#1 05-08-2018 11:43 am

heymikey
Rockstar
From: Cape Cod, MA
Registered: 02-25-2010
Posts: 416
Karmojo: 80
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Character Mods VS. Copyrighted Characters

Hey animators! I have a question regarding character mods and how people will view them...
I've been participating in the 11 second club on and off for a long time, so I am no stranger to how things work around here...in fact I have a pretty solid perspective on what works, and what doesn't.  I graduated from Animation Mentor in 2011, and I also participated at iAnimate, so I have legal access and rights to their character rigs...when I modify them into generic characters that is one thing, but I know in the past certain voters have seen character "MODS" of SPECIFIC movie characters and punished those animations for using "copyrighted" material.  It is my understanding that rigs can be modified any way you want to, as long as the rig itself isn't under some sort of copyright protection.
Let me be clear...if I am legally allowed to use the rig in this competition, then it shouldn't matter if I have modified it to LOOK like a specific copyrighted movie character i.e. Hellboy, Batman, Superman, Thanos, Wonder Woman etc....
I have seen TONS of animations over the years that have done exactly that...modified a BISHOP, or NORMAN, or MORPHEUS rig into a famous character...I always enjoy seeing creative character mods, I love doing it, and know it can take a lot of time and effort just to modify a rig.  At the same time I have noticed comments here and there over the years of people saying things like "you're not allowed to use that character!" when someone uses a Ninja Turtle in their animation.

The CONAN rig Conan Maya Rig made by Truong, Concept art by M ZM, Model by Tri Nguyen is an awesome rig free to use for non-commercial purposes like this competition...it was in the winning animation for March.  I just had some fun modifying it into Hellboy, and Thanos...
http://i65.tinypic.com/2vaxmv4.jpg  http://i63.tinypic.com/2ed9l68.jpg
I would love to try one of these mods I just made for the competition, but at the same time, I'm not inclined to work hard on an animation that will be docked in voting because of the characters.
Just putting my feelers out there to see how many people are cool with this, and how many people think that this is still "copyrighted" because while CONAN may be free, the concept's of Hellboy and Thanos may not be....
Please Discuss!
Happy animating!
-Mike

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#2 05-08-2018 1:15 pm

RyanHagen
Upright Citizen
Registered: 06-16-2007
Posts: 1284
Karmojo: 48
Moderator

Re: Character Mods VS. Copyrighted Characters

Unfortunately, those are copyrighted IPs and you shouldn't use them under any circumstance, not just the competition here.  I would highly suggest against making "mods" like this and using them as it's typically frowned upon in industry.  Let me put to you this way. If you spent a ton of time making your own characters, and someone else used them in something, you would be pretty upset, and rightfully so, so just don't do it to others.  There might be some grey area in that statement, but I would just say play it safe and treat other IPs as you would want yours treated.  I hope that doesn't discourage you.  The mods you've made are pretty dang cool, nice work!


Ryan
Animator
"Frustration is the handmaiden of creativity" ~ Chuck Jones

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#3 05-08-2018 1:43 pm

heymikey
Rockstar
From: Cape Cod, MA
Registered: 02-25-2010
Posts: 416
Karmojo: 80
Power Voter
Productive!

Re: Character Mods VS. Copyrighted Characters

Thanks Ryan! Not discouraging at all, in fact its exactly the clarification I want to hear! I usually make these mods and never end up animating with them anyway, I simply do it for fun and to stay loose in Maya.  I did enter the competition using Peter Pan/Captain Hook/Tinkerbell mods once and it seemed okay...Something about those characters seems like less of a grey area...how else would schools everywhere put on a Peter Pan play for fun without paying for the rights? I also got a top 10 once using Joker/Batman mods...which does now seem like a mistake, but nobody wagged a finger at me, so I know there's some room to play with it where people see what's going on and are totally fine with it...I'm not literally claiming Batman as my own and profiting off of it...I'm doing the animation equivalent of drawing a picture of my favorite character and saying, "Look Mom, I drew Batman!" Specifically, there is a difference between blatant copyright infringement, and paying homage to familiar characters using the 11 second club audio as the background.
I will definitely avoid using these kinds of mods in the future, and will stick to basic mods that don't tread into the grey areas of intellectual property copyrights.
Thanks so much for the feedback!
-Mike

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#4 05-09-2018 11:32 am

Horganovski
Rockstar
From: Dublin, Ireland
Registered: 02-22-2008
Posts: 769
Karmojo: 79

Re: Character Mods VS. Copyrighted Characters

I don't think it's a black and white issue. A while ago I started working on an animation that was a parody of the game Horizon Zero Dawn where I animated an ostrich to act in a similar way to the Watchers in the game. When I posted a wip on a Facebook group someone said something similar to Ryans comment, that I should not reference in any way someone elses IP.

I happened to have some contact with a lead animator at the company who made Horizon so I sent him a copy of my wip and asked him if he thought I would get in trouble showing it when it's finished. His reply was that in fact his company actively supports and promotes 'fan art' and to let them know when it's finished so that they could feature it on their social media..

So.. not every company is totally precious about their IP.. Certainly I've heard that Disney are on the extreme end  (they are famously litigious) but I believe parody and or fan-art is seen as a good thing by others.

A while ago I animated this which uses a free rig by Kiel Figgins which is obviously based on a movie/comic book character and it's been watched a lot without anybody suggesting it was a bad thing. In fact it's gotten me work due to the reaction to it. Many other animators have used the same rig to make animations and the person who rigged it is a well respected animator in the feature animation world himself so I feel he also must think it's safe to do. He's also released a free Spiderman rig which again looks very much like the movie character.

In my opinion it's similar to the many people who perform cover versions of well known music and post them on youtube. They are paying tribute to artists and work they admire. I've never heard of any of those getting sued for it.

               

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Last edited by Horganovski (05-09-2018 11:38 am)

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#5 08-02-2018 7:37 am

kalel6
From: Dublin, Ireland
Registered: 10-02-2015
Posts: 113

Re: Character Mods VS. Copyrighted Characters

Dud i love your Mods. LOVE THEM. not sure you could use them in a competition. but for personal non commercial projects its of course fine.


“Imagination is more important than knowledge. For knowledge is limited to all we now know and understand, while imagination embraces the entire world"

https://vimeo.com/217295331

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