Friday, February 15, 2013

Stock From Stock-An Illustrated View

I've been wanting to make a tutorial on composites that rely on blending of shapes and colors since those are my favorite sort of texture to make, but my arm isn't cooperating.  So I decided to do this post instead, and if there's enough interest, I will go back and do a full tutorial another time.

I have no problem with other artists creating stock and resources out of mine, as long as anyone who does so is willing to share what they make freely under the same terms.  I see more and more resource providers who don't allow stock to be made from theirs--which is absolutely their right.  The problem is, a lot of them also seem to spend as much time worrying about "stolen" stock or being credited for their work as they do having fun with their art.  It seems awfully counterproductive to me, and I set up this post as an illustration of why.

The full sized versions of the textures below are 2500x2500 px
and 1414x2100.  A zip file is in this post.

These two textures were created with the same base:

 photo RBF_lgtxt_2-13_compositeex_post1_zpsd6360639.jpg  photo RBF_lgtxt_2-13_compositeex_post2_zpsf0199c0f.jpg

You can probably see that if you look closely--especially since I told you--but if I was casually browsing them on someone else's website, I wouldn't notice.

The texture below is a composite of the first two, made by copying parts of them and overlaying them on different blend modes.  There's very little similarity between them, and in order to get the colors to match even this much, I had to add several color layers and make adjustments.

I think it's ugly, but I'm willing to bet that somebody would find it useful for a dark grungy project.

 photo RBF_lgtxt_2-13_compositeex_post3_zps8607bb07.jpg

I wanted it to be similar enough that it was easy to tell it was a composite but not exactly obvious. If I had left it the way it first came out, it probably wouldn't have been discernible as a composite at all:

 photo RBF_lgtxt_2-13_compositeex_post3b_zpscf210833.jpg

*Paper base used on these is from

This texture--which has a lot of similar elements to the first 2--was not created from them, nor was it created using their base.  The only thing it has in common with them is that I used the same paper base from and some of the same effects and plug-in filters.  It is a composite of some of my other textures, but I'll leave you to guess which ones I used.

 photo RBF_lgtxt_2-13_compositeex_post4_zps96a91a14.jpg

In both of these cases, the textures are similar because they use the same shapes and style.  The one that is composited from the examples at the top of the post is barely recognizable as such.  The one that isn't  looks like it could be--and might even get me accused of "art theft" if I hadn't made them all myself in the first place.

Most of the time, when people use textures in their artwork, they don't just slap the texture in as a background.  They use parts of it, and/or blend it with other textures to create composite effects.  The original textures used are often not recognizable.  If some elements--like stripes or boxes or particular color combinations--are visible, there's rarely enough to say "yes, that's my texture."

As long as someone's done more than recolor or re-cut my work, I think it's great if they want to make resources out of mine.  Maybe that person will have a completely different style or idea than I had.  That means more free stuff available for people to use.  So maybe I don't get my name on all the work that's created from remixes and derivatives of my stock. I admit, it's a little frustrating to put all the time and effort into making something and then receive no credit, but I figure it's going to happen one way or another--so why stress about it?  I post this stuff because I enjoy it, and when I stop enjoying it, I'll stop doing it.  Meanwhile, though, the more the merrier.

I might feel differently if I was a photographer or a model posting recognizable images for others to use.  I can absolutely see why someone in that situation would not want additional stock created from theirs.

I do think the contributions of texture artists are just as valuable--I AM one, after all.  My point is that there's only so much one can do with an image program, and there are a LOT of brick walls, pavements, old paper, etc in the world.  Are you really so sure that texture you're looking at was created from yours?  And if it was, what exactly is it taking away from yours by its existence?

And, wow, my arm hurts now.  I guess I'll end there and save the rest of what I had to say for another time.

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