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3 Reason to Avoid Using Stock Art

Posted by on Wednesday, August 7th, 2013

Stock Art

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The Internet is practically overflowing with stock resources. If you want to build an ape, you could easily go online to purchase and download a stock model of an ape body, buy a separate texture, and then throw the two together. Stock art is an excellent resource because it can save you lots of time and money in projects where originality isn’t terribly important. There are times and places for everything, but you’re usually better off investing the time and energy to create your own artwork from scratch. Here are some of the best reasons to avoid stock art.

1. Give Clients What They Pay For

If your boss doesn’t mind using stock art then you can go buck wild. Most clients and employers, however, hire you because they expect you to use original work. If you try to pull the wool over your client’s eyes with stock art, then at best you are being terribly unethical and at worst you are breaking the law. I’m not sure what the copyright and business laws are like where you live, but you should be warned that trying to sell somebody else’s work as your own may very well land you in hot water with the authorities.

Unhappy Clients

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2. Don’t Stagnate as an Artist

Stock art is like an addictive and harmful drug. Once you use it the first time, you’ll always have it in the back of your mind as a plan B solution that can help you out of a bind. The more you use it, the more you’ll be tempted to use it because it saves you so much time and effort. The problem with this approach is that you’re hurting yourself in the long run. You’re essentially robbing yourself of the artistic experience that you would have gotten if you’d done everything yourself.

Computer in Cobwebs

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3. Avoid Sending the Wrong Message to Interviewers

You need to be extremely careful when you use stock art in your resume. If you’re a dedicated animator, for example, it might make sense to animate somebody else’s model. Using a model that you couldn’t have ever created on your own will give your animation reel a much more polished look. It kind of makes sense to use the artwork of other artists as a canvas to showcase your specialized work.

However, you should be aware that this could give interviewers the wrong idea. What would be more impressive to you as an interviewer: a candidate who built everything from scratch or the candidate who purchased a lot of stock models and then animated the models himself? The stock artist might have finished work that looks better, but you can’t really discount the dedication shown by the other artist.


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You also have to be very forthcoming about how you use stock art. If you present artwork to interviewers as if it’s your own and then they find out that a portion of it is actually stock art, then your resume will get tossed in the trash faster than you can say, “Let me explain!”

Are you trying to land your dream job as a visual effects artist? The Gnomon School blog will provide you with some of the best current tips about the visual effects industry. We can give you a competitive edge in the job market, whether by showing you how to attract more viewers to your online portfolio, teaching you how to ace interviews with art studios, or by pointing out new job opportunities in the field. You’ve got nothing to lose… and a great job to gain! Contact us to get started!

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