06 August 2012

Repetitive image manipulations are time-consuming but low-skill, which makes it a prime candidate for overseas outsourcing.

Project Impressions

After seeing about a dozen overseas image masking services, I settled onĀ clippingimages.com. Their tag line (as of this posting) is "1,000 companies already choosen ClippingImages. Why not you?" All of the services, even those with US offices, had visibly limited English skills. The language barrier contributed to some minor challenges during the project. I was looking for something beyond simple image mapping. I wanted 50 PNGs created in a very specific way, with a spreadsheet containing reassembly instructions. The PNGs had to be corrected after the first draft, although they did not object. I did not receive the spreadsheet at all, but the price was still reasonable for the image generation alone. I might not use them for a complex project like this again, but I would probably consider them for image masking or vector conversion.

RFP Submitted Online

Below is the rough RFP that was submitted to the services I considered. When you go outside the default services of basic image masking or vector creation, there was no structured RFP process. I did not refine the RFP further since the total investment was already so low. I've provided below so that you can see that I probably did introduce some of the communication problems.

I have a vector graphic of the 50 United States and want separate masks that can be recombined into one country map.

From that vector, I want an image created for each of the 50 states according to this spec:

  1. The image should be a PNG with dimensions 4096x4096
  2. The state should be in black. The remainder of the image should be white.
  3. There should be approximately 20px of untouched white padding on each edge for the state's longer direction, and the state should be centered in the other direction. So a wide state (like Nebraska) would have 20px on left/right but then be centered vertically.

I would further like to have reassembly instructions to create a 4096x4096 country map. This means that each state should have this extra information in a spreadsheet:

  1. To what size should it be resized?
  2. To what coordinates should the top-left corner be positioned?

The vector has minimal spacing between the states, and that should be preserved upon reassembly. So the gap between the states should consistently be in the 2-10px range.

Can you help with this project? And what would be the price?


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