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Question to the Graphic artists out there

Discussion in 'Fantasy Art' started by Trick, Feb 20, 2015.

  1. Trick

    Trick Auror

    I dabble in graphic art, having been a sketch artist for many years, but I find myself tempted to at least get a starting point by using images from the good old internet. I typically use them to help me establish scale, or to get my idea more concretely formed.

    The problem is that, after editing these images beyond recognition in many cases, I come to like what I've made them into and don't want to start from scratch.

    My question: is there a percentage of editing that can be done to an image that frees me from copyright or, because I used it start with, is it just stealing no matter what?

    Factual (legal) and philosophical answers are both quite welcome.

  2. Ayaka Di'rutia

    Ayaka Di'rutia Troubadour

    To me, there's no problem copying them for personal study and changing them up a bit. But personally, that's as far as I would go. I would remember what I studied and start a new piece using what I learned from the reference.

    For example, I did some studying on bee wings for the fairies in my fantasy world. I learned the general shape and structure of the veins in the wings. Now when i draw these fairies, I have a good idea of what their wings look like, and if I forget, I can look up more pictures of bee wings. However, if I copy pictures online, it's only for reference and personal study sketches, and they won't be published.
  3. 2WayParadox

    2WayParadox Sage

    Trick, there are sites that have databases full of free pictures. I have no graphic inclination, but I know they're there and the stuff they have is free to use. So have a look around on the interwebs.

    It might be necessary to mention where the original comes from, but there shouldn't be a fee. I think the FAQ on a site like that will have the answers you need.
  4. Lunaairis

    Lunaairis Sage

    I believe this is one of the biggest questions of "what is art." You'd need to speak to a lawyer on the matter. But I have know artist who take pictures from magazines and rearrange them and glue other things to them and sell them as paintings to galleries. So for the digital world I am not too sure. I hear of a lot of artist who do similar things but I don't know how much of the stock images they take themselves or steal from the internet.
  5. FarmerBrown

    FarmerBrown Troubadour

    Many search engines have an option to choose an image license while searching. If you pick images that are free to modify, share, and use commercially (i.e. on a book cover), you're home free and do not need to credit the original creator. There are plenty of stock image websites out there that provide quality images you would be able to manipulate and not worry about infringing any copyright, but you either pay per image or pay a flat fee for use of the website. Many, many graphic designers (and cover designers) use stock images to save time.
  6. Legendary Sidekick

    Legendary Sidekick The HAM'ster Moderator

    I once googled "royalty free images" and found some cool book cover material. Some images were extremely high resolution, meaning I could zoom into a waterfall and have the illusion of white water crashing over the black edge of a "flat-earth" world.

    EDIT - ...and still meet the 600 dpi requirement using a small portion of the photo.

    (I'd link search results for you, but I work at a high school and searches are oddly limited here. For the right reasons, of course, but I mean that even useful work-safe/kid-safe content ends up getting blocked.)
    Last edited: Feb 24, 2015
  7. ascanius

    ascanius Inkling

    I'm not a lawyer so with a grain of salt and all that. From my understanding if the final image is unrecognizable from the source image, there is no way it could be mistaken from the origianal then your in the clear and its your work. If you take an image and make a copy in graphite, like I did, then it is not your original work of art, I cannot sell or even post the copy I made of an image because it is a copy. You can take parts of other images to create a single whole image. From what it sounds like your in the clear, It cannot be a copy, or simply recoloring/corloring of an original. Again not a lawyer.

    @ legendary sidekick, use a proxy, it's what my cousins do to get past the highschool firewall.

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