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This is mostly asking if this is normal anywhere because I haven't run across it before.

The artist has been paid in full.
They have posted the finished (shaded) image in their gallery.
Everything up to this point has been great and I was prepping the positive review.

Then I ask for my copy and was pointed to the flat color one -- which they described as the flat color one.
This artist doesn't even offer flat color as a commission option.

Nothing is said about only getting the heavily watermarked small gallery copy as the finished image in their commission info and they have no FAQ or TOS.

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Comments

( 23 comments — Leave a comment )
poizenkat
May. 7th, 2018 09:32 pm (UTC)
I think it's wrong that they never notified you before you sent payment. I personally wouldn't commission someone if i couldn't have a non watermarked version of the image. In my personal opinion you deserve a file of the full image without a watermark. if the artist doesnt want the non watermarked version posted then they just have to let you know that when they send it.
gatekat
May. 7th, 2018 11:28 pm (UTC)
Thank you for the thoughts.
bornesb
May. 7th, 2018 11:06 pm (UTC)
Have you asked them politely for the fully shaded non-watermarked file already?

If so, then no that's not normal. =/

If not, I've worked with some artists who just don't think of it unless people specifically ask for it.
gatekat
May. 7th, 2018 11:27 pm (UTC)
Yes and it made them add "I watermark everything" to the forming TOS and say it's for their protection. They also acted confused that I expected something better than an image with 3 (yes 3) watermarks in the middle of it.

Never mind that it's not even true that they watermark everything in their existing gallery. Several don't even have their name on it and most a tiny, well hidden one. We'll see how long that lasts as they seem to be changing things as I bring them up.

If it was like the markings on many commissions I've gotten, along the lines of http://fav.me/dcai01m and much of their gallery I wouldn't have even noticed. But the gallery version of mine makes http://fav.me/dbiyq1t look subtle.

PS: neither link is the person involved.

Strangely they were perfectly willing to send me the full sized flat color one, which has no watermarks or signatures at all on it.
bornesb
May. 8th, 2018 12:00 am (UTC)
=\

If the price is worth fighting for, I'd try and get the artist to give you the file(s) you expected. And if not, then ask for partial refund and/or take it up with paypal.

For me personally, if it was under $30 I'd probably just let it go and never commission them again. But if it was over that I'd be salty and pursue some action. You're not getting what you expected- based on other examples in their gallery - you paid for fully shaded at the very least, so why they'd give you a web version of that but full file of the flat color is bizarre.

They might be just covering up for forgetting to save or a corrupted file or something. But regardless, that's still pretty unacceptable imo. You didn't pay for flat color, you paid for fully shaded.
gatekat
May. 8th, 2018 12:34 am (UTC)
I knew when this started that it wasn't worth fighting for the money. I'm upset but just to the 'never commission or recommend them' level.

I'm hoping to get the subtle watermark that they've used so often on the shaded version for myself even if it's still web sized. I'll see how it turns out.

Mostly I'm asking because this is my first encounter with it and they acted so confused that I was upset. It made me think this might be normal somewhere I don't usually hang out. I know those things happen.

I'm gathering (from off list talks) that it's not common but it's out there. I have a few new keywords to look for as warnings for which I'm grateful.
armaina
May. 8th, 2018 09:39 am (UTC)
All of my clients get a full rez, un-watermarked version of the art they commission for me so that they can edit, resize, print or anything else for personal use. They paid for it, they're entitled to that much as far as I'm concerned. My only personal stipulation is that art remains for personal use, and if someone cross-uploads to their own gallery, that they don't upload the full-rez version.

So to not give a client an un-watermarked version, heck, to even go so far as to not even give a full rez of the completed version, without telling you ahead of time or even making it known in their own TOS, is absolutely absurd. For that matter, making a point to give you an unshaded version at full rez is such a dang insult.

If they still refuse to give you a full rez version of the complete shaded piece, this is something that I would hazard to say is even worth a beware post itself, but I'd wait till a mod here clears as to whether this situation would actually be applicable or not. (but seriously, editing the TOS after the fact is such a scummy move)
gatekat
May. 8th, 2018 06:30 pm (UTC)
Your attitude is much closer to what I'm used to.

The problem with issuing a beware is proof. While I agree changing things mid-commission is worth one I didn't think to get screengrabs before things went bad and there's no way I know of to go back to retrieve the page text as it used to be. It's simply my word that it was changed.
kontonakuma
May. 8th, 2018 02:08 pm (UTC)
It's not usual, but it is fully within the artist's rights to not provide an unwatermarked version. However, they really ought to state it in their ToS so the client knows upfront.

I personally had the issue where the full rez unwatermarked version was uploaded without credit, so I can understand where this artist is coming from. But expecting the paying customer to be happy with having huge watermarks all over their piece is a bit concerning. A small logo in the corner of the image away from the main attractiom should be a happy middle ground, I would think?
gatekat
May. 8th, 2018 06:24 pm (UTC)
I know it's within their rights, but it's good to know it's not common.

I'm totally cool with a non-obtrusive watermark or name. It doesn't even have to be in a corner. I've seen plenty of variants that don't hide markings and detail.

I think part of what upset me so much was that it's much, much more heavily watermarked than anything else in the gallery and it's a ref sheet. At least two images of the same finish level don't have any mark at all and most of them are subtle enough I wouldn't cause a fuss about. Even if the 'I always watermark everything' was there when I agreed to the commission and wasn't a lie, I would have expected a watermark comparable to most of what was in the gallery. I would have been okay with that.

It feels very much like that artist that does a half-assed job and expects you to be happy because you got something.
kontonakuma
May. 8th, 2018 06:34 pm (UTC)
I would agree. If the money is worth the fight, you could probably try to use the arguement of their gallery being inconsistent if you haven't already. You paid for the quality of the examples and got something that would be considered lower quality in the end.
gatekat
May. 8th, 2018 06:44 pm (UTC)
It's not worth the fight to me. I'd rather keep the ref sheet. The flat colored one is full sized and unmarked. Any artist I commission for the character will get that one to work off of. I was told outright that was why I was given the flats.

If I don't get a shaded one with a lighter watermark I'll simply use the one I have and point out that anyone inclined to commission or buy from them should expect the level they see on mine, not their gallery, as their only shaded copy.
leongon
May. 8th, 2018 04:31 pm (UTC)
Did they add the TOS line of "watermarks all over the place" after you agreed and paid the piece, and heavy watermarking is not a thing in their previous uploads? If yes might be worth a beware in case they refuse to give you a less marked version, because they are changing the rules you agreed to.

Giving you a flat color when you paid for full shaded and they uploaded a full shaded version... makes no sense at all. Are you dealing with a new artist that is just figuring out their bussiness? Really, that part makes no sense at all, and if they refuse to give you the finished version you paid for, is surely worth a beware.

Was there anything about the image size on their TOS? Many artists just work in small canvas because their output is aimed for web, not for you to print a human size poster out of it. Maybe that small size is their full res, but if there's nothing about that in the TOS and you didn't ask about it before hand you can only ask them nicely if they can give you a bigger version.

That's my opinion o/
gatekat
May. 8th, 2018 06:11 pm (UTC)
Yes. There actually was no line about watermarks at all until I asked for an unmarked version. Then it was "I watermark, no exceptions." But a solid half that entry appeared after I commissioned them.

I can't really do a beware because I don't have proof they did any changes that I know happened. I guess I could on the 'be careful of their terms and don't go by their gallery' but it's honestly not worth the trouble. It'll be on my post of the artwork to expect this level of watermarks as the commissioner's copy if it remains this bad.

I haven't seen the response yet to pointing out that it is by far the most heavily watermarked image in their entire gallery. Some resent ones of the same finish level don't have a watermark at all, no even their name on it.

There is nothing on size. I know that there is a larger size because all the drafts, including the flat color one I was given as a 'full sized final' are at least twice the size of the gallery one.

I don't know how new they are but I'm definitely not their first commission. There are a handful in the gallery I and I seriously doubt this is their first gallery. They're too good an artist.
conter_kun
May. 8th, 2018 07:10 pm (UTC)
I'm kinda just repeating what Kontonakuma said but it is fully within the artist's rights to not provide an unwatermarked version and most actually don't offer it at all. Just like Kontonakuma as well I too have had the issues where the large file without watermarks was uploaded without credit, tho I have also had issues where they were sold as prints, used in games/apps, etc without my permission along with that. This is one of the reasons I don't offer the unwatermarked files on certain pieces anymore.

However... the artist you are dealing with seems to have gone WAY too far in terms of the watermarking which is quite shocking. Getting a watermarked version is very common but if they are gonna slap that many on there and say that's 'your' version? Completely unacceptable. No one wants an image with three or more things covering up the middle of it and no doubt obstructing what's going on, especially for a ref sheet. They 100% need a TOS/FAQ if they are gonna do stuff like that.

I'm very sorry you had to go through this. No one should be paying for an image like that, it's unacceptable.
gatekat
May. 9th, 2018 12:49 am (UTC)
I agree it's within their rights, at least to a point. I've seen tons of watermarks and signatures that don't hamper the image and I have no problem with that if I'm expecting a watermarked final. My experience hasn't included many that go beyond a signature but that limited experience is part of why I asked here if it's common.

Unfortunately even their current TOS that says "I watermark everything" doesn't cover what happened. I'm hoping they will update it and include what they are going to use rather than leave it at 'look at the gallery' level.

Thank you for the feedback.
aerospiritual
May. 8th, 2018 08:44 pm (UTC)
Personally, I would never commission someone knowing that the piece I received in the end would be covered with watermarks- but there was nothing to let you know that this would be the case and that you should take your money elsewhere.

Unfortunately, there's not a whole lot you can do now that the transaction is finished[and I'm assuming] according to the general commission outline. What I would do, from this point onward, is ask the artist before money is exchanged, if you can get the full res without a watermark.

This is also an example of why artists having a comprehensive TOS is important.

Sorry that this transaction didn't work out for you, OP. I hope that your future commissions are a lot better!
gatekat
May. 9th, 2018 12:42 am (UTC)
If I'm a ass about it I can contest it on PayPal and likely get my money back, but I'm not going that route. I like the art that was done and the flats are full sized and unmarked.

A comprehensive TOS is a good thing. I hope they take the hint that saying 'I watermark' means the examples in the gallery, especially their commission example, are what's expected and either point to what's going to be done or standardize the newer stuff in the gallery to the current norm.
aerospiritual
May. 9th, 2018 12:52 am (UTC)
Yeah, I think that's probably the best kind of outcome from this situation; that the artist learns to be more specific in how they operate their business.

Anything else I could add would just be preaching to the choir at this point, hahahaha- I just can't imagine sending a client a final piece with anything other than my signature in an unobtrusive location.
mistresswolf
May. 9th, 2018 02:55 am (UTC)
Hm. I never watermark stuff... but I do usually only give the customer the smaller web version unless they ask (just by uploading it to my gallery and linking them to it). If asked I will give the big version, but it isn't really much bigger than the web version.

You should get the big, unwatermarked version.
gatekat
May. 9th, 2018 03:08 am (UTC)
Thank you for your thoughts on it.
vlrgo
May. 17th, 2018 12:49 am (UTC)
I always make my watermark as small as possible on the image, I never, however, give an unwatermarked file to a client unless they specifically ask up front.

However slapping three huge watermarks across a finished product is gross unless it's for patreon in my opinion; I think they should have given you one if you asked.
gatekat
May. 17th, 2018 05:02 pm (UTC)
Thank you for your thoughts on it.
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