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Where does creativity begin? How much input is needed before an item is "yours"? Do people care if a design was not actually made by the designer?

All these questions have been flowing around in my head today.

I have unpacked -- and blogged in many instances -- a lot of clothes lately that were obviously made from the same template. It took me awhile for this to sink in, but eventually I saw the pattern. I asked my blogger sisters and I was assured that "yes, you can buy anything on Xstreet". Yes, it is legal and psd (Photoshop active files ) are sold just like sculpty files these days.

Who knew? Not I.

So now I am at a crossroads of sorts. Do I keep featuring designs that are built on the work of some ghost designer? Someone who has made a template, sold it as full perms and let the masses go forth and create on their work?

Honestly? I'm having a bit of a problem with that. I know this is a gray area, and that there will be many opinions -- both pro and con -- for using templates to create "new" designs. It's legal, and most likely accepted, but is it a good thing?

I think about the designers who were here at the beginning -- or at least long before I arrived. , Chip Midnight, Torrid Midnight, Fallingwater Cellardoor -- I'm sure the list is a long one. I am guessing they worked from scratch, finding their own way, pushing the boundaries, turning pixels into wearables. There is something that bothers me deep inside about slapping a texture in a layer of a template and calling it a new design.

Now, I know that isn't always the case. Oftentimes there are rips and logos, wrinkles and patches added, but sometimes it is simply pasting in a texture into layer number 7. Where does creativity begin? Is simply pasting in a pattern enough to call a design original?

I don't have an answer, but I am thinking that I won't be featuring any obvious template work on my blog in the future. It is a personal decision. And if that means I will have less to blog? Well that's my choice too I guess.

I can understand the reason people use templates. Ease for one. Speed. But what happened to making items for the world that we envisioned? What happened to the simple joy of creativity? Most likely it has been replace with pragmatism. And that, I also understand. People need to pay the rent. Sales are slow. If it comes down to staying using templates or closing -- I'll vote for staying.

But still there is a shadow looming over the practice. Would downsizing accomplish the same thing? Could designers give up there sims, half sims, quarter sims and go back to their roots? In doing that would they discover the joy they had in the beginning when they were creating simply for beauty and for themselves?

I don't know the answers, but I wonder.


Rowan Carroll said…
You can use a template as a tool. Some people are creative, but don't have the skills to fully realize their idea. Just putting the templates out as a "design" rather than actually USING the template as a basis for your idea. I think this is something YOU will have to rely on your own instincts. A hundred people may buy the template. I'm interested in what they DO with it.
SySy Chapman said…
Great post! If interested, I asked the same question on plurk right here ;)

Pretty interesting discussion. I agree with everything you wrote ;)

i know some designers were devastated to see whole templates , masks, textures , even fabrics with shadows and creases become available full perm on xstreet. But it is a fact of sl life and I do understand people using them , theres alot of pressure on designers to produce vast numbers of freebies - for satellite stores at malls and clubs, for charity events, for hunts, for fashion shows and their own promotions.
Personally i have always made my own masks and templates for textured clothing which is why the early ones were so bad lol. But for me it was part of the learning process and i get more satisfaction from clothes made with my own masks. It is frustrating - because for me, at least,it often takes me longer to get the mask right than the fabric.
Rochelle said…
I dont know, I hesitate to say anyone who has the skills in photoshop to create someting beyond the basic texture on top of a template cannot have the skills to create the template base themselves. To that end it appears to me that people are choosing to use these templates because of laziness and the easiness factor of it.

This frustrates me, both as a creator who makes my stuff from scratch and as a buyer who sees these items contantly. Seeing well known prominant bloggers blog those who use these bases time and time again and marveling at their 'work' makes me shake my head.

I am pleased you have decided to take a stance against blogging these types of items, there is so much creativity out there that should be seen but is missed
Shelby Rasmuson said…
As someone who has been blogging for a year, I'm not sure if I've ever blogged items which come from readily available templates. Maybe that requires more knowledge of whats available on XStreet...(and I guess I should be checking up on these things). There is another more insidious type of copying out there also though, which I have to say bothers me more, which is the copying of a design idea, but using ones own templates to put the idea into practice. I will see a designer unveil a new piece and a month later a very similar but not identical piece will appear elsewhere which shows that the designer has their PS chops but lacks any originality. Which is better, using a template to come up with something new ...or using your own templates but copying a piece done by someone else?
Anonymous said…
Skill is not purchased. Skill is developed over time and usually by trial and error. So it isn't the templates and textures that are evil. It is what you do with them that counts.

That said I thought bloggers went out and acquired what they wanted to review. Perhaps some bloggers need to stop accepting submissions for review and this problem will fade away. Anyone can get a free blog and ask to be on the feeds and announce their own stuff. Would save blogger reviewers a lot of effort if they just reviewed what they actually want to review. Might even keep it fun like it is supposed to be instead of blogging having had to become the primary marketing channel since SL lacks any effective means of marketing in world.
Hannah Yakan said…
I love creating my own stuff. I don't want to make something if its not mine. I hate using the sculpty packs, but we all have to use sculpts now. I just wish I could make them.
Giving everyone these clothing templates is like handing out paint-by-number kits.
The artistry that so many designers exhibit in SL is amazing. I love seeing the talent they pour into their clothing.
I may not see a wrinkle the way you do, and you may not see a highlight the way I do. I would rather someones personal style than a mass produced item.

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