February 13, 2013

Behind The Post: The Luke Hope Poster

You may remember that about four-and-a-half years ago, I made this image:

By popular demand, I sought to make it available on posters and t-shirts. But I wanted to do so through proper channels, and ended up partnering with Zazzle, which had an existing licensing agreement with Lucasfilm. (They no longer do, so don’t bother looking.)

But in order to get formal permission, I had to jump through some hoops. One question that came up — and I confess I found it a bit insulting — was whether or not I could prove that I actually made this poster, and wasn’t just passing off someone else’s work as my own.

I came up with a way to prove I did the work. I had kept all the layers intact from the Photoshop file I used to create the image (much later it was turned into vector art). Using all those layers, I created an animated gif showing the steps from start to finish.

I always liked how that animated gif came out, so the point of this story is to share the process gif with you:


Couldn’t you just send them the .psd file as proof?

Yeah, that would have worked. But the psd was quite large, and as I recall I was dealing with someone who might not have known what to do with it. This was simpler.

Ah, fair enough.

Um, doesn’t this just prove that you based it on someone else’s (most likely copyrighted) photograph, without a legal license? Something that the courts have recently stated is infringing?

Yes, Dan. That’s the point. Instead of just selling posters and t-shirts with my illustration based on someone else’s copyrighted work, I talked to the rights holder, Lucasfilm, about a proper licensing arrangement. It was during this discussion with the rights holder that the animated gif was created, so they could see my work. An agreement was reached, and everyone was happy.

so, what did Shepard Fairey say when asked about a licensing agreement?

Neckens: I spoke with his people, not him directly. They were fine with it as long as my website acknowledged somewhere that I was inspired by his poster, and linked to his website.

is this poster being sold anymore? i would love to pick one up.