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  1. #1
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    How Do We Avoid Theft?

    Hey All,
    I wanted to start a thread where people can post ideas about avoiding theft of their artwork form the forums, especially this one.
    These last two cases of plagiarism are a shame and an insult to the artists who worked so hard on their pieces. As well as they were, I'm sure, a hassle for the studios. :bash:
    Anyway the notion of watermarking work came up, so did hiding your signature in the your pieces somewhere, and the "no right-click save" thing as well.
    I personally would hate to not be able to save images from the forums, so I'm pretty sure that ones out by popular demand.
    Has anyone ever tried to watermark their image in PS? I tried it and it seems I need to pay Digimarc to have a watermark be useful at all. And I can't afford extra stuff like that while in school.
    How about a faint layer with your name on it?

    Anyone else have ideas, or how to get the ones I've listed here to work?

    Peace...


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  3. #2
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    watermark

    just take blacktext on a new layer in photoshop and then screen it so you can barley see it. i do that sometimes. the no-right-click thingy can be gotten around if you go to view, then source. you just copy the image's source code from there, past it in the address bar of your web browser, then BINGO there's the image. i think a water mark maybe the best way to go to avoid theft IMO. thanks

  4. #3
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    Cool

    While watermarking is a deterrent, it's not really going to help. Neither will disabling the right-click. Thieves will just use a screen capture utility to get what they want. Unfortunately, there's always a way to circumvent these sorts of measures.

    I think the best asset a group like ours has is it's vigilance. Keep your eyes & ears open. Spread the word when you see something being stolen or misused. In the meantime, if some technical method to prevent theft comes along, terrific... but so far, there's nothing.
    - blind

  5. #4
    Landmate Guest
    the key is to draw crap

    works for me

  6. #5
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    HAHAHA Nice LM. Well I agree that if someone really needs to get our art, they will. One of my drawings was used in the last theft we found out about - but in the end - what difference does it really make? I have the original, and if someone needs me to draw something on the spot, I (hopefully :p) can. These thefts are goingto be found out - if they suck enough there's no way not to catch them. So in a sense, aside from the insult, there's no ULTIMATE harm done to me - this time anyway. I can imagine where it could be more damaging, like someone selling my stuff - but for portfolios, I'm not getting hurt over it...
    Anyway, just my two cents.

  7. #6
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    Uh-Oh more wining from Landmate.. (but we all gotta have character) but good call. :chug:

    from what I've seen recently the people that do steal artwork.. are quickly burnt to ashes and blacklisted.. that's a great thing about this relatively small community..

    So I say.. steal our artwork, then get blacklisted! Gives us a better chance at getting more gigs right?

    I hate to work so hard on an image .. and then scribble my crappy signature all over it.. that in actuality can be cropped out if someone wanted to.. I mostly keep my origionals in a folder to show later.

  8. #7
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    basically vigilance is the best as Blind said. No one wants the option of right click saving taken away, I don't know what the hell a watermark is, however maybe a hidden signiture might work.

  9. #8
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    Hey... I did a little experimenting and came up with a fairly fast & dirty method of watermarking a piece in Photoshop. I'm sure this could be circumvented if the thief were to know what to look for, but I doubt that most people who are stupid enough to steal other people's work are that bright to begin with. Can I get an amen? >8)
    1. Create a new topmost layer for your watermark, and use only 50% grey for either text, logo, etc.
    2. Under Layer Properties for your new layer, deselect the Red & Green channels (assuming your image is RGB), leaving only the Blue Channel. If CMYK, experiment with one of those... Cyan perhaps?
    3. Reduce the Opacity of the Layer to somewhere in between 10% to 30%, you'll need to experiment here, until your watermark is invisible. The idea is to reduce it little by little until just after it disappears, for all intents and purposes. In the test I ran, I put it over a darker part of the image and it worked better than over a lighter area.
    4. Save off the JPG you're going to distribute, and test your watermark. Open the JPG up in Photoshop, and select Image|Adjust Curves... (Ctrl+M). Select the Blue Channel only, and adjust your curve with a single point, dragging it up and to the left (experiment). This should reveal your watermark well enough to catch the thief!
    BEFORE
    How Do We Avoid Theft?
    AFTER
    How Do We Avoid Theft?

    The beauty of this is that anyone can do it in Photoshop (I bet other apps would work too). It's quick & easy once you've done it, and screen capture programs can't circumvent it. If they screen cap your art, they cap the watermark with it.

    BTW... in case you're wondering, that image I'm using as a test is NOT my work! But it is a beautiful piece done by a fellow named Mike S. Miller, and it can be seen in its entirety here: The Art Of Ice & Fire. If you're a G.R.R. Martin fan, it's not to be missed!
    - blind

  10. #9
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    Wow great tip Blind - thanks for sharing. I hope people who want to be able to do this catch this thread. But, I, like many others apparently, have faith in these people getting caught anyway. Here's to the community.
    Thanks again Blind, might have to try that...
    :chug:

  11. #10
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    Blind, that one is great! Oddly enough, though, it ONLY appears when you use curves. Channels show nothing...

    Although this can be used to identify your work (like a fingerprint almost!) it still doesn't address actual theft...

    There IS a software solution out there to the tune of about $700-$800 dollars that takes any image you post, and creates a redirect for any click that happens over the image. I believe if you tried a screen save, the image was blank. I know a search should turn it up. Gotta go poke around my files. If anyone finds the link, please post it!

    Madster

    EDIT: OOOOH:shocked: I found something for $50! No right click! NO Prnt Scn!!!
    http://www.invisitec.com/products_protec.shtml

    It sounds too good to be true, tho'.
    Last edited by madster; October 3rd, 2003 at 08:19 PM.
    Change is Inevitable, Growth is Optional
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  12. #11
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    Originally posted by madster

    EDIT: OOOOH:shocked: I found something for $50! No right click! NO Prnt Scn!!!
    http://www.invisitec.com/products_protec.shtml

    It sounds too good to be true, tho'.
    Well, I just took a command/shift/3 sceenshot of one of their "uncopyable" sample images with no problem (mac, OSX).

  13. #12
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    How Do We Avoid Theft?

    even printscreen works. what a scam.

  14. #13
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    Strange, it seemed to work for me. I couldn't take a straight out printscreen.

  15. #14
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    seems to work if youre using IE. Im using mozilla firebird and i could right click save, and print screen...

  16. #15
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    A suggestion I got was to keep a corner of the work you post blacked out or blank. But it's still there on the original work. This might work well if your picture is stolen and the thief trys to fill in the corner in order to sell the piece or use it for a portfolio.
    Art gives me a life of extreme challenge, frustration, accomplishment and contentment. Nothing less will do!

  17. #16
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    just go with the flow, and watch each others back.

  18. #17
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    Woah, thats cool Blind. I read George R. R. Martin's series, A song of ice and fire, it was pretty good. When does the comic come out?

  19. #18
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    Blind, that's a really neat trick. If only this was sent to the big companies, and let them know how to see if a piece is stolen. And this method would become standard

    I also hate how people take images they find online and use it for their own benefit. A guy I know runs this website and he's using other peoples fantasy art as the top banner of his site.

    makes me angry
    Wanted: 30 chinamen and a zeppelin for an elaborate practical joke... can you help?

  20. #19
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    the problem with the hiding of signatures is that how will people hiring know to check the cyan curve? I mean yeah it proves that it is your work but what client is going to think to do that?

  21. #20
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    Talking

    that trick is useful for proving that a stolen artwork is indeed yours. i know a lot of people who fell victim to art-ripping, and they had no way to prove that it was theirs. using the invisible signature is fast and easy, and is a great way to catch thieves. i use it too.

  22. #21
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    Note: For security reasons.. please do not touch your keyboard or otherwise try and save this image.


    Ok that made me spit my drink out... "do not touch your keyboard..." ... is it going to blow up?

    That invisible type signature is pretty nifty, thank you so much for sharing the technique, I guess it would be cool if it was a standard where companies looked for that... but then again if it was a standard then the thiefs would also know to look for it

    I think its awesome that everyone is looking out for each other, and with the recent thefts, I'm sure everyone will be even more alert.

  23. #22
    Landmate Guest
    my method is fool proof.

  24. #23
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    Originally posted by Elwell
    Well, I just took a command/shift/3 sceenshot of one of their "uncopyable" sample images with no problem (mac, OSX).
    I was able to use Snag-It to grab a screen too >8\

    I agree with whoever said it... the best thing is that we just watch each other's backs. The tip I posted won't prevent theft, it just allows you to sort of scratch your initials in an image in a secret spot. Where I grew up you had to do this with things like bicycles, so when it got stolen you could prove it was yours if it ever was found.
    - blind

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