What I've been saying all along :P
Just be careful about the photos you mash together. If they're randomly taken from Google search, then the photo's have a good chance of being copyrighted and not for you to use commercially (or even for your hobby technically).
Using something that isn't yours to create a something that is the same medium as the source is one thing versus using something that isn't yours as a reference to generate a new artwork completely different from the medium of the source is quite another. :|
photo => photo =/= photo => pencil drawing
For example, if one person has a photo of Lady Liberty, takes that and makes a collage with other photos - that's not really his art. That photo is copyrighted to the original person who took that photo. If another person has a photo of Lady Liberty, uses it as reference and creates a painting out of it - that is acceptable.
yes xD Still stating my point.
Drawing something entirely from a reference photo count as stealing if what's on the photo is copyrighted.
Drawing something not from a photo, but used the photo to see the anatomy/structure, is not stealing as it's not the same object/creatures.
I agree mostly with what's being said, but there are certain things that can't be stolen from reference, even if you copy it down to the 1st degree. For example, a pose. You can't copyright a pose last time I checked, though I may be wrong, and if that were the case, you'd be sued for sitting with your fist on your chin while you drop a deuce.
Basically, it's the details that are often copyrighted. If you're smart, you'll never have to worry about any of this stuff, because you wont be thinking about whether or not you should add in that same piece of armor that your reference is wearing on your own piece.
True poses cannot be copyrighted. Some kind of clothing can, but then it must be unique for a character or made for a fashion show.
Btw, this:Made me laugh.and if that were the case, you'd be sued for sitting with your fist on your chin while you drop a deuce.
ugh you guys are making this all too complicated and taking the word "stealing" too far. If you are doing a photo study and you state the reference, you are not stealing. It doesn't matter if you photomash, only use a photo for it's structure, or just draw every detail from the photo. There is no wrong way to use a reference image, as long as you make sure you either 1. state the reference if you're copying the whole thing or 2. use the reference loosely
When it comes to references, if you're tracing and then trying to sell your work, that's against the law. If you steal the design for pikachu and just change the colors, then sell trading cards of him, that's against the law. But honestly if it's just for personal use, no one's going to call the cops on you. It reminds me of how my teacher keeps saying that it's against copyright if we include some trademark in our our sketchbook art?? Sure it may be uncreative but it's not against the law, it's fucking school work.
Anyways, I think photomashups are totally fine as long as you at least state your reference I guess. But then I don't think it matters that much if you didn't trace. You're not selling the actual photoshopped mashup or something, theres a reason it's made as a reference. All you did was put together your ideas and thoughts so that you can better picture what your piece is going to look like. Now, if you're going to completely copy down every detail of the photomashup, it's better to post the reference because otherwise it's just kind of sleazy. But if you're just using it to see the structure of your piece, where you're going to put things, what the pose would look like in the environment, what the color scheme may be, the general idea, etc, then whatever. Do what you want. Who cares.
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I couldn't agree with this thread more. I think most of the time people don't use a reference because they are too lazy to bother trying to find one. Looking for references eats into the time that you could be spending drawing but it's almost always very worth it. I thought I'd post up a couple videos from one of my favorite concept artists about how and why he uses references and he also discusses what types of references he finds the most useful. Some of the video may not apply to what we want to do, but there are general concepts in there that are important. Mainly his focus on understanding the subject of your studies rather than just drawing straight from the photo.
The second video he looks at his library of stored images many of which came from the internet as well as other sites. Mind you, this guy's livelihood depends on his "originality" and designs.
I really think that people go a little crazy with worry over copyright. That doesn't mean it's ok to blatantly rip off other people's work, but to think you need to worry about copying a pose from a photo is a bit paranoid.
Lastly and most importantly... here's his video about building your own personal "Visual Library" which is hugely important, especially if you want to design things that aren't real but still look like they could exist.