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Posts Tagged copyright

Strange coincidence? I’m not sure what to say…

Someone recently asked me if I sell prints of my image, and while doing a search for new places to print the images, I was browsing the art.com “abstract” category. Then just after a few clicks I found this image (click the link as I can’t post the image here)…

… which immediately reminded me of this image from one of my galleries.

Yes, the “woman” is different, but at the same time it’s very similar… mine is sort of “inspired” accidentally by the Abaporu anyway so…

PS.: why is this post being hit by spammers like crazy? 20 a day. Get out.

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Mandelbulb’s Green City

I guess I’m getting the hang of it. Warning: this is HUGE (3072 X 2304 pixels originally) but it was needed to keep up all the details, as with most fractal images the bigger they are rendered the better they look. You can see building complexes, airport tracks, green fields, playgrounds, penthouses, bridges… the whole thing but humans and dogs. I am now going to look for more coloring maps…

The watermark was hard to be placed, there wasn’t any part of this image that I wanted to be covered because in everywhere there’s a different detail to be seen, so I tried to find the least obtrusive place in the image as possible, I tried a few different positions and a few more watermarks but all the places had something that I didn’t want to be covered.

Please be kind and don’t use this image elsewhere without permission (asking first doesn’t hurt!) neither crop the watermark or replace it with your own. As I said in some old post, there’s no point in adding restrictions for preventing the download of images (or the plain old stealing) like that, and a watermark is the most useful method.

The image was compressed to reduce its final size (it was over 20Mb in .BMP) and also to prevent unauthorized reproductions with good quality, but you still can enjoy it as is. If you want an uncompressed version for any reason, “ask and you shall receive”. I’m not sure because I’m not familiarized with the Mandelbulb software but I think this is the biggest image size that is available for rendering, neither I don’t know if when it’s rendered in JPEG if it’s already compresed in some degree, I just rendered it in BMP and reconverted to JPEG. I’ll have to render an image with some more solid blocks (mostly in red) to see if there’s any compression, large solid red blocks seem to be more useful to show the JPEG compression artifacts.

The file size of the bigger image is about 2.5 Mb. Click the thumbnail to get the bigger version and use some viewing software where you can travel all over the city so you don’t miss any of the details.

Mandelbulb's Green City

Mandelbulb's Green City

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The chosen ones, part V

From Gallery 11, “Lightning”:

This one seems quite a simple image (it is!) but it was really important to me maybe for non-aesthetical reasons. This image called the attention of a band named Disgruntled Postal Workers, and they’ve asked me to use it in their CD called “Wicked”. It was the first time I was asked to have an image used on someone else’s work, and also… it was the first time I made some (really small) money off my work.

I had to follow the rules and ask for a fee, but at the same time, I couldn’t ask them “too much”, mostly when I thought that it was such a simple image and more, made with a freeware software. Sure, it’s my artwork, but it could and can be easily reproduced by nearly anyone that knows a bit about fractals and Fractint. But this is what they liked, and they were not based in reviews or comments in fractal sites or art communities (here goes my anti-Deviant rant again). They just found the fractal image and thought it would fit with their work. And respectfully – the most important part of it all – they asked me for a licensing fee. And how much is too much in this case? I had no idea. I bought a book that helped me a lot to learn about how the licensing process of artwork goes, and it really helped me to decide how much to ask. It’s called “Graphic Artists Guild Handbook: Pricing & Ethical Guidelines“, and it covers all the aspects of licensing and fees and copyright issues, it helped me a lot, really (I bought the 10th edition if I’m not wrong). If they were signed to a big label, of course I could have made a lot more, but as they were an independent band, and as an amateur musician myself, I know how hard can it be to get money to help make your work to be finished and released to the public so if I asked them more than they could afford neither me nor them would be happy.

The whole process ran as smoothly as possible – maybe because there was no involvment of the big guys of record labels or lawyers or anything like that. It was just a few e-mails exchanged between me and Scott (R.I.P.!), the singer. I sent them a “contract” (written with the help of the book) just with the basics only to be sure that we wouldn’t have any problems in the future (what if they exploded and become a new U2 or something?), and that’s it. After some time I got a package with the CD already finished, and there it was, my image, my name in the credits, in a rock’n’roll CD. It’s things like that that make you keep going. Oh yes and the CD was nice as well. It sounded like a mix of Rush and Live and with some influences of grunge and tidbits of “funk metal” or whatever it’s called. After Scott’s death, they have reformed with a new name, The Red Desert,  sometimes I still go there and see what they are doing.

And BTW, the fee was really small. I even made some “extras” for free, like images that could be used as wallpapers, postcards or some promotional stuff. It doesn’t hurt to do things legally, it’s better than use something off the internet without giving the artist any credits. Play nice.

PS.: for those wondering how I could use a GIF image, with 256 colours, in a professional work – it was imported into UltraFractal and rendered there, in a big size and resolution and the colours were smooth as usual, no strips or bands or anything like that. As always, no Photoshop involved whatsoever.

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Is your work being stolen?

This post at plagiarismtoday.com discuss 5 methods that can prevent it. The post might seem a bit old (it’s from 2005) but these methods are, if not 100% effective, still the best.

I’ve tried some of these methods, but some are quite annoying to be used, your site ends up getting a bit crippled, slower and it might not even work. Javascript for example and their pop-up messages like “COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL, DO NOT USE WITHOUT PERMISSION!!!” can scare some people off, but anyone a bit more clever knows how to bypass that and save the image anyway. The warnings in these messages are valid though.

I’ve learned from experience that the best isn’t to build big walls and stuff, but when and if some stealing episode ever happens, go trace whomever did that instead of punishing all your site’s visitors. It might be easier this way, sometimes a good traffic analyzer tool for your site can help a lot, even the free ones, mostly when it’s a case of bandwidth theft (hotlinking).

My method of choice now is just a plain simple watermark, placed carefully to not ruin the image’s aspect but also carefully placed in a region of the image where a cropping to get rid of it would get weird results. Again, it’s not 100% effective, there are people that have used even these watermarked images from places like gettyimages.com without even bothering about the big watermark right in the middle of the image so they might even use the image from here “as is” too. This is not 100% bad, as if the watermark is preserved, it’s kind of an advertisement (for free) as well.

Regarding photography: I think with the ability to read the EXIF data of a file it’s sometimes easy to track down people that just copy the image(s) without much thinking, but I’m not sure how easy it would be to edit that kind of data and pretend that it’s your image.

As it says as a conclusion in the article, these methods can’t fully prevent someone from stealing your work. But it can sort of make the “lazy thieves” go away, which is the biggest part of them all. If one really wants to steal your content for whatever reason, sometimes they can do wonders to achieve that…

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Creating a transparent watermark, in 4 easy steps

It’s quite simple, really. So simple I won’t even post pics. And I’m assuming you are slightly familiar with Photoshop or some other editing software that is capable to use layers so I’ll skip the part where others teach you how to create text and all that stuff you should already know. OK, let’s go. This is how I make all my watermarks, BTW.

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