My artist is being stubborn about software. Suggestions?

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My artist is being stubborn about software. Suggestions?

#1 Post by SkepticalTiger » Sun Jun 21, 2020 12:12 am

Hello everyone, first post and was hoping to get some feedback from experienced devs or people who've had a similar situation. I'm developing a VN and a non-professional artist friend of mine agreed to help by drawing characters and CG scenes.

Background: (skip to issue for TL:DR)
I like her style and while it does need a bit of polish fits my story and she's good on making sure it's polished. She can't do backgrounds, but I have that covered. She didn't ask for payment, but agreed to discuss commission once I'm ready to include it.

Issue:
When I brought up software she refuses to use anything but Paint.net for drawing, coloring, etc. (she's used it for 10 years) and AE CS6 for color correction, line smoothing, and lighting edits (she's used this for 3 years now). I am not the best artist, but have access to a spare key for Clip Studio Paint Ex and Adobe CC which she refused on the grounds of, "it doesn't have the brush I'm used to using and like." She will be provided with pictures of 3d models for character poses and how I want certain scenes to look. Anything she can't do on her end I'll edit on mine like small touch ups.

Plan:
My plan is to see how the initial stages of early concept art go to determine if I should keep her, find another artist or pull a Stardew Valley and spend the extra time learning to draw better myself. The latter would save money, but significantly increase development time. However, I am a quick learner in general and putting what I see in my head on paper just takes a long time, but with CSP's 3d modeling it would take much less than freehand.

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Re: My artist is being stubborn about software. Suggestions?

#2 Post by SinaAzad » Sun Jun 21, 2020 3:16 pm

well, It is not that enjoyable to move from one platform to the other, even if the other one is better. this could actually result in reduced art quality and slower work progression.

If she is not interested in trying a new platform I'd suggest to not push it, even if you hire a professional artist I'm sure a lot of them refuse to work on a platform that they are not used to it unless the pay is great or they want to learn that platform for some reason.
if you want to "find another artist" I'd suggest you do it as soon as possible as it is not so nice to drop your friend out after she has invested time into your work.

on the idea of learning to draw your self, I'd suggest you to ask yourself a few questions, what sort of quality are you aiming for? can you manage to reach it in a reasonable time? is the time worth it? it is common to see people drawing for years without noticeable improvements so also consider that.

my final word is that if she knows what she is doing and you have seen her works and you like them and you are not expecting something out of that style of art then go with her, why would u even care how she makes it if the final product is satisfactory?

GL on your project!
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but please, don't go around telling people that their work is somehow off! thats not how critique works!
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Re: My artist is being stubborn about software. Suggestions?

#3 Post by SkepticalTiger » Mon Jun 22, 2020 3:15 am

SinaAzad wrote:
Sun Jun 21, 2020 3:16 pm
well, It is not that enjoyable to move from one platform to the other, even if the other one is better. this could actually result in reduced art quality and slower work progression.

If she is not interested in trying a new platform I'd suggest to not push it, even if you hire a professional artist I'm sure a lot of them refuse to work on a platform that they are not used to it unless the pay is great or they want to learn that platform for some reason.
if you want to "find another artist" I'd suggest you do it as soon as possible as it is not so nice to drop your friend out after she has invested time into your work.

on the idea of learning to draw your self, I'd suggest you to ask yourself a few questions, what sort of quality are you aiming for? can you manage to reach it in a reasonable time? is the time worth it? it is common to see people drawing for years without noticeable improvements so also consider that.

my final word is that if she knows what she is doing and you have seen her works and you like them and you are not expecting something out of that style of art then go with her, why would u even care how she makes it if the final product is satisfactory?

GL on your project!
Hello, thank you for the feedback first and foremost.

You make a great point on the software, mainly, of the artists I have been around the vast majority use photoshop, clip studio, or krita as more of an industry standard. My understand of Paint.net was that it wouldn't be able to produce the higher ppi so I was concerned. However, it looks like the program can do higher DPI and import/export PSD.

Ideally, I'd like to keep my friend on board since my current project is a single arc of an overall story. To elaborate more, unless she outright quit due to personal reasons/issues in her own life or due to performance in regards to general laziness I wouldn't drop her otherwise if she's true to her word.

The quality I'm aiming for which is, "good enough to look indie and not distract from the story," I estimated would take me 3 years min if I put 1 - 3 hours in a day. I have some drawing experience, but am a software engineering student so the coding and writing aren't that big of a deal for me, but if I had to draw everything myself the project time would likely double.

My concern for what she uses to make the final product is because as the dev and friend I want to assist in whatever way I can to have the limiting factors of her art not include tooling. Ideally, if the project got any pickup or I had the funds I'd look into providing her with a more modern Cintiq 13 or Cintiq 16 she's been eyeing for a while instead of the small intuos I gave her as a gift a couple years back.

Thank you for the positive encouragement!

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Re: My artist is being stubborn about software. Suggestions?

#4 Post by puppetbomb » Thu Jun 25, 2020 10:43 pm

A little late in the conversation, but I agree with SinaAzad that it's best not to push your artist friend to change programs.

Something that I found was unclear when if your friend knows you'll be editing her files. If an extremely frank conversation hasn't happened on this issue, it needed to happen yesterday.

If you plan on redrawing/recoloring parts of her work, TELL HER OMG.

Pouring yourself into a project and finding their work altered in-game is a surefire way to damage teamwork.

I once had a CEO who constantly edited a coworker's art files, to "improve" our work. He stopped eventually, but never apologized or learned to stop (he would just send emails with endless requests for revisions). Everyone just sucked it up because the pay was decent, so we just put our heads down and did what he asked. We hated working with him. We would make the new artists work with him so they could join us in our bitterness. Take the paycheck out and none of us would've lasted an hour.

The easiest way around this is to give your friend as much freedom as possible. If you give feedback, base it on story, character and location. If you can't trust yourself to stay out of her source files, TELL HER. If she hasn't worked in production art before, she may think she's okay with it and find out she isn't. Or she may be against it, but okay with specific edits.

If you can't find a suitable middle ground, consider hiring an artist or find another project to do together where you have less emotional investment.

Another thing I want to address is compensation and gifts. If you're not paying a livable wage, your friend is working for free. Your offers of programs, hardware and money should be seen as a thank-you rather than compensation. If you already understand this, then to anyone else reading: Please don't give gifts with an expectation that it will make people feel obligated to stay on until your game until it's finished. Just loan out equipment and take them back when they're done.

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Re: My artist is being stubborn about software. Suggestions?

#5 Post by SkepticalTiger » Fri Jun 26, 2020 12:45 am

puppetbomb wrote:
Thu Jun 25, 2020 10:43 pm
A little late in the conversation, but I agree with SinaAzad that it's best not to push your artist friend to change programs.

Something that I found was unclear when if your friend knows you'll be editing her files. If an extremely frank conversation hasn't happened on this issue, it needed to happen yesterday.

If you plan on redrawing/recoloring parts of her work, TELL HER OMG.

Pouring yourself into a project and finding their work altered in-game is a surefire way to damage teamwork.

I once had a CEO who constantly edited a coworker's art files, to "improve" our work. He stopped eventually, but never apologized or learned to stop (he would just send emails with endless requests for revisions). Everyone just sucked it up because the pay was decent, so we just put our heads down and did what he asked. We hated working with him. We would make the new artists work with him so they could join us in our bitterness. Take the paycheck out and none of us would've lasted an hour.

The easiest way around this is to give your friend as much freedom as possible. If you give feedback, base it on story, character and location. If you can't trust yourself to stay out of her source files, TELL HER. If she hasn't worked in production art before, she may think she's okay with it and find out she isn't. Or she may be against it, but okay with specific edits.

If you can't find a suitable middle ground, consider hiring an artist or find another project to do together where you have less emotional investment.

Another thing I want to address is compensation and gifts. If you're not paying a livable wage, your friend is working for free. Your offers of programs, hardware and money should be seen as a thank-you rather than compensation. If you already understand this, then to anyone else reading: Please don't give gifts with an expectation that it will make people feel obligated to stay on until your game until it's finished. Just loan out equipment and take them back when they're done.
thanks for the reply. My friend and I have worked on each other's art before when I was experimenting around with Live2d. She knows and doesn't mind my edits since our workstations are almost completely different. I have access to a 4k 10 bit color 27" monitor while she's on a decent 20" 1080p one. Any edits I'd do would be run by her first.

What I ended up deciding as well was to give her the creative freedom since Paint.net does accept PSD files and can export in higher resolutions. It is a bit sad she won't try CSP since it'd make examining 3d models easier but that should be fine.

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Re: My artist is being stubborn about software. Suggestions?

#6 Post by Gaudeamus » Thu Sep 10, 2020 3:06 am

As they have already said, it is very difficult for artists to move from one software to another, even if they started working on other software their exchange style and would no longer fit into your project.

If it's a particular brush or texture you can experience on your own and then tell her to do the test to include it in the work she's doing, in addition to lightening the burden for her, you can learn a little bit of you and don't risk wasting their job or time.

It's a pity you don't want to try Clip because as you mentioned 3d models help a lot, although as I mentioned earlier, you can try on your own to use models and poses and you keep them in an image and you give them to your friend so that she has a reference of what you want and is easier for her, although even with this , she refuses, you should forget to do things the way you want and keep what she does.

The final settings, you can make them you, such as color or temperature correction, although ideally try on several monitors and devices, since something that looks great on a good resolution screen usually looks darker or desaturated on small or old screens
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Re: My artist is being stubborn about software. Suggestions?

#7 Post by Aikorn » Mon Dec 28, 2020 1:06 pm

Just want to mention that Photoshop is industry standard for game concept arts, not visual novels, please don't mix it.
A lot of artists including professional VN artists still use programs like SAI, for example, like my favorite Kagerou Usuba who made Wand of Fortune, Reine Des Fleurs, etc. And i cannot see how her art would be better in she changed program (hint: it wouldn't))

I personally use SAI for years and would refuse if someone wanted me do the same art but with other program because some things are impossible to replace. Favorite brush, in case of your artist, may save her many hours to get a good result.
Also CSP is amazing program and i understand you, too - but it's great that you decided to let your artist keep their comfortable workspace.

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