Is it cheating?

Hey guys

I've been really getting into my ZBrushin' recently, I start from a basic zsphere and continue on.

I look at some incredible speed sculpts and some start with a basic face/body model already made. They all look very similar.

Is it wrong to get a free face model (from some legit place) and import it into zbrush and start from there? In the industry, would you be allowed to get this free model and start customising and completely changing it's features and proportions into your own personal piece.

This might be a very silly question but I don't actually know.

Thanks guys

Replies

  • JohnnyRaptor
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    JohnnyRaptor polycounter lvl 10
    No, its not cheating. during production you will most likely always be expected to start with existing assets. its time consuming and expensive to recreate the wheel every time.

    for your personal work, you might not want to start with existing assets thought for learning purposes.
  • Isaiah Sherman
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    Isaiah Sherman polycounter lvl 9
    Personal work: Best to do things from scratch so you can learn everything

    Client work: Do every trick / cheat you know within legal limits to get the best work done in the shortest amount of time. "Cheat" as much as possible.
  • Autocon
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    Autocon polycounter lvl 10
    What Isaiah said.

    There are assets in Uncharted 3 and TLOU that were originally created for Uncharted 1. Some things were used as a starting off point and some were just updated with a texture.

    Like small pebbles for example, no point in remodeling the same pebble shapes again when what you already had was already perfected before. You can then spend that time making new awesome stuff that is super different.
  • ysalex
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    ysalex interpolator
    My take:

    Personal work - generally not okay. If you don't have the skills to make the base mesh yourself, then you're getting yourself into trouble by taking the fundamentals from someone else who has put in the time, who knows about topology and proportions and style. If you do have these skills and you're just messing around, or are indeed just trying to save time, then sure, but always credit the person you got the item from whenever you post the art.

    If you are using one of your own old meshes then fine, go for it. Re-purposing is a super useful skill and actually pretty important.

    Professional work - Definitely not okay, unless your work supplies it. That is time someone else put into something that you are then putting to use. If something comes to light, there are integrity and IP issues at work.

    The caveat to this is what the other guys said, which is that if the mesh/whatever is yours, or supplied to your by work/freelance, then its a really good idea to use it because there are no legal or ethical issues and saving time is good for you and whoever you're working for.
  • Bokche
    So you guys who work in the companies. Always start with base model? Or from nothing in Zbrush?
  • Shiniku
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    Shiniku polycounter lvl 7
    Like Isaiah was saying, in production, pretty much anything goes. You do whatever produces the best result fastest, so it depends on the model but basically any shortcut or 'cheat' you can use, you should.

    If you're trying to sharpen your skills with personal work I suggest slowing down and really learning every step. This can be painful at first but it pays off later. Even with personal work you might want to do a piece as if you were in a production setting where you allow yourself to 'cheat' as a kind of test for yourself to see how fast you can go. I always learned a lot when I did that, but that's where you learn more about applying your skills, not where you really learn too many new ones.
  • Xoliul
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    Xoliul polycounter lvl 10
    Autocon wrote: »
    There are assets in Uncharted 3 and TLOU that were originally created for Uncharted 1. Some things were used as a starting off point and some were just updated with a texture.

    Haha, there are probably a few really deranged, entitled gamers around that think such a thing is completely unacceptable cheating!
  • Brygelsmack
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    Brygelsmack polycounter lvl 6
    Xoliul wrote: »
    Haha, there are probably a few really deranged, entitled gamers around that think such a thing is completely unacceptable cheating!
    Booo, it's just a reskin!

    :shifty:
  • JackNelson
    Shiniku wrote: »
    Like Isaiah was saying, in production, pretty much anything goes. You do whatever produces the best result fastest, so it depends on the model but basically any shortcut or 'cheat' you can use, you should.

    If you're trying to sharpen your skills with personal work I suggest slowing down and really learning every step. This can be painful at first but it pays off later. Even with personal work you might want to do a piece as if you were in a production setting where you allow yourself to 'cheat' as a kind of test for yourself to see how fast you can go. I always learned a lot when I did that, but that's where you learn more about applying your skills, not where you really learn too many new ones.

    Basically this. You shouldn't be required to start from scratch every time, but you should know how to.
  • JurassicJeremy
    Greatness comes from reskins and retextures...Scoripon/Subzero for example...
  • ExcessiveZero
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    ExcessiveZero polycounter lvl 6
    Xoliul wrote: »
    Haha, there are probably a few really deranged, entitled gamers around that think such a thing is completely unacceptable cheating!

    dude I actually heard that just the other day in a negative tone from some guy, about reskined assets, think he was talking about dragon age or something.

    some people are fucking insane with their expectations, don't try and appease the insane people.
  • Shiniku
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    Shiniku polycounter lvl 7
    Yeah I always think it's insane when I hear stuff like that, especially in the case of sequels/spinoffs with really short production time and a lower budget. lL you thought it looked good the first time why would they want an artist to just start from scratch?

    I miss the days of Fallout 2 where a large percentage of the game was re-used assets and no one complained that it should have 'just been a DLC not a sequel' or whatever.
  • praetus
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    praetus greentooth
    dude I actually heard that just the other day in a negative tone from some guy, about reskined assets, think he was talking about dragon age or something.

    some people are fucking insane with their expectations, don't try and appease the insane people.

    If I'm not mistaken, in Dragon Age 2 they re-used the same dungeons and layouts multiple times in the game. That where a bit of flak came from as it was incredibly obvious that you walked into a new area and it was exactly the same. I could see people complaining about that. As for a pipeline, you will typically reuse bases for sculpts over and over again.

    I don't care for making hands in 3D. They're kind of a pain. So, I tend to reuse my hand sculpts by dynameshing them into my sculpt and tweaking them as needed. I'm actually doing characters at work now and I converted the male base mesh in ZBrush into the female. It was faster for me to tweak an existing base mesh than create a new one from a sphere or something.
  • MagicSugar
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    MagicSugar polycounter lvl 10
    Nobody pays extra or gives bonuses for being a process purist.

    http://www.makehuman.org/
  • Ruz
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    Ruz polycounter lvl 14
    yeah it's cheating stop that now:) or i will tell the polygon police about you
  • Isaiah Sherman
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    Isaiah Sherman polycounter lvl 9
    ysalex wrote: »
    MProfessional work - Definitely not okay, unless your work supplies it. That is time someone else put into something that you are then putting to use. If something comes to light, there are integrity and IP issues at work.

    This is not true. So long as you are working within legal limits, there would be no integrity or IP issues.

    You can buy models from places like Turbo squid and kit-bash them into something new if it'll save you time.
  • ysalex
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    ysalex interpolator
    This is not true. So long as you are working within legal limits, there would be no integrity or IP issues.

    You can buy models from places like Turbo squid and kit-bash them into something new if it'll save you time.

    I was clearly talking about finding some guys basemesh/work online and using that, versus other more legit methods of finding models/ being supplied models.
  • Neox
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    Neox polycounter
    ysalex wrote: »
    My take:

    Personal work - generally not okay. If you don't have the skills to make the base mesh yourself, then you're getting yourself into trouble by taking the fundamentals from someone else who has put in the time, who knows about topology and proportions and style. If you do have these skills and you're just messing around, or are indeed just trying to save time, then sure, but always credit the person you got the item from whenever you post the art.

    some times a premade mesh is just quicker, personally i think i don't have to prove anyone i can create a basemesh, if i have something i want to do and a premade mesh (arshlevons comes to mine, or the mudbox dude) i just take those. why waste the half an hour to create something that is already there?
    The basemesh will in many cases be so heavily deformed in the end, it's like it wasn't even used.
  • MiAlx
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    MiAlx polycounter lvl 8
    Yeah from what I've seen from various artists i've worked with, they tend to have a base mesh and they usually take that and tweak it to whatever they need it to be, if they can save time by doing that. It doesn't matter how you do it (as long as it is legal of course), the results and the speed only matter.

    But If I may go slightly off topic, I'd like to ask a question. I was having this discussion recently with a couple of friends about this and we had varying opinions:

    How do you guys feel about tutorials in the workplace?

    For example, what if you remembered that this guy in this tutorial had a cool way of solving a technical challenge, or a technique that could help you with your task and you checked to see how he did it?

    Or what if you just have it open on the side, or playing on the background and just listen to it, almost like music..? Are these sort of things a no-no in your experience?
  • Neox
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    Neox polycounter
    So you are asking, is it allright to gain knowledge from others and not getting all knowledge on your own?

    Lets burn all books, and forbid the spoken word - mistakes others did, and solutions they found is what drives us as humans.
    Of course it is allright to get better by learning from others, any employer being against that is incredibly stupid. Really.
  • ysalex
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    ysalex interpolator
    Neox wrote: »
    some times a premade mesh is just quicker, personally i think i don't have to prove anyone i can create a basemesh, if i have something i want to do and a premade mesh (arshlevons comes to mine, or the mudbox dude) i just take those. why waste the half an hour to create something that is already there?
    The basemesh will in many cases be so heavily deformed in the end, it's like it wasn't even used.

    I was more talking to this guy specifically, but your point is fair. I did add "If you are using one of your own old meshes then fine, go for it. Re-purposing is a super useful skill and actually pretty important. "

    Personally no matter how deformed I don't think id use someone else's mesh without citing them, even if just as a matter of thanks.
  • Justin Meisse
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    Justin Meisse polycounter lvl 13
    I was having trouble making a convincing looking hand for the icon in the upper left cornere so I ended up just photographing my hand and painting over it. CHEATING!
    icons_icon.jpg
  • MiAlx
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    MiAlx polycounter lvl 8
    Neox wrote: »
    So you are asking, is it allright to gain knowledge from others and not getting all knowledge on your own?

    Lets burn all books, and forbid the spoken word - mistakes others did, and solutions they found is what drives us as humans.
    Of course it is allright to get better by learning from others, any employer being against that is incredibly stupid. Really.

    Haha yeah, that is my opinion too. :)

    The reason I am asking is that in the discussion I had, the sort of "counter-argument" was that: "They are paying you to bring knowledge and experience to the position and not to use other people's experience." So that's why i was curious to see what you guys thought. But yeah, I disagree with that logic.

    edit: How DARE you Justin!
  • Neox
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    Neox polycounter
    MiAlx wrote: »
    Haha yeah, that is my opinion too. :)

    The reason I am asking is that in the discussion I had, the sort of "counter-argument" was that: "They are paying you to bring knowledge and experience to the position and not to use other people's experience." So that's why i was curious to see what you guys thought. But yeah, I disagree with that logic.

    edit: How DARE you Justin!

    hahaha, they pay you to do your job and if you can do it faster and better they pay you for getting faster and better stuff done.
    Such a backwards argument.
  • Eric Chadwick
    It is definitely not cheating.

    However you do need to be aware of what rights something is confined by, before you try to use it in your work. Getting caught would be a big pain in the ass, especially when a client has paid you for the rights to your work, and expects it to be free and clear.

    We have a bunch of meshes here, great for starting sculpts.
    http://wiki.polycount.com/BaseMesh

    We simply ask that you credit the original author, just as you would if you used someone else's concept to start a piece.
  • MagicSugar
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    MagicSugar polycounter lvl 10
    MiAlx wrote: »
    Or what if you just have it open on the side, or playing on the background and just listen to it, almost like music..? Are these sort of things a no-no in your experience?

    I've done something similar before when I was on staff for a dev company. I registered for one of those Gnomon on-line masterclasses where you can watch videos on demand. It was a lot of content for a very short period of time and for which I paid on my own. I had a secondary monitor so I just ran those (used headphones of course) while doing whatever I was modelling. The office was open concept too so all the people who have workstations behind mine can see what I was watching. If somebody asked me about it I was ready to say it was just like having background music.

    But it depends on your work environment and whether you have relaxed managers or control freaks.
  • MeshModeler
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    MeshModeler polycounter lvl 6
    Personal: from scratch, or old personal projects

    Pro: kitbash as much as you can from stuff already in game and what not
  • leslievdb
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    leslievdb polycounter lvl 10
    imo there is no such thing as cheating in a production environment.
    Work smart and try to get the best result you can deliver.
    Ofcourse all within legal bounds.

    Your personal work is where you should be practicing, if you dont feel comfortable making things from scratch then practice doing so on your own time.
    Feeling like you`re cheating usually comes from a feeling of self doubt, ask yourself if you could do it without the thing you consider cheating and if not then practice that.
  • Optinium
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    Optinium polycounter
    If my job consisted of making a new model every-time I get assigned one the I wouldn't be doing my job... nor would the game get made haha.

    My rule is, if I know I can make that asset no problem, then I'll reuse it. If it's something that I've never tackled before or I consider a learning experience then I'll make it myself.
  • paradoxical-pixel
    Many of the Italian Renaissance masters had apprentices who mixed their paint and contributed to more trivial parts of their paintings.

    Similarly, our 3D art hinges on the work of many others, and as technology ascends into higher domains of complexity, there become yet more and more levels of abstraction between the low-level electrical signals of the processor, and our high-level artistic work.

    With time being as precious as it is, and demand for high quality, realistic graphics always present, it is inevitable that asset creation will become extensively procedural within the foreseeable future. This would transition artists into more of a design role, I would imagine. Megascans, Substance Designer, World Machine, etc are all early examples of this gradual shift.

    Perhaps this comment is a little tangential to the overall discussion. My point fundamentally is that ownership of digital art (outside of a legal context) will become an increasingly convoluted topic as the industry advances.
  • tsabszy
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    tsabszy polycounter lvl 7
    What the first couple of guys said is ok, except i think it's ok for you to cheat at personal projects as well, after you are already have enough skills, you will propably have just enough assets to start from when working on a personal project. Working home, especially after a fullday job can be stressful and taking unnecessary steps can be time consuming, and can kill your inspiration to finish.
    So i'd say until you are not entirely sure how to get the full pipeline done from scratch, you should avoid "cheating" but later you will realize there's no point in building a new hand, or a new face with the same topology but different proportions for the hunderedth time...
  • TheQiwiMan
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    TheQiwiMan polycounter lvl 7
    *I* personally spend years to develop a brand new programming language in order to code a brand new 3D software package in order to create all of my unique 3D assets, of course only after I create a brand new unique 2D pixel manipulating software tool as well in order to texture said assets.


    Max? Maya? Blender? Photoshop? ZBrush? ..you all are friggin CHEATERS.
  • Hazardous
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    Hazardous polycounter lvl 11
    I was having trouble making a convincing looking hand for the icon in the upper left cornere so I ended up just photographing my hand and painting over it. CHEATING!
    icons_icon.jpg

    That's Justin's skull on the bottom right also. Think of the dedication hes gone through in the name of fantastic UI! Taking all that glorious face off to photograph his skull and graft it all back on to get back to work. Soldier right there.

    No, It's not cheating - I do this all the time now, I have a base mesh that I've continuously refined over the years to achieve my 'style'. If I'm ever asked to do something outside of that, I use the base 'super average man' model from zbrush or ill create my own depending of course on what it is.

    Like the others have said though, if you are trying to learn about form and gather a foundation for understanding and how things are built up - then its definitely beneficial for a young / beginner artist to start sculpting from a sphere or blob of clay, like you would in a traditional sculpting class.

    I cant help but think one could argue though that in the near future, every game dev would have base meshes that would be used to create all the human characters anyway and such authoring tools in a roundabout way like poser for example:

    *insert base mesh*
    *use a bunch of editing tools like those in a complex character create of a game*
    *press generate new character button*
    *get standardised UVW and clean default maps*
    *open in Ddo*
    *apply texture*
    *export to game*

    And there you have the character artist of tomorrow's daily job! (at least for humanoids) :thumbup:
  • paradoxical-pixel
    TheQiwiMan wrote: »
    *I* personally spend years to develop a brand new programming language in order to code a brand new 3D software package in order to create all of my unique 3D assets, of course only after I create a brand new unique 2D pixel manipulating software tool as well in order to texture said assets.


    Max? Maya? Blender? Photoshop? ZBrush? ..you all are friggin CHEATERS.


    That was the crux of my original comment, but you expressed it better! :)
  • Neox
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    Neox polycounter
    Hazardous wrote: »
    That's Justin's skull on the bottom right also. Think of the dedication hes gone through in the name of fantastic UI! Taking all that glorious face off to photograph his skull and graft it all back on to get back to work. Soldier right there.

    No, It's not cheating - I do this all the time now, I have a base mesh that I've continuously refined over the years to achieve my 'style'. If I'm ever asked to do something outside of that, I use the base 'super average man' model from zbrush or ill create my own depending of course on what it is.

    Like the others have said though, if you are trying to learn about form and gather a foundation for understanding and how things are built up - then its definitely beneficial for a young / beginner artist to start sculpting from a sphere or blob of clay, like you would in a traditional sculpting class.

    I cant help but think one could argue though that in the near future, every game dev would have base meshes that would be used to create all the human characters anyway and such authoring tools in a roundabout way like poser for example:

    *insert base mesh*
    *use a bunch of editing tools like those in a complex character create of a game*
    *press generate new character button*
    *get standardised UVW and clean default maps*
    *open in Ddo*
    *apply texture*
    *export to game*

    And there you have the character artist of tomorrow's daily job! (at least for humanoids) :thumbup:

    well at least for some time, someone has to develop such a system, and no coder will be able to ^^
  • Hatred
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    Hatred polycounter lvl 13
    Autocon wrote: »
    What Isaiah said.

    Like small pebbles for example, no point in remodeling the same pebble shapes again when what you already had was already perfected before. You can then spend that time making new awesome stuff that is super different.

    and this:
    Neox wrote: »
    well at least for some time, someone has to develop such a system, and no coder will be able to ^^

    I guess that is the key clue, if you are happy of what you already achieve and you just want to speed the process/upgrade different thing/ maintain the style - do it, but people need to be aware of the purpose.
    I noticed sometimes people are not conscious enough and are repeating the same mistakes all over again, they want to achieve something different but can not just because their foundations are the same. Sometimes to go beyond you got to just start with an empty page.
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