your game, so don’t let it be a roadblock! Create it yourself, buy it, or hire someone! Whichever you choose, just enjoy the process, and good luck! Thanks for watching, we are Ask Gamedev, and we make weekly videos on games, the game industry and more. If you like our content, please subscribe! Now let’s ask you a question – how do you get your art for your game? Let us know in the comments!