Saturday, July 26, 2008

Disney Appropriated My Work

I created the above illustration in 1996 while experimenting with some of Photoshop's new filters and effects. I wanted to try the ZigZag distortion filter to get the effect of a sky reflected in rippling water. I thought it needed additional visual interest, so I found a photo of an oak leaf and an acorn crafted out of wood and composited them onto the background.

I then published the finished piece on my website entitling it Acorn Sky.

A few weeks ago, I glanced at the TV and was astonished to see this same image, or one very much like it - animated with the water rippling concentrically outward and the title "Great Oaks" appearing on the water. As I continued to watch, hardly believing my eyes, I learned that it was the animated movie logo preceding the movie 101 Dalmations. I learned later that the same production company also created Flubber. I got a copy of Dalmations, aimed my camera at the tube and recorded the video below and then edited in my original graphic for comparison.

I have no comment or other than I doubt that it was an amazing coincidence that two people would independently arrive at imagery that is so nearly identical and within the same time frame. The likely explanation is that some animator out there searched Google images for "acorn" and stumbled across my piece. I guess I'm glad it was put to good purpose and that the guy made a few bucks from it.

It's not as if I haven't used the ideas of others once in a while. As Picasso is purported to have said, "Good artists copy. Great artists steal."

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