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How to work with programmers.

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pabloruiz55
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How to work with programmers. Apr. 30th, 2012 @ 11:18 AM Reply

Hi, I'd like to share with you an article I wrote for designers/artists that have to work with programmers in their projects.
Hope you find it helpful!
If you have your own tips, I'd like to hear them as well!

- Pablo

lovingthedark
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Response to How to work with programmers. Apr. 30th, 2012 @ 01:43 PM Reply

This is pretty useful, but I'd love a tutorial that really breaks down the basics of programming as artists need to know it rather than just telling us that we need to be familiar with it. Even just filling it out with links to other people's tutorials would be wonderful- there's world of irrelevant data out there that's hard to filter useful information from until you have a basic understanding of the core concepts.


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Hyptosis
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Response to How to work with programmers. May. 2nd, 2012 @ 06:51 AM Reply

At 4/30/12 11:18 AM, pabloruiz55 wrote: Hi, I'd like to share with you an article I wrote for designers/artists that have to work with programmers in their projects.
Hope you find it helpful!
If you have your own tips, I'd like to hear them as well!

- Pablo

Someone should write an opposite article for programmers now. :P

ornery
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Response to How to work with programmers. May. 2nd, 2012 @ 11:35 AM Reply

At 5/2/12 06:51 AM, Hyptosis wrote: Someone should write an opposite article for programmers now. :P

yeah that would be a bit more useful as I found most of the stuff in this article to bother me a hell of a lot. Lets break it down shall we.

Do a little research
There is nothing inherently wrong with this. Knowing the sizes and resolutions to work in is definitely the artists job, and if the programmer tells them what format they are working in then yes its reasonable for the artist spend a few HOURS looking into what those size constraints are... or you the programer could take a few SECONDS and just tell them to the artist if he knows them already.... and what if the programer is working in a new format? This article assumed too much that everyone will just be working on shite iphone aps. If you are working on such a limited platform then yes it makes sense for both parties to know the constraints of the project, but if you are trying to go into uncharted territory its the responsibility of the more knowledgeable and leading party to share a bit of their knowledge.

DonâEUTMt make him try to understand your PSDs
This I agree with. If I'm sending him something its going to be in the finalized usable format that was requested, it doesnt make sense to send it in any other format. If the final product needs jpegs it would be pointless to sent .ai files. If he wants the original files however for whatever reason then he takes on the responsibility of figuring out where stuff is in it. I didn't make the original .psd files for him, i made them for me, the final compressed version is his, if he wants to see my tools then he needs to live with the way I organized them so that they could be best worked on BY ME. This is like saying the artist wants to see the raw code over the UI, and expecting the programmer to have made the code pretty and perfect and easy to understand for someone who wont be working on it.

If you are working on a game, try to understand some game design and programming concepts
This would help, and some research could be done, or a brief summary by the programmer really isn't that hard or time consuming. However most of the stuff you listed as needing to know was stuff that I feel was the artists responsibility from the get go. If there will be animations the artist will typically know how to animate, and will provide the needed frames. Same with the other stuff, if its graphical the artist probably knows what it is from the start. If they don't know what something is its quickest for the programmer to take a few minutes and give a brief description. If the artist STILL doesn't get it, then its up to them to do additional research. I cant deny that knowing a ton about programming is beneficial, but the artist can still do fine knowing only what he needs to, and learning the rest as he goes.

Try to be as specific as you can
Again this is a two way street. The artist likes to know exactly what is needed, especially if they will be working on pieces that keep them up for 2 weeks without sleeping. Because there isn't anything worse than spending 2 weeks on something to find out its not what was wanted. If you can show the artist the type of game you want to make they will have a much better idea of the type of artwork you will need. THEN its up to them to provide all the sketches and concepts until a final piece is agreed upon.

Get to know the platformâEUTMs limitations
Assuming the artist is the one with the idea - they should present the idea at the start, have to programmer tell them what can and cant be done, and then readjust the idea or god forbid have the programmer think outside the box and try to come up with a creative way around the limitations. So the iPhone is a piece of shit and cant run flash stuff. Is there a creative way to achieve similar results using its stupendously limited capabilities? Yes? then do it. No? you sure? Yes. then alright, time for an idea adjustment. Granted the artist should know what platform they want the product to be on and yes they should have some understanding of what that platform is generally capable of simply based on previous products on the platform, but its also the artists nature to want to try something new and push boundaries and do stuff they HAVEN'T seen before.

Assuming its the programmer coming to the artist - you know the limits, if the artwork is too complex for the capabilities of the format then just ask them to dumb it down, but this should even happen because you both agreed on a style in the previous step.

Be tidy with revisions
This one i am fine with. Organization is crucial on both parties. And the artist should take full responsibility for staying organized.

Hyptosis
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Response to How to work with programmers. May. 2nd, 2012 @ 06:40 PM Reply

At 5/2/12 11:35 AM, ornery wrote:

:STUFF

hahaha yeah dude, I totally agree. I just didn't want to say anything for fear of someone thinking I'm whining or complaining or whatever. I've worked with a LOT of people over the past 10 years, and in my experience 99% of them have no clue what I have to go through to get shit done. That's fine, but I have zero tolerance for attitude and such anymore. Which is why I mostly work alone now. Also 90% of the time when a client hires you, truth is, they have no fucking clue what they want, or think they want. This applies to project leads, programmers, even lead artists sometimes and it's a damn mess and work gets wasted. I spend just as much time figuring out what someone wants, than I do actually painting it for them.

Anyhoo, good stuff, rock on, have fun everyone!