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January 5, 2013


Replies: 8

What is referencing?

Delkkat Featured By Owner Jan 5, 2013  Student Digital Artist
For a long time, I've always thought referencing was taking a photo, putting it next to your canvas, and try to use it as a model for your picture. Of course, by doing this, you are 'borrowing' the pose. However, recently, I've seen someone that put an image under their canvas, lowered the opacity, and drew over it. The person didn't completely copy it, just used the pose underneath as a base and when the person drew the basic pose of the picture, they deleted the photo and added their own clothes, styles, face, etc... is this considered tracing or referencing? And what is referencing?

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Devious Comments

Mercury-Crowe Featured By Owner Jan 6, 2013  Professional Artisan Crafter
I don't know if I would classify that as a 'reference'. But if you're just looking at the product and not the method, then it would qualify.

It's not WRONG, at least not in most industries. It's pretty standard to trace people for a pose when you're doing character or costume concept art, for example.

It's something that a person COULD do without tracing, if they were so inclined. Which would make it more the standard definition of reference.

The idea is the same, but the execution is different.
kafine Featured By Owner Jan 6, 2013   General Artist
Referencing means to refer to something, which usually means you're drawing information from it. The example I use is a library. When you're writing a paper you go and you refer to a lot of books to inform your essay, and you may even quote them directly. But would you expect to be able to just copy out an entire book, and call it a reference?

Likewise, when you refer to other images to inform a wider original composition, you're referencing. If you reproduce an image, you're copying. That can be completely okay too, though. As long as the person you're talking about was using the image legally then she hasn't really done anything wrong.

She won't learn a lot from it, though.
CrimsonMagpie Featured By Owner Jan 6, 2013  Professional Traditional Artist
The latter is definitely tracing, and not recommended unless time is of the essence. Referencing itself varies greatly; it can range from gridding up an image to simply using a photo to work out how certain lighting effects work. A good example is a painting ~DonatoArts did of a woman in a red metallic spacesuit; he used photots of Christmas tree baubles and stuff to reference how the highlights on the suit would work [link] :meow:
raerae Featured By Owner Jan 6, 2013  Student General Artist
That's just tracing and then sprucing it up.

I don't even use the pose, because referencing is best when you have a bunch of images for you to study to gain an understanding of the object.
WindHydra Featured By Owner Jan 5, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
If it's just the base pose I think it can still count as referencing, because people can copy more than the base pose without tracing.
opiumtraum Featured By Owner Jan 5, 2013
I consider a reference any image that I'm using to create an image, whether it's a photo, artwork or even something written...anything that didn't originate in my head, but helps me achieve the image I'm going for. Reference material is information...for me almost always do muscles look in a certain pose, how feathers look if a bird is doing a particular thing or you're seeing it from a particular angle. I don't consider a model a reference- I'd call drawing from a model drawing from the source- the actual thing. A photo of the same model in the same pose- reference material.
For my own sense of integrity, if I'm referenceing another artist's work heavily in something I do, I say as much...if not in the title, then certainly in my comments. Even on original work...just beneath the image, I put the title, after so & so if I borrowed heavily from them, my signature & the intent to copyright symbol & the date.
ShaunMichaelJones Featured By Owner Jan 5, 2013   Traditional Artist
A reference should help you in image creation not be a crutch for it. I use reference in my work, usually of locations i want to use as a basis of the painting. The image changes though as i work and my use varies. I might only use a small part of a reference or i might use it to help me with composition or colour choices. I never use it to just copy a scene its just there as an aid to creation.
shininginthedarkness Featured By Owner Jan 5, 2013
I still call it tracing.
It's not copyright violation or theft, exactly, though. The artist is robbing themselves of the practice of eyeballing the picture, but that's their problem.
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