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Introduction


Although this originally was first intended to be a journal entry, I feel due to the editorial nature of the piece and features, I'd make it a news article.

The issue: should carbon copied/traced stock images receive Daily Deviation features?


What is Vector Art?


In digital art there are two layer formats: raster and vector. Raster formats are based in pixels and vector is based in paths and points.

When you resize a raster image, you are expanding the pixels. Your program has to try to estimate what the colours would be for the additional pixels created. Due to this, the image loses it's clarity and creates a pixel effect.

When you resize a vector image, you are increasing the distance between the points. Due to this, the image doesn't lose it's clarity and doesn't pixellate.

The key element of vector is that it's infinitely scalable without any quality loss and it's why we love it!


Carbon Copies



I thought I'd have a bit of a rant slash give people clarification on one of my many personal rules I've set myself when featuring work from the vector galleries.

This is work is which carbon copies of stock/photographs.

Now as a stock user, there is nothing wrong with using stock what so ever, there really isn't. I know some people may argue this but then each to their own opinion wise that can be another debate another time.

What I'm talking about is images where pieces look like they've either posterized and then live traced or used the pen tool to draw out each of the shapes... not altering the colours or adding creativity or even altering the composition in any sort of way. There are also pieces which are made of gradient meshes which have eyedropped the original stock reference and then plotted points etc... to create a piece.

Now don't get me wrong, being able to replicate images which are identical to the reference image is a skill. It is a skill and something which requires a lot of patience and practice. However to me personally, it's not creative.

Several years ago, I made a rant defending the use of stock images for creating realistic portraits. My older watchers may remember this rant and my opinion still stays true on the subject of stock images. It's just refined.



Who Holds the Creativity?



To me, Daily Deviations are a showcase of what the vector community is about. I want them to represent _us_. I say "us" as in the vector community... do you want to be represented by show cases of skill rather than creativity/skill & creativity?

I'm a proud vector artist, well dur... and whenever in the past I've seen a DD feature which has been so close to the stock image that people are saying "I thought this was a photo until I saw the description" or "Did you just trace the stock image?" - it made me a little sad.

If you were to mesh or trace a stock image and I'm using the term "trace" literal here so much so that you had to double check the image was vector, to whom is the creativity awarded to? If that traced vector is so fabulous and you've suggested it to me... shouldn't you just suggest the stock image to the Stock & Resource GMs? Surely the creativity belongs to the photographer and not the vector artist? Yes the vector artist has a skill, but the non-vector artist isn't going to appreciate the skill behind it!

I remember visiting a website recently which went on about how to create a vexel. Ok admittingly, although vexel and vector are different they are constructed in the same way, this is besides the point. The tutorial went on to say that vexels are creating portraits from posterize tracing in vector. Needless to say I left a comment to try and dispel this myth... and I did die a little inside.

Is this really how we want to have ourselves represented?



Examples of Creative Vectors using Stock



Enough ranting, let me show you some fabulous pieces of vector which use stock from deviantART in a creative way.

:thumb189327681: Ecosystem II by Rockfield er.. heimlich please? by duCkieasdfasdf Faceless by noapc Staring by Joey-Zero Dance by ssst RAWR by pica-ae Amphitrite by Rockfield nightElf by cd-marcus Missin' Like Candy by darylferil linear by mauank :thumb120974252: CRAZY FOR VECTOR IV by AtixVector Bleach by ChewedKandi Healing by artemisa-69 Avatar Battle...Wake Up by CrisVector Something Red by verucasalt82


Conclusion



I'm not saying to stop tracing and learning your craft from stock images. Skill takes time to mature and as does a style. Don't stop doing this because you wont be featured by me personally. Hell, to a certain extent I started in a similar place. What I am saying is that just because you use stock, don't let it define your work. Let is just be step one of your piece, not the whole piece :)

I just want to reiterate that the opinions in this article are those of my own and should not be seen as opinions held of any of the deviantART staff or volunteers. These are meerly my standards and should be taken with a pinch of salt ;)
Add a Comment:
 
:iconsatsumo:
Satsumo Featured By Owner Apr 17, 2011  Professional Traditional Artist
I think you're going to have a hard time drawing the dividing line here, and if you do I'm not sure that it really has any merit. What you appear to say is that you don't mind vector art using photographic reference as long as they mess with it enough.

How much exactly is enough? And what if they don't? If someone spends days producing a super real vector copy of a photograph, why isn't that art?
Reply
:iconchewedkandi:
ChewedKandi Featured By Owner Apr 18, 2011  Professional Digital Artist
It maybe art, but the composition was put together by the stock photographer since there is no style added in the vector rendering process. The creativity belongs to the stock photographer you see ;)
Reply
:iconxadrea:
Xadrea Featured By Owner Apr 16, 2011  Professional Traditional Artist
:clap: great article ^ ^
Reply
:iconchewedkandi:
ChewedKandi Featured By Owner Apr 18, 2011  Professional Digital Artist
Thank you :D
Reply
:iconk-hots:
k-hots Featured By Owner Apr 15, 2011  Hobbyist General Artist
what's your opinion on life drawing and digital drawing? i see carbon copies of work in this two medias all the time too.
when i was studying, i used to think that if we were to draw photo-realistically, might as well we use a photograph. but the skills behind making a photo-realistic drawing is also quite amazing...
just fely like discussing. :)
Reply
:iconchewedkandi:
ChewedKandi Featured By Owner Apr 16, 2011  Professional Digital Artist
I think life drawing and digital drawing is the same... it takes a lot of skill and technique, but it's not creative :)
Reply
:iconk-hots:
k-hots Featured By Owner Apr 17, 2011  Hobbyist General Artist
yeah. same opinion here...
Reply
:iconpolymune:
PolyMune Featured By Owner Apr 11, 2011  Professional Digital Artist
I 100% agree on the carbon copies (thanks for the article! very informative I might add)

I think using stock/reference is fine, but to copy it exactly with not even 'slight' differences isn't creative. Yes it takes skill, but not any sort of 'imagination' in my opinion.
I mean, you're just exactly copying what someone else did, instead of bringing in your own 'spin' on things.

:)
Reply
:iconartemisa-69:
artemisa-69 Featured By Owner Apr 11, 2011  Professional Digital Artist
You know I agree with you :#1:
And thanks for featuring my work too! :hug:
Reply
:iconf0r3ign:
f0r3ign Featured By Owner Apr 11, 2011
Good article Kan!
Reply
:iconispypictures:
iSpyPictures Featured By Owner Apr 11, 2011
I am very guilty-as-charged regarding vector photo realism. I have two pieces on my gallery that I used stock images to vector trace and gradient mesh; I am super proud of those - at this moment in my illustration - because they did take time and patience; getting those gradient mesh points/lines to bend just the way you want, and deciding how many points/lines are un/necessary is a bit time consuming. As they are right now, they are not creative. I didn't add any background, no funky colors…but I will use them in something, I'm sure. Do I think I deserve to be showcased? Maybe. I think photo-realistic vector art has its place, and its need - somebody out there somewhere is going to need a huge ass strawberry for something!

Could this discussion compare to photorealistic painting? Some don't consider that to be art.

Should photo-realistic vector art be placed in a craft category rather than an art category? hmmm…I wouldn't mind being a master craftsman
Reply
:iconispypictures:
iSpyPictures Featured By Owner Apr 11, 2011
PS - I did create some of the pieces and parts - leaves, seeds, water drops
Reply
:iconpica-ae:
pica-ae Featured By Owner Apr 11, 2011  Professional Interface Designer
yeah, you know i feel like that as well :nod:

I am not a fan of hyper-realistic art made from stock images at all. I mean, being able to create someting that cannot be told from photo or 'manual' creation is a great skill. But you have to be able to combine it with creativity; in ways of composition and meaning for example.

Carbon copies are a great way of learning techniques and achieving skill. But they only become art when the artists adds some of his own. And by that leaves the path of carbon copies.
Reply
:iconneurotype:
neurotype Featured By Owner Apr 11, 2011  Hobbyist General Artist
:highfive: I think an important distinction needs to be made between practice--traced or duplicated--work and work made perhaps with a photoreference, but with significant input from the artist's own mind.
Reply
:iconchewedkandi:
ChewedKandi Featured By Owner Apr 11, 2011  Professional Digital Artist
Good idea :)
Reply
:iconbdt466:
BDT466 Featured By Owner Apr 11, 2011  Student Digital Artist
"Skill takes time to mature and as does a style." Talk about it! :shakefish:

I understand what you mean completely. But also worth noting is that these creations should not to be looked down upon. As you have noted, learning the ropes, especially when doing the human form and attempting to achieve realistic proportions, lighting etc is extremely difficult and the best way to achieve more creative results is to nail the initial process. There are many examples of this, a quick one would be the old car/driving theory. You need to lose control before you can truly be experienced. Once you know what the car feels like when it is losing control you can then drive safely and be more....experimental with your driving method(on private property with appropriate safety procedures ofc), this is how many 'drifters' become such skilled drivers. That is a horrible example but you get the jist. But yes, I definitely agree with you about all of it, they are by no means not useful but DD should be reserved for showcasing what Vector is capable of and commending the artists for that. Just my two cents :D
Reply
:iconchewedkandi:
ChewedKandi Featured By Owner Apr 11, 2011  Professional Digital Artist
Oh I'm not looking down upon them at all, skill and patience are a big thing in my eyes, especially coming from my point of view where I use stock images so much and I started out using colours and shapes from stock images to get the feel for it.

This is more why I shouldn't showcase pieces from the gallery which are like this... DDs in my opinion are a representation of our community to the rest of dA :)
Reply
:iconbdt466:
BDT466 Featured By Owner Apr 11, 2011  Student Digital Artist
"..As you have noted, learning the ropes, especially..." :giggle:

I know you weren't :). I knew I should've emphasised that part a bit more >_<

You are, IMO what someone who is interested in illustrating homo-sapiens should aim for, there are very few people that have the skill to illustrate a human(especially the face) without reference properly, with correct lighting, proportions etc. The only people who can achieve it consecutively, time after time, are the lucky ones with photographic memory(me wanty :shakefist:) and even then you are lucky to create something original. What makes yours different is the fact you change it for the better, you only ever really have the 'base' of the stock, everything else is well thought out and extremely creative. It is what separates you from the rest. You know I am a big fan of our work and I definitely see you as an idol, I am still finding my 'thang' but regardless of which way I go. Your creativity and the way you implement it is what I will always take inspiration from.
Reply
:iconchewedkandi:
ChewedKandi Featured By Owner Apr 13, 2011  Professional Digital Artist
You are always too nice to me - I thank you :hug:
Reply
:iconmollinda:
Mollinda Featured By Owner Apr 11, 2011   Traditional Artist
Rather similar to my views on photorealism - I totally agree :)
Reply
:iconkuschelirmel:
kuschelirmel Featured By Owner Apr 11, 2011  Hobbyist Digital Artist
and I'm not even the first to say that as I just discovered when reading further :|
Reply
:iconmollinda:
Mollinda Featured By Owner Apr 12, 2011   Traditional Artist
OH REALLY WHO'S BEEN A QUOTING LE MOLLY? :eyes:
Reply
:iconkuschelirmel:
kuschelirmel Featured By Owner Apr 12, 2011  Hobbyist Digital Artist
not directly, but both commentators below seem to have immediately thought of Lord Mollington :D
Reply
:iconmollinda:
Mollinda Featured By Owner Apr 12, 2011   Traditional Artist
Lord Mollington is an exceedingly splendid gentleman.
Reply
:iconkuschelirmel:
kuschelirmel Featured By Owner Apr 11, 2011  Hobbyist Digital Artist
and I was just about to quote you (AND agree) ;P I'm too late as always :giggle:
Reply
:iconmollinda:
Mollinda Featured By Owner Apr 12, 2011   Traditional Artist
I would say fashionably late B-)
Reply
:iconpica-ae:
pica-ae Featured By Owner Apr 11, 2011  Professional Interface Designer
ha! we did talk about this before :giggle:
Reply
:iconmollinda:
Mollinda Featured By Owner Apr 12, 2011   Traditional Artist
:D
Reply
:iconneurotype:
neurotype Featured By Owner Apr 11, 2011  Hobbyist General Artist
As soon as I saw this post, I thought of what you'd said about that! :dummy:
Reply
:iconmollinda:
Mollinda Featured By Owner Apr 11, 2011   Traditional Artist
I am glad that I am memorable :lol:
Reply
:iconneurotype:
neurotype Featured By Owner Apr 11, 2011  Hobbyist General Artist
:giggle: It does happen to be exactly my view on the matter, too!
Reply
:iconmollinda:
Mollinda Featured By Owner Apr 11, 2011   Traditional Artist
Hexcellent!
Reply
:iconneurotype:
neurotype Featured By Owner Apr 11, 2011  Hobbyist General Artist
:D
Reply
:iconchewedkandi:
ChewedKandi Featured By Owner Apr 11, 2011  Professional Digital Artist
:salute:
Reply
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