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Bad Company (EDIT: Added chat logs)

I replied to a post on ConceptArt.org by FresboWorld.com to make a flash ad for $50.

The staff provided the assets and general direction. I animated the graphics.

I gave them the ad and they refused to pay me (see ad here).

Chats and emails about commission and payment

Original direction (greetings deleted):

I will be collaborating with you for our flash banner ad. Here is what I want you to do...

The banner ad will have the following:

  • a "Play Now" button at the end of the ad
  • the URL of Fresbo World (www.fresboworld.com)
  • the logo
  • animations
  • screenshots (see image attached)
  • must show the words (Think, Build, PLAY)
The ad will flash the words Think, Build and PLAY in colors red, orange and green respectively and the screenshots that I have attached. For the screenshots, you can resize them to fit the banner. I have no idea on how the sequence will be. It is up to you and we will see how it goes later on. To give you an idea of what we like, check out the banner ads in http://www.newsgrounds.com [sic]. If you have any questions, feel free to email me back. Thanks :)

(12 images - all environments - were attached to the email. I thought I could do a slideshow until the swf ballooned to 100K. There wasn't much contact until I sent the ad which resulted in the chat below)

8:22 PM ck: hi- so regarding the banner ad..
 conniet.support: it is too simple ._.
 ck: we have something in mind
  i hope we can work this out...
8:23 PM how about we start with something like 'blue skies, green plains...'
  then out of nowhere a plushie 'white onion' plushie
  jumps to the scene
 conniet.support: ok good
8:24 PM me: The reason it was so small was because when I exported the swf with only the logos, it was 27 K
 ck: something like a 'short' animation.... like those flash banner ads in 'cherry credits'
8:25 PM i think Connie, what shemeans is, if we want a more complicated ad, the file size will get biggerconniet.support: ahh ok
  is there anything we can do with the logo?
  how about resize it?
8:26 PM me: I tried making the file size as small as I could for the logo
  Any lower and the important colors will get lost
 conniet.support: i see
8:27 PM me: When I look at Cherry Credits, it looks like basically a sataic banner with some of the graphics on an animated loop after it gets into place

(There's some talk about trying to get the logo smaller. I mention that Cherry Credits' artwork makes their banners look good. Someone gives me a screenshot of their logo in-game)

: from wad i know, that screenshot i showed u
  it is png
  the logo is png when it is put inside the swf
 me: Do you have a vector version of the logo?
8:40 PM notorand: nope
  afk 5 mins
 ck: PSD
  not illustrator
8:41 PM will that help
 me: Usually vector files (AI) are alot smaller than raster (PSD)
 notorand: from wad the flash programmer told me
8:42 PM when u right click on the asset in the cs3
  u have to specify lossless
  else it will compress the image
  i think that is why all the images u put it in is very pixelated
8:43 PM me: It was to keep the size below 60K
8:44 PM notorand: hmm ok let me think abt it, i get back to you in a few hrs time, thks :)
 notorand has left
8:45 PM conniet.support: ok :)
  we'll just email u hannah
 ck: thanks :)
 me: K...
 conniet.support: bye
 me: later

Then one of the people contacted me again right after that chat:

8:52 PM ck: Hi again.. BJ thinks the flash ad might not work out this time, but we;d like you to stick around because we like your illustration work :)
 me: OK ^^;;;
 ck: we will perhaps contact you soon for avatar designs, environments etc
8:53 PM me: ... So I won't get paid for the ad.
 ck: no :(
 me: .... Oh...
 ck: yea because BJ is not happy with the result :(
  he feels it is not your strong point
8:54 PM me: ... oh...
8:55 PM ck: yea sorry -_-
 me: So if you don't like my illustrations, will I also not be paid for them too?
8:56 PM ck: hmm, BJ can elaborate on that more, so you can reach an agreement, he's very flexible and can state your conditions - so to speak
 me: ... on the record
8:57 PM I'd like to be paid after I put in work, even if it's a kill fee
 ck: you wanna get paid for the ad? i will let him know.. how much?
8:58 PM or for the future dealings?
8:59 PM me: For future dealings, I think it's best if we get everything in writing on the next go-round
9:01 PM For the ad, $30 is what I'm thinking of.
 ck: definitely. like i said, BJ is open to suggestions. most of the artists we have a free-lancers. i'll mention that to him and your price for the ad
9:02 PM is that price fixed, or open to negotiations?
9:04 PM me: It's not set in stone, but I would be hard-pressed to accept anything lower
9:05 PM ck: ok i left him a message
 me: Alright. Thanks

And this is the email that was sent an hour later:

Hi (fanartist)
We are sorry to tell you but the banner ad is just not what we are looking for. It is just not up to our standards and we cannot give you $30. Hope you understand. Thanks.


Should I still ask for compensation, or should I leave this be?

DAAAMMMNNN ITTTT Found this after going through past posts. Repeat offender?
Artist's beware has moved!
Do NOT repost your old bewares. They are being archived.


( 22 comments — Leave a comment )
Mar. 8th, 2009 05:43 pm (UTC)
Have you offered to re-do it? I don't mean to be rude, just honest: It's pretty poorly done. The shots of the actual game are pretty badly blurred / dithered, and the company logo at the end has the opposite problem - very dithered and jagged.

Perhaps trace over the logo etc as a vector so it can be presented and resized without the jagged edges? And use higher quality screenshots of the gameplay?

As it stands, I would be very disappointed as a customer, as well.
(Deleted comment)
Mar. 8th, 2009 06:01 pm (UTC)
I didn't say it gave them the right to do that, and I should have specified that I agreed that the stunt being pulled is unfair and very much illegal.

I am just trying to outline that I understand their disappointment in the product, as it truly looks like it was thrown together in 15 minutes. I would not be eager to pay for what I thought was sub par work (though I definitely would out of contractual obligation), and as an artist I would be ashamed and embarrassed to ask payment for something so rough.
(no subject) - fenris_lorsrai - Mar. 8th, 2009 06:04 pm (UTC) - Expand
Mar. 8th, 2009 06:59 pm (UTC)
I know fanartist irl and from what I witnessed, they gave her the images and told her to keep it at a certain size. She told them that the images would blur because the quality they wanted her to keep it at was too lowe. They said "Fine, just don't go over the size we wanted." so she did and they totally pulled out.
Mar. 8th, 2009 07:08 pm (UTC)
That changes the situation somewhat. Perhaps that kind of information should be included by your friend in the first post.
Mar. 8th, 2009 07:19 pm (UTC)
Yeah, I'll inform her.
Mar. 8th, 2009 08:11 pm (UTC)
This could have been the point where she said it would not be possible to create something with the material given her, and pull out herself. I'm not seeing anything illegal here, unless they actually used the banner.
(no subject) - fenris_lorsrai - Mar. 8th, 2009 05:54 pm (UTC) - Expand
Mar. 8th, 2009 06:05 pm (UTC)
Original Post on ConceptArt.org: http://www.conceptart.org/forums/showthread.php?p=2163678

Nothing much to report, as it looks like most contact was done through email. However, client did link to http://www.cherrycredits.com/sg/ as examples of flash banners that they were impressed by.

Edited at 2009-03-08 06:07 pm (UTC)
Mar. 8th, 2009 05:44 pm (UTC)
Point out to them that it's illegal for them to back out after you've done the work?
Mar. 8th, 2009 05:52 pm (UTC)
Where's the post at?
(Deleted comment)
Mar. 8th, 2009 06:04 pm (UTC)
Found it: http://www.conceptart.org/forums/showthread.php?p=2163678

Haven't looked through it myself, yet.
(Deleted comment)
Mar. 9th, 2009 03:58 am (UTC)
Their first attempt: http://www.conceptart.org/forums/showthread.php?t=142258

It makes me sad knowing that the evidence was RIGHT THERE and I just ignored it floating by :
Mar. 8th, 2009 06:04 pm (UTC)
Found it: http://www.conceptart.org/forums/showthread.php?p=2163678

Haven't looked through it myself, yet.
Mar. 8th, 2009 07:10 pm (UTC)
This sounds a lot like speculative work, never take speculative work, get a contract (or payment) first.

Have you reported this to Concept Art.org? They won't be too pleased to have rip off merchants on their site. Especially not if you can back it up with evidence.

Lastly, have they actually used your Banner anywhere? If you didn't have a contract and they haven't used your banner, you will find it near impossible to get any money out of them. It would certainly cost you more than the $50 to pursue them.
I think you'll have to chalk this up to experience.
Mar. 9th, 2009 03:56 am (UTC)
I assumed that business dealings would be outside of the realm of ConceptArt forums, so it never occured to me that I should report them.

The company's in Singapore, so I'm writing this off as experience.

I've never run into a commissioner who ran away in the middle of a job without paying for five years, so I was always really lax about payment.

This is kind of like a slap in the face telling me "WELCOME TO REALITY!!!"
Mar. 8th, 2009 07:34 pm (UTC)
Notify somebody in power on ConceptArt.org with screenshots of the e-mail conversation.

Also tell your "clients" that not paying is not an option. Make sure to have a contract/terms written up for the next time to take a commission. In those terms, note that at either you require payment up front or a down payment of half or so before you begin work.
Mar. 9th, 2009 01:20 am (UTC)
This happens a lot with flash banners it seems. Your client most likely hired multiple artists and only paid the one who's banner they went with. Did they ever say in their emails that they would compensate you for your time or that they'd only pay for the completed project? 50 k is a pretty standard banner size. Did they ask you for less than that?
Mar. 9th, 2009 05:10 am (UTC)
Just FYI: I think you meant http://www.newgrounds.com (not newsgrounds).
Mar. 14th, 2009 04:54 am (UTC)
After Dragonsnail posted in their second thread, they replied to her:
"PS. Artists whose sketches look like they were made by pre-schoolers need NOT apply. :)"

Somebody please note the CA moderators about that. Dragonsnail is a skilled artist, better than what a company with that attitude deserves.
Mar. 14th, 2009 11:44 am (UTC)
That... is so much WTF.

I'm gonna break my silence and report these people.
Mar. 20th, 2009 12:25 am (UTC)
The banner looks like what they asked for, and you clearly told them the reasons for the issues! If an artist gave me that work, I'd try to provide the screen shots at the size they needed and the logo as a vector. From reading their posts on CA, I have to believe the "company" is very unprofessional.

I deal with commissioning artists frequently, and I have asked for artists to provide samples/trials, since their gallery may be amazing, but I want to see if they can draw a specific character/scene/etc. that is specific to my needs. However, once I receive these I always give corrections if any are needed. If they do not have an interest in fixing it, I still pay them at least something for their time... it is just good business sense.

I do not think you should fight it for money since, while what they did was very unprofessional and rude, they did not do anything illegal unless there was a contract or they used it...

Still, I am proud you shared to warn other artists!
( 22 comments — Leave a comment )


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