"Artist" Steals Game Art, Tries to Sell It

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"Artist" Steals Game Art, Tries to Sell It

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"Good Artists Borrow, Great Artists Steal."

And by that definition Romanian , Iani Papadopol, is the greatest artist who ever lived. His recent exhibition, "UpDae 3D loading" is a master class in fantasy landscape design. Or, more accurately, it's a master class in stealing concept art from popular videogames like Guild Wars 2 and World of Warcraft, printing it off, claiming it as your own and attempting to sell it.

Papadopol's plagiarism went unnoticed until a local news crew, impressed by his masterful work, decided to broadcast the "artist" and his "art" on TV. Online fans promptly recognized artwork from top-tier industry illustrators like Arena Net's, Daniel Dociu and Blizzard's, Mathias Verhasselt.

"I found out from my friends," said Dociu, a fellow Romanian, on a local news channel. "I recognized four pieces of my work immediately. What upsets me is that he's also Romanian with an artistic background. I will not take legal action if he admits what he did."

Papadopol's father, who is apparently an acclaimed artist in his own right, claims the whole affair is a "misunderstanding." Unfortunately, his son seems to have a long history of knocking off other people's work. A blog he opened in 2009 contains a number of pilfered concept pieces which Iani fraudulently takes credit for.

Source: NTV via Kotaku

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Well, was he punished before? Because if he wasn't, it shows that he's just going to keep doing this until he gets caught...again.

I wonder how much money he's made so far...

Captcha: Umbrella Corporation

Nope...not creepy in the slightest. 'looks over shoulder and under bed'

Now THIS is what a lack of artistic integrity looks like people.

I'm not sure if the fact that he kept it off the internet means he has more or less brains than the "Art4Love" guy who had a site selling thousands of pieces of artwork from places like DeviantArt. On the one hand, he was less likely to get noticed, on the other hand, he was showing his own face and his own name next to these things so he's screwed now that they've figured it out.

Also, CleverGonzo, if anyone presses charges it looks like the guy's doomed. Serious cases of straight-up plagiarism like this can call for huge amounts of cash if he's been doing any serious monetizing with it, which it sounds like he has.

Couldn't find any actual comparisons, all I have is hearsay.

It just says he printed it off, but how would he get the resolution high enough?

I need further proof.

Captchas with a sense of humour: You First

PRICK!! i have NO tolerance for people like this!

Surely it was all in the name of "research".

(cookie for reference)

I want the job to create concept art. This man makes me ashamed to do want to do that job.

I find it amazing how many people actually try to do what this guy did, even on a non-monetary stand point.

I see it at least a couple times a month on Deviant Art. Some person makes a copy of somebody's work and then posts in on their DA profile, and then actually say they did it. What is really stupid is many times it is a smaller size or resolution picture of the original or it looks like they took a picture of their computer screen, cropped out the non-art part and posted the picture.

I guess these people are so starved for attention, they are willing to get in big trouble for it, which is sad.

wgar:
Couldn't find any actual comparisons, all I have is hearsay.

It just says he printed it off, but how would he get the resolution high enough?

I need further proof.

Captchas with a sense of humour: You First

Look at his blog. I played Guild Wars a lot, and those are simply rip-offs of loading screens and concept art.

Am I the only one thinking that but putting these two pictures next to each other and mirrored, it looks like a big alien head ?

Also

What do you people expect, he is Romanian after all.

Huh ? So ? It's funny though, because Daniel Dociu is also Romanian.

Wow, That just low. But how come that this guy got away with it untill a tv crew showed it on TV? Did he live in some backwater village/town where barely no one has an internet connection?

I wonder if the guy will admit to the plagiarism or deny it.

Who's a naughty boy!?!

I mean seriously, nick from a game no one gives a damn about, you know Kane and Lynch or Fable!
(jk!)

I love it how there was a real local critical buzz around this guy and yet most gaming art will be instantly dismissed by art critics out of hand It would be a REALLY clever idea to, you know, ask the gaming artists and owners if they wanted to create an experimental exibit and take two groups of art critics through it; One who thought it was regular art and one who had been told it was a gaming art exhibition.

I bet the results would show off the amount of snooty bullshit art critics throw at anything they have preconcepions about and hopefully show their 'profession' is 99% bluffing.

I hope he's taken to court and gets his ass sued. He is in clear breach of intellectual property laws if he hasn't even attempted to change the images and has just printed them out.

The father says that it's a "misunderstanding". Right. He 'accidentally' copied the images, printed them out and they just somehow fell into a gallery and magically created an exhibition in his name. Yeah, that must be what happened.

When I was going through art college, there was a student who applied with a completely plagiarized portfolio.

Unlucky for him, the portfolio was plagiarized from a student at that school who'd graduated the year before...

The concept art world tends to be pretty active about blacklisting those that plagiarize. I suspect this guy will have a significantly harder time in the future, regardless of whether or not Dociu presses charges.

I'm having a genuinely hard time deciding if I should make an Incarnate joke (famous father defends indefensible plagiarist son) or a Limbo of the Lost joke (stolen game art) here.

Grey Carter:
Papadopol's father, who is apparently an acclaimed artist in his own right, claims the whole affair is a "misunderstanding."

Sounds legit. I mean, why else would you try to sell someone else's artwork?

fi6eka:
What do you people expect, he is Romanian after all.

Aaaand reported.

Funny, you'd think he'd at least try to steal some more obscure art. (Particularly art that didn't have massive online communities surrounding it) I hope he gets punished for it in some way. Both for the plagiarism and his lazy way of going about it.

Wow what a dumbass. Did he honestly think he'd get away with it?

fi6eka:
What do you people expect, he is Romanian after all.

What the hell has that got to do with anything?

Yeah, that's pretty sad. As a text-based roleplaying board admin, I've run into pretty stellar cases of plagiarism, myself.

Our character biography form comes with a section labelled "Appearance". Not being a very visual type, I tend to just expect a detailed description of the character's looks. Every now and then, however, someone applies and asks me if they can show us what he or she looks like.

This is where I start to cringe. I usually accept grudgingly, and find my fears validated when I see a cropped panel from a recent Ultimate Spider-Man issue or a slate shot of Elisa Duskhu. This is just laziness of the worst sort, seriously. Giving a good sense of the character's appearance doesn't take more than two or three paragraphs, and you're telling me you can't whip up a decent descriptive text?!

Then, of course, the offender tells me "I can't write for shit. Oo;", emoticon included. Then the emoticons start infesting user's the forum posts, until it becomes painfully clear that the applicant has done nothing else than instant-message roleplays, with descriptive actions stuck between asterisks instead of being laid out in full sentences - and where the table-flip emoticon suffices as a way for a character to express anger or exasperation...

Aaaand then, there's when the descriptive bio is a word-for-word knockoff of a copyrighted character, only with the name switched around to try and bypass some bookworm admin (that would be me) who OBVIOUSLY knows absolutely nothing about comic books.

I've been running my board for something close to fifteen years, now. Five years ago, some guy comes up to me with an application for first name, Luthor; last name, Lex. His profile picture was a shot of Lionel Luthor, from Smallville.

Application rejected, of course. Poor guy threw a fit, saying he'd put "a lot of work" into his design (my ass, yeah), and I tried to politely tell him that I'd gladly have him around if I could see something I'd consider original out of him.

He spent a week private-messaging me with status updates for an upcoming bio and then fell silent. Never heard from him again.

I understand that art requires a lot of mixing and matching, a lot of borrowing influences and cutting and pasting stuff together. There isn't a writer in the whole damn world that came up with his stuff like some sort of virgin brain birth. However, there's a difference between being an all-out thief, being simply derivative, or being able to recombine known elements into something new.

My first batch of characters for my own forum were horrible knockoffs. Sometimes, when a character from somewhere else appealed to me, I'd copy their looks and name and delude myself into thinking that because I'd given them a personality, I hadn't plagiarized anyone.

Needless to say, I was told to be more careful with how I'd handle my influences. I've taken that to heart and I've been occasionally producing characters and plotlines I'm pretty proud of.

It just astonishes me that some people never come to that realization. How can you call yourself an artist if all you do is blow up the resolution on an existing design, have it printed on canvas and call it a day?

CAPTCHA: tea with milk
Nah, thanks anyway. I'll get coffee.

Hazy992:
What the hell has that got to do with anything?

We who live on the Balkans like to stereotype our neigbours:
Romanians are thieves
Greeks are beggars
Serbs are liars ready to stab you in the back the moment you turn around.
Bulgarians are the evil mongols who eat little macedonian children.
and we macedonians are the morons who think themselfs as dessendend from the love between some greek faggot and his horse.

Ah, the Balkans.It's a total shithole.....and I wouldn't have it any other way.

fi6eka:

Hazy992:
What the hell has that got to do with anything?

We who live on the Balkans like to stereotype our neigbours:
Romanians are thieves
Greeks are beggars
Serbs are liars ready to stab you in the back the moment you turn around.
Bulgarians are the evil mongols who eat little macedonian children.
and we macedonians are the morons who think themselfs as dessendend from the love between some greek faggot and his horse.

Ah, the Balkans.It's a total shithole.....and I wouldn't have it any other way.

Fair enough, but tone it down a little for your own sake. Pretty sure it's earned you at least one or two presses of the Report button. Racial jokes get laughs out of others when they stay in their boundaries, but we're pretty much an international community.

Not everyone's going to go "Oh, right. Haha. Yeah" and then move on.

I'd wait until more is known other than there was an accusation. When it comes to things like landscapes (which is what I guess this is largely based around) the work of people inspired by the same thing is going to be pretty similar, it comes down to how well they render it and what embelishments they add. The same can be said of using the same source material as other artists.

Very little that Blizzard did was actually original to begin with, they cribbed most of their stuff from Warhammer, something they admit. Warcraft was originally created as an RTS Warhammer game, but when the demos were created Games Workshop said that they were not interested at that time, BUT gave Blizzard permission to develop the game and use the art assets. As a result Blizzard sort of has blanket permission to plagerize a lot of visuals from Warhammer... BUT another point to this entire thing that is interesting is that Warhammer itself based it's own designs/aestetics off of the writings of Michael Moorcock and the artwork used for his books. The look of the armor, weapons, etc.. as well as a lot of the concepts involved in how Chaos works, are all taken from HIS writings through a lot of his differant connected stories.

The thing is that Blizzard is more well known than Warhammer is right now (which probably has Games Workshop execs kicking themselves), at least outside of geek circles, and of course Warhammer is a lot better known than Michael Moorcock's body of work is today.

In this case your looking at an incestuous chain of duplication that goes back decades. Ironically someone doing fantasy artwork based on artists from around the Frazetta era (I can't remember who did a lot of the artwork for Moorcock's stuff, probably a lot of people from around that time frame), inspiration being perfectly valid, is going to probably wind
up in very similar territory. Heck, you'll wind up there by basing stuff off of Moorcock's descriptions, which arguably inspired as much as Tolkien did, people today give him less credit than he deserves, and focus mostly on his failings rather than what made him one of the fantasy grand masters.

To use the artwork above as an example, it looks like it's supposed to be a carving of a Minotaur with it's head bowed down. There are definatly a lot of stylistic differances, and I must say Padapool's is stylized a bit differantly and looks more realistic. It's not surprising that the same basic image, probably drawn from the same material, looks so similar. Given that it wasn't really Blizzard's work to begin with, the complaints have less weight than angry fan boys might think they should.

As I said, I've seen enough similar issues over the years, and know enough about Blizzard's backround, where I'm not going to jump on this guy quite yet. I'll wait for more findings.

The best defense Blizzard could really make in this case to my way of thinking is that they plagerize with permission, and this guy doesn't. That makes it a business issue more than a creative one, since the Blizzard artists deserve far less credit than they receive, Blizzard has actually created very little, their level of duplication going beyond someone using fantasy tropes.

Of course, I'd imagine most people realized the entire image of Arthas was ripped off from Elric, and the swords "Frostmourne and Ashbringer" are errr... homages, yeah homages, to Mourneblade and Stormbringer. Even up to the final conflict, in the Elric portion of the Champion Eternal saga, Elric wielding Stormbringer (err Ashbringer) strikes down his brother Yrkhoon wielding Mournblade (errr Frostmourne).

fi6eka:

Hazy992:
What the hell has that got to do with anything?

We who live on the Balkans like to stereotype our neigbours:
Romanians are thieves
Greeks are beggars
Serbs are liars ready to stab you in the back the moment you turn around.
Bulgarians are the evil mongols who eat little macedonian children.
and we macedonians are the morons who think themselfs as dessendend from the love between some greek faggot and his horse.

Ah, the Balkans.It's a total shithole.....and I wouldn't have it any other way.

Sorry man, but it wasn't really clear you were joking.

Therumancer:
To use the artwork above as an example, it looks like it's supposed to be a carving of a Minotaur with it's head bowed down. There are definatly a lot of stylistic differances, and I must say Padapool's is stylized a bit differantly and looks more realistic. It's not surprising that the same basic image, probably drawn from the same material, looks so similar. Given that it wasn't really Blizzard's work to begin with, the complaints have less weight than angry fan boys might think they should.

That image was by ArenaNet's Daniel Dociu, not anyone from Blizzard. And it's his own creation, not from any other material. ArenaNet is extremely proud of the creativity and originality of their art team. If you read Dociu's response, he says he won't even press charges if the guy admits what he did. Doesn't sound like they're looking into punishing anyone and everyone for very little reason, more like he's actually hurt to have had his work ripped off so completely.

Also, the only differences between the images are the direction they're facing and the overall color, the latter of which could be due to the quality of the photograph. Neither one looks more realistic than the other. Look closely at the cracks in both: they are exactly the same.

(And it isn't a minotaur. It's meant to be a mountain combined with a dragon, which was part of the ArenaNet artists' various concept pieces on dragons that look like forces of nature. Look at the rest of the image and tell me someone could come up with something so similar just by chance, especially when the rest of his work also "by chance" had an incredibly close resemblance to other famous video game artists' work.)

fi6eka:

Hazy992:
What the hell has that got to do with anything?

We who live on the Balkans like to stereotype our neigbours:
Romanians are thieves
Greeks are beggars
Serbs are liars ready to stab you in the back the moment you turn around.
Bulgarians are the evil mongols who eat little macedonian children.
and we macedonians are the morons who think themselfs as dessendend from the love between some greek faggot and his horse.

Ah, the Balkans.It's a total shithole.....and I wouldn't have it any other way.

Well that's news to me, and I've lived in Romania my entire life.

If you're going to indulge in stereotypes, then what does that make of our friend Papadopol here? Is he a beggar, AND a thief? The guy has a Greek name, in case you didn't notice.

I will concede that the Balkan nations have their fair share of idiots, who love nothing more than to constantly rant about how shit everyone else is, and how awesome their corner of the globe is, but I would expect to be free of this kind of behaviour on The Escapist.

Now, I don't have anything against poking fun at someone's ethnicity if it's all in good fun, and in fact, I think it's important to have a sense of humour about that sort of thing, and not be up-tight about it, but sarcasm is something that usually doesn't come off very well on the internet, and on many sites, that can be your ticket out.

EmperorSubcutaneous:

Therumancer:
To use the artwork above as an example, it looks like it's supposed to be a carving of a Minotaur with it's head bowed down. There are definatly a lot of stylistic differances, and I must say Padapool's is stylized a bit differantly and looks more realistic. It's not surprising that the same basic image, probably drawn from the same material, looks so similar. Given that it wasn't really Blizzard's work to begin with, the complaints have less weight than angry fan boys might think they should.

That image was by ArenaNet's Daniel Dociu, not anyone from Blizzard. And it's his own creation, not from any other material. ArenaNet is extremely proud of the creativity and originality of their art team. If you read Dociu's response, he says he won't even press charges if the guy admits what he did. Doesn't sound like they're looking into punishing anyone and everyone for very little reason, more like he's actually hurt to have had his work ripped off so completely.

Also, the only differences between the images are the direction they're facing and the overall color, the latter of which could be due to the quality of the photograph. Neither one looks more realistic than the other. Look closely at the cracks in both: they are exactly the same.

(And it isn't a minotaur. It's meant to be a mountain combined with a dragon, which was part of the ArenaNet artists' various concept pieces on dragons that look like forces of nature. Look at the rest of the image and tell me someone could come up with something so similar just by chance, especially when the rest of his work also "by chance" had an incredibly close resemblance to other famous video game artists' work.)

Ahh, it looks more like a Dragon in the clearer image.

You could be right now that I see the whole thing, I'll concede that point. To me it looked like a piece of WoW/Warhammer inspired artwork, hence my response, the exact creator would have beem more or less irrelevent in that case since that whole thing is such a mess as I explained.

Sonic Doctor:
I find it amazing how many people actually try to do what this guy did, even on a non-monetary stand point.

I see it at least a couple times a month on Deviant Art. Some person makes a copy of somebody's work and then posts in on their DA profile, and then actually say they did it. What is really stupid is many times it is a smaller size or resolution picture of the original or it looks like they took a picture of their computer screen, cropped out the non-art part and posted the picture.

I guess these people are so starved for attention, they are willing to get in big trouble for it, which is sad.

I hate when people take a image and recolour it and attempt to call it there work. It is things like these that only further the lack of respect for the design and art industries which is really unfair.

DVS BSTrD:
Now THIS is what a lack of artistic integrity looks like people.

Fuck... I wanted to mention "artistic integrity" in this thread...

He's not even a good thief, he is stealing from well known sources. This just makes him lazy, as well as an obviously bad artist.

Busard:
Am I the only one thinking that but putting these two pictures next to each other and mirrored, it looks like a big alien head ?

Also

What do you people expect, he is Romanian after all.

Huh ? So ? It's funny though, because Daniel Dociu is also Romanian.

for a second I thought it was a surreal admiral Akbar
O.T. can we say he's fucked if more proof comes up

i am going to his gallery to take photos of his 'work', print it and sell it as my own.

we need to steal more and hide the truth deeper. con ception

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