Animation mentor mascot.

I’ve read about the Animation Mentor guys asking not to copy their mascot because it is identifiable with AM, Also on Blendernation there is a discussion not to copy the ball 'n legs model.

I can sure respect, however those models are too generic for them to make such hard claims on.
For example, does this character seem familiar to you?

http://img409.imageshack.us/img409/5223/vlcsnap17302di2.png

http://img84.imageshack.us/img84/1365/vlcsnap23664lb7.png

http://img266.imageshack.us/img266/5372/vlcsnap36723xh8.png

Lmao hmmmm… sure have seen that somewhere before ??? just where

haha those strict bastards…"no use of balls on legs in a character , if found to be used in anyway, wil be fined 5k dollars. all variations of legs on spherical shapes are pattened by animations mentor including all other ligements of that matter, (arms, hands. stubs where arms used to be, etc) "

what? is this a joke? I didn’t think it was possible to put a copyright on vague concepts like that. what about Pac-Man, he is often depicted as a sphere with arms and legs. Is Atari currently in violation of copyright law for a character they made back in the 80s?
http://i21.photobucket.com/albums/b273/exposedcircuitry/pacman_record_020605.jpg

I lol’d, hard. What about Mike from Monsters Inc? You can’t claim copyright on something that simple. Sorry AM, you did NOT invent the ball with legs. It’s actually a rather generic character, used in many cartoons.

it’s unfortunate, but I’m reaosnably sure that the reason they did it in the first place is because people are jerks, by nature. See, in the ideal world, the animationmentor characters are–since they are only ever seen in the videos of people who have passed the courses–associated with high-quality animation, and since they’re also associated with animationmentor, the equation follows in peoples’ minds:

animationmentor = mentor characters = quality

It should be obvious how easy this is to exploit. As soon as everyone realizes that these characters are becoming synonymous with good animation, in comes the wave of knock-off characters associated with rip-off websites, money scams based on the name, and terrible animation using copycat characters, and the equation is modified to become:

animationmentor = mentor characters = ripoffs, scams, bad teaching, terrible animation, generic character types = HOLY CRAP STAY AWAY.

As I said, it’s unfortunate that they’ve felt the need to get so grippy about it, but to be honest, it’s everyone else’s fault, because humanity–as a race of self-centered jerks–can always be trusted to exploit anything that is left open to trust and goodwill.

Black Boe, I think you have too dark a view on this situation. If it is true what you’ve said, there should have been instances of misuse of those characters (and any intermediate can model/ reverse engineer those characters) already. Besides, not even the CC characters of Elephant Dreams resurfaced in other places. I thought when the movie came out: “O o , porn peddlers will use those characters”. But not even in animation challenge threads or courses, Proog or Emo are used (yet?).

And also it is just plain stupid to think that their reputation is based on character design and how somebody used it. Their concern was rather brand recognition and I sure can respect that. I won’t copy it. I might model a bean shaped character with sharp teeth in the future, but not an exact replica. There are also a lot of free rigs/ models with far more appeal anyway (mancandy, otto, ludwig, Red Nelb, peach and orange models).

And how about this scenario: Someone is the owner of a chain of the best flower shop in the world. Their logo is a sun flower. Would it be fair for them to ask not to use the image of a sun flower just because they established brand recognition with it?

Their sphere-and-legs models are pretty specific, tho. Most of the time if i hear about them asking for someone to pull down a model it’s because the model was made to be similar to theirs in color as well as overall shape. Using the sphere with legs has been a common practice in animation training, much like the flour-sack has been for 2D students. There are a limitless number of ways to achieve the same sort of model. One doesn’t need to use a sphere (I have made one for my own use that’s all cubes - faster to render :P).

It’s great to get models that have the same training purposes as theirs, but visually i think there’s a pretty good argument in their favor against allowing people to put up models that are obviously attempts at copying their visual style. You can’t copyright the generic idea of “a sphere with legs”, but their specific sphere with legs can be, for sure.

wats all this then? http://www.blendernation.com/2007/12/11/another-free-rig/

Quick! Alert the Kindergarten Teachers.
Stick & Ball figures are banned!
Seriously, they just don’t want people deliberately ripping off their material.
However, the concept of stick & ball figures dates back thousands of years.
Unless you deliberately ripped off AM & their concepts, they wouldn’t have a stick to hold up their ball in court.
m.a.

toontje:
I’m a horrible cynic, it’s what I do. Anyway, I’d say it hasn’t happened because animationmentor has put a legal clamp on it. Ever heard of those counterfeit Winnie the Pooh plush animals? They were made in third world countries and the guys didn’t want to pay for stuffing so they stuffed the plushies with used dressings and bandages from nearby hospital garbages. Video piracy is an example and a half. There are even legal restrictions and it still drains millions of dollars. Some people sell the pirated DVDs for cheap, to make a profit. People are being defrauded by domain squatters and look-a-like sites that copy money-related sites like IRS.gov to trick people into entering personal information.

People sell Blender, even, or bundles of open source software. Now, we all know that technically it is legal to sell this software, and that they have every right to, but I’m wondering how many people thought “good for them” when they first found out as opposed to the number of people who thought “that’s a dirty trick.”

It may not have happened to animationmentor, but given humanity’s general state towards each other, I’m not surprised they decided to pre-empt anything.

EDIT: I also didn’t say that their reputation was based SOLELY on their characters. But you surely understand the point I’m making here. There’s a lot more that goes on in the subconscious than people realize. What you said about brand recognition was the point I was making, except I was just extending it to what people might recognize their brand AS, in either scenario. Nice slip-in of ‘stupid’, btw. Quality sportsmanship.

Nice slip-in of ‘stupid’, btw. Quality sportsmanship.

LOL. Ok, toucheé :slight_smile:

You all remeber me? ( http://blenderartists.org/forum/showthread.php?t=78809 )

AnimationMentor asked me to remove my rigs, because of copyrights…

What ticks me off is that they made some models with the most minimal features and copyrighted is. Just checking here: have they copyrighted UV sphere? I want to make some animation with that.
Another thing: I can understand that the Shrek model is copyrighted, but I don’'t know if the Gingerbread man (Gingy) is copyrighted or not. I guess such character simply cannot be copyrighted. Like I said, they didn’t invent the Ball and Legs. They didn’t invent the bean shaped odd character with sharp teeth. Those things are too generic, just like stick figures. There are too few variations possible on such a simple level. Basically you can shutdown the use of any simple model if you manage to model a couple of variations (of a ball and tails for example).

I have all respect for the animation mentor guys and they seem to be a couple of cool guys, but if their lawyers would send me a threat to discontinue my ball 'n tails or something, I would say: Bite me!

The gang at AM, and especially Bobby, have been very cool when people have built similar rigs to the AM ones. The only time they really have an issue is when it is completely blatant, even down to the colors. They are not a gang of faceless, evil people bent on denying all of you who haven’t been in AM the right to animate a ball. Bobby just wants to protect all the hard work he and others have put in to creating the school.

Next time you are at siggraph and you see BOOM, run up and give him a great big hug (if you don’t, he certainly will) and talk to him for a bit. He is seriously one of the nicest, sweetest people I have ever met and his passion for animation and teaching will be very obvious. And if you get a chance to be in the school, even better, it really is worth it.

BTW, I am a recent blenderhead and have to say that I am completely blown away not only by how amazing blender is as a tool, but how awesome and helpful the community is. Hope to be contributing soon as I slowly (very slowly LOL) get up to speed.

it’s just to protect their Intellectual Property, and to give their legal staff some ammunition to go after anyone who hurts them. Imagine a porn video on youtube feature the exact same character. Imagine someone publishing a 6-week course feature the same character with rigs but for free. It would hurt their business, and they want to stay in business.

I completely agree! If it would to be used (blatantly) commercially or in a disrespectful manner, it should be addressed by all means. But if I want to teach a bunch of kids about animating and I find the ball and legs useful to explain stuff, or if I would post a 10 seconds animation or something, I won’t see the crime in that. But if I would to start a commercial animation course, then I would not use them, but use Otto or Mancandy or something.

I think it’s where you draw the line of decency.