For discussion about the images which have already changed:
Changes discussion topic
Over the past 4 or 5 days we've been running a poll to gauge people's opinions about an idea we had to change the images of the old "equimagine" horses and ponies to replace them with the new "Yulynh" lines. We received 3566 votes in total, and 4798 posts.
The results were extremely divided
- 52% voted in favor of the change
- 34% voted against the change
- 12% didn't mind what we did
Some of the common arguments against the change were:
- "I prefer the old lines, and I think the old horses/ponies won't look as good if they're changed"
- "The old linearts are special because they're different, and the pets will be less special if they are changed"
- "Some of my favorite pets are on the old lines, and I won't like them if they're on the new lines"
- "Many items don't fit onto many CS species, we're used to that, so I don't care if new horse items don't fit old horses" OR "Why not just change the items?"
- "Some of the designs will be ruined if they move to the new lines because of changes to expression/tails/mane/pose"
- "The old lines are an important part of CS history, good or bad, and we'd lose important memories and disrespect the original artist(s) if we changed them"
- "I prefer the new lines, so I think the old horses/ponies would look better if they're changed"
- "I don't like many of the old designs, but I think they'll look better when re-drawn like the ones in the example image, so I might gain new favorites"
- "I think they'll look and fit better in my pet groups if they all look alike, and I don't like mixing the old and new styles together"
- "I wish I could dress all my horses/ponies in all the horse items, most of my items don't fit the old horses"
And the most important argument raised was:
- The old lines are uncredited copies of photographs, which breaks CS's own art rules, is hypocritical of CS to allow, and could potentially be removed anyway if a copyright infringement case was made against CS by those photographers.
The last point is correct, whether or not you want to believe that about CS or it's staff. Several of equimagine's linearts were copied from photographs. We don't allow our artists to do this, and we weren't aware it had happened until many months after releasing them on CS. After the evidence came out, equimagine freely admitted to copying, but said she made a forgetful mistake when she re-used those lines for CS purposes - she had originally drawn them for anatomy practice before joining the staff, and forgot about the references she'd used to draw them. After we found out, she updated her lines - which is why there is a second version of her horses/ponies on the site. I believe she didn't trace or copy any photographs for the new versions, but some users still didn't trust her and found similar poses in photographs which they believed she had copied parts from. Due to all the controversy she left the site in late 2010 and we hired a new artist (Yulynh) to give us new lines and put all that drama behind us.
Whether it was accidental or not, the issue is still the same - some of her lines really are copies of photographs.
CS Art Rules wrote:Using photo references for your artwork:
If you heavily reference your artwork from a photograph then please give credit by posting a link to the original image. The reference information should be clearly visible above or below your image.
The official art rules have been updated many times, and I believe we didn't actually have specific rules against photo referencing in 2009/2010 when equimagine's lines were released on the site. However, these days it would be breaking our rules for any user to post an image like this newborn horse without linking back to their reference photograph:
Yes, that is a CS horse copied from a photograph. (Thanks Harpalyce(?) for the comparison image.)
The rules for CS artists needs to be stricter than that, because we are not just making a one-time personal artwork to frame on our fridge at home. We're distributing our creations far and wide, and letting people post our pet images all over the internet. The photographers are more likely to be upset about that. And it won't be simply waved away for us to "give credit by linking back" - as we don't have permission in the first place.
Unfortunately, all this means that the changes will go ahead, even though many of you said "NO!".
Although we would have preferred to get a larger proportion of the site in agreement about the change, we think that the people who voted in favor of the change had a stronger argument - it is breaking our own rules, and potentially a legal issue, for us to keep the old linearts. Some people think it's disrespectful to equimagine to remove her lines, but it would also be disrespectful to numerous photographers to keep them. It's obviously going to upset a good proportion of the site to change them, but those images break our own rules, and if it came to a legal issue then we may be left with no choice anyway.
What about those of us who are going to hate the change?
We understand that a good proportion of you didn't want us to make these changes. I really am very sorry to force such a wide-spread change on everyone. I am well aware that it affects hundreds of pet images so it's likely to affect at least 1 pet from nearly all long-term players' collections.
Although some of you may feel angry or upset, I'd recommend you don't make any rash decisions about deleting pets, or giving pets away for free. Those linearts have been retired for over 2 years already, so it's unlikely they're still your main source of enjoyment from CS. The rarity of the pets hasn't changed. The demand may have changed, so you may find them easier or harder to trade than before - but it's not a reason to throw away valuable pieces of your collection. If you don't like the new appearance of your old pets, trade them for something you prefer - but make sure you get a fair deal for them.
We are going to ask CS staff to make special lineart and line changes for a few of the special pets so that they don't lose their charm in the move, example:
the PPS pets
The "roadkill" pony
The rainbow mane
Since the zebras are on a modified version of equimagine ponies, and the ponies are copied from a photograph, unfortunately these are destined to be replaced as well. We will make a whole new lineart for the zebras (not a modified pony). We'll put up an announcement when the zebra lines have been completed so you can see (and make trade decisions) before they get changed. I wouldn't expect the change will cause any loss or gain in demand - since the extreme rarity is one of the main reasons the zebras are so highly sought after, and the rarity won't change.
These will get a whole new lineart. It is still in progress, so we'll post an announcement when those are completed.
These have now been replaced with a new lineart
The donkeys are likely to be moved onto our Yulynh "donkey" lines (edited ponies):
This is unconfirmed right now as the donkey lineart is missing (oops) but we'll post an announcement if we end up making them a whole new lineart instead
OTHER COMMON QUESTIONS ANSWERED:
Wait, what's going on?? I heard nothing about changes to horses/ponies
Read our original voting poll for more information:
How long until they're changed?
The first changes will be made a few days after this announcement so that hopefully most people will read about the change before they see it.
The horses, ponies, and drafts will be the first to change. The unicorns, donkeys, and other special lines will come last.
The adult images will change first, before the newborn and child stages in the archive get updated.
It may take a couple of months for all changes to be made, but the adults will be replaced in batches beginning in just a few days.
Some players were also concerned that the change would affect the rarity of the pets. The change won't affect rarity at all. Rarity is a rating of how many of those pets exist on active players' accounts - the less exist, the rarer they are. Only the images of the pets would be changed, there won't be any getting re-released or deleted, so the rarity score won't change. However, the demand could be affected - that is how popular the pets are in trades. Demand may increase or decrease with the change, it depends whether the new versions are wanted more or less by traders. Since a higher percentage of voters were happy about the idea of change, it is possible that demand for the old pets would increase as they may become more popular and therefore considered more valuable in trades.
Credit to equimagine
Some players complained that equimagine would not be credited for her work. All her designs would still be credited in the archive with her username as the artist, even if they are re-drawn on new lineart. She would still have her name on our "Team Page" as a retired horse artist. She has already signed an agreement making her designs CS property so it is not an issue for us to move her designs to new linearts. The "equimagine" name tag stamped on her horse/pony images is a tag for the artist of the lineart, not for the colorist, so it won't appear on any of Yulynh's linearts since equimagine didn't make those lines.
Ability to view older version of the lines on the site?
Since many of the older images have been copied from photos, we can't really maintain an official collection of them on the site. You're more than welcome to save the old images to your computer, or make you own archive website to show other CS users how they used to look. However - note that your own archive website could also be at risk of removal for copyright infringement if the photographers (whose images were copied) decided to report it.
Note about related issues with CS fennec foxes:
Some users have made sure to remind us that we had a similar issue in 2010 with another CS artist (Shima.Luan) who (allegedly) copied from photograph(s) to produce the CS Fennec Foxes. I don't have it on hand but I believe there is sufficient proof of at least one of the growth stages being copied from a photograph. These are likely to also be replaced, but we don't have a new lineart yet, so we'll make a new announcement about those in the future.
And before you start worrying about other old lines - we think that's the extent of the problem. As far as I know, there aren't any problems with any other lines on CS. Including the warrior cat lines - which some people think are discontinued because of copyright issues with the lines or designs. Actually, it was naming them "Warrior Cats" that was problematic, the lines (and designs) are fine to stay, and we have no plans to remove them.
Side note about why our rules for users are pretty "relaxed" as far as photographic copyright is concerned
Our rules for users (about photo referencing) are pretty relaxed, because we don't believe that most photographers would be upset about a small-time "personal artist" using their photos for pose/anatomy references to make a image which will be posted on a few different forum topics or a personal art gallery. Similar to the way Hasbro generally allows their fans to copy "My Little Pony" artwork and character designs - it probably doesn't negatively impact them when derivative works are made. We want users to "link back" to their references, to give the original photographer credit - but also so that other members can see how much of their artwork is technical skill, and how much is just showcasing their tracing skills. Some artists use photo references very well, to just ensure they get the bone/muscle structure or colors down accurately. Others just use it as a crutch to trace images rather than learning anything at all.
We hope the forced "photo credit" rule will discourage users from tracing, and encourage them to practice drawing from their imagination (with help from references if needed), since they'd get more recognition from other artists if their drawings show knowledge and skill rather than direct copying abilities.
Our users are allowed to bend the copyright rules a little for photographs, but if the copyright holder files a valid complaint against a CS user's image, we would still remove it for them, even if it didn't break CS rules (it would still be breaking their rules).