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January 26, 2013
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How do you determine if someone's art is legit?

:iconrayn3ll:
Rayn3ll Featured By Owner Jan 26, 2013   General Artist
I've come across this sort of thing many times on dA and other sites; the paintings are usually digital fan art, featuring a scene from a TV show/movie and they are incredibly faithful to the screenshot/promo pic down to the silly background noise. I try to give the artists the benefit of the doubt, but when I check their galleries, I see no original work, not even fan art in a composition different from what can be seen on screen.

I suspect it is either a photograph that has gone through a paint filter on Photoshop, or someone is tracing, color-picking and painting in the designated areas. But how do I determine so? I have no proof, just suspicions. Any suggestions?

Thanks for reading.

P.S. Apologies if this should be in the digital art forum.
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Devious Comments

:iconnarutokunobessed:
narutokunobessed Featured By Owner Feb 9, 2013  Student General Artist
Main things i usually see, color, contrast, value, and sometime the composition. Usually the colors and values catches my eyes better.
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:iconcapilair:
Capilair Featured By Owner Feb 8, 2013  Student Traditional Artist
When you say legit, do you mean as in the artist has not just directly traced an already existing picture? Anyway, i wouldnt call someone who simply imitates another artists style completely an legitimate artist even if its not traced or colourpicked. Take for example all my little pony vectors that are being posted, i wouldnt call that legit art!
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:iconvisionoftheworld:
VISIONOFTHEWORLD Featured By Owner Feb 8, 2013
You can't tell. The internet is outta control, man. What you can control is what you want to look at. If you're just looking at digital fanart of cartoons or games, then the chances are high that it's fake. If you take a look at hand drawings and painting and things like that- much less popular and therefore less copied/stolen, and usually very different from artist to artist- then you'll be reasonably certain the picture is genuine.
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:iconrayn3ll:
Rayn3ll Featured By Owner Feb 8, 2013   General Artist
Even that is not a given. :( A week or two ago, I came across someone on dA who took another dA user's traditional art and passing as her own. She also had a tutorial on how to paint, back stories on why she drew whatever piece ... basically, she had her t's crossed and her i's dotted. If she had not been stupid enough to steal art from someone on dA (who is very good, but not well-known), I doubt ppl would have found out.
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:iconspudfuzz:
Spudfuzz Featured By Owner Feb 8, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Easiest way is to usually check to see if their gallery has any actual original drawings. The comparison of skill between them is usually enough to give it away lol. I see a LOT of anime tracings (someone took a screen shot and traced over it) and usually the dodgy line work alone is enough to give it away, and my favourite are people who paint over real photos, the re-painted people always look so awkward and unsure of how their features are supposed to be defined. I can link to the original work all I want really, the scam artists will just hide my comments and block me. I think the best way is just to leave them to their own devices, if they're going to claim they can draw and paint so well there will be a time where they'll be called to prove it with requests from their friends and family.

They're only fooling themselves, and at the end of the day I take solace knowing that galleries and other artists of much higher caliber will be able to tell right away too. They won't ever get too far in the professional art world. :meow:
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:iconrayn3ll:
Rayn3ll Featured By Owner Feb 8, 2013   General Artist
"... the re-painted people always look so awkward and unsure of how their features are supposed to be defined."

The faces look like they have big blobs of color instead of shading, blending and texturing? Yeah, I've seen a few of that.

I've started doing features and I don't want to feature a fake artwork. But I've decided to err on the side of caution -- if no example of original work, then no feature. :p
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:iconndm-art:
NdM-Art Featured By Owner Jan 27, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
If it looks like a photo I check WIPs and Making Ofs... If not, it may be a drawing. If someone copies exactly the work and filters it a bit its no art.
I always use 3 or more reference images, when I draw a person or figure from a movie, game etc. You can see that its not exactly the same. I change lightning and sometimes even clothes.
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:iconrayn3ll:
Rayn3ll Featured By Owner Jan 27, 2013   General Artist
No WiPs or I wouldn't be so suspicious.
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:iconsparatik:
SPARATIK Featured By Owner Jan 26, 2013   Digital Artist
it's very easy. ask to see some of their line art. it's the only reason why i have a few of my old pencil works in my gallery. all of those are non reference use. all from my imagination. i've recently been using tons of ref, which i found was beyond helpful. at my stage, i'm mixing and matching. imagination and reference. i know in about a year or 2 i'll be able to do mostly non ref work. although i will still use ref because i need that realism in my work. i'm huegely inspired by dan luvisi. also, when using ref, i use a grid, so proportions might be close to exact. if you ask any pro in the business, they hate the questioning of grids. the old masters even used them. back to painting. :)
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:iconhannahbanana1984:
HannahBanana1984 Featured By Owner Jan 27, 2013
"if you ask any pro in the business, they hate the questioning of grids."

Who are these "pros" you speak of, and how do they "hate" the questioning of the grids?

Grids fall under the "legit" umbrella, but I'm pretty sure there are pros who would not be proud of being too reliant on them, if it came to that. And the old masters usually used grids merely to enlarge their own compositions onto a larger surface. They still had to be proficient with regular non-grid freehand drawing as well.
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:iconsparatik:
SPARATIK Featured By Owner Jan 27, 2013   Digital Artist
oh definitely... i can draw anything without grids... but to improve accuracy on portraits, grids can be helpful. i'd like to say my "free hand" drawing is good enough as well. which is why i've left 4 year old line art in my gallery. ;)
no one said anything about "relying" or whatnot. you jumped the gun and sort of twisted my words around... which i actually don't know why I'm even typing still. lol i have no time to spend talking about art. lol i have to paint. ;)
i'm hoping someone with more time can come in and explain what i speak of.
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:iconhannahbanana1984:
HannahBanana1984 Featured By Owner Jan 27, 2013
I know you didn't speak of relying. It's obvious to me you are good at drawing freehand. :)

It's just that I often hear that as an excuse. "The old master painters of yesteryear using grids!" This is used as a justification by artists who are overly reliant on grids. They equate their constant use of grids to some old master painter occasionally using it to blow up his own drawing to a bigger canvas.

I don't think the pros are against grids so much, but I do think that many of them would be against being that reliant. So I wanted to get that cleared up.
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:iconrayn3ll:
Rayn3ll Featured By Owner Jan 27, 2013   General Artist
I think grids are fine. I use them sometimes, mainly to paint a straight line :p. Basically, I support methods and techniques that help a person create their own art.
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:iconhannahbanana1984:
HannahBanana1984 Featured By Owner Jan 27, 2013
I don't disagree with you. Though some will then extend that and say that tracing must be fine too. After all, it's a method and technique that can help a person create their own art! :lol:
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:iconopiumtraum:
opiumtraum Featured By Owner Jan 26, 2013
Sadly, "legit" is a constant issue on dA, & dA's policy on art thievery really doesn't help. You can report work you know is stolen, a screen shot or just taken from the internet somewhere, but dA's policy is that the original artist, where ever he/she might be has to lodge a complaint, regardless of providing links etc that prove the work is stolen. dA has it in their heads that the art thief might be an agent for the artist, or the artist themselves (which weirdly, might be the case- I ran into that....once...in years of being here)...but is it just me? I think it's highly suspicious that some kid in Brazil might be an artist agent for a Polish artist, & that nowhere is the original artist's name mentioned.

It doesn't make you any friends, but I call people on their thievery, & in the comments section I'll drop a link to the art they've stolen. Regardless of the genre of art you make, it's my personal belief that an artist with zero integrity isn't ab artist at all. I make collages & "borrow" & "steal" liberally -from artists who've been dead for 100 years- free use, & I don't think they'll mind, much- even still, I make it a policy in my comments to state exactly where the components I've lifted came from.
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:iconrayn3ll:
Rayn3ll Featured By Owner Jan 26, 2013   General Artist
That kinda sucks. I wish there was an easy way to find out a painting was faked or stolen. I knew stuff like this happens here -- a few days after I joined dA, a contest winner in a group I joined was banned because they found out he/she had stolen the picture and was passing it off as theirs. I guess I just never thought it was that rampant.
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:iconopiumtraum:
opiumtraum Featured By Owner Jan 27, 2013
Sadly, I've found entire galleries filled with art gleaned from around the internet. I sometimes think folks just don't get this place isn't photobucket or tumblr. I get gleaning stuff from th internet- I have 1000's of images...it's the idea of posting something you didn't do, & accepting compliments. It's such an empty thing to do...I'm actually quite happy to not be able to wrap my head around it.
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:iconrayn3ll:
Rayn3ll Featured By Owner Jan 27, 2013   General Artist
"I sometimes think folks just don't get this place isn't photobucket or tumblr."

Speaking of which, I once had my inbox flooded by just one guy who decided to upload his vacation photos onto dA. Was not fun.
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:iconhedwards:
hedwards Featured By Owner Jan 26, 2013
Copying off of screenshots is the best way to learn to draw the WB characters, but using those as something to share is iffy at best. And really, drawing somebody else's characters is legally questionable anyways.

I think pretty much the only way to know is something like Tin Eye, without the original to overlay, you don't really know if it's a tracing or a faithful copy.
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:iconrayn3ll:
Rayn3ll Featured By Owner Jan 26, 2013   General Artist
I think next time I see something dodgy, I'll do that, if only to satisfy my curiosity. Thanks.
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:iconhedwards:
hedwards Featured By Owner Jan 27, 2013
Yeah, the trick though is finding the original source material. If it's from TV, you're looking at potentially 24 frames per second that might be very similar. If you can find the original source, then comparing the two would give a really good idea as to whether or not it was traced as it's highly unlikely that the two would line up perfectly otherwise.

Sometimes things like this are just kind of interesting, even if you're not responsible for enforcing the rights.
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:iconkafine:
kafine Featured By Owner Jan 26, 2013   General Artist
Well look at it this way; if it such a faithful copy then it is copyright infringement regardless of which technique they used. They might be able to fool a few less tech-savvy laymen into thinking they painted it by hand, but it's still just a copy of someone elses work. And if that's all they can paint I still wouldn't be paticularly impressed.

The very fact that most of these people ONLY make these dubious copies is proof in itself. There'd be original work if they were actually active painters. There'd be work with mistakes if they were eyeballing. If they took themselves seriously there'd be more than just fanart (not that there's anything wrong with doing fanart in your free time, but you can't base a career off it).

I've decided to stop worrying about these people because when it comes down to it they are not a threat. They don't have the capability to compete for jobs with me.
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:iconrayn3ll:
Rayn3ll Featured By Owner Jan 26, 2013   General Artist
Yeah, but it gets annoying when you see these pieces so beloved when others' amazing original works don't get much love. It is amusing though to see complete silence greet the comments asking to see the process. :XD:
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:iconkafine:
kafine Featured By Owner Jan 26, 2013   General Artist
It does astonish me how blind some veiwers can be about it! There was someone on here who made fake digital paintings and it was really halfarsed. They were obviously just photos with a couple of effects applied. There were a few fans who were convinced her stuff was legit and... well, these people had to have been a few sandwiches short of a picnic. There is no other explanation.
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:iconrayn3ll:
Rayn3ll Featured By Owner Jan 26, 2013   General Artist
I know what you mean. I think the fans you mentioned are probably not artists, just doodlers and art-appreciators. It takes one in the know to know a fake, you know?
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:iconcrimsonmagpie:
CrimsonMagpie Featured By Owner Jan 26, 2013  Professional Traditional Artist
This is dA, a haven for cheats who want nothing more than an ego massage from ignorant people who don't know - or simply don't care - if an artwork is legit or not. If you do any kind of digging here you'll find plenty of examples of people slapping simply digital filters over photographs. 
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:iconrayn3ll:
Rayn3ll Featured By Owner Jan 26, 2013   General Artist
I subscribe to a bunch of fan art galleries and it really gets my goat when I see these pieces get through. Worse is when/if someone wins a contest with such artwork.
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:iconcrimsonmagpie:
CrimsonMagpie Featured By Owner Feb 8, 2013  Professional Traditional Artist
Yea, I've seen some obvious photo-edits make it into the featured galleries of several popular traditional art groups here, although thankfully they removed them after I pointed it out. :stare:
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:iconrayn3ll:
Rayn3ll Featured By Owner Feb 8, 2013   General Artist
What proof do you give? I know tin eye but what else?
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:iconcrimsonmagpie:
CrimsonMagpie Featured By Owner Feb 8, 2013  Professional Traditional Artist
In the instances I remember it was quite obvious that the image was simply a photo with a simple digital filter over it, and the main group admin (I've no idea who let it in) knew enough about trad art to see it.

Generally, when it comes to art theft, dA will only do something if the original artist being stolen from does the reporting, as that's the only real proof they accept. Groups vary according to the opinions of the admin. :p
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:iconrayn3ll:
Rayn3ll Featured By Owner Feb 8, 2013   General Artist
Heh, I saw some "paintings" that were digitally filtered and some stolen artworks (a few ppl exposed her and the real artist complained). Irony: she had a tutorial on how she did the paintings, plus she had big warnings against copying, claiming and redistributing "her" deviations. Man, her balls must be HUGE. :o
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:iconcrimsonmagpie:
CrimsonMagpie Featured By Owner Feb 10, 2013  Professional Traditional Artist
Hah, the bare-faced cheek of those kinds of thieves is astounding sometimes! :lol:
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:iconpactosh:
Pactosh Featured By Owner Jan 26, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
A lot of people here love fanart, my original artworks don't get much attention and my most fav'd artwork is a fanart of the popular video game "Portal 2" (done in pencil). It kinda makes me sad, though I hardly draw fanart drawings but I'm thinking to draw fanart again, I enjoy drawing them. I never trace over pictures, I trace using my eye and I do get better at drawing that way, I thought of filming while I draw so people wont think I was tracing over pictures but I still couldn't figure out how to put my phone up a little above my desk and make it stable.
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:iconrayn3ll:
Rayn3ll Featured By Owner Jan 26, 2013   General Artist
Have people accused you of faking it? :o

If it's your own work, from concept to finish, then as far as I'm concerned, it's your art even if it's set in someone else's universe. No one will say it's not legit -- except maybe the copyright-holder. In fact, I have done some fan art myself.

What I have an issue with are the ones that some try to pass as their own blood, sweat and tears, even though it's rather obvious that it's a barely-manipulated photograph or screenshot. I'm hoping there is a way to determine legitimacy without unnecessary drama.
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:iconpactosh:
Pactosh Featured By Owner Jan 26, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
No but just in case. That's why I also make speed drawings videos on youtube. (digital only)

I don't think they told me my original art was fake, I was talking about my fanart drawings no body said they were fake either but I always want to show people the process, I like to be trusted.
When I come across someone's profile on here I always make sure to check if they have livestream or speed drawings on youtube or even WIP pictures.
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:iconrayn3ll:
Rayn3ll Featured By Owner Jan 26, 2013   General Artist
I don't know how to livestream or YT it: I think my compu will die. :( But I keep all my original PSD files with layers, from sketch and concept to coloring. I suppose that's good enough should someone ask for proof of work.
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:iconpactosh:
Pactosh Featured By Owner Jan 26, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
Yeah! I thought of uploading my PSD files but my layers always look messy and have silly names. :L
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:iconrayn3ll:
Rayn3ll Featured By Owner Jan 26, 2013   General Artist
Better silly than boring. Mine's like "Base," "Blend1," "Blend2." :sleepy:
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:iconpactosh:
Pactosh Featured By Owner Jan 27, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
Mine are like jhnkjcs or cOlor (yeah sometimes I accidentally activate the capitalize button) which I really hate BUT I don't really want to waste more time on correcting and stuff.
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:iconparabuteo78:
Parabuteo78 Featured By Owner Jan 26, 2013  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
I have seen the same thing in the Traditional art category as well. The look of the painting or drawing just makes you a little suspicious.
What I always do is use Tineye; [link] (They have browser extensions as well)

And if the drawing or painting gets a result, I use their Compare feature. By clicking Switch the images are swapped and it's easy to see if they are the same image, run through a filter.
(This won't work if they a screenshot of something themselves and manipulate that. The image has to be online somewhere for Tineye to find a match)
I have found out about a couple of artists this way. But I never call them out on it, I'm not interested in drama like that. I just click the Back button and let them go on fooling themselves (and usually others as well).
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:iconrayn3ll:
Rayn3ll Featured By Owner Jan 26, 2013   General Artist
Interesting. I've always figured traditional art is more trust-worthy.
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:iconparabuteo78:
Parabuteo78 Featured By Owner Jan 26, 2013  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Sadly no, some people just take a photo they find online and put a Photoshop filter on it to make it look like a painting and post it as a traditional painting...
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:iconrayn3ll:
Rayn3ll Featured By Owner Jan 26, 2013   General Artist
:(
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:iconxannijn:
Xannijn Featured By Owner Jan 26, 2013  Student Filmographer
That is difficult to determine sometimes, indeed. :noes:

When I'm curious about that, I usually check the rest of their gallery. Sometimes they do upload a drawing they really made all by themselves, and the difference in style and quality is painfully obvious. But even then you can't really really really prove that they were tracing, even if it seems so obvious.
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:iconrayn3ll:
Rayn3ll Featured By Owner Jan 26, 2013   General Artist
I can understand if people traced as part of the learning process, though -- to understand proportions etc. -- and if they cited the reference.

Some "artists" are too slick; they only upload the paint-overs so you don't really have proof. But if someone is THAT good at drawing and painting, doesn't it make sense to have at least one original composition in their gallery?
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:icontheworldisbehindus:
theworldisbehindus Featured By Owner Jan 26, 2013  Student Digital Artist
Well, as for tracing, if you take the original image and overlay it on top of the suspected rip-off, and the lines match up exactly, then that's pretty good evidence of tracing, isn't it? I'm not sure if there's much that you can do about it unless someone rips off your own work though (do correct me if I'm wrong).
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:iconrayn3ll:
Rayn3ll Featured By Owner Jan 26, 2013   General Artist
True. Guess I won't be hosting a contest or becoming a mod anytime soon. Too much responsibility. Aaargh.
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:iconhannahbanana1984:
HannahBanana1984 Featured By Owner Jan 26, 2013
If all the details are exact, even down to the trivial background details, then you're pretty certain that they're running it through a filter or painting over a photo and not doing much creative input of their own.

I've seen plenty of "art" like this. I do nothing about it, other than laugh about how silly it all is! Who do they think they're fooling?
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:iconrayn3ll:
Rayn3ll Featured By Owner Jan 26, 2013   General Artist
"Who do they think they're fooling?"

Quite a few apparently. :( In a forum I once belonged to, someone posted a painting I suspected was a filtered photo/painted over and people were gushing over how they wished they could paint like that. I pointed out it was likely a photo-manipulation (not much at that) and I got a hissy fit from the "artist" and accusations of jealousy from others. The artist wasn't a forum member so I couldn't verify whether he/she was legit :P
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:iconhannahbanana1984:
HannahBanana1984 Featured By Owner Jan 26, 2013
Well, people are stupid. I would be very angry if I was treated like that!

But in the end, they're losers, because you can draw and paint for real, and they can't. Anyone who does that and lies about it is pathetic. If I knew someone like that in person, I'd challenge them to a draw-off right on the spot! :lol:
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