3 reasons to outsource your game art

Photo by Randy Fath on Unsplash

If you’re an art lead who’s been leading a team for a while, but who hasn’t had the opportunity to plan for growth, this is the article for you.

At some point, you’ll probably need to start scaling. But maybe the current tasks at hand are taking a toll on your in house resources, ormaybe you have more work than time. Whatever the reason may be, outsourcing your non-core functions could free up time to properly scale your team. When should this happen? Here are some possible scenarios for when it should.

When the project’s scope of work is more than what the team can handle

Handling ambitious projects can result in an increase in the volume of work, along with other problem-solving complexities that art teams face with visual development. The common reflex for most teams is to try and hire more talent to accommodate the new needs of the project, but that brings other disadvantages.

The time taken to attract, hire and retain talent can quickly become a resource drain for your core team. This is where art outsourcing steps in. When you build rapport with a studio that has established processes in delivering awesome art at high volume, you save valuable resources by eliminating training and onboarding new hires. It is also incredibly cost-effective. Start early with finding an outsourcing studio that aligns with your project’s visual direction.

At Mighty Bear Games, we started our first outsource collaboration with Butter Royale. We had to produce fifty 3D characters in 3 months. With the aid of an outsource studio, we managed to ship on time without compromising on quality. Our core team could focus on building up the brand.

Outsourced 3D Characters for Disney Melee Mania
Outsourced 3D Characters for Disney Melee Mania

When you need your core team focused on higher impact issues

During production, routine tasks like asset exporting and art polishing takes a lot of time and effort. Usage of your core team’s resource could be better allocated on strategic movements like art directing and maintaining brand consistency. Outsourcing allows the core art team to reinvest their time to where they will make the most impact to the project in the long run.

In Mighty Bear Games, when a project stabilises with the support of outsource studios, we often move the core team towards creating game pitches for future projects. This helps ensure an evergreen loop of projects that’s ready to kick off.

From Pitch Deck to Shipped
From pitch deck to shipped!

When your core team needs to hop on a new project without discontinuing current ones

The efficiency of an art team depends heavily on project migration. Having an already-onboarded outsource team support your existing project will allow most your core team to migrate with lower risk, as it removes the burden of content maintenance from them. This is also an opportunity to ramp up junior members of the team to manage outsourcers and maintain quality on the existing projects.

Producing Disney Melee Mania was truly ambitious. This required us to move most of our core team over while still supporting Butter Royale with seasonal content. With support from our outsource team on Butter Royale, we safely transitioned the core team over to work on Disney Melee Mania, leaving a small insourced team in Butter Royale purely to manage outsourcer delivery.

3 reasons to outsource your game art was originally published in Mighty Bear Games on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.