Adavanced Photoshop: 52 Protect Your Art Online


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Adavanced Photoshop: 52 Protect Your Art Online

  1. 1. Feature PROTECT YOUR ART ONLINE Image theft may pale in comparison to robbing a bank, but to those who find © their work stolen, the results can be traumatic. Nick Spence investigates ways to protect your work online T he internet has many positives: the chance to learn, share, T BESSAN participate and collaborate, offering the possibility to © M A RC explore the world beyond your horizon. As a tool to showcase you and your work, it offers great potential, a chance to be seen by a global audience and attract clients and commissions regardless of your location. Yet for every positive, a few negatives lurk on the dark side of the internet. From dodgy downloads and scams to nasty viruses and dubious pills and potions, the internet is not a place for the reckless. Being prepared and aware of the potential dangers online should help protect you. The same caution should apply when putting your work online. Creating your own website, placing your work on a blog or forum, selling your designs on an online shop, these are all good, but you don’t want to find your hard work has been hijacked by those looking for quality images for free. The simple way to ensure your work isn’t stolen or plagiarised is to stay offline altogether, although this will severely restrict potential © interest in you and your work. Much better is to limit the damage that can be done by using a range of measures, including copyrighting © ANDY POTTS80Advanced Photoshop © © Imagine Publishing Ltd No unauthorised copying or distribution
  2. 2. Protect your art online © Case study Andy Potts Award-winning London-based illustrator Andy Potts ( couldn’t believe his eyes when he came across the work of a Dutch artist. A selection of his paintings, which he sells and exhibits internationally, bore an uncanny resemblance to his own work, created for a selection of prestigious clients and displayed on his website. Such was the similarity between Potts’ illustrations and these paintings that it raised serious concerns. What isn’t clear is whether the artist managed to copy them from relatively small JPEG files found on Potts’ homepage. “I’m pretty sure this guy was able to blow up some very small web images and paint on them large scale quite successfully,” explains Potts. Potts’ US representative, Anna Goodson Management, and the Association of IllustratorsEUROPA COVER: A striking cover design for French here in the UK were both equally amazed at themagazine Europa by Andy Potts about the rise of non- artist’s sheer nerve, and felt rightly that Pottsgovernmental organisations had a excellent case for copyright theft. Potts© ANDY POTTS quickly informed the artist that he faced legal action if the paintings were not removed, and animages, using digital watermarks, reducing images agreement was signed that none of Potts’down to a size that’s difficult to reproduce effectively copyrighted work would be used again in future.and creating a password-protected area of your Since many of the original paintings werewebsite for high-res examples that’s only for clients. sold, Potts asked for financial compensation. AllEach has its pros and cons. Digital spoilers, such as well and good, except Potts discovered that tovisible watermarks for instance, will prevent images actually sue someone for clear copyrightfrom being printed and sold but won’t prevent infringement, even in another EU country, wouldanyone from simply borrowing or copying your image be a long and costly venture.or design. No amount of protection will be effective if “I have been royally ripped off this year by thissomeone wants to mimic your style. Having your artist and there’s not much I’ve been able to doname stamped in big letters on everything can also about it unless I commit to a very expensive,be annoying to the viewer and allow you to be stressful and probably unsuccessful lawsuit,”perceived as a misguided amateur; after all, few large adds Potts.studios and illustration representatives see fit to usewatermark images. Getting the balance right shouldensure you look a professional outfit without FACEFULL TOP : Personal work from illustrator Andyseemingly being overly precious about your work. Potts, one of the most creative illustrators in the UK, who has been recognised within the industry by a BAFTA 16.3 PER CENT OF IMAGES USED nomination and a prestigious AOI award © ANDY POTTSWatermark imagesThird-party sites where you can buy a simple buteffective website off the peg should offer some image GETTING TO KNOW YOU ABOVE : Book cover design by Andy Potts for the collected short stories of sci- ON OUR GALLERYprotection tools as standard, which you can choose toactivate or not. “Just over 40 per cent of Clikpic fi writer David Marusek © ANDY POTTS PAGES AREcustomers, based on a sample of 100, have opted towatermark their images within the Clikpic system, service Mr Site (, suggests that while fewer users watermark images, the numbers are WATERMARKED;which can be done literally at the click of a button, soit is clearly an important issue for artists”, explains still significant. “Around 16.3 per cent of all images used on our gallery pages are watermarked, meaning THE REMAINDERTim Hunt, a director at Clikpic (,which offers a website-to-go service. “It reminds a that the remainder are open to potential theft,” says Spice. “Watermarking offers you the best protection in ARE LEFT OPENpotential thief, who can often be a casual observerwho is completely unaware of copyright issues, thatthey need to think before copying.” Stuart Spice, my opinion, as it acts as a ‘spoiler’ for the image without detracting from the impact of the image.” More primitive methods, such as disabling right- TO THEFTtechnical officer at professional website builder click (or Ctrl-click on Macs), fail to take into STUART SPICE, MR SITE © Imagine Publishing Ltd 81 No unauthorised copying or distribution Advanced Photoshop
  3. 3. Feature account something available to all PC and Mac users, and Bevel and Emboss effects to ensure the text warns Spice. “One method people often discuss is the doesn’t overpower the image. The Digimarc (www. disabling of the right-click on the mouse to prevent plug-in, which comes as standard with people from clicking Save As when hovering over an Photoshop, allows you to embed copyright on-screen image. This may offer a small degree of information into your images. Copying an image with protection, but is no match for the ardent copyright an embedded watermark also copies the watermark thief. In fact, one of the most basic functions of and any information associated with it. You can also Microsoft Windows that has been around since the create a metadata template in Photoshop, and in the old days of Windows 3.1 is the Print Screen function.” File Info interface or the Metadata panel in Bridge, Mac users can use a similar method to capture images you can edit your document’s copyright info. and professional screen capture utilities are available For those looking for a little more variation, many for both platforms. “The techies often talk about free and payable watermark and image-protection placing invisible ‘layers’ over the top of your image to applications are available, found by searching prevent the right-click or any interaction with the websites such as ( image. This works to a degree, but again falls foul of com), Softpedia (, Tucows the Print Screen button,” says Spice. ( and MacUpdate (www. TinEye ( is an image search engine, currently in beta, that lets you Tags and metadata search for your images online. Copyscape (www. Digital watermarking is another possible solution., meanwhile, offers some free or Having your details on an image can identify you minimal cost searches along with a premium service, should a third party require legitimate copies or wish Copysentry, which for around $5 a month aims to to compliment you on your design. “It also tags your protect your site against content theft by monitoring images with your details,” says Tim Hunt. “So if some the web for copies of your content and emailing you Portishead: Marc Bessant produced artwork for cult of your images from, say, a wedding are being as soon as they appear. YouTube ( band Portishead and their album Third, recently voted Album Of The Year by Uncut magazine emailed around, anyone wanting to buy one will see com/watch?v=xem8KSnuhJI) has useful tutorials © Marc Bessant your details on the watermark and can visit your site showing you how to watermark for the web, including and buy them, so digital watermarks can be a good using Actions to batch-process your images. cases. “An image thief is limited in what they can do marketing tool.” with a web image other than use it online. This is You can create both digital and visible watermarks because the resolution is simply too low for the image in Photoshop, and there are several ways to do this, Small solutions to be reproduced effectively elsewhere, especially like adding text with the Text tool on an additional If watermarks aren’t your thing, keeping images small thumbnail-sized images,” explains Tim Hunt of Clikpic. layer. Experiment with different typefaces, opacity and low-res will limit how they can be used in most Although there are software solutions, including Visible watermark Get a watermark in Photoshop in several ways, like In places I’ve step-by-step creating a new layer and using the Text tool to add the © sign, your logo, site or contact details seen 1. Create a new layer 2. Adjust your watermark watermarks, Open the image you want to add a visible watermark to and create a new layer. Select this Use Opacity and Fill in order to adjust your watermark. The lower the opacity setting, the less they have layer and use the Type tool to add your copyright text, for example, ‘© Danny Hughes http://danny21. likely the watermark is to distract from your image. Additionally, experiment with typefaces, always looked’. Use a large watermark that fills most of the image. This will make it difficult to as some are significantly more pleasing on the eye then others. Finally, flatten the layers and pretty awful. I remove the watermark using the Clone Stamp or Healing Brush tool. remember to Save As to avoid writing over your original file. thInk the best thIng Is just an overall dIsclaImer somewhere tIdy on the front – MArC BESSAnT82 © Imagine Publishing LtdAdvanced Photoshop No unauthorised copying or distribution
  4. 4. Protect your art online © Orphan Works 2008 As we went to press, the US Orphan Works 2008 was still slowly progressing through the legislative system with Congress going into a lame-duck session as a new President prepares to take office. During this time, it was thought the bill might still be passed despite numerous artists, photographers, illustrators and individuals attacking the plans as ‘grossly unfair’. The Orphan Works Act defines an ‘orphan work’ as any copyrighted work whose author someone who wishes to use the artwork is unable to locate, as long as they have performed a ‘reasonably diligent search’. In a radical departure from existing copyright law and business practice, the US Copyright Office has proposed that Congress grant such ‘infringers freedom to ignore the rights of the author and use the work for any purpose, including commercial usage’, reports the Illustrators’ Partnership (http://ipaorphanworks.TINY DANCERS: A three-colour gig poster advertising MALAKAI: Promotional poster for Malakai, a two-piece In the case of visual art, thean appearance by the band Tiny Dancers. Marc Bessant band from Bristol, by designer Marc Bessant, who is word ‘author’ means ‘artist’, and in theory, workrecently launched a new website showcasing his vast responsible for numerous music-related CD covers, that you have placed on the internet could beand varied illustration and design work packaging and posters© MARC BESSANT © MARC BESSANT used by anyone. “It’s very easy for images, especially on the net, to lose their creator’s name and therefore be open to exploitation by anyone,” warns Derek Brazell of The Association of Illustrators ( “However, the EU and the United Kingdom are looking at orphaned works and it appears there will be more rigorous checks on who can do what with an orphaned work in these territories.” The Illustrators’ Partnership maintains a blog with new updates and ways you can help prevent the US Orphan Works 2008 from becoming law ENCHANTMENT: Marc Bessant provided album art and design for The Enchantment by Chick Corea and Bela Fleck. Bessant is head of design at Peter Gabriel’s Real World Studios © MARC BESSANT © Imagine Publishing Ltd 83 No unauthorised copying or distribution Advanced Photoshop
  5. 5. Feature Case study Share and share alike Although you need to be concerned about how and where you put your images online, many seek to actively share their work. If you’re stuck for suitable inspiration or reference material, there are numerous free and legal resources available online. Stock.XCHNG (, Freerange Stock (, Fontplay (, morgueFile (, ( and Woophy (www.woophy. com) all offer free stock. Images may have restrictions on use, but many are offered under Creative Commons licensing or the Copyleft licensing scheme. This allows for some but not all copyright restrictions, giving the user the ability to modify an image, for example, as long as the resulting image is bound by the same Copyleft licensing scheme. Good karma dictates you always read the small print, but few restrictions should apply. deviantART ( actively encourages the use of other people’s images. Some of the more impressive Photoshop photomanipulations found on the site take elements on stock images freely offered by the CharleS Darwin: 12 February 2009 marks the 200th anniversary community. “The resource and stock art of the birth of Charles Darwin and Nature magazine commissioned this striking portrait by illustrator Jonathan Williams providers go out of their way to offer a wide © Jonathan williamS variety of high-quality material that comes from artists that span the globe,” enthuses Kari Campbell, assistant director of artist relations at third-party Photoshop plug-ins, to increase the size Copyright and wrongs deviantART. Browsing the Stock Photography of images, results are mixed at best. “Place only very Placing a copyright message on your website won’t gallery enables artists to locate suitable stock for highly compressed JPEG images at small dimensions protect you from theft, but it may deter some from their various projects. “deviantART provides a on your site. That way, if the image is stolen, it is of simply downloading without thinking. Marc Bessant forum for stock art and resource providers. Here, such a small size and low quality that an attempt to ( is a well-respected designer deviants are able to ask questions about tips, resize or reuse the image in any way will produce a and illustrator with numerous CD and DVD covers, share information on what they find in terms of very degraded version of the image,” suggests Mr books, logos and posters under his belt, who has creating the best resources possible,” insists Site’s Stuart Spice. There are positives and negatives in never been a fan of visible watermarks: “In places I’ve Campbell. “This open platform is a great way to doing this, not least reducing your work down to a seen watermarks, they have always looked pretty communicate with the Gallery directors resolution and size that won’t do you justice. “There is awful. I think the best thing is just an overall regarding any questions they might have one main detractor, which is that the image may lose disclaimer somewhere tidy on the front end of the concerning this valuable genre. Artists can also impact so it won’t be shown in its best light, crucial if site. I’ve seen my work printed in magazines blatantly post threads if they are looking for something in you plan on selling your pieces,” adds Spice. Play from a low-res source from the net. obviously, I’m particular for a piece that they are working on.” around with the Save For Web function in Photoshop thrilled someone is interested, and in the most part all to see how your work will look at different sizes while exposure is good exposure, but I wish the effort had aiming to keep the resolution, 72dpi, the same. been made to get better-quality examples.” Much of I lIke CreatIve Commons lICensIng beCause It allows The spirit of collaboration and sharing is central to CollaboratIon and shared online communities such as deviantART ownershIp – JoNATHAN WIllIAMS84 © Imagine Publishing LtdAdvanced Photoshop No unauthorised copying or distribution
  6. 6. Protect your art online © Digital watermark You can add copyright information to Photoshop images and notify users that an image is copyright- step-by-step protected via a digital watermark that uses Digimarc technology. Digimarc software is included as standard in Photoshop and a Digimarc ImageReader is also available 1. Embed a watermark into 2. DigimarcEdition your image Professional 3. Read a Digimarc watermark in Photoshop To begin, from the Photoshop menu, head to For those serious about protecting their images, In order to read a Digimarc watermark, choose Filter>Digimarc>Embed Watermark. Next, decide Digimarc offers a series of subscriptions, starting at Filter>Digimarc>Read Watermark. If the filter finds upon your image attributes, then enter your around $79 and rising to $499. Coinciding with the a watermark, then a dialog box will display the copyright year and set the strength of the digital release of Adobe Creative Suite 4 (CS4), Digimarc creator ID, copyright year (if this is present) and watermark, too. Click the Personalize… button to introduced a new version featuring improved image attributes. Select OK, or if you want to find enter your own Digimarc ID and PIN. If you don’t robustness for image format transformations, resizing out more information then click Web Lookup. The already have one, never fear, because you can and compression, as well as improved Search Service Digimarc website will be displayed in your web purchase one from the Digimarc website at www. with expanded website coverage and monthly browser, where contact details appear for the given reports of where customer images are located online. creator ID.what Bessant does is already in the public domain, in Creative Commonsshops and online stores, so he sees little point in Like Marc Bessant, Jonathan Williams (www.protecting images that could be easily copied is popular and in demand.elsewhere. Any designer who respects what they do As an illustrator with a distinctive style and workwouldn’t dream of wholesale copying another showcased across the internet, on websites includingdesigner’s image. That said, ideas are hard to AOI Portfolios, Altpick, Behance Network, Creativecopyright, and that’s a grey area for Bessant and many Shake, and the TAXI Design Network, it’sothers: “If people are going to copy, then they are not hard to find suitably impressive examples of hisgoing to copy regardless of scale. It must make it a work. Again, Williams has yet to see his work copied,little harder to do the smaller you go, but the idea but increasingly clients are calling for work freelyitself is unprotected at any size.” available online to be protected: “I haven’t been Plagiarism in art, design, music, literature, fashion ripped off (yet) so I’ve never felt a need to watermarkand many other creative areas is clearly a problem, online images. Recently, a handful of clients havedifficult to define and ultimately, hard to prove, asked me to protect images they have commissionedespecially in a court of law. “Possibly, we are all from being downloaded. As the potential for onlineinfluenced by the things we see and the web is the digital promotion grows, it seems that clients, morebiggest crystal ball ever,” says Bessant. “Anything that than ever, want to control and restrict the use ofgoes into your head potentially might end up part of commissioned work.”what you do. I’m talking more about ideas and Recently, Creative Commons (http://concepts really, though, rather than straight line-for- licences, which provide aline plagiarism.” While the designer has, to his flexible range of protections and freedom for authors,knowledge, never been plagiarised, he’s seen some artists and educators, have begun to appeal. Forsorry and shoddy reproductions of his work. “If I have Williams, it has the potential to offer the best of bothbeen ripped off then I haven’t seen it online, although worlds: “I see artists borrowing ideas and techniquessadly I’ve seen plenty of bootleg band T-shirts laid out from each other all the time, and can’t helpon pavements outside venues over the years that I wondering if ‘intellectual property’ is, in fact, far morehad nothing to do with that have my design all over fluid and communal than traditional copyright SCOUTING FOR GIRLS: Since graduating from thethem and, of course, the pirate CD market is rife. All admits. I like Creative Commons licensing because it Edinburgh College of Art in 1993, Jonathan Williams has worked as both illustrator and art director. His imagesthe elements for dodgy replication are up there allows collaboration and shared ownership, while also have appeared in major publications, books and retailonline, but hopefully the savvy consumer will spot recognising the professional artist’s right to receive outlets across Europe, America and Australiathe rubbish.” payment for original artwork.” © JONATHAN WILLIAMS © Imagine Publishing Ltd 85 No unauthorised copying or distribution Advanced Photoshop