Okay so I realize that my last journal was written way back in May and it's probably time for me to spark a bit more discussion (since that's why most of you watch this profile).
Today's discussion isn't about policy, at least not directly, but it is about something which I feel strongly about and that I know many others feel strongly about and I started thinking about the issue based on a few things which crossed my desk earlier today.
The topic I want to discuss today concerns the realm of traditional art - sketching mainly - and how access to digital tools and the mathematical algorithms and procedures known as "filters" have had an impact on honesty among some traditional artists.
If you aren't certain what I'm talking about then you probably haven't gotten around the site very much over the years or maybe you just have a deep seated faith in the honesty of your fellow artists.
What I'm talking about is when an artist uses digital tools to manipulate a photograph into something which approximates a pencil sketch and then claims to have actually sketched the resulting manipulation.
There's a bunch of reasons why an artist would stoop to this level; feelings of insecurity and the all consuming Quest for Attention tend to be at the top though.
It is actually so easy to forge a pencil sketch out of a manipulated photograph I think it would be fair for me to say that I'll probably never
one regardless of how legitimate it looks just because I've seen to many cheaters.
Even if no direct manipulation has been done the art of "painting over" a photograph in a digital art program is such a popular "technique" that I just have quite a sour taste in my mouth over the whole subject matter- and that's not even approaching the whole issue involving copyrights and reproductions.
Now granted, way back when I used to redraw photographs from the 1800s and early 1900s so I did very similar work to what I'm complaining about right now but at the very least I relied upon public domain photographs for my references and when you actually compare my early pencil work with the photographs you can actually tell them apart because I actually drew freehand.
What I'm talking about is how some artists want to be known for producing astounding work so badly that it prompts a lot of cheating; directly drawing over the photo reference, "tracing" it in a vector program, "smudging" the photo directly, manipulating the photo (or pieces of the photo) into something which looks like a sketch or painting which barely looks different from the original.
A lot of you guys out there report this sort of stuff to CEA, but unfortunately there can be problems writing policy for this sort of cheating behavior.
I mean, how exactly do you prove that someone simply digitally painted on a layer above the actual photograph? Yes, you can prove the two are nearly identical but that fact alone says nothing about the method of creation.
The same can be said for various manipulations - we can't really prove anything because we weren't there during the creation process so all we have are suspicions, and regardless of how much you dislike the cheating behaviors you can't justify deleting something based on a suspicion alone because honestly there are actually artists out there who really are just that good.
So as much as some of you would like, we simply cannot moderate works which you think involved shortcuts or cheating in their creation based on that reason alone.
Copying a copyrighted work is another matter entirely and as I have stated elsewhere quite often if the owner of the copied work files a claim of infringement we'll be more than happy to review the claim; we'd rather than random people don't try to file any complaints because only the actual owner has the right to decide that they don't want their works copied so stop complaining to me and get them involved.
As far as "catching" people taking digital shortcuts and cheating your way to the "perfect sketch" or "perfect painting" we are pretty happy allowing you, the community, to call it like you see it.
I've seen plenty of cheaters abandon their profile when enough people question the authenticity of their work. Hell, many try to file "slander" complaints with our staff but as long as you are not violating our Terms of Service with outlandish abuse or similar tactics we are more than happy to let you guys announce that you believe something isn't quite right with that all-too-perfect celebrity sketch.
Just check your facts and be civil about the whole thing.