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January 22, 2013


Replies: 14

In your opinion, what's the fine line between copying and referencing?

Blackrosekane89 Featured By Owner Jan 22, 2013  Professional General Artist
Title says it all.

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Devious Comments

Ametystical Featured By Owner Jan 25, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
Copying is reproducing the whole picture or the concept while referencing is using it to create your own art. For example if you took a photo with certain pose and then reproduce the pose but with another background, clothes, hair, mood, concept etc then it's reference.

If you use something as reference probably others won't be able to surely state that you reference it from somewhere.
SageStrike2 Featured By Owner Jan 24, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Copying is where you do everything exactly the same as the person before. Referencing is using someone elses art to help enhance your own, or give you ideas when your stuck. I need to do this often, mostly when I dont know how someone should be posing
Mercury-Crowe Featured By Owner Jan 24, 2013  Professional Artisan Crafter
I say a copy is (an attempt to be) exactly like the original.

Referencing has PARTS from the reference material, but is not an exact copy. The actual picture is not the same in the result, though it may have elements from the original.
PonderHope Featured By Owner Jan 24, 2013  Student Traditional Artist
Referencing is using an image to take ideas and inspiration from. I use reference photos a lot. For an example, say I want to paint a red rose, however I paint it blue instead and paint it in a slightly abstract style, I'd take that reference photo and take down some general ideas of the rose and apply that into my own piece. Copying is well...replicating an image for what it is.
Starlit-Sorceress Featured By Owner Jan 24, 2013  Professional Artisan Crafter
Copying: You look at an image and say, "I want to draw something just like that."
Referencing: You look at an image and say, "YES! That little part in the corner has just the pose/texture I was looking for! I will use that to improve the technique of an original piece I'm already working on."

Copying is taking inspiration. Referencing is learning technique.
CrimsonMagpie Featured By Owner Jan 22, 2013  Professional Traditional Artist
Copying is simply replicating a source image, whereas referencing is using a source image to inform an original artwork. 

Turning the photos on this guy's screen [link] into this [link] is referencing. Turning this photo [link] (couldn't find the original) into this drawing [link] is copying. :meow:
Glori305 Featured By Owner Jan 22, 2013
Refrencing, does not look like the original. This can be using a picture for the pose and putting different clothing on it, or can be using 3 different pcitures for the refrence to get the final result.

Copying - looks enough like the original that you can tell it was drawn from looking at the original.
kafine Featured By Owner Jan 22, 2013   General Artist
The line is not that fine.

Either you're setting out to reproduce an existing image, or you're setting out to produce an original image while drawing on information from various sources.

It's the spirit of the thing and generally speaking if people have to ask stuff like "how much should I change in this copy before I can get away with calling it referencing" then they started in entirely the wrong place because their initial intention was not to create an original composition, it was to copy.

Copying isn't always wrong as long as you keep it legit. I've a few copies of photos in my body of work.
M-Panella Featured By Owner Jan 22, 2013  Student Artist
Referencing a photo, and copying a photo ; FINE line between the two.

Referencing would be, taking ideas, and throwing your own creativity into it.

Copying, on the other hand, would be light-board set-up, line for line, and just outright sad.

If you have to copy exactly, what someone else has done.

That's not talent.
Blackrosekane89 Featured By Owner Jan 22, 2013  Professional General Artist
It does take skill and years of practice to copy exactly. People don't just wake up copying like this just because they're copying [link]

It may be uncreative, and seem pointless to many people. But it still takes talent/skill. Especially if they have permission to use the photos.

I agree. You should be able to come up with your own concepts. I think both are important. I think it's good to learn what you see in front of you as accurately as possible, whether it be from real or photographs, and be able to come up with your own concepts.
Kizziesama Featured By Owner Jan 22, 2013
Referencing is taking pieces from a source, or various sources, and using them to create. Copying is quite literally taking a source and recreating it completely :shrug:
weremole Featured By Owner Jan 22, 2013  Professional Digital Artist
The line is actually very clear. A copy is when you copy something as it is. When you reference you are using it as a way to understand how something is built so you can construct something by yourself. Like, if you are drawing a car you aren't just copying a photon of a car. You study the car from many angles and then draw own and REFER to the photographs when necessary. Similarly if you are drawing someone elses character and need to understand its volumes, how its costume works and how it acts you aren't copying the material itself you are REFERRING to it and making your own drawing based on it.
PepperSeeds Featured By Owner Jan 22, 2013  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
when you are referencing, the work of the original author/artist/creator should not overshadow your individual style. Enough of your ideas should show through to tell people that this is indeed a separate piece of work, taken from a previous idea and then built on by you.
bleachrocks2010 Featured By Owner Jan 22, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Copying is when you copy the reference completely and referencing is when you look at the image and take ideas from it
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