||Images can enhance an rpg; breaking up the flow of white space, and presenting readers with a visual representation of the style and theme of the book. Purchasing original art can be expensive. Which can be a bite on start up and smaller publishers whom may have little to no budget to pay an artist with, or maybe you simply can't find an artist to work in the desired style or within the range of your deadline. It's times like these that stock/clipart comes in handy; giving you already completed art that you can drop into your product, and at prices usually less (sometimes much less) than what it would cost you to commission that piece from an artist. One of the immediate downsides of this is that both in the cases of stock or clipart, it doesn't tend to be a unique purchase: any number of people other than you may have copies. This can result in your product being less visually unique.
Volume 1.16 of the Image Portfolio series from LPJDesign/Devil's Workshop presents us with a collection of robot-themed images. 10 individual pieces of black and white art make up this set, and it covers most of the popular variations on the theme: from Iron Man like power armor, to a skyscraper sized robot, and a sleek-looking fembot added in for good measure.
While not all the images appealed to me, they are all of above-average quality. They all have a decidedly Western feel to them however; so depending on what they're wanting, those seeking more Japanese-styled artwork may be disappointed. The only aspect that really disappointed me was that the majority of the images are static. Even when there is an action pose, it features only one figure. A few pictures of robots blowing each other up would have been a nice addition.
My experience and ability with image programs consists of knowing just enough to make a mess. So while I'm not sure, I wonder about the usability of this product for those without experience and/or fancier graphics programs; given that each image first needs to be extracted from the pdf before it can be used.
I have concerns regarding the license agreement. I realize that it is in place to protect the rights of all parties involved, and that no one wants to read page after page of contract speak; a contact e-mail address is included for those who have questions, as is the address for the Image Portfolio area of the LPJDesign website. Still, I'd like all the answers to be in the product itself. As a former technical support agent my natural inclination is to make sure the end user has all the information up front; this way I could spend less time answering e-mails or calls, and more time getting paid for playing Archspace.
All of which means there are some areas that could use clarification. Using the images in a magazine ad etc. is specifically prohibited, but if I use one of these images as the cover of my book my I then use an image of my cover in advertisements? What if the ad is specifically for the product that features images from one or more of these collections? There is also no mention of if the user is permitted to make changes such as colorizing, or compositing the picture onto a background etc.
Clarifying the language, or even providing an FAQ addendum would go a long way to increasing the user friendliness of the license.
LIKED: Large, clear images featuring different types of robotic figures.
DISLIKED: Higher price and file size than similar volumes in this series.
[3 of 5 Stars!]