Digital Art - When is it something "new"

General discussion on illustration, art, and the business of same.

Digital Art - When is it something "new"

Postby Rebecca Birch » Fri Aug 02, 2013 12:14 pm

So I, the clueless noob, am teaching myself about Photoshop and how to make digital art. It's not pretty at this point, but oh my goodness, has amazingly helpful tutorials and I'm not feeling quite so much at sea.

My questions is, at what point in the process does a piece of art, made from a composite of several other digital images, start to become something "new"? How long do you need to keep a list of every image that you utilized in the creation to put into, say, the credits on the cover art for an ebook? Is there a resource somewhere that could help me understand this? I don't even really know what search terms to use to find out.

Any guidance would be greatly appreciated!
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Re: Digital Art - When is it something "new"

Postby soulmirror » Fri Aug 02, 2013 3:00 pm

It's an issue I deal with often too!

Here's a general thumbnail overview:

Here are "5 Famous Infringement Cases"

The Associated Press vs. Fairey case startled the heck out of me, personally, though if Fairey had PAINTED his image (that is, changed the photo into another medium: painting, sculpture, etc) he might have been untouchable.

PHOTOSHOP is tricky because one is still manipulating / filtering the original art, even if part of a collage afterwards.

Stay away definitely from recognizable faces! I did a cover for an anthology made up from numerous bits and pieces: somebody owns that image of the Moon but who can say "That's MY image of the Moon" etc. Flames are flames and from three sources. An astronaut torso and a helmet? Skulls? Tentacles? All safe swipes imo.


But I knew I had to use an original face or the model with that face (without permission) could tear it all down! So that's a local girl Ashley.

Though i have used faces before where I blended one model's lips to another's eyes and still another's cute lil nose and thought I was safe ... except then you realize how freaking alike some famous model face are! You take THREE DIFFERENT faces and it still looks like the same one supermodel! wotf012


Hence, ALWAYS keep a record of each resource image and each LAYER, so you can prove "this wasn't any one face, it's different faces, not just her (the girl suing me)" etc. "This one image is TWENTY images" goes a long way towards proving it's a new, unique, original piece of art ... and thus legal fair-use.

That's mah story an' ah'm sticking to et! wotf013

Maybe that helps somehow? But it's a tricky vague issue, like you said!
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Re: Digital Art - When is it something "new"

Postby izanobu » Fri Aug 02, 2013 5:29 pm


If you use photos, keep ALL information in a file somewhere just in case, so you can prove later that you had the right to use them, no matter how obscure you are making them in the final product.
No matter how much you are manipulating a photo or series of photos into art, you need to make sure you have permission to use every single image you use. (If you are painting from scratch, that's not true. If you are using something as a reference, the lines are blurry, but generally as long as you are just looking at something to use as a guide and not actually using the image, you should be safe because your work is original. Credit is nice though, such as Art by Me, drawing references by X)

Also, if you use a model's face, you must make sure there is a model release on that photo. If you can't find one or the photographer didn't get one, you should NOT use the model's face. Cut it off in the art or don't use that photo.

Hope that helps.
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Re: Digital Art - When is it something "new"

Postby Rebecca Birch » Sat Aug 03, 2013 8:26 am

Thank you very much guys. I appreciate your help very much. You see that jelly-like blob quivering in the corner? That's my brain on AAAAACK overload.

So much to learn, and it appears that the best answer is to keep meticulous records. I've managed to train myself into keeping meticulous submissions records. Surely it can't be that much harder to keep meticulous art-source records, right? Right???


Learning curves are not my friends.

Thanks again!
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Re: Digital Art - When is it something "new"

Postby s_c_baker » Mon Dec 30, 2013 10:50 am

chrisjacob wrote:I have also found a very supporting and useful site As I am a beginner in the digital art. The workshops and tutorials they proVide help much to improve what we want to learn and helps us to grab a good idea.

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Re: Digital Art - When is it something "new"

Postby Fiery » Tue Dec 31, 2013 6:02 am

As a non-spam offering:, it's free to create an account and the database of royalty and free use textures keeps growing and growing each time I visit the site.

Mind you there's no stock photos of people, but it's good for adding textures and backgrounds in.

When it comes to actually learning techniques, check out, (there's also sub-tuts pages for vectors, web design, photography, etc.) Some tutorials are paid but the 'beginner' ones are almost always free.

Hope this helps!

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Re: Digital Art - When is it something "new"

Postby george nik. » Fri Aug 21, 2015 7:00 am

ReneFunga wrote:know what search terms to use to find out.
gclub download

Too many spammers today wotf002
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