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p0intblank
Oct 2, 2006, 11:00 PM
Say you're designing a logo for a client and you are not very good at drawing/illustrating. Is it wrong to find a graphic on Google Images, trace it with the Pen tool or LiveTrace and then implement it into the overall design? I've done this a few times already. I just wanted to make sure this isn't technically wrong... I mean, I'm not actually using the original graphic, rather I am tracing/editing it to my liking.

Thanks for your input. :)



tvguru
Oct 2, 2006, 11:06 PM
Plagiarism: the practice of taking someone else's work or ideas and passing them off as one's own.

To me that would fall into the taking someone else's ideas. It would be the same as taking some ones picture off of google images and doing a little photoshop and saying it was yours, no?

p0intblank
Oct 2, 2006, 11:11 PM
Well I would never do that with a photograph, as I take that kind of stuff very seriously. With a simple illustration, though, I didn't think it was a big deal. Maybe I'm being a bit dramatic... to give you a better idea, I attached the original graphic (left) and the LiveTraced version with the bottom body cut off (right). I think of the original as more of a reference than an actual copy.

tvguru
Oct 2, 2006, 11:15 PM
I'm no designer or graphics artist, so take what I say with a grain of salt. But to me it is the same shape idea just cut off and colour changed. In my opinion you took the idea from the original, but I'll leave it to someone with more weight in their opinion.

P.S. I think I like yours better. :p

iMeowbot
Oct 2, 2006, 11:15 PM
It all depends on the amount of originality you take from another source, and how much you put in yourself.

An example I wouldn't have a problem with: you have trouble drawing hands, so you grab a random photo of a person off the net and trace the hand and stick it onto an arm that you did draw. It's a rare image of a hand that is unique, so whatever.

An example I would have a problem with: you borrow a picture of a face, and your traced result is still clearly that same face. In this case you aren't adding anything original, but merely applying a mechanical process to someone else's work.

If you have any doubt in a particular situation, that's a good sign that you may be borrowing too much.

[ Edit: Looking at the example you provided, that would IMHO be crossing the line. It's clearly the same drawing. ]

p0intblank
Oct 2, 2006, 11:29 PM
It all depends on the amount of originality you take from another source, and how much you put in yourself.

An example I wouldn't have a problem with: you have trouble drawing hands, so you grab a random photo of a person off the net and trace the hand and stick it onto an arm that you did draw. It's a rare image of a hand that is unique, so whatever.

An example I would have a problem with: you borrow a picture of a face, and your traced result is still clearly that same face. In this case you aren't adding anything original, but merely applying a mechanical process to someone else's work.

If you have any doubt in a particular situation, that's a good sign that you may be borrowing too much.

[ Edit: Looking at the example you provided, that would IMHO be crossing the line. It's clearly the same drawing. ]

I totally agree with you. Don't get me wrong from this thread... I would never want to intentionally steal from someone. I like to be proud of my work. So do you suggest anything I can do to this this graphic to make it more like my own? I'm really liking how it blends in with the rest of the design, but like I said... I honestly cannot illustrate that well.

iMeowbot
Oct 2, 2006, 11:43 PM
I think that if I was in your shoes, I would look in archives of public domain work (in the US, pre-1923 works are usually fair game). The US Library of Congress put photo archives and scans of old postcards, magazines, and more out there, and archive.org would be a good place to look too. Do be careful about the dates, not everything provided by LoC is in the public domain.

In this particular case, strong men, circuses, etc. were bigger attractions in the past, so I think you could do well.

GoCubsGo
Oct 2, 2006, 11:44 PM
Say you're designing a logo for a client and you are not very good at drawing/illustrating. Is it wrong to find a graphic on Google Images, trace it with the Pen tool or LiveTrace and then implement it into the overall design? I've done this a few times already. I just wanted to make sure this isn't technically wrong... I mean, I'm not actually using the original graphic, rather I am tracing/editing it to my liking.

Thanks for your input. :)
If you got paid to design a logo and you traced something from the web and implemented it in the overall design that you probably lifted from somewhere else or it was probably just text, then yeah I think you're wrong.

Macky-Mac
Oct 2, 2006, 11:49 PM
you might try starting with a more generic source instead of using the actual illustration....in this case you could have used a photo of a body builder, one that wasn't covered by a copyright, and used that as a base for your tracing, all while letting the style of the other illustration serve as an inspiration....wouldn't that make it enough of your own work that you wouldn't be crossing the line?

ATD
Oct 3, 2006, 01:13 AM
An easier way to do this is to invest in some clip art collections. If you use it as is or alter it you are fine because you already purchased it.

BTW I would stop using Google as a source for any images. I have seen designers get themselves in big trouble for putting images from Google into a comp to just sell an idea only to have the client then say I want that image. It putts the designer in a bad spot when he has to tell his boss or the client that he has no legal right to use the image. Get in the habit of using clip art, royally free stock photography or your own art as your sources.

faustfire
Oct 3, 2006, 02:07 AM
So do you suggest anything I can do to this this graphic to make it more like my own? I'm really liking how it blends in with the rest of the design, but like I said... I honestly cannot illustrate that well.

I really find it odd that so many "designers" nowadays cannot draw to save their lives.

p0intblank
Oct 3, 2006, 08:26 AM
Alright, thanks a lot for the help. I appreciate it. I'll look into other sources, such as clip art that you mentioned. I'll work more on it later; I have to go to class soon. I'll probably think of ideas there.

faustfire, in my opinion, you could be the best designer in the industry and still could not draw that well. Out of all the things I've designed, I have rarely had to draw in order to complete it. Trust me, I wish I could draw. I am actually in Drawing I right now and it's helping a little.

iGav
Oct 3, 2006, 10:17 AM
I really find it odd that so many "designers" nowadays cannot draw to save their lives.

Ok. :rolleyes:

Snark
Oct 3, 2006, 10:39 AM
I really find it odd that so many "designers" nowadays cannot draw to save their lives.
That's a perfectly valid question to raise.

A graphic designer who can't draw *is* working with a more limited toolbox, much more limited, than someone with illustration skills. If you can't render artwork from scratch, can't twist, tweak and tune it in any way that a client requests that is a handicap.

Some people though seem to be able to plug that whole well enough to get by. You can design with type, use clipart in whole or as a starting point, use "references", or for that matter specialize in a niche that has a low requirement for illustrative skills, say publication design (that is to say designing the publication itself, not the contents therein), or one can farm out parts of a project to an illustrator then incorporate that into your over all design.

Personally, I feel to be a truly complete graphic designer you need competent illustration skills, but I have seen people do excellent work without them.

Snark

p0intblank
Oct 3, 2006, 01:29 PM
That's a perfectly valid question to raise.

A graphic designer who can't draw *is* working with a more limited toolbox, much more limited, than someone with illustration skills. If you can't render artwork from scratch, can't twist, tweak and tune it in any way that a client requests that is a handicap.

Some people though seem to be able to plug that whole well enough to get by. You can design with type, use clipart in whole or as a starting point, use "references", or for that matter specialize in a niche that has a low requirement for illustrative skills, say publication design (that is to say designing the publication itself, not the contents therein), or one can farm out parts of a project to an illustrator then incorporate that into your over all design.

Personally, I feel to be a truly complete graphic designer you need competent illustration skills, but I have seen people do excellent work without them.

Snark

Thank you! You hit the nail right on the head. I wanted to say something like that, but your version sounds so much better.

Back to the topic of drawing being part of designing... I 100% stand by the point that you don't have to draw to come up with a good design. Page layout for example, can clearly be done without the use of drawing. Setting up the composition of the page alone is considered designing, especially when it comes to deciding where to place everything (graphics, text, line breaks, etc.).

My explanation probably sounds horrible, but I'm sure you know what I am getting at. The point is... I don't think the average person can draw, so some of us designers are limited when it comes to that.

p0intblank
Oct 3, 2006, 02:40 PM
I found this great free clip-art site: http://www.barrysclipart.com/ That is legit, correct?

I did two more quick illustrations, but edited them to my liking and the style I am going for. Even though the original clip-art source is free, would my versions be different enough?

aricher
Oct 3, 2006, 03:11 PM
Since they are merely outlines I would say they are probably different enough. I seem to remember a design professor once saying that in the US you had to change an image 80% in order for it not to be considered copyright infringement. Not sure if this still holds true though and what constitutes that 80% can be very subjective.

iMeowbot
Oct 3, 2006, 03:35 PM
I found this great free clip-art site: http://www.barrysclipart.com/ That is legit, correct?

Verbatim usage would not be okay (http://www.barrysclipart.com/faq.php#q3) :( Commercial use isn't allowed.

I did two more quick illustrations, but edited them to my liking and the style I am going for. Even though the original clip-art source is free, would my versions be different enough?

(Keeping in mind again that this kind of thing is murky and subjective…) In the first pair, the two illustrations use the same pose, but I don't really see the same character in your tracing. In the second pair, it seems too literal: you've captured the same slightly offset angle and even the barbell is identical. You could remedy that by using a more "loose" or abstract borrowing, but ideally you would start with drawings that don't have strings attached.

Since they are merely outlines I would say they are probably different enough. I seem to remember a design professor once saying that in the US you had to change an image 80% in order for it not to be considered copyright infringement. Not sure if this still holds true though and what constitutes that 80% can be very subjective.

Yeah, very subjective, and the tests get tougher when you are within the same general medium (line art to line art in this case).

I have to go to class soon. I'll probably think of ideas there.
Okay, you're a student, that explains why commercial clip art is a problem :) Some more pointers for legit freebies:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Public_domain_image_resources

Some of those listed sources do have a mix of commercial and free-to-use work, so keep an eye out for dates and license terms.

jaduffy108
Oct 3, 2006, 06:41 PM
Say you're designing a logo for a client and you are not very good at drawing/illustrating. Is it wrong to find a graphic on Google Images, trace it with the Pen tool or LiveTrace and then implement it into the overall design? I've done this a few times already. I just wanted to make sure this isn't technically wrong... I mean, I'm not actually using the original graphic, rather I am tracing/editing it to my liking.

Thanks for your input. :)

### Wasn't it Stravinsky that said, "good composers borrow, great composers steal." :)

Lau
Oct 3, 2006, 06:50 PM
(Keeping in mind again that this kind of thing is murky and subjective…) In the first pair, the two illustrations use the same pose, but I don't really see the same character in your tracing. In the second pair, it seems too literal: you've captured the same slightly offset angle and even the barbell is identical. You could remedy that by using a more "loose" or abstract borrowing, but ideally you would start with drawings that don't have strings attached.

I agree with this: the second is too close but the first just about gets away with it.

If I were you, I'd maybe think of it this way — if you were the original designer, illustrator or photographer, and you saw the logo, would you be able to see your work in there? If you would think — "hang on, that's my design/drawing/photo" it's too close. If you really think that it's unrecognisable, it's probably ok, although I'd always err on the side of caution (and produce your own images whenever you can). Obviously, the more distinctive the original image, the more recognisable it's going to be.

Why not get a friend to pose and then photograph them and use that?

ATD
Oct 3, 2006, 07:19 PM
I found this great free clip-art site: http://www.barrysclipart.com/ That is legit, correct?


Here's 2 sites that sell legit stock photos and vector art for as little as 1 dollar


http://www.dreamstime.com/

http://www.istockphoto.com/

Macky-Mac
Oct 4, 2006, 12:17 AM
Since they are merely outlines I would say they are probably different enough. I seem to remember a design professor once saying that in the US you had to change an image 80% in order for it not to be considered copyright infringement. Not sure if this still holds true though and what constitutes that 80% can be very subjective.


I would agree that these are "safe". You aren't using any of the actual image from the original, your illustration style isn't the same as the originals, and the original figures aren't posed in a position that are unique but are typical for the sports involved.

mustard
Oct 4, 2006, 01:15 AM
Art is nothing more than cleverly designed theft my friend, so it depends on your morals and whether you are willing to claim it as your own and prove it if necessary.