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Fozzybear
12-03-2003, 09:04 AM
Would it be ethical to use someone elses model in a background layer to use as template or guide for creating your own model then say that it's your model?

Since there is a ton of free models available I'd like to use some of them as a guide for my own modeling even though my model may end up looking exactly like the one I have in the background layer. Or even render out the original in differnt views and use the rendered images as a background in modeler.

I realize that modeling a character in this way may be unethical since the original could of been an original idea from the original modeler but it's kind of foggy to me when modeling something like a car.

byronpetch
12-03-2003, 09:55 AM
Dont forget a lot of the models you can download from the net are there for you to use, or you can use with owners permission etc etc so check that.

I would say if you are using an item as a visual reference of an existing item then no problem. If you were making a model of a Ford Escort or a light fitting people would expect you to use a reference.

If however you created an animation where the characters, props and scenes looked exactly like someone else's creative work then I would say that would be wrong.

Matt

Red_Oddity
12-03-2003, 10:29 AM
Originally posted by byronpetch

If however you created an animation where the characters, props and scenes looked exactly like someone else's creative work then I would say that would be wrong.

Matt

I then would say, 'why the hell would you model them then anyway?'

Ahwell, remember that even reference files can be the intelligent property of someone (if i where to make a model of one of, say, Bilal's or Moebius characters and i would sell that as my character, i definatly will receive flak...also, that would be ripping off some very talented artists)

byronpetch
12-03-2003, 10:36 AM
Well thats exactly what im saying if you were to create a model that looked like one of Moebius characters and palmed it off as your own that would be wrong.

There is a difference between using a reference template of a car and using a reference template of one of Moebius characters.

Matt

Fozzybear
12-03-2003, 11:03 AM
Originally posted by byronpetch
Well thats exactly what im saying if you were to create a model that looked like one of Moebius characters and palmed it off as your own that would be wrong.

There is a difference between using a reference template of a car and using a reference template of one of Moebius characters.

Matt

I agree. Recreating something that came from someones imagination is different than recreating a car, lamp, coffee mug etc.

Is there anything that I can do to make a model unique to myself without changing the look of the model. A Ford Focus should look relativley the same no matter who models it so what can I do visually that would set it apart from the reference model?

byronpetch
12-03-2003, 11:19 AM
I dont think you need to do anything to make it different. if you are using it as a reference because it looks like the real thing then you obviously want to make it look as similar as possible.

If you are just using another model as a visual reference then yours will probably have a slightly different mesh, possibly different textures etc etc.

however if you intend to take someone else's model and alter the actual model its self then that is different.I believe copyrighted work can not be used in its literal or altered form. But thats a whole complex issue in its self and you would really need to find out about that.

Fozzybear
12-03-2003, 11:36 AM
I'm just looking at using the model for reference however I have taken existing models and made changes to them but that's been just for my purposes only.

Sometimes I'll take an existing model and disect it so I can learn from it. I've taken existing medels and used them for lighting and environment studies but that stuff has never been seen by anyone else but me and a few close friends for feedback.

A Mejias
12-03-2003, 12:27 PM
If you didn't make it, then get permission and/or pay for it.

If it looks like someone else’s work then it's copyright infringement. Get permission and/or pay for it.

If you've infringed on someone else’s work you'll end up paying a lot more.

Fozzybear
12-03-2003, 12:37 PM
Originally posted by A Mejias
If you didn't make it, then get permission and/or pay for it.

If it looks like someone else’s work then it's copyright infringement. Get permission and/or pay for it.

If you've infringed on someone else’s work you'll end up paying a lot more.

Any models that I've used have never been used for comercial purposes. I can't see myself paying copyright fees because I used a model for reference.

I can see if my model looks like a character that someone created but if I model and everyday ordinary inanimate object that looks like a 100 other models out there then do I have to pay each person?

What classifies infringement?

Years ago I studied music copyright law as part of an audio engineering program I took and everything is pretty much in black and white whereas when it comes to 3D modeling things aren't quite as defined as they should be.

A Mejias
12-03-2003, 01:45 PM
First off, go to www.copyright.gov. Copyright law is constantly changing and is giving creators more protection.

I've discussed copyrights on this forum before you should use the search feature.

The rule is: If you didn't it make it, you can't use it without permission and/or payment.

The other rule is: If you made it you own it and you can determine what use, if any, you allow.

You're tracing someone else’s work and claiming it as your own? Tisk tisk! Whether you make money off of it is irrelevant. What you are talking about is a derivative work which is a violation. Whether you get sued is another matter.

The cars vs. characters pointed out here are good examples of some of the finer points of what's acceptable and what isn't. Though there is nothing to keep Ford from suing you. They have the right to do so, but the choose not to. Remember Paramount and Star Trek? They made a major effort to shut down all ST fan sites. Even though harm would be difficult to prove, they own ST and they can do with it as they please.

You would learn more from working from car photos than from copying someone else's model and you would keep your self out of hot water. Because this brings up another point of copyright, "unique expression" of common subjects. Our lawyer always points out Warhol and his Campbell's Soup paintings as an example of that. Your expression of a Ford Truck is different from someone else's. This would be illustrated by the "polygon placement and flow." Also taking some else's "expression" and changing it a bit shows intent. Not a good thing!

Just get permission to use the models and don't claim it as your own. There is nothing worse than seeing your own work being used by someone else!

Fozzybear
12-03-2003, 02:21 PM
Thanks for clarifiing. I have no intention of ever declaring someone elses work as my own.

My appoliogies for not using the correct word search. I was originally asking about ethics as opposed to copyright law and therefore did a search on ethics rather than copyright. I was still unable to find a specific answer to my question therfore I posted it.

I'm not too concerned about the copyright aspect but more so the ethical aspect of useing an existing model as a learning tool.

Quite often I look at some models and wonder how did they do that? Looking at a reference pic tells me how it looks but not how it was done. Pulling apart the model very often does. I want to go a little further and "trace" some of the models in order to get a better understanding of the workflow and tools that may be required. I hope that the knowledge I gain from this will help me with my own modeling but I guess that that's unethical and copyright infringement. Oh well, back to the drawing board.

Fozzybear
12-03-2003, 02:29 PM
Originally posted by Fozzybear
Would it be ethical to use someone elses model in a background layer to use as template or guide for creating your own model then say that it's your model?


Looking back at my original question I think I should have rephrased it better. It makes it look like I want to trace something then pass it off as my own which is not my intention.

I had a look at www.copyright.gov and found this.

Copyright does not protect the mechanical or utilitarian aspects of such works of craftsmanship. It may, however, protect any pictorial, graphic, or sculptural authorship that can be identified separately from the utilitarian aspects of an object. Thus, a useful article may have both copyrightable and uncopyrightable features. For example, a carving on the back of a chair or a floral relief design on silver flatware could be protected by copyright, but the design of the chair or flatware itself could not.

What I'm asking may not be copyright infringment (unless I use it in the same manner as the original and pass it off as my own) but it may be unethical.

A Mejias
12-03-2003, 09:30 PM
AH! I understand what you mean now.

Yes, of course you can analyze other models to learn how to model. It's really one of the best ways to learn and is why LW includes models and scenes. There should be no problem there as long as you have the permission to use them. i.e. free models or commercial models you've paid for.

The passage you quote is in regard to patents. You can't copyright a "function" or "process," you patent them. See www.uspto.gov. A chair design can be copyrighted if there are no claims made regarding its function.

In any case it would not apply to digital 3D models which are artistic expressions and fall under copyright.

I hope my answer is clearer too. :)

Fozzybear
12-03-2003, 09:45 PM
Sure is, thanks for the help.

I better get back to my reverse engineering. Maybe one day I'll have something worthy of posting.