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When is it appropriate to use watermarks?

I hope this post is ok, I just wanted some opinions from people who are more experienced at taking precautions to protect their work.

As I'm sure most of you know, DeviantArt has implemented a watermark system that you can choose to use every time you upload a piece, which shows up on full view. I'm aware it's not a foolproof method, but it's something, yes?

I just wanted to know if it's a good idea to use watermarks in general, or if you should only resort to them if you've encountered theft before? I know most people don't like looking at them, and since I've never had a problem with theft, I don't know if I should start using them or not.

Basically, is it ok to start taking precautions now, or only use them when I've already had my work stolen? In all honesty, I guess I'm worried about looking arrogant and assuming someone would steal my stuff. I'm not all that concerned about it since I'm not well known, but since the option is there, I wanted to know what everyone thought.

Thanks guys!
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Comments

( 35 comments — Leave a comment )
drake_anaya
Jan. 27th, 2007 04:13 am (UTC)
My gut feeling is... do whatever you want. You don't necessarily have to use DA's watermarks, but I always like putting something on my art so that I can have some proof that it's mine, but I'll tend to take more time watermarking a full-color, hours-of-work drawing than a digital sketch, which gets little more than my signature scrawled on it.

As to whether watermarks are "pretentious"... depends on the mark. If you have some subtle little thing up in a corner, that's respectable. Writing "DO NOT STEAL" in huge letters all over the drawing is a little less cool. :)
sunhawk
Jan. 27th, 2007 04:30 am (UTC)
Sorry to nitpick but the expression is "foolproof" not "foul proof" :)

To answer your question, I think it's better to get into the habit early on when there is little to no risk of people trying to steal your work than to wait until it is already happening. If people want images without watermarks, they can always buy a print from you. I tend to think people who want free art with ANY sort of identifying watermark as taking the fact the art is free for granted.

It's not about looking arrogant, it's about being sensible and taking appropriate precautions and also helping make sure people will know who did the artwork since people can download your art, upload it to a photobucket account where someone else downloads it and puts it on their website and so forth. With a watermark in place, there will always be a way for people to know the original artist.
sunhawk
Jan. 27th, 2007 04:31 am (UTC)
whoops, i mean "free art without ANY sort of identifying..."
(no subject) - stitchedlamb - Jan. 27th, 2007 07:30 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - sunhawk - Jan. 27th, 2007 05:53 pm (UTC) - Expand
bladespark
Jan. 27th, 2007 04:32 am (UTC)
Do you lock the gate before, or after, the cows get out? If you're concerned, then you probably should use watermarks before you have a theft problem, not after.

That said, I personally don't bother. But my 2-d art isn't anything special, and my 3-d can't be stolen so easily. You can swipe copies of photos of it, I suppose, but what would be the point of that?
drake_anaya
Jan. 27th, 2007 04:34 am (UTC)
"Hi, my name is (Not Bladespark) and I make fursuits like (these ones that look a lot like Bladespark's). Send me all your moneys!!!" ;)

I'm pretty sure that doesn't happen very often though.
(no subject) - bladespark - Jan. 27th, 2007 04:37 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - thaily - Jan. 27th, 2007 08:50 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - bladespark - Jan. 27th, 2007 09:11 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - thaily - Jan. 27th, 2007 10:44 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - bladespark - Jan. 27th, 2007 10:45 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - thaily - Jan. 27th, 2007 11:24 am (UTC) - Expand
muura
Jan. 27th, 2007 08:09 am (UTC)
People steal art be there a watermark or not. The only way to protect your art 100% is to not post on the internet.
gore_wuff
Jan. 27th, 2007 02:24 pm (UTC)
Precisely! I am greatly impressed by your objective thinking.
(no subject) - ultimatekingrat - Jan. 27th, 2007 08:29 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - muura - Mar. 11th, 2007 07:51 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - ultimatekingrat - Mar. 11th, 2007 08:58 pm (UTC) - Expand
aerospiritual
Jan. 27th, 2007 08:22 am (UTC)
I'm rather iffy about watermarks. Though my irritation with them goes to the point where they're large, obtrusive, and are honestly uglifying the piece. I have no issues with the discrete ones that you are only able to notice if you look closely enough.

But images are stolen regardless of watermarks, and they are easily removed at that. Many digital imaging classes will teach you how to remove them even.
thaily
Jan. 27th, 2007 08:46 am (UTC)
If people wanna steal your work a watermark isn't going to stop them, they'll either crop it out or trace it or whatever.
But it does help against lazy thieves who'll just repost your work as their own or just people who repost. For that purpose I suggest you also incude the url to your homepage. That way if people see your work elsewhere and want to see more they can find their way to the main body of your work.
thaily
Jan. 27th, 2007 09:23 am (UTC)
By the way, other people's opinions on wether or not your art is worthy of stealing shouldn't enter into your consideration.

I thought that once, that someone's art wasn't worth stealing and didn't need the watermarks she put in it, but then she told me they had been stolen, so.
Stupid me. Surprised me, but stupid too.
gore_wuff
Jan. 27th, 2007 02:23 pm (UTC)
Chainsaw that Watermark
In my opinion it IS a matter of arrogance. I work in the animation industry and have been to several professional oriented panels consisting of industry giants and entertainment lawyers. In all the panels the subject of copyright, proper credit, and art theft have come into question. The overall answer has always been "Your art really isn't good enough to steal." or "There is almost no possible way someone is making money off your art."

First one is self explanatory as more than 85 percent of the general art within all the varying art communities online isn't worth stealing in the first place, unless is some retarded fanboi, or emo issue involved. You proclaim theft of sorts but how can someone really STEAL your artwork when your the one who put it out there in the open for anyone to just snatch. Honestly, I think this is about shallow art community drama. Sure someone can take your art and say it was their own, but they cannot duplicate your skill, hence it will be obvious the art belongs to someone else. By professional standards who cares if someone shows your work off claiming it as their own. Unless you've copyrighted your work, which I'm sure NO ONE in this community has ever done as it takes $30 an image, taken to your local government branch building. You've got better things to do with your time than to chase down would be art-tards. If anything, this act should be encouraged as it gets your artwork spread further out there, which is what its all about right?

Getting your artwork to be seen by as many people as possible. If your ALWAYS going to want credit for it, then how can one argue against that being arrogance or vanity? In your situation, if someone does such a thing, then by all means call them on it but don't ruin your own artwork with a watermark. Watermarks are heavily distracting to the viewer and an image with some emotional evocation in it will be lost behind the boundaries of a make believe protection of something which probably isn't even worth protecting.
dragonzara
Jan. 27th, 2007 05:03 pm (UTC)
Re: Chainsaw that Watermark
First one is self explanatory as more than 85 percent of the general art within all the varying art communities online isn't worth stealing in the first place, unless is some retarded fanboi, or emo issue involved. You proclaim theft of sorts but how can someone really STEAL your artwork when your the one who put it out there in the open for anyone to just snatch. Honestly, I think this is about shallow art community drama. Sure someone can take your art and say it was their own, but they cannot duplicate your skill, hence it will be obvious the art belongs to someone else. By professional standards who cares if someone shows your work off claiming it as their own.

Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU.

I'm so sick of people going "OMG WAH THEFT!" over some badly drawn pencilled fan-art that THEY'VE copied from some stupid anime.

As you've stated, if they're 'stealing' it, they haven't the skill to draw it themselves, which in the end will be its own...well, end.

Thank goodness I'm not the only one who thinks this whole art theft thing is waaaay overhyped.
Re: Chainsaw that Watermark - lilenth - Jan. 27th, 2007 05:15 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: Chainsaw that Watermark - sunhawk - Jan. 27th, 2007 05:52 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: Chainsaw that Watermark - alaitallon - Jan. 27th, 2007 07:57 pm (UTC) - Expand
ursulav
Jan. 27th, 2007 03:33 pm (UTC)
The best defense is being so distinctive and so well known that people go "Dude, no, that's Bob's art. You're a shmuck."

I never watermark. I've had someone try to claim my art was theirs...twice, I think, in a decade of having art online. Both times, Alert Readers discovered it instantly. It's just not really an issue. I'm more inclined to think that a discreet web-address in the corner so that people can FIND your art, after random reposts, is more useful.
beechan2
Jan. 27th, 2007 04:38 pm (UTC)
I watermark all of my work anyway, but make sure it's not something that sticks out like a sore thumb, and place it in a spot where it's not in the way, but not so easily erased ( getting a tattoo of it sometime this year, as it represents me as well ^^ ).

And you can also encrypt the file information as your saving it. It's not a sure fire way, as some people nab the cheap way and just take screen shots, then crop the hell out of the screen shot.

As long as you keep your original working files, if it's digital, and if possible, in progress samples or your original pencils, it helps. ( I rarely let go of my original pencils and inks ).

~~Bee
tombstonerider
Jan. 27th, 2007 04:56 pm (UTC)
This has actually made me want to start using one again. I had a little one, that I stuck in the corners but kept forgetting about it aha.

Something I do, which is actually fun, is I play "hide the signature" in alot of my work. Even if there dosen't look it, there's usally a hidden signature/mark in all of my recent peices. So even if I would start putting in a watermark, I have a hidden, personal mark all my own already there as well :D
lilenth
Jan. 27th, 2007 05:17 pm (UTC)

I hide little symbols and my initials in my work generally. The decision to watermark or not is yours, however I wouldn't use an automatic system, the best watermarks should be well hidden so some thief doesn't just crop them out.

Don't let anyone tell you that your work isn't worth protecting, if you feel it needs it then do it.
fiercereaper
Jan. 28th, 2007 12:05 am (UTC)
I watermark everything in two ways. The illustration has my logo in one of the bottom corners like this: http://www.artspots.com/users/messorius/4318
This way it is harder to swipe, but they can still do it if they want to, and if they're just saving it, they have an automatic roadmap back to me with the web address.

The tattooing stuff however I watermark the hell out of. They can still steal it if they want to copy, and that sadly happens a lot, but more importantly, some little bastard can't take my portfolio and try to get hired on it. There are enough crappy tattooists in the world.
fiercereaper
Jan. 28th, 2007 12:07 am (UTC)
Them still doing it if they want to, meaning if they really want to steal it they can do it with enough effort. It sounded badthe first way I said that. O.o
dookiedragon
Jan. 28th, 2007 08:14 am (UTC)
I hate, HATEEEE watermarks! Especially when people slap them over the ENTIRE image...It just ruins people's ability to enjoy said art. If people are that paranoid about people stealing their stuff, then they should get the fuck off the internet. I mean, if someone wants to pass your art off as theirs THAT bad, they'll just trace it.
I mean, you don't see top-notch artists like Dark Natasha and Kyoht slapping big 'ol watermarks onto their work...

If you do decide to use watermarks, it's probably best to maybe cover a small part of your picture, and also include the URL to your gallery so people can locate you in case they do spot some of your stuff being used in an inappropriate way.
obliviousally
Jan. 28th, 2007 03:01 pm (UTC)
I generally don't use watermarks (and I have had my stuff ganked once or twice). I used to put larger copyrights on the sides of the pictures, y'know, 'art (c) me, character (c) blah'. But I stopped doing that and didn't put anything on.

Now I put 'art (c) alaina rose | mo.year', because it helps me organize things better.

But really, it's a matter of personal preference.
fiztheancient
Jan. 28th, 2007 06:09 pm (UTC)
I've never used a watermark. I also haven't put a signature on my drawings in ages because I think it just clutters up the picture. So I really don't have an outstanding opinion on this. Do whatever you want to, really.
( 35 comments — Leave a comment )

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