You invested a lot of your work into 3D renderings or other images and don't want them used without your permission. You're thinking about the protection of your intellectual property.
The first thing that might come into your mind is adding your logo and/or watermark. The purpose of them is to protect your images against being stoled. Because if someone would steal your images your logo or watermark will tell viewers who really is an author or an owner of 3D visualizations.
Let me tell you such "protection" is quite weak.
Why? Let's see.
Let's say you added some logo and watermark to your image. Please take a look at the schematic view below. To make this view I made the original image taken from the exterior 3D rendering portfolio darker to add better visibility for the "logo" and "watermark".
Let's check out the 3 common ways image thieves brake such "protection".
Please do not treat this blog post as the instruction for copyright infringers. These "methods" are already widely used. They are explained here so that our readers could understand the problem. If someone will decide to use this blog post as the instruction I will very disappoint these people at the end of this article, since I will explain the very strong way to delete such images from the Internet.
1. Blurring your logo and watermark.
To hide copyright or other information about an image owner image thieves can just blur a text and logotypes added by an author.
As you can see a picture might look different and even ugly comparing to an original image. Believe it or not, many of the thieves don't care.
A situation might be even worse. Thieves can add their logos or watermarks to a stolen image.
It's absurd but true. At the same time, viewers can see logos and watermarks added by infringers and some logos and watermarks blurred out. Lol :)
2. Cropping your image and leaving your logo outside a cropping area.
Let's say you decided to add a logo only without watermarks (maybe you think watermarks are too distractive, which is true). So our schematic view looks as in the image below.
Image thieves can use image-editing applications to crop your image so that to leave your signs outside the cropping area. Please take a look at the screenshot of the cropping process taken from Adobe Photoshop application.
Though the image doesn't look exactly like the original image after the crop it doesn't have any evidence of the ownership.
Once again copyright infringers can add their signs.
3. Using tools like clone stamp.
Image editing applications have tools that allow copying small parts of an image from one area to another. They often used for removing all "redundant" objects or parts of images. For example, in Adobe Photoshop application this tool called Clone Stamp.
By using it copyright infringers can remove your logotype, watermarks and other protective elements of your image. If done accurately a resulting image will look almost as your original image.
BTW: Many of the 3D artists put their logotypes in the clear sky area of their architectural 3D renderings and it makes work with tools like clone stamp much easier.
But in many cases, image thieves do this work not very precisely. In this situation, we can see images with artifacts like the image below has, or very similar.
4. Using removing logo/watermark applications.
Copyright infringers can use specialized applications for removing watermarks and owner logotypes from images. I will not mention any of them here, but they exist.
5. Hiring "professionals".
Unfortunately (from my point of view), I saw removing watermark job requests on the very known freelance platforms. So, if someone is interested in removing logos and watermarks from stolen images he or she can hire professionals so that they could do their job for "such clients".
As you can see the watermark or logo image protection is pretty weak.
So what to do to protect your images?
You can remove your images from the Internet. And even initiate a ban accounts of people who stole your images.
How to do this?
Public images on the internet aren't placed "on their own". They are placed on some platforms. Social media, websites, etc.
The owners of any platform should obey copyright laws and remove images by request of image owners. Every platform has specific instructions in this regard.
Even if a copyright infringer placed a stolen image on a website that he or she owns you can:
Find out who is a hoster of that website and submit a complaint. If done properly hosting provider will suspend or remove a website.
If you see images stolen from you are indexed by search engine platforms like Google or Yahoo you can apply DMCA complaint and if done properly these websites will be totally excluded from search engines.
Another thing. Unfortunately, I see copyright infringers try to post stolen 3d renderings in the 3d rendering communities, mostly on Facebook. Good news the admins of these communities often can recognize stolen images since they might saw these images posted earlier by their real authors. So after seeing such images, they usually remove them and in most cases ban accounts of people who steal visualizations. And though community admins can't recognize everything stolen image owners can message them about broken copyrights and after providing enough information about their ownership admins usually remove images and ban accounts of such "tricky people".
BTW: we have a community where all of the people joined must respect copyright. I am the admin and do my best so that stolen images weren't posted in our groups. If I can recognize a stolen image I will remove it and ban an account of a person who posted. If someone sees stolen images not removed he or she can inform me and send me information about ownership. If I will see enough information about image ownership and understand it was stolen I will obviously delete an image and ban an account of a copyright infringer from our groups.
What do you think? Maybe you know some strong ways to protect 3d renderings and other images from being stoled. Or you have other comments in this regard. Feel free to share them in the comment section below.
If you want your colleagues and friends to read this post feel free to give them the link or share this post on social media by using the buttons below.
About the Author
Yevhen (Ievgen) Zakharov is a 3D Visualizer Artist, who did more than a thousand 3D Renderings since the year 2001. These visualizations helped his clients to promote architectural projects, interior designs, various constructions, and products. If you're interested in getting such 3D renders feel free to check out our 3D visualization services.