On tracing?

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Rinima
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On tracing?

#1 Post by Rinima » Tue Oct 04, 2016 3:56 pm

So, I saw a topic on here recently where the subject of tracing was touched on. Me being me, missed most of it, and since that particular thread was not an appropriate place to discuss tracing, I'm opening this one as a place that might be better to talk about the topic.

So, what are people's opinions on tracing?
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Re: On tracing?

#2 Post by Selidor » Tue Oct 04, 2016 5:32 pm

I don't see an issue doing it while practicing, but it shouldn't be posted publicly or used for a game, commercial or otherwise. Offering it to other people without disclosing (either as a free service or as a paid commission) is definitely unreasonable, and could land the client in trouble for something they didn't even realise had happened.

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Re: On tracing?

#3 Post by Caveat Lector » Tue Oct 04, 2016 7:28 pm

I agree with Selidor. I will say that, I'm slightly more lenient if the tracer in question is very young and has never been properly exposed to topics and debates surrounding tracing before, so they may legitimately not see anything wrong with what they're doing. However, the thing is, they can't LEARN that tracing for professional purposes is unethical if the community doesn't properly address it in rules or discussion, just because it's not an overt attack. Plagiarism, in and of itself, is insulting, because it is taking something that someone else put a ton of work into, and taking all that away from them by claiming it's yours. It is only through being willing to discuss the topic that we can begin to understand why people trace, why tracing is bad, and what can be done to solve the problem.
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Re: On tracing?

#4 Post by dorne » Tue Oct 04, 2016 7:58 pm

Copying to learn is good, and plagiarism is bad. This applies to animation, and writing as well. I don't mind copying one bit, it's a valid method of learning. We humans mimic things all the time, from the time we're born. Taking credit like others said is another matter. At the very least cite your sources.

In regards to tracing itself, it works if you can learn from your tracing. Understanding why lines are there, or what particular color was used. Copying may be better, as you're not just 'tracing' lines, but learning how to apply the lines yourself.
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Re: On tracing?

#5 Post by Kkoro » Wed Oct 05, 2016 3:43 am

If I guess right, that particular topic got a bit controversial because the artist claimed traced work as her own. That's plagiarism, and I think everyone can agree on that.

Also from the perspective of the recieving end: imagine you paid an artist for something original, only to find out later that it's a copy of something else and that you might not even be allowed to use it. Projects can even get a bad name because of it.

Just keep tracing for practicing. Even then, I don't recommend it. Copying is a much better way to learn. Tracing teaches you the techniques to draw someone else's work. Copying teaches you techniques by drawing someone else's work.
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Re: On tracing?

#6 Post by AshenhartKrie » Wed Oct 05, 2016 4:16 am

Tracing from real life is your best bet for learning, in my opinion, but only if its for practise. I'll find pictures and trade the musculature or the hands so I can learn how it works, and then break it down into shapes. This is a nifty tutorial which touches on how to use tracing as a method of learning

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Re: On tracing?

#7 Post by Fuseblower » Wed Oct 05, 2016 5:46 am

You won't learn anything from tracing, in my opinion.

If you draw something from life, photo, or whatever, by just looking at it then you'll be forced to see how things line up and what the angles and proportions are. You'll develop a "mental plumb line and ruler". You'll start to develop a feel for how postures work by looking at the relations between the hips and shoulders, the relation between the head and the feet, etc. One of the important things in drawing is to see the "bigger shapes" and how they relate to each other.

But you won't learn any of this by simply tracing over lines. All you'll see is that single line that you'll be tracing over.

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Re: On tracing?

#8 Post by indoneko » Wed Oct 05, 2016 1:50 pm

Tracing other people's artwork and then claim it as your original is a big No.

Then what about tracing reference photos? (especially the ones that you own or have the right to use them). This might be useful when you need to make "exact copy" of real building or vehicles (or anything outside the character design) for a part of your BG that a photo filter alone might not be good enough to do the trick. Combined with matte painting, this could create objects that look more interesting than the real ones. Of course we can always try to redraw them, but redrawing process needs a complete understanding of the object (which sometimes we're lacking of...)
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Re: On tracing?

#9 Post by LateWhiteRabbit » Wed Oct 05, 2016 2:13 pm

Fuseblower wrote:You won't learn anything from tracing, in my opinion.

If you draw something from life, photo, or whatever, by just looking at it then you'll be forced to see how things line up and what the angles and proportions are. You'll develop a "mental plumb line and ruler". You'll start to develop a feel for how postures work by looking at the relations between the hips and shoulders, the relation between the head and the feet, etc. One of the important things in drawing is to see the "bigger shapes" and how they relate to each other.

But you won't learn any of this by simply tracing over lines. All you'll see is that single line that you'll be tracing over.
This is my opinion as well.

A lot of my early practice drawing was copying other artists and seeing how close I could get to their original. However, like Fuseblower and a few others have stated already, you don't learn anything if you trace to do this. You MUST practice seeing relationships, angles, forms, and proportions. So, copying another artist's work to learn (and never claim as your own - or show) this way is fine and good. Just don't go showing it as your own work. If you do show a work you did this way, you need to attribute the original artist - i.e. "Copied after ARTIST NAME for practice."

Unfortunately, there ARE a lot of big name artists making a living by tracing very well. And not pictures they own themselves, either. In comics, the fans have actually pushed this practice with a demand for ultra realistic art and made it exceptable for publishers to overlook the practices of their money-making artists. Of course, other artists will hate and mock you for the practice. See "Why Greg Land is a Rotten Artist".

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Re: On tracing?

#10 Post by pinqo » Sat Oct 08, 2016 6:07 am

Selidor wrote:I don't see an issue doing it while practicing, but it shouldn't be posted publicly.
i think if the purpose for posting it is to show others how tracing helped them (i.e. red lines over original photo/picture/reference), then i don't think it's bad per se. it'll help others understand how you can use reference pictures to learn anatomy better. by going over body parts and understanding proportions via tracing can help you visually (even if you don't understand the anatomy science behind it), and sharing that tracing you've done, you can help others see how it can be helpful!

Fuseblower wrote:You won't learn anything from tracing, in my opinion.

But you won't learn any of this by simply tracing over lines. All you'll see is that single line that you'll be tracing over.
I semi-agree with your answer! i think tracing lines for the sake of tracing lines won't really help you learn, but if you were to - say - first draft circles, squares, boxes, and other shapes to see the original artist's perspective on anatomy, and then trace over that, then it is helpful. Simply going over lines - i agree - wouldn't help. But *truly* understanding the "boxes" or "mechanics" behind a drawing of a person's body can help a lot! and i say that from personal experience.

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Re: On tracing?

#11 Post by LateWhiteRabbit » Tue Oct 11, 2016 5:22 pm

pinqo wrote:
Fuseblower wrote:You won't learn anything from tracing, in my opinion.

But you won't learn any of this by simply tracing over lines. All you'll see is that single line that you'll be tracing over.
I semi-agree with your answer! i think tracing lines for the sake of tracing lines won't really help you learn, but if you were to - say - first draft circles, squares, boxes, and other shapes to see the original artist's perspective on anatomy, and then trace over that, then it is helpful. Simply going over lines - i agree - wouldn't help. But *truly* understanding the "boxes" or "mechanics" behind a drawing of a person's body can help a lot! and i say that from personal experience.
That's still not as helpful for learning as copying by sight instead. Basically, you are depriving your brain the practice of identifying spatial relationships when you trace.

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Re: On tracing?

#12 Post by pinqo » Tue Oct 11, 2016 8:46 pm

Hmm, i guess it depends on what level you're starting off at. If you're amateur/intermediate and already have a basic idea of anatomy (i.e. how many "Heads" tall a person is; arm length compared to leg length; etc.), then that is probably recommended. however, if you are an *absolute* beginner with 0 experience in drawing, then going over lines and having your body sort of "feel" out the anatomy may be a lot helpful than trying to "see" things from life when your eyes are not familiar with body proportions and such.

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Re: On tracing?

#13 Post by Androol » Wed Oct 12, 2016 1:59 am

You can trace public domain image, your own photos or 3d renders.

Tracing was a common practice for painters in art history like for example Vermeer who used the camera obscura, an ancestor of modern camera, to trace some of his paintings.

They just kept it for themselves to avoid critics of other painters. :p

Tracing is fine as long as you do it with talent.

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Re: On tracing?

#14 Post by Laniessa » Thu Oct 13, 2016 3:25 am

Over the years my views have gotten a lot more lenient, welp.

If the person is trying to make game assets and doesn't care about learning to draw, and they have rights to the images they trace, why the heck not? It's time-saving and gets the job done. Likewise for similar cases - they just want the assets, not the skill. Should they sell their 'skill' of tracing? If they make it clear, and people are willing to pay for it, sure. The assumption is that the tracer has rights to the images.

Plagiarism is another case entirely. Not going into that.

You're not going to improve very much by tracing, imo. Copying someone else's picture to learn is fine - but do it by eye, not by lowering the opacity and copying the lines. If you just want to study the colouring technique, sure, trace the lines and colour by eye. And don't post it online.

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