Chronicles of Elyria dev blog’s ‘mood piece’ turns out to be ‘photobashed stock art’

    
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The idea of a mood board, which collects a variety of images from various sources to bring inspiration, isn’t exactly a foreign one. Perhaps that’s what Chronicles of Elyria was looking to do when it shared a “mood piece” that was found to actually be a photoshopped piece of “artwork.”

The link above is an archived grab of the original post, which has since been edited by the studio and the image removed. It originally was meant to convey the Kypiq aesthetic, with buildings meshing with the natural world and a variety of reds and greens.

However, a poster on the MMORPG.com forums referenced a discussion on the Chronicles of Elyria Discord that found an artist’s watermark on the image. Another poster on that same thread went deeper, locating the original image of the woods as well as the Pinterest image of the building used in the mood piece. In short, nothing in the mood piece features original artwork from the Chronicles of Elyria art team, which is odd since the team had put the Elyria logo on it but did not mention that the art was sourced from outside the studio.

According to the edited post, making the mood piece with found assets in order to inform concept art and design is precisely the point:

“At various points throughout the game development lifecycle, it is necessary to capture the feel and quintessence of an idea, location, prop, or character design, so that a mood and vocabulary can be created that allows designers and artists to have a conversation about what it is they’re creating. These mood pieces are generally put together very quickly and often act as a precursor or prototype to the concept art and grey box assets being created by the team of designers and artists at a studio.

The image, which we removed, is one such mood piece. It was created as part of an internal discussion between our principal concept artist and the designers about the nature and structures of the Kypiq biomes. Snipehunter felt that it looked cool and, being a mood piece, (when combined with sufficient explanation) would help people understand a bit more about the process of making games. It would also allow us to track the piece over its evolution, from mood piece/paintover, to more fleshed out concept art, to a finalized design for the Pyqish architecture.

Unfortunately, the mood piece, being a photobashed compilation of several items of stock art with some rough paint over, was not received well or understood to be what it was: a means for us to visually communicate with each other (and now you) a mood or idea, not a finished concept or piece of art. We have taken the image down and locked this thread for further discussion, and removed all previous posts to discourage further replication or dissemination of the mood piece.”

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Skyler Redmon

That would be because these guys are con artists.

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Alexus Yanova

This is a bad thing to do. For people who do not get it – the developers put their own logo onto image, which is the same as implying “this image is ours”, without mentioning the original creators in any way. You do not ever do that if you want to respect original artist and want to be respected by others, you always mention original source (does not matter if it is a photo or other kind of image) and you do not put your own logos unless you have explicit permission by original creator.

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Lethality

Umm, mood pieces aren’t original artwork. Ever. 0.o

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styopa

This. Who said/implied that mood pieces ever would/should be original artwork? It’s something you see that sets the mood, or something you bashed together that represents what you’re trying to convey quickly.

How is this a big deal?

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Dane Ford

So, for people not familiar with “mood pieces,” like me. When you put out something that looks like concept art and slap your logo on it, it leads me to believe that you created it. Right or wrong, that’s the perception.

Remove the Chronicles of Elyria logo and I have less of a problem, give attribution and I have no problem. They did neither.

Edit: Especially when you’re putting it out for public consumption to market your game. Seems slimy to me.

cmdr_cotic
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cmdr_cotic

Absolutely. No one cares if it is internal work banged together for art direction but if you’re passing it off as your own work AND using it to make money then you’re doing it wrong.

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Alexus Yanova

It is a big deal because they did not mention original sources and tried to take ownership of whole image by putting their own logo on it – even if you steal it from Pinterest at least have a decency to mention this, especially if you are a big commercial company and not a random forum poster.

Bree Royce
Staff
Bree Royce

I’m not sure where the “mood pieces aren’t original artwork” idea comes from. A mood board is generally a collection of pieces of other folks’ art, yes. But that’s not what a “mood piece” is, and yes, all sorts of productions, from movies to games, do preproduction art as original in-house work to help set the tone for other artists. So it seems to me part of the problem is the misuse of the term by the people who took the watermarked (and presumably not paid for) art and slapped their own logo on it, thinking “mood piece” was some sort of shield.

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kalech

Not sure I understand. Did they use stock photos, or did they steal images from some artist? Because if they cobbled together a rough inspiration reference out of purchased stock photos, that is completely normal.

If they took someone else’s art then yeah, that’s scummy.

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Hikari Kenzaki

I posted the section with the watermark below.

Mewmew
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Mewmew

“We have taken the image down and locked this thread for further discussion, and removed all previous posts to discourage further replication or dissemination of the mood piece.”

Taking something down and trying to get people not to discuss it is a surefire way to get people discussing it.

Even if it was some very little thing to begin with, once you remove it and try to stop people from talking about it, you just made it into something news-worthy and will get all sorts of people discussing it who wouldn’t have cared otherwise.

They should have just stuck with the image and let some people complain. Now they’ve acted like they’ve got something to hide and got all sorts of people interested.

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Kickstarter Donor
NecroFox4

If it walks like a scam, and scams like a scam…

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Solaris

Ouch

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silverlock

Can the official MOP meteorologist tell us where storm CoE is right now? I though it was expected to make landfall in 2019?

I checked out their job posting and wasn’t surprised to see that it wasn’t for a game dev but a full stack web designer. I guess that they need someone in house to make sure that the money tap actually works when they turn it on.

Edit: So this is old news that image has been on their site since June 29 2018, and is still up. http://iis-prod.chroniclesofelyria.com/forum/topic/26614/compendium-of-releaseonly-tribes#post293196

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Jahlon

How do you screw up releasing a mood piece based around concept art?

Justin Olivetti
Staff
Justin Olivetti

I will not eat this, Scam-I-Am.