What are legit pose references?

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Banya
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What are legit pose references?

#1 Post by Banya » Tue May 16, 2017 8:19 pm

Hi everybody!
The title is plain self-explanatory.
Retracing art is bad. Taking inspiration from other people's art is bad. Copying a pose from another drawing is bad.
But what if it's a video? Is taking a frame of a video legit for a reference pose?

If the answer is no... what are legit pose references?
I need a hand ;__;

I hope my topic is not double, I checked the forum but I don't think I saw another one.

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Re: What are legit pose references?

#2 Post by robovelociraptor » Tue May 16, 2017 9:00 pm

A lot of the stuff you mentioned isn't actually bad. Taking a pose from a drawing isn't bad, and neither is taking inspiration from another drawing. No one owns a pose. As long as you aren't tracing someone else's work, and maybe you mention the person you took inspiration from/used a pose from, you're a-ok!

As for video frames, again, as long as you aren't tracing, you're good!

If you'd like a bunch of pose references, here's a huge list of people who allow others to use their photos/drawings/models as references: http://fav.me/d9hrbjz

Alternatively, if you'd like something you can see in real life, you could get a doll like this: https://www.amazon.com/Alvin-Wooden-Man ... B001OBMZIE
(I've never bought one, so I don't have any recommendations of which brand to buy and whatnot. So, when in doubt, just check the reviews.)

You can also download or buy a 3D program and learn how to pose people on it.

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Re: What are legit pose references?

#3 Post by Banya » Tue May 16, 2017 9:20 pm

Uhmm... it's more complicated.
I generally try to emulate some poses or expressions from MMD models videos. I'd like to use this methos for the CGs of a VN, but I don't know if I should copyright the artists of the videos or not. Or anyway ask if I can use some poses... it sounds quite odd to me ^^" is it legit or am I too paranoid? It's like taking a 0,01 sec frame and it is exactly what I had in mind for the CG. But it's the one in the tumbnail of the video, so...
(I'm asking since I'm probably left alone again on a project and I have to replace the artist myself... and my free hand drawings with no reference pose are really bad for combat scenes or action in general since I'm not professional.)

Thank you for the link for the poses ** it's very useful!
(I have the doll and it's useful but if you have to draw action scenes you risk to break its limbs)

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Re: What are legit pose references?

#4 Post by robovelociraptor » Tue May 16, 2017 9:59 pm

Banya wrote:Uhmm... it's more complicated.
I generally try to emulate some poses or expressions from MMD models videos. I'd like to use this methos for the CGs of a VN, but I don't know if I should copyright the artists of the videos or not. Or anyway ask if I can use some poses... it sounds quite odd to me ^^" is it legit or am I too paranoid?
I'd still say it's okay to use a frame from an MMD video as a reference. You don't have to ask for permission for this. (That would be kinda odd lol.) I mostly meant for something like a drawing. I wouldn't worry too much about this. Like I said, if you're not tracing, you're pretty much good to go.
Banya wrote:(I'm asking since I'm probably left alone again on a project and I have to replace the artist myself... and my free hand drawings with no reference pose are really bad for combat scenes or action in general since I'm not professional.)
If you'd like, I could help give you some pointers with your drawing. My anatomy's not perfect, but it's pretty decent.
Banya wrote:(I have the doll and it's useful but if you have to draw action scenes you risk to break its limbs)
Aww... that stinks. I was think of getting one (for more complicated poses like that). I'll probably just stick 3D + photo refs. >>

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Re: What are legit pose references?

#5 Post by Mammon » Wed May 17, 2017 12:25 pm

I wouldn't say that using references is a bad thing, in fact your work will probably be harmed by not doing it. Even uniforms and such that you feel you've seen a hundred times and are so bland that you think you can draw from memory without missing a detail, are usually a lot more complicated and detailed than you think. You'll want to use references to prevent finding a problem and a solution to it during your drawing, only to later figure out that you chose wrongly when looking at the final result.
Edit: Seeing comment below it might be easy to misread my intent here. I meant something cliche like copying a generic cowboy outfit etc. from memory alone might be harder than it seems, not copying copyrighted fashion to a tee.

So, just keeping an example at hand to look at a few (hundred) times while sketching the sprite will only do you good, you won't copy it well enough for people to spot the copyright anyway. Especially if you combine a few images. And its preferable to have better sprites for your first projects ones that will discourage people from playing your game.
Last edited by Mammon on Wed May 17, 2017 4:30 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: What are legit pose references?

#6 Post by Drew » Wed May 17, 2017 2:01 pm

As has been said, references are just that, a reference or a starting point for your own work. No-one can fairly accuse you of copying if you're using a reference as a base, after all how would anyone make art if that was the case?

Copying is when you take the majority of elements from one or other reference materials.

Clothes or obviously styled items are something to be more careful around as if you 'reference' the design then you're effectively copying that design (rather than copying the image of that set of clothing), but if you're looking at an image to see how the fabric falls and moves, then you're using it as a reference. This obviously doesn't apply to general items of clothing like shirt and jeans, just specific stuff with distinctive design elements.

If you're worried, the easiest way to ensure you're not copying other items is to use multiple references for the same pose/item/etc.
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Re: What are legit pose references?

#7 Post by YossarianIII » Thu May 18, 2017 4:53 pm

Just to add another option: if you use a public domain photo or video for reference (and there's nothing in it that would be copyrighted or otherwise protected by law), you can usually copy it, trace it, or modify it in any way you like (since no one has any copyright claim over public domain art).

Another option is to create your own photos or videos to use as reference. Some comicbook artists have people they know who are willing to be photographed as reference "models." Or you might even be able to photograph yourself (possibly with a mirror). You own the copyright to any of these images, so of course you'd be free to reference them.


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Re: What are legit pose references?

#8 Post by Evy » Sun May 21, 2017 6:25 pm

Tracing is really not as awful as many make it out to be. When you're learning, it's actually very useful. One of my university professors would have us take images from old fashion magazines, get tracing paper, and block out the body parts as best as we could to figure out how the anatomy worked, especially where the spine and shoulder/hip rotation was concerned. If you're struggling with a particular thing in a drawing, it's okay to use a reference; I know plenty of people take pictures of friends or themselves in order to have a quick reference image, and I've done that as well (especially for hands). If you never use any kind of reference at all, then your art will probably not look good.

Tracing something from a stock photo as practice is fine, so long as you mention it. What isn't okay is copying another artist's work and claiming it as your own, and it's even worse if you try to sell it. No one owns a pose, but it becomes a problem when you use the exact same composition, coloring and style.

Of course, there's also parodies. It's pretty common for people to, for example, take anime screenshots and draw over them with different characters. It's kind of a meme, if anything.

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Re: What are legit pose references?

#9 Post by Banya » Thu May 25, 2017 8:14 pm

I didn't see the replies until now, I'm sorry ;__; but thank you for answering to my question!
I'm more relaxed now that I read your replies... I thought I was exaggerating with the credits story. I mean, it's a 0,01 second frame from a MMD video that I'm taking as an example lol. The model isn't even by the person who made the video, so I don't think that imitating that single frame would be like copying an other artist's art - what do you think?

Of course I would never copy another artist's work >< But I'm relieved about the tracing anatomy part :)
I couldn't ask a friend to pose for me, so I use MMD a lot.

@robovelociraptor: thank you very much! It would help a lot, can I send you some of my drawings sometimes?

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Re: What are legit pose references?

#10 Post by robovelociraptor » Fri May 26, 2017 7:08 pm

Banya wrote:@robovelociraptor: thank you very much! It would help a lot, can I send you some of my drawings sometimes?
Sure! Just shoot me a PM~ ^^

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Re: What are legit pose references?

#11 Post by MoonByte » Sun May 28, 2017 12:20 am

May I say that I am highly confused about you thinking that retracing is bad?
Because I very much disagree!

Disney's Snow White was retraced (which - in animation - is called rotoscoping), just as one example.
There is NOTHING bad about retracing.

I would instead argue about references like this:
If you used any and feel like they "betray" in one way or another, admit that you used the reference.
I mean the following with that statement:
If you retraced (eg. you took a cover from a superman comic and made it a new character, but kept the pose, etc), say so (ideally with a link to the original) so people are aware of it. I have NEVER seen people seriously complaining if given proper credit. The biggest issue I had seen was that one original creator requested the artist to take the artwork down since they didn't want to be used.
And even those are quite few (unless it is a very blatant copy, of course, which then is less reference and more art theft).

I have studied three years of art education and am currently another three years into Digital Art and all my professors were perfectly fine, if not even sometimes encouraging, to retrace.
Sure, IDEALLY you can sketch a pose from a model Or, if you don't have a model, from a photograph.
BUT certain things are almost impossible to understand unless you retrace. A good example would be foreshortening. Especially when someone is weak in proportions and perspective, it is unbelievable difficult to properly foreshorten, even when sitting right in front of the person. And it can be equally unbelievably easy to UNDERSTAND foreshortening, when retracing it.

Which is - in my view - the main reason why anyone should retrace every so often and NOT be emberassed about doing so. Retracing is a incredibly helpful thing to learn. To learn proportions, muscles, expressions, perspective.
I mean, I assume most here at least heard from famous european artists such as Vermeer, Van Gogh, Leonardo da Vinci. They all used a machine called "Camera Obscura" which literally allowed them to retrace landscape (they got a picture of the landscape projected on their paper and then could retrace it, that projection was later used with light-sensitive material to create photographs).
NOBODY would ever dare say that Vermeer or Leonardo da Vinci are bad artists or something. And they retraced. They never used those tracings underneath their actual images, but they did studies with them to learn.

ALL references in general should be used like that.
If you sketch random people in the subway, maybe one pose or clothing style totally catches your eye. DON'T use literally that sketch, use it as inspiration to make something awesome with it. THAT is what referencing is. And nobody should ever be ashamed of referencing.
If anything, people should be ashamed if they claim to never reference anything because that is straight-up lying, even if they believe themselves.
One of my professors once said on that topic: "To work without references is like driving blind. You might arrive at your destination, but it will take forever and might leave you with a broken vehicle." If you work without references, you either have yeaaaaaaars of experience to simply pull it out of your mind or you're just doodling. Anything else would simply mean you're not taking what you're doing seriously.
I had loads of concept artists from companies such as Ubisoft and Pixar hold lectures in my university and ALL of them at one point showed files with HUNDREDS of images and music that inspired them, that they referenced.

Don't think of references as bad.
Think of them as tools. Use them, learn from them and one day maybe move away. But not using a tool that can make you a better artist is simply shooting yourself in the leg. Why obstruct your own growth like that? :wink:

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