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Old July 14 2003, 11:57 PM   #1
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Location: Spokane, WA, USA
Trek Art FAQ - Please Read Before Posting

Trek Art Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Q: Am I allowed to post non-Trek artwork here?
A: Well, this is the Trek Art forum but it’s not strictly prohibited to post artwork unrelated to Trek. As a rule of thumb, new posters should probably start with something pertaining to Trek and keep the non-Trek stuff under half of what they post from then on.

Q: Is it okay to ask people to make stuff for me, even if it’s for free?
A: Depends on what you're asking for. A lot of people in here will gladly do up a Website banner, a DVD cover, put your head on a Starfleet uniform, etc. while asking nothing in return except proper credit. On the other hand, you should probably think twice about asking people to do something they would normally earn hundreds or thousands (or tens of thousands!) of dollars for doing professionally. You should have no expectation of people doing that kind of work purely out of the goodness of their hearts, and don't be surprised if some of them take offense at even being asked to do so. They don't like the implication that their talents and efforts are essentially valueless. In short, you can ask, but at least try to understand what you're asking for.

Q: I'm new here. Why can't I post images?
A: Because you have to have a post count of at least 100 before you can post images. This is a spam control measure designed to prevent people from registering screen names and using them to flood the board with porn or other objectionable content. If what you're trying to post is legit then someone with a higher post count will usually help you out by reposting it for you.

Q: Why are so few people responding to my posts? I've got dozens of views but almost no responses. Why do they all hate me and think I have no talent? WAAAAH!
A: Before you assume people are sending you a message with their lack of response, stop and consider what you've given them to respond to. A lot of people will respond just to say they like what you're doing and want to see more, but many more people will respond if they feel they can be part of the process. That’s why threads involving works in progress (WIPs) tend to be so popular. You will also usually get direct responses to direct questions. And don't underestimate the significance of how many views you're getting, regardless of the number of responses. If people didn't like what they were seeing then they wouldn't keep coming back for more. On the other hand, if your work really isn't that good or just fails to strike a chord for whatever reason then you may not be getting many views or responses, in which case you may just have to live with it. Not everyone is a Picasso or Leonardo Da Vinci. Just understand that people aren't deliberately trying to be rude by not responding.

Q: I want to build 3D starships, too! How do I get started?
A: First, understand that 3D modeling and animation is not something you just decide to dive into one day on a lark. The learning curve to be able to produce anything more than boxes and spheres is quite steep and typically takes years to master. Second, most of the software for creating this stuff is spendy, upwards of two or three thousand dollars. There are, however, some very inexpensive or even free packages like Blender and Rhino that are very good, especially for someone who is just starting out, and can be downloaded right off the Internet. Third, there is a certain amount of talent and natural ability involved in creating computer-generated imagery (commonly called CGI or just CG); contrary to popular belief, the computer does very little of the actual creative work for you. If you're a good artist in more traditional mediums and have a pretty good sense of spatial perception then you probably have a shot at being a good CG artist. Then again, there are some awesome CG artists out there who can't draw a decent looking stick man so it really depends on the individual. If none of those issues present a problem for you then the best place to start is with one of the free or inexpensive packages, test the waters to see how you like it and how good you are at it, post some stuff here in Trek Art and other forums and let the feedback guide you from there.

Q: Where can I get a copy of 3D Studio Max or Lightwave?
A: Short answer: At your local AutoDesk or NewTek reseller. If you're looking for a bootleg copy then nobody here can help you. TrekBBS is not to be used in any manner, shape or form for the distribution or procurement of illegal software. If you already have an illegal copy and you're using it to post your artwork, we don't want to know about it. Or more accurately, you don't want us or anyone else to know about it. The people here don't condone it and they will not look kindly upon it. You've been warned.

Q: How do I keep people from stealing my work or using it without proper credit?
A: The only foolproof way is not to post it at all, but there are less exclusive methods to help protect your intellectual property rights. The most common is to simply put your name, logo or some other identifying mark on everything you post. Such markings can be removed, but those who are inclined to steal your work in the first place are usually too lazy to bother. Some markings are harder to remove than others, full-frame watermarks, for example, that cover the actual image without obscuring it. On the other hand, a simple signature down in one corner on a plain background isn't gonna slow anyone down much. Some people dislike cluttering up their images with such things, but bluntly speaking, they have little room to complain if their work gets stolen.

Q: I want to use part of someone else’s work in some of my own. How do I give them proper credit?
A: This is a case where cluttering up the image is not a matter of choice. PROPER CREDIT MUST APPEAR ON THE IMAGE for elements that you yourself did not create. If you like to render 3D fleet battles containing dozens of starship meshes by other authors then every single one of them must be credited. If you don't know who created the element you want to use then at least acknowledge that its creator is unknown so there’s no confusion that you might be claiming it as your own. The format is fairly typical: “Enterprise mesh by Dennis Bailey” or “Photomanipulation by Captain Robert April.” This also applies to image elements from sources such as the NASA website or sites with astronomical images.

One exception to on-image credit would be stock images, objects and characters purchased for use in images and art, such as 3D content to be used in programs like 3DS, Maya, Vue, Poser, etc. - most of these contain licenses that allow their uncredited use in other works, but one should read the EULAs carefully and abide by them; if the EULA requires credit to be given, or does not allow public use at all, that is the guideline to follow.

Q: Is there a limit to how large posted images can be?
A: Strictly speaking, no, but if you post an image larger than 800x600 or so then it forces many people to have to slide their horizontal scrollbar back and forth on every line of text in the entire thread, which can be annoying to say the least. If you're posting an image for people to look at and comment upon then the last thing you want to do right off the bat is annoy them. Although it’s not an actual board rule, I will often convert such images to clickable links in order to restore the readability of the thread.

Q: Where can I host images online so I can post them in my threads?
A: The most reliable place is in your own bought-and-paid-for Webspace. Unless your Internet access and email is totally free, you probably already have at least some Webspace available to you from your Internet Service Provider. If not, you can either buy some or use one of numerous free hosting services. Be aware, though, that the free services always come with a catch of some sort, usually advertising. If they're going to host your images for you for free than they expect to be able to plaster banner ads all around them, which is why so few of them allow direct-linking because it would bypass such ads. People complain about this constantly but it’s really only fair and you simply have to live with it if you're unwilling to pay for your own Webspace. You will not be allowed to use any of the numerous tricks for spoofing a direct-link with such services; TrekBBS is not going to aid and abet your schemes to violate the agreement you made when you signed up with them.

Q: The image I wanted to post actually belongs to someone else so I just linked right to their Webspace. Is that okay?
A: Absolutely not. There’s a term for this practice, it’s called “leeching.” Bandwidth is a valuable commodity in this day and age and posting an inline image from somebody else’s Webspace without their permission is nothing less than bandwidth theft, a prosecutable offense. For those who are unaware, an “inline” image is one that actually appears within a thread every time it is accessed or refreshed. This is different from a text link, which will only display the image (and consume the host’s bandwidth) if clicked upon. The latter option is the proper method to guide people to an image you want them to see that resides on someone else’s Webspace, but it’s still a good idea to get the host’s permission before posting the equivalent of a phone number on a restroom wall.

Q: How far can I go with screen caps, video and audio clips of Trek episodes and other copyrighted material?
A: This is a very good question with a very complicated answer. In general, the limit has always been that you can't post anything that is likely to infringe on any copyright holder’s profit potential. For example, you can probably get away with adding a few seconds of captured video from the TOS episode Balance of Terror to your CG recreation of the F/X shots, but you would be in big trouble if you tried to post a DivX copy of the entire episode. The former is not going to remove the necessity of anyone going out and buying the DVD from Paramount if they want to see it, whereas the latter very well might. Another example might be screen captures; there are very few scenarios in which posting a screen cap is going to deprive Paramount or anyone else of due compensation. It’s more likely that making and posting screen caps will help to maintain interest in the Trek franchise, which Paramount well knows and is the primary reason why sites like TrekBBS are tolerated and even encouraged. One more example worth noting would be printed materials from books or magazines, especially of a graphical nature. If you scan something like that and post it at an equal or even comparable quality and resolution to the original then you're infringing on the profitability of that publication and TrekBBS cannot be a party to it.

Q: What are the limits on nudity and other adult themes in posted materials?
A: Explicit sexuality has never been a really big issue here in Trek Art. Every once in a while someone will post a fairly suggestive character sketch, but "adult themes" just don't tend to play much of a part in Trek related artwork. The TrekBBS Rules prohibit NC-17 and R rated material, but the old "defining obscenity" debate can still be hard to avoid. For my own part, as moderator of the Trek Art forum, I am inclined to disallow anything of an overt or explicitly sexual nature. In other words, Seven of Nine in 3D would probably be allowed, but not if she were anatomically correct in ways that even the catsuit didn't conceal.

Q: What is the official position on "colorful metaphors?" Is it okay to cuss in here?
A: Technically, this too falls under the Adult Content clause of the Board Rules, but its enforceability is complicated. If you like to use the F-word as an all-purpose adjective substitute then I will probably ask you to tone it down. If you just can't express yourself properly without four-letter words then you may need to reconsider what you're trying to express and whether it's appropriate for what is supposed to be a "fun for all ages" kind of forum. Bottom-line: It usually isn't hard to define foul language as "flaming" of one sort or another and excessive use of it will earn you a warning.

Q: What is "spamming?" How do I update my works in progress without doing it?
A: According to the TrekBBS rules, "spamming" is defined thusly:
You can't post the same thing multiple times on the board, or post the same thing over and over in a certain thread or forum, or continuously make posts that have no real content or relevance to what is being discussed. Spamming can even just be posting too much - as a general rule, don't post more than two or three threads in a forum within a reasonable length of time. Do not post more than twice in a row in the same thread. If you need to answer more than one person in the thread, please use the quote function
The current board software also has a useful "multi-quote" function, that allows you to select multiple posts in the thread and, when hitting "reply," will quote all of the selected posts.

Q: How do I enter the monthly art challenge, and what are its requirements?
A: The monthly TrekArt challenge is not an 'official' function of the forum, but is informally agreed upon and continued by the members. In general, the requirements of the monthly challenge are determined by the winner of the previous month's challenge, but the common expectations are that a) the artwork you submit is created during the month of the challenge, rather than using artwork or compositions that already exist and happen to fit the theme and rules of the challenge, and b) you are allowed only one final image to submit, although it may contain multiple views. To streamline the process and cut down on confusion and logistical problems, the moderator will post the final poll, and the entrants need to e-mail their final entries to the moderator (currently Ptrope; email: ptrope at gmail dot com) by midnight, PST, on the last day of the month; the poll will then be posted in a timely fashion, usually on the first day of the month.

Most of these definitions apply equally here as with anywhere else on the board; however, there is one variation which may, at times, be unavoidable: It is possible you may need to post more than twice in a row in your own thread because a.) you have created new images, b.) the time to allow editing of your posts has elapsed, and c.) no one else has posted anything in your thread since your own previous post(s). If this is the case, don't feel that you can't post because you will risk a warning; sometimes, it just works that way.

However ... bumping a thread with irrelevant posts, posting multiple times within the feasible editing window instead of editing the existing post, and other such avoidable behavior will still be assessed according to the existing board rules and TOS.

- Trek Art Forum Moderator

Last edited by Ptrope; December 1 2013 at 07:34 AM.
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